Fight to protect without dying
It was dark, dank, and had a mysterious feeling. There was a smooth flow of something strange, but it did not feel unnatural. It felt strange because it was unknown.
Lakshman felt like he was floating. Everything around him felt like nothing. Only the feeling of strangeness and a sense of emptiness surrounded him.
He was conscious, but everything appeared dark. He tried opening his eyes, but they would not open. He attempted to move his body, but it was futile.
“Do not move.”
Suddenly, through the emptiness, he heard a voice. It was the voice of a woman. He immediately felt the strength and wisdom from hearing her voice. He tried turning his head, but to no avail.
Then the voice came again as it said “Why are you here?”
“What?” he said, confused by her question.
“I repeat: why are you here?”
“Um…” he said hesitantly. “I don’t know, but… I can’t move my body. So, could you please help me?”
“I see,” the voice said as if she understood something that he did not. “You are not ready.”
“If you are unable to move freely by your will, then you are not ready.”
Lakshman was speechless. He was so confused by her words. However, some of her words hit a nerve and it made him become annoyed.
“What do you mean I’m not ready? What am I not ready for?!”
There was no reply. He simply felt himself floating in nothingness. Then, her voice returned which turned out to be a question.
“Do you seek power?”
“I repeat: Do you seek power?”
“Power?” he said, surprised by her question. “I don’t know… I believe I am plenty powerful as I am right now.”
He was honest as he said that. It was not a boasting, but an analytical conclusion judging from what others told him. He was also confident in his power from numerous battles and victories.
“No,” the voice said flatly. “No, you are not.”
“What?!” he exclaimed, shocked by her words. “What do you mean I am not powerful?! I was able to defeat so many monsters and things at my age! Everyone said so and I also felt it!”
There was a few seconds pause before the voice said “Remember… remember back to the pain of death. Remember back to when you were defeated.”
“What are you…?” he slowly said when, suddenly, he remembered.
It was in the forest when he was attacked by a Serprad Demon clan warrior. He was unable to put up a fight and was left to die. Then, his utter defeat when he was smashed by the monster’s tail.
Both times he could not do anything. Both times he found himself helpless and at the mercy of others. Then he remembered the promise he made to his mother. He suddenly gritted his teeth in frustration.
“I… am powerless…” he muttered with a sense of defeat. “But, even so, I must fight on!”
“What is your motivation?” the voice asked. “What is your reason for fighting?”
“I…” he began and hesitated for a moment before saying “I… uh… fight to protect my parents, friends and everyone who… uh… are nice to me.”
There was a pause in which it seemed the woman seemed to be thinking about his statement. Then the voice returned and it sounded scornful.
“What a simplistic reason to fight for.”
“Huh?!” he said, sounding annoyed at her reply. “What do you mean it’s a… whatever reason?!”
“It is as said, but it is only to be expected of a twelve year old.”
“Well…! Sorry for being young!” he said, frustrated by her manner of provocative speech.
There was yet another short pause. Lakshman was fuming by her words. He did not understand why she was being mean to him. Then, her next words suddenly cleared it completely out of his mind.
“Very well, I shall lend you my strength.”
“Huh?” he said, unsure about what he just heard. “D-Did you just say you will help me?”
“That is correct,” the voice said clearly. “To be precise, I will lend you my strength.”
“O-Okay, but… why do you want to help me?” he asked uncertainty.
There was a short pause before the voice said “I feel it pities to watch and let a weak warrior with noble thoughts die before unleashing his hidden potential.”
“What?!” he said heatedly. “Are you making fun of me?!”
Yet again, there was no reply. This time, however, the silence made him become annoyed. Frustrated, he shouted “Stop being silent!”
Then the voice said “Why do you loathe the silence?”
“It’s not the silence that annoys me… it’s you! Why do you make it sound like I am pitiable?!”
“Is it not true?”
“There is no truth to your words! I am a warrior and I will fight to protect whom I care about!”
“Even if that means there will be no one to protect them after your death?”
Lakshman was speechless. He did not know how to answer to her question. However, it suddenly made him realise the bigger picture of his actions. He indeed might die fighting to protect and would succeed. Then what? Who will protect his allies once he is gone?
Realising this, he was unable to make a decision and began to doubt himself. Sensing his doubt, the voice of the woman said and her words were strong and firm.
“A warrior must fight to survive to continue to protect whom he or she cares for, not die in the moment of glory and leave them unprotected.”
He was surprised. He did not fully grasp everything she said, but he understood it simply. She was telling him to not die stupidly thinking of the present. Keep in mind of the future as you fight to protect whom he cares about.
Hesitating slightly, he asked “I-Is that true?”
“Yes,” said the voice simply.
“H-How do you know?”
“My master said it to me many times. He always stated that ‘fools who believe they should die to protect the present should not be called warriors, but failures!’.”
“Eh?!” he said, astonished what she said. “Y-Your master sounds very harsh.”
“He has been through harshest times and environmentsHe said ,” the voice simply said.
“Right…” he said, unsure what else to say. Then he thought of something and asked “Who was your master?”
“The Phoenix Titan.”
“What?!” he said, sounding shocked at knowing who her master was. “B-But, he lived like… eight-thousand years ago though!”
“And…? Is there a problem?”
“N-No, not a problem… just realised… you are ancient.”
There was a pause before the voice said “Call me what you will. I am who I am.”
“O-Okay,” he said and made to shrug his shoulders before realising his could not move his body. Giving up on his body, he asked “So… will you really help me?”
“I did state that I shall lend you my strength.”
“You did, but can I trust you? I was told to never trust anyone who does things freely for me without proper cause.”
“I did state I am doing this freely. Rather, I will lend you my strength since you are pitifully weak.”
He suddenly became frustrated, but he controlled himself. Calming down, he said “So, who are you?”
“I am the blade who cuts down the enemies of my master. I am the blade who brings fire and destruction to the bringers of evil. I am the Phoenix Blade.”
“Okay…” he said, unsure whether to believe her words about destruction and so on. Then he realised he did not know her name. So, he asked “What’s your name?”
“M-My name?” the voice said, sounding hesitant for the first time.
“Yeah, I don’t know your name and that Phoenix Blade sounds more like a title. So I want to know your name to call you by.”
“Ah, yes. My name… my name is…”
Lakshman suddenly opened his eyes. He found himself staring at the blue sky and surrounded by rubble and earth. Then he realised he was lying top of something confortable. Just then, he heard the voice of someone familiar close to him.
Turning his slightly, he saw Ondine looking at him with a smile. She had tears in her eyes which streamed down her cheek. Standing nearby, looking mightily relieved was Sumara.
“Ondine and… Miss. Sumara?” he said weakly. “What are you… doing here?”
“Master, don’t you remember?” Ondine asked in a concerned voice. “You were beaten pretty badly by the monster.”
“Ah,” he said, finally remembering the events following to his current situation.
Suddenly, the ground shook violently and followed, soon after, by a mighty roar. Sitting up with the support of Ondine, he turned and saw Felix fighting furiously against the monster. His eyes widened as he witnessed Felix using skills that were truly unbelievable.
“Wow… He’s… really powerful,” he said in awe as he watched Felix began to fire rapid energy blasts.
Ondine watched Felix fighting. Then, noticing something from the corner of her eye, she turned and was surprised by what she saw. She nudged Lakshman by saying “Master, your sword…”
Nudged by Ondine, he turned around and saw that his sword was glowing dimly. Strange characters like inscriptions appeared on the side of the blade as it show in the sunlight. He went to grab the hilt and he suddenly felt the surge of power like never before.
“Ah,” he muttered as he remembered the vision, dream or whatever it was.
He attempted to get up, but his legs suddenly began to shake. Ondine and Sumara quickly lend him a shoulder and he placed his arms around them for support.
“Master, you should rest a bit,” Ondine said in a worried tone.
“Yes, you are badly wounded. I may have healed you, but your energy is greatly depleted,” Sumara said.
“No,” he said firmly. “I… must do this! I cannot fail… not like this!”
Ondine and Sumara looked worried, but they continued to support him as he moved slowly forward. Then, a huge explosion rang from the distance and they saw a dome like shape take place.
“Wow!” Ondine exclaimed, shocked at the sight of the gigantic explosion. “What power!”
“Simply amazing,” Sumara said, amazed by the sheer force of the power the explosion created.
As the explosion finished and everything began to settle, Felix landed a few meters in front of them. Then he heard him shout as he stared at the form of the monster through the veil of smoke.
“What the heck is up with this monster? Is there no end to this?!”
Drawing closer to him, Lakshman said “Perhaps I can help.”
Felix turned around and stared at Lakshman in disbelief before saying “Lakshman, what are you doing?” You are badly injured and need to take rest. Don’t worry! I can do this. I’m the Phoenix Emperor after all!”
He was looking angry for some reason, but Lakshman did not mind it. He gently let go of Ondine and Sumara and said to Felix “No, only I can do this.”
“Master…” Ondine said in a worried voice as she watched him walking towards Felix.
“And…? Why is it that only you can?” Felix asked, looking frustrated.
“Because of this,” Lakshman said shortly and he brought his sword up and held it vertically so that Felix can get a good look at it.
Felix glanced at it. Then his eyes widened in disbelief as he softly said “The Phoenix Blade…”
Holding the sword at his side, Lakshman walked unsteadily past Felix. Felix did not make any move except stare at his sword.
Then he opened his mouth and asked “How did the Phoenix Blade activate?”
By the time he asked the question, Lakshman had rushed away from him. Holding his sword at his side, he rushed over to where the monster was. Nearing it, he stopped as he suddenly remembered what Felix said earlier.
“Phoenix Blade?” he said and he looked down at his sword. Then he said “Ah,” as if he suddenly realised something. “It’s the title of this sword, but… the name…”
He remembered back to his vision as he spoke to the woman in the darkness filled with emptiness.
“Ashtetra Blazkin Jenes Forin Sekinat.”
“Huh?!” he exclaimed when she finally told him her name.
“As you requested, I have told you my name.”
“That’s your name?!” he said in disbelief.
“No, no, no! That’s not a name! That’s more like a sentence than a name!”
“Why do you think it is?”
“For one thing… it’s too damn long!”
“Then, what do you propose?”
“Um…” Lakshman said as he thought about her ridiculous long name. “How about calling you ‘Tetra’ for short?”
“Tetra…” the voice said as if pondering about the name.
“If you don’t like it, I can always call you ‘Ash’ instead…”
“No, I would not like that,” she said adamantly.
“Okay then, Tetra it is,” he said and attempted to smile, but it was futile since his body could not move.
Back in the present, Lakshman looked at the glowing blade and smiled.
“I’ll be in your care, Tetra,” he said and he got an instant “Yes,” reply in his mind.
Then he faced the monster as it emerged out of the veil of smoke with its body completed regenerated. Lakshman prepared himself as the final battle between him and the monster was about to begin.