Skyfire Avenue, Chapter 439

Previous ChapterNext Chapter


Chapter 439: Third Metamorphosis vs. Fiend-crusher

Titan launched through the air, stopping a hundred meters overhead. His big hands splayed wide, and he pressed them down toward Qi Mu below. The motion looked almost tender, but also natural. That telling buzz vibrated the stadium again, louder this time.

Qi Mu felt it immediately, the crushing sensation starting at the top of his head, like a mountain had been dropped on him. Unlike earlier, when the blast had caught him in the air, there was nowhere for him to retreat.

The Wolf King dropped to his haunches, then leapt right toward the oncoming surge. He stretched his arms high overhead, and those ten razor claws fused in to one. He pierced the air, and began to spin like a top. He planned to drill right through Titan’s attack.

Everyone pressed their hands to their ears when a grating screech like steel on steel lashed through the arena. Flashes of red surrounded Qi Mu momentarily as the invisible force swept passed. The stadium rumbled as suddenly two massive palm prints appeared in the arena’s alloy floor. Titan hovered over the crowd like a Buddha.

But Qi Mu was still coming. The thick fur covering him had become a brilliant, piercing gold like a true Wolf King. Piercing Charge – that was the name of the skill. Although Qi Mu’s advance had slowed after fighting through Titan’s thrust, he still covered the distance quickly.

The golden wolf appeared for half a second in front of Titan, then swung around to his side. Razor-sharp claws lashed out again, joined together in a single jagged weapon. To this, Titan answered by side-stepping, and pressing toward the Wolf King with an open palm. It was a simple, but well-executed and effective dodge.

The audience could clearly see that Titan was no match for Qi Mu’s speed. However, the Wolf King had to work much harder just to earn a chance to land a blow. The convert’s simple and direct abilities made it easy to quickly respond, as well.

Qi Mu dropped in to a squat and bounded off again before Titan could hit him. He spun around, then rushed again at Titan with the Piercing Charge.

Titan grunted and thrust his left fist in to the air. Immediately he, too, crouched. He was using his force ability to make himself faster. Qi Mu was lined up to have the attack land, but Titan’s sudden power boost allowed him to move just in time. The Wolf King struck the ground instead and lifted his head in time to see Titan’s palms pressing toward him. Qi Mu could feel the air displace as another explosion of force headed his way.

Mo Xiao’s narration continued. “It looks like Qi Mu had found a way to get around Titan’s powerful attacks. However, this has certainly got to be strenuous. He will be expending more energy than Titan, certainly. If he doesn’t find an opening soon, then he’s going to put himself in a dangerous position of weakness.” Mo Xiao’s tone was carefully crafted to give the Dark Citadel face.

Titan’s tactics were as simple as they came. Keep your distance, and pummel them with fists and palms. His bursts of pure force were the perfect area-of-effect, long-distance attacks. Your only choices were to deflect it, or take it head-on. Titan didn’t even worry much over Qi Mu’s ‘Piercing Strike,’ because every time he got close it gave Titan an opportunity to land blows as well.

Even the audience could see that if Qi Mu didn’t change the battlefield situation soon, he would lose due to the excess energy consumption.

Just then, an unsettling red light appeared in the depths of Qi Mu’s eyes. A corona of radiance flared out around him. He doubled up, and the massive lupine figure appeared to shrink. The thick fur on its body burst in to crimson flame.

“A third metamorphosis?!” Mo Xiao cried.

What did a third metamorphosis mean for shapeshifters? In a word: Protogenia! Only Paragons were capable of this next-level transformation – so how was it that Qi Mu was able to achieve it?

“It isn’t a complete transformation,” the Pharmacist said, as though she’d read his thoughts.

The undulating crimson slight spread all over Qi Mu’s diminished body, until he was entirely covered in the sanguine light. Titan’s incoming wall of force swept harmlessly passed, burning away around the Wolf King.

Slowly, he rose to his feet. There was a moment where the wolfman was still, but in the space of a breath he’d appeared beside Titan. No one had even seen him move – he was just gone in one moment and beside the convert in the next. Claws groped violently for his chest.

 

ζ

 

In the viewing area.

The Pharmacist spoke quietly to Lan Jue at her shoulder. “This has got to be Qi Mu’s big secret. He can’t afford to lose, so he won’t hold anything back. However, this has got to be the result of some form of overload. Your luck is definitely looking up. If you’d have fought him first I’m sure you’d have lost.”

A mirthful smirk spread on Lan Jue’s face. “So then you’re saying that without the third metamorphosis, I have a chance?”

She rolled her eyes at him. “You may have more tricks than he does, but not by much.”

 

ζ

 

Titan fell back seven or eight steps in the direction of where Qi Mu had been. He clutched at his chest, where great indentations had appeared from the wolf’s claws. For the first time ever in the tournament, Titan didn’t have the upper hand.

Qi Mu’s eyes flared red like a pair of rubies. In the same instant Titan made his escape, the Citadel’s representative bounded forward claws first. He was precise, and he was calculated. Titan was not a man, so the tactics of a man did not apply. The brain was the only option.

Suddenly, a change overcame the convert.  Titan’s calm expression shifted, and his impassive eyes lit up. The dents from where his alloy chest had been damaged by Qi Mu, suddenly popped back in to shape. An iron-grey aura poured out from him in all directions.

A defensive ability? On top of his overwhelming attack, he could make himself even stronger?

He pounded his left foot against the ground. The whole of the arena quaked as though the great dragon of the earth rumbled beneath. The aura around him flared and hardened, quickly changing from grey to tarnished gold.

“Dong—–!” Qi Mu’s clawed hands banged against Titan’s shield. It was like striking a six-inch thick sheet of iron. The reverberating hum set the wolf’s whole body shuddering, and forced him back several steps. The resulting shock wave pummeled through the ring, bouncing off the force field and making it crackle.

“Impenetrable Defense!” Lan Jue and the Pharmacist exclaimed in one voice.

Impenetrable Defense was a skill used in ancient Chinese martial arts. It was the pinnacle fortification, and completely unbelievable that this Northern Conclave convert was able to employ it.

The bloodwolf’s offensive was instantly stopped, and Titan reacted with a straight punch right at his foe. It was a wildly different punch from before, full of a strange sort of detached kindness. It was a stark contrast to the explosion that threatened the force field from earlier. He looked almost at peace.

Titan lashed out again with a fist that had become solid gold. A rush of invisible energy followed his arms. From behind, the shadowy image of a figure was faintly visible, and the sounds of chanting wafted on the breeze.

Qi Mu could feel like reality around him was imploding, crushing inward like a prisoner in an invisible cage. He had nowhere to go, and that golden light was fast approaching. Qi Mu brought both arms up to ward Titan’s attack as it came tearing through him.

Boom—! He went sailing through the air, wild and uncontrolled – clearly this wasn’t a ploy to diffuse Titan’s attack force. It was confirmed once he slammed violently in to the far side of the force field. He fell down to the ground with a crash.

“Fiend-crusher fist!” Lan Jue inadvertently cried out again, just loud enough so only the Pharmacist would hear.

Impenetrable Defense, and the Fiend-crusher Fist! These were undoubtedly skills earned from mastery of Mahayana Buddhist martial arts! From what he could see, Titan had merged this ancient practice with his Discipline to allow him to use empowered versions.

It looked like his trump cards outplayed Qi Mu’s.

It was a fantastic display, and only the first round. Lan Jue’s lust to test himself only increased as he watched the contest. Zeus didn’t fear Titan, and he had tricks of his own to employ. However, it did seem that some of his more coveted secrets may need to be revealed. After all, how could he – an Easterner – lose out to a Northerner in the realm of martial arts? The resolution in his heart began to show in the hard light of his eyes.

The Pharmacist noticed, and regarded him with surprise, but said nothing.

Qi Mu clawed himself back up from the crowd, breathing raggedly. The red light that had surrounded him had dispersed, but quickly recovered after a moment. His seething red eyes fixed Titan with a glare, a smile spread his lupine face, revealing beastial teeth.

“I concede.”

Titan said nothing, made no display of pride or strength. He only nodded, turned, and left the ring.


Previous ChapterNext Chapter

Advertisement

6 thoughts on “Skyfire Avenue, Chapter 439” - NO SPOILERS and NO CURSING

    1. I think what they mean was straight protogenia. Because protogenia is an inherent part of everything, especially at ninth level, they can’t stop it from being part of the fight.

Leave a Reply