The mist clears and the other spirits are set free. Tuoren chides Lifang for having trusted Yuushia, but Lifang admits he had known something was wrong and couldn't resist attempting to be of service. He hadn't expected it to be so serious. Tuoren says that, when he was traveling alone, his head was always full of his own mission and he never paid attention to his surroundings. Being with Lifang makes him see that there's a lot more to the world.
Noticing that they're all mussed from the battle, they head for a nearby stream to wash up. (Tuoren detects someone following them but keeps silent.) Lifang challenges Tuoren to a swimming race, but Tuoren doesn't want him to exert himself because he's probably broken a rib. Instead, Tuoren tells him a bit more about the Senkaijin. They're all born with one or two magic abilities, usually the same as their parents.
When Lifang asks about the extent of his powers, Tuoren admits that a year before his magic had run wild, wiping out anyone near him, whether friend or foe. It took the emperor and other powerful warriors to stop him. He doesn't remember what made him lose control. His magic is unpredictable. He makes Lifang promise that if it ever goes wild again, he'll immediately run as far away as possible. That's the condition he places on their journeying together. (Lifang reluctantly agrees, then pushes Tuoren in the stream as payback.) Tuoren goes on to say that he's 19, and Senkaijin lifespans can be much longer than humans'.
Suddenly someone attacks Lifang. Tuoren orders him to stay down, but he fights back. Tuoren intervenes, telling Nasha to leave Lifang alone because he doesn't want to have to hurt an ally. Nasha is annoyed that Tuoren would choose a mere human as his partner rather than a fellow Senkaijin. While she wonders at how he's changed, he notices that she is wearing two rei on her arm, one of which is lifeless. She explains that her partner (and mate), Lujing, was killed three days earlier in a battle against the rebel Shenwu, one of the rebel leader Yanlang's inner circle. Nasha has come to join Tuoren as his partner so they can defeat Yanlang together. The emperor gave her permission to try and see if she can accomplish an energy exchange with him.
Tuoren demonstrates that his energy is already full, so he doesn't need her. Plus, Lifang has rescued him twice, even without magic. He says he doesn't care if she comes along, but he has no intention of taking her as a partner. Nasha is startled that Lifang doesn't hold a grudge against her for having attacked him, he simply goes about preparing supper. Back in Jusenkai, another pair of warriors recovering from injuries, Hulei and Xionglin, are saddened to hear of Lujing's death. They're shocked when Fengyu tells them of Nasha's plan, even more so when they hear that Tuoren has teamed up with a human. Xionglin expresses fear that someone as strong as Lujing had been killed, and his partner assures him, "Don't worry, I won't let you die alone."
Tuoren outlines the energy exchange process for Lifang to explain why Nasha feels the need to be his partner. Then he falls asleep, tired after all he had done that day. Nasha is astounded, first of all that Tuoren could have so much power left after fighting a monster, second that he would allow himself to be so vulnerable sleeping against Lifang's shoulder. She remembers how Lujing had said he had been like Tuoren, refusing to sleep in anyone else's presence, until he had met her. Seeing her sadness at recalling her partner's death, Lifang gives her Lyui to hold to make her feel better.
He asks her what the rebel leader's like, since Tuoren never talks about it. To Yanlang, power is everything. He believes the strong should stand above the weak. He instigated the rebellion to bring about that kind of world. Lifang is afraid that, when confronting such dangerous opponents as the rebels, his own lack of magic will be a hindrance to Tuoren. While talking, he collapses from exhaustion and pain, though he's sure his injuries will be fine in the morning. He's always healed from broken bones overnight before. (He assumed there were at least a few other humans who did so...)
However, when Tuoren finds him the next morning, he's still in pain. He tells Tuoren to go on ahead, he'll catch up when he recovers. Tuoren picks up on his attitude of seeing himself as a burden and insists none of that matters to him. He wants to stay with Lifang until he reaches his objective, to help him in whatever way he can. Lifang is overjoyed, though he still wishes he had more power to offer as another Senkaijin would, the strength to protect what's important to him.
Nasha ponders how Lifang had been injured even before she attacked him, must have been in terrible pain, yet never once showed a sign of it in front of them. He suffered alone through both his physical and emotional agony during the whole night. She realizes how strong he is, though she still can't see of what use he can be against the rebels. She feels she has to separate the pair before one winds up watching the other die at the hands of their enemies.
Tuoren offers to go bring a healer from Jusenkai, but Lifang refuses, protesting that if he can't heal from a simple broken rib himself, he deserves to be left behind. Before Tuoren has a chance to reply, three rebels come upon them. They split up, two aiming for Tuoren (figuring Lifang's no threat) and the third, Shenwu, throwing up a kekkai to block Nasha. (Nasha had thought that her partner's final strike had killed Shenwu, but he had survived.) Lifang "takes" a bit of Tuoren's energy to ease his pain and then bids him off to battle.
While Nasha forces her way through the kekkai, trying to get revenge against Shenwu for her partner's death, Tuoren holds the remaining two at bay. After an extensive struggle, Lifang joins the fight as well, surprising everyone with his speed. Nasha breaks past the kekkai, but Shenwu refuses to face her. He says she can't possibly defeat him with anger and hatred alone. First she has to forget about Lujing, and only then will he match himself against her.
As Shenwu teleports away, Lifang is locked in combat with one of the rebels in a tree. They begin to fall, and he shouts for Tuoren to send them both to Jusenkai. Tuoren hesitates, wondering if a human can stand the process, yet he has no other choice. Nasha finishes up the remaining rebel and assures Tuoren that humans have been sent to Jusenkai under similar circumstances before and were fine. Then she says she admits Lifang is strong, but he's only human, and she urges Tuoren not to involve him in their battle any further.
When the prisoners arrive at the palace, the guards grab Lifang, but Fengyu vouches for him. (Then the guards get hyper when Lifang addresses him casually, without the "-sama"...) He cheerfully introduces himself as they stare in bewilderment at the person about whom there has been so much gossip. Despite Nasha's repeated attempts to get Tuoren to dissolve the partnership for his own good, he tells her his mind is made up and travels to the palace.
End Volume 2