In Another World With Just Monika Chapter 99
Imagine an inclined plane, or trying to roll a ball uphill. The moment you let go, it will roll back down. You can force it to go up on its own with a strong push, but then it would reach a limit and then fall down again. A [Ramp] makes it so that the higher you push the ball uphill, the more it will hurt when it rolls back down to squash you flat, like sad Sysiphus in his eternal toil with his rolling boulders.
The [Ramp] meant that the first hit would hurt the most, but successive attacks would be like trying to hold the ball up against the force of gravity, sapping power, until the energy is returned against you.
Proportionally, Elze fighting Mynah was like a child fighting a full grown adult. No matter how vicious the little bugger may be, the difference in reach means that once grabbed or given a good kick, the fight was effectively over. With [Boost] and their own innate toughness, taking extra hits was no problem.
Grappling was still a fight-ender. Mynah lunged at Elze with splayed open hands, swiping left and right like bear paws. Elze leaned back and sway-stepped smoothly to the right. Her left wrist made contact with the back of Mynah's left wrist and softly pushed the whole arm down. It was always better to stick to the sides rather than the front, at least that means you only had to mind being attacked by only one arm; the opponent's own body blocked the other.
She stepped on the taller woman's knee and pushed herself up. "[Boost]." Then she punched Mynah right in the face.
There was a loud brass sound.
Elze didn't try to get in another punch, she disengaged immediately as Mynah twisted around and tried to grab at her again. She skipped back and rested on the same stance as before, with her arms out and palms facing in. Then she flipped her palms over with only her index finger extended, her arms quivering with tension and power.
("These palms are the gates to the Earth Kingdom. In Earth Country, gates open you!")
("What does that even meannn?!")
Mynah stood back up from her crouch and touched her jaw. She worked her jawbone from side to side and made an appreciative grunt. It was her first clean hit of the fight. "Huh. Good one. Maybe if you tried that at least three more times."
She went back into a wrestler's half-crouch. "Too bad I'm going to be expecting that now."
Soon they were again matching a flurry of blows.
("Wait, how is this an EARTH style? She is flowing around Mynah's strikes. This should be at least a water or fire style, an interception fist looks aggressively defensive.")
("All waters drain down to the plains, all wind sluices past the valleys. All other things move in restlessness, the Earth accepts everything. All fall down. All fall down.")
Mynah's grabs now tried to seize Elze's hands. Their hands and wrists battled and it looked very strange indeed that Elze's slim wrists seemed to stick to the large adventurer's outside wrists. No matter how Mynah twisted her limbs this way and that, her fingers were always just that little bit out of reach.
However, the same could be said for Elze. She just couldn't cross the distance past an arm almost as long as she was tall. So they ended up like those hokey old martial arts movies in which fighters could spend whole minutes just blocking before any fist to body contact happens.
("Isn't this dangerous? Wrist to wrist contact like that why doesn't she just use her hands to grab Mynah's wrists and get into a joint lock?")
("Bridges cross from one side of the river to the river or the valley, connects two sides. The same happens with fighting first there is an air gap, and then sooner or later contact happens as you or your opponent attacks. Bridge hand techniques (1) are about how to establish contact, how to deal with contact, and how to disengage from it. It's not the wrist, it's about taut wire-like power from the body transmitted to the forearm.
("Note how Elze doesn't just step back unless necessary, the foundation is an invulnerable stance, concentrating her power at the end of her opponent's reach where it is the weakest and destroying her opponent's stance and ability to concentrate force because of that. Simultaneous blocking and punching like this - it requires less agility than sheer power snapping from one gate to another, and extreme concentration.")
("But she *is* giving ground. They're almost to the edge if she steps one foot out of the line, that's an automatic loss AHAAAAH! I see now!")
Elze chopped down with both hands, forcing down Mynah's extended left arm. This pushed the adventurer woman's body forward, and Elze transitioned her fists balled up at waist level into a sideways lunge, punching with both arms; overhead and under the chest to hit the solar plexus.
Unfortunately, while that could have been an overpowering blow to an enemy near her own size, it was enough to merely make contact with Mynah's body and the power in her blow sufficed to push herself back and outside of grabbing range again.
Mynah stopped, and rubbed a bruised breast. She smiled sadly. "That's very good. It's just too bad if only your reach wasn't so short. You can't win this." Her eyes narrowed in amusement as she looked down towards Elze's feet, just a single step away from the border line. " At least, not like that?"
Elze smiled back thinly and beckoned with both hands, still held straight out and palms in. She chanted "Booga chaka booga chaka booga chaka!" (1)
Mynah snorted "What does that even mean?!" as she lunged one last time, careful not to fall into the painfully obvious trap of overextending herself and being pushed into a ring-out.
Elze slapped away her opponent's the trailing arm and then contrary to how she behaved all this while, darted *inside* her opponent's zone of control. Her right hand shot out, the tips of her fingers gently making contact with Mynah's ribs.
And then suddenly that touch snapped into a strong punch into Mynah's floating ribs.
"Gukgh!" the adventurer grunted in surprise.
Elze's fist rebounded away from the blow, and taking that power twisting on her waist her left hand softly slid forward and her left knuckles gently touched against Mynah's waist.
And she rammed her elbow straight into the same ribs as before, driving the floating bones inwards.
"Hghkkk!" Now Mynah had to grimace and bend down in pain. [Ramp] toughened her body, yes but best on hard muscle and bones. It did nothing to toughen the soft tissue around her lungs because that was counter-productive to the whole point of breathing.
Once again, after delivering a hard blow, the force seemed to rebound on Elze, spinning her around again and sliding past the taller adventurer's hips to face her backside.
And then Elze [Boosted] her fists and began hammering blows with her index and middle fingers like stabbing daggers into the lower back muscles near the spine and the connecting point of those same floating ribs as before. The expanding ribs that protected the lungs now instead were like spines digging into those same soft organs.
Mynah twisted over in agony and an uncontrollable muscle spasm.
("Ugh wow. So vicious, Elze!")
("I approve of this.")
And then with one final [Boost] a scream of "Haaaaaah!" Elze slapped with an open palm and all of her power into the already heavily bruised spot.
Mynah spat out a gout blood and fell forward. She shakily dropped to one knee.
And then Elze gave her a [Boosted] kick into the back of the head.
("What what is this?! How is this happening?)
("Is she trying to kill Mynah? That's uncalled for!")
Like a toppling tree, the tall powerfully-built adventurer crashed face-down onto the ground. Whumpf.
Elze sagged, gasping for breath. As the dust settled, a long silence draped across the field.
Mynah's body twitched. Elze leapt back and raised her fists, alarmed.
Mynah turned her head a little and woozily tried to look at Elze. She wheezed out " I thought you were going to trick me into a ring out."
Elze grimaced. "Yeah, that would have been the smart thing to do, wouldn't it? But I'm not a smart girl. Not at all." She brandished her gauntlets. "All I have is Facepuncher and Ribcracker."
"And with that you can destroy mountains ahahaha." Mynah gave out a guttural little laugh. She reached out and slowly began to push herself off the ground with only one arm. Then she stopped and stared at her hand.
She began laughing even louder. Her hand was touching outside the ring. In most tournaments, it was feet and body that were forbidden from going outside the ring, just touching the ground outside was allowable. But still, "It's my loss" she said.
She gingerly touched the broken ribs puncturing her spine. "I should destroy you for this, I've fought harder with worse wounds"
"Sorry," Elze said. She wanted to shrug, but still kept her guard up. "But you know holding back and being polite won't let me win an unfair fight in the first place."
Mynah smirked and nodded. "What was that first hit?" She held up her palm with fingers out, and then suddenly pulling in to turn into a fist. "Putting so much power into a punch without needing room to swing I didn't know that you could develop power like that."
"That is the [One Inch Punch]," Elze whispered. Bruce Lee's One Inch Punch. (3)
That was because The Slow Fist Penetrates the [Air Shield]. It was the same the way Dune's Holtzmann Shields or Mass Effect's Kinetic Barriers worked, the magic [Air Shield] was primed to respond to things having a certain level of kinetic energy or else it would be banging into everything unable to let the user do things like sit down or pick up objects from the ground.
Only after her arm pokes through would she need to quickly deliver an explosive amount of force. "If you had managed to grab me into a bear hug... that would still put my fists at perfect distance to your ribs, right?"
Elze made a catlike 'nyuuuu' face in protest."N-no. No I'm not!"
Mynah began to laugh and then cringed in pain again. "Technique it's not just soft counters all the time after all Ow, this is really starting to hurt now."
"D-don't worry! We've got pretty good [Light] magic doctors!" said Elze. "That's going to be healed right quick."
"Yeah, yeah. I concede. So you're Elze, huh? I am Mynah, the Iron Mountain. You are now Elze the Fist, Mountain Destroyer. Be proud."
"Ehehehe thank you? I think?"
("MYNAH! What! How dare you lose?! We all know this wouldn't have stopped you at all in a real fight!")
"Ehh, you know how it is. I'm tired now. Wanna sleep."
("You lazy bear womannn!")
("Um what? Yes, of course. Calm down everyone. I, Zanac, hereby declare the victor of this bout ELZE SILHOUESKA winner by forfeit!")
And so with Zanac's declaration, Elze and Mynah left the ring. Linze ran up excitedly and hugged her twin. "Sis, that was amazing!"
"I suppose that was more than adequate. Unexpected, but an interesting result" Zorah spoke up. "Silhoueska, won't you consider working for me? If you're good enough to match a Red rank so young, imagine what you could do with the proper training and facilities!"
I stepped up and raised my fist. "Fistbump?"
Elze grinned and we bumped fists.
Zorah glared at me as I offered to heal her adventurer's injuries, and she said that her Sarah was already quite an accomplished healer herself.
"Yes, but isn't it her fight next? Wouldn't it be unfair to exhaust her magic power right before her own duel?" I said back.
" No, it might be more fair to offer a handicap?"
"Mistress, underestimating them is what lead to this," Mynah pointed at her ribs. "Playing around feeling like anyone else getting serious is just something to laugh about... that's no good."
And so next on the docket was LINZE vs SARAH.
The two normally shy girls approached the ring with uncommonly serious faces.