Xue Ningxiang was on Zhuo Fan with a cry and turned him over to see the fist-sized wound in his chest which went all the way through his back. His face paled by the second and his temperature dropped.
Tears welled in Xue Ningxiang’s eyes and fell along with her anxious voice, “Brother Zhuo, wake up, wake up…”
Perhaps it was the soft tears or the incessant shouts grating on his ears that made Zhuo Fan crack his eyelids.
“Brother Zhuo, you’re awake!” Xue Ningxiang was glad.
Zhuo Fan moved his lips but was too weak to even let out words.
Watching her tear-stained face, Zhuo Fan took a deep breath and squeezed his last drop of energy into pointing, but his hand soon fell limp.
Xue Ningxiang caught his gesture and saw Blood Infant in a pool of blood.
“You want me to bring it over?” She asked.
Zhuo Fan blinked weakly, the only thing he could do in his current state. Xue Ningxiang thus marched to Blood Infant and was soon back with it in her arms. She then placed it on the hole in Zhuo Fan’s chest.
Blood Infant flashed red and was back in Zhuo Fan’s body. He let out a breath as his complexion started improving slightly.
His and Blood Infant’s lives were shared, so much so that its wound was far more important than his own injury. As long as Blood Infant was fine, him suffering heavy wounds would matter little. But now Blood Infant’s life hung by a thread. Without his blood essence, he could only keep it alive for a short while longer.
He was in a worse condition too and had no way to save it. But as Blood Infant was kept alive a bit of energy returned to him.
“B-blood…” Zhuo Fan whispered hoarsely.
Xue Ningxiang paused a moment, then cut her wrist with a dagger and brought her hand to Zhuo Fan’s lips.
The girl’s blood dripped in Zhuo Fan’s mouth and he slowly recovered a bit more energy.
Xue Ningxiang let out a relieved sigh and even sported a faint smile.
But Zhuo Fan suddenly bit her wrist, sucking the blood out. Xue Ningxiang braced through the pain and let him have his fill.
Time passed but Zhuo Fan’s appetite didn’t drop. Xue Ningxiang’s face paled and was even getting woozy.
She knew it was from the blood loss but she didn’t stop him.
When Zhuo Fan finally let go and gasped for fresh air, he saw Xue Ningxiang’s pale countenance and felt complicated.
“Thank you.” Zhuo Fan now had the strength to speak, thanks to the blood. Xue Ningxiang smiled. She was feeling weak but her smile looked mesmerizing to Zhuo Fan.
Recalling his previous act, his heart began to feel guilt.
With a thought, a blue bottle flashed in his hand.
“Ning’er, these are 3rd-grade Heart Protecting Pills. Give me one, you take the second and give the third to the kid if he isn’t dead.”
Xue Ningxiang nodded and fed the first pill to him. She checked Xie Tianyang and found him alive. Excited, she fed him a pill but saved hers.
Zhuo Fan was laid on the ground but his heart was clear, “Ning’er, you are also hurt. Why aren’t you taking it?”
Ning’er shook her head, “It’s only a scratch. This pill is too precious and it’s better used on you two.”
“Ha-ha-ha, not in the least. It came from Veiled Dragon Pavilion anyway, so don’t worry!” Zhuo Fan smiled. He came to Allbeast Mountain Range prepared, not only in spirit stones but also in pills.
Since the Imperial family and Veiled Dragon Pavilion were providing the Luo clan with stuff, he had everything besides the truly rare pills. Some of his pills were something not found even in the entire Tianyu Empire, refined by yours truly.
[I didn’t think I’d use them so fast!]
“Ning’er, take it, it’s yours!”
A snort came and Xue Ningxiang turned towards Xie Tianyang. He was also worse for wear, not life-threatened like Zhuo Fan, but he couldn’t move still.
He would need 3-5 months to heal.
Zhuo Fan couldn’t budge but neither could he. Even so, his fear of Zhuo Fan wasn’t that high and said with a clipped tone, “Ning’er, this big brother Zhuo wanted to use you as bait from the start. This is his just deserts!”
When Zhuo Fan exposed his plan, she was already unconscious in the thunderflame gale prison explosion. But hearing it now, she was startled and looked at Zhuo Fan with the hope that he’d deny.
She refused to believe that Brother Zhuo, who stood by her side for over a month, would be so cruel as to throw her away.
She hoped this was a misunderstanding, that Zhuo Fan would refute Xie Tianyang’s claims. But Zhuo Fan remained silent, and his cold eyes refused to meet hers for the first time.
With tears welling, Xue Ningxiang forced her sorrow down, but her heart felt like being stabbed with a knife.
She didn’t realize when, but Zhuo Fan meant a lot to her. She didn’t feel hate for being cast out, but pain…
Sensing her pain, Zhuo Fan hesitated, “Ning’er, I…”
“It’s fine, you don’t need to say anything.”
Xue Ningxiang wiped her nose and forced a smile, “I know Brother Zhuo is brave and smart, that all went according to your plan. I’m sure it’s a misunderstanding.”
She whipped her head around and left, “I’m going to look for branches and make a stretcher. We can’t keep staying here.”
Watching her walk away like nothing had happened, Xie Tianyang rose an eyebrow, “Hey, Ning’er, you’re going to forgive him just like that? He is hurt and can’t move. Now’s your chance for revenge.”
Yet Xue Ningxiang didn’t return…
Xie Tianyang wanted to yell again but then Zhuo Fan’s snort came, “Zip it. If you want to die, just ask!”
“Humph, you have it worse than me, let’s see you try!”
Xie Tianyang put up a tough front but fear gnawed his heart because of the naked killing intent laced in Zhuo Fan’s words.
Seeing with his own eyes how Zhuo Fan had fought the seventh elder, he knew the horror Zhuo Fan could unleash. Despite losing, Zhuo Fan played with that Insidious Demon to such a state.
He felt both fear and hatred towards Zhuo Fan.
Hate for his unfeeling heart to his friends and fear from his cunning mind. But then a new feeling triumphed them both, something the genius disciple of Sword Marquise Abode never felt before, awe.
Xue Ningxiang was soon back with wood and made two stretchers. When she placed them both on each, Zhuo Fan wanted to apologize but swallowed his words when he saw her avoiding him.
With a thunderclap, the rain started pouring down on the ashen forest and helped the saplings grow.
Xue Ningxiang tied the stretchers with rope and trudged through the mud. Because of the heavy rain, the rough mountain path, and the blood loss, she fell down again and again.
But she pressed on like a machine, dragging them ever forward.
The three never spoke a word the entire time. Even Xie Tianyang’s complaints about taking revenge fell silent.
The two felt worse and worse the more they saw Xue Ningxiang’s pale face as she pulled them.
Xie Tianyang was the first to mention casting her away for being weak. Zhuo Fan went a step further by rejecting the idea in a dignified manner, only to throw her out as bait not much later.
And now, the two were in dire straits, useless for months to come. But Xue Ningxiang’s heart remained steady and firm, never abandoning them.
The two felt heavy in their hearts from the huge debt they had for her. [How can we ever repay it?]
On the muddy and slick mountain road, a bump appeared and the Burrowing Mouse revealed itself. It ran towards Xue Ningxiang as soon as it came out.
Now that she saw the little guy, her smile came back on her face, since losing it when she found of Zhuo Fan’s betrayal.
Afraid of critter suffering, she drove it away before their fight with the seventh elder. But now it came back.
The little guy was jumping around her leg in joy then skipped ahead of her.
Xue Ningxiang guessed that it was showing the way and dragged the stretchers to a cave.
Happy, she pulled the two people into the cave for sheltering from the rain and healing their wounds.
But Zhuo Fan looked around once and shouted in panic, “We can’t stay here, we have to leave now!”