You are their Instructor
Lakshman sighed and rose to his feet. Ondine made to get up, but he gestured her to stay. Looking surprised, she watched him walk to the doorway.
“Where are you going, master?” she asked out of curiosity.
He stopped before the entrance and turned around to look back at her.
“I’m going to see Miss Sumara,” he said as he turned around to look at her.
“Eh?” she said in surprise. “Why? Do you have some early lessons with her now?”
“No, they are in the evening,” he said simply. Then he smiled slightly as he said “I was just going up to ask her if she could help out with the training.”
Ondine knotted her eyebrows together in a frown as she began to say “Master…”
“I know, I know, but listen!” he said quickly to forestall her. When she stopped, he continued to say “I just want her to give us some helping hand, you know, to make it easier.”
“I see…” she said slowly when she thought about what he said. “But master, she isn’t paid to do anything other than teach you.”
“I know, but she taught us together in the use of the water magic, remember?”
“Perhaps, but I am your Slave Spirit which is not the same as friends.”
“Still, it’s better to ask and find out,” he said brightly.
“Master… you said the same thing earlier when you thought about asking Indra for help,” she said sternly.
“This time it’s different!” he said firmly. “I am certain Miss Sumara will help me.”
“What makes you so confident about it, master?”
“I… I just know…” he said vaguely. “She’s been helping me these past four years, I know she will help me out this time as well.”
“Master…” she said slowly. “I don’t mean to be rude, but… you are over confident in her helping hand.”
Lakshman simply shrugged his shoulders and walked out of the room. Watching him, Ondine could only sigh and shrug her shoulders.
He slowly went up the stairs with the plan in mind. Suddenly, he realised this would be his first time asking her directly at her doorstep. He usually asked her questions during their training or night time study sessions.
“I hope she will help out,” he thought hopefully.
Once he reached her door, he hesitated. He held out his right hand as he prepared to knock. However, he felt nervous which he normally never felt. For a few seconds, he stood rooted to the spot. Then he shook off the feeling with a shake of his head and knocked twice on the door.
There was an immediate “Yes?” reply.
“Um… Miss Sumara, can I speak with you for a moment?” he said nervously.
There was the sound of footsteps and the door opened. There, standing at the doorstep, was Sumara. She was wearing her usual clothes, but without the hat.
She looked at him for a moment, and then stepped aside as she said “Come on in.”
“E-Excuse me,” he said curiously as he stepped into her room.
Lakshman had been taught well by Mariana in many things. She was very strict with his subjects and that included manners. Due to this, he was very respectable to everyone he meets or stepping into someone else’s private space.
He walked into the room and quickly noticed the surroundings. The walls were stacked with books in shelves. There was a chair pulled back from the desk upon which a book lay open. Apparently, Sumara was reading just before he knocked.
She gestured for him to sit on the bed while she sat on the chair. She swung the chair around to look at him curiously with her usual look; half-open eyes and a cold-like expression on her face.
“So then,” she said once he sat down. “What did you want to talk about?”
“Well…” he said and began to explain.
After a few seconds of explanation, he finished. He breathed a sigh at the end of his explanation. The explanation took longer than he expected. He did not realise how nervous he felt at the thought of asking her for help.
“I see,” she said, nodding in understanding.
Throughout his explanation, she did not once stop him or ask questions. She patiently listened to the very end.
“A running race,” she muttered as she thought about everything he said. “That is an excellent idea.”
“You think so too?” he said eagerly.
“Naturally,” she said with a small smile. “It is a challenging event. The kids will love it and it is the perfect workout they need at the beginning of the day.”
“I see,” he said, nodding in understanding. “Well, that’s why I am here.”
He took a deep breath and said “Miss Sumara, I am wondering if you could, you know, help out?”
She did not immediately reply. Instead, she tilted her head slightly and looked at him curiously. He felt the sweat on his forehead and he quickly wiped them. Seeing this, she chucked softly and he became embarrassed.
“So, let me get this straight,” she said in a business-like tone. “You want my assistance to help train the kids that asked for your help. Am I right?”
She put an emphasis on the last two words of her statement and he nodded. She nodded slowly and her narrowed slightly.
“However, I don’t think I can be much of help, Lucky,” she said finally after a short pause.
“Why?” he said, sounding surprised.
“For one thing, I am not paid to teach anyone, but you,” she simply said.
“I-I know, but you also trained Ondine in the use of water magic,” he said quickly.
“That was an exception.”
“Couldn’t this also be an exception?”
“You don’t understand, Lucky,” she said with a slight shake of her head. “It was an exception with Ondine because she is your companion. A Slave Spirit and you being her owner, it only was right to train her with you.”
“But then-?” he began, but she held up a hand to stop him.
“With these kids, however, it’s different.”
“Different?” he said, looking puzzled.
“They are not your companions. They are simply your friends asking for your help. Because of that reason, I cannot lend you my assistance in this matter.”
“Oh, really?” he said and he suddenly looked sad.
There was a short pause in which Sumara simply looked at him. Then she asked “Why do you need my help anyway, Lucky?”
“Sorry?” he said, looking up at her in surprise.
“I am asking you why you need my help?” she said clearly.
“W-Well… I just thought your help could help train them?” he said hesitantly.
“I see, but that’s the wrong thinking, Lucky.”
“Is it?” he said, looking surprised.
“It is,” she said with a nod of her head. “They are not asking for my help. Instead, they are asking for your help. So, the responsibility of their training falls in your hands.”
“B-But Miss Sumara… I’m not an instructor like you,” he said desperately. “I don’t know what to do to train them.”
“See, that’s where you are making the mistake,” she said and smiled.
When he looked puzzled, she said “You are thinking you don’t know. That’s the wrong thinking. You should stop those thoughts and focus on what to do.”
“’What to do’?” he repeated uncertainly.
“Yes. If you focus your mind on thinking about what is right for their age, what is not so difficult for them and what is exciting and challenging, you will get the answers that you need!”
“Wow…!” he said in amazement at her long speech. “So… I just need to think about what will work for them that might seem silly for… me?”
“I see… Now it makes sense,” he said and nodded in understanding.
“Do you get it now? You are the instructor. You will be their leader. You need to ensure, as the leader, that they can follow you. Ensure the difficulty of the training and the challenge of it will make them want to do it.”
Then she winked and said “I believe you can do it. After all, you’ve been through so many things that training others should be a piece of cake!”
Lakshman laughed at her words as confidence surged through him once more. He did not understand completely the ways of teaching somebody else, but he knows. Thanks to Sumara, he now understands that he must give up on negative thinking and think positive.
“However, I don’t think I should leave you kids alone without an adult to supervise you,” Sumara said thoughtfully.
“Eh?” he said in surprise. Then he eagerly asked “Does that mean… Miss Sumara… that you…?”
She nodded and said “Yes. I will supervise you kids to make sure nothing too terrible happens. Is that okay with you, mister instructor?”
“Of-Of-course!” he said quickly without hesitation. “I would appreciate any help you can give me from the side, Miss Sumara.”
“Good,” she said and nodded in agreement. Then she asked “Have you asked Indra as well?”
“I did, but dad just didn’t want to do it,” he said with a small sigh.
Sumara shook her head as she said “I don’t know what goes in that brain of his.”
“Maybe, dad had his reasons?” he asked tentatively.
She simply shrugged her shoulders and said “Who knows.”
Then silence stretched between them for several seconds. It was finally broken by Sumara speaking seriously to him.
“You better prepare for tomorrow, Lucky. You cannot make last minute forgetful mistakes, okay?”
“I’ll be ready. Why? I’m always ready!” he said confidently.
Then he rose to his feet and made the leave the room. Once he was at the doorstep, Sumara called after him.
“Lucky, be confident, but don’t be arrogant. The kids are looking up to you, so don’t do something that creates a bad impression of you, alright?”
“I got it!” he said firmly and he thumped himself on the chest just before closing the door shut.