In the middle of Yakuman stood a tall castle, which was separated from the rest of the city by a large moat. A lone bridge stretched between the castle and the city, the only entryway into the home of the Holy Sovereign ruler of Sanshiro.
However, the previous ruler had passed away a few years ago, leaving behind a daughter who possessed the gift of foresight. Kaguya Mitsubishi, known to most as the current ‘Oracle,’ was but a woman from a long line of family members who had been apparently ‘touched’ by divine beings. Stories were passed down that one of their ancestors had been a great hero blessed by the Gods. As such, daughters were occasionally born with the ability to hear their voices, mostly through dreams. These maidens were made into ‘Oracles’ who used their gifts to detect dangers to their country, and possibly, to the world.
With no current ruler established, Kaguya filled in for the time being until she married someone, who would become the next Sovereign ruler. Being a young lady in her early twenties, she already went through a multitude of marriage meetings with various young bachelors of the different warrior families. However, she had rejected them all for the time being. As an ‘Oracle’, her powers were likely to be highly sought after by the various families. Not wishing to be a mere pawn to be used by the next Sovereign ruler, there were many things that Kaguya wished to do before potentially losing her role at the top. Especially since she had been getting a strong message in her dreams repeatedly over the course of the past few months, she could not lose her grip on this country before her premonitions had come into fruition.
The words from the divine beings were often muddled and vague, like there was difficulty translating their thoughts into those of the common tongue. In Kaguya’s case, her dreams contained a soft, gentle voice of a woman who repeated these words:
The fortunate demon, shielded by those foreign of our ways.
The blade of tongue shall cleave the unreachable sun and moon.
Without one or the other, towns will fall, and evils rise.
Together, they shall walk into the flames of disaster, undaunted by catastrophe.
But beware, though their bellies may be fed, the rages of war lie ahead.
Let not your companions be consumed, lest the inner flame drive you to oblivion.
Lost ones – seek the goddess and open thine eyes to truth.
An insurmountable courage is required to overcome the trickster’s will.
But let thy power be constrained, lest He shall awaken.
His grasp envelops the world, its future crumbling into ruins.
As everyone sat around a fancy knee-high table, I tried to wrap the words around my head. Even scribbling them into my notebook and staring holes through the paper didn’t seem to help. It looked like the others were similarly lost in thought.
“What do these words mean, Lady Kaguya?” Neiya spoke up at that moment.
“Much of these words have meaning that is not quite clear to me. Though I cannot imagine that they are mere statements of insignificance as they have been repeated many times. However, the recent events have revealed to me at least some part of it.” Kaguya traced the scroll that she spread out onto the table, which contained the calligraphy of her prophetic dream.
“What we know so far is the identity of the two in the first lines – First, the fortunate demon, shielded by those foreign of our ways. That is undoubtedly, the young Miss Chrysanthemum, whom our people have mistaken as a demon but possesses the Electi blessing of Luck. Our country has isolationist policies to prevent the teachings of body and spirit cultivation from spreading to other lands, so the sight of outsiders protecting her was particularly conspicuous. Particularly, one that looks more suited in the kitchen.”
I facepalmed. I had thought about changing my clothes at some point, but the chef uniform possessed far superior stats than normal clothing. Maybe it was due to laziness, but it seemed less troublesome to just wear the same thing. Hence, my Item Box was packed with articles of the same uniform.
“Which brings me to the next line…The blade of tongue shall cleave the unreachable sun and moon. The Sun and Moon in this case are obvious from the patterns on my robe. They are the traditional protectors of the Oracle-“
“Ah, the Impregnable Shields, Sun Wen Lu and Sun Wen Zhi!” Katsys yelled, pointing at the two twins on either side of Kaguya.
“Eh? Is that so? At least, I didn’t have to journey to find legendary beasts. That saves the trouble of Katsys inventing a Master Ball…”
The room collectively shot me a look of confusion at my random statement.
“Excuse him. He does that sometimes. I imagine that it’s some peculiarity from his old world.” Katsys bowed.
‘Thanks, Katsys. I thought you liked my quirkiness.’
Kaguya covered her mouth as she giggled. “Don’t worry. Wen Lu and Wen Zhi sometimes mention things that go over my head, too. Things like fictional currency that could be ‘mined’ and such.”
“However, cleaving the sun and moon with a blade of tongue? What a strange scene that seems to paint.” Lau fiddled with the little hairs on his chin.
“I was confused at first at the statement, but after discovering that there existed an Electi whose trade was in the culinary arts, the meaning finally became clear. A chef would cut my guards, who were thought to be invulnerable. I wished to have them battle you to confirm that prediction.”
“I see. Therefore, this prophecy is somehow centered on me and Chrys.” I bent over and scanned the next lines. “Sounds like without one of us, some disaster is going to happen.”
“Yes, though I know not the specifics, destruction, war, a bleak future – these are things that the prophecy is pointing to, but as to how to avert them, we do not have a clue. That is why I wished to talk to you. To see if there is some insight your knowledge can give us. Though the words come from a heavenly being, they are left to our own interpretation. That is the responsibility of the Oracle.”
Looking at Katsys and Ludmila, we decided to let Lady Kaguya know how we had ended up here, and the danger of the Chancellor who we had suspected to be the demon that attacked Sanshiro long ago. Given that they had opened up to us now, having a strong ally in a neighboring country would undoubtedly be useful.
“To think that a demon could remain in such a stable form for decades. That is unfathomable. I do not understand why Father never took steps to deal with it. Though many in this country would rather ignore the plights of outside nations, the threat of a demon is universal.” Kaguya wrinkled her brow as she sighed with regret.
I raised a hand to catch everyone’s attention.
“There’s something that still bothers me. The reaction of some of the warriors when they saw us. Do they have something against Electi? There was some mention of anomalies and purple flames and such. Is there some strange perception about Electi in this country? I mean, aren’t we just summoned beings that protect a master?” I looked over to Wen Lu and Wen Zhi, who were nervously fidgeting on how to respond. They kept looking over to Kaguya for what to do.
“It’s okay, Wen Lu, Wen Zhi. Though I am hesitant to talk about it, we must garner their trust if we wish for their aid against possible calamity.”
The twins stood up and opened their status menus. As I had thought, Wen Lu had an extremely high MgDef stat, whereas Wen Zhi specialized in Def. Conversely, they were bad in the other stat, making them rather fragile against even low-level attacks. Of course, their stats were still better than my Atk or Mag, so I doubt that I could damage them normally. However, I was so used to aiming for weak points that this no longer mattered anymore.
Nodding to Ludmila, the two of us showed our status windows as well.
“Spd and Crit? How peculiar. Dwah?! What is with that?! Atk and Mag in the single digits?! I got cornered by someone with these stats?!” Wen Zhi stomped around in a fuss.
“Calm down, brother. The fact that he did so well against us means that he managed to overcome it.”
“I know, but still. Those stats…”
“Wen Lu! Wen Zhi! Now is not the time. You can ask for a rematch at your own leisure.” Kaguya appeared to know exactly how to work her guards, as the twins hurriedly sat back down to continue the discussion.
Clearing her throat, Kaguya continued. “Sun Wen Lu and Sun Wen Zhi are my summoned familiars. I was rather surprised when the both of them appeared from the same ritual, but they have served me well. The general view of Electi in this country is…not the most favorable. Though summoning is not particularly rare, warriors scorn opponents who use summoned beings to aid them in battle. Even more so when the summoned being is a person known as an Electi. The sense of pride in fighting with your own body is merely a belief that is passed on to the general public. The true reason for that is deep inside your bodies.”
Pointing at my stomach, I tried to look down to see what she was talking about.
“One cannot easily see what I am talking about normally, but look deep at your companion, past the sensation of mana flowing through her body, and seek her very core. Only those that have trained their senses are able to see what we wish to keep secret to the public.”
I used my ‘Eyes of Providence’ to try looking at Ludmila, but other than the typical weak points that dotted her outfit, I couldn’t see anything. There were wisps of mana coming off her body, but my vision couldn’t penetrate any deeper.
Neiya scooted over and touched my shoulder. “Apologies, but this one has yet to train in mana detection. Though he has a skill that acts as a shortcut, what he merely sees is on the surface.”
“Oh, that’s surprising, given his capabilities. Would you care to be his guide?” Kaguya stared blankly, overlooking that foreigners rarely trained in such specialties.
Neiya enveloped me in an embrace from behind and placed her left hand over my eyes. At first, I only felt the soft ruffling of her robes, but soon, the sensation of her mana danced around me. What started off as a complete sense of darkness slowly changed as her mana drifted through the air like soft, blue dye diffusing through the room. Vague outlines of the people around me started materializing as the mana reached them.
However, Neiya’s mana started focusing on Ludmila in front of me, interacting with hers which gave off a slightly different hue. I could slowly see Neiya’s mana slide between the folds of Ludmila’s and enter her body. As more and more mana seeped into the body of Ludmila, the pathways of her mana flow became more evident. The pulsing of life decorated her body as I could see it shift minutely with the rhythm of her breathing and the beating of her heart. My vision was sucked into this awe-inspiring view that I had never experienced before.
Just then, a small purple glow had been revealed. In the pit of her stomach, a shining purple flame flickered in her body. It gave off a glow that felt oddly familiar. As I pondered where I last had the same feeling, my blood suddenly went cold.
That purple flame had a similar feel to that of a demon.
I instinctively looked away and cast my eyes on someone else – this time Katsys. Her body had been highlighted in a similar manner, but what I cared about at the moment had been her core. To my relief, her flame had a bluish tint, similar to the mana around it. No matter how long I stared at it, no trace of purple had popped up.
Taking her hand away from my eyes, my vision immediately returned to its natural state. Kaguya’s voice broke me from the look of shock that was plastered on my face.
“I take it that you found the core of an Electi. Yes, those who are summoned are unlike those who are born in this world. They give off a similar signature as those that have become demonized.”