Month of Training
Lakshman and Ondine began to do their daily routine of training and helping around the training centre after wearing the weighted training clothes. It was a tough job to help around, especially when they had heavy clothes on to hamper their efforts.
“This is super tough!” Ondine said at one point after several difficult workouts.
Lakshman, who was also finding it tough, just smiled at her and shrugged his shoulders wordlessly. He remembered Darian’s words about how the Phoenix clan are members of strong and powerful warriors. Challenging them and freeing Felix would be matter that could lead to battle.
“This is to become strong, Ondine. I think realise that too,” Lakshman said after a while.
Ondine could only sigh at his words and continue their work. Several times, he and Ondine went out to help Marilia shop for things. She is in charge of the kitchen and food making, so she is very careful in what she buys and makes.
“Thanks a heap, you two,” she said cheerfully as Lakshman and Ondine carried several boxes of fruits and vegetables.
“I-It’s fine, but… these heavy clothes are starting to make me regret wearing them in the first place!” Ondine said through gritted teeth.
Marilia raised her eyebrows at those words and said “I see, but Lakshman isn’t complaining. When your master isn’t complaining, why are you doing it?”
“Um…” Ondine said and hesitated. She looked at him and asked “Master, why aren’t you feeling the pressure? Could you be just being ignorant or something?”
At those words, he actually laughed which puzzled her. When he calmed down, he smiled and said “Ondine, complaining about it won’t change anything. Instead, all we’re doing is wasting energy we could be using on perfecting ourselves.”
Ondine’s eyes widened in amazement and Marilia clapped her hands as she said “Well done! Now that’s that kind of spirited thinking everyone needs!”
“Still…” Ondine muttered, but she knew she will not win and so decided to drop it.
Sensing what Ondine was about to say, Lakshman sighed and said “We only have one month to go, which is forty-days from today we’ll be leave for Floria region. Like Darian said, we don’t know how strong the enemies we’ll encounter will be. So we need to get as strong as we possibly can, right?”
“T-True, but… I was feeling somewhat drained with all this training and fighting, master.”
“Oh!” Lakshman said and was taken aback.
Marilia raised her eyebrows and said “An interesting thought, but do you have the luxury of taking it easy?”
“I… suppose not, but if you overwork a warrior they won’t be much good later on,” Ondine said firmly.
“Mmm… You do have a point there, but what are you planning on doing if you do take a break from training?” Marilia asked curiously.
“I… I would go shopping and look for stuff that’ll suit me.”
“Ah! Is it for appeal? It is, isn’t it?” Marilia asked eagerly with a bright smile on her face. Then she said “Still, you don’t need to worry about it just yet. He’s still young and got quite a way to grow before… you know… that!”
Ondine suddenly became panicked. She gestured at Marilia wildly and almost lost her handle over the boxes. Once her grip was back on, she said “No! I don’t mean like that…!”
“Ah, yes you do you little cheekiness,” Marilia said as she got closer to Ondine.
“U-U-U-U-Um…!” Ondine stammered and she became bright red in the face.
Lakshman, who was slightly behind the girls, asked “What’s the matter?”
Marilia and Ondine turned to him and said “Never you mind!”
They said it so firmly that Lakshman was really puzzled. He stopped and watched the two of them move on while happily chatting with each other. Then, with a free hand, he scratched the back of his head in confusion.
“Women are a mystery,” he muttered and sighed before following after them.
At other times, Lakshman would train with Rumble and even spars with him from time to time. As requested, the Phoenix Blade became heavy so that Lakshman’s training became intense. However, making Tetra cooperate was a tiring matter altogether.
“I don’t want to get fat! I don’t want to get fat! I don’t want to get fat!” she wailed when he asked her to increase her weight.
“Oh, come on!” Rumble said in a frustrated voice at her continued refusal.
Lakshman tried to gently convince her by saying “I just want you to increase the sword weight. You won’t get fat just because of that.”
“Easy for you to say, but what if I did?! Whom to blame then?!” she demanded as tears welled up in her eyes.
“Tetra… Really…?” he asked in an exasperated voice.
Watching the drama before him, Darian angrily said “I can’t believe the renowned Sacred Spirit, also the Phoenix Blade, is crying her heart out just because her master wants her to increase her weight.”
At those words, she suddenly stopped crying. She jumped to her feet and glared angrily at him while he looked angrily back. It seemed he a hit a nerve and she was very angry about it.
“I’d like to see how you fare against me, sword king of stupidity!” she said in an angry voice Lakshman had never heard before.
“Oh? Is that a challenge? Well! I’d love to fight against the Phoenix Blade!” Darian said eagerly and his eyes flashed dangerously.
Lakshman, sensing the impending danger, quickly intervened. He quickly spoke to both of them and pleaded with Tetra to do as he requested. Additionally, he also added how it will benefit him and how useful she will be to him.
With a disgruntled expression, Tetra finally agreed. As she transformed into the Phoenix Blade, Darian seemed to want to have the last laugh.
“Don’t worry, Tetra. Even if you do get fat, I’m sure your master won’t mind,” he said and an evil grin spread on his face.
Lakshman heard Tetra suddenly burst into tears in his mind, but he could do little against it. Instead, he focused on getting stronger. At first, the sword became so heavy that he strained just to hold it up until Tetra reduced the mass.
Sometimes he sparred against Rumble. He was surprised when he found out that Rumble does not use a weapon. Instead, he uses his fists as his primary weapons because he was a fighter.
“A warrior doesn’t necessarily need a weapon to fight with. You must also fight when you don’t have a weapon to rely on,” Rumble had said when asked why he fights with his fists.
Intrigued, Lakshman began to learn the martial arts style of fighting from him. It seemed that Rumble, being a Monkey King, acquired most of his skills from the Monkaggy clan of the Beast race. He also learnt about the subcategories of the three types of Force.
“You can split Energy Force into Fighting Force, Bursting Force, Cannon Force,” Rumble said and began explaining about those three subcategories of Energy Force.
“Fighting Force is to change one’s body with energy and fighting with it. So, in essence, your body truly becomes your weapon. Bursting Force is the discharge of energy like energy balls. Cannon Force is the release of energy in a massive form. It is related to how energy beams are created and released.”
Learning about the different subcategories of the Energy Force surprised him. When he asked why they were not mentioned, Rumble simply shrugged his shoulders and said that they are not important for most people. It’s only for people who went deeper that will find that information relevant.
Other times, Lakshman would spend his time reading books. Apparently, Darian became concerned that Lakshman was only training, but not training his mind. So, for two to four hours a day, Lakshman spends studying stories or other information about the world.
Among the stories he read, Lakshman was fascinated about the war that took place eight-thousand years ago. In historical texts, that war was referred to as the deciding factor for the fate of the world.
Lakshman learnt how amazing the technology and powers were back then as compared to the current time. He also learnt many things, but he did not understand them at that time.
Like this, days went by quickly and soon, they only had a week before the departure. With the departure time drawing near, Darian and Marilia were becoming busier. It seemed they were preparing to close down the training centre when they leave.
Lakshman had asked “Why doesn’t Marilia stay behind and have her and her friends continue to keep it open and running?”
Marilia smiled at his words, but Darian flatly said “No! She’s coming along.”
It was later that Marilia confided in Lakshman that Darian actually does not know how to cook. In the past, Darian and Rumble ate what they could kill out in the wilderness during their adventures. After meeting Marilia, Darian came to love her food so much he just cannot return to those days.
“I miss those days where we killed all those monsters and barbequed their meat. It was so delicious!” Rumble said reminiscently.
“That’s not good for you or for your health! You’re not beasts of the wilderness, you monkey idiot!” Marilia said sternly.
“Hey! Aren’t you forgetting I’m from the Beast race?”
“So what? Only days ago you were chocking on a chicken leg, you goose!”
“Uh… That was just a stray bone that I somehow missed.”
“Which, just goes to show, how dependent the both of you are on me,” Marilia said with a satisfied smile.
“Uh…” Rumble said and was looking uncomfortable before he changed the subject to weapons.
Like that, the week was almost over when a certain event occurred. It was an event that turned Lakshman into someone that everyone truly respected.