Nine Pillars of Power
They departed in the evening and rode for several hours until night. During the night, they stopped and made camp under the shelter of the tress. During the camp, they talked about the things that happened recently.
“That fight with Indra was so damn amazing, I couldn’t sit still!” Nagada said in a voice full of excitement and energy.
“Yes! That battle was unreal!” Manickyam said as he nodded at Nagada’s words.
Lakshman looked embarrassed and said “It wasn’t much.”
“What are you talking about, master?! That battle was superb! I seriously did not expect you to do so well!” Ondine said in an energetic voice.
“Ah, come on, Ondine. That battle was intense, but I feel I need more training. It feels like my win was due to my power up,” Lakshman said to Ondine to stop her from over gloating about him.
“Power up? Do you mean Power Burst?” Samada asked curiously.
“No, stupid. He means Power Surge,” Nagada said to Samada.
The three friends started to argue about the correct name for the technique Lakshman used in the fight. Lakshman and Ondine watched in amusement at the argument that stretched between them.
Ranga sighed and said “Guys. It’s actually Power Up. Stop confusing it with the other techniques.”
“Really? Just Power Up?” Samada said and he looked surprised.
“Ah, makes sense. Those other techniques are too powerful for Lakshman right now,” Manickyam said and he nodded at Ranga in understanding.
As the argument was resolved, Lakshman looked around and asked “What’s Power Burst and Power Surge?”
“Ah, you don’t know, do you?” Manickyam said in an understanding voice.
“It’s only natural. Those are King and Emperor ranked techniques after all,” Nagada added.
Lakshman and Ondine looked astonished at the revelation of the rank. Then Ondine said “King and Emperor ranked?! Are you sure?”
“We’re as sure as anyone can be,” Samada said as he nodded at her.
“O-Oh…” Ondine said shortly and looked uncertainly at Lakshman.
“How come you guys know about them? Aren’t you like… um…?” Lakshman said and hesitated about speaking any further.
“Yes, yes. We’re only Saint ranked swordsman, but we’ve witnessed, first hand, the use of those techniques,” Nagada said with a smile.
“Yes. It was during the time the Demon Titan and Dragon Titan fought each other.”
“Oh yeah! Indra was there as well now that I remember back to it.”
“Yeah, but that was like… um… fifteen years ago, wasn’t it?”
“Yes and that was also when both the Demon Titan and Dragon Titan died fighting each other.”
“It’s still unbelievable that a simple argument led them to fight and kill each other.”
“Haha! That’s what happens when two mighty warriors clash. Still, I’m glad we were far away to witness the battle two power houses!”
The four of them shuddered as they remembered it. Then they looked at each other and let out a roar of laughter. After laughing for a few seconds, they calmed down and looked at Lakshman and Ondine.
“So, yeah… You’re Power Up technique is only a Sage ranked only. Sorry I mixed it up,” Samada said apologetically.
“No, it’s fine,” Lakshman said and he smiled at Samada. Then, looking slightly troubled, he asked “So… Are there more Titan ranked warriors other than the Phoenix Titan?”
“Naturally there would be more!” Samada said in a matter-of-fact tone.
“There was always more than one Titan ranked warrior,” Nagada added with a nod of his head.
Looking confused, Lakshman asked “There are?”
The four of them stared at him in surprise. Then they turned to look at each other with puzzled expressions on their faces.
“Wait… Hold on… You don’t mean to tell us that you… don’t know…?” Manickyam said slowly in an uncertain voice.
Lakshman tilted his head curiously and asked “Know what?”
Their eyes widened in shock at his words. They were alarmed at his less-than-expected reaction. They quickly turned to look at Ondine.
“Ondine, do you also not know about the other Titans?” Manickyam asked apprehensively.
Ondine looked at Lakshman and then back at them before saying “Yes, I know about them. Well, it’s only natural that I, as a water spirit, would know about these sorts of things.”
“R-Right, but… Lakshman doesn’t know…” Manickyam said slowly.
Looking at them with a puzzled expression on his face, Lakshman asked “What don’t I know?”
Manickyam looked at him and then at his friends who nodded at him. Sighing deeply, he turned back to face Lakshman.
“Listen, Lakshman. These Titans are the strongest in the world. There is no one who is a match to them as each of them is in a league of their own! Got it?”
When Lakshman nodded, he continued to say “Okay. So there are a total of nine of them, nine Titans. More precisely, they are known as the Nine Pillars of Power!”
There was a pause in which Lakshman nodded as he heard the name and memorised it. He knew, just from looking at their faces, this meant a very powerful meaning to everyone.
Then he frowned and asked “Um… Please explain more about these… Nine Pillars of Power.”
Manickyam shifted his glance at Samada, who nodded and took over in explaining about them.
“Well, there’s not much to explain about them as we know very little about them. What we do know is that they are unimaginably strong and extremely powerful! Each of them can take on an entire country and not break a sweat!”
“Wow! They’re that strong?!” Lakshman exclaimed in surprise and his eyes widened.
Samada nodded and said “Yes. Very! They are so strong I fear the world will tremble if they ever fight each other!”
“Those nine are insanely strong, so strong they could wipe out continents from existence!” Manickyam said with a fearful expression on his face.
There was a silence as everyone thought about the information in their own way. Lakshman was astonished that such powerful people existed in the world. He wondered how they became so strong and whether they are similar to gods because of their power.
Then he suddenly realised he did not know anyone from them and wondered who they are. Looking at them, he asked “By the way, do you know who the nine are?”
“Yes, we know who the nine are, including the one that replaced the Demon Titan and Dragon Titan fifteen years ago.”
“Who?” Lakshman eagerly.
“Let’s see… Who were they again?” Samada asked with a half-smile on his face.
While others laughed, Ranga shook his head and listed the warriors from the Nine Pillars of Power.
- Phoenix Titan
- Dragon Titan
- War Titan
- Demon Titan
- Death Titan
- Storm Titan
- Sun Titan
- Magic Titan
- Sword Titan
“They are ranked from strong to weak. So the Phoenix Titan is the strongest while the Sword Titan is the weakest amongst the Nine Pillars of Power,” Ranga explained.
When he said Phoenix Titan, Lakshman clutched his head quickly expecting pain. Unexpectedly, he only received a twinge of pain which only lasted a few minutes.
He did not understand why he did not get headache from hearing the Phoenix Titan name. With only one alternative left, he reasoned that he was getting accustomed to hearing it. That was the only explanation that explained why he did not suffer severe headache like usual.
“Still, I’m surprised you didn’t know about them until now. Did your home tutor neglect your worldly knowledge or something?” Samada said with a smile.
Lakshman opened his mouth to respond, but hesitated as he did not know what to say. Just then, Ondine came to his rescue and spoke for him.
“Master had been studying to master his skills Sumara didn’t particularly spend much time on these sorts of things.”
“Ah, I see. Now it makes sense how you’re so strong at your age and even achieved the rank Water Sword Saint!” Ranga said and he nodded in understanding.
“Ugh… Studying… Oh no… This is bringing back nightmares from… algebra class!” Nagada said in an alarming voice.
At his words, everyone laughed. While they were laughing, Ranga looked at him with an eyebrow raised.
“You’re complaining about algebra?! Come on! Calculus was the hardest to study!” Ranga said incredulously.
“Well…! Sorry for not being smart, Mr. Smarty pants!” Nagada said with an annoyed expression.
As they laughed, Manickyam looked up at the sky decided to call it a night.
“Alright, guys! It’s getting late. Time to sleep!” he said to them as he rose to his feet.
“Now that you mention it, I do feel kind of… sleepy,” Samada said as he stifled a yawn.
Then they slept; the men slept outside and Ondine slept inside the wagon. The night went by quietly and everyone slept peacefully.
As if in a quick amount of time, it was already morning. The first to wake up were the men and they gently woke up Lakshman who went and woke up Ondine. After cleaning faces and getting ready, they got back on the wagon and went on their way.
“Samada, we need dinner, I’m starving! Hurry up!” Nagada called to the front.
“Okay, okay. Stop yelling, you glutton! We’ll stop by the nearest town and get food there,” Samada called back.
They travelled for more than an hour when, suddenly, there was fog ahead.
“What the…? I never knew this place was covered by this kind of fog…” Manickyam said curiously as he looked ahead.
They rode into the fog and continued to move. The fog was thick and the air felt strange. Everyone was looking around cautiously as if they were expecting trouble. He did now how, but Lakshman had a bad feeling as they entered the village.