Despite his injuries, Ma Zhi Wu seemed to hear Nian Hong Fang’s voice. His eyelids fluttered and he finally cracked his eyes open again, looking at him in a daze.
Nian Hong Fang reached out, cupping his cheek. “Zhi Wu …”
Ma Zhi Wu continued to look at him, only slowly seeming to understand what was going on. “Xiao Fang.” He wanted to raise his hand and also touch his face but he didn’t have any strength left. He could only look at him, trying to make sure that he was alright. Seeing the tears streaming down his lover’s cheeks, felt useless. He wasn’t even able to comfort him. “I’m sorry.” His voice had sunken to a whisper, almost inaudible in the room.
Nian Hong Fang kissed his forehead, his lips lingering on his skin for a moment, and shook his head. “No, don’t say that. It wasn’t your fault. I’m just glad that you’re back. Let’s … Let’s stitch you back together, alright? Just like always!”
Ma Zhi Wu hummed weakly and then closed his eyes. In the end, it had worked out. He had been able to return, to see him one last time. Just as he had wanted to. At least that wish had been granted.
Nian Hong Fang clung to him for a moment longer before he took a shaky breath and wiped the tears from his cheeks. Then he turned to his Master. “Master, tell me what I can do to help.”
The Grandelder looked from his disciple’s distraught expression to his lover lying on the table and almost wanted to sigh. What he could do to help … There really wasn’t anything. And if he did go to do something, then he might lose out on the last precious hours he would have with Ma Zhi Wu. He didn’t want that for him.
He reached out and patted Nian Hong Fang’s shoulder, giving him a small smile. “Right now, the best you can do for him is to stay at his side. Don’t worry about anything else. Your martial brothers and sisters and I will take care of everything else.”
Nian Hong Fang nodded and then grabbed a chair, pulling it over to sit down next to Ma Zhi Wu. He continued to hold his hand, leaned down to him, and quietly whispered, promising him about all the things they would do as soon as he got better.
There was a faint smile on Ma Zhi Wu’s lips as if he was still able to hear him.
The Grandelder watched them for a moment and then ordered the other disciples standing around to go and prepare more pills and potions. He did not know if it would be enough as all of them would need some time to get done and he wasn’t quite sure if the ones they had at hand would be enough to save him until then. Anyway, his injuries were grave. Much graver than any he had ever seen that did not result in death. He would still try though.
Soon enough, Ma Zhi Wu’s wounds had been cleaned, covered with a thick ointment and bandage. Unfortunately, he still looked pale and his skin was still just as sweaty as before. It was as if none of this had changed anything.
The Grandelder furrowed his brows and then looked through the pills in his cabinet. There were a few that were able to boost the self-healing abilities of a person’s body, combat fever, and alleviate their pain. Those should be able to maybe stabilize his condition for later.
He took them out and his gaze rested on the pills that would be able to re-energize somebody. Just giving him one of those would allow him to regain consciousness and stay awake for a few hours without a doubt. Unfortunately, that would also drain his already impacted strength further.
If he only had a few hours more left, then it might be for the best to use it so that he still had a bit more time with Nian Hong Fang and let them say their farewells. But if they wanted to save him, then it probably would be best to put him to sleep. That way, he could save some energy that might help him recover at least slightly.
The Grandelder sighed and finally didn’t take any of those pills. Instead, he went to put the pills he had already picked out into a mortar and ground them into a fine powder. Right now, Ma Zhi Wu wouldn’t be able to take any pills so making them into a makeshift-potion would be for the best.
If he could, he would have used only potions on him but those weren’t as durable and right now, they didn’t have enough to achieve all the desired effects. He’d only use them on him after giving him this makeshift-potion to make sure they’d have the maximum effect.
Pouring water onto the powder and stirring the mixture lightly, the Grandelder nodded to himself. This should be alright. He went back to the table and then handed the potion over to Nian Hong Fang. “Make him drink this. I will get the healing potions we made a few days ago.”
His disciple nodded and then moved closer to his lover, gently cradling his head and tilting it up so he’d have an easier time drinking. “You’ll have to drink this. It’ll make you feel better.”
Ma Zhi Wu was hardly conscious but he still parted his lips when he heard his lover’s request. Nian Hong Fang tilted the bowl and then carefully tipped it, making sure that none of the potion was wasted. His lover needed every single drop to make sure that he would have a better chance at a full recovery.
Nian Hong Fang did not even think of the possibility that Ma Zhi Wu might not recover and that he might, in actual fact, not even see the next day. Deep inside, he knew that it was possible but he refused to think of that. Between his Master and him and all his martial brothers and sisters, they should be able to save him, right?