„Stop with this nonsense, Xin Lan, you’re scaring the humans.“
Xin Lan’s heart seemed to skip a beat when he heard this oh so familiar, calm voice. The words were scolding him but the tone seemed to indulge him. His temper that had flared up and unconsciously called up a tempest was instantly soothed. The lightning and the thunder stopped and the clouds slowly dispersed. For a moment, the people from the Yun Zou Sect could see a dragon completely covered in silver-colored scales. Then the dragon sped up into the sky, turned in a circle and suddenly vanished.
All the disciples looked at the sect master who in turn looked at the Grandmaster. Was it really over? All of them couldn’t believe it.
Zhangsun Xun Yi turned to look at the house where that person had taken up residence for now and sighed. He hadn’t fought but once again he had sacrificed himself for their sect. What if this person was an enemy of his? What if this would bring him trouble? Well, he couldn’t do anything but trust in him. He wouldn’t be able to defeat whoever had come here anyway.
„It should be safe. Send the disciples back.“ He turned around and returned to his peak. He felt that it wouldn’t be wise to disturb that man and whoever it was who had come. He would … just have a look tomorrow.
Yuchi Bing Xia watched the Grandmaster leave and his heart finally settled down. Well, it seemed they really didn’t have to worry anymore. He nodded at the elders and disciples and tried to come up with some kind of explanation for what had just happened. In the end, he could only sigh.
„The danger has passed. You may return to what you were doing before.“ He hurriedly turned around and fled before anyone could ask any questions. Ah, this was too much … Just why had he become the sect master?
The elders didn’t know what to say either. They just repeated the sect master’s words and sent their disciples off before hurrying away themselves. Soon enough everything seemed to have gone back to normal.
There was only one place in the Yun Zou Sect that was different from usual. Xin Lan stood in front of Yu Jin’s house looking at the person standing by the door. His heart thumped loudly and his hands slightly shook.
He didn’t look any different from back then. Those golden eyes that sparkled in the sun while trying hard to conceal the sadness inside, the gentle curve of his lips that instantly calmed him down, the golden hair framing that lovely face and running down his back … All of that was the same. Maybe his figure had gotten a little thinner and maybe his skin was a little paler but nothing else had changed.
Jinde smiled at him. „What are you doing coming here and roaring like that? My head hurts just thinking back.“ He turned away and stepped into the house again, walking into the study where he spent most of his time since he had found out that this was the place Chun Yin would return to when he managed to leave that secret realm.
Xin Lan followed him. He stepped as lightly as possible and didn’t dare to make any sound even when he closed the door behind him. His master might have been joking just now but he felt that it was indeed possible.
His master was alive, that was good news. But he had been injured by the soul-devouring dagger, that was a fact. Keeping his life was already more than he could have imagined, it was impossible for that to not have cost him anything.
Xin Lan silently stepped behind Jinde and knelt down. He didn’t say anything and only reached out, his fingers gently touching Jinde’s temples. As gently as he could he let some of his power slip out while massaging that creamy skin.
„Does it feel better like this?“
Jinde didn’t answer immediately. His gaze was distant, his thoughts traveling back to those days in the dragon realm. How often had Xin Lan spent time with him? How often had he silently accompanied him like this while trying to alleviate the pain that losing Chun Yin had brought to him?
„I’ve always felt better when you were with me.“
Xin Lan’s heart shook but he managed to keep his hands steady. In front of his master, he had never dared to show any of his feelings. However sweet his words sounded he would respond to them as if they were normal, as if they didn’t have any deeper meaning for him.
The dragons of today could only fall in love once and his master had long given his heart away. What use was there in burdening him with his feelings? It wouldn’t lead to anything.
Silence stretched between them. The first one to sigh was Jinde. He turned his head and looked at Xin Lan who instantly lowered his hands.
„Don’t you resent me?“
„How could I?“ Xin Lan smiled slightly. Yes, how could he? This person … He could never resent him.
„I lied to you. All these years I let you believe that I was already dead. Don’t you feel betrayed?“
Xin Lan sighed. „I don’t. I just … If possible, I’d like to know why. Why didn’t you tell me? Not even me?“
Jinde reached out and cupped the cheek that was hidden by the mask. „You’ve stayed with me for so long. How could I keep you even longer with me when I didn’t even know if I would really be able to hold on? And even if I did … Why should you accompany me in waiting for him? Watching me pity myself … it can’t be anything good.“ He smiled self-deprecatingly.
Yes, most of his time with Xin Lan had probably been spent in longing for Chun Yin. How often had he lamented losing his lover in front of this loyal follower of his?
„You … didn’t have your own life for a long time already. I just hoped that you might be able to put all this behind you and start living your own life again.“
Xin Lan lowered his gaze before hesitatingly reaching out. He took Jinde’s hand and observed it for a moment before looking up at his golden eyes again.
„I did. For a long time, I already lived for myself and not because I wanted to repay you for saving my life. It’s just that the only thing I wanted to do with my life was guarding the one person I looked up to. Master, just like you lost everything because of Jian Heng I lost everything to time. You’re the only thing, the only person I had left. Losing you … was probably the worst thing that ever happened to me.“
„Stop with this nonsense, Xin Lan, you’re scaring the humans.“