Don’t stick your nose where it doesn’t belong
“Huh?” Ondine said in surprise.
“I said I don’t know where to go,” Felix said.
“What?” Ondine said, suddenly becoming annoyed. “You don’t know?!”
“Ondine, calm down,” Lakshman said, quickly intervening. “That’s why we’re here to escort him around. Isn’t that right Felix?”
“You’re on the dot,” Felix said with a smile. “Indra told you about it anyway during breakfast.”
“He did?” Ondine asked in surprise.
“Yes, but I doubt you were paying attention, not when you were so busily eating!” Felix said with a cheeky smile on his face.
“What?!” Ondine said in shock. “Are you calling me inattentive?”
“Isn’t that what happened?”
Ondine hesitated, unsure what to say. She opened her mouth and closed it a few times in the process. Finally, she sighed and nodded, making Felix smile triumphantly.
Lakshman looked between them before turning back to Felix.
“Do you know who you’ll be meeting?” he asked Felix.
“Naturally!” Felix said indignantly. “I may have made a blunder with my knowledge of not knowing the area, but I certainly do know whom I want to meet!”
“I see,” Lakshman said, looking surprised by his words. “So then, who are you going to meet?”
“I planned on meeting with the Camdra beast tribe and the Water Spirits tribe.”
“Eh?” Ondine said, looking startled at his words. “Both Camdra and the Water Spirits tribes?”
“The Camdra tribe?” Lakshman asked curiously. “Who are they?”
“Ah geez master,” Ondine said, looking at him wearily. “Please think back on what you learnt about the races from Sumara.”
“Eh?” Lakshman said in surprise.
He dug into his memories trying to remember. After a few seconds, he finally remembered.
“Oh…” he said and he scratched the back of his head while he smiled in embarrassment. “It’s the cat beast type race.”
“So you finally remembered,” Ondine said with a sigh.
“Haha…” Lakshman laughed half-heartily.
Felix looked at him with his eye brows raised in surprise.
“Don’t you keep what you learn in mind?” he asked Lakshman curiously.
“I do, but…” Lakshman said and hesitated for a moment before saying “I just find it difficult to remember all those words and stuff.”
Felix’s eyes widened and he somehow looked amaze yet happy at the same time.
“You are so much like your father,” he said before letting out a hearty laugh.
“Like dad?” Lakshman asked with a confused expression on his face.
“Yes,” Felix said, nodding with his head as he continued to smile. “Indra disliked studying long and hard theoretical stuff which involved reading. Instead, he preferred practical applications like fighting, swordsmanship and things like that. It’s also another reason why he was so popular with girls when he was young.”
“He’s a jerk!” Ondine said sharply with a serious glare and startled Felix and Lakshman.
“Umm… Ondine?” Lakshman asked nervously.
“I mean, seriously!” she said impatiently. “I knew he is slightly an airhead, but a good man with a sense of responsibility. Now, knowing about his youth just makes me dislike him so much!”
“Ondine…” Felix said, lowering his head to face her. “We were young and inexperienced. Even he admits his fault and apologized to us didn’t he?”
“Even so, it’s unforgivable for a man to do such things and hide them from his wife,” Ondine said seriously.
“No, you are wrong there,” Felix said and he suddenly sounded serious.
“Lakshmi knew about his stupidity, but she still fell in love with him and now, look… they are married and gave birth to Lakshamn!”
“Oh…” Ondine said tentatively, looking slightly abashed. “But… he’s an insensitive man to create headache for his beloved wife!”
“Okay, now that’s not an area we should enter,” Felix said with a smile.
“Eh? Why?” Ondine asked in surprise.
“Look Ondine, that’s an area what people call Couple’s Domain.”
Ondine suddenly opened her eyes in realisation at his words and he nodded.
“So yes… we shouldn’t stick our noses where it doesn’t belong,” Felix said. “We’ll only end up getting burned.”
“What?” Lakshman asked in surprise. “You’ll actually get burned if you enter this… um… Couple’s Domain?”
“Oh yes,” Felix said, nodding heavily. “It’s never advisable to involve yourself in private matters.”
“Um… Tell me Felix,” Ondine said hesitantly.
“What is it?” Felix asked, turning to face her.
“Did you… um… did it happen to you before?”
Felix was startled. The smile on his face was slowly replaced by a frown. He suddenly looked annoyed as if he remembered something annoying.
“Unfortunately, yes,” he said with a nod and Ondine’s eyes widened in surprise.
“What happened?” Ondine asked quietly.
Felix suddenly sighed and he suddenly looked as if he was told to do something terrible.
“Uh… no need to tell me if you don’t want to,” Ondine said quickly after she noticed his reaction.
“True, I don’t want to talk about it, but…” he said and he looked at Lakshman with an understanding look in his eye. “I think it’s better for you to know rather than face the consequences in person.”
“Oh…” Lakshman said in surprise. “Was it really that horrible?”
“Indeed it was!” Felix said, nodding vigorously. “At the place I worked at, a colleague of mine got in a scuffle with his wife. They were arguing over something as simple as her wanting him to stop drinking alcohol.”
“Oh, I see,” Ondine said with a nod while Lakshman looked slightly confused.
“It was becoming embarrassing to watch them fight so openly. So I went over to stop them, but I suddenly became involved. Cursing me, shouting at me and yelling at me,” Felix said and suddenly sighed heavily before continuing. “I was so sick of it I knocked them out and handed the matter over to the Internal Affairs Department.”
“Internal Affairs Department?” Lakshman asked with a puzzled expression on his face.
“It’s a department that handles matters ranging from argument to fights within families,” Felix explained to Lakshman.
“So, did they resolve the matter?” Ondine asked eagerly.
“Yes… They divorced and are now living separately.”
“Oh… that’s sad,” Lakshman said, looking upset at his words.
“Good riddens!” Ondine said, surprising both of them. “What?” she asked looking at their startled expressions. “I just think the woman deserves a better man than your pig headed colleague.”
“Right…” Felix said uncertainly. “Well anyway… So, there you have it Lakshman. Rather than getting involved in such annoying matters, it’s best to stay out of it all together!”
“I see,” Lakshman said and he nodded in understanding Felix’s advice. “I’ll be careful!”
“Wait, I’m still puzzled over one thing,” Ondine said with a quizzical look.
“And that would be?” Felix asked, turning to face her.
“Why were you, the Phoenix Emperor, involved in such a stupid matter?” she asked and his eyes widened slightly. “Couldn’t you have let some other people handle it instead?”
“Well… I possibly could have done that,” Felix admitted hesitantly. “But, I wasn’t thinking in those lines at that time.”
“Why?” Ondine asked him bluntly.
“For one thing, the people,” Felix said and Ondine looked surprised.
“The people?” she asked with a puzzled express. “What about them?”
“Well, people were simply standing around like a gallery and watching the couple fight as if it was some sort of live action drama!” Felix said and he looked annoyed.
“Oh!” Ondine said with wide eyes.
“I didn’t want to become part of the gallery, so I walked in, intending to stop them.”
“Humans… Quite the stupid race,” Ondine said with furrowed eyebrows.
“Yes,” Felix said, nodding at her. “Humans sure are stupid. They were afraid to get involved, so they didn’t get involved. Good judgement on their part, but instead of contacting the Internal Affairs Department, they decided to stay and watch. Even passer-by’s stopped to take a peek at it.”
Both Felix and Ondine turned their heads and saw Lakshman looking uncomfortable. Their eyes widened in shock. They suddenly realised they were badmouthing in front of a kid who barely understood any of it.
“Sorry Lakshman,” Felix said apologetically. “We weren’t grouping you or your family with them.”
“Yes master,” Ondine quickly said anxiously. “We were just unhappy at what some humans do, that’s all. I don’t mean any disrespect towards you or the human race in as a whole.”
“O-Okay,” Lakshman said hesitantly before nodding at them.
There was a silence between them which felt heavy. It stretched on for a few seconds. Then, Felix sighed before smiling at them.
“So then, escort, mind showing me the way to the Camdra and the Water Spirits tribes?”
“Well… I’m unfamiliar with both of them, but…” Lakshman said and he turned to Ondine.
“No need to worry, just leave it to me master!” Ondine said, smiling proudly.
She turned around and pointed in the direction of the forest in the far distance.
“From what I knew, the Camdra tribesmen dwell in the forest. My Water Spirit tribe lives in there as well,” she told Felix.
“Wow!” Felix said smiling happily. “Both tribes so close in the vicinity. That’s like killing two birds with one stone!”
“Maybe, but we don’t really interact,” Ondine said, sounding slightly discontent.
“No need to worry! I wanted to visit them individually anyway,” he said and he winked at her with a grin.
“Alright then, to the forest it is!” Lakshman said excitedly.
Thus, they set off once more, their destination: the forest.