A Change in Routine
“One, two, one, two, one, two, keep it rolling, guys. You’re looking good!” Lakshman said as he paused in his training to look over at the training kids.
“We’re doing it,” the kids said while continuing to swing their swords and he nodded in satisfaction.
It has been a month since Lakshman became a Saint Ranked Magician and Sumara’s departure. After that, he was unable to concentrate on anything for a few days. However, his parents persuaded him to return to training.
“When you meet her again, don’t you want to show how much you’ve improved?” was their sentiment.
Understanding their intentions and the meaning of those words, he began to train once more. Ondine and the kids joined him in his regular training. He even began to train under heavier weighted training gear. Indra lent him heavier at his request, although he was worried.
“Don’t push yourself too quickly,” Indra had said at that time when he handed the gear over to him.
“I know, dad, but I’ve become used to these,” Lakshman said as he handed over the gear he previously wore.
Ondine also wanted to exchange gears, but he quickly rejected the idea. When asked why, he simply stated that she needs more training with the previous ones. She said she was fine, but he had watched her more closely than anyone and knew she needed more training with them than him.
As such, the training since then has become intense for Lakshman. Even the kids were amazed he was capable of moving under such heavy pressure, but he only laughed.
“It’s not like I’m under heavy gravity, right?” he had replied to them.
“Heavy gravity?” they had asked with puzzled expressions.
“Gravity, which is the force that pulls you down and keep you on the ground,” he explained. “Miss Sumara told me how the current amount of gravity is just right for live to prevail in this world.”
“Oh! So… this gravity… what happens if it increases or decreases?”
“I think she said something like live cannot survive unless our bodies adapt to that unnatural change.”
“Wow…! Your master knows a lot of strange things,” the kids had commented and he laughed.
“It’s nothing strange. I just think they don’t apply to most people,” he said with a smile. “Anyway, that’s enough about gravity and my weighted clothes. Now, get back to training you guys.”
“We’re on it!” they said before returning to continue their training.
During this one month training, Lakshman was not the only one who has made progress. The kids, themselves, have made great progress with their training. Now, they are doing ten laps around the town like a circuit.
He was impressed with how much progress they have made since the beginning. Even Ondine showed how impressed she was when she began to get them to swing with two swords. He was not sure at first, but finally relented after a discussion.
“Master, you’re monopolising them!” she had said one evening after training.
Looking surprised, he said “I am?”
She nodded seriously and said “Yes, you are. You’re focused on making them train with only one sword and making them run laps around town.”
“But, that’s body building workout though. If they don’t do that, their bodies won’t become strong enough to allow them to use techniques and such.”
“I know and I’m not against it. It’s just that… I want them to train with two swords instead of one. You know what I mean?”
He blinked in surprise and instantly became suspicious as he said “Hold on… Are you trying to turn them into training with both swords so you can train them personally?”
She waved her hands at him and said “No! I’m not trying to do anything like that! I just want to give them the option of choosing how best to use their swords.”
“I see,” he said and nodded in understanding. Then he asked “But, what if they don’t want to go with the sword? What if they choose a weapon different that of a sword? If I remember correctly, there’s the bow, spear and many more weapons used around the world.”
“Master, our job is only to teach them what is easy to use and wield.”
“At the same time, that cannot always be the case. After all, opinions can change and choices become affected because of it.”
Her eyes widened slightly and she suddenly looked irritated as she asked “Are you that against me training them to use two swords?”
“I’m not,” he said in exasperation. “I just want to give them the chance to choose their choice if weapon for themselves.”
She looked long and hard at then. Finally, she sighed and said “I can’t believe you were thinking that far ahead.” Then she placed her hands on her hips and looked sternly at him. “Master…! You’re thinking too much about this! You’re behaving more like their guardian than an instructor.”
“B-But… isn’t it also our role to make them choose properly?” he asked nervously.
“That may be, but what you are doing is just plain silly!” she said and he finally relented at that.
After that, they introduced the concept of the two sword styles to the kids. Lakshman was quite surprised when a few of them were keen on the two sword style. So, while he continued to train them in the use of one sword, he made a mental note to train with two swords at one point.
However, the daily training seemed to have started to bore the kids. Every day, waking up early in the morning and doing morning jogs around the town. Then come back to Lakshman’s house and train by swinging the wooden swords.
A month later, one day Stuart Mardak, Lakshman’s friend, came over to speak to Lakshman about it.
“The kids are getting bored?” Lakshman said and he looked surprised. “Why?”
“It’s become a little… normal now. Don’t you think so too, Lakshman?” Stuart asked hesitantly.
“Well…” Lakshman began and hesitated as he thought about it. Then he said “Now that you mention it, it’s become pretty normal to do these things.”
“It has,” Stuart said and nodded.
“Mmm…” Lakshman said and he looked like he was deep in thought. Then he nodded his head and said “I’m guessing they want to something different?”
“Yeah and, you know, it’ll be great to put our training to good use…” Stuart said and he looked at him with hopeful eyes.
“Ah…” Lakshman said and hesitated as he looked, nervously, down at Stuart’s gleaming eyes full of hope.
Afterwards, he confided in Ondine about Stuart’s message. She listened quietly as he told her how the kids are need of something to break the cycle of boredom.
“Cycle of Boredom… that’s a nice title,” she said with a smile when he finished.
“Ondine… Be serious,” he said and looked at her with narrowed eyes.
“Oh, sorry, sorry,” she apologised with a grin on her face. Then she said “Still… I do understand what they are going through.”
“What do you mean?”
“Unlike you, master, they are normal kids who like doing fun things. If things get too boring, they really dislike it and would do anything to change it.”
“I see,” he said with nod to mean that he understood. Then he looked at her and raised an eyebrow as he asked “By the way, what did you mean by them being normal unlike me? Are you implying that I’m not normal?”
“Oh, come on, master. That’s quite obvious,” she said with a laugh.
“After all, I’ve never seen you play any sort of games or hang out with your friends. All you ever do is train, train and train!”
Lakshman did not say anything. He simply hung his head and looked sad. Ondine glanced at him and became flustered at his depressed face.
“Sorry master! I didn’t mean to make you sad or anything” she quickly said in a fluster.
“Okay,” he said softly before smiling once more.
She breathed a sigh of relief at seeing him smile. For a moment, she had thought he looked like he was really upset at what she said. At that moment, Indra walked into the room and he looked happy.
“You look happy,” Ondine said once he sat down on a chair facing them.
“Naturally! I just got a mission which is paying me good amount!” he said happily.
“Really? How much?”
“Fifteen -hundred gold coins for killing and capturing twenty boars.”
“F-Fifteen-hundred?!” Ondine exclaimed, looking shocked at the amount. Then she asked “And… What is this for exactly?”
He shrugged his shoulders and said “They are holding some sort of feast down in town and require a lot of meat. Most of the guests are mean lovers and love boar meat the most. That’s why I’ll be getting a heap of load of boar meat!”
“Yes, but… that’s a lot of money,” she said slowly in awe.
“Plus, boars are not easy to capture. It’ll be a difficult task to take one down, let alone twenty of those damned things!” he said, looking annoyed for some reason.
“So, you’re going to go down to the monster dungeon with some of your friends?” Lakshman asked and Indra nodded.
Lakshman nodded in understanding and turned away while making a face as if he was thinking about something. A few seconds later, he nodded and turned back to face his father with a serious expression.
“Dad, I have an idea,” he said and looked serious.
“You do?” Indra asked in surprise. Then he smiled and asked “Tell me about it.”
Lakshman nodded and paused for a moment to gather his thoughts. Beside him, Ondine wore a surprised expression and she looked like she knew what he was going to say.
“Master? You don’t mean…” she said slowly.
“I was thinking that I, Ondine and the kids, training under me, can accompany you, dad.”
Indra’s eyes shot up in surprise and he asked “You mean… the kids that train with you every day?” When Lakshman nodded, he looked troubled as he asked “Are you sure they’re up for it? Don’t you think they need more time training?”
“They are still training, but I think live combat is also another way of training in my opinion,” Lakshman said and he smiled at him.
“That’s true,” Indra said as he slowly nodded his head. He turned to Ondine and asked “What would you say about this, Ondine?”
“I…” Ondine began and hesitated. She glanced once at Lakshman, who simply smiled. She sighed before turning back to Indra and said “I believe this is a good opportunity for them to get accustomed to real combat. After all, training is well and good, but without experience, it can be useless.”
“Nicely put, Ondine,” Lakshman said cheerfully as she finished.
“Makes sense,” Indra said and nodded at her.
Then he became silent for a few seconds. He was obviously thinking about the kids and the danger they might face within the Monster Dungeon. As if he made up his mind, he nodded and looked back at them.
“Alright then! I’ll gladly take you up on your offer!” he said as he smiled and nodded.
“Thanks, dad!” Lakshman said happily and he shook his father’s outstretched hand with his own. “So, when do we get going?”
“In three days,” Indra said and Lakshman nodded.
Lakshman, then, jumped to his feet and said “They’ll be so excited!”
He then proceeded to leave the room, looking very happy.