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When finally arriving, Xiaolei was already on death's door. The hemorrhage was lethal no matter how you looked at it, her face deathly pale, and although she was still faintly breathing, she was already dead. "How cruel.........." In the middle of that silence, discerning nothing can be done, only Ren wasn't able to accept it, looking up at his father. "To- Tou-sama, can't we save her?" "It's impossible" Ruthlessly, Genma replied immediately. "This can't be fixed by a human hand. All we can do is to instantly ease her suffering." "No way.......Nii-sama, don't you have more Elixir?" Once, during the fight with Fuuga-Shu, using that, Kazuma saved Ayano from the verge of death. It's true that if he had something like that, he could save Xiaolei but--- "Idiot. I won't get my hands on that again as long as I live" Like parent like child, the heartlessness in Kazuma's reply wouldn't lose to his father's. "No way......." Ren was lost in grief. In the meantime, Kazuma separated from Ayano, stood by himself, and walked until he was in front of Xiaolei, next to his brother. And then, looking down on the almost-dead girl, he said what mattered most to her. "For now, the Chijutsushi is dead. The other one ran but I will definitely kill him. Their boss too. So go on with peace of mind." That moment Xiaolei's expression changed. Those pupils that blankly looked at the sky regained their focus perceiving Kazuma. ".............." Her lips moved often, letting out feeble breaths. It seems she wanted to say something but that soundless murmur didn't reach anyone's ears. Understanding that, Xiaolei closed her lips and this time she slowly raised her left arm. --- that's right, the arm still holding Kokusen. Mustering the last of her strength, she pushed out the spear that must, in her condition be heavy enough to break her arm. And then, she held it out to Kazuma. There were no words. Not because she already lost her strength but because her tied up lips had no more to say. But even so, Xiaolei's intention was clear. That's how she said "Use this". Unintentionally Ayano looked at Kazuma. Since before, this man, in spite of having the chance of acquiring the spear, he threw it away only saying "I don't need it". That wasn't for show or because he considered the girl's feelings but because he thought so from the bottom of his heart --- but even so, he's not going to step on the girl's last request is he----- "-----Humph" Snorting like he was displeased, Kazuma took Kokusen. Ayano was secretly relieved but next, he grasped it tightly and raised it overhead even higher----and in one breath he sharply swung it downward. "EEh?" In front of Ayano, looking at this dumbfounded, Kokusen's spearhead pierced through Xiaolei's open wound making it even bigger. The girl's body convoluted. "How many times do I have to say this? I don't need something like that" "Wha----Kazuma!?" Confused by the unexpected violence, Ayano was about to draw near him. But, slightly quicker, Genma restrained her. "Ojii-sama!?" "Wait" Without reproach, with a calm expression, plainly, Genma told her so. "Wait? We don't have time to---" "At any rate that won't change the outcome. Besides, if he wanted to finish her off, we wouldn't have aimed for such a wound." "Aah" She noticed after he said it. Kazuma's blow went through the one Chris made. And it wasn't a vital point. But then, from the time it was pierced this became a fatal wound regardless of vital points. That's why Xiaolei was on the verge on dying --- massive blood loss, the vital organs still intact. If Kazuma wanted to ease her suffering as Genma put it, it would have meant instant death, aiming for her heart. Since he didn't do so, he must have had another purpose. "But, what on earth did he......." In front of Ayano starring at him hard, Kazuma clasped Kokusen's handle with both his hands. And then, he slowly looked at the sky. "-----Eeh?" Those eyelids that closed for a second opened immediately. Noticing his pupils changed to a deep blue, Ayano revealed a voice of bewilderment. "Hey, what are you--- Agh!" The radiation of explosive power obstructed her question. Faced with that pressure she endured in the middle of combat, she reflexively backed off. The surrounding atmosphere --- the wind was dyed blue in one breath. That blue wind coiling gently in swirls wrapped the entire park even permeating through the soil and atmosphere, purifying miasma without leaving a trace. "Th- this---" "Hou, is this Kazuma's wind?" Genma, the only one keeping calm amount the bystanders, let out a murmur of admiration. "Aah, now that you mention it, Ojii-sama and Otou-sama didn't see Kazuma's wind of purification--- that's not the problem, now!" Among the mayhem, before making sense of it, she was embraced by a feeling of calm. But it scattered in a moment, unable to form and at that moment---- ..........She heard that song again A light soprano and a grave bass. Although bipolar, those singing voices wove miraculously with exquisite harmony, unmistakably the Spirits of Wind and Wind's sacred treasure, Kokusen. The revival of yesterday's wonderful sound--- no, it was much more magnificent than that. "B-but......why?" What meaning does it have? Last time, when Kokusen didn't respond to Xiaolei, Kazuma used his Contractor power to return it into the girl's hand. But right now, doing so is meaningless and the girl can't be cured. "What on earth...............eeh!?" Ayano reflexively blinked. But even so the scene doesn't change. It doesn't stop. Kokusen stuck in Xiaolei's stomach gradually sunk in. But, there's only earth underneath her and Kazuma doesn't seem to have the strength to do so. Then, where does it disappear to? "Ayano, that girl, she's not Kokusen's formal inheritor?", asked Genma suddenly. "Eeh? Yes, that's right" "Then, Kazuma is doing it right now. And perhaps he is using the power of the stored Sacred Treasure to compensate for her life force." "Eeeeh!? Can he do something like that!?" Seirei Jutsu have no healing jutsu. Humans can borrow the Spirits' strength but that's only the manifestation of the four elements, they are unable to interfere with organic matter, like human bodies. The only exception is the Chijutsushi's resilience but that's related more with the constitution of the body than with Jutsu and cannot heal others. "This is not healing. In the end it's a temporary substitution. Something like a pump to her heart to make the blood flowing until the operation. Think of it like that. The temporary replenishment of her lost vitality with the Sacred Treasure's power, stalling before medical treatment is applied. I think it must be something like that?" "Hmmm" "Of course, that's just conjecture. Even if it's Kazuma, I don't have positive proof. But, even if he fails there's nothing to lose." Surely, at this rate Xiaolei will die. That part doesn't change. But--- "But in the worst case, there's also the the probability of losing Kokusen together with Xiaolei, no?" "Hmmm, a huge probability" "Waah", murmured Ayano amazed by Genma's very impersonal tone. She thought this kind of disposition, totally apathetic towards everything that doesn't have value for him was just like Kazuma. Or rather, the spitting image of Kazuma. "Ren said this too but this parent and child are quite alike in spite of their great differences" While thinking inconsequential things, the Inheritance Ceremony's abridged version finished. Kokusen was completely stored inside Xiaolei and at the same time, seeming to have used all his strength, Kazuma fell on his knees. "Kazuma!?" Ayano rushed over flustered and propped that body about to collapse. She shuddered when she touched him. His body temperature was terribly low. His complexion was pale, looking like he could die any minute. On the other hand, Xiaolei's condition stabilized. She was unconscious but breathing heavily. That rhythm was constant, without disturbance. She seemed to have recovered a bit of color. "............Oyaji" "What?" Genma replied to his son hoarse in an extremely calm tone. "Do you have a car?" "Yes, it's waiting at the entrance." "Then, use it already. It won't hold very long" "I understand" Nodding, Genma carefully held Xiaolei in his arms and started walking towards the car. Without sparing a second glance for those remained. "Wha- wait, Ojii-sama, what about Kazuma?" "Kazuma can't possibly consent to me carrying him. On the other hand, there's not enough time for him to make it to the car supported by you. If we do so we won't be able to save this girl" "But, Kazuma's in such a state---" "Except his injury that's just battle fatigue. If he rests, there should be no problem. Besides, the said person doesn't seem to be complaining." Now that you mention it, looking at Kazuma, his head placed on her shoulder, although in pain he looked happy for some reason. He didn't have the energy to speak but it was clear he wasn't objecting to Genma's words.
"That's how it is. -----Ren, you're coming too. I need an attendant." "Aah, yes" He hesitated for a second looking at Kazuma and Ayano but just like Genma said, it was a race against time. Ren made a short bow and started running after his father.
Dozens of seconds after being left behind, Ayano finally started to deal with it. "Wha.....what to do?" Inside her arm there was Kazuma's body, appearing totally exhausted. From an outsider's point of view, they looked like a pair of lovers exchanging a passionate embrace. How to say this---it was very awkward in this situation. She must calm herself no matter what, she shouldn't move, they are excessively close. She can't compose herself. "Kazuma--- are you still alive?" Unable to bear the silence, feeling uneasy towards the unmoving Kazuma she asked so but instead of words his survival was conveyed through action. "..........." Ayano wrinkled her brow, tearing off the hand gently brushing her buttocks. "Geez, why are you so skillful at irritating other people's sensitivity?" "When you don't see me like that........" She understood that behavior was without relations to lewdness. At the very least, so far, Ayano never perceived the appearance of passion in Kazuma's eyes when looking at her. All his sexual harassment presence was designed to feign frivolity or to piss her off. This time it was probably the latter, thinking of angering her enough to go back. And then hide himself like a wounded beast, devoting himself intently to the recovery of his stamina---- Alone. "Good grief" While murmuring so, amazed, Ayano held Kazuma's head with both her hands and slowly and carefully, she placed it on top of her tights. What is commonly known as sleeping with one's head in another's lap. Unable to look straight at Kazuma's face, looking up at her surprised, Ayano blushed and turned the other way. And then, without moving from that posture, "..............I should tell you just in case, I will get angry if you touch me somewhere weird again. Enough to give you the finishing blow" Despite hiding her embarrassment underneath a threat, she was wiping the blood from his forehead in a gentle manner. If this would have happened just after they met, she might have done just what Kazuma intended her to. Throwing his body while screaming "Diee! ", she would have returned home by herself. Maybe she would have called an ambulance. But right now... "You can leave, you know?" This time faced with Kazuma speaking frankly, Ayano shook her head without hesitation. "Until Ojii-sama comes back or sends someone to pick you up, I'll stay. How can I just leave you here? I'm your---- partner, aren't I?" That's why don't be lonely. I won't let you. "...........Indeed" "That's right. Do you have any complaints?" At that question or reprimand more like it, Kazuma didn't reply. Ayano too didn't say anything letting that silence, by no means unpleasant, fill the surrounding and soak through their bodies. And then------- "Ayano" At the end of that long or perhaps short silence, Kazuma's faint voice but full of strength. "We must win next time" Therefore let's fight together--- at those words informing his