Friendly Reunion and Talk
After being greeted by Felix, Dominic and the rest of the Phoenix Clan warriors, Lakshman was escorted into the capital while being surrounded by them as their guards. Venezuela was beside him as they walked being that she is the queen of the kingdom, but Amaranda stuck to the back of the group while talking to Dominic, who was very surprised to discover who she was.
Lakshman remained in his transformed state as he walked through the streets of the capital before heading to the castle. On their way, both he and his wife looked around at the people slowly walking along the streets with an air of unhappiness and despair, which was mingled with that of fear. Not seeing the light or hope in their eyes, it made the two of them narrow their eyes in realisation of how bad the situation was.
After walking for some time, several of the pedestrians parted and looked on with looks of amazement when their eyes lit upon of Lakshman. In an instant, they began shouting out “Phoenix Titan” to everyone, which began to draw a lot of attention. Very soon, word quickly passed through the capital and people quickly hurried over to take a look for themselves at their returned king.
Lakshman was a bit surprised that the gloomy faces from before were suddenly gone and was replaced by bright faces filled with light and hope. They watched with him pass them along the street in awe and he realised why Felix decided for him to take a walk through the streets instead of directly reaching the capital through the Phoenix Portal, which apparently works inside the barrier.
He smiled and waved at them, causing the many crowd to breathe deeply and begin shouting out his name, his title and anything related.
“The Phoenix Titan!”
“Yes…! We’ll all going to be saved…!”
Inwardly, he chuckled, but he kept smiling and waving back at them with one hand while, beside him, Venezuela did the same. Felix was walking behind them and he wore a look of happiness at how much energy the presence of the king and queen of Floria Kingdom was creating within the people. Like this, they proceeded forward and through the crowd before reaching the castle while being shouted on by the people of the kingdom.
“Ah… That was tiring…” Lakshman muttered while sighing deeply as he lay in his chair within the king’s chambers. “I guess I lost my habit of appearing in public in such a dramatic fashion.”
“You certainly did,” agreed Felix with a smile on his face.
While on their way to the castle, Felix had telepathically ordered the Phintex Rajas to quickly gather the other ministers for an announcement. Within twenty-five minutes, all were gathered just as Lakshman and Venezuela reached the castle. After climbing a few stairs, they arrived at the terrace of the castle overlooking the capital while everyone looking up at them with great smiles on their faces.
At seeing so many faces for the first time in what felt like a long time, Lakshman actually felt nervous. Luckily for him, Venezuela pinched him and brought his nervousness to a quick end before he spoke loudly in a powerful voice to his people.
He sincerely apologised for the delay that caused him to come to their side, which was met with protests from the masses. After ensuring that he will not leave them again, he moved onto pressing matters and addressed the issues that they and the rest of the world were facing under the tyrannical rulership of the Calamity Titan. The people were looking sad when he clearly gave them hope by saying that he will destroy the one that brought despair to everyone in his absence.
“I am a phoenix who rises from the ashes in the name of freedom and justice! I am the Phoenix Titan!” Lakshman ended the speech in a powerful note. “In my name, will and power, I will save the world!”
He wondered if he had lost touch with the way a king was supposed to speak, but there was no need to worry. The people loved the speech and began shouting out his name and then the name of their queen with great love and respect. One the speech was done, Lakshman left Venezuela to handle the public while he left with Felix and Dominic. It appeared that Amaranda had slipped away from them and was roaming around the streets while observing how the human lived.
“I’m glad they still have respect for me even though I abandoned them for ten whole years…” he muttered finally while wearing a sad smile on his face.
“No, Lakshman! You didn’t!” Dominic said quickly with a look of shock on his face. “You had your circumstances that delayed your return, but you’re still the king of this kingdom and the leader of the Nine Pillars of Power!”
“Lucky, you shouldn’t think like that,” said Felix in a soft voice with a small smile on his face. “Many things happened, but you’re still the rightful ruler within the hearts of the people. Many of the slaves— I mean, the people you rescued from slavery were devastated when they heard you were dead. Now, they are all happy and pleased at your return.”
“Yeah. I’m sure they are,” said Lakshman as he nodded in understanding. “I am a symbol of light and hope for them all, giving them the motivation to continue living even if despair may continue to cling to them.” He nodded once more before smiling up at them and saying, “Anyway, I thank the both of you for encouraging me right now.”
“Don’t mention it. We are friends after all,” said Dominic and he winked genially at him.
“It’s my duty to keep your majesty motivated,” said Felix with a warm smile on his face.
Lakshman chuckled before he asked, “By the way, where are my parents and sisters? I thought they would be here right now and I would’ve been so happy to see them again, including my two twin sisters!”
“O-Oh…” Felix said and hesitated while looking really nervous, which was also mirrored on Dominic’s face.
“What? You didn’t think of calling my parents and letting them know that their long lost son is alive after ten-whole-years of disappearance?” Lakshman asked him with a scowling look on his face.
“Damn…” Felix thought as he was stared at by Lakshman’s scowling face “I need to make sure I don’t say stuff that may sound like a lie that might get picked up by his Elemental Sense. For once, I’m actually annoyed that he’s able to pick up on truth and lies with that thing…!”
After a moment of hesitation, he said, “I… I did think of it after the Phintex Raja messenger returned a while ago, however, I decided not because both Indra and Lakshmi are busily working daily to pay for the tuition fees for your sisters’ education.”
Lakshman blinked at him in surprise and asked, “Huh? Tuition fees? Why? Isn’t Mariana around to teach them like she taught me?”
“Yes, but it seems that Lakshmi convinced Indra to send them to get proper education instead of studying alone at home. I mean, they learnt their mistake after seeing the lack of friends you had from childhood and the lonely way you grew up,” said Felix with a small smile on his face that surprised Lakshman. “That’s why, they decided to send their daughters to the education facility in their town, where they seemed to have made lots of friends and are having a wonderful time together.”
“Ah…” Lakshman said and he nodded in understanding. “Okay, I understand. It’s better that my sisters don’t walk in the same path as me, which is rather strange for anyone actually now that I think serious about it. Oh well… I guess, I’ll just have to make time to go meet them personally.”
Felix looked immediately panicked at his words, but was saved the trouble of having to stop him because the door opened in interruption. Through the open doors, three people entered while one of them was carrying what appeared to be a very small boy. In the lead was Darian Ronald, the Sword King followed by the Monkey King, Hanuman Monkaggy or also known as Rumble with bringing up the rear was Shalany, who was his friend and princess of the Rodfox Kingdom.
Lakshman rose to his feet with a very happy smile on his face as he greeted them by saying, “Ah…! Darian, Rumble and Shalany! It’s good to see you three again!”
“Yes, it sure is after what…? Ten years?” Darian commented with a smile on his face before shaking hands firmly with Lakshman.
“Who cares if it’s five or ten? He’s here and alive, which matters the most!” Rumble said energetically before firmly shaking hands with Lakshman.
Lakshman chuckled at Rumble words before turning to face Shalay, who was carrying the kid over her shoulder.
“Welcome back, Lakshman. Both the kingdom, your mentors and your friends have missed your greatly!” Shalany said as she greeted him with a smile on her face.
“I’m they have and sorry for worrying everyone,” said Lakshman with a smile on his face. Then, he pointed at the kid and asked, “By the way, is that…?”
Shalany beamed at him and Lakshman took that response to mean what it exactly meant. He quickly turned to look at Dominic, who nodded in agreement without saying anything, but was smiling anyway.
“Amazing!” Lakshman said in an excited voice. “Congratulations! The two of you married and already have a child?! That’s super amazing!”
“Not really…” Dominic said with a sheepish grin on his face.
“Stop that!” Shalany said as she looked at him with her eyebrows raised. “It’s thanks to him that we even got together!”
As Dominic chuckled with an embarrassed look on his face as Lakshman stared at their child with a keen interest. The kid was cute as he sat on his mother’s arms while looking around with a slightly confused expression on his face, which was rather cute to look at.
Lakshman asked them, “How old is your son?”
“He’s six now, but will be turning seven in the next month,” informed Shalany with a smile on her face as she gently caressed the head of her son.
“I see. That’s wonderful,” said Lakshman with a cheerful smile on his face. “Well, I’m glad for you, Shalany and Dominic. You have such a cute kid!”
“Yes and that’s why, I thank you very much, Lucky. I thank you very much! Really…! If it weren’t for you, I don’t know what might’ve happened to me at the hands of that Slavemancer.”
He laughed heartily and said, “Ah… Stop that, Shalany. We’re friends and you shouldn’t have to thank me so many times. Rather, I’m just glad that I didn’t die for nothing while rescuing you!”
“Oh, really…?” Felix asked him with a raised eyebrow with a sceptic look on his face. “I’m going to have to question your wives and heard what they’ve got to say about that.”
Lakshman laughed and he turned to Darian before he asked, “By the way, what are you two doing here? Shouldn’t you be down at Rodfox Kingdom or something? You know, that training centre that you maintain?”
“Oh…” Darian looked surprised at his question. “Didn’t you know?”
When Lakshman shook his head, Rumble glared at Darian with an annoyed look on his face as he said, “Come on, Darian! How the heck is the guy going to know about what’s happened in the past ten years if we don’t tell him?”
“Okay, okay,” said Darian quickly with a stern look at Rumble.
He went to speak, but he caught the looking Felix’s face that made him falter. Felix was subtly shaking his head as if to not tell Lakshman about something.
Understand the intended message, Darian turned to Lakshman and said, “Floria Kingdom was preapring for war against the demons and that Dark Emperor and we wanted to come help them out. So I, Rumble and Marilia decided to move here instead.”
“Oh…” Lakshman said slowly as Rumble nodded in agreement.
For some reason, he sensed a hint of a lie in the sentence that Darian said to him, but he decided it was just his imagination. Besides that, his attention was quickly taken away by the word “war,” which made him look quickly at Felix with a concerned look on his face.
“Felix…! About this war…? I need an explanation and don’t you dare try to lie to me…” Lakshman said to him and glared at him fiercely, causing Felix to chuckle.
“Okay, okay. I won’t lie,” said Felix and once again, Lakshman thought he sensed a trace of a lie in his words, but he put it aside to listen to the explanation Felix gave him.
“I see… So, we suffered great losses in the end…” Lakshman said with a look of sadness covering his face. “What about those with families? What compensation have they received?”
“As part of the duty in fighting for the cause of justice, we endorsed each family of the deceased soldier 5000 gold,” said Felix and Lakshman nodded approvingly at him.
“Good. That should suffice for one whole year and in the meantime, they should’ve started working on their own or something…” Lakshman said and he looked very sad.
“Yes. The warriors fought bravely to the bitter end, all because of learning that you were killed by the Calamity Titan,” said Felix in a sad voice. “I ordered them to retreat, but they just ignored my orders and kept fighting onwards, including the people from the Phoenix Clan.”
“Such loyalties… I’m not worthy of them…” Lakshman said in a low voice that surprised them all. “I wasn’t there… If I had been there, I would’ve told them to retreat and they would’ve listened… Dammit…!”
“Stop! Don’t hurt yourself like that, Lucky!” Felix said quickly and the rest of them agreed with nods of their heads. “It couldn’t be helped since you did end up being frozen in a time stopper barrier.”
Felix and the rest knew of this because while being informed about the war, Rumble had asked him about what happened for him to reappear ten years later. It was then that Lakshman informed them about how he narrowly escaped from the devastating ball of destruction that the Calamity Titan threw at him and how the Divine Protection of Tine activated, sealing him and his wives in the barrier and putting them to deep sleep for ten years. He also told them how he gave an altered version to his wives to save face, which made them laugh.
“At least, you came back out in a flash and saved all those people,” said Darian while surrounding impressed.
“Indeed! I would be so confused; I’d just want to go back to sleep!” Rumble confessed with a broad grin on his face while his tail wagged behind him.
“Rumble! That doesn’t help anyone!” Darian scolded him, causing them all to laugh.
Felix turned back to Lakshman and said, “Anyway, I believe we should contact the other kings and let them know of your return before we start planning our next attack.”
Lakshman nodded and said, “Yes, but before that, realise that we cannot fight this war alone. He’s not just our enemy, but he’s also the enemy of other races. We should try asking them for help.”
“What if they don’t?” Dominic asked him through narrowed eyes.
“If they don’t accept working together with humans…” Lakshman said slowly and he made a serious expression as he looked at them all. “I’ll just tell them one thing; that, it’ll be their fault for not acting when they could before they face his wrath as he destroys all of them without a shred of care or mercy!”
“So… Survival is more important than racial differences?” Dominic asked, causing Lakshman to eye him levelly.
“I only have one thing to say to that; we are all creatures that live in the same world, on the same land and have the common enemy. It matters not whether I’m human, Rumble is a beast and… um… Ondine is a Water Spirit. It doesn’t matter who we are because when we’re fighting an enemy, a common enemy, we do what we can to survive! Ensuring the survival of our races is more important than past grudges held between us!”
“Well said!” Darian exclaimed proudly as he clapped his hands together. “If only people are able to think like you, the world would be such a better place for the future generation to live in.”
“A wishful thinking, but no less a one that should be granted,” said Felix and they all silently agreed.
They remained seated there for a moment in silence before Lakshman began stretching his body while groaning slightly. He rose to his feet and yawned hugely before looking around at them all with a smile on his face.
“There’s so much that I need to catch up on, I feel dizzy just thinking about it… So, I’ll just go for a walk and get the feeling back into me of my surroundings and situation,” he said to them and Felix nodded back at him in agreement.
“Okay. You do that and in the meantime, we’ll start getting things arranged between the other kingdoms,” said Felix as they all rose to their feet with Lakshman nodding in agreement with him.
“Okay then. I’ll see you all later,” said Lakshman and he flashed a smile at them before leaving the room, allowing the guards outside to close the doors shut.
Felix ensured that he was nowhere in ear shot before sighing heavily as he said, “He’s gone…”
His words allowed everyone to breathe a sigh of relief that lifted the slight tension that their bodies have been experiencing. The little boy of Shalany and Dominic looked at them with a puzzled look on his face that gave off an extremely cute impression on people watching him.
“I’m glad his wisdom has improved during his absence and he seems to have changed somewhat,” Rumble said as he looked towards the door that Lakshman left through. “It’s almost like the boy from ten-years-ago somehow became a powerful adult.”
“He may be an adult now, but his heart is still righteous and pure hearted as ever,” said Dominic with a small smile on his face.
“I’m glad he didn’t think of anything serious just yet…” Darian said with a heavy sigh. “I guess we can only be thankful of him not being used to returning yet.”
Felix nodded in agreement, but Dominic turned to look at Felix with a severe expression on his face. Feeling him being stared at, Felix turned to look at Dominic with a surprised expression on his face.
“Felix… Why did you lie to him…?” he asked him in a severe voice. “Why… did you force Darian to lie to him…? Sure, he didn’t pick up on it because the two of you cleverly spoke in a way that fooled his Elemental Sense, but still… why did you lie about his parents…?”
Felix glared at him fiercely before he said, “How do you think I can tell him his parents are dead…? How do you think I can explain what happened to Rodfox Kingdom…? He might be a powerful warrior, but he’s very pure hearted and it will not handle learning of the truth… Do you have any idea what might happen if he learns of it…? How devastated he would be?! How horrified he will become?! I’m actually glad for once that he isn’t that connected to the spirits, otherwise he would’ve learnt the death of his parents and who knows what might’ve happened…!”
A depressed atmosphere filled the room at his words as they all thought about the what happened ten-years-ago.
“B-But, Felix… Lying about it is bad…” Dominic said with a sad expression on his face.
Felix shook his head and said, “No. It’s better to enjoy the lie than face the harsh reality of the truth.”
For a few seconds, they remained in silent after his words sunk deep into them. They knew of how devastated Lakshman would be upon learning the that his parents were gone from this world. The horror it would leave him in to face the harsh reality of what he missed in these ten years.
Finally, it was Shalany who broke the silence as she said, “Well… There is one thing you are forgetting, Felix.” He turned to her curiously as she continued by saying, “His twin sisters are here in the castle… He will eventually run into them and they will tell him of what happened to his parents and the Rodfox Kingdom.”
“U-Ugh…!” Felix groaned with his eyes widening with shock at the realisation of his mistake.
Thank you everyone for reading the chapter. Ah… Tears are starting to form in my eyes, but I feel so sorry for him… I really do! Uh… Anyway, Felx is right in fearing of what might happen if Lakshman leans of their deaths. Find out in the next chapter as the story continues!
On a side note, how’s my signature everyone? I made it specially since I made it past the 300th chapter dot line. I even changed the wall paper of my blog to match the background shown in the banner and even attached the banner right at the top of the blog. It’s quite amazing and I’m very happy with it. Of course. I have something similar planned for The Rising Guardians sequel, but that’s for later.