He wondered what Ye Xiu was doing right now. The human must have blocked connection because he couldn’t reach out for energy. Moreover, it was easy to notice that the bond was working in some kind of overdrive. His energy returned but it was extremely hard for him to concentrate on anything.
One Autumn Leaf tried very, veeery hard to understand what is Su Mucheng trying to tell him.
It’s a lie.
He is that little shit that never listens to her.
Sue him for this later.
Only Ye Xiu can get through his thick head and actually sue him.
But the human is not in Excellent Era now.
What Ye Xiu doesn’t know, won’t hurt him... probably.
He is hungry. Ye Xiu is not nearby. Blonde brat is being irritating again. He has to sit and pretend he listens to Mucheng. His older brother is with Ye Xiu and he is not ok with that.
He is ok with that.
No. That’s not right. Something’s wrong.
One Autumn Leaf's felt ill and he didn't know why. His thoughts were all jumbled and he could barely formulate a proper phrase.
And that monster headache. It was as if someone suddenly dumped a bunch of information onto him and his brain is trying to get through all of it. At. Once.
The Battlemage closed his eyes and run a hand over his face.
He felt a small pressure on his left shoulder.
‘Why is she so blurry?’ he managed to ask himself mentally seeing Su Mucheng hovering over him.
He felt something damp on his cheeks. He reached and found himself confused.
‘Why am I crying?’
He tried to stand up.
Worst idea ever.
It felt as if someone ran a red-hot knife into his gut and twisted it. Over and over. And as if someone cut him open. Over and over.
Over and over.
‘NO! It’s not mine!’
Paralysed. Nowhere to run.
“I said STOP!!!’
And it all stopped.
Those were memories. Not his. And definitely not Ye Xiu’s.
They were Lord Grim’s.
‘What have they done to him...’
There was no reason to ask this question. He already knew.
Su Mucheng was livid. Excellent Era will definitely pay for everything and it will be because they are greedy idiots. All they need is time. She can wait.
But guess who had to be a drama queen?!
One Autumn Leaf of course.
Su Mucheng was on all avatars’ side. She understood them and respected them. In return, spirits answered the same way. But even she had limits.
One Autumn Leaf was crossing them from the very moment she laid her eyes on him. She wasn't stupid and could see the real effect of the blood bond.
When Ye Xiu is angry, the Battlemage is furious and more than ready to kill anything that moves. Where Ye Xiu shows interest, the avatar shows obsession. Sadness? Depression. Amusement? Uncontrollable laugh. Happiness? Euphoria.
Sometimes it looked as if Ye Xiu was his cage and leash.
But at what cost?
Wasn’t it strange that Ye Xiu looked so apathetic? Su Mucheng might not know all the secrets behind blood bond but as a third party, she is able to notice things those two can’t.
Ye Xiu stifles and hides away all his emotions just not to stimulate anything in One Autumn Leaf. The damn avatar can’t even distinguish his own emotions from his bonded. She blames the spirit for that. And it's beyond irritating when One Autumn Leaf acts on his own or is jumping from one emotion to another in a span of a second.
If she could, she would happily pack a bullet into his head. But unfortunately, she can’t because Ye Xiu and his pet project are connected.
She tries to reason with One Autumn Leaf.
She talks to him just because she is a professional.
And of course, he doesn’t even bother to listen.
Su Mucheng was frustrated with him. She would be more than happy to kick him in the face because Ye Xiu wasn’t here to judge her now.
But when she laid her eyes on him, she knew something was wrong.
She ended up with one of the strongest avatars she knew, curled up against her like a terrified little child.
Automatically she assumed that something happened to Ye Xiu. After all, he had Lord Grim with him. She couldn’t understand why he kept that rogue avatar. It was dangerous. It literally killed her brother. Wasn’t this reason enough to get rid of it for good?!
Of course, now she understood why it ended safely in his hands.
Lord Grim was the first spirit in China.
A ‘Prometheus’ generation as her brother once said.
Dangerous. Intelligent. Strong. Odd. Unique. One of a kind. With a weapon just as incredible and complex as the avatar itself.
The only one that might know why monsters started mutating and increased in their appearance near cities.
The only one that has all the answers.
And surprisingly, Lord Grim is or was One Autumn Leaf’s older brother. She could only hope that Ye Xiu knows what to do. Whenever it was something about spirits, he was the best judge of the situation.
She called Autumn Tree to help her lay (throw) the battlemage onto the bed. Dancing Rain was left to escort/drag Sun Xiang to his room.
It wasn’t long until One Autumn Leaf started to move around again. Extremely confused but alive and kicking. It also meant that Ye Xiu was alright too.
Su Mucheng finally let herself relax when the avatar confirmed that no harm was done to ‘his human.'
That doesn’t mean she let the spirit out of her room without expressing her negative opinion.
A damn shame she forgot to make a picture of his shocked face. At least he was listening to her now.
Ye Xiu could even sense how Lord Grim was frantically trying to piece everything together. He wasn’t surprised when the avatar found out who is the other avatar using the blood bond.
Ye Xiu backed away from the lying spirit just in time to see the other trying to lunge at him with newfound anger.
Trying is the key word here.
Lord Grim slumped back onto the bed the moment Ye Xiu stood up.
The whole bond was almost bleeding. It was the first time he saw it so overloaded. He internally thanked himself for not giving out anything into it. Right now, Ye Xiu was there only as a connector. He wasn't giving and receiving anything from any of the parties. He can share his energy only by direct touch.
Ye Xiu took one look at Lord Grim to know what happened. The Unspecialized had almost half of his organs removed. He wasn’t given enough energy and time to heal on his own. One wrong move and something might tear. And it was exactly what happened. It only spiralled from that.
He hastily fetched one of the potions he took from Excellent Era before he left and went over to the spirit. It seemed that he will have to calm him down first.
Lord Grim was having a panic attack.
2 warm blankets and 10 minutes later, he was more or less calm again. More or less.
Ye Xiu didn’t dare to touch him just in case he makes it worse but it seemed that the blankets did the right job. He also didn’t try to talk to him. His presence was enough. Not to mention that avatars’ minds work differently from humans. It is easy to trigger one in both cases but avatars need only something to ground them. Better not to talk about it with them. It usually makes it even worse and can have permanent effects.
In Lord Grim’s memories, there was only cold. Fluffy blankets were the exact opposite. The moment Ye Xiu threw them at the avatar, Lord Grim started to calm down.
Another 10 minutes and he could hear only pained breathing and contained sobs.
He slowly crept closer.
“I have a healing potion with me. Drink it. It should help.” Said Ye Xiu, voice barely above a whisper.
A messy brown hair and shining golden eyes peeked from the blankets to stare at him and at the red potion in his hand.
A terribly trembling hand reached out. Ye Xiu frowned seeing this.
“Can you even hold it long enough to drink it?” He asked. The hand dropped down uselessly halfway through his question.
Keeping his hands in a way Lord Grim could see them, he slowly helped him drink the potion. It’s healing properties kicked in a mere seconds later.
For a second, Ye Xiu thought to go and bring some food but crossed out this idea the moment it appeared. Until Lord Grim heals, it’s better not to give him anything besides water, potions and pure energy.
Speaking of the devil...
The moment the avatar felt better, the bond turned into its usual colour and the spirit turned his whole attention to Ye Xiu. Besides that, Lord Grim didn’t move and kept scowling, whether in thought or in lingering pain, no one will know. Like that, he looked almost like One Autumn Leaf.
Now he knew from where the Battlemage learned how to pout. The similarities were almost scary.
An hour of silence and Ye Xiu took out the second potion.
This time he placed it in Lord Grim’s just barely trembling hand and watched how the spirit started to doze off after draining it till the last drop. He waited patiently until he was sure the unspecialised was deeply asleep.
Using this moment, he slightly uncovered Lord Grim to check the healing process only to blink stupidly at the rapidly closing and healing wounds. It looked that the avatar was boosting his healing abilities to the maximum by using up energy gained earlier from Ye Xiu, military-grade healing potions he managed to take with him and naturally faster regeneration when sleeping.
Still. Even One Autumn Leaf has trouble to concentrate enough only on healing to speed it up that much. After covering him up again, he chose to try and contact One Autumn Leaf. Not without figuring out how to block Lord Grim first. He figured it was similar with how he could do it with One Autumn Leaf, only this time he had two avatars, not one to be wary of.
To tell the truth, it was very surprising to hear the battlemage being so... confused and unsure. It seemed that Lord Grim dumped all his memories tied to his panic attack onto him. He didn’t complain. Didn’t react in anger. He was just... afraid and confused. Lost.
Like all those years ago when they met.
But of course, the peace didn’t last and One Autumn Leaf started to complain not a minute later. Just when they were about to disconnect, the battlemage finally asked about Lord Grim.
“What about... you know...” He couldn’t ask about him in a more awkward way than this, right?
“What about what?” No, Ye Xiu won't make it easier for him.
“About... you know...”
“Please clarify. I am not a mind reader.”
“About?” Ye Xiu is a patient man. He can wait. It’s even amusing how the big, bad battlemage is afraid to ask how his brother is doing.
“... is it amusing to you?”
“Not even a bit. You were saying...?” One Autumn Leaf never knows when he is lying.
“How is he?”
“Healing. Rapidly. I’ve never seen that with avatars. Some monsters have rapid healing but never knew spirits can do it that fast too.” Ye Xiu could practically sense relief washing through the bond. But also... fear?
"You know his injuries. He literally lit up the whole bond when he moved too suddenly and reopened one of the wounds. The panic attack didn't help him either. It's been less than two hours and there are only scars left. Don't know whether he healed internally but I guess he healed those first as a top priority. He's deep asleep now."
“Only two hours?! I know the bond was in overdrive but I didn’t know what caused it. Are you ok?!”
“I had enough conscience to block everything before it happened. Whatever he did, it affected only you. And I told you it was fast."
“Yes, but he never showed he can heal THAT fast. On the other hand,...”
“What is it?”
“...he was never injured that heavily before. To tell the truth, I've never seen him with anything more than a scratch... What about his energy level?”
“He used the first bunch in mere seconds to heal himself. When he did so, he was left with less than 10%. Even when I gave him more, he kept it at this much and used the rest to boost healing.” Ye Xiu was met with silence.
“But... we can’t function with less than 30%… he told me himself...”
"It seems that he is more enigmatic than we thought. Oh, and by the way... you do know that there will be a match in a few days? Finally got over the fact you will be working with Sun Xiang?"
“I take it as a no. Give him a chance.”
“Like you with Lord Grim?”
“Yeah. More or less.”
“...I can try.”
“I... can’t. I don’t like him.”
“You don’t like anyone.”
“I like you.”
“I don’t count. Try and give him a chance.”
“Fine. But I am not doing this for him.”
“Alright. Now off you go. And apologise to Su Mucheng. You are always an ass to her whenever I am away.”
“Wha? I AM NOT! Ye Xiu! … Ye Xiu?... Goddamit not again.”
Ye Xiu only snorted at One Autumn Leaf's antics. He took one last glance at Lord Grim and sit down on a chair. No sleeping today it seems. No trouble for now it seems.
Or he thought so...
until he heard a loud roar coming from the street.