From then on, the tides shifted in their favour with one of them being able to help out where needed.
The leader clicked his tongue in annoyance. Their main goal was destroying Shi Yue but even if that didn’t work, any injury was a good result.
The bloody smell was beginning to spread. From afar you could hear the screeches and cries of beasts fighting against each other.
It was only a small, no, even a tiny battlefield, and yet Shi Yue found the whole area destroyed by their attacks.
When it became obvious that the demonic cultivators wouldn’t be able to win, they began their suicidal attacks.
One by one they fell but took along as much as they could.
Whether it would be only another stab, or a cut off hand, or a poisoned injury - they threw themselves against the spiritual cultivators with their creepy grins.
The leader was heaving when all of his members were dead.
Shi Yue felt sweat drip down his face.
“Give it up”, Shi Yue declared and warily watched the man.
“Never”, he laughed. His veins burst into bloody fountains as he let his demonic energy surge up his body.
His movement, for this one moment, was almost instantaneous. There was no time to even register him moving when he was already right in front of Shi Yue.
The other man put all of his energy into that last hit. It was an obvious suicide action.
Shi Yue was prepared. It was his second time seeing this attack - the first time had been long ago, in a fight led by his master - and he knew its effect.
It wasn’t necessarily lethal. Its main effect was irreparably destroying another’s channels, wrecking their cultivation. If it hit him right, it could even destroy a Grandmaster’s body.
It was only because Shi Yue was prepared that he could take the risk.
It was unlikely that he would be able to evade from this close and the other coming into his reach also meant that he could start an attack.
Shi Yue set his priority. Steadying his body, he took the attack, feeling his body shudder with the heavily powered current. He raised his sword and let the other’s movement do the work.
He felt relieved when his sword came out of the other side of the man’s torso with a loud wet noise. The man’s widened eyes and gaping mouth were the only reactions.
Shi Yue drew his sword back out and blood spilled through the open wound.
The cultivator drew wet, ragged breaths that turned into bubbles and finally stopped as he slumped down. He twitched and struggled for another while. His face was distorted into a weird, satisfied grin.
The Grandmaster let his sword fall and looked over the field - they had won. Ragged and bloody, even heavily injured, but all alive.
Hissing, he brought a hand up to his chest.
Every single beat of his heart was drumming incredibly painfully, as if the blood pumping through his veins was pure poison. He got to feel the extent of the damage that the other had made on him.
His vital organs and core were fine but the attack had shaken his spiritual energy. He knew without a doubt that he would topple over any moment.
Shi Yue felt darkness wash over his eyes. He coughed and a metallic taste spread through his mouth, dripping over his lips. He swayed.
The moment he was absolutely sure that the other was dead, he could not keep his consciousness together anymore.
Amidst the screams of the other teachers, one stuck out the most.
It was a desperate sound but the voice was so familiar that the Grandmaster found himself exhaling in relief. An arm wrapped around him, catching him as he slumped to the ground.
The face that came into his view was too hazy to make out. He could only hear the constant repeating of his name as he faded into darkness.
Xie Yi only heard beeping. He knew he had to check whether Shi Yue was alive and how his condition was, but his hands were shaking too much. He whimpered unconsciously, wiping the blood off from his master’s lips.
A pair of dark hands reached over to drag him away as white ones with blueish tint reached for Shi Yue.
Xie Yi flinched, tensing for a moment, then allowing it.
The chaos between the teachers went completely past him. He let Mingtian steady him and whisper calming words into his ear as the beast tended to the still bleeding wounds on his body and watched the person on the ground.
Xue Hua pulled Shi Yue into his arms, half propping him up, and conversed with a teacher who was holding Shi Yue’s wrist with a dark frown.
Because he couldn’t really hear, Xie Yi did nothing but stare between Shi Yue’s and Xue Hua’s faces. Only watching.
When Xue Hua’s face relaxed the tiniest bit, he, too, slumped against Mingtian.
“It’s not lethal”, he heard Mingtian whisper through the cotton in his ears. “As long as he gets treatment, he will be fine. We will go right back to the sect and help him. He’s a Grandmaster, he doesn’t die that easily.”
Mingtian lifted his head when the teacher came over to take a look at Xie Yi while Xue Hua turned into a bird and the others helped to get Shi Yue onto his back.
“Shocked, generally fine”, Mingtian declared but the teacher frowned and took a look anyway.
Due to Xie Yi heavily rejecting him doing a checkup using spiritual energy, he could only take a look at the outward injuries.
Xie Yi’s left arm was quite tattered but while painful, not something that couldn’t be fixed. He had several stab wounds that looked bad but could be worse.
What made the teacher frown was the bleeding slits reaching once over Xie Yi’s right arm, all the way to his hand, and one from the side of his nose down his cheek.
They were bubbling a bit and tinted green. It looked like the most classical poisoned injury.
“This-”, the teacher started, also worried about the glazed look in Xie Yi’s red eyes.
“It won’t heal fully”, Mingtian took the words out of her mouth. “It’s fine. He does not care about scars. Let’s get out of here first.”
The teacher nodded. “You get on first. Xue Hua will bring you back.”
Mingtian did not hesitate in picking Xie Yi up and getting onto Xue Hua’s back. The bird called out softly and Mingtian brushed his fingers through the feathers as he set Xie Yi down.
The young man finally found his head again and steadied himself before he crawled to hold Shi Yue in place as they set off.
The beast watched his little brother cradle Shi Yue in his arms with an expression he had never seen before. The cultivator was leaning forward and had placed his head against the Grandmaster’s shoulder, his eyes only opened a slit.
He was unnaturally still, only focusing on his master. He looked desolate and cold, shivering a bit. But he did not look like someone who was giving up.
“He will live”, Mingtian repeated again, moving over to sit closer to him.
“Of course”, Xie Yi responded, cuddling the unconscious man closer to himself.
The canine felt a bit relieved that no one but them was around. Xie Yi was a novice at love, that was true, but the expression on his face was not one belonging to a child.
They were days away from the sect. He had a feeling that the kid could use those days very well.
For Mingtian, his fight had not been as hard as expected. His opponent had harshly underestimated him and his skills.
As for Xie Yi, he had struggled heavily for a while but ultimately gained the upper hand. He had not cared too much about his injuries.
As they left, Mingtian made sure to additionally smash anything in sight. He did not even take valuables. He burned what could be burned and left.
Outside, Zhi Ci was waiting.
They convinced her to make the way herself and come to the Virtuous Sect as an official refugee. They gave her what she needed for the way.
Taking her along was not a good idea; Xie Yi knew that the sect would be furious and Zhi Ci needed the time to herself anyway.
They would not have noticed that something was wrong if Mingtian hadn’t seen the smoke rise up to the sky and carried over Xie Yi in a hurry. They got there right as the fight ended.
“Kid”, Mingtian whispered as he wrapped his arm around Xie Yi. “By the time we are back, you need a good explanation for what happened.”
Below them, Xue Hua was quiet. Whether he heard the things they said or not was unclear.