Chapter 186: What Wretchedness!
“Ah, ah, ah!” Tang Xiao proudly waggled his finger in the air, when suddenly a slender figure snatched him up in a bear hug. Tang Mi squeezed him as hard as she good and kissed him on the cheek.
“I love you bro. Long live Tang Xiao! Muwah! Love you!”
Tang Mi hugged him tightly, kissing him once again on each cheek before finally letting him go.
Even Tan Lingyun, the famously sour Savage Goddess, stood a short distance away with a smile on her face. Tang Xiao’s victories were not insignificant, and proud couldn’t describe the whole of the NEU’s feelings towards their student hero. It was fair to say their pudgy pilot had made history today.
Years of suppression and shame had finally been rectified.
“What was that.” Su He’s face was as close to an outright scowl as it could be as he stared at Xiao Han.
The young man looked on the verge of tears. His red eyes glared ruefully at the fat bastard who’d bested him.
“He’s an insufferable prick. He had the ability to end the fight from the very beginning. Instead he went on to deliberately humiliate me. I’ll kill him!” Xiao Han stomped towards the distant Tang Xiao with his hands clenched in to fists.
Su He calmly reached out and grabbed the fiery young man by the collar. He yanked him back before he could get too far. “Haven’t you lost enough face? The competition isn’t finished yet. We may have lost the first exchange, but that doesn’t mean Lir University has been bested. We’ll make up for this embarrassment in the real battles.”
The fight recorded flashed up on screen as they spoke. Su He turned his back on Xiao Han as though he no longer existed, and began to study the playback.
The video raced through the early moments of the fight. Onlookers were able to review the battle from all directions and angles.
The first minutes were sped up. After all, everyone had seen clearly what had happened in the beginning. However, once the final moments of their exchange approached, the recording slowed.
The silver mecha had yet to hit the water, and was flailing through the sky. But now, with the images slowed, it was revealed that his flailing was a ruse to hide him pulling a dagger from a compartment behind his back with his remaining arm. It was a strange weapon, one that was black as ink and seemed to drink the light. But beyond that there was something else, only barely glimpsed: a bluish-purple orb, clutched in his mechanical hand.
As the frames slowly passed they watched as Tang Xiao hit the water, casting brine and water vapor high in to the air. Xiao Han’s fiery red mecha was close behind.
The spray and steam hid everything on the surface from view. Under water, was another story.
The silver mecha’s dwindling power reserves never changed, but from behind it the thrusters had burst to life and glowed a furious purple. In a flash the massive suit vanished, appearing directly in front of Xiao Han.
The sudden change in environment had certainly had an effect on the red mecha and its pilot. He’d assumed he was in the dominant position, and rammed in to Tang Xiao head first.
In reality his reaction was the proper one, at least under normal circumstances. A red shield had sprung up around him prior to impact, and judging by the vibrant light alone it was clearly a powerful shield.
The two mechas collided, and in that instant Tang Xiao’s hand was in motion. The black dagger clutched in his grip lashed out, and from it sprang forth a caustic-looking black light. It cut through Xiao Han’s shield like butter, and slashed a ragged hole in its chest plate.
“Sovereign-ranked?” It was a rhetorical question sputtered by no small number of shocked onlookers.
Was it possible that the silver mecha was piloted by a Sovereign-ranked pilot? Was Tang Xiao really that skilled? And why, then, did he appear so weak normally?
The fight hadn’t ended there. The knife had cut deep in to the mech’s chest, but hadn’t punctured the cockpit. Xiao Han reeled back and swung his giant sword towards Tang Xiao. Had the silver mech continued the assault, he may not have been quick enough to escape the strike.
So instead, the silver mecha did something strange. He pulled the dagger free and used the relatively tiny weapon to ward off the buster sword. He let the weapon be knocked free, then reached out with his right hand and pushed Xiao Han away by the fissure in his chest plate. Tang Xiao’s thrusters sent him reeling in one direction, which the thrust sent Xiao Han tumbling in the other.
The film slowed to a crawl, and spun back a few frames.
The images closed in on the silver mecha’s hand. Now, slow as it was, everyone could clearly see precisely what the odd move was about. As the dagger was knocked away, the hand quickly fell and stuffed a small purple orb in to the fractured armor.
Rewind. The dagger had just sliced through the armor, and was being extracted to deflect the red mecha’s sword.
Xiao Han detonated, instantly reduced to debris. Tang Xiao managed to avoid the brunt of the explosion by disengaging early.
Now they saw it, and the cheers from the NEU were almost entirely drowned out by the heated curses of the Lir student body.
Indeed, it was as Xiao Han had said. This fight could have been finished in the first minute.
Su He’s pupils contracted as he watched. His intonation was thick with incredulity.
The Soulcrusher was a weapon. More accurately, perhaps, an ultimate weapon. It was a strike that could only be used once before it was consumed. It had the power to rival an a-ranked power gem.
But what did it mean that he was using something so powerful, so extravagant, in a student exchange? And on a Sovereign-ranked mecha?
The Soulcrusher was a God-ranked ability, one which Tang Xiao avoided by sheer luck.
It was such overkill that he could have won the fight in the first few seconds of the fight. There hadn’t been any need for their air chase, goading Xiao Han on. All he’d needed was to be in close enough for the strike to land.
Of course he hadn’t done that, instead making Xiao Han chase him for his own demise. He wanted to draw him in, and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Or so he aimed to make it appear, but he’d had the bout won before it even started.
What Su He and the others couldn’t see, was what made this particular trick of Tang Xiao’s so downright rotten. When the Soulcrusher had been deposited in the broken armor, he’d placed it directly in front of Xiao Han’s ‘face’, something Xiao Han saw very clearly. Were this a real fight, the little orb would have detonated in his embrace.
The fight was finished. Xiao Han’s anger and depression were understandable. He didn’t know what the hell he was fighting until the very end.
Tang Xiao’s mecha wasn’t meele, and wasn’t long-ranged. It was an Assassin. As for the rank, Xiao Han still wasn’t sure what the hell he was.
The audience was in chaos. The din was deafening as they milled about and shouted over the fight’s conclusion. In the VIP box, Han Ruchao’s chest rose and fell in angry huffs. He was like a volcano, ready to erupt at any moment.
This was death by torture! Unbridled arrogance and humiliation! What’s worse, they lost all of that equipment.
All because of a single Emperor-ranked pilot.