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○o。..:* Golden Decay | Zhongli

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It was always you and him. From the long careless strolls through Liyue Harbor, to your cautious steps through the Guili Plains- he was always attentive. However, this adventure did not lead you back to the Northland Bank or the humble seats of the Wanmin Restaurant.

The fight has already drawn out longer than usual, the hilichurls have gained more power recently and that has caused an increase of requests for the Adventurer's Guild. But your worry stayed minimal because the Geo Archon is fighting by your side. His pillars made it easier to launch and deter the bulkier mitachurls.
"Just a few more y/n!" Zhongli yells across to you, causing you to realize you've gotten yourselves down to the last monster of the adventure.. a Chieftain. The swings of your blade and the plunges of Zhongli's polearm make swift work of the Chieftan's defenses.
"I got it!" You think to yourself, this final swing should do the trick. One last swing and you can be home once more. Prepare for the Moonchase festival, "I wonder what food we'll prepare this year." You gleefully make your last attack.

THWAMP

Your smile turns to horror as you're thrown across the hilichurl camp.

SHIK

Your back slams against a spike wall and sends you slinking into the suddenly warm grass beneath you. You attempt to get up and stand to finish the battle, but the pain in your stomach is too much to bear. Looking down you realize the spike has rested itself straight through your abdomen. You let out a yelp of pain and shakily start to feel the spike while the amount of blood doubles every second.

"It might be too much."

Zhongli calls a mighty meteorite from the sky, crushing the Chieftain into oblivion.
"Y/N!" He breaks into a sprint to be by your side. He instantly kneels and attempts to assess your injuries, his hands scurrying like mice. He gingerly moves you from the wall, placing your hands on his shoulders and whispering, “the pain will be quick, my dear". He removes the spike from you and sits on the ground holding you closely.
You begin to cough spats of blood as you put on a smile, "at.. at least it- it wasn't b-big... ahah-" your voice weakens with each word. Zhongli breathes in deeply and leaves a soft laugh in your ears as he holds back his tears,
"You've always been lucky, my love... now save your breath.." he begins to look around and think of where the nearest doctor is. You cough again, and the blood spews from your lips accordingly.

"I'm not coming home... am I?"

Shakily, your hand reaches for his cheek. He lifts one of his hands and puts the hand over yours, he looks down at you with his cor lapis colored eyes.
"Z-Zhongli.. can you tell me... tell me a story?" Your strength begins to weaken so you pull your arm back down to your side. A tear starts to fall from his cheek to yours,
"Anything you want, y/n." He begins to tell the story of Liyue Harbor, from its humble beginnings to the business empire it is today. Throughout the story your eyesight starts to blur out more; your throat dry and lips arid.

"I'm running out of time."

You interrupt him, "Zhongli.. I.. I've always loved you." Even with your eyes starting to droop, you hold on to every second you have.
His smile grows, "And I have always loved you."
"What.. d-do you think we..we would've m-made?" You hold his hand, weakly, but you still do.
"For the Moonchase Festival? My famous Slow-Cooked Bamboo Shoot Soup, of course." He chuckles some. Though he's showing happiness and calmness, his eyes radiate panic and fear.
Your breathing starts to become coarse, causing more pain than any good. Your eyes can only muster a glaze of tears, your energy has depleted to zero. "I think.. I think- we-we should r-rest.."

"A rest would be nice...."

Zhongli's masked persona freezes, "Anything, my love." He delicately lifts you, almost in a bridal carry, and places both of you under a strong magnificent tree. You softly look over your shoulder to see the view; the bellowing canyons and pillars so high birds made homes. He leans himself against the tree and holds you close, not letting any part of you limp down.
"T-thank you f-for everything.. I-I wanted to s-stay longer.." Your eyelids are hard to fight and you start to succumb to the enteral slumber that's at your doorstep.
"You will stay for eternity in my heart, for you will continue to shine like gold in my memories." He lifts your head some and softly kisses you.
A smile appears faintly as you look at him one last time what eyesight you can muster. The comfort of his arms makes the pain lighter, and the comfort of his kiss leaves your heart at ease. You give in and close your eyes, and you start to feel lighter than before.
“I…Z-Zhongli-…”
“Yes, my love?” He places his hand on your cheek, “Y/N…?” He lifts you up closer to his chest so he can hear you, but it’s only to find your breath missing. He curls into a low embrace of your limp body, “…Y/N…”