They travelled for a long amount of time and covered a lot of distance to the capital of Rodfox. In this time, they stopped a few times to make camp and eat food. After their encounter in the previous village, they decided to make their own food.
“It’ tastes better to eat what I make rather than what gets served. Besides, we have no idea what they mix in them, so this is the best solution to that problem,” was what Ranga had to say when Nagada disapproved the idea.
It was three days later that Lakshman finally woke up. He woke up a few more times during those days, but only ate and slept. It seemed the terror he went through kept him drained him mentally. Then he told them what happened.
“Seriously?!” was what they exclaimed to his words.
“You met the Death Titan when we were dealing with those thieves?!” Samada asked in a shocked voice.
“Yes,” Lakshman said and nodded his head at him.
“Unbelievable…” Samada said quietly and stared at him in disbelief.
“Now it makes sense why you were so terrified,” Ranga said thoughtfully.
“Yeah! Meeting one of the Nine Pillars of Power is bad enough, but to have to meet the Death Titan of all is just… damn!” Manickyam said unhappily.
“You’re just lucky you made it out alive after meeting him,” Nagada said and he nodded his head several times.
“Master, did that creep do something to you? Did he dare to harm you in any way?!” Ondine demanded angrily.
“No, no. We just talked and when I tried to attack, my body couldn’t do anything,” Lakshman said and he looked at his hands.
“What?! You tried to attack him?! What were you thinking?! Are you so eager to die so young, Lakshman?!” Samada said in a shocked voice.
“No, but his words were taunting me. So I got angry and tried to hit him, but it didn’t work. Still, he only said a few things and showed me strange images,” Lakshman said hastily.
“He only said a few things and showed you strange images? Well, aren’t you lucky! Most people that were unfortunate to meet him never make it out alive! He’s just that dangerous of a fiend!” Manickyam said angrily.
“So what did he say and what are these strange images you mentioned?” Ranga asked curiously.
“Well… I think he said… Fear the dead, pity the living and some other things I can’t clearly remember. It felt like he was telling me something very important, but it didn’t make sense. He kept talking in short sentences, so it was hard to piece everything together.”
“Fear the dead and pity the living? Man! That guy is rotten! He’s a madman!”
“Do you wanthim to hear you call him those things? I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to pay you a night-time visit…!”
“Ah!! Don’t say that, Nagada! I don’t need those kinds of scary dreams haunting me!”
“It’s your fault for mouthing off without thinking first.”
“Alright, you two… Lakshman, tell me what he showed you. I think you said something about strange images.”
“Ah, yes. He placed his hand, made of bones, on my head and I started seeing these images of how people died.”
Samada suddenly jumped in fright and looked back at them. He wore a frightened face as Lakshman continued to speak.
“Those images were horrible. It showed so many people getting killed in so many ways it became unbearable to watch that stuff.”
“Yes, I understand,” Ranga said as he nodded at Lakshman. Then he said “Now it makes sense why you were so damn scared. Death Titan totally scared the day lights out of you! I’m surprised you didn’t throw up or something.”
“I… felt really sick, but something kept me going. I don’t know what it was, but I’m glad it did. If I had collapsed, I don’t know what would’ve happened to me,” Lakshman said and he looked worried.
“Lakshman, learn from this lesson and do not dare to do reckless things! This lesson should prove to you that, just sometimes, there are people in the world that can be dangerous when handled wrongly. You’re extremely lucky he spared your life,” Samada said in a stern voice.
“Yes, I know,” Lakshman said and hung his head in shame.
“Don’t worry, master! I’ll be there next time and we can take him on together!” Ondine said fearlessly.
“Don’t be an idiot!” Samada yelled at her and caused her to flinch in surprise. Then he said “That guy is the fifth ranked warrior from the Nine Pillars of Power, who are all Titan ranked. There is no way in hell you and Lakshman can stand a chance!”
“He’s right. You’ll need to become extremely strong to match his strength,” Nagada said while he nodded at Samada.
“Yes, I get it…!” Ondine said and she looked frustrated.
Lakshman patted her on the head and said “Its fine. I’m safe now, so it’s okay.”
“I-If you say so, master. I understand,” she said grudgingly.
After that, they continued to travel through the forests and planes. It was several hours later that they finally arrived at the capital of Rodfox.
“Welcome to the capital of Rodfox, Calmitira,” Lakshman said as he read a sign board on the road to the capital.
“Yup! We’re finally here after four days of travel. We don’t live that far from capital, but it does take a while to travel by a horse drawn wagon I guess,” Samada said cheerfully.
The wagon slowed down and went at a grudging speed. Very soon, they entered into the capital and Lakshman was amazed by what he saw. On either side of the road, there were buildings with chimneys from two floors to countless floors.
The streets were covered by people and stalls. As they passed by, they heard loud shouting of people haggling over money for a sale. Elsewhere, there were children running down the street.
It looked like a complete different world to the one he was used to.
“Alright! Where should we guys drop you off?” Samada asked as he turned around to look at them.
“Um…” Lakshman said and hesitated.
He opened his pack and pulled out the envelope his father gave him before leaving. He turned it around and saw the person he was addressed to. He remembered his father saying something about paying him a visit.
“Can you drop us off at Darian Ronald’s training centre?”
“Darian Ronald’s training centre? What are you ever going there for?”
“Dad wanted me to see him for something and hand this letter over.”
“Oh. Alright then, Darian Ronald it is.”
A few minutes later, they arrived at a building that was three floors tall. At the top, there was a label that read “Ronald Workout Training!”
“Here’s the place. Now, would you mind paying for the travel fees?” Samada asked once he brought the wagon to a halt.
“Pay the travel fee? What?” Ondine said and looked alarmed at his words.
Nagada turned and looked at him sternly and said “You little…!”
“Alright, alright! I was just joking. Just joking, okay?” Samada said and he laughed cheerfully.
Lakshman and Ondine got off the wagon and the men helped hoist their luggage down for them. Then they said their goodbyes and they went on their way. Lakshman and Ondine waved after them and turned to look at the building in front of them.
“Ronald Workout Training… I wonder what sort of training he does here,” Ondine asked curiously.
“Possibly what it says on the header board, workout and training I guess,” Lakshman said with a shrug of his shoulders.
They stared at the sign for a moment before realising they were attracting curious glances from passers-by. They quickly picked up their bags and moved towards the building. Ondine had both of her swords on either side of her belt and Lakshman had his staff on the left and sword on the right.
When they walked inside, they were amazed. The floors and ceiling were made of lumber that was painted dark red and ran down in a straight line. There was no furniture except a stool at the end of the hallway.
“Excuse me? May I be of service to you?” said a voice from the side.
They turned and saw a smiling lady walking towards them wearing clothing they had never seen before. The woman was wearing a beautifully embroidered garment which she draped over her shoulders and wrapped around her waist.
“Um…” Lakshman said quietly as he taken aback by this strange clothing the woman was wearing.
“Is there something wrong?” the woman asked curiously.
“I… uh… um…” Lakshman said vaguely.
Ondine looked at him for a moment and said “We’re sorry. This is the first time we’ve seen clothing like yours. So my master is a little speechless.”
“Oh, you’re silly. Everyone outside is wearing these clothes, although you don’t seem to be wearing them,” the woman said and she looked up and down at Ondine’s clothing.
Ondine smiled, but a sudden dark line appeared in her smile. She was a little flustered by the woman’s comment and quickly turned to Lakshman.
“Master, it’s rude to day dream! Snap out of it!” she said sharply.
“Wow!” Lakshman said as he was brought back to the present. Then, seeing the woman wearing the clothing in front of him, he asked “Um… What sort of clothing are these?”
“These?” the woman said and gestured at her clothes. When he nodded, she smiled and said “We call it Sari. It’s a traditional clothes that we from Rodfox wear, but there have been a few wearing clothes such as your woman.”
The woman indicated the clothes Ondine was wearing. Lakshman looked at her clothes as well and nodded in understanding. He did remember seeing this sort of clothing worn by ladies at special parties and functions.
Ondine became flustered and said “I’m not master’s woman! I’m his Slave Spirit!”
“Oh… So you’re a Slave Spirit…” the woman said slowly as she eyed Ondine.
Lakshman did not know if he imagined it, but he thought he saw a cold expression momentarily appear on the woman’s smiling face. Then it was gone which made him wonder if he had just dreamed about it.
The woman clapped her hands together and brightly asked “So then, may I ask why the two of you are here?”
“Um… We’re here to see Darian Ronald, the Sword King. My dad told me to meet and hand this letter to him.”
As he spoke, Lakshman handed the woman the letter. The woman looked at it for a moment, raised eyebrows and looked mightily surprised.
Then she looked at Lakshman and smiled before asking his name. When he told her his name, she beamed at him and said she will bring him right away. Then she left with a wide smile on her face that did not explain anything.
A few minutes later, she returned. Following right behind here was a kid, but he was short. Lakshman realised the kid was about the same height as him and looked to be strong. He imagined the boy to be one of Ronald’s students training here.
“Um… Lakshman, here he is. The man in charge of this entire place,” she said with a wide smile.
“Here? But… where?” Lakshman said and he began looking around.
“I’m here! I’m here, you!” said a voice from beside the woman.
Lakshman turned back to face the kid. The kid was gesturing a thumb at himself as if to say he was him. Lakshman, for a moment, thought he was imaging it, but the kid in front of him was gesturing at himself.
“You’re…?” he asked uncertainly.
“Yes!” the kid said firmly.
Ondine looked at the kid as well with a disbelieving look on her face. Then, as if realising the obvious, she questioned him.
“Kid… Don’t tell me… you’re… Darian Roland?”
“Yes! That’s me! I’m Darian Roland in the flesh!” the kid said with a smiling face and winked at them.
Lakshman and Ondine stared at him for a moment with wide eyes. Then they quickly looked at each other and each had an expression of utter disbelief.
Then they turned back to face the kid and, together, they both shouted “EHHHHHHHHHHHH?!”