Challenge Accepted

 

“Master, was it worth it?”

 

“What do you mean, Ondine?”

 

“Making your dad so angry… Is there any meaning to it?”

 

“Is there a meaning?” Lakshman said and he looked at her in surprise before beginning to laugh.

 

Lakshman and Ondine were in his room. It has been several hours since he and his father, Indra, had argued. Their argument was about Indra’s disagreement in allowing Lakshman to leave home to go help Felix.

 

Afterwards, they returned to their room and sat in silence. After a while, Ondine finally decided to speak to her master about the issue that took place earlier.

 

While he was laughing, she looked at him in concern and asked “Aren’t you afraid?”

 

“Afraid? Afraid of what?” he asked and he sounded surprised at her question.

 

“Afraid of Indra… Aren’t you afraid he might do something unpredictable?”

 

His eyes flashed in amusement at her words. Then he said “I’m not afraid.”

 

“Why not?”

 

He smiled at her and said “Ondine… He’s my father. If it was someone else, I might be afraid since I don’t know what they will do, but my father… I know him and I know what he will do.”

 

“And what do you think he’ll do, master?”

 

“I challenged him to a duel. Knowing him, I know dad will fight me with everything he’s got.”

 

“B-But, master… How can you defeat him if he goes all out? Remember! He’s a Water Sword Saint! Besides, you couldn’t win against him a year ago. What makes you think you will do any better this time?”

 

Then she narrowed her eyes shrewdly and said “Don’t tell me… You’ll use some sneaky method to win?”

 

At her words, he looked at her in alarm and said “Hey! I may be different from kids my age, but I’m not stupid enough to try that stuff on dad! I’ll fight fair and square like a true warrior!”

 

At his confident words, her eyebrows rose. Then she blinked in surprise as she asked “Okay, but still… aren’t you afraid of losing? There’s still no guarantee that you can win…”

 

“Ondine, stop being so negative,” he said sternly with a raised eyebrow and she looked sad.

 

He stared at her for a moment before smiling and patting her on the shoulder.

 

“Ondine, listen. Last year I did lose to dad, but I was weak back then. Since then, I have constantly trained my body and strengthened my powers. I have also passed the test Miss Sumara put me through, that Saint Magic Test. So yes… I have practically nothing to fear!”

 

Lakshman finished speaking and he wore a cheerful smile on his face. He was so happy, he started to swing move back and forth on the bed. Ondine looked at him with a complicated expression on her face.

 

Seeing her expression, he laughed before moved over and using his hands to turn her frown into a smile.

 

“There! Now you look so much better without that bad face!” he said brightly and he beamed at her.

 

She sighed and said “That’s all well and good, master, but let’s hope that confidence can help you beat your father.”

 

He stopped smiling and narrowed his eyes seriously at her before asking “You don’t believe that I can win?”

 

“I do believe in your victory, master, but… I don’t mean to be rube, but don’t you think you’re being overoptimistic?”

 

“Over?!” he exclaimed in amazement and laughed. After recovering from his laughter, he said “I’ll just have to prove my confidence with my actions, right?”

 

As he eyed her, she drew back a little and said “Please don’t take it out on me… I was just…”

 

“I know, but you’re too worried about this. Besides, I have some things I want to test out and this is the perfect opportunity. I can use them effectively like this anyway, hehehe…”

 

At his strange chuckle, Ondine made a worried face and said “Master, please don’t do something dangerous.”

 

“It’s out of my hands if it becomes dangerous. After all, I’m not god to control how everything happens.”

 

“B-But…”

 

“Regardless, I’ll be careful. So you don’t need to worry, Ondine. I will not do something that could harm me and anyone else.”

 

As he spoke, he placed his hand on her head and began to rub it.

 

She made a blissful expression and softly said “Yes.”

 

After that, the interaction between Indra and Lakshman has remained the same, except a few things. They continued to train daily, eat dinner and lunch together, however his father started to behave very differently to his son.

 

Indra began to speak boldly about his power and strength. Sometimes, he would go to great lengths to tell his son about his adventures he had at his age. However, he was stopped often by his wife with a serious glare she flashes at him.

 

After all this, Lakshman would chuckle and say “Dad is really something…”

 

“What do you mean, master?” Ondine asked curiously.

 

“Dad thinks he could intimidate me by speaking about his greatness and such. Heh! While his main intention is not working, maybe he’s thinking I will get sick of hearing him and give up on fighting him.”

 

“Indra just doesn’t want to fight you, master,” Ondine said in a reasonable voice.

 

“If he doesn’t want to fight me, then he should just accept it and allow me to go on the journey! All this time wasting is only delaying me!” he said sternly.

 

Indra continued to speak to his son about his past achievements when Lakshman finally lost his patience.

 

A week after the argument, Indra came into the dining room shirtless. He was flexing his muscles and showing off his strength by holding up multiple chairs with one hand.

 

“Lucky, what do you think about these? Hey?” Indra said to his son while he held the multiple chairs in his one hand.

 

Lakshman sighed and said “I think that’s a complete waste of effort.”

 

“H-Huh?” Indra said as he was taken aback by his son’s reply. Then, as if he misheard, he asked “What did you just say?”

 

“I said I think lifting chairs to prove your capability is a complete waste of time and effort.”

 

“B-But… my strength—!”

 

“Prove your strength by fighting, not wasting time doing stupid things, dad” Lakshman said flatly.

 

“T-Then… What about these muscles? Eh! These muscles that I honed after rigorously training my body! This must also prove how strong I am!”

 

“Dad… Just because you have muscles doesn’t mean you’re the strongest.”

 

Indra blinked at him in surprise and said “What do you mean? In history, all strong men have muscles of great proportion! There’s undeniable proof if you read the story books!”

 

“Maybe they did, but I’m not the same,” Lakshman said coolly.

 

“You wanna bet?”

 

“There’s no need, I’ll win. That’s a foregone conclusion. If not, why would you resort to wasting my time by speaking of stuff you did so many years back, dad?” Lakshman said cheerfully.

 

Lakshmi, who was present at that time, let out a snort of laughter. Indra glanced at her quickly before returning his gaze to his son. For a moment, the two of them locked gazes before sighing and breaking it.

 

“I had spoken to the towns people and they told me to try and stop Lucky from fighting me. Even the elders spoke of their disapproval of your idea of going to Felix’s support.”

 

“So?” Lakshman asked as he stared at his father with a firm expression.

 

“When everyone is so against it, I thought I should convince you and, maybe, frighten you into changing your mind,” Indra said in a disappointed voice.

 

Lakshman stared at his father with half-open eyes and said “Dad…”

 

Lakshmi, however, began to laugh and all attention fell on her.

 

“Lakshmi… Why are you laughing?” Indra asked curiously.

 

“I mean, seriously…! What made you think you could convince Lucky to change his mind with only that?” she said with a chuckle.

 

Looking confused, he asked “What do you mean?”

 

“Oh, come on…” she said with a sigh. Then she smiled and asked “Who do you think he is? With his boldness and recklessness, whom does he takes after?”

 

“Uh…” Indra said hesitantly at the realisation.

 

Seeing the change in his expression, she slowly nodded and said “Yes… you. Lucky is a nice kid and all, but there are some aspects of him that are just like you. Your blood runs through him, how do you expect him to be any different from his father?”

 

Indra hesitated for a moment before saying weakly “Y-You’re right…”

 

Seeing his weak reaction, she signed and turned to her son and said “Lucky, I give you full permission to beat your father into a pulp!”

 

“M-Mum?” Lakshman said and looked surprised.

 

“L-Lakshmi?!” Indra exclaimed in shock.

 

The two of them exclaimed at the same time at her words. Indra sat on the chair and leaned towards her with a frown on his face.

 

“Are you that keen on letting Lucky venture into the unknown on his own?” he asked in a low voice.

 

“I’m simply helping him because he is in the right. Besides, whether it is today or tomorrow, Lucky has to leave on a journey on his own. We can’t always keep him from that eventuality. I think you and I remember how we started out in our lives.”

 

“B-But—!”

 

She suddenly leaned closer to him and seriously said “If you seriously don’t want him to go… Then defeat him! Lucky might be upset, but his defeat will convince him that he is not ready for the outside world just yet.”

 

“Y-You think so?”

 

Lakshmi made a small smile and softly said “Would I call myself your wife if I don’t give my husband valuable advice?”

 

Indra looked at her smiling face. He could not find deceit or trickery behind those eyes and smiling face.

 

At that moment, he realised she was really worried about their son. She knows he is on the right, but is afraid to send him out into the world. That is why she wants them to fight to prove that Lucky is indeed ready to handle the outside world.

 

Indra leaned back and sat back on his chair. He sat still and silent while staring up at the ceiling for a few minutes. Then, as if he made up his mind, he straightened up and looked at them.

 

“Fine! I still don’t like it, but this matter can only be solved once I defeat Lucky!” he said in a firm voice.

 

“No! I’ll defeat you, dad!” Lakshman retorted in frustration.

 

“No, Lucky…! I’m your senior and am stronger than you with more experience in fighting than you have!”

 

“Even if that is the case, I will still defeat you, dad!”

 

“Oh really?”

 

“Really!”

 

The father and son glared fiercely at each other. Watching them from aside, Lakshmi and Ondine sighed.

 

“Men… So hot headed…!” they both said at the same time.

 

Lakshmi and Ondine looked at each other in surprise and laughed.

 

Thus, the challenge has officially been accepted. Next up is the battle to see who the winner will be to decide the matter about Lakshman travelling to Floria Region to support Felix.

One Thought on “Phoenix Rising – Chapter 81

  1. Kenken on July 12, 2015 at 7:44 pm said:

    Haha Indra is so interesting.

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