Chapter 53: Lose Weight!
The lawn behind the Electives Teaching Building wasn’t anything magnificent. It lay in the shadow of the building before it, so nutrition was a limited resource for the sparse grass.
It was afternoon, and the elective courses have already finished. As a result the lawn was particularly peaceful.
Lan Jue stood with his hands behind his back. He was straight-backed, in a three-piece suit devoid of any wrinkles. His antique bicycle was set not far to the side.
His features were calm, serene, as though he were a garden statue set amongst the shade.
Suddenly, an odd smile replaced his stoic façade.
“Ah! Professor, here you are! I’ve arrived!” Tang Xiao breathlessly trotted towards him, excitement clearly written on his face.
Slowly Lan Jue turned to find an overweight man huffing headily as he bore down on him. His flight suit stretched valiantly against his girth. Lan Jue quietly wondered whether he could actually fit in a mecha cockpit.
Tang Xiao was tallish at one hundred and eighty centimeters, with a waist of similar diameter. His fat jiggled as he jogged closer. With his short hair, small eyes, and pudgy features he was really rather adorable. As for his facial features… well, everyone looks more or less the same under a certain layer of fat.
“Introductions,” Lan Jue said in frigid tones in lieu of greeting.
“Oh.. ok. Em, go ahead.” Tang Xiao grew silent, respectfully waiting for Lan Jue to continue.
Lan Jue’s face fell in embarrassment for this young man. “I want you to introduce yourself!”
“Ah!” Tang Xiao’s pudgy face jiggled. He hurried to speak. “A misunderstanding, professor. J-just a misunderstanding! My name is Tang Xiao, and I’m a third year national scholar in the mecha combat division. Sovereign-Rank second class. Reporting for duty!”
“Tang Xiao?” Lan Jue rolled the name around on his tongue, and walked a circuit around the young pilot. “How much to you weigh?”
“What… ? F-five hundred and fifteen pounds,” Tang Xiao replied with pride.
“Sixth-Level. Professor, my Discipline is very honed, only… if you’d like to know what it is I must first ask you to show me some identification.” Tang Xiao laughed nervously, his little pig eyes shinning.
“Fine,” Lan Jue replied. He produced the letter of appointment the Dean had sent him.
“Etiquette? Associate Professor?” He looked slack-jawed at the letter, then back up at Lan Jue. “Professor. You’re… this is a joke right? What does an etiquette professor even teach…”
Lan Jue gave a small, private smile. “Common sense. Your Discipline?”
Tang Xiao spoke up. “Metalmorphosis. I make the surface of my body change in to an incomparably tough metal. Great, right!”
Lan Jue’s face hardened. “At this weight, it isn’t just your Discipline – the added weight increases the efficacy, doesn’t it.”
At this, Tang Xiao’s face lit up. “Professor, you really are the kind of master capable of Oscillation! I see it now. That’s exactly the reason for my weight. An eighth-level talent taught me this.”
But the revelation only caused the corners of Lan Jue’s mouth to slink in to a frown. “The guy who said so was messing with you. If you want to improve, increase your metalmorphosis, you’ll need to increase your weight tenfold. But then, how will you even walk? Will you become a shield? Moreover, if your Discipline continues to evolve to eighth-level you’ll be able to change to titanium – and how heavy is that? What the hell is the point of so much weight then?”
“You think,” Tang Xiao whispered, “You think I could become and eighth-level Talent?”
Lan Jue lifted a hand to pat his forehead. “There weren’t any Adepts in your family before you, were there.”
The youth earnestly nodded his head. “That’s right. My family is in politics.”
“That figures,” Lan Jue muttered. “But we’ll save that for another time. Let’s talk about the matter at hand first.”
“What matter?” Tang Xiao listened raptly as Lan Jue spoke, terribly excited at the prospect that his natural abilities could improve. It was the first time he’d heard it was possible.
Lan Jue gave him a flat look. “Aren’t you here to study Oscillation?”
“Absolutely!” Tang Xiao nearly leapt for joy.
Lan Jue began. “This is no problem, I’m sure we can get you where you want to be. A short period of special training and you’ll have the ability to Oscillate. However, you are definitely too overweight. So much so that it impacts your hand speed, coordination and kinesthetics. It stifles the development of your abilities. And so, the very first thing you need to do is lose weight. Until it no longer effects your Talent. Improve your coordination, then cultivate your Discipline.”
“Right, right, so tell me what I should do?” Hearing Lan Jue’s plan for success, Tang Xiao’s face was aglow with excitement.
“Your current weight has already far outstripped the line for morbid obesity, you’ve huge stores of fat. But fat is simply a form of energy for the body. You can’t just directly lose the weight – that will cause loose skin and marks, and thus the effect of your metalmorphosis. So, at the same time as we extract this excess energy from your body, we must also increase muscle mass and improve the condition of your skin, it’s elasticity and so forth. This will also increase your body’s sensitivity. After a while, when your in better shape and your body’s back to normal, then you can learn to Oscillate.”
Tang Xiao took note of Lan Jue’s serious expression. “Professor,” he pleaded, “but how?”
After a moment’s hesitation, Lan Jue responded. “I actually do know a method that can speed the process up. But, it’s painful. Would you be able to handle it?”
“No problem,” Tang Xiao immediately responded, nodding emphatically. “A little pain is nothing! Real men can take it, bring it on.” His mind was flooded with dreams of Talent cultivation, and a longing to learn the secrets of Oscillation.
Lan Jue looked impressed. “Not bad. Worthy of my disciple. We can achieve this by me patting your body. It will hurt, and you can tell me when you can bear no more. You must also control your Discipline and keep it from emerging, else all the effort will be wasted.”
“Alright, so when do we start professor?”
Lan Jue’s eyes flashed. “No time like the present. Are you ready to begin?”
“Ready!” Tang Xiao squared his shoulders and puffed out his chest. Resolution was etched clearly on his face.
Crack! A streak of brown leather whipped across his face.
“Gaah!” Tang Xiao screeched. But the sound was quickly lost with the thunderous sonance of a thousand blows.
“Ah, Professor! AH! It hurts.. !”
“Stay resolute! We’re extracting all that extra energy!” Lan Jue shouted.
To make you humble, make you strong, I must beat weakness out of you!