Nian Hong Fang panicked when he saw Jinde just holding the vial in front of his face without saying anything. "Senior … Did it not work out?" He squeezed Ma Zhi Wu's hand tighter, feeling even more anxious than before.
While they did have some spares for the herbs, nobody could guarantee that the refinement process would succeed the second time around. And with each failed attempt, failing would be more likely since the alchemist doing the process might feel pressured by the fact that there would soon not be enough materials to have another try. Thus, not succeeding the first time was bad news in any case.
Jinde pulled himself out of his thoughts and put the vial down. "Well … It's not that it failed. This is the potion that I wanted to make. It is just … The grade isn't as high as I hoped it would be. Normally, the color of this potion should be a much lighter blue, more like turquoise. This …" He once again looked at the vial with a dark blue liquid inside. "I guess we can use it but the effect might not be as good as it could be. I'm sorry. I'm afraid I wasn't quite there with my mind. Or maybe it's that I have gotten rusty."
Nian Hong Fang heaved a sigh of relief. A lower grade than expected wasn't too bad. At the very least, it could still be used. "Senior, do you think that the potion with this grade would still be able to heal most of Zhi Wu's injuries? If that is the case, then please let's just use this.
"If I understood correctly, then you're hurt as well. Not being able to attain the usual grade is to be expected in this case. And if you had another try, you would also exhaust yourself. If it's not absolutely necessary, then I think it would be better to use this one."
Jinde nodded and then motioned for Leng Jin Yu to take the vial over. He himself sat down at the table again, closing his eyes for a moment. Ah, only now that he had at least succeeded in making some potion even if it wasn't to his actual standard, he noticed just how tensed he had been. He felt like it would be a good idea to go and rest. It was just … He still couldn't put down the thought of what was happening with Jin Ling.
Leng Jin Yu flicked a glance at him but didn't say anything for the time being and instead brought the vial over to Nian Hong Fang. "Here. I really hope it'll work."
Nian Hong Fang nodded and then once again helped Ma Zhi Wu drink the potion.
Spiritual energy enveloped his whole body, making Nian Hong Fang worry if maybe this was a little too much to take in his condition. But the energy was surprisingly gentle, even to him who was only sitting next to Ma Zhi Wu, he could feel its soothing property. It seemed that this recipe was even more ingenious then he had realized before. Happy, he clutched Ma Zhi Wu's hand again, waiting for the potion to continue to help him with bated breath.
The potion swept through his body, the energy coalescing right at the place where the weapons had been plunged into his chest. Below the bandages, the flesh healed and the wounds finally closed up. As for those smaller injuries he had all over his body … They closed up as well, leaving nothing but smooth skin behind.
Nian Hong Fang's eyes teared up and he leaned down, clutching Ma Zhi Wu's hand in his and burying his face at his shoulder. "Zhi Wu …" He could hardly believe it. A decade after having lost him, after having to worry for almost a day after getting him back, his lover was finally healed.
Even if he was not back to full health, at the very least, he wasn't injured any longer. From now on, he would only need to care for him so that he could slowly gain back the rest of his strength and soon enough, he might be able to live just as before, the time in the dungeon of the Chun Feng Sect only a dark memory that they would put behind themselves.
Nian Hong Fang's tears soaked the fabric of Ma Zhi Wu's robe, finally making him crack his eyes open. His breathing had gotten easier and while he still felt weak, there was at least enough energy in his body right now to slightly turn his head and see the person next to him.
His lips curved up in a weak smile. "Xiao Fang, I finally get back and what are you doing? How can you cry like this? You're going to make my heart hurt."
Nian Hong Fang raised his head, even more unable to hold back his tears at hearing his lover's rough voice. "Zhi Wu. I …" He didn't know what to say and could only shake his head, continuing to hold his hand. "I'm happy you're back."
Ma Zhi Wu nodded faintly. "I am as well." He tried to turn his hand, brushing Nian Hong Fang's cheek. He still wasn't completely back to health but just being able to look at him and even holding his hand already gave him some more strength. "Just wait a bit. All those years that you had to wait … I'll make them up to you. From now on, I'll be at your side every single day."
Nian Hong Fang nodded, gently kissing his lover's hand. "I won't leave your side either. I'm so glad that you're back." His tears continued to fall but this time, it was not out of sadness. This moment … he had waited way too long for it. Right now, despite the pain he had felt before, nothing but gratitude remained.