After the bombs had fallen and demolished the enemy stationed at the first gate, Wen Zhi led the charge forward. With his great defensive capabilities, he plowed through the remaining enemies, hardly feeling the blows coming at him. A single swing of his spear blew away each warrior like piñatas due to his much higher level.
At the same time, a small figure in a frilly, feminine outfit looked quite out of place as she zoomed through the battlefield, homing in on her targets. Scanning the battlefield for the strongest warriors, Ludmila looked every bit like a battle maid, which took them by surprise as she quickly materialized before their eyes. With the chaos that had erupted from the bombing, which had erased any advantage in numbers, the small blur of a frilly maid gliding up to them was more reminiscent of a hallucinated fairy that had appeared in their vision. The slight smirk on her face caused them to let their guard down, and before they knew it, their vision shook and turned to black.
“Too easy…” Ludmila’s mana strikes were met with hardly any resistance.
Within a matter of minutes, the remaining enemies had been completely toppled with hardly any losses to Wen Zhi’s side. They continued marching onward until a second gate was seen in front of them.
Once again, the sound of bombs falling from their tactician princess had signaled the group to charge forward. Their advance had been swift and unstoppable.
However, Wen Zhi knew that this was hardly all that the Thunder Phoenix Clan was capable of. If a few barrages could make the clan crumble so easily, they wouldn’t be the strongest in the country. Though the clan had many low-level warriors as clan members, the ones at the top would hardly sweat at this kind of attack.
This was certainly the case as they had arrived at the third and final gate leading up to the clan’s family grounds. The bombs that had dropped on the men stationed here had been rendered ineffective.
Wen Zhi saw a solid line of people holding proud stances as they stared daggers toward him. Judging by their poses and the thick aura of defensive mana around their bodies, the ones in front of him were likely the Chen family warriors.
A single glance through the line of fighters showed that one particularly large man stood out amongst the rest. More than a man, his body made him look like a giant among his own people. Furthermore, the intense concentration of mana surrounding him gave off the presence of an immovable mountain.
For that reason, Chen Shi Yuan had the nickname, ‘The Impassable.’ As the name of the style implied, the Chen family’s ‘Iron Body, Broken Sword’ techniques trained the body to be the ultimate form of defense. Masters of the style snapped weapons, deflected cannonballs, and scoffed at the flames of dragons as nothing could penetrate their guard. Layers upon layers of stacked mana protection were weaved together to form a near-impenetrable barrier around their bodies. Even if a few layers were shaved away by a strong attack, they could be easily regenerated.
The strength of the bombs barely chipped away at the first two layers of mana shields that Chen encountered. He stood comfortably in its blast zone as not even a whisker of his beard moved in the explosion.
Though the bombs had worked on the weak rabble that guarded the front two gates, no one would pass the final one, guarded by a family that prided themselves as being the strongest wall for the Thunder Phoenix Clan. Two layers were barely anything when Chen had another twenty or so stacked together.
Shielded by the 50+ members of the Chen family, none of the strikes that Wen Zhi or Ludmila launched on its members moved them a single inch. That, of course, went the same for everyone else.
As long as the Chen family held their ground and focused on their defensive shield, someone could be sent to the main house to call for reinforcements. After all, the Thunder Phoenix Clan had almost double the forces remaining.
Wen Zhi grew frustrated as his spear continued to bounce off Chen’s head like his weapon had been a soft branch of bamboo. Some of his own men received injuries instead, because the Chen family specialized in counterattacks while remaining firmly planted to the ground.
What could he do? The sounds of gongs sounded from beyond the gates, a sign that the word of attack had finally made its way to the main house. It wouldn’t be long before the remaining 500+ warriors of the clan would show up. Being unable to proceed a single step forward, it would only be a matter of time before their stamina dried up and they were forced to retreat.
What then? There would be no way to secure an escape for the chef that had already gone through to save his brother and his master. And they could pretty much forget about overthrowing the power of the Thunder Phoenix Clan.
Wen Zhi tirelessly continued to pound on Chen’s body, regardless of the futility of it. Though Chen countered with attacks of his own, Wen Zhi’s defense was also top-quality. Neither one was feeling the impact of the full force blows that they were giving each other.
However, Chen would achieve victory by simply holding his ground. There was no need for him to step forward and weaken his defenses just to take out the opposing side’s leader.
Similarly, Ludmila was having no luck. The mana strikes that she pounded into the bodies of the Chen family left virtually no impact on their thick shields. She could shave away a few layers with each strike, but even the other members of the Chen family could muster at least ten layers.
“What’s the matter? Scrawny, little brats such as yourselves have no place on the battlefield. We have chipped and carved our bodies to become the perfection of what man can achieve!”
Chen flexed his bulging body. The rippling waves of solid muscle decorated his body like chunks of solid rock jutting out of a mountain face. His muscles looked like they could have six-packs of their own.
Wen Zhi clicked his tongue at that statement. Though he and his brother had trained to be decent fighters since arriving in this world several years ago, they had been normal high schoolers up until that point. They were nothing at all like the Chen family, who dedicated their entire lives to hardening their bodies and expanding their mana reserves.
At this point, some men from the main grounds had started trickling through the gate, joining the Chen family’s side. In response, the Chen family continued to defend their ground, acting as a one-way gate that only allowed men to exit toward Wen Zhi’s forces but none to enter.
Wen Zhi knocked a few fighters away before charging up to perform a special attack on Chen.
“Dragon Piercing God Fang!”
The spear cut through the air, the friction against the wind seeming to create a crackle of electricity around it. However, the spear stopped dead inches from Chen’s face, who simply kissed the air at that attack. With a loud clang, the spear rebounded and sent the user a few feet back.
Even with the special techniques passed down to the guardians of the Oracle, the most he could shave was five layers deep. Where was he going to muster the resolve to conquer the other three-quarters?
However, a swift blow suddenly intruded in front of him, knocking another two layers off. Flowing fabric whipped through the air as a small body somersaulted off the sturdy man, like a flying trapeze artist.
Chen looked over to the young girl who was wearing a gaudy servant outfit, sneering at her as if she had been miles away from where she belonged.
“Ludmila fight too. Ludmila help break through guard.”
Wen Zhi looked at her in surprise. The cold gaze that she fixated on Chen did not show any signs of giving in or doubting herself. Either she was an idiot that didn’t know when to give up, or she actually had a chance of doing something about ‘The Impassable’ one. Either way, he couldn’t hold himself back in doubt while a girl around half his age continued fearlessly.
“Hey, you have some kind of plan?” Wen Zhi whispered towards her.
In response, Ludmila nodded. “Need one minute to charge.”
“One minute? Don’t you hear the sounds of footsteps approaching? The rest of the clan is going to be on us soon!”
“Trump card. Only one chance.”
“Alright whatever! Just do it!” Wen Zhi brought up his spear, ready to intercept anyone that came close.
A few moments later, he felt a slight breeze against his back. With each passing second, the wind picked up until his hair blew forward into his face, annoying him slightly. As he knocked back a few random fighters, he took a moment to glance back to check on her.
He could hardly peel his eyes away from what he saw next. The girl’s body whipped around as she made short leaps traversing in a circle behind him. Her movement had been restricted to a circle with a diameter of about 20 feet, creating a void in the battlefield as she raced around and around within its confines. Those nearby soon backed off; the imposing wind and mana forming the technique made them wary to get close. Faster and faster she went, until it looked like she was starting to walk on the air, her body starting to tilt within the circular confines.
However, she hadn’t been walking on air, but on blocks of mana that had been created at her feet. Wen Zhi had seen mana manipulators before that allowed oneself to traverse the sky through this method, but not at a level like this!
As her body continued to tilt like a ball that was spinning at high speed up a curved dish, he noticed something being held in her hands. It looked like a solid block of mana at the end of her fist.
Wen Zhi’s eyes widened as he realized what she was trying to do. She was enclosing herself in this circular track in order to build up momentum for her next attack. Certainly, if a normal attack couldn’t penetrate, then one would have to find some way to make the blow even heavier. By building up momentum and releasing it all at once, her attack could be magnified severalfold. Furthermore, it seemed as if the very air was being ejected from her motions, reducing the drag to a minimal state. This was evident as her form continued to accelerate faster than the eye could see.
Wen Zhi gripped his spear tightly and scanned around to make sure that she stayed uninterrupted during this charging period. It seemed like some of the Chen family had caught on and broke formation in order to come and stop her. If she had the confidence to break through twenty layers of mana protection, then they had to act immediately!
“Arrgghhh! Defend her at all costs!” Wen Zhi barked at his men, as they formed a parameter. Though they wouldn’t likely be able to stop them completely, they could at least hold them off for another thirty seconds.
Inside the mini-dome, Ludmila focused her thoughts on the mass of mana around her fist and under her feet as she continued to speed up. Her momentum was conserved as her mana continued to push her along, slowly ramping up the pace. Though it was nearly impossible for others to see her movements, her extremely high stat in Speed had resulted in a gap between perception of reality; to her, she was simply running at top speed with the world around her slowed to a snail’s pace.
The air inside the dome had grown thin, having been sucked out from her human cyclone. It was better that there was no air remaining anyway, as it would’ve triggered a sonic boom and messed things up.
With the absence of even air to create friction inside of this dome, Ludmila could move faster than she could ever before. Even to those that had the keenest vision and the sharpest senses, she was a mere streak in the air. Being the Electi of Speed, her sense of time was morphed whenever she started moving fast. And as she leveled up and increased this stat, the gap in perceived motion only grew larger; a minute in real time felt nearly ten times longer. A static world where only she moved felt a bit lonely, but for everyone’s sake, she would push further than ever before.
However, her current movements were so fast that not even she could grasp where she was within the circle. Her speed had already approached unfamiliar territory.
Instead, she relied on her senses – the feel of the mana trail that she had set up to keep her from tripping, the spike of mana from Chen that served as a homing beacon for her to maintain her bearings.
There was no room for her to focus on anything else. Hence, she had asked Wen Zhi to buy her time. Enough time to speed up to her very limits. As long as her lungs could take as she could no longer breathe anymore. With the last ounce of breath used up in her body, the mana in her body flared up and focused into her fist. A few revolutions later, she broke free from the circle, blindly shooting towards Chen.