“Is this REALLY the way to the basement?!” I yelled at Yi Long as we seemingly turned enough corners to circle around the building several times already.
“It’s not my fault that the family decided on this kind of building to slow down invaders! There’s only one path to the dungeon below!”
Yi Long drew a spiral in the air, indicating that there was no other choice than to run into every guard that was stationed along the way. At least, he helped me a bit with his magic. Fortunately, he had enough experience to cast a variety of spells that disabled or, at minimum, distracted them long enough for me to run in for the KO. I wondered how well he would do in Sistina, where magic proficiency was valued a lot more. Surely, he could be a suitable magic knight in the future.
However, the repeated exchanges that we had were starting to wear down his reserves. Though he had leveled up a bit, he was still a ten-year-old boy with only basic physical training. The mental will to fight on and the concentration needed to control his MP usage was still immature. And quite frankly, I was running out of interesting ways to knock out the guards. At this point, it was starting to feel like an endless grind of toppling grunts for the sake of gaining experience to prepare for the final boss.
“Seriously, there’s got to be another way!” I took a deep breath and scanned around. We had, in fact, been just circling around and around the central building for a while now. Suddenly, I had a thought.
“Why are we following the corridors like normal people?! It’s not like there’s a programming barrier keeping us on a set path, now is there?!”
This was not a game. There was no code preventing us from taking a different direction. It was time to invoke the bad habits of anime characters that didn’t know how to use doors properly… or just blame it on being a stupid foreigner who didn’t know the country’s ways.
Tracing my hand along the inner wall, I injected enough mana for the weak spots to be highlighted. Yi Long and Chrys caught on to what I was doing and moved to the side.
“Here we go.” I reared back my fist. “GAIJIN SMAAAAAASHHHHH!!!”
Taking my frustration out on the wall, it crumbled in a spectacular manner. With the ruckus that this made, I was expecting for more guards to show up, so I quickly moved on to the next wall.
“Yi Long, cover me!” Within seconds, the next wall had crumbled, and the three of us dashed through our makeshift shortcut. I had to admit. There was an odd satisfaction building up inside as the walls came down. I could sort of sympathize with those characters now.
Thankfully, we were able to plow right to the center, where there was a staircase leading down, before too many guards showed up. As I was about to take the first step down, a loud crash erupted upstairs that shook the entire building. It had nearly sent me toppling down the flight of stairs.
“What was that?!” Yi Long cried out.
“You mean, you don’t know? I thought that might’ve been your family’s doing.” All I had felt was a huge mana signature the instant before the strong impact.
“No, it came from our side.” Chrys’s eyes flittered, trying to grasp whose mana that had come from. “That feels like Big Sis Ludmila.”
“Whoa, seriously?! That means they must’ve broken through already! We better hurry!” I leapt down the steps, several at a time. Judging by Chrys’s detection, the next hostage was right below us.
Kaguya woke up in a dimly lit room, her eyes adjusting to decipher where she had been dragged to. The last memory that she had was of Wen Zhi being trapped in a magic spell and Wen Lu being knocked out trying to shield her. The menacing face of Zhao Lei Dao, as he grabbed her by the neck and applied pressure until her vision started to black out, left her a sense of powerlessness.
Why couldn’t her dreams have told her of this betrayal? Why did the Gods give such random prophecies? As the Oracle, how could she protect the country when her powers were so unreliable at times like these?
Those questions ran through her mind as she felt guilty about what happened to her Electi, the ones that had always stood by her side. More than any other person, she had formed a spiritual bond with Wen Lu and Wen Zhi that held an invisible force drawing them together. Though they had been from another world, it felt like they had always been by her side, protecting her from harm. They were the few that couldn’t hide what they were thinking as she could always feel their intentions through the shifts in their mana. She knew very well how much they loved her.
For that reason, she couldn’t forgive Zhao and the Thunder Phoenix Clan for planning to murder them. She ground her teeth as she heard how unmistakably blind they were to anything but their own beliefs. They had been convinced that she was contaminated by demonic aura and had been amassing forces to overthrow the country. They had convinced many people that they were ‘holy warriors’ whose duty was to cleanse the Oracle and restore her to her former glory.
As she looked around the room, that couldn’t be any farther from the truth. All she could see were a pack of horny men mentally disrobing her with their eyes, waiting for their chance to have a taste of her flesh. The sight of a helpless girl who had been chained to a bed with her robes partially undone was no doubt whetting their appetites. She turned away as she caught a glance at the unsightly bulges that were restrained by the robes they wore.
One man sauntered forward and sniffed the air around her, smiling at the sweet scent that contrasted her body from her captors. Another man quickly moved forward to smack him on the head, likely his superior.
“Not yet, dumbass. There’s no point in cleansing her when she’s still absorbing mana from those demons. Things have to happen in a proper order.”
“B-But, if we’re going to do it anyways, why can’t we have a little taste? She’s gonna get passed around to everyone anyways.”
“Keep it in your pants! You, a low-ranking member, think that he can have first dibs? If you try anything else, I’ll make sure you get her at the very end!”
“Tch.” The man retreated to his original spot, not wanting to stir the pot any longer.
Kaguya stared at the whole exchange with a bitter expression. They weren’t even hiding their intentions. What vile people they were. She would’ve offered her body in exchange for Wen Lu and Wen Zhi’s safety, but not even that was negotiable at this point. Zhao had all the cards in his hand. Maybe, if her newfound friends banded together to save her, they could fight off the clan, but they had no obligation to risk themselves in such a one-sided battle. She knew quite well that they were at a disadvantage.
That wasn’t good. She shouldn’t be doubting herself and others at a time like this. She had to think of something, anything, to change her current situation. She had her mana manipulation abilities, ones that focused on mana flow and disruption.
‘If I could just get free from this restraint, then I might be able to mess with their mana gates long enough to make a break for it.’
A plan flashed across her mind. It would be embarrassing but she was willing to try anything at this point.
“Should I feel offended that you and the others aren’t taking an interest in me?” Kaguya spoke in a husky voice, directing her attention to those that had patiently parked themselves against the wall.
“Wait… what are-?”
The men were confused. It had appeared to them that the Oracle was voluntarily trying to entice them. Not quite convinced, Kaguya pressed forward, slipping her unchained hand between the folds of her robe and tugging them apart ever so slightly.
“So, you think just because I’m the Oracle that I don’t have any womanly urges?” A seductive smile crept on her face. “If you think you can handle first dibs, then I’ll make sure you taste the full course.”
The men had unknowingly taken a few steps forward, tempted by her offer, but still unsure that what they had heard was real.
“And you.” She turned towards the man in charge. “Who would know if my lips are sealed? Perhaps, you’d like to make sure of it personally?” Kaguya inserted her finger into her mouth suggestively.
The man lifted an eyebrow at this and quickly approached her bedside. “To think that our holy maiden was secretly such a skank.”
“As long as you don’t tell anyone.” She brought a finger to her lips, motioning for his vow of silence. “Now… give me a bit more freedom, so that I can have some fun as well. I’d rather not chafe my wrist.”
The man started to reach for the wrist restraint, making Kaguya’s heart pound in anticipation. ‘Just a little more…,’ she thought.
But then, the man suddenly laughed. “You really think I’m that gullible? I doubt that you, as a member of the holy family, didn’t receive some kind of mana training! You can’t fool me!”
Kaguya’s heart sank. She had really hoped that she had fooled them. If she could strike down the most powerful one first, then she would’ve had a higher chance of escaping. But, he had not taken the bait from her silly act.
At that point, a sudden impact smashed into the building, causing the men to all look above them. Their bodies swayed from the unexpected tremor that resulted, causing one particular man to lean forward.
‘That’s the man who opened the door earlier!’
Seeing her chance, Kaguya reached over and tugged the man closer. Now, even her chained hand could touch him.
With one hand on his stomach and another resting on his back, she shot a bolt of mana through him, which crackled as it coursed through his body. It was a weaponless version of the ‘Spear of the Thunder Dragon,’ taught to her Electi. The bolt of mana electrocuted the central mana gate of the man, causing him to pass out and fall face forward onto the bed. Quickly, she leapt to her feet and searched his body, hoping for a key to free her.
The other men finally snapped out of their stupor and tried to approach her. Though the men grabbed at her limbs, she countered them with swift mana blows. Though her physical strength was low compared to them, she had been taught the basics of the holy family’s techniques.
The punch that landed on one man’s stomach sent a shockwave that shook the organs in his body. He bent over and coughed violently, a spray of blood exiting his mouth. For those that didn’t have the mana to defend against this strike, it would do significant harm internally. She couldn’t use it on the man in charge due to his better training, so she had no choice but to lure him closer for a stronger strike. However, the others in the room seemed to be the bottom tier of the clan. She could manage if they tried to get close.
Punching two more men and sending them reeling to the ground, Kaguya had finished tracing the first man’s body.
‘Where’s the key?’ She started panicking. ‘Don’t tell me that he passed it off when I wasn’t looking?’
Kaguya ground her teeth, thinking that her efforts may have been for naught.
“Looking for this?” One of the men near the back held up a keyring, jangling it to taunt her.
That moment in which she turned away was all that they needed. She felt a strong impact against her stomach, sending her crashing into the headboard of the bed. As she stared at the men giving her bitter looks, she knew that they weren’t planning to restrain themselves any longer. She could feel their grimy hands tug against her, keeping her pinned onto the bed. A cold chill ran down her spine as she knew what would come next.
The door exploded as a figure smashed through it. Shards of iron clattered on the ground fanning outwards from the entrance, revealing a person that looked quite out of place here. A foreigner, wearing a black outfit with no other armor and sporting a simple kitchen knife, had burst through the heavily fortified door.
Kaguya’s eyes widened in surprise.