A few weeks have passed. The days have passed quietly, but the weather remained cold.
It has already been several weeks since Ondine became Lakshman’s Slave Spirit. Ever since she became a slave spirit she and Lakshman along without problems. She hasn’t raised any complaint on him. However, that changed one day when he wanted her to eat food other than just constantly drink water.
“I am not eating it!” she said firmly.
“Ah, why not?” he said in exasperation. “You can’t constantly drink water, it’s boring. Besides, you said the food tasted good the last time you ate a bit.”
“Yes, it did taste good, but I’m not interested!” she said adamantly one day after Lakshman tried to convince her into eating a spinach curry. “We water spirits are pure by nature and, as such, we prefer to rely on the substance that gives us great strength.”
“I don’t get it…” he said. “How can water give you strength and health?”
“Lucky, leave her be,” Lakshmi said after a while. “It’s no good to force someone into doing something they don’t want to.”
“But mum… she won’t be healthy if she doesn’t eat food!” Lakshman said.
Everyone around the table turned to stare at Lakshman in surprise. Then they looked at Sumara with a quizzical looks on their faces. Sumara merely shrugged her shoulders and said “I never got around to telling him about the spirits.”
Sumara then turned to Lakshman and started to explain about the spirits and their diet.
“Lucky, each individual type of spirits depend on the source of their elemental type,” Sumara said.
“I don’t… understand,” Lakshman said hesitantly and Sumara sighed.
“What I mean to say is… the spirits cannot take food like the rest of us. They can only eat what is best for them. Humans eat food because they need it. Other races have different biology than humans.”
“Really?” Lakshman asked curiously.
“Yes. Think of it like this: Ondine is a water spirit and, as a water spirit, her diet will be nothing, but water.”
“Eh?” Lakshman said with his eyes widening in surprise. “Seriously?”
“Yes,” Sumara said and nodded.
Lakshman looked at his plate of food thoughtfully. Then he looked, looking a bit concerned.
“If that is so, how come you can eat our food Miss Sumara?” he asked.
Sumara raised an eye-brow and said “That is because, unlike Ondine who is a spirit, I am a demon.”
“Oh!” Lakshman said and nodded as if he understood. “I forgot you are a demon, Miss Sumara.”
For a moment Sumara simply stared at him. Then her eyes returned to being half-open and a cold expression appeared on her face.
“Yes, I am a member of the demon race. More precisely, I am from the demon tribe Manjuvad. Our biology is similar to that of humans and we can eat their food.”
“However, that isn’t the case for the individual demon tribes,” Sumara said. “Take for instance, the demon tribe Serprad. They love to eat meat. They mostly feed off the monsters inhabiting the Demon Continent.”
“They dislike the vegetables?” Lakshman asked and he looked at his mother. “I thought they were good for you.”
Lakshmi smiled and patted her son before saying “Vegetables ARE good for you, but different races have different preferences and diet.”
“Yes,” Sumara said, nodding at Lakshmi. “Another demon tribe, called Gigatros who are comprised of giants. They live off rocks and boulders which is why they live up in the mountains.”
“What?!” Lakshman exclaimed in shock. “They eat rocks and boulders?!”
Then he made an “Hmm…” noise with his mouth as if pondering before saying “I wonder what rocks taste like.”
“You know what? That was my exact reaction when I told out about that particular tribe!” Indra said and he grinned at his son. “I couldn’t believe it. So, as a kid I tried eating rocks, but I ended up getting sick instead.”
“That’s because you were an idiot,” Lakshmi said.
“I was not!” Indra said, but he smiled for some reason.
Laughing, Lakshman turned back to Sumara.
“How can they digest such… unusual food?” he asked.
“As for how… nobody knows,” Sumara said with a shake of her head.
“We don’t have the slightest clue about them. They live so far up in the mountains that it is difficult to reach them. They do their best to seclude themselves from the rest of the world.”
“Besides, their savagery towards intruders is also another reason everyone stays away from them,” Indra said.
Lakshman raised his eyebrows after hearing his father’s comment on the Gigatros tribe.
“Have you seen them before dad?”
“Seen them? That’s an understatement!” Indra said and he suddenly looked serious. “While I was on a monster quest with many other adventurers, we ran into a few of them. They were huge, strong and sometimes I thought I might get crushed beneath their gigantic feet!”
“Unreal…” Lakshman said softly.
There was a stunned silent in the dining room. Everyone looked at Indra, looking alarmed at his words. He was a Water Style Sword Saint and a very powerful one at that. Lakshman had observed his father fight several times and came to respect him. Hearing such shocking words from such a man really drove fear into Lakshman.
Feeling the mood of the room, Indra decided to change the topic. They were straying from the main topic in any case.
“Anyway, I feel we are side-tracking the subject” Indra said, attempting to change the topic by returning it to its original course.
“Oh… right… it’s about the eating habits of the spirits, right?” Lakshman said distractedly.
After a moment’s pause, he looked back at Sumara.
“So, the food of water spirits is water. Correct?”
Sumara nodded at his statement.
“Then tell me… if it was the fire spirits, what would they eat?”
“They don’t eat,” Sumara said. “They drink the magma produced from the lava.”
“Wow…” Lakshman said softly with wide eyes. “That’s… insane…”
“Master?” Ondine asked with a puzzled expression.
Lakshman was having a hard time coming to face the reality of the situation. Fire spirits drinking magma and water spirits drinking water. This sounded bizarre for him, but he knew this was nature.
“Okay… do as you please,” Lakshman finally said and Ondine smiled happily.
“Thank you, master!” she said and she beamed at him.
Since then, Ondine drank nothing but mineral water. Lakshman, although he understood this, still couldn’t believe she lives off nothing, but water. The main problem for him is how human-like Ondine’s appearance was.
The next day Lakshman was out training in the morning. After a while later, Ondine walked out of the room. She stretched her arms wide and yawned. Then she turned and caught sight of him training.
“Good morning, master,” she said as she walked over to him.
Every early in the morning, she would join Lakshman in their morning training. At first she was downright appalled Lakshman, at the age of twelve, was capable of doing adult-like training. Soon, however, she got used to it and trained alongside him. Sometimes, they even would spar with one-another.
“Ah, morning Ondine,” Lakshman said, smiling when he saw her.
“You are up rather early master.”
“Yeah… I don’t really know why either” Lakshman said and laughed.
He returned to his training and Ondine watched him for a while in silence. After a while, Lakshman suddenly realised he was being stared at. He turned around and saw Ondine staring at him intently.
“Oh, nothing…” she said. “I… just wanted to apologise about… uh… last night.”
“What?” he said. “What’s there to apologise about…?”
Then his eyes widened as he understood the meaning behind her words. He became flustered and started making gestures toward her with his hands.
“No! You’re not the one who should apologise. In fact, the fault is mine!”
Then he turned around, looked at her before bowing deeply to her.
“I am truly sorry to make you do something you didn’t like,” he said.
Ondine was startled by his actions and she made gestures in a fluster.
“It’s my fault. I didn’t know the other races had different diet. It’s just… you look like a human, I got… you know… carried away.”
Hearing his honest words Ondine couldn’t help, but smile.
“Ah! No! It’s alright master, I understand. So… please… raise your head. This is becoming… awkward.”
With that, Lakshman straightened up and saw her smiling at him. He didn’t know why, but it felt like she was smiling more warmly towards him than before. Somehow the thought made him feel relieved.
“By the way, why do you keep calling me ‘master’?”
“I am your Slave Spirit and, as such, that is how I should address you, my master.”
“Oh… right… well… why don’t you just call me like everyone else?
Lucky will do me if you can’t do
“No!” she said loudly and startled him. “I am not calling you ‘Lucky’. You are not… Lucky!”
“Um… okay,” he said and he looked slightly disappointed. “Then, how about… Lakshman…?”
Ondine struggled slightly to get it working. Lakshman watched her struggle to call him by that name. That was when he truly felt his parents gave him a ridiculously difficult name that other races just have a hard time pronouncing.
“Oh, forget it!” he said a few seconds later.
He was tired of watching her struggle to pronounce his name. He wondered whether he should just make up a name that the other races could pronounce. Perhaps later in life, when he has to deal with them, he will make one up.
“Just call me like you usually do.”
“Ah…! Yes, master!” Ondine said and smiled.
Inwardly, he sighed, but he felt somewhat happy. For some strange reason, whenever she called him ‘master’ he felt a fluttering sensation. It almost felt pleasing to hear it from Ondine’s mouth. So, between Ondine and Lakshman she addressed him as ‘master’.
Lakshman then wondered how she would use his name to speak to others in the future. It was a worrying thought as he did not wish to get caught up in the name ‘master’. It could spark more trouble than necessary.
“Ah, it’ll be fine. Ondine isn’t stupid enough to do that… right?” he thought and worried slightly.
After training, they walked back inside. Ondine walked up the stairs and headed towards her room. This reminded Lakshman that he hasn’t visited her room yet. He thought he should probably visit her occasionally.
“Lucky, the bath’s ready!” Lakshmi called.
“Okay mum!” he called back.
He headed upstairs where their bath was located. In their fairly large home, they have two bathrooms and toilets; one located at the bottom floor and the other location at the top floor.
Lakshman sighed. It was a daily basis that he has shower after training. Lakshmi demanded that he take a shower after training because he stunk like a bad odder. Lakshman understood since he disliked how he smelled after training. After working up a great sweat, it is no wonder he would stink.
“Time for a shower… yay,” he said and smiled.
When he reached the shower, he opened the door.
Standing inside, with her back turned and butt necked, was Ondine.
Time froze for a while as they stared at each other. Then, her surprised expression soon became a fluster and her face turned bright red. Lakshman’s mouth hung open as he stared at her with wide eyes.
He continuously made those noises. It was almost like he had lost the ability to use words.
Ondine’s face flushed even redder and she glared at him with tears forming in her eyes.
She started screaming and the next instant, she kicked him. He felt a painful impact in his chest as he soared into the air. As he landed with his back to the floor, he heard her stop screaming and shut the door.
“Oh… man…” he muttered before fainting.