My attack stat… – V11 Chap 327 – A Certain Time Once Again (1)

“Why does it feel like it’s all been done before?”

Those words escaped my lips as Katalina and I walked out of the lecture hall, the last class of the day completed. It was now the weekend. I wasn’t sure why I was surprised, but the coursework seemed to make sense as I was listening to the professor lecturing.

“I would certainly hope my tutoring is helping to connect the dots. All you needed was a little motivation, some time to buckle down and pay attention. Rather than giving up on the first attempt.”

Katalina held a smug smile, adjusting her glasses like one did with pride. She was fishing for compliments.

“All the thanks to you, campus genius. You are the queen of the engineering prospects!”

I bowed before ‘Her Royalness’. Katalina was indeed the top scorer of this year’s students, flying through the exams with perfect scores. Already, she was eyeing some research labs that piqued her interest. That was a stark contrast to me, who only managed to do well under her guidance.

“Of course. What girlfriend would leave you flustering in the dark? Especially when potential can shine with the slightest bit of polish?”

I chuckled at those words.

‘Potential’. That was certainly not a word that I described myself with. I felt average, in everything that I tried to do. At least, that was the case until Katalina butted in after an exam one day.

“Hey, don’t you think you’d do better if you weren’t… sleeping in class?”

I turned to the random girl sitting next to me in the lecture hall, after putting aside the 77 that I received on the exam. She was staring intently at it, making me feel self-conscious.

“What does it matter? I did better than the average. It’s probably good enough. Even if I did pay attention, the concepts just fly over my head and then I get sleepy.”

The exam paper was shoved in my face right after that, stifling the yawn that I was keeping back.

“I wouldn’t call this ‘concepts flying over your head.’ You clearly understood them. There were just mistakes in its execution.”

My eyes widened at her insistence. Something captured my attention about her. And even as the other students left the lecture hall, we stayed there alone, reviewing what I had done wrong.

Flipping formulas around, miswritten symbols, and lazy math – Katalina could see that the flow of the problem-solving had been correct, but carrying mistakes through the calculation had been my downfall.

I never cared about such details before, but here was a girl that was wasting her time on me, putting in the effort to point out what I did wrong. All on her own.

That was enough reason for me to listen to her. To focus on what she was trying to tell me.

Sure enough, focus was the key. Putting myself into something fully had never been my forte, but Katalina saw through that. She nudged me forward, through the walls that I thought were too high. And gradually, my grades improved, to the point where I was quickly catching up to her.

“Say, why are you helping me so much? What’s in it for you?” I asked her one day.

Katalina paused what she was doing and smiled before turning to me.

“My mind is more structured, so while I can grasp things well, it takes a while to do so.”

She pointed a finger at me, like an accusation.

“But you… it just comes to you. While it seems like you grasp things shallowly, suddenly, you pick up on something that I don’t even notice. You are a free spirit, letting your whims guide you. And simply being with you is a lot of fun.”

Katalina surprised me by bending forward to steal a kiss. The suddenness of it made me freeze, but a moment later, I realized that our little study sessions had been lighthearted and warm in between all the work.

The girl before me had worried so much about keeping up her studies that she simply forgot to have fun. While she had given me the focus I needed to succeed, I had, in turn, swept her up into the joys of daily life, bringing her something to look forward to besides her achievements.

After several months of dating, we were at this point, at the top of the class and enjoying every bit of the college life.

“Well, my parents are certainly happy to see you coming through for me. You don’t know how much they were on my case about my grades before this.”

“Then, we should pay them a visit since it’s the weekend, should we not?”

“Of course, Katalina. But let’s not interrupt a well-deserved evening for ourselves before that. I’m sure they’ll be dialing me up tonight to get me to swing by like every other Saturday.”

“Better than avoiding them. I know I would want to see you more than once a week.”

Katalina drew me into a hug and kissed me on the cheek, rubbing the top of my head like a mother would. I went to push her off out of embarrassment, but then, a thought came to me.

I drew a finger lightly from the base of her skull down her neck, causing her to shiver and back away.

“You know that makes me jump!” Katalina puffed her face in feigned annoyance, but I simply laughed at her antics. Seeing that it didn’t work on me, she took my arm and dragged me back toward the apartments.

That was the nature of our relationship – making the most of our college days. I felt rather fortunate that such luck turned its gaze upon me.


The next day, Katalina and I stood in front of an aged building that had a distinctly oriental feel. Although the place itself had no unique architecture compared to the normal suburban setting, foreign charms and blessings of luck adorned the entrance.

Opening the door, a light breeze brushed past me, like it spilled from the new opening that was made. It was strangely invigorating to step through this threshold, greeted immediately by ornate pottery, statues, plants and mirrors – all seeming to glow from the natural light that came from the windows.

“This place always has a welcoming feel to it, doesn’t it?” Katalina chirped.

“Well, that’s Feng Shui for you. A pretty big deal when the intent of the business is for healing.”

I stared at the open design of the lobby, decorated in the tastes of traditional culture while being easy to maneuver through. The receptionist immediately took note of us and beamed an acknowledging smile, like one did to the son of a Master’s home. A few elderly customers were lounging back in the waiting area for their turn, sifting through Chinese newspapers and watching a foreign news program.

We barely took two steps before a short, Asian lady in a long robe burst into the lobby.

“There you are! Come give me a hand, Claude. We mustn’t let hard-earned technique go unpolished!”

I sighed and scratched my head, taking the plain robe that was thrust upon me by my mother. I always felt like some temple monk when wearing such things.

“Go ahead, I don’t mind waiting. You have to show off a bit from time to time. Otherwise, there’s no point being your examination dummy.”

Katalina patted me on the back to offer a boost of confidence. She had experienced first-hand how much my backrubs helped whenever she grew stiff from studying. I was super cautious at first, not wanting to hurt her. But over time, I had developed a knack for it.

Mom noticed as well, letting me cultivate that technique on some of her customers. When I complained that I didn’t need such things to be an engineer, she shot back with a sly grin.

“You act so stiff, and your girlfriend will find someone else more willing.”

That and a similar grin from Katalina was all the ammunition to tear down the hesitancy that was walled around me. Working on other people was the same as Katalina. If I could put in the care needed to take care of her aches and pains, then surely, I would care less what a stranger thought of me.

My hands kneaded the tight muscles of an elderly gentleman, feeling them grow less tense with every moment. The same pressure points that I had performed time and time again on Katalina were bringing relief to another.

“How’s that, Mr. Chun? Can you pivot your arm for me?”

He swung it back, rotating fully without any issue. He had injured his shoulder lifting up his granddaughter in a big swing. The standard pain meds didn’t seem to help, so he checked into this clinic.

“Good, thanks. I still have a bit of trouble putting any weight on it, but it no longer bothers me when I stretch. I do feel a bit of numbness along my pinky finger.”

“There is internal bruising in the area,” Mom commented. “It takes time to break up that clump of damaged tissue and for the body to heal. Fortunately, we can aid the process by channeling your qi to the area. Claude, press that groove under his elbow 15 times.”


After a few strokes, I noticed Mr. Chun’s pinky twitch a few times, which indicated that his nerves flared up from the pressure point.

“Good. Now-”

“I know. Pinky and ring bones in the hand, starting at the base of the finger and three points inward.”

Katalina watched from the nearby window with keen interest. It was not every day that someone like her saw the mysteries of Eastern medicine.

All the talk of qi and pressure points was one thing I was skeptical of, but in practice, it worked.

Massages improved blood circulation and broke up tissue damage for the body to process more efficiently. Medicated oils and scents relaxed the body and triggered an immune response. There was science in millennia of folklore and myths, despite people’s shots in the dark at explaining feelings and vibes that sounded like grasping upon blind hope.

But even if one couldn’t define why it was that something worked, faith could be placed in its outcome. It was evident on Mr. Chun’s face as he relaxed enough to fall asleep on the massage table. It was evident from the entire career that my mother built for herself. And it had even taken hold of Katalina, who looked on like such a healing touch was a work of magic.

My mother placed a hand on my shoulder, giving me a look of approval.

“Good. I won’t have to worry if either of you two get hurt when I’m not around. I can take care of the rest. Father wants to see you as well. ‘Be prepared.’”

A grin graced her cheeks as she stepped back and blew out the incense that filled the room with a comforting odor. I exited the room, took off the robe and hung it up. Mom was already talking with another patient, her eyes focused completely on the man while explaining the source of his issues.

I stood there for a moment, staring. She casually jabbed a finger at a few spots, causing the man to comically recoil in pain. I was still an amateur compared to her…

“Say, Claude…,” Katalina whispered to me. “How much do you believe in the concepts of spirituality and inner strength that come into play with such healing?”

“Enough, I guess? To feel the vibe and know what I need to do. To trust my fingers as to where to go and connect my thoughts and feelings into one.”

“That is what you are good at, Claude. Taking initiative when it comes to helping out. If there is a reason, then you forget all about what you can’t do, and instead, you look like her. Feeling around in the darkness, not letting a bit of failure and complaining take hold.”

We watched as the howls of pain settled down, replaced by little yelps of discomfort. The expression on the new patient’s face went from seething to surprise. The source of his troubles was apparently not what he believed at first. The body was a mysterious vessel.

Focus – to get what was needed done and succeed. Perseverance – to hold onto the faith that one knew what they were doing.

Even if practicing Eastern medicine wouldn’t help me find a job, it taught me character. And not until Katalina pushed me forward did I step up and take it upon myself to accept that extended hand.

“Alright, let’s go! I’ll see what grunt work Dad wants me to tackle for a busy meal rush!”

“Yay! Lunch at a fancy restaurant!… but won’t you be too busy helping out to eat? Staff is usually really busy during mealtimes, right?”

“You know… you could wait with me….”

“No way. A smart girl needs her calories!”

My attack stat… – V10 Chap 326 - Cycle Re:Start
My attack stat… – V11 Chap 328 - A Certain Time Once Again (2)