Lakshman felt himself not moving at all and lying still and silent. The last he remembered, Adebola Gramstone stabbed through his chest and ripped his heart out. That was the last thing he remembered seeing before he had blacked out as his life force slowly faded away.
Now he did not know where he was, what he was doing or what was happening to him. All he was aware of was this strange sensation and emptiness surrounding him.
Just then, he heard a familiar voice calling out to him.
“Lakshman… Hey, Lakshman!”
Hearing someone calling out to him, Lakshman slowly opened his eyes and was amazed by what he saw. Everything around him was surrounded in complete darkness; the sky, the ground and the surroundings. Then he looked at himself and noticed that he was dimly glowing in a bright light.
“What the? Where am I? And what is this place?” he asked as he stared around.
Then a voice, from behind him, chuckled and said “I’m glad to see you’re using your brains.”
Lakshman quickly turned around and saw a bit confused. Although the man had the voice of the Decisive Player, he did not recognise the man’s appearance. The man wore plan white robes draped all around him. He had white eyes that can see through Lakshman. There was also a triangular star shape on the man’s forehead which he did not recognise.
The man smiled and said “What’s wrong?”
“You… Who are you?” Lakshman asked curiously while pointing at him.
The man chuckled and smiled as he said “I am the Decisive Player, except now I’m in my actual form.”
“That’s your actual form? Wow! You certainly look majestic!” Lakshman said honestly.
“Thank you for the compliment, but we have something else to discuss now that you’re here,” the Decisive Player told him. Then he gestured around and asked “Do you know where we are?”
“Uh…” Lakshman hesitated for a moment as he looked around. Then he asked “Is this the Soul Transition?”
The Decisive Player shook his head and said “No. Think back to what happened just before you arrived here.”
Lakshman thought back to the most recent events to when Adebola ripped his heart out and crushed it without remorse. With the realisation, his widened automatically.
“I’m dead… I’m dead? Ha…” he said and he suddenly looked utterly shocked at it.
The Decisive Player nodded and said “Yes and that’s how you came to the Border Plane.”
“The what?” Lakshman asked with a confused look on his face.
“Border Plane. It’s were those who died can make a choice; whether to return to the living as a ghost or move on to the next realm.”
As he spoke, he pointed upward with his hand. Lakshman looked up, but saw only darkness high above.
Lakshman looked back at the Decisive Player with a sad expression on his face as he said “I’m really dead this time…”
He was surprised when the Decisive Player shook his head and said “You’re in the process of dying. Look at your clothes.”
Lakshman looked down at himself and was surprised to see the colour slowing draining from him. His clothes were losing their colour and were becoming pure white by the second.
“When you turn completely white, then you really are dead. That’s why my appearance is completely like this and so is the appearance of Spectra. Remember?”
Lakshman nodded as he understood what he meant. Spectra, the ghost that lived in his dormitory, was murdered there by a surprise attack from behind. She was the previous owner of the Demon Slayer and felt guilt that her Sacred Spirit sealed herself beneath Astral Academy grounds. So she came back as a ghost in order to try and get someone to become the Demon Slayer’s new master.
“I see. So that’s why she looks all white with no colour at all,” Lakshman said the Decisive Player nodded at him.
“Technically silver, but it’s hard to tell the difference unless you put silver and white together to compare,” the Decisive Player said with a sigh.
He quickly shook his head and said “Anyway! I need to tell you a lot of things before I can let you return to the Physical Plane!”
When Lakshman nodded at him, the Decisive Player took a deep breath and said “Up until now, I’ve been called as the Decisive Player, the Voice of the Phoenix and the Wisdom Giver. However! Before I became known by those names, I was known as the God of Wisdom, Whamana!”
For a moment, there was a silence where Lakshman only looked at him. Once those words sunk in, he exclaimed “You’re a god?! Ha?! God?!”
The Decisive Player nodded and said “I used to be, but then I was destroyed by the God of Destruction for apparently shaming the gods when I lost to the first Phoenix Titan. This was back when the first Phoenix Titan, challenged the gods for reasons unknown. I was his first opponent and he easily defeated me without using any of his special skills he developed over the years!”
“I’ve always though the first Phoenix Titan was insane,” Lakshman said quietly and the Decisive Player smiled.
“He was then defeated by the God of Justice and was should have been punished. However, the Gods of Freedom and Justice were impressed by his desire to seek them out for the greater good. Together, the God of Sun, God of Moon, God of Elements and God of Darkness, they gave him Divine Protections, Eternal Power and the power to reincarnate.”
“Ah! So that’s how I received my awesome powers and Divine Protection of the Sun and Divine Protection of the Moon from.”
“However! After the Phoenix Titan’s deaths, a problem arose that shook the foundations of the world!” the Decisive Player said to him with a fierce look in his eyes.
“Um… What happened?” Lakshman asked curiously.
The Decisive Player sighed and asked “Have you wondered why you lacked common sense? Why you were so stupid from a very early age? Even now, you are still a bit stupid? Have you ever questioned anything about it?”
Lakshman looked unhappily at his feet and said “I just thought I was slow at developing.”
The Decisive Player shook his head and said “No! You weren’t slow at developing. In fact, the fault is not even yours because I did it!”
“I took away your common sense. I made you look really stupid and idiotic because of how much sense you lacked! Anytime I believed something would upset the balance you were headed towards, I immediately absorbed it from your system without your knowledge!”
“I did a lot of things for your sake without your knowledge so you end up being pure hearted, innocent minded and calm spirited when you finally take over the role of the Phoenix Titan!”
“B-But why?! Why did you do that to me?! Because of that, I was completely oblivious to the feelings of the girls around me! Because of that, I didn’t know a lot of things and felt really stupid about it! Why?!” Lakshman demanded the Decisive Player in a desperate voice.
“I did it so that you wouldn’t become like the past Phoenix Titans that came after the first one!” the Decisive Player told him in a firm voice.
Lakshman looked surprised and said “What?!”
The Decisive Player began pacing around as he spoke to Lakshman in a powerful voice.
“Yes! I did it in order to not turn you into those Phoenix Titan bastards! In the past, every one of them gave in to their inner feelings and did a lot of stupid things! They were lecherous, perverted, greedy, and selfish, had a great lust for power, always looking down on society and hated normality!
Each and every one of them were nothing, but losers that tainted the Phoenix Titan title. Each time a Phoenix Titan was born, they were either soft hearted or cold hearted. They were either taken advantage of or take advantages from others without ever considering their role in the world!
Eventually, this repeating cycle made me really mad and I decided to tell the God of Creation to stop reincarnating the Phoenix Titan! However… I remembered the Phoenix Titan’s words when he saved my life. As such, I wanted to try one last attempt at the reincarnation so I can personally make sure you don’t become like the rest of them.”
“I see… So that’s why I was born 8000 years after the last Phoenix Titan’s death,” Lakshman said in an understanding voice after listening to the Decisive Player speak for several minutes in silence. Then he looked concerned as he asked “Still, you don’t have the hate all the Phoenix Titans. I mean, look at the Phoenix Titan that died before me. He died by saving the world and everyone treats him like a legend.”
He was alarmed when the Decisive Player said “Ha! A legend? A hero? What a load of crap! Seriously! The people have no idea the kind of lecherous, lustful, prideful and glorious bastard he was! He kept going around the world with false identities and doing a lot of things that would make any man proud! In fact, the reason all the races around the world waged war was also his fault!”
Lakshman’s eyes widened in horror when the Decisive Player listed the kind of things the previous Phoenix Titan had done. He clenched his fists tightly and felt horrendous at knowing the dreadful history the past Phoenix Titans lead.
Now he clearly understood why the Phoenix Clan erased all recorded history of each of the Phoenix Titans because it would create a global problem if word were to get out about the Phoenix Titan’s credibility. That would undermine the power and authority of the Phoenix Clan as they are the sole peace keepers of races from sparking conflict with one another.
“So that’s why you wanted me to grow up knowing none of these. You wanted me to only show love and respect without wanting anything more than that. I always had this urge to be strong to protect those around me without asking for anything in return was all you’re doing, right?”
The Decisive Player shook his head and said “No. I had nothing to do with those things. I simply absorbed the negatives that would’ve swallowed you like the rest of the Phoenix Titans. I am glad your father was really against you learning magic because that gave me time to prepare myself.
When you learnt you could do magic, you had this strange feeling of superiority which I quickly absorbed. Then the time when you were able to use both Energy Force and Weapon Force against Ondine, I absorbed the feelings of superiority and the inferiority complex that began to develop within you. Finally, when you accidentally opened the bathroom door and saw Ondine naked, I absorbed the feeling of lust from you before you realised it.”
Lakshman looked horrified at the Decisive Player’s words and he said “What?! I-I saw Ondine… n-n-naked?!”
“Yes, you did, but everyone thought you simply forgot about it because of the strong kick she gave you to the chest. Luckily, you and none of them were ever realised my presence within you, which enabled me to quietly absorb all the negatives before they gripped you.”
Lakshman looked wide eyed and said “Oh man…! Is that why I panicked when I was seen by the girls back at Astral Academy when I accidentally stumbled upon their Holy Bath? I think that’s also why I had a hard time getting used to having all the girls together with me.”
The Decisive Player nodded and said “I absorbed the feeling of lust and replaced it with a fear of lust. Due to that, you were very scared of such things.”
Lakshman finally sighed heavily and said “So the reason I became like this was really your fault.”
At those words, the Decisive Player laughed before he said “Aren’t you glad you are this way right now? You’re treating girls with great respect and dignity, you show a great temperance when it comes to handling troublesome matters and you are now far better at controlling your powers without me having to tell you anything anymore.”
Lakshman nodded in understand and said “I understand, but why did you tell me all this right now? You know that I could’ve blamed you, hated you and did a lot of things to you with my anger, right?”
The Decisive Player looked thoughtful for a moment before he said “I did think that might happen, but I was confident in your belief in me. I knew you wouldn’t get that angry at me, knowing that I did all this for your sake. Understanding the reason and forgiving them is also a great quality you possess so I didn’t worry.”
Lakshman only smiled at him and then looked down at himself. His colours were almost gone and everything had turned pure white. If this continued, he knew he will end up dying and all of Decisive Player’s efforts would have been for nothing.
He quickly looked at the Decisive Player and said “What now? My colours are getting replaced by this white colour. Quickly or I will die!”
The Decisive Player nodded and said “The other reason I told you everything was because it’s time that you and I became one and the same.”
“Eh?!” Lakshman looked startled by his words. “What do you mean ‘become one and the same’? You don’t mean…?”
He had a horrible inclination of the Decisive Player had in mind and his suspicions were proven right when the Decisive Player said “Yes. I will hand over everything that I have to you; knowledge, wisdom, power and strength. I just can’t give you my memories because they are not yours to take.”
As he said, his whole body began to glow brightly as energy surged around him.
“Wait! WE can think of something else!”
“There is no time to hesitate. Besides, my time is over. It’s time for you to take the reins and move forward,” the Decisive Player said with a smile on his face.
The next moment, he shot a white beam of energy directly at him. Lakshman tried to get out of the way when he suddenly found that he could not move his body. The white beam of energy hit him in the chest and surrounded him in a bright glow of light.
As the energy warped around him, Lakshman screamed as he surged with power. The Decisive Player continued to figure the beam of light and soon began to groan which made him quickly place his hand on his chest. He began to turn into particles and disappear as the beam of light continued to be fired at Lakshman, who absorbed it while screaming out loud.
Then the beam disappeared and the Decisive Player was left standing there wearily. He breathed a great sigh and looked at himself. Every part of his body was slowly turning into particles and vanished. He knew he was going to disappear soon and he looked, with pride, as Lakshman was surrounded by a great amount of energy warping around him.
A few seconds later, the warping energy vanished and disappeared. Lakshman stood there with his head down as he dimly radiated in golden-red aura.
The Decisive Player took a deep breath and shouted “Lakshman Chand! You are the Phoenix Titan and you have a job to do! Go! Your world is waiting!”
At these words, Lakshman straightened up to look at him. The Decisive Player saw that he had red eyes and a strong glint in them. This suddenly made him realise he was looking directly at the shadow of the first Phoenix Titan.
Lakshman then nodded his head and said “Understood.”
In an instant, the golden-red aura covered him completely as a powerful surge of energy was released. Then he disappeared in a flash as he returned to the Physical Plane, leaving the Decisive Player standing there while his body slowly disintegrated.
Just then, he heard a voice from behind say “Are you sure it’s that time already?”
The Decisive Player turned around and saw the God of Energy, Engraut, standing there with a frown on his face.
“Yes. I’m satisfied with all that I’ve done. Now it’s time for him to take the stage and show his stuff!”
Engraut, seeing the Decisive Player disappearing, asked him “One final thing… What makes you be so confident in him?”
With his body completely disappearing, the Decisive Player smiled one last time and said “Because he is the reincarnation of the first Phoenix Titan, Asura Rangavardan.”
The Decisive Player was completely disappeared and was gone from existence itself. However, his parting words left a great impression on the God of Energy, who had raised his eyes in shock.
“Asura?! The Phoenix Titan?! Wow…! So that’s why I thought Lakshman looked familiar. Looks like I have to go and meet him soon.”
With that, the God of Energy transformed into a flowing stream of energy and disappeared from the Border Plane.