Nilima didn’t seem to be in any state to talk, so Barrett placed his hand on her back to feel how she was doing. He didn’t have any berserk energy left to speak of, the tiny wisps that were left over after his final attack already dissipating. However, it was better to not use much anyway. He felt inside her chest that her heart was contained by her energy. Inside it he could just barely feel sick, twisted curse energy. Nilima’s heart was struggling, beating a few times irregularly… and then it stopped.
Barrett didn’t think about anything. This was the time for action. “I need you to trust me…” he said in Nilima’s ear. He had no way to know if she heard him. She was still conscious to some degree with her energy containing the curse… but it wouldn’t matter if it reached the rest of her if she had no heart.
Barrett flipped Nilima around, then plunged his hand into her chest, slicing with wisps of berserk energy. Her bones and muscles were weak, though he did his best to only damage what he had to. At the same time, his left hand went into his own chest. His own bones and muscles were more solid than steel and he didn’t have the berserk energy to slice through… so he merely told his body to come apart. Pure Body Tempering allowed the transference of toughness from one part to another- and the parts it came from were weaker. Barrett’s bones were like paper as moved all of the structure from around the core of his heart into it and tore it out… with one last attempt to make it do something that was grasping at straws.
At the same time he grasped Nilima’s heart and the curse it had. Maybe she had heard him or maybe she was unable to act, but either way he severed the arteries and veins and pulled it out. It was a mass of black gooey near-liquid now, and he tossed it to the side. Then he shoved his own heart into Nilima’s chest. It was a bit larger and didn’t quite fit, but he watched as it suddenly grasped onto her own arteries and veins, attaching to them. So it had worked… he wasn’t sure if he could use Pure Body Tempering to control his heart after it left his body but giving it instructions had seemed to work. He closed up her ribcage and chest… then pulled out bottles of pills. Some of them he crushed and sprinkled on her chest, some of them her put in her mouth, and some he put into his own mouth and swallowed.
Then he flopped onto his back and covered his chest with his hands. He really didn’t want any more sand getting in there than there already was. Barrett cut off his senses, drawing stamina from all around his body and into his chest. There, he started moving the blood through the arteries and veins manually. He was almost surprised he could make the blood move… but he supposed stamina was a form of power to make things happen. If he survived, Alnherr would love to hear what he had discovered…
Nilima coughed, a mouthful of blood spraying out. Her chest hurt. Ah, of course it did. The curse… she moved to continue containing it with her energy, but found it wasn’t in her heart anymore. No… she couldn’t say that. It wasn’t even her heart in there. Not that she took careful notice of the details of her heart, but she could feel it was bigger and… different. This heart was full of vitality, pumping blood so powerfully through her that it hurt. Part of that was that her chest was cut open, part of it was the arteries and veins were not fully attached… but it was also too much. However, beyond the pain nothing seemed to be an immediate danger. As she looked closely with her senses she saw the heart was fusing itself to her own arteries continuously, the wounds healing one tiny bit at a time.
She dizzily sat up. She vaguely remembered what had happened, but she had passed out for a few moments. Or maybe more than a few moments. She felt the remnants of a dozen kinds of medicines in her body, meaning it must have been at least an hour. She looked around and saw Barrett through the dust and sand. “…That idiot.” She crawled over next to him and put a finger on his neck. She didn’t feel a pulse but the body was still somewhat warm. Her energy had recovered somewhat while she was out. She carefully used it to feel if there was something she could do but found that while Barrett had no pulse… his blood was flowing. It was just continuous instead of in bursts. She didn’t dare look long at the mass of blood in his chest for fear she might disrupt it with her energy.
As she got close she could hear Barrett’s breathing was ragged… and she could guess why. She used her energy to feel inside his lungs and found blood and gritty sand inside. Using as much care as she could she started coaxing it out a handful of grains and a milliliter of fluid at a time. It was hard work, not only because of the detail involved but because Barrett’s body unconsciously rejected her energy’s intrusion.
Ironically, besides the heart her own chest was in a worse state. The damage to the muscles and ribcage of Barrett were just reddish scars now… terrible to look at but no longer bleeding or anything. Nilima’s bleeding had stopped for the most part, with coagulant powder being used on the outside. Around her heart where she had expected the worst issues was actually not that bad.
If an attack came now, Nilima would probably just die. She couldn’t really stand- her leg was still injured though at least it didn’t seem to be getting worse. Her energy was stable but drained, only good for small tasks and not for fighting. And, though her blood was flowing fine now… she had lost some. That made her quite drowsy… such that she could barely keep her head up. She didn’t even notice that the energy around her was settling down and the sandstorm was ending as she drifted back into unconsciousness.