Chapter 128: Roasted Tang Xiao
Tang Xiao’s massive girth tumbled to his backside, as though all the muscles in his body had vanished. Suddenly, his body morphed, changing in to a large pedestal. The sudden shift in position hadn’t just been to avoid Mika’s violent assault, but also an opportunity to attack. Two large iron rebars lashed out like whips at the woman as she soared overhead.
“Tang Xiao, don’t go easy. Give it your all.” Lan Jue’s gentle voice called out from a short distance away. He stood calmly to the side, hands clasped behind his back, and watched the two exchange blows.
“Who needs him to go easy!” Mika’s voice was cold and dismissive. She glared down on him, hovering in the air. Suddenly, two molten balls of fire burst from her palms and began to revolve around her.
The whipping bars of iron came in contact with the fiery orbs. The moment they touched, the iron became red-hot. They melted away, not unlike Tang Xiao had moments ago.
The column that was Tang Xiao suddenly flashed. From it, scores of metal barbs and cutting splinters shot forth. They barreled towards Mika like a cutting wall of debris.
Mika, in response, twisted easily in the air and headed to ground. A half-circle of light a meter across sprung to life near her, and as the metal spikes smashed against it they turned to slag and dropped away.
Her descend continued, and with each inch she grew nearer to Tang Xiao the heat and pressure of her fiery presence increased. The column once more changed, this time dissolving in to a metallic river and dispersing around the warehouse. The titanium white light it was had emitted softened visibly, but the move did manage to avoid Mika’s rush.
The fiery succubus smirked. She landed, the tip of her left root resting on the ground while the rest of her floated in a fiery haze. Her right arm raised, and she extended her index finger. She turned, three hundred and sixty degrees, and as her finger moved the air around it caught aflame. When she came full circle, she was surrounded by a wall of fire. It took only a small motion, and the living inferno lashed out to incinerate the liquid metal wherever it fled.
“Miss Mika! Spare me!” Tang Xiao cried.
Mika stopped, her raging fires diminishing a hair, but that didn’t stop her fires from their insatiable hunger. They raced through the warehouse chasing the metal. However, strangely, as they made contact the fires were snuffed out, a though swallowed by the ground itself.
“Hm?” Mika looked on in confusion. Tang Xiao didn’t wait for her to recover. Taking advantage of her temporary confusion, she didn’t notice when a massive metal hand came reaching up at her from just below her feet. It viciously snatched her up.
Mika was pinned, and though her fierce aura was keeping her from being crushed, the strength and pressure of the hand took her by surprise.
“Miss Mika, how about I tell you a joke?” Tang Xiao’s affable voice filled the warehouse.
Mika smiled prettily. “Sure! Go on then.” Her voice was kind, inviting, but her pretty eyes took on a dangerous red light. That familiar, creeping terror of her aura began to slither out over everything like a nightmare.
Tang Xiao said nothing further, for as he proceeded to try and crush Mika, her entire body burst in to a raging column of fire. Her left foot stamped against the ground and she was launched upwards. Where her foot made contact, and with her fiery figure at it’s center, a massive lotus composed of flames bloomed to life. The flowers of the hellfire lotus reached out to all corners, it’s liking fires lapping towards the ceiling, a hundred meters in all directions. The warehouse became a sizzling world of fire.
The pedals landed over the floors, the red-golden light undulating like lava. The floor began to bubble. The distant walls had grown red from the heat that was threatening to melt the entirety of the warehouse.
“Aaahh!” Once again, Tang Xiao cried out.
A jiggling ball of silvery-white liquid bubbled up from the ground below. It’s surface, too, was red from the intense heat. A white light fired from it towards the distant ceiling, and the ball of melted metal followed.
Mika called after it. “Still trying to run?” Mika swept her arm. This time it was her turn, as a fiery hand appeared from nowhere and snapped up the fleeing orb. The hand squeezed.
“Miss Mika, mercy!” Tang Xiao’s pitiful voice wafted towards her. “I can’t take it! Ah, ah, Ah, AH!”
Tang Xiao’s circular form was visibly compressed. Gradually the heat increased until the entire orb was a simmering red. Tang Xiao’s screams also increased.
Mika looked at her boss. Lan Jue’s soft voice answered her unspoken question. “This fatty’s a cunning one. If he’s got enough energy to scream this loud, then he’s fine.”
“Oh.” Mika grinned devilishly. Those familiar with her would know that expression, and would shudder at what came next. She was the Stygian Succubus, what mercy was there in her?
A golden spout of fire appeared, and rushed to join the fiery hand, slithering through it’s finger’s to the rapidly heating ball in it’s palm. “Think you’d grab me, ‘ey pig-boy? Miss Mika’ll make things hotter for you!”
The entire hand of fire became a dazzling gold. Tang Xiao glowed a bright red, caught in the center of the golden hellfire.
“Ah! Don’t!” Surprisingly, Tang Xiao still had the ability to scream despite the searing fires. At the same time, a tiny twinkling fought against the golden light as a drop of silvery liquid separated from the orb. The light spread out, diffusing over the ball of silver liquid like a membrane. It attempted valiantly to isolate Tang Xiao from the fiery prison he was stuck in.
Lan Jue looked on, and nodded. This, was the strength of an adept’s core. The pure energy within them. Tang Xiao released a final, piercing howl. Then he fell silent. All that was left was the fierce white light, ever shining and buried beneath the golden fires.
Lan Jue narrowed his eyes, watching them carefully, judging that white light and it’s changes. He waited a moment longer, then spoke. “Mika, that’s enough.”
Mika waved, and the elemental hand, issued from the flaming column of her palm, was sucked back in to her and dissolved. The smoldering, red ball of metal came tumbling to the floor.
Clunk! The ball became soft and began to deform as though it were made of puddy.
After roughly a minute the waves of heat coming off the metal stopped, and it’s color returned to normal. The warehouse around them looked as though nothing had happened. Even the spot of ground that had been melted to ruin by Mika’s lotus slowly began to return to normal.
Any outsider, seeing this, would certainly have been pleasantly dumbfounded. Metal, that healed on it’s own. A property of Technetium. The warehouse’s metal construction was infused with it. Just the smallest amount, but enough to make one’s eyes pop. After all, even the slightest bit of technetium was worth just as much as a top-level mecha.
Over time the melted puddle that was Tang Xiao began to reconstitute itself, once again returning to it’s silver hue. Though, it was a sight darker than it had been at the outset.
Mika turned to her boss with a grin. “I’ll head out first boss.”
“Mn,” he replied.
Mika paused long enough to chuckle at the silver puddle, then left.
Several more minutes passed before the metal became Tang Xiao’s familiar, though frightfully naked, figure.
His skin from head to toe was red, like he’d been roasted. He was foaming at the mouth, and his breath came ragged. His eyes were rolled back in his head. He looked as though he could die at any moment 1.
Lan Jue approached the battered child and knelt at his side. He felt his pulse, then nodded.
The power Tang Xiao revealed today was more than he’d shown Lan Jue in any of their previous meetings. It also seemed like his excessive weight really did have a positive effect on his metalmorphosis discipline. For his Talent to natural evolve as it did, it may in fact have been the right call.
When Tang Xiao came back to his senses, he felt like his body wasn’t his. He was weak, limp, and half of his body had no sensation.
In this moment, the first thought that came to mind was… gentle. Yes, gentle, and by that he meant Lan Jue. Only now did he realize how easy his teacher had been going on him.
“What’s that smell. It’s like pork…” A strange voice filled his ears.
Tang Xiao managed to turn his head with some considerable effort. He saw Jin Tao wander in. The guy walked smooth and easy, his face ruddy and smiling like he’d just gotten a full-body massage.
“Eh? Is that Tang Xiao? What the hell happened to you?” Jin Tao looked down on the naked fatty, rubbed his nose, then nearly leapt from surprise. “That smell is you! Hey fat-ass, who tried to turn you in to pork loins?”
Lan Jue chuckled good-naturedly. He once more moved to Tang Xiao’s side and reached down a hand. In his palm was a vibrant green stone. A thrill of electricity ran through the gem, and suddenly a gentle green light issued forth. It reached out and covered Tang Xiao like a blanket.
Tang Xiao began to feel waves of refreshing energy course through him, starting at his limbs then slowly moving inward. His breathing became smoother, and yet his chest was tight with violent intent towards Jin Tao.
What felt like ages later, Tang Xiao was able to pull himself up off the ground with no small measure of moans and groans. His skin felt burnt to a crisp, and every little touch was like fire. He was wracked with ticks and spasms. Just looking at him, though, you wouldn’t see anything the matter.
Lan Jue handed the green power gem to Hua Li, who’d entered with Jin Tao. He looked at Jin Tao, a strange look on his face. “I hope tomorrow you’re still in such a good mood,” he said.
A sudden fear filled him, and Jin Tao couldn’t help but stutter a question. “Teach, is it gunna be as bad Fatty Tang over there?”
Lan Jue shook his head. “Of course not. It’ll be worse. What happened to him was only the beginning. And your regrets come too late – your sister already passed you over to me. From here on out the rest is up to you. Tang Xiao, rest for half an hour then head back in. Tomorrow, same time, right here. Mika will be waiting. Tonight when you go home, meditate for at least two hours and focus on the changes in your body. Understand?” 2
“Yes, Professor.” Tang Xiao earnestly replied. Hearing that Jin Tao’s fate was to be worse than his brought some vitality back. Besides, no matter what people said, being beaten by a lady as pretty as Mika was better than being beat on by some dude. Indeed, he’d had the pleasure of seeing her combat pose. Tomorrow, he’ll have to be more careful.