The following days were spent as if they were mutes. There were no conversations or anything, only sometimes half a sentence.
Xie Yi forced himself to eat and somewhat rest but his uneasy heart wouldn’t allow him to settle.
They landed right in the higher grounds, hoping to avoid the panic that might rise at Shi Yue’s state. The sect leader came running. It needed a lot of coaxing to convince Xie Yi to let go off Shi Yue and allow Master Chen to take a look at him.
Because Xu Yan was not around, Li Mei was the one to run over and embrace the young man with tears in her eyes.
At some point of time, the humanoid ‘Wu’ vanished and the beast ‘Mingtian’ jogged back into the sect while wheezing. Li Mei brought him over.
Shi Yue was in a comatose state. Master Chen explained that his body needed the break and that he would certainly wake up. She expected it to only need a few days, probably.
Xie Yi mutely held her gaze. She sighed. “Yes, there is a possibility of this state lasting years, but I believe it won’t take him that long.”
Xie Yi lowered his head again. They had placed Shi Yue into his own home and had dragged a chair over for Xie Yi to sit in. Ying Hua was placed at Shi Yue’s side as a sword, a quiet reassurance to her creator.
Mingtian also more or less moved in. If he wasn’t with Xue Hua, he was with Xie Yi and nudged him as a reminder to eat or rest.
The young man was stubborn. He hardly moved away.
“Hey”, Li Mei greeted in a soft voice. Master Chen passed by her to walk to the unconscious Shi Yue.
“Hey”, Xie Yi responded dumbly. His voice was raspy. He wasn’t speaking a lot.
“We’ve brought a visitor for you. Come out for a while?”, she tried to coax him, tugging at his hand.
Master Chen also gave him a gentle push. “I’m here. Take a break for a few minutes.”
Xie Yi relented hesitantly. Li Mei dragged him out very carefully, leading all the way through the sect and towards the buildings near the entrance.
Mingtian was wagging his tail, already running up to a door and whining towards Xie Yi.
Listless, the young man walked around the corner.
Feng Yan was visibly uncomfortable on the expensive chair and was sitting at its very edge. It looked funny since he was such a bulky man, now all stressed out on such a delicate chair.
When he spotted Xie Yi coming in, he hastily stood up.
Xie Yi looked at him blankly.
The man smiled lopsidedly and raised his arms.
The black-haired young man jumped over in two steps and hugged him tightly.
“There, there”, Feng Yan hummed melodically. “Everything is going to be fine.”
God knew how terrified he was when the pretty female cultivator knocked at his door and told him that Xie Yi needed his help. He almost burned his forge down while tripping over everything as he ran out.
He knew that grief and worry were dangerous emotions that could bring down the strongest person. Guilt even more so. He guessed Xie Yi’s thoughts when he had heard the story on the way.
He had heard Xie Yi talk about his brother Wu before and he was certain that this person had done everything to help Xie Yi. It wasn’t that he thought he could do better, it was that he knew that sometimes, several people were needed to unload different parts of your feelings.
He was no cultivator. He would think differently from them.
Li Mei closed the door silently, leaving them alone.
Mingtian trotted over and laid down under the table while Feng Yan continued to rub Xie Yi’s messy hair.
“You look terrible”, he stated directly. “Look at you. What’s that on your face, hm? Are you even taking care of yourself? You’ll start to stink.”
Xie Yi made a sound. He wouldn’t stink. He washed regularly and his clothes had arrays for keeping clean. “Won’t.”
“Who cares”, Feng Yan huffed. “If I say it stinks, it stinks. Go take a bath. Put on freshly washed clothes. Sit under the sun for an hour. If he is unconscious, what can you do?”
Xie Yi tensed. “He could be mentally awake! He could tell I’m there-”
“Oh and he would like seeing you like this?” Feng Yan interrupted him directly. “Stupid. Alright, I agree, I don’t understand the fears that you have. You know more of what might be happening to him and how it might help to be close by. But what I’m seeing is you turning into a wreck.”
The man’s tone was scolding but warm.
“Now stop thinking that all of this is your fault.”
Feng Yan sighed loudly. “If this happened, it’s fate. You can’t do anything about it.”
Xie Yi pushed himself away a bit. His face was twisted sadly. “I make my own fate! I am the one who decided on this! I am a cultivator, the things I do-”
“You are human”, Feng Yan said, rudely clamping a large hand over Xie Yi’s mouth. “You are not yet an Immortal. Right now, above everything, you are human. You cannot influence the flow of fate. You cannot read the paths. You cannot understand which outcome is better or worse on the long run. Don’t be so arrogant. You are only a tiny, insignificant human who is nothing in front of the Gods.”
Xie Yi’s eyes widened. Below the table, Mingtian looked up.
“Because of you, your master and his group managed to kill some bad cultivators, right? I don’t understand much of it, but as I understand, he will be completely fine again soon.” Feng Yan smiled. “That’s pretty good, isn’t it? You were willful, but the only ones that died were a lot of pests.”
The young cultivator tugged the hand over his mouth down slowly. He sounded exhausted. “I wonder if it’s fine to think like that.”
“It is. Okay, I’ve got a store and can’t stay for long, I only wanted to make sure you are still alive”, the burly man teased. “Now, go take a bath and change your clothes, then we’ll eat together outside. After that, you can go back to watch over your master.”
Xie Yi nodded softly. Maybe it wasn’t so bad, being treated like a useless man once in a while.
Compared to what Mingtian and the rest knew, Feng Yan still saw Xie Yi as a slightly over-mature but otherwise weak child. He wouldn’t think of complicated things like the effect that Xie Yi could have on his environment.
He wanted a simple life: Do what is good for yourself and does not harm others needlessly. Xie Yi wasn’t harmed and his master had been hurt because of his own movements. How was Xie Yi involved? Not at all.
So he shouldn’t allow himself to suffer.
Mingtian huffed out a breath of air. That kind of thinking, he couldn’t do it. He, too, had thought of the involvements although he didn’t think Xie Yi was guilty, either.
Sometimes, allowing another person to do the talking was helpful.
There were special circumstances but not enough to warrant Feng Yan wandering around in the dorms, meaning Xie Yi hurried to wash up and return while the man waited and awkwardly tried to read a book that Li Mei had brought him.
During the meal, Xie Yi allowed Feng Yan to chide him continuously for trying to leave whatever he had a slight distaste for on the plate.
At first, he had merely shoved it away to eat it later but when Feng Yan complained about it, he began doing it on purpose because the man praised him for eating it afterwards.
Maybe Feng Yan knew or maybe he didn’t but he continued to distract Xie Yi that way and made him finish his plate.