The two young men suddenly relaxed their pose and looked at each other.
“Totally nailed it!”
“Yep, the look on his face was great!”
The look of worry on my face suddenly shifted to confusion. Just like that, the two men’s voices shifted to that of a casual, playful tone.
“Look, Mr. Chef Electi person, we were just trying to show off a bit. It’s not often that we meet people summoned to this world, so we wanted to put on a little performance.”
“After all, we are fellow Electi, powerful people summoned from another world. The two of us can sort of get why you’re protecting that elf girl over there. She doesn’t seem like a demon to us.”
I had to mentally switch gears to handle the situation. “Wait…then what do you want with her? Why the attack?”
“Well, with the country seeing her as a demon, would you really think that any of us would arrive with nice intentions?” One of the twins made a gesture lowering his voice from the others far away. “Between us, the other family heads here still aren’t convinced, but they don’t have a choice but to obey orders from the top. Sorry about their hotheadedness.”
“Still…to come out now. What do you want with her?” I lowered my knife as the tension in the air had been lifted.
“Allow us to reintroduce ourselves. I am Sun Wen Lu, and this is my younger twin brother, Wen Zhi. Like the names that our parents gave us at birth suggest, we are the ‘Law’ and ‘Order’ of the land, the shields of the Oracle.”
As they said that, I could’ve sworn that I heard a gavel sound in the distance. Had their parents been a fan of the show? Either way, it seemed like I could maybe reason with the ‘Law and Order Sunny Boys’ here. I decided to listen to them.
“My name is Claude Evers. A chef summoned in the Kingdom of Sistina. For certain reasons, I ended up traveling to this country along with my companions, Katsys and Ludmila.” I pointed to the two beside me.
“I have been informed of your residence here. After all, the Oracle has been keeping tabs on you. The Gods have given her whispers of your arrival. This is no longer simply a matter of the summoned girl you are harboring. The presence of foreign intruders is a contention of worry as well.”
“I guess I should be glad that you’ve left us alone for so long, but what a time to come after us.”
“With this confrontation, it is no longer a matter that we can ignore. According to the country’s rules, we must apprehend you. Especially, since two of you are Electi belonging to another country.”
While I could understand their point, it wasn’t like I would give in so readily. Who knew what they had in store for us ‘intruders’? If Ludmila and I were taken away, who would guard Katsys? Who would protect Chrys? As the Sunny Boys said, the other warriors weren’t likely to be as reasonable. I wouldn’t put it past them to plot some kind of assassination in secret or something.
“And what if I refuse?” I couldn’t back down from this.
The two twins sighed. “We had hoped to avoid any confrontation against you. It is our every intention to extend an invitation from Mitsubishi family’s Kaguya to handle this situation. Not that you’ll be able to refuse it anyway, as there’s no way you’ll be able to overcome our invincible shields, so it’ll be better if you just give up and come along.”
My fist clenched at their statement. Though they had waved it off as an ‘invitation,’ they had pretty much just told us that they would forcefully bring us in if we refused. What was the deal with them?!
“You seriously think that I’ll just give in after you insisted that we have no choice?! I don’t have the slightest clue what your intentions are, or what that Miss Bitchy Kaguya has in store for us.” In my frustration, I had accidentally let my play on nicknames for people slip out.
The air immediately grew tense. “Oi, what did you just call our master?” The Sunny twins gripped their spears and thrust them forward once again. “You don’t talk shit about her!”
The two of them lunged forward, in step with each other. I dodged to the side just as the tips of their spears whizzed past my head and my stomach. Bringing my knife up, I coated it with mana and swung for the nearest guy’s weak point. However, the knife bounced off his body like I had hit a hard surface.
“Ha! That won’t work on us! Our mana shield technique is different from others!”
“Our ‘Heaven Aura Protection’ makes use of our Electi stats to provide us with unparalleled defense. Not even the fiercest warriors in the country are able to so much as make a tiny dent on it! Don’t think that you’ll be able to overpower us with your immature mana control!”
The twins mocked me as they continued their assault.
No matter what I tried, their weak points were impenetrable. As I tried to attack one, the other twin circled around and whacked me with a heavy mana-laced blow. Rather than being stabbed by the spear tip, it felt like I was being hit with an I-beam as it slammed into my left arm. A burst of pain was felt as I was sent hurtling to the side.
I rotated my body to negate the momentum, using it to swing my knife in response. Once again, the hard defense of their bodies had turned my normally deadly swings into child’s play.
In the corner of my eye, I saw the familiar attacks of a magic shot and a palm strike approach from different locations. However, the twins caught those attacks and simply shrugged them off. Was there nothing that could penetrate their defenses?
The twins split up to chase after them. Not giving up, Katsys continued to shoot bursts of maximum magic while keeping her distance, while Ludmila danced in the air trying to use her speed to nail her opponent somehow.
However, neither one of the twins needed to guard, letting all of their attacks dissipate on the surface of their mana armor. Instead, they directed their focus on attacking the two girls, who were slowly getting overwhelmed due to expending energy on both attacking and defending.
Shaking off the numbness of my left arm, I ran forward to help them. Yet, not even my help would be of much use. The twin facing Ludmila turned around and took me on, deciding to ignore the buzzing of Ludmila around him like a harmless fly. Unable to damage him at all, Ludmila’s speed was of no concern to him.
As I tried to carve my knife into his body somehow, I saw Katsys get hit from the corner of my eye. Having the lowest defensive capability, one hit was all it took for her to crumple to the ground unconscious. In my anger, I swung a bit too wide, leaving my side open for an attack. Of course, this was not lost on my foe, who slammed his spear into my shoulder blade, spinning me into his brother who was waiting to receive.
“Spear of the Thunder Dragon!”
A burst of mana slammed into my front, causing my nerves to shriek out in pain. The area around my chest, back, and torso felt like it had been electrocuted by the spear he thrust at me. As the crackling subsided, I lost my balance and fell on my backside. Other than a slight bending of my arms and legs, my body refused to cooperate anymore. Rolling onto my side by clawing at the ground was the most I could muster. Clutching my hands against my chest took immense will to dull the screams of discomfort echoing still.
“Give up. The match is over. I zapped your mana centers, your vital points that control the flow of mana throughout your body. It’s going to take a few hours, at least, for functionality to return.”
I watched helplessly as the other twin turned his attention back on Ludmila and delivered a wide area mana attack around his perimeter. Ludmila had been essentially caught in a bug zapper. Her body dropped to the ground with wisps of smoke coming off her.
Strong. They were ridiculously strong.
Even though there were two Electi on both sides, it wasn’t even a close match. Why was there such a difference? Was it a matter of experience? I couldn’t see their stats to judge, but I had the feeling that they had been in this world longer than I had, given the techniques that they used.
Wen Lu and Wen Zhi turned their attention to the Kinkou family and Chrysanthemum, who were next to the house. Chrys had a look of panic on her face, having seen her three friends get taken out. Judging by how they were walking over to her now, the two men had deemed the three combatants as unable to continue. Though they had saved her from the angry mob that she was summoned right in the middle of, she hadn’t expected for them to risk so much to protect her. The smile of the older brother-like person casually calling her ‘Chrys’ floated in her mind. She didn’t want this to happen to him. To any of them.
As she painfully looked away from the awful scene, the old man named Lau gave the other two ladies a glance. The hand on her shoulder gave off a slight pressure at that moment. She looked up to see the two ladies nod, understanding what Lau had signaled for them to do.
Chrysanthemum didn’t like this feeling. She had felt this way before. The gazes of people looking to sacrifice themselves for her sake, the cries of despair as people were slowly shaved away from her life – she was too young to understand for what reason this kept happening. If things played out like before, then she would end up alone once again. The sole survivor of her family…her village…her race.
She remembered. At that instant, she remembered the final moments right before she left her previous world. She had been completely alone, the lifeless bodies of the ones she lived with lost in a blaze that engulfed everything that she knew. Before she could comprehend the events that had transpired, she was left to walk the desolate earth in search for anyone to reach out to.
Had she been the only one lucky enough to escape death? As she wandered farther and farther, that thought had turned into one of bitter despair. How could one be lucky in this situation? Rather, she seemed to be the unluckiest person to be left alone in this cold and barren world.
That was why, when she saw a mysterious light in front of her, she didn’t hesitate to bid her world farewell.
Chrysanthemum, or rather Chrys, tore herself away from Kanade’s hold. Ignoring the look of surprise on Lau’s face as she dashed forward, her small frame stopped in front of the two men who had their weapons raised. She knew not how to fight like the others, but it didn’t matter. How could she settle on staying back like she had done before? She was lucky enough to find people willing to stand with her again. She was blessed with the feeling of a family, however short it may have been.
Though her body trembled as the two men towered over her, her eyes spoke a different message.
‘Come at me. I won’t give in to you.’
The earnestness of her gaze caught the attention of both Wen Lu and Wen Zhi. Her crystal green eyes sucked them in so much that they were late in noticing a pair of knives sailing through the air at their backs.
Wen Zhi simply turned around and let it hit his shield, while Wen Lu dodged slightly to the side.
To their surprise, the chef that they had knocked down not long ago had risen to his feet, his hands extended forward after throwing mana-infused knives at them. A blazing fury emitted from him, telling them that the fight was far from over.