Luo Lin closed his eyes and sighed. Well, there had been a whole group, so it wasn’t strange that there would be other disciples as well. Now, the question was what to do. He couldn’t take this one back to the sect since he already wanted to bring back Shen Lei. Somebody else would need to take care of that. On the other hand, while his main goal was to bring back Shen Lei, this was also a disciple of their Teng Yong Sect. He couldn’t just ignore him.
Thinking for a bit, he finally took out one of Yan Hong Min’s signal flares. Knowing that second senior martial brother of his, there would definitely be something odd about it. And maybe that something odd would be exactly what he needed right now.
He turned the signal flare over in his hands and finally realized that there was indeed something different from other flares about it. Yan Hong Min had been so nice to provide what would usually be an utterly useless long fuse. In this situation though, it was perfect.
Luo Lin smiled to himself, planted it next to the disciple, and then lit it with his spiritual energy. He didn’t know how long exactly the fuse would need to finally ignite the flare but it should give him enough time to continue searching for Shen Lei while still allowing the Elders and other disciples in the camp to find out that something had happened before it was too late.
As soon as the fuse was ignited, Luo Lin rushed away in the southern direction where the other light had been coming from. While flying, he took out the box and followed the light again. As it turned out, Yan Hong Min had been completely prepared. The disciple that he had just found was still indicated but the light had changed color. Thus, he could make sure that he wouldn’t accidentally rush to the same place twice.
He smiled and then hurried up, hoping that the next person he would find would indeed be Shen Lei. He didn’t know how many members there had exactly been in the group but searching for the others was something that could be done with more people later on. He definitely shouldn’t do it alone if there was still a chance that the demonic practitioners would be close by.
The signal of the light grew stronger and finally, there was no doubt that somebody was up ahead. Luo Lin’s mouth turned dry and he clenched his fingers around the box, having to force himself to slightly relax them to make sure that he wouldn’t damage it. Up ahead might indeed be his lover’s body. Thinking of that … pained him quite a lot.
He forced himself to hold back the tears and then rushed forward, finally reaching an open space that had clearly seen a fight not too long ago. The ground had been hit several times, showing clear depressions. And down at the ground of the biggest of them lay a body.
This time, one glance was enough to realize that he had found the right person.
Luo Lin closed his eyes and then rushed over, kneeling down next to him. Staring at Shen Lei, he had a hard time reconciling this image with the way he usually was. He was lying completely still, one of his arms twisted in a weird angle while his clothes were torn, blood splattered everywhere on the rags left over and his skin that was much too pale. Clearly, he had taken a direct hit at least once.
This time, Luo Lin couldn’t hold back his tears. He leaned over him, and clung to his shoulders, his tears dropping onto Shen Lei’s hair.
He had found him. He had indeed managed to find him. He was glad that he had but at the same time, this wasn’t easy to take. If he could, he really wished he wouldn’t have needed to do this.
Luo Lin reached up and wiped away his tears, turning to look at Shen Lei’s face again. There was blood splattered on his cheeks and forehead as well which was probably his own. Luo Lin reached up and gently wiped it away, his fingers curling up when he touched the cold skin.
“You really should have stayed at the sect with me. Look what happened now.” He leaned down and kissed his forehead before he brushed through his hair with his fingers, making it look a little more like usual.
He knew it couldn’t change anything. He just … he couldn’t bear to see him like this. Even though it didn’t change the outcome, this little bit of normality was the only thing he had. He wasn’t willing to give that up as well.
He also straightened out the remainders of Shen Lei’s sleeves as well as he could and then took another look at his face. He knew that it was over but he still couldn’t quite believe it. It just … seemed impossible that after merely a day of not seeing each other, they would be separated forever. He had a hard time coming to grips with that.
He sighed and took out another signal flare. Before lighting it up though, he leaned down again and gently cupped Shen Lei’s cheeks. The Elders would need a moment to come over. It was best to wait until the other signal flare went up and they were on their way. Then, they could just fly by here to check what was going on and he wouldn’t need to worry about also losing his life. Thus, he still had a moment to say his goodbyes alone.
He really wished that they had gotten a last moment together. Just one to say a few last words. He knew it was impossible but his heart still hurt knowing that Shen Lei had likely gone without anyone but the demonic practitioners close by. That wasn’t how he should have died. He should have had a friend or at least some fellow disciple at his side.
Looking at his face, Luo Lin slowly leaned down and gently touched Shen Lei’s lips with his own. When he did, he froze. He slowly turned his head and looked at Shen Lei’s closed eyes. “Shen Lei?” He only whispered but his heart was suddenly racing. He didn’t dare to believe it but maybe … just maybe it wasn’t too late yet.