Friend of Friend is Friend
There was a moment of silence as everyone in the room registered what Lakshman had just said. The first to react were the friend.
“What?” they said at the same time.
Lakshman fidgeted slightly as he said “I said I’ll go.”
To his reply, they made confused expressions as they looked at each other.
Then a man sitting opposite to Indra said “Wait, hold up… Do you mean to tell me you were listening to our conversation?”
Lakshman nodded and said “Yes. We just finished training and was on our way back when—!”
“Oh dear lord…” the man said as he cut across Lakshman and leaned back in his chair.
The person, seated next to him, laughed and asked “Kid, don’t you think its bad manners to eavesdrop on someone?”
“I-I know, but it seemed related to the letter Felix sent. So I got curious what everyone was talking about.”
“You got curious… ha!” the man said as he laughed. Then he said “Man, kids curiosity is such a good thing or bad if applied wrongly.”
“You got that right!” said another friend. He smiled at Lakshman and said “This reminds me about the time when my kid walked in on me and my wife doing… you know…”
While laughing, his friend asked “What did he do?”
The man, talking about his kid, made a cute-like face and said in an imitating voice “’Dad, mum, what are you doing?’ He was so cute!”
Everyone laughed, but then Indra coughed and said “Okay, guys. Let’s get back to the point.”
When everyone did, he turned to look seriously at his son and asked “What exactly do you mean when you say you’ll go, Lucky?”
Lakshman gulped at seeing his father’s seriousness and said “Well, dad you wanted to help Felix so you’ve been going out and doing stuff. But, mum is… um… getting fat and you—!”
Suddenly, everyone, except Indra, started to laugh. One man clutched his stomach as he said “Getting fat… getting fat… That’s a first!”
Lakshman was looking confused as he watched the laughing friends of his father.
Indra looked at them sharply and said “Enough!”
At his commanding tone, his friends slowly stopped laughing. Indra turned around to look at his son with a raised eyebrow.
“Lucky, your mother is not getting fat. It’s called pregnancy. Okay?”
“Oh… Pregnancy… Right… Thought I was forgetting something,” Lakshman said, nodding in understanding.
Indra sighed and said “Fine. Continue.”
“Okay. Well, mum is pregnant, but you want to help Felix. Everyone here doesn’t want you to leave mum and me to go help Felix. So I thought I should go instead.”
“I see…” Indra said slowly as he nodding at his son’s words. Then he sighed and said “Lucky, you can’t go.”
“Eh?! Why not?!”
“It’s because you’re too young to travel the world on your own. You’re only thirteen and, no matter how many great things you did for your age, I cannot let you travel the world just yet.”
“B-But… you travelled the world when you were only twelve!”
“I had friends and my master to look after and train me regularly. Do you have such a comfort?”
“T-Then… I’ll form a team and—!”
“Impossible! The kids’ parents won’t let their kids go on a trip with you, especially for the sake of a member from the Phoenix Clan.”
At Lakshman’s question, everyone looked uncomfortable. Something was upsetting them and this confused Lakshman even more. Indra sighed and began to explain.
“Listen, Lucky. The Phoenix Clan members were originally humans like the rest of us. But then, the Phoenix Titan had audience with the gods for his brave actions and they gifted them with super human capabilities.”
“We’re fine since we’re friends, but most people fear the Phoenix Clan,” said a friend sitting next to Indra.
“Oh…” Lakshman said as his face fell into sadness. A moment later, he looked up with a bright smile on his face as he said “Then, how about we all travel together?”
He was hopeful, but the instant he asked them that they began to shake their heads violently and waves their heads negatively.
“Sorry kid. While Felix is our friend, I can’t risk my neck to go so far as to Floria just to save him.”
One man said and everyone else was nodding in agreement.
“What?!” Lakshman exclaimed in shock and the people. Then he made a frustrated expression and asked “Why are you like this? Aren’t you friends?! Don’t you want to save a friend in need?!”
“W-We do, but our families are our top priority…”
“Yeah… I don’t want to leave my family alone for months… They’ll worry so badly…”
“I want to help, but my wife is close to entering labour. So I can’t come along.”
Seeing their negative expressions and negative responses caused Lakshman to widen his eyes. He closed his hands into fists which shook. He looked at each of them with a frustrated expression on his face.
“See…” Indra said with a sigh as he gestured at his friends. “This is why you can’t go, Lucky. So, stop it about helping when you are cannot help. You want to help and that’s enough. The thoughts matter the most after all.”
Lakshman’s entire body was shaking with his head down. His fists were tightly clenched as it shook from the pressure.
Indra looked at him worriedly and asked “Lucky?”
At that moment, Lakshman looked at them with a mighty frustrated expression and shouted “How can you call yourselves best friends when you don’t help each other?!”
Everyone was taken aback by his sudden shout and Indra, looking startled, said “Lucky…?”
Lakshman paused for a moment before continuing to shout at them in frustration.
“Each and every one of you only care about your family, but what about friends?! What happened to the belief that there is a friend who’ll come to help when needed?! Why are you all so selfish that you only care about yourselves?! What is wrong with all of you?!”
Lakshman paused to catch his breath. Then he continued to shout at them.
“Why are you all just sitting here and discussing about it?! When a friend is in need, we help! That’s the laws of friendship or were you all just pretending to be friends with him?!”
“N-No, we weren’t—!”
“Then why can’t you help?! Aren’t you in a position to help or are you afraid to help?! And why are you saying things like the thought is what matters the most?! So why can’t you help when you are in a position to help?! Don’t you care about friendship?! Don’t you care one bit about the promise of friendship?!”
His shouts were so strong and loud, it woke Lakshmi. Fearing danger, she quickly ran down the stairs in her gown and appeared at the entrance to the living room. She was amazed to see all the men looked stricken as Lakshman heaved breath.
“W-What’s going on here?” Lakshmi asked as she walked into the room.
Lakshman turned around to look at his mother with tears appearing in his eyes and said “Mum, dad and his friends don’t want to help Felix!”
Lakshmi widened her eyes at his words. She walked over and hugged her son tightly. Then she glared at the men who avoided her gaze.
Indra coughed and said “You are right, Lucky, but we shouldn’t risk our own safety to help friends. What would you do if one of us died in battle? Who’s going to look after their families?”
“That’s why I’m saying I’ll go!” Lakshman said as he turned to gaze angrily at his father.
“That’s why I won’t let you go! You’re too young for this sort of thing! Besides, why are you so concerned about Felix so much? He’s not like a friend to you or anything.”
Lakshman froze at his father’s words. For a moment, his mind was blank and empty. Then, something like a spark, ignited in his mind and he spoke his mind freely.
“Dad, Felix is your friend, but he is also my friend! We fought together and helped each other when our lives were in danger! I also owe him my life for saving me when I was almost killed by the Serprad Clan of the Demons!”
“Moreover, he helped all of us when that gigantic Two-Headed Cerberus attacked us! He healed everyone and restored the village back to normal! So yes! Both as a friend as a person who was saved, I want to help him this time! I want to return the favour!”
Lakshman breathed slightly faster than normal once he finished speaking. He bent over slightly to catch his breath. Lakshmi helped him while patting his back softly while glaring angrily at her husband.
“Indra, he’s right. Felix did many things for us while he was here. It’s only fair we return it by helping him out of his tough situation.”
“I understand that, but Lucky is not ready to do this! He’s too young and, no matter how powerful he might have become, this journey will be more than he can handle!”
“Then dad… I challenge you to a duel!” Lakshman said as he straightened up and glared sharply at his father.
There was a stunned silent within the room as everyone’s attention turned to Lakshman. They could almost hear his word echo, but they were disbelieving at what they just heard.
“W-What did you say…?” Indra asked softly as he slowly got off his chair.
“I challenge you to a duel, dad! I’ll defeat you and show you that I am capable of helping Felix… no! I’m capable of helping anyone!” Lakshman said firmly as he looked seriously at his father.
There was a dead silence between them as they started at each other. The air was thick with tension as an invisible battle raged between them that which was hot and fierce.
Lakshmi looked at them worriedly and moved in between them to block.
“Please, you two. Calm down. First, Lucky, apologise to your father! You shouldn’t say those kinds of things!”
“I understand,” Indra said from behind her. She turned around to look at him with wise eyes as he said “I don’t know if you’re speaking from confidence or arrogance, but I accept your challenge, Lucky… no… Lakshman…!”
They made serious faces at each other and glared at one another. The challenge was issued and it was has been accepted. Everyone was looking at them anxiously.
There was one person not inside the room. Ondine stood with her back against the wall and away from their view. She had her eyes tightly shut as if pretending nothing was happening.
She slowly opened her eyes and made a painful expression before saying “What a mess…!”