༺ XXVI ༻

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꧁༺࿅ིཽ• -- •❈• -- •࿅ིཽ༻꧂

⊹⊱ Liwei ⊰⊹

     The sound of the waterfall became distorted as it bellowed in and out of my ears like someone was repeatedly covering them. My vision shook uncontrollably; another wave of nausea hit me like a pile of rocks. My body teetered off to the right, crashing into the nearby trees as they crackled beneath my massive weight.

I have to hurry. Once I was able to straighten my body out and stand upright, I took flight. Not too long after my feet left the ground, I found myself leering off to the right, completely dazed. I ended up collapsing along the thorny shrubbery, my stomach unable to take my hastened movements any longer as I heaved. I could feel the insides of my stomach convulsing within in me, forcing me to retch up the food I had eaten in the past few hours.

My wings flapped a few times as I rose up into the air once again, doing my best to remain straight. At the top of the waterfall, the water ran bright red with the blood of the kitsune of the shrine. I tried my best to avoid throwing up once more at the gruesome sight, I could hear a battle going on just a few paces ahead.

I followed the tiled path that snaked up to the shrine's entrance. The bright red pagoda had been crushed from something large, its rubble was scattered along the ground along with stray rocks. Ahead, I noticed the Protector of the Shrine, Xie Xia, fighting against the demonic Scorpion, Fu Yi.

Her graceful movements didn't suit the fast-paced, aggressive attack style that was Fu Yi's. The rose tint of the kitsune's hair blended in with the twilight sky. If I blinked, the heavens would have swallowed her. Her breath came out in a small cloud of air, the temperature had dropped considerably due to the spiritual pressure of the demons. They held no light, so naturally, there was no warmth. Their hearts were colder and blacker than the shadows that the trees casted.

"Fu Yi!" I called out, diverting the Scorpion's attention from her opponent long enough for Xie Xia to deliver a swift kick to her back.

The demoness' cries bellowed through the clearing, echoing for what seemed like kilometers. A layer of her exoskeleton cracked and demonstrated signs of it slowly peeling away. Her eyes glowed red, only angering her further than what she already was.

Xie Xia glided in the air, allowing the wind's breeze to carry her until she was only a couple of feet away from me. "Emperor," she greeted with a solemn bow. "The humans you are looking for are safe for the time being, but we cannot hold her off for long."

"I appreciate you looking after them in my absence. A member of my guard is currently purifying the miasma, they should arrive here shortly."

She nodded once, though it seemed like there was uncertainty lurking within her gaze.

"What is it, Xie Xia? What did you see?" I asked.

Before she could answer my question, Fu Yi's stinger struck towards us, causing both of us to jump away. Her pincers cinched threateningly, as she inched closer towards us. I faltered in my steps, the nausea setting in once again. Holding my hands out to keep my balance, I fought for stability.

"You don't look so well, young Emperor. Why don't you sit down and have a rest!" Fu Yi shrieked, as she lunged for me once more with her stinger.

I stumbled to the side, trying to move out of the way. I couldn't tell if I was successful in doing so, my body didn't want to listen to my commands. A warm arm snaked around my waist gently and pulled me out of the way. The next thing I knew, my back was against a tree and I was gazing up into what I thought were Mingxia's eyes. When my vision cleared, I was met with disappointment and six sets of Xie Xia's grey eyes.

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