Chapter 142 - Emissions
Lola is feeling funny. It took her quite a few tries to get to the top of the cold mountain, but now that she's here, she’s unsure what to do. It took her quite a lot of effort to keep her fiery forelock from acting up, only using her qi infused fur to stay warm. This was a losing fight, as the temperatures on top of the massive snow covered mountain are at least a hundred degrees Celsius below zero.
Instead, she let her small body cool down, and her even smaller heart take it easy. Sluggishly she managed to get up here, barely even crawling the last few hundred meters. Now that she is here, her cooling brain has trouble remembering why she did this in the first place. Instead of worrying about that, she takes a moment to enjoy the view.
Having to keep blinking to prevent her eyes from freezing over is a small price to pay for the grandiose tableau laid out before her. She sees Tree, glowing golden and sparkling, in the middle of all. The small clearing holding a few buildings is barely visible from this distance. The only thing standing out is the garden, which has been expanded time and time again and now covers a couple dozen acres at the least.
The forests covering the majority of the land are vibrant and bustling with life. Some of the mana mutants and beasts were herbivores. Most of the dangerous carnivores got hunted to extinction pretty quickly. A colourful flock of grazers has claimed an expanding piece of grasslands to the east of Tree. More empty patches are visible, some containing small settlements, others housing large fighting rings or storage barns. There are many more places where new buildings are being constructed.
The mountain opposite Tree is equally massive as the one Lola is sitting on. The red streaks of lava and smoggy clouds surrounding it making it clear that it is not only geographically opposite. Surrounding the large stretches of forest are beaches, strips of varying width covered by sand. Beyond that is water. The ocean is filled with ice on one side while tropical trees indicate a warmer climate on the other side.
A flash of orange and blue steals Lola's fading attention, and she looks back to the base of Tree. Too far to really sense anything, she somehow knows that the colourful display happening there is caused by the big giver of food. He’s playing without her again. Having fun while ignoring the mighty Lola, inexcusable!
She stomps the snow in frustration. The snow cracks and falls from under her. She gives off a slight squeak as gravity pulls her down, falling into a dark crevice. Her fur saves her from splattering against the rock as the dark tunnel twists and turns randomly. She bounces around like a ping pong ball dropped by a cave explorer for a good few minutes.
As tired as she is, she nearly falls asleep. Having exhausted all of the qi inside her blood some time ago, she had been trudging up the mountain with just the structural qi inside her body. Her tired eyes then start seeing a blue glow coming from below. She smashes against a protrusion one last time before tumbling into a large cave, lit blue by a glowing orb hanging in the middle of the hollow space.
Lola’s subconscious finally has had enough and decides to act. It kept track of her bodily functions, keeping them going when they really should have stopped due to hypothermia. Now that a true threat to her life has been detected - the blue orb is many times colder than anything prior - it acts.
All the structural qi in Lola’s body is released, fed through the red lock of hair on her forehead and expelled. The near catatonic bunny springs back to life as her body temperature spikes. The solid core in her heart starts dissolving as a result of the qi embedded in her body being released. Her cultivation base basically self-destructed to keep her alive.
Which causes a rather large amount of heat intent qi to fall on the blue orb. The very orb that Teach used to keep the mountain cold, setting up the qi generation process of the constant battle between cold and warmth circling around Tree. The orb made of pure cold intent.
The following action and reaction chain takes some time to describe, but happens in the time it takes to light a flint.
The cold core, having a very rudimentary survival instinct, expels a similar amount of cold intent qi towards the heat intent threatening its existence. Both energetic clouds clash, with Lola in the middle. The reaction between both extremes causes a massive eruption of power, still with Lola in the middle.
Lola’s heat affinity was formed when she took a long nap in lava. Her fur was initially enough to withstand the heat, but after hours of being submerged in molten rock of a thousand degrees centigrade, her subconsciousness started to look for ways to not get burned to a crisp the moment her qi ran out.
It did so by taking the concept of heat in itself, welcoming the thermal temperature change and allowing Lola to employ the phenomenon for herself.
This entire process now happens again, but with ice. Lola is hanging in the middle of the cave while qi, hot and cold of enormous pressure rages around her. The ice - stillness and frozen motion - is violently shoved inside her qi starved body. The fire - excitement and pure movement - is welcomed greedily, but her newly forming core is unable to extract the ice powers intermingled fast enough.
The ice core, wanting nothing but to be left alone and chill, uses thermal expansion and contraction to open the crack Lola fell through in the first place. Like a pressure cooker being opened mid-boil, the small rabbit and a lot of developing steam starts moving upwards with extreme violence.
Teach made the heat core of the volcano and the ice core at the same time, linking them intrinsically despite - and because of - their opposing natures. The violent action of the ice core causes it to weaken by a fair amount, having used a lot of its gathered energy to get rid of the threatening rabbit in an expedient manner.
This causes the fire core to weaken in concert. Its own faint intelligence did not see this coming - at all - which forces it to vomit up all the power it no longer can contain with it’s weakened shell. It starts venting the thermal power into the surrounding magma, causing both mountains to explode at the same time, one with ice and the other with fire.
Tree, being quite concerned with how this double eruption will affect all of its carefully grown forests, decides to take action. It sees that its own creator and parent, Teach, is still busy and occupied with something. So Tree explodes with golden power, two thick streams of power surrounding the two fountaining streams of hot and cold energy.
Not sure where to aim the two contained streams, it hesitates. Gravity causes both streams to curve in an orbital pattern, both starting to flow towards the middle, namely Tree. Tree is now no longer concerned with the forests it planted, instead, it wonders if it itself could survive being the meeting point of these two powers.
So it pushes them upwards, causing both to meet a few kilometres above its lush crown. Too late Tree realizes that a single rabbit was still being propelled by the stream of cold.
If Lola was sleepy previously, being shot out of the mountain like a cannonball and smashing headfirst into a stream of pure magma causes her to be more awake than ever before.
She barely manages to use the heat qi she got back to stay alive and whole, not even bothering to reform her cultivation base just yet. Now that she has smashed into enormous quantities of the element she is most comfortable with though, she starts sucking up the rich qi like there’s no tomorrow.
The golden energy of Tree intensifies as it tries to contain the massive explosion happening above its crown as fire meets ice.
This causes Lola to experience what it’s like in a pressure cooker for the second time today. This time her subconscious is ready though. Lola is still too dazed and confused to act, but her well-developed instinct is prepared.
The mixing energies of fire and ice are forcefully invading her small frame for the second time in under a minute, but this time they are welcomed. The qi is absorbed through her skin and any orifice it can find, sinking into her flesh, blood and bones at an astounding pace.
Her core reforms, the qi condensation stage is skipped as the air contains enough power to condense liquid qi immediately. Her heart forms a solid core a second later, sucking up all the qi greedily until her solid core is entirely formed.
Being a small rabbit, she needs less qi to form a cultivation base. Not a proportional amount less, it varies between a third and half less of a standard size humanoid.
The expanding qi cloud she is inside contains enough qi for ten people to advance to the solid core stage.
Lola’s body oversaturates with qi, flooding every single cell, pore and fibre of her being with fire and ice in conflict. Her conscious mind is confused again, her body felt nice just now, but things are starting to hurt again.
She never felt things like this when near the big giver of food. He played with her until she got tired, sure, but he’d immediately make her feel better while scratching between her ears. The few times she went on adventures of her own, bad stuff kept happening.
She feels him somewhere down below, so she does what he taught her. She kicks against the air. When it doesn’t work, she does it again but with more power. The fourth time she puts all her power inside her legs, keeping nothing back, and kicks again. The golden glow breaks into shards as Lola’s horn - now red and blue intertwined - pierces Tree’s barrier.
The still-expanding cloud of qi follows her downward. It flows through the path of least resistance, the place where Lola punched through. It speeds up further as Lola’s heartcore calls to the power to fill it again.
Teach, who just now woke from his creative daze, has enough time to look upwards and see Lola shooting towards him. She smacks against the sword, which smacks against his chest which then causes him to fall backwards. His own heartcore is unwilling to let Lola splatter herself against an unmoving body cultivator, so it decides to cushion her fall.
Teach has just enough time to look at the rabbit on his chest with an angry expression before the duo is inundated by a pillar of blue and orange power.
“It looks… cute!” Re-Haan is trying very hard not to giggle. Ah, there she goes. She’s rolling on the floor again, clutching her stomach.
“You still have a lot to learn about social conventions. Like tact.” I look at her with a death stare, which she ignores.
“It’s… a lot more powerful now, though.”
“Shut the fuck up, Ket.” I growl.
“It feels heavier.”
“Bord, I swear to god.” I glare at the rabbit sitting on my shoulder once again. She looks so proud and happy. For fuck’s sake… I drop my shoulders, which only causes the shitty rabbit to shift and lean against my neck.
I look at the sword in my hand. It’s beautifully made, clean lines create a sharp edge and the blackness is interwoven with an elaborate silver tree. I wrapped the handle in leather. I should have covered it in bunny leather.
Because the swords’ pommel is now a cute bunny’s paw while above and below the silver tree are two very cute pictures of a bunny’s face. One is glowing orange, the other glowing blue.
I sigh in defeat. The weapon really underwent a baptism when Lola and I got bathed in that stream of power. The weapon feels half alive now. I managed to absorb a part of that energetic explosion, further building my foundation, but that was just a drop in the bucket I need to fill.
The majority of the power went into Lola and the sword. Lola managed to level up quite a bit, but the sword underwent some sort of fundamental change. I made it according to a technical drawing, a collection of materials through which energies would flow.
Now, the two mana stones are partially interwoven through the metal instead of just being encased. The image of Tree is more intricate and actually seems to move in the wind. The pictures of Lola… are way too fucking cute.
I see Selis keep herself back froignm touching the weapon. Or maybe Lola? The red and blue locks on her forehead do look kind of cool.
No Drew, you're still mad at the shitty rabbit. Remember that.
I hold the blade out to the blue haired girl. “Do you want it? It will fit that brutish fighting style you chose way back. It's a bit too girly for me…”
Selis nearly nods but shakes her head with a pained expression. “No thanks, I'm not ready for a weapon yet. I don't want to develop a dependency like that.”
Shoot. I could make a new one, but the thing took nearly my entire storage of precious metals. Database and Tree filtered many tonnes of seawater and dirt, sure, but titanium, platinum and other rare elements are still not easily acquired without dedicated mining operations. Casually filtering water and ground has its limits, after all.
“And Rhea, don't sleep on the job. Or maybe do go and sleep, you're a dragon after all. Anyway, you're no longer the second most powerful cultivator here.” I point at the little shit on my shoulder. Lola somehow managed to make the ice and fire mountain explode while stepping into the foundation realm.
I have to compliment Tree for isolating the dual outburst so well. The volcano is still slightly smoking, and the ice mountain looks kind of cracked, but the only damage to the forest are some isolated pieces of lava and ice that have fallen here and there.
I still feel pissed though. So let’s vent. I wave away the people about to touch my blade. “I’m going to release my frustrations. Cya.”
And I step through the floating remnant of the dimensional gate I used last time. I don’t need to let my necklace float outside in the real world anymore. I can grab onto the crack I stepped through previously. Spatial instabilities like that fade away with time, but small ones fade slower than big rips, weirdly enough.
I kick the ground, ignoring the burned husk of a town I’m in and speed upwards. I spin around in a circle and spot a large patch of forest being trampled. I viciously rip at the air behind me, causing me to shoot forwards with an air breaking scream. The big bastards are marching southwards again, going back from whence they came.
They won’t be returning though. I half expected Lola to be scared of moving so suddenly, but she is just sitting there on my shoulder. I should have expected that. She rode a volcanic ice explosion just now…
I scream my lungs out while smashing down my sword in the middle of the group. The eight-meter tall naked cat I just cleaved in half looks at me accusingly, before its front part falls over well cooked and steaming while its hind part crashes into ice crystals.
I grab Lola from my shoulder and throw her at an enormous spider. “You do the creepies. COME AT ME! FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU....”
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