“What?! That’s impossible! There’s no way you should be able to stand up, much less use your mana so soon!” One of the twins yelled at me.
“Oh, is that so? Then, it looks like you may have underestimated me,” I said trying to act smug.
Seeing them go after Chrys, who had bravely stepped out, lit a fire within me. As I struggled to think of my options while essentially paralyzed, I recalled what Sunny Boy #1 said when I was struck.
“I zapped your mana centers, your vital points that control the flow of mana throughout your body.”
That statement felt strangely aligned with what I did to people after striking their pressure points. If a strike could be used to shut down the flow of mana through one’s body, then couldn’t the opposite also happen? There were pressure points that were specifically used for healing, which I hadn’t thought to use before. Though I did sometimes message my muscles after a workout, which seemed to be quite effective, I had stopped short of jabbing myself in the pressure points for fear of what it would do.
However, I had no other choice now. Barely able to move my body and only able to muster a small amount of mana on my fingertip, this was the only option left.
I clenched my teeth and jabbed myself a few centimeters below my belly button, hoping that I remembered the correct spot. This was a spot that supposedly improved metabolism and increased strength temporarily. A few seconds later, my eyes widened as I felt a dam burst within me. Rather than reversing the effects, now I felt a huge rush overcome me. The air around me felt like it had caught on fire, and my limbs were tingling with excitement.
What was this burst of energy that I was feeling? It seemed like my mana was flaring up uncontrollably, making it hard for me to contain it. From seeing many situations like this one in games and anime, I subconsciously suspected that this would not last long. I had to quickly act upon it.
With a quick motion, I grabbed some knives from my Item Box and laced them with mana before hurling them forward. The Sunny Boys turned around, noticing that I had been revived.
Of course, they were surprised to see me bounce back, but there was one reaction that bothered me.
‘Why did one of them dodge?’
If they had an impenetrable defense, why would either of them bother dodging at all? They’d just be tanking through each of the hits like a freaking Juggernaut. There would be no reason to be afraid of a dinky chef knife sailing towards them.
Suddenly, a stupid thought ran through me. ‘It couldn’t be…that would be just silly.’ However, I had no other ideas about how to fight them. At least, the two of them had turned away from Chrys and re-focused their attention on me. I could see her worriedly staring as the fight resumed.
Picking up my main knife, I envisioned a layer of flame coating it, like I had done when fighting slimes. Since my magic power was still rather insignificant, coating it with fire was the most that I could manage. I charged forward, feeling swifter than I felt before. My target was the twin that dodged the knife before.
The fire-imbued blade quickly approached Sunny Boy #1. Seeing no sense of panic in his eyes, I watched as the blade harmlessly bounced off his mana shield.
Behind me, Sunny Boy #2 had been cautiously studying me, gauging when to charge in. This kind of behavior felt more and more aligned to my silly guess.
“I don’t know what you have planned, but don’t think that adding magic to your knife is going to help you any. We have the perfect defense!”
Still, I continued swinging my fire knife at him, giving him the sense that I was trying for a last-ditch assault. As he stood there mocking my attempts, I quickly drew another knife that I had stashed in secret.
Blood dripped from Sunny Boy #1’s arm and fell to the ground. The knife that I had in my left hand had been coated with mana rather than magic. While I had been busily distracting him with blows from the fire knife, I had slipped in a strike with my other hand.
Sunny Boy #2 dashed towards me to support his brother, but I turned around and slashed towards him with my right hand. Immediately, he dodged the blow.
A look of realization dawned on their eyes. They could tell that I had stumbled upon their secret. Usually, mana shields were supplied by mana or MP, which dulled attacks regardless of what their nature was. What mattered was how well one could densify and supply mana. However, this ability didn’t seem to be the case.
Though they had referred to themselves as Elect of Impenetrable Defense, their abilities were not one and the same. Like the defensive spells ‘Protect’ and ‘Shell’, it seemed to have a strength in either Def or MgDef. By applying a magical nature to my blade, the magic defense nature kicked in, rather than defense for mana-imbued attacks. That meant that the Sunny Boys were Electi that possessed a superior rating in only one of the stats but not the other.
However, by using their identical appearances as twins, they could pull off the notion that nothing could possibly hurt them. Simply by switching places, their opponents could lose track of which twin could be harmed. Thus, the illusion that they were invulnerable could be cast.
Luckily, there was now a large cut on Sunny Boy #1 that made it easier to tell the difference. The one with the cut was vulnerable to physical attacks, whereas Sunny Boy #2 needed a magic strike. I mentally scoffed at this gimmick that one would find for a boss in a video game.
As the twins started to attack me in a coordinated fashion, I swung both of my knives to intercept. Even though I could tell which one was which now, they were both decent fighters. I couldn’t let this drag on.
Mana wrapped around both of my knives and extended them to the length of a sword. Favoring my right hand which could attack more swiftly, I quickly sent a flurry of attacks to distract Sunny Boy #1; he could hardly defend against the rapid strikes that required no power behind them. Eventually, sharp blows from my left broke through his defenses, leaving long cuts on his chest and thigh.
“Brother Lu!” Sunny Boy #2 cried out.
The other twin, presumably Wen Zhi, dashed in front of me, shielding his brother from further injury. Randomly alternately blows between both of my knives, Wen Zhi had to focus to block the dangerous fire blade, but my attack pattern made it difficult not to draw his eyes to the other knife at times. Eventually, the attacks slipped through his guard, and circles of blood started appearing on the surface of his robe. With a wide swing of his spear, he tried to make some distance between us to recollect himself.
“It seems…that we have misjudged you…To be matched up against such an opponent, Master had warned us that we would lose. Her predictions tend to be frighteningly true,” Wen Zhi exclaimed, clutching his robes. Slowly, the color of blood dyed more of the fabric.
“Brother, let’s dispel our ‘Heaven Aura’ technique. It is useless now against him!”
“You’re right. It’ll do us more harm now that he knows what to attack us with.”
The strong aura that they generated faded from sight.
“Mind if I ask you a question?” I said to the two of them, in which they looked at me strangely. “Why are there injuries on your body? I only cut your mana shields.”
“Tch. It’s cause ‘Heaven Aura Protection’ is an extension of our body, complete with its stats. If you damage it, then the physical harm transfers,” Wen Zhi grumbled.
I didn’t expect one of them to actually answer me, but now, I understood why they had undone it. I found it strange that they were bleeding even though I hadn’t cut through their clothing.
“Then, please dispel it. This is not a knife meant to cut people.” Thankfully, my attacks had been shallow. I preferred to knock out human opponents than inflict visible injury.
“Worrying about your opponent at a time like this? How strange of you.”
The twins held up their spears once again. This time, they were normal fighters with the standard mana shields. I gripped my knives again waiting for them to make a move.
“That is enough!” A feminine voice called out from the distance.
Immediately, the tips of their spears drooped downwards, and their stances relaxed. Everyone’s attention shifted to the carriage where the voice had come from.
A beautiful young lady stepped out from it. Dressed in a robe that had the pattern of the sun and the moon on either side of a glowing eye, she gracefully stepped down and walked forward. The warriors made a path for her to walk through, and as she passed, their heads were bowed in fealty. Her black hair glistened in the sun, and her face had a stern, but kind look. I could feel her eyes locking directly onto me as she slowly made her way closer.
Ludmila and Katsys had sat up at some point, entranced by what was happening. Looking over to Lau and the Kinkou sisters, they had bowed their heads. This girl must be the Oracle. I put away my knives in respect for her authority, though I stopped short of bowing myself because I wasn’t sure of the proper etiquette.
“Greetings, Electi from a foreign land. My name is Kaguya Mitsubishi, Oracle of our beloved country of Sanshiro. I apologize for the actions of my guards, Sun Wen Lu and Sun Wen Zhi. Though I had the intention of having them duel you in a more dignified setting, they can be a little hot-headed. Please forgive them.”
“So, you were going to make me fight regardless, huh?”
“My apologies, but I had to verify whether you were the man that I had dreamt about. Words from the divine beings are rarely straightforward and clear. However, what you have demonstrated against my guards has shown me that you are undoubtedly the one. Please, I humbly ask you to hear my words at the castle.”
With that statement, Kaguya lowered her head in front of me, drawing gasps from the crowd. There were looks of disbelief in their eyes. The situation felt rather awkward, like a queen bowing to a simple commoner.
I looked around at my companions who gave me nothing but blank stares. Scratching my head, I sighed.
“Alright, if you’re asking this nicely, then it would be bad of me to refuse. Just wished that it would’ve started off this way.”
“You started it by badmouthing our master, you know?” Wen Zhi complained.
“Well, how would you act, if you were randomly being arrested?” I retorted in response.
Katsys walked up at that moment, with Ludmila trailing behind. “It seems that there are misunderstandings and unnecessary ill will created on both sides. How about we start over from the beginning?”
Brushing herself off, Katsys gave an elegant bow. “I am Katalina Bastia de la Sistina, Princess of the Kingdom of Sistina. These are my companions. Knight Claude Evers and his servant Ludmila.”
Despite the plainness of the robes that she was wearing, her gestures shone through like that of a true person of royalty. It was Kaguya and her entourage’s turn to be surprised.
“Brother, you just whacked a princess. Hope their country doesn’t sign your death sentence,” Wen Zhi jeered at him.
“Oh, shut it. How was I supposed to know? What princess shoots magic from guns like it’s some kind of sci-fi flick?”
“It seems like many explanations are in order. If possible, I would like to have you as my guests immediately. I will arrange for a carriage for everyone.” Kaguya gestured to some servants who nodded in response. Afterward, she took several steps over to where Lau and the others were standing.
“Neiya, head of the Kinkou family, and Warrior Lau Ki Young, please join us along with your family. The matters that I speak of pertain to you as well.”
“We humbly oblige.” Neiya bowed with hands placed together in a prayer.
Later that afternoon, we all headed to the castle, located in the capital city of Yakuman.