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A scalpel sunk into the tiger’s back right leg. A paper talisman flew out of Lireh’s hand, ascending into the sky before beginning to burn. A bolt of lightning shot downward onto the tiger, but instead of just vanishing, the talisman remained suspended in the air, burning while letting out a continuous bolt of lightning that was latched onto the tiger’s back. The tiger stared at Lireh, but when it jumped at her, she managed to sidestep it. As it flew through the air, Ivor and Silkpants shared a wordless glance. They knew what they had to do.

They knew what they had to do. Ivor aimed his hand and a ball of lightning began to condense in his open palm. It began to turn orange as he poured heart fire into it, merging the two forces together with his small intestine meridian. There was a perfect line of fire. Ivor shot a bolt of lightning directly up the tiger’s asshole. At first it looked like there was no effect, but then the tiger froze in place a few instants after landing, its cloak of flame dissipating.

Lireh looked at the tiger puzzled before her expression morphed into desperate suppression of laughter as she realized what had happened. She allowed a dozen talismans to fly out of her pouch, which latched onto the tiger as she jumped away to near Ivor. It shook its head and jumped at her again, but to no avail; Silkpants jumped at it and tackled it midair, knocking it off course. Lireh’s voice resounded throughout the field as the talisman raining lightning on the tiger winked out and began to fall from the sky. “Rigor Mortis.”

It was at this moment that everyone but Painless started laughing, Ivor the happiest of them all. “It worked! I gave it qigong deviation by shooting a heart devil up its ass! You might not know what that means, Painless, considering your intelligence, but long story short, it’s COMEDY GOLD!”

Painless sighed. “I know what qigong deviation is, I just didn’t know what was going on because I couldn’t sense the qi. You only get divine sense at Qi Gathering. And I admit that it WAS pretty funny in retrospect. Anyways… Life Reaping Art: Harvest the Helpless.”

The tiger wavered and fell to the ground dead in an astonishing anticlimax. Ivor dashed over to the corpse at top speed, stuck his hand inside of the head, and ripped out its Inferno Yuan Essence, which he split into three parts, each of which he stuck five energy pills into. He popped the three pieces of solid flame into his mouth and proceeded to regret his life choices again. “You know, on second thought, eating literal fire doesn’t sound like a great idea, does it? Side note, AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!

Painless looked at the corpse of the tiger, checking for its brain, a useful object for camouflage techniques. Ivor had left a large hole in it while removing the Inferno Yuan Essence. “Hey Ivor… did you do that intentionally, or are you stupid?”

Ivor grinned, trying to mask his suffering. “Who says it can’t be both? Not me, that’s for sure. Again, don’t try to kill people, for no reason at least. It comes off as a LITTLE bit assholish.”

Painless facepalmed. “Why did I not expect this? Why in the VENERABLE’S NAME DID I NOT EXPECT THIS?! It was so obvious. You could have known I wanted the brain, considering you’ve clearly done some research and knew it would be useful for me. The Yuan Essence is in the tiger’s head, so it’s easy to call it an accident. I’m a moron.”

Ivor shrugged. “Yeah, I kind of had no clue how you didn’t see through it. Next time don’t try and kill me. It tends to… cause grudges. And if you do attempt murder, at least have the competency to finish the job, else you could get yourself killed. Don’t REVIVE the victim! Have you even heard the phrase ‘out by the roots?’”

Painless was hyperventilating. “It’s alright, Painless. I’m going to be okay. No killing other sect members. Oh, and Ivor. I have heard that phrase, I’m just not a psycho who commits genocide for no reason!”

Ivor chuckled. “Wow, irony much? You literally cultivate the Dao of murder and claim you’re ‘not a psycho.’ Anyways, I don’t attack people for no real reason, I’m just saying that if you want to do it, do it right. Otherwise some asshole will kill your chickens and dogs.”

A few hours later, the corpse had been fully harvested. Painless was still absolutely furious. “I’m going to kill your family. Mark my fucking words.”

Ivor snickered. “My mother was named Karen. And I used to work in customer service. Good riddance. My dad was okay though, he was just a second amendment nut. Oh, just a warning, if he got summoned already, he’s probably found some sort of inheritance about guns. So don’t blame me if you get shot.”

Painless gave Ivor a look. “That was a threat, not an advertisement. Although I would have done it for… I don’t know… the brain of a tiger beast, or something like that.”

Lireh chuckled. “Honestly, Painless, you kind of deserved getting the brain ruined. Maybe it’ll even show you the consequences of your actions!”

Lireh barely managed to duck under a scalpel. She looked at Painless with concern. “Dude, I know it’s okay when I’m around, but nobody’s saving me if I die.”

Painless’ hands were shaking. He flung three scalpels out, one at each other member of the group. All three were incinerated by a blue flame that burst out of Ivor’s outstretched right hand and formed a wall. “Might want to consider making your scalpels out of treasures there, buddy. Oh shit, that takes a lot of qi to use.”

Ivor pointed his hand at Painless, who jumped back warily. Then he brought his left hand, which was clenched into a fist, near his mouth, and began to clear his throat. Painless eyed him suspiciously while Lireh and Silkpants pondered what he might be trying to do. Then Ivor coughed up some black blood. “Damn, impurities from the triple burner.”

What only Ivor knew, however, is that this was a ploy. His impurities had been released as steam coming from his skin over the course of an hour. He had actually bitten his tongue and mixed the blood from that with ill omens he had spat out. This was partially to prepare for a battle, but partially to distract from what he was actually doing: activating the ability of his heart meridian to infuse heart fire into his words.

Painless froze up for an instant, during which Silkpants dashed over to him and grabbed his wrist. Painless had fury in his eyes, a heart devil which was being fueled by Ivor’s ability… but he wasn’t an idiot. His fury was overcome by his desire to escape, and he spit a scalpel out of his mouth at Silkpants, who was forced to jump back to avoid the attack. During that time, Painless ran away at top speed. Lireh shrugged. “That could have gone better.”

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Stuck in a Supercomputer Oven

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