Chapter 17: Near Death
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This is unedited as of  10/29. Since I am doing these all on my phone, it will take some time to review. But, I have been largely stagnant for a little bit. I thought I may as well show you all some chapters for now. 

 

“You shouldn’t want to die. There’s so much more to this life than one could know.”

The nerve of this kid. “What would you actually know about death anyways, kid? You haven’t lived nearly as long as I have. I’ve already experienced over 1,000 times of what there is to know about this life.”

“I know, you’re hurting. I know you’re hurting much more than anyone else I’ve seen before… you’re taking this mission on to protect me, but deep down, you’re starving for death.”

“... Where’d you hear about this?”

“I can see it. For the longest time, I couldn’t bear to look at you..because it hurt too much to see….”

“.... you’re not making any se-”

Just as they were speaking, out of nowhere two figures appeared behind the girl, Rinn. The subtle appearance of them was beyond comprehension. There was no trace or no distortion in energy, no subtle sound, vibration, or movement that would have foretold their appearance. So when they were speaking the only thing that alerted Lusha of their appearance was the sharp inhale from Rinn.

Lusha turned around to find two very nicely dressed, handsome twins. Their faces appeared chiseled and they almost seemed mythical. They had gazes that seemed out of a story. Contrary to what one might think, they were very strong and coldhearted men. In contrast, they seemed to be gentle in appearance and quite wise in nature. If Lusha was still at the stage years ago where she could easily fall for others, she would have probably swooned. 

However, make no mistake, Lusha now was very much different than she was in her early years. Much of the enjoyment in life, the interests, the excitements, fears, and surprises were completely exhausted. She had lived so long that she had seen the same people in others generations later. The same original actions she had once seen, became played over and over again. The same events happened in parallel many years later.

The only things that caught her interest, were things that happened for the first time. In this case, this was exactly what had occurred. The duo had appeared completely undetected. To be fair, it was not like this was the first case of something like this happening. The only time another had done something like this was a millennia ago. That was the ability of the Peaceful Witch, Aias. However, to see another being capable of doing something similar later on in the generations, was what something that impressed her. The world of magic, was one composed of an insurmountable amount of information and factors. It was once said that one could only learn all the natures and secrets of magic if they had lived a thousand years. 

Lusha had learned this was a naive way of thinking. For, after she had lived for a thousand years, she realized that she still only knows the bare minimum of the full scope of abilities capable in this world. Truthfully, she had only learned a single 1/10,000th if she were to estimate. Though she was sure that once she had lived to be 10,000 years, that number would again quantify itself. 

The second thing that absolutely caught her interest, was their outfit. They dressed in lightly made armor- each identical to the other. They wore loose sweatpants, encompassed by tightly knit armor in areas that mattered. Shins, knees, and inner thigh. These were made in the form of obsidiance- a very powerful metallic black compound that only shatters under vibration-given movement, much like diamonium or adamantite. 

There was a profound difference between the stages of these three powerful stones. Obsidium, while providing less defense than diamondium or adamantite, is one that requires much more prolonged vibrations before it can shatter. This was because obsidiant structures required prolonged vibrations in order to weaken and eventually shatter. This was an armor style favored among grapplers. 

On the other hand, Diammonium was the hardest among speedsters, but only required a quick amount of intense vibration to shatter. Naturally, Adamantite was the strongest of all. With adamantite, it could not possibly shatter without one or the other both present at the same time- both a GREAT amount of force, followed  by a GREAT amount of physical power. It was a much rarer object to come across, but it definitely proved much better of a defense depending on what kind of fighting style you had. After all, it was very rare that an opposing enemy could utilize physical damage on that scale, as well as combat arts controlling the vibrations within their own body. 

These obsidiant armors took the form of toe guards, shin guards, knee pads as well rings that covered the length of their inner thigh. Further up, these same armors covered their side in divided individual triangles. This was to allow for agile and very quick movement. Though their stomach was also exposed, it was clear they were confident that with enough agility, they would not take any hits at all. Besides, with how muscular their physique was, it was quite clear that they did not have too much to worry about regarding physical damage to their exposed muscles. 

Their cape stood out among the rest of their physique showing that they were quite capable of utilizing magic. Capes were a common favorite amongst magicians. They were rarely worn by warriors and physical fighters. This was due to the fact that capes tend to hinder close combat. Loose fitted clothing had long since the bane of fighters who constantly engage in combat.

Though if one were to be frank, all of these details completely failed to overshadow the interest she felt once realizing the pendant the man wore around his neck. Those pendants were made of an iridescent structure that she was not aware of so far. Yet based on the etching on them, it showed exactly what she needed to know. The words spelled “H.E.R.O”.

Her interests were now entirely peaked-- much more than anyone else so far, even Nuon. The duo stood before her, just behind the girl Rinn. Before even speaking, they picked the girl up. For a second, Lusha was worried that they were going to take a more dishonorable method of attack and force her to give up under the guise of mission failure should they kill Rinn. However, they simply chucked Rinn straight at her. 

The girl flew like a pebble and she had no choice but to catch her and spin around a full 360 several times, lest she let the woman die from such a force. As she slowed down, she was fully prepared for the enemies to engage in a counter-attack, but they waited for her various 360 spins to slow down and finally keep her at a speed that would have no effect. Much to Lusha’s annoyance, she threw up everywhere. Luckily, at the speed she was going, none of the vomit had touched her.

Having judged the nature of her enemies, she simply stated a question. “You two, what’s going on. Explain yourselves, fellow adventurers guild members.”

“Ah yes. I am Soka.” One of the duo spoke out. “And this is my brother, Elim.” They both waved as if this was an honorary meeting. The duo smiled in complete unison, which made Lusha feel slightly uneasy, but she reluctantly returned the courtesy in the form of an awkward half-smile.

“You don’t mind if we test you out then would you?” 

“Gladly.”

Without waiting for a response, she attacked the duo with a quick speedy dash forward, withdrawing her blade and slashing through the both of them. Much to her surprise, there was no resistance and they faded into a blue ethereal form. “Ah, so it is just like that then….” She recalled the Peaceful Witch utilizing this same ability. However, there were distinct differences between their ability and Aias’ ability. 

This one key difference will prove to be their undoing. As the blade passed through Elim who was on the left and last end of her stroke, Soka came out of his ethereal form and a hand reached out straight for her head.

She immediately jumped back and recouped herself. The technique would surely have killed her had it landed. When the hand almost reached her, she could feel the “Absolute Domain” ability falter. It was like the aura was immediately moving around the hand. Furthermore, there was a buzzing noise coming from the man’s hand. She could surmise it was one meant to incise and cut away at the opponents from the inside. “Heh, you could’ve really killed me just now!”

“I didn’t though, did I?”

Soka continued his barrage, attacking Lusha with his glowing hands. Make no mistake however, if Soka was to make one point of contact, it would tear her to shreds from the inside. He was practically wielding an unblockable weapon. 

She blocked various blows from her, but with each landing hit, her sword kept breaking. Eventually she was left with just the handle’s length remaining. 

“Tch. Manipulation Magic [Spirit of the Former]” Just like she had seen before, she channeled pure mana to her blade, making it a solid sword structure.

The only problem however, is that the sword failed to hold up each time Soka struck. His ability circumvented all mana and aura, pushing them out of the way. The same way a stick drifting down a river might cause ripples as the water fled around it, her energy acted the same. This was a formidable technique for sure. She had to resort to just dodging at the moment.

“You move pretty well, you know.”

“Oh, I know.” Soka attempted to strike once more, but Lusha casually swayed to the side, grabbing onto the man’s arm and flipping over it with a kick barreling down onto his head. As expected, Elim reactivated his ethereal technique on his brother, making him fully disappear from the scene or view.

A quarter of a second passed before Soka reappeared with the same glowing hands, en route to her stomach. His speed had increased tremendously. It was clear he was hiding his full ability earlier. Lusha just had barely enough time to block the palm. She could feel various muscles in her hand sever and she was sent flying back several meters.

Her regeneration ability refused to heal the wound. A spine went down her back. That was dangerously close. ‘I could have died just now…

In order to face this opponent, she may have to bypass the conditions she set on herself earlier and face him with magic instead. But with an ability like that, and his capability to go in and out of the shroud may prove hard to put down.

Wait… something wasn’t right just now. Who was that? Lusha could not even fathom what had just happened. “I could have died just now….” Who’s thoughts were those.  She felt fear from death for a moment. That should not have been possible. After-all she WANTED to die.

Soka dashed out at her with another barrage of attacks. She dodged each one of them almost instinctively. She realized her actions were not normal. There hasn’t been a time to date where she’d try so hard to avoid death. Especially when there’s a great possibility standing right before her.

She WANTED to die…. Yet, here she was, continuously avoiding each of the man’s strikes. Whenever it seemed like there was an opening to attack, Elim would activate the Ethereal ability on his brother and the damage would be avoided. Come to think of it, she hadn’t even seen where Elim was.

 

Should he join the fray of attacks, she would surely have been finished. Lusha jumped 10 meters.  “Time-out.”

Soka deactivated his ability and stood with his hands crossed, waiting to hear her out. 

“Something’s not right with me.. at the moment. Please give me a second to work this out.” She stood-by, with her hands to her chin, trying to recall the events that had just transpired. “Did you guys cast any abilities or mind manipulation techniques?”

Soka shook his head. “We’re both strictly physical fighters. The only techniques we’ve used so far is Elim’s Special Ability [Spectra] and my Special Skill [Unrelenting Fist].”

“Then it could only be…” Her gaze fell on the girl. That was the most likely explanation. Of course… how could she not realize it before. Since she had made physical contact with the world, she had felt profoundly different. It was as if all the weight in her chest was completely eradicated. She felt as if it was only her first year of immortality, long before she had grown sickened by her longevity.

This was a rather strange ability…. She finally understood why she was so sought after. The life that one must lead having been born with this ability...

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