As Barrett reached the gates of the Immortal Berserker Sect, the guards called out to him. “Master Ravenclaw, the southern medical ward has requested your presence immediately upon your arrival.”
That didn’t sound like good news to Barrett. It was one thing to have his presence requested- informing the guards to send him over immediately upon his return was something else entirely. Barrett’s thoughts immediately shifted to Hayden. He was staying at the southern medical ward. It could be someone else. Either way, he would do better to arrive quickly.
The main roads in the Immortal Berserker Sect were set up wide enough to have wagons travel in either direction… with room for those on foot, including the possibility that they might be moving at a much faster speed. Running at top speed it would only take Barrett a few minutes to reach anywhere within the Sect. The roads weren’t particularly busy, so he barely even had to avoid anyone as he passed them. He stepped into the medical ward and was immediately directed towards Hayden’s room. As he was about to step in, a doctor was coming out. “Master Ravenhall,” he bowed his head, “You have returned. Hayden’s condition has taken a turn for the worse… it would be best if you see.” He stepped back into the room, gesturing for Barrett to follow.
As soon as he laid eyes on Hayden, he could see what was wrong. He had already heard his labored breathing from a distance, but that could have meant anything. At least there was breathing still. Hayden’s nose was dripping blood, and his face appeared to be bruised. His bare arms were visible, and Barrett could see cuts and even the bones appeared to be broken in a few places. “How could he have gotten injured here?”
The doctor shook his head, “Nobody came in. Earlier today he just suddenly… started falling apart. It appears that old, long healed wounds have started coming back open. He is constantly bleeding, and we can barely keep up with transfusions. I was just going to check on more. We keep as much as we can… but the members of the Sect can’t store their blood. The berserk energy breaks it down…”
“And you’re running low? Can you use mine?”
“Can we use yours…” the doctor closed his eyes for a moment, “Perhaps. We would need to test you for compatibility. Since you don’t have any berserk energy, it might be possible. There might be unknown problems related to your cultivation style…”
“I should be able to make it integrate with his body… with few problems.” Barrett sighed. If only he had come back with a Vitality Pear. The seeds wouldn’t do any good for healing.
“First we’ll check for blood type. Just put a drop of your blood on here.” Barrett did so- he didn’t even have to prick his skin, instead just forcing blood out as he chose. The doctor looked at its reaction, then nodded, “That should be safe enough. We’ll start with a small amount just in case.”
Though they had stitched up the wounds on Hayden’s body, more kept appearing and the blood loss kept building up. Barrett let his arm be pierced by a needle, and blood was drawn into a tube- one very carefully prepared by the glassworkers with needles made by special smiths. It wasn’t that such things couldn’t be found elsewhere, but they weren’t available for the use of the general population.
Barrett could still feel his blood as it was placed into a device to slowly allow it to flow into Hayden’s body. As it did so, he did his best to tell it to work with him. Manually controlling every detail of what his blood would do could quickly exhaust all of the stamina contained within it, but trying to make it extra compatible might work. As it started to bleed out of various wounds, Barrett gently coaxed it back in.
The doctors continuously worked, draining blood that built up in bruises and stitching new cuts that opened up. Barrett could hear tiny little pops that indicated bones breaking- or un-healing, at the very least. As it continued, he kept giving more and more of his own blood- until the doctors wouldn’t let him give any more. Barrett knew he would be fine… but he could understand their thoughts.
Many hours passed, enough for it to become night and then the sun to rise again… and after a good quarter of an hour with no more wounds appearing on Hayden, he was declared stable. A doctor was left to keep watch over him, and Barrett himself sat in the corner and slept there. He could easily stay awake for several days if he wanted to… but all the blood being drawn and emotional exhaustion had gotten to him.
When Barrett opened his eyes again, he could hear Hayden’s steady breathing. Almost half of the blood in Hayden’s body had once been his, but as the stamina depleted from it Barrett felt less and less connection with it. As he looked at Hayden’s face, covered in stitches and bandages of all sorts… he actually saw something. As he stepped closer, he realized he was right. Around the first stitches there was swelling… but also slight traces of healing. It wasn’t something normal eyes could have picked out, but it meant something.
Barrett took his meals over in the corner that day… and when evening came, Hayden’s eyes opened. “…Master Ravenhall.” His voice came out in a croak.
“Don’t speak. You’re in a bad state. Just tell me one thing. Did you really just attempt another destruction even though you only had a sliver of vitality in you?” Barrett couldn’t say for sure that was what had happened, but the signs were there.
Hayden moved to nod, but couldn’t lift his head at all. “…yes. I had to…” Hayden breathed out heavily, unable to continue speaking.
Barrett shook his head. “You can talk later. Rest for now.” Barrett took the cup of water next to the bed and gently placed it to Hayden’s lips, where he just barely managed to swallow some of it. “Be good for the doctors, will you? Also, you’re absolutely forbidden to do anything but sleep and eat and otherwise recover for the next week.” Barrett knew his declaration didn’t have any meaning, but it made him feel like he actually had a say in how things went. Hayden didn’t respond, but his eyes closed and his breathing became steady… if still extremely weak.