Dong Xin woke up later in pain, for which he was glad. Not glad for the pain, but because he woke up. He hadn’t been entirely sure that he would. He didn’t think he would be abandoned by the Order, but he wasn’t sure of his exact state when he arrived. Now that he had time, he concentrated his mind to observe his wounds. It was really only a few gashes here and there. Normally, that would heal up quickly with the help of ki and medicine, but it seemed that it would be a bit harder. These types of wounds would heal more slowly. That was what demonic ki could do. Dong Xin wouldn’t mind being able to use something like that himself, if he could. Assuming the method of acquiring that power was not unacceptable.
From what they had learned, it was actually very rare for demonic cultivation methods to require sacrifices of life or any such thing to function. Most of them were fairly ‘normal’, but because of their origins, it was never going to be a good idea to cultivate one, especially for a member of the Order. They also weren’t necessarily stronger, just different. Though a few allowed large increases to the energy available to their user, like what this elder from the Song clan had used.
After some time, after realizing Dong Xin was awake, a report was brought to him. He could have gone to receive it himself, but it wasn’t comfortable to move around, so he was glad he didn’t have to. The report wasn’t really useful anyway. All it really said was that they had confirmed that the elder practiced a demonic cultivation method, and that they would be watching the Song clan for any other instances. Dong Xin couldn’t really complain about that. If it came to light that the Song clan as a whole practiced or at least advocated demonic methods, then the Order would act against them, or any individuals who did. However, if this was an isolated incident, they wouldn’t act against the Song clan, even on behalf of Dong Xin and Yu Jian who were members of the order. Dong Xin hadn’t really expected anything else.
Yu Jian came to see Dong Xin. As the only news of him after the fight had been him running off carrying his opponent somewhere, he had easily guessed where he was going. “You don’t look so good. I can’t believe you let one man do this to you.”
“Hmph. I doubt you would have done much better. He had a pretty powerful demonic cultivation method. As well as a very strong ribcage.”
“Do you think it was just him?”
Dong Xin frowned. “Maybe, but probably not. Certainly, I do not believe the Song clan would have qualms about practicing most demonic cultivation methods, based on their attitudes. However, he might have found this method on his own and not shared it.”
Yu Jian nodded. “I am considering requesting members of the order to watch various locations the Yu clan expects more attacks. What do you think?”
“It couldn’t hurt. You might not get any strong, old freaks like us to constantly be on watch, but then again… you might. Either way, the Song clan is under suspicion, and nobody from the order will act on your behalf if nothing relevant happens. Thus, as long as you don’t demand people with high levels of training, it will be useful and won’t overstep your authority. Besides, someone might be bored and take a shift or two anyway…”
“I thought the same, but it’s always nice to hear confirmation. Though I don’t think most people of our age ‘get bored’ and decide to go out and see if there’s an opportunity to get into a fight.”
“Shows what you know. You’ve been stuck with the responsibility of worrying about a clan for too long. Speaking of which, you should get back to that. There’s bound to be uproar from the Song clan soon.”
Dong Xin focused on his wounds for a few days. This involved such things as applying medicine as necessary, properly wrapping it, sleeping… and of course using his ki. Unlike normal wounds, where he could heal more quickly just from practicing cultivation, these required careful concentration on each one. In fact, even that did very little. After a full day, he was still stuck working on a particularly nasty gash on his arm, with little progress. The energy that was keeping it from healing was particularly stubborn. At least the wounds weren’t getting worse. He was beginning to think the healing process would take a long time. It was like it could feel when it was being targeted, and would hide itself. He could heal some of the wound, but the energy would recreate the wound as he moved along, and then disappear when he moved to destroy it. There had to be some method to deal with it. For that, he had to eradicate the energy.
The demonic ki had to have some limit. However, it didn’t seem to lose strength. Thus, he presumed it must get its energy from him, or more specifically from the damage it caused. It wasn’t spreading further, so he presumed it couldn’t. Dong Xin tried to both heal the wound and fight off the energy simultaneously. That required some concentration, but he could do it. However, he soon discovered that the energy he could bring to bear on that one area was too limited. If he pulled too much energy from elsewhere, the other wounds actually could spread. Perhaps assistance from someone else would solve his problem, but he had more he could try.
If these wounds were from someone weaker, he would have been fine, but as it was he needed to bring more energy to bear at once. Fortunately, retaining a stalemate was relatively easy. Then, where could he get more energy? From another person, of course… but there was also one more place. Dong Xin concentrated, viewing the mana around him. He wasn’t very good at magic, really. However, he had time. Even if he messed up, he would have just wasted time.
He started chanting. It didn’t have any meaning, but it was something he could easily repeat, over and over. The mana flowed from the air, through his staff where it became more ordered, or at least more like he wanted it to be. After a few minutes, Dong Xin had gathered a reasonable amount of mana. Although he was slow at controlling it, his concentration wasn’t lacking. Thus, he had been able to gather what he felt was a reasonable sum… Though he was aware that any reasonably skilled wizard could have done the same in a dozen seconds or so.
Then, he set about to healing his wound. It was strange, using magic for things he had done with ki. It was an entirely different feeling. Ki was from inside of him, and as long as he had the concentration and skill required, perfectly obeyed him. Meanwhile, mana came from outside, and though it listened to him, it was more like he could give it orders. He could even give it new orders if he needed to. However, it was just that… following orders. It was strange. However, it worked. Though all he was working on was one of the smallest cuts… it was successful. It took some time, but it started healing… and when the demonic energy tried to reform the wound, Dong Xin used his ki to stop it. Because it was also unable to renew its energy, he managed to eradicate it. Dong Xin smiled. Though the results would have been similar if he had more powerful ki, he liked the results magic provided… even if he wasn’t capable of controlling much magical power at once.