That evening, when Amaranda, Lagron, Ash and Sevedant left, Lakshman visited the kingdom and went entered the castle to meet their inventor, Wolfenstine. On his way, he ended up running into several of the maids, including the head maid, who were surprised to see him.
The head maid, along with everyone else, bowed deeply and asked, “Your majesty? What are you doing here? I believe her highness stated that you were badly injured in a recent battle? Are you feeling well to be roaming away from home?”
“I’m feeling much better and I decided to pay a visit to the castle,” replied Lakshman with a smile.
“Is that so? I am glad,” said the head maid with a smile while the other maids watched behind with surprised looks on their faces.
“I am also glad to see you again, but I am surprised to see you still working here. I was under the impression that you would’ve retired already considering it’s already been ten years since I last saw you in service.”
The head maid smiled softly at him and replied, “That is true, but I’ve been in service since the previous king was elected and I feel duty bound to retire just yet.”
Lakshman smiled pleasantly and asked, “Okay That’s good. Anyway, have you seen Wolfenstine around? I have some business with him and I don’t know whether he’s at his workstation or not.”
“Wolfenstine?” the head maid repeated, looking suddenly puzzled, “I’ve seen him speaking with her highness a while back before taking his leave. I’m not sure where he went after that. She looked around at the other maids and asked, “Have you seen him around?”
One of the maids, who was staring at him with interest, quickly raised her hand and said, “I know! He went down to his workstation! I saw him while I was cleaning near the stairs.”
“Good. Thanks,” said Lakshman with a smile at the maid before heading towards the workplace.
“Your majesty,” called the head maid and he stopped to look back at her. “Is there a chance of you returning to live in the castle? The rooms and hallways feel lonesome with only a few walking around.”
“Oh,” said Lakshman with a smile. He nodded his head in understanding and said, “Don’t worry. The Nine Pillars of Power will be coming to stay here for the next two years for our training.”
“Eh?!” The head maid asked, blinking in surprise while the other maids looked shocked. “Do you mean the Nine Pillars of Power would be coming to stay at the castle?”
“That’s right, so please prepare the beds and stuff ready when we come tomorrow,” said Lakshman and he grinned at her before turning around and leaving while they stared after him in a state of shock.
As they watched him take a turn and leave, the head maid turned around to address the younger maids.
“Um… You heard his majesty. The strongest warriors of our world will be arriving tomorrow and staying in the castle. I expect everyone to work extremely hard and show them the pride of the maids working in the Floria Kingdom castle!”
“Y-Yes!” The maids replied hesitantly with a delay.
The head maid nodded at them and turned around before briskly walking away with the maids walking quickly after her with surprised looks on their faces. They seemed to be extremely worried about the fact that their guests are going to be the Nine Pillars of Power and their king was among them. Even so, they felt some confidence in following the lead of the head maid leading them at the front.
It took Lakshman a few minutes of strolling within the castle walls before he reached a pair of stairs leading towards the ground. He remembered ten-years-ago of Lakshman having Wolfenstine’s workstation be moved to an underground facility to protect the inventive hybrid and safeguard his work.
So, now, Lakshman smiled as he took the stairs down to the underground workstation and walked until he faced a door.
He knocked three times with the back of his hand and called, “Wolfenstine? Are you in?”
There were a few seconds of silence before he heard a loud bang like sound coming from inside, followed by a rush of footsteps before the door was opened. Light was streaming through from behind Lakshman and from inside the room as it framed the hybrid man that he had met so long ago.
A man stood in the doorway and he was taller than Lakshman by some centimeters with spiky white hair. He wore a round rimmed spectacle perched on his nose with a genuine look of surprise on his face upon discovering the man outside his office. A long white beard and moustache grew and it was so long that his entire face appeared to be half hair.
“Boy! It’s good to see you!” Wolfenstine said cheerfully with a wide grin on his face.
He held his hand out and they shook firmly each other’s before releasing and Wolfenstine allowing Lakshman to enter. The Phoenix Titan walked past him and discovered that the place was as disorganised as ever with tools, resources and strange looking objects lying about. The place was large and quite roomy to move around so it did not feel cramped in any way.
Wolfenstine closed the door behind and quickly walked forward to bring up a seat before saying, “Take a seat.”
“Thanks,” replied Lakshman, grateful for the offer and taking his seat with Wolfenstine sitting down on a chair opposite him with his desk at his back.
“Golly boy! It’s been like ten-years since I last saw you and you’re still the same!” Wolfenstine said with a bright smile on his bearded face.
“Yes and I see you’ve grown a beard and moustache,” replied Lakshman, smiling in return.
Wolfenstine chuckled and habitually rubbed his hands through his beard before he said, “That’s true. Years went by and I didn’t feel like trimming my face hair and so I just let it grow in its own accord.”
“Quite interesting,” said Lakshman, smiling at each other before he asked, “How’s life been?”
The hybrid inventor shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’m quite good. Just been working on tweaking the Kingdom Barrier Generator to fix the small malfunctions it had been experiencing for a while. I also was working on improving the Point-to-Point Teleportation Zone that’s still in the testing stage. So far, just trying to improve the range of the teleportation points, but it only goes as far as just 1 kilometer.”
“1 kilometer? That’s actually great,” said Lakshman, looking amazed. “That’s great!”
“True, but I need it to go further and I still have to connect it to other Point-to-Point Teleportation Zones and I’m nowhere close! It’s making me feel very frustrated by the slow progress since I have no help and the people that try to help follow what I tell them to do!” Wolfenstine said, heatedly.
Lakshman merely smiled as he said, “I’ll help out. Actually, we both need to help each other out.”
“Mmm?” Wolfenstine replied and he quietly listened to Lakshman’s explanation about the war in two years’ time. Once he finished, the hybrid inventor looked surprised and he said, “Dear me… A war to with the Calamity Titan? That sounds really bad.”
“Yes and that’s why I gathered the Nine Pillars of Power and came to you so we can support each other,” said Lakshman, nodding in agreement and Wolfenstine smiled in understanding. “First off, how’s the progress with the Titanium Armour that I and Felix requested off you before my disappearance?”
Wolfenstine gave him a wry smile and said, “Not good. I made them, combing the knock off versions of the Dragon Armour and the original versions of Phoenix Armour, but they still aren’t… durable. Like, um, wait just a sec.”
He rose to his feet and walked away towards the side of the room to get something and when he returned, he was clutching a large round disk. It was a shield with the phoenix emblem embedded on it with fiery designs drawn around, giving it quite an exquisite look. Upon reaching him, he handed the armour over to Lakshman and the Phoenix Titan instantly felt something was off about the shield.
“I forged that first before making the armours afters it,” said Wolfenstine as he sat down on his chair.
Lakshman felt the shield a bit and said, “I see what you mean. This thing isn’t durable at all. In fact, I’m pretty confident I can cut this thing with my energy blade, even without my Sacred Spirits.”
Wolfenstine laughed and said, “So yeah. I suppose that answers your question whether it’s applicable for practical use.”
Lakshman smiled and said, “I see this needs to be worked out. That’s fine. I just need to add it to the list of things to do before be we begin our training. Speaking of training, we’d like you to see if you could develop some sort of mask for a woman to wear to supress the wearer’s facial abilities. Like, supress the ability to petrify someone just by looking into their eyes.”
His description of the invention he wanted to do made Wolfenstine raise an eyebrow before he asked, “Does the need of this invention have to do with an ability that one of your allies possess?”
“Yes. It’s the Demon Titan and she’s part of the Serpentia Demon Clan.”
“Oh. The clan that petrifies the opposite gender for looking them in the eye,” said Wolfenstine, chucking at the comedy part of it. “I suppose the Demon Titan is a woman and most of the Nine Pillars of Power are male and are struggling to look her in the eye.”
“No. I’m making her avoid making eye contact with us until I get her a suitable suppression mask to minimise her ability,” replied Lakshman with a smile. “That’s why I came here to see you about making inventions to help us prepare for the war.”
Wolfenstine nodded his head in understanding before he said, “I see. It makes sense and yeah. I’ll help out because I’m certain Felix would’ve asked for me to lend you a hand. Besides, it’s also thanks to you so long ago that I was even able to set this kind of place right beneath the castle.”
Lakshman smiled softly and nodded while saying, “Yes. I know. That’s why, I’ll make up for Felix’s loss by doing my best to prepare us for the war and avenge the people killed by the Calamity Titan!”
“Mmm. Good spirit, boy,” said Wolfenstine with a risen level of respect for the man sitting opposite him before making a wide grin on his face. He leaned forward and curiously asked, “Do I also get a chance to get trained? After all, I’m both an inventor and the head of a clan of Vampires and Werewolves! If I get the chance, I’d like to get them trained with you guys as well.”
Lakshman chuckled and smiled coolly at Wolfenstine as he said, “Don’t worry. This isn’t just training for the Nine Pillars of Power. It’s for everyone and I mean, every single person willing to join us in the war effort. Of course, the nine of us will be training elsewhere but I will also arrange for your training because your support is also very important.”
“I’m glad you think so,” replied Wolfenstine with a satisfied smile on his face before he asked, “So? What’s the plan?”
Lakshman remained seated and smiled calmly at his friend before beginning to explain what he had in mind.
The next morning, the Nine Pillars of Power entered the castle and were quickly directed towards their quarters for them to occupy for the duration of their stay. Ash and Nara were staring around at the amazing glorious look of the castle as was their first time lying eyes on one in their lives. Lagron, on the other hand, gave one glance at the castle before shrugging his shoulders indifferently. The ones that greeted them and escorted them were maids, who were quite nervous about being so close to them.
Lakshman and Venezuela made sure that only maids would be present to assist the Nine Pillars of Power for two reasons; one to ensure that everyone get along and second was mainly for Ash’s sake because of her eyes. Ash was, nonetheless, glad they were surrounded by women maids, relieving her the stress of always being surrounded by mostly men.
Each of the maids had experienced a variety of experiences for dealing with the individuals of the Nine Pillars of Power. Sevedant was one who proved to be the scariest of them all. Easily scaring the living daylights out of the maids by revealing his skeleton hand and causing some to faint. The fainted ones were immediately put taken to recovery while they were replaced immediately.
“Sevedant! Don’t scare them!” Dominic, who was standing beside him, whispered sharply.
“I was testing,” said Sevedant, sounding satisfied and even having a slight hint of humour in his voice.
Meanwhile, Ash drew closer to Amaranda and asked, “Are you okay staying here? What about your familiar?”
“Telker will be fine without me. He stays near the Phoenix Titan territory, so nothing should trouble him,” replied Amaranda telepathically, forming a smile on her face.
Across the side, Lagron was saying loudly to Lakshman, “Did you get the clothes that I asked for?”
“Yes. You’ll find them ready in your room,” replied Lakshman with an exasperated look on his face.
“Good!” Lagron replied firmly with a smug look on his face. “Still, why must we train at this kind of place? It doesn’t make sense.”
“It’s so that we can get you food, drinks and medical aide if you’re severely injured during training,” said Lakshman with a sigh and Lagron nodded his head in understanding with a slightly impressed look on his face.
Each of the nine had their own rooms that the maids, along with the constructors, quickly managed to make during the night. Lakshman knew they pulled an all-nighter to work it out and he secretly rewarded them with money, which they were a little reluctant to take but appreciated it eventually after a push from Venezuela.
Once each of them went into their rooms, several of the maids stayed behind to help them out while others left on the request of the occupant. Sevedant, Nara and Lagron asked the maids attending them to leave and they left quickly because the women were scared the entire time they were with them. They confessed their fears to the head maid and she began scolding them, but Lakshman stopped her.
“Let them get used to them. None of them are actually bad, but they lack communication, so just try to do things in their comfort zone and it’ll keep you in your comfort zone. Okay?” he asked and the head maid had to nod in agreement because of how convincing his words were.
While everyone got settled into their rooms, he felt a fluff on his head and heard a familiar sound.
“Oooh ooh ooh ooooh oh oooh ooh ooh oooh ooh oh oh ooh?”
He quickly grabbed whatever it was that made that sound and brought it down to see that it was a familiar looking monkey.
“Mumble? What’re you doing here?” Lakshman asked with a surprised look on his face.
“He’s not the only one here,” said a familiar voice from behind and he turned around to discover Darian Ronald and his wife, Marilia, walking towards them.
“Darian? Marilia too? What’re you doing here?” he asked, puzzled by their presence. “Why’re you here?”
“Darian and Hanumaya said they’ll participate in your training for the war,” said Marilia with a sigh and surprised Lakshman.
“Why?! You’re injured! Take a break!” Lakshman said firmly to Darian.
The aging Sword King smiled and asked, “I recently received news that you lost an arm during your battle with the Dragon Titan and went through an extremely painful session of regrowing it back. So… Why are you here instead of resting?”
“How can I rest when there’s work to be done?” Lakshman asked in return and widened his eyes suddenly in realisation.
Darian nodded slowly in agreement and said, “That’s right. My reasons exactly.” When Lakshman became concerned, Darian made a serious face and said, “Look, Lucky. I’ve fought in the Human Demon War 300 years ago alongside Rumble and the Phoenix Emperor of that time! It was because of our efforts that peace was achieved so don’t think my skills have waned! WE just need more training and we’ll be back to our top form!”
Lakshman blinked at him in silence for a moment before turning to ask Marilia, “Are you okay with this?”
Marilia shrugged her shoulders and said, “Not really. I’m not happy knowing that my husband will be participating in a battle that might get him killed… but… at the same time, I don’t want him to conflict himself with regret for not participating in the war.”
Her words made Darian smile and so did Lakshman as he replied, “I see. Well, an understanding wife is a great wife indeed. You’re lucky, Darian.”
Darian shook his head and pointed his finger at him before saying, “No. The one who’s truly lucky is you. To have gone through so much in such a short amount of time and be blessed with such wonderful wives and trustworthy allies, one could only be born lucky.”
Lakshman chuckled at his words and replied, “Is that so? Okay. I just hope my luck holds.”
Darian smiled as a Phinte Raja warped out of thin air and knelt down in front of Lakshman and said, “Master, the people joining our forces have arrived for training.”
“Finally…!” Lakshman said, sounding happy at the news and he smiled confidently and said, “Let’s do this!”
At that moment, in the Demon World, the Calamity Titan was breathing heavily as if he had exercised at an extreme level. He was topless with only his pants on as the blood slowly seeped out of the multiple wounds on his firmly chiselled body. He was seated on a rock while surrounded by a sea of destruction, with destruction seen everywhere.
“Ah… I’m… exhausted…” he muttered while breathing a deep sigh.
He exerted the remaining of his strength and attempted to rise to his feet but his nearly depleted energy failed him and he had to sit back down. He let out a deep breath and reigned to sit down there while using his senses to feel the presence of the people he had fought and defeated.
There were eight of them, who were known as the Eight Disasters, were originally sealed a long time ago. It took him several minutes to free them and once they were free, the eight warriors quickly turned on him and attempted to kill him. This led to an intense battle between them and a lot of destruction followed before he defeated them all and flopped down in exhaustion.
He lay there and sighed deeply while feeling the presence of the eight warriors collapsed at random places. Just then, everything turned black and he sensed the presence of someone strong and powerful around.
“Well done!” the man’s voice said, sounding impressed. “At least, you’ve proven yourself to be as strong as your brother was when he defeated these eight with the help from his ally.”
“Hmm!” the Calamity Titan said, furrowing his eyebrows. “Perhaps, but I still need to become stronger. I have had a painful experience of seeing him destroy the Demon Continent by simply exerting the full force of his power all at once! It made perfectly clear that the power I’ve fully recovered wasn’t a match for his!”
“So… You’re saying you need to become stronger…?” the man asked from behind him.
“Definitely, Climax,” replied the Calamity Titan and he turned around to look at the man he was speaking to.
There, surrounded by swirling darkness, stood a man with godly clothing with red glinting eyes as he stared down at his pawn. The God of Calamity, Climax, smiled serenely at the declaring his pawn made and decided to motivate him further by revealing another piece of information.
“Oh…? What would you do if the Dragon Titan is stronger than the Phoenix Titan?” he asked, curiously.
“Say what?!” the Calamity Titan exclaimed in surprise.
“That’s right. The Dragon Titan is stronger and what’s more, the Nine Pillars of Power have gathered!”
“So…! They gathered already?” the Calamity Titan asked with an understanding look on his face.
“Yes. It seems as though your declaration of war spurred him into gathering his warriors quickly.”
“That just means that I speed up our training and become stronger!” the Calamity Titan said firmly as he faced the front.
“Yes…! You will become stronger…! Far stronger than you have ever achieved in your life time so that you fulfil my goal…!”
With those sinister words, Climax faded into darkness and the Calamity Titan found himself in reality once more. He sighed deeply and leaned his back against the raised ground when he suddenly heard the sound of footsteps drawing near and shouts coming from a woman’s voice calling out his title.
“Calamity Titan…! Calamity Titan! Are you alright?”
It was one of the Demon Kings, Serabella, who had run over and knelt at his side with a worried look on her face.
“You think I’m alright?!” he demanded weakly in an exasperated voice as he stared at her
She looked at his body and grew increasingly concerned by the numerous injuries sported on his body. This caused her to become dangerously angry, causing her to let off a dangerous aura as she turned to face the people that did this to him. It was a clear killing intent she had and he sensed this, which was why he immediately grabbed her hand to stop her.
“Calm down,” he said and surprised her into calming down due to distraction. “I don’t want them killed after I spent such a great deal of energy and time to defeat.”
She stared at him, aghast, and said, “Master! I don’t think it’s advisable to keep such uncontrollable beasts around us, especially for what’s planned in two years’ time.”
He smiled and replied, “Not at all. They are necessary for the war because my enemies would surely have gathered the all-powerful Nine Pillars of Power and are getting prepared to battle me.”
Serabella stared at him with a serious look on his face and managed to help him to his feet with a gesture from him. He had to rely on her for some support, but he managed to get a firm footing on the destroyed ground and stared around at the unconscious bodies of the Eight Disasters lying around.
“What’s the plan, master?” she asked finally.
“The plan?” he asked, momentarily surprised by her question. A moment later, he formed a dark smile on his face and said, “Training.”
Hello everyone and thank you for reading the chapter. It took me some time to get this chapter written because I felt a little cold and some pesky mosquitoes bit me and caused a swelling that was painful. Due to that, it took me almost an entire day to write this chapter and not leave it for tomorrow being that it’s Christmas (24th 10-:40 PM for me at the time of this post). This is also the end of Arc 14 and the next one will be Arc 15 covering the Phoenix Calamity War story and when it’s over, it’ll be the most highly anticipated Arc 16! So, I hope you had a good time liking this arc just as me! Until next time, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful day! 😉