Tears gathered in Hua Lin Yu’s eyes as soon as he heard those words. “Xin Lan!” He sat up and then wrapped his arms around his neck, sobbing silently. Even if he could love this man how he loved Bai Mu, he still felt fondly for him. If he could, he would’ve liked to split his heart in two, giving one part to Bai Mu and the other half to Xin Lan. That way, he wouldn’t leave this person that had treated him so well with nothing. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do that. Even if he wanted to, he would only destroy himself.
Xin Lan wasn’t quite sure what to make of that reaction but he hugged Hua Lin Yu back, taking a deep breath before slowly exhaling. “It’s alright. No need to cry. You’re still young. I can’t expect you to know exactly what you want even if you were sure before.
“In any case, didn’t I tell you before that you could always change your mind? If you do, it’s alright. Just tell me when it happens.” He turned his head and kissed his cheek, his lips lingering on Hua Lin Yu’s skin for a moment longer. “I still believe that, in the end, the two of us will be together. But it’s up to you. So take the time that you need.”
Hua Lin Yu nodded even though he didn’t think that he would be able to change his feelings. In any case, he felt that this was fate at work. He didn’t know why but it seemed like this between Bai Mu and him was something more. How could he just ignore that feeling? Even if it couldn’t lead anywhere, he couldn’t pretend that it wasn’t there. He just couldn’t.
Xin Lan just held him for a while, gently stroking his back to soothe him. It was only after quite some time that he finally spoke up again. “I spoke to your brother and he suggested we should probably still return to the human realm. It’s not that I want to force you to marry me. Don’t worry about that.” He pulled back slightly so he could look into Hua Lin Yu’s face and then cupped his cheek. “It’s more that … he felt that maybe you would feel like you’re too dependent on me if we stay here.
“I will leave it up to you. If you say that you would like to stay in the dragon realm, then I won’t say no. You can also rest assured that I won’t demand anything just because of that. I invited you here. Why would I take advantage of that? It definitely wouldn’t help our relationship if I did that. So you don’t have to worry.
“But if you would feel better in the human realm then I will definitely be there to support that as well and follow you there. So, what do you think? If you can’t answer right now, that is also alright. You can take a few days to think it over.”
Hua Lin Yu felt a bit of panic rising in him when returning to the mortal realm was brought up again. If he went back, he wouldn’t be able to see Bai Mu again. Naturally, that pained him. But on the other hand, if he didn’t see Bai Mu any longer, maybe he could regain the feelings he had originally had for Xin Lan. If there was no comparison, then it wouldn’t be so bad, right?
He reached up and clung to Xin Lan’s robe, giving a faint smile. “Actually, I think that might be a good idea. Yes, let’s return. We don’t have to go back to my family immediately. Maybe … maybe let’s just visit them for a bit and then go and travel around for a bit. In any case, wasn’t that what we originally wanted to do? Just travel around a bit? We’ve been at the same place for so long. I guess we missed our objective a bit.”
Xin Lan nodded. “Very well. That is what we’ll be doing then.” He leaned forward and kissed his cheek, brushing back his hair. “When do you want to leave?”
Hua Lin Yu bit his lower lip. Needless to say, he would like to push it off for as long as possible. But then, what would the use be in that? It wouldn’t change anything about his situation. So, it was better to take care of it as soon as possible.
He only hesitated for a moment before he looked up into Xin Lan’s eyes and forced himself to smile. “Actually, since we’ve decided already w should just leave today. I would like to say goodbye to the others but then we can just return. In any case, there’s nothing we need to prepare, right?”
Xin Lan nodded. He brushed back Hua Lin Yu’s hair and then pondered for a moment before he took out the earring he had made and put it into Hua Lin Yu’s hand once again. “Before we go, I want to give that back to you. Yesterday, you were so in panic that you didn’t take it.”
Hua Lin Yu already wanted to push it back to him but Xin Lan just closed his fingers around the earring and then held his hand in place.
“I know what you’re thinking. Right now, it isn’t sure yet whether we’ll really get married soon or not. Maybe … it won’t work out at all. But I still want you to have this. In any case, I’ve made it for you. And also, it’s a practical gift. Take a look at the stones embedded in it.”
Hua Lin Yu was unsure but he still opened his hand and took a closer look. He wasn’t quite sure what Xin Lan meant though.
Before he could ask, Xin Lan motioned at one of the bigger gems. “This is a spatial gem. You can use your spiritual energy to open it and store things inside. It’s quite useful when you are outside and need to take many things with you. I know a family like yours will likely have spatial bags but this kind of gem is usually better to carry around. Since fewer people in the mortal realm know about it, nobody will attack you to try and take something from you.”
Hua Lin Yu seemed to want to reject it when he found out how valuable it actually was but Xin Lan didn’t let him speak up. Instead, he motioned at one of the other bigger gems and explained that one as well. “This is what we call a transmission stone. You have probably seen some of the others in the dragon realm use some already. You can imbue some spiritual energy and then it will allow you to contact somebody. If something happens to you, you will always be able to reach me with this.
“Maybe I would’ve held onto this for a while longer but after what happened yesterday … I was worried about you. So if you can’t accept it as a present for our engagement, then just accept it to put my mind at ease. I don’t ever want to have to worry whether you’re alright or not.”
Hua Lin Yu wasn’t sure what he should do but looking at Xin Lan, he finally nodded. “Alright. Then … I will keep it for now.”
Xin Lan noticed how he said ‘for now’ but he didn’t comment on it. In any case, he had made him accept it, that was already very good. As for everything else … he could work on that later.
On the other hand, Hua Lin Yu looked up at him, feeling even worse about himself. Xin Lan had put in so much thought for him but he … he didn’t even love him the way he should. He closed his hand around the earring again and then leaned forward, hugging Xin Lan. He didn’t know how but some way or another, he had to regain the feelings he had held for this man before. He would never be able to forgive himself if he didn’t.