At the same time, Leng Jin Yu and Jinde had finally made their way over to Qiu Ling’s palace where Xin Lan was still waiting for them.
As soon as he saw them walking through the door, he turned around, walking toward them. Even though half his face was hidden by the mask, it was still clear just how urgent this matter was to him. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that he looked like a caged beast: Waiting for something but unable to do anything by itself so that it could only hope for the one that had the key to the cage to come and let it out.
Thinking of this, Jinde actually felt reluctant about having this conversation. Back then, he had already felt guilty because he wasn’t able to heal him any further. But Xin Lan hadn’t minded as much and with time, Jinde hadn’t thought about it anymore. With the mask, nothing could be seen of it anyway.
Now, Xin Lan suddenly did mind and he was reminded of his own failure. He would’ve given a lot to be able to change how things had gone back then but, well, his skill just hadn’t been enough. That wasn’t something that he could change even if he would like to do so.
His gaze already gave away that he didn’t have much hope but he still nodded toward him. “Don’t feel pressured. I just want you to take a look and see if there’s anything you can do. You don’t need to heal it completely. Just … do whatever you can.”
Jinde nodded and then motioned deeper into the palace.
Xin Lan didn’t hesitate at all and followed his gesture but Leng Jin Yu stayed where he was.
Jinde looked at him and nodded, feeling that it was better if he stayed out of this. Even though he was his partner, there were some things that even this type of relationship wouldn’t allow him to see. Xin Lan probably wouldn’t be comfortable being seen like this by Leng Jin Yu.
Xin Lan looked back when Jinde needed a moment longer and glanced at Leng Jin Yu. “Actually, I don’t mind.” In any case, this person was Jinde’s husband. Contrary to what Jinde thought, Xin Lan didn’t mind as much as long as it was just Leng Jin Yu. If it had been Qiu Ling, he might have thought differently but with Leng Jin Yu, it was alright.
Jinde raised his brows, surprised at his reaction but he still wasn’t quite sure what to do with this.
Leng Jin Yu already shook his head though. “It’s not necessary. I’ll stay here in case that somebody comes by. The two of you should go and take care of things. If you need help with anything, you can always call me but otherwise, this is your own matter. I won’t get involved.”
Xin Lan didn’t insist. While he didn’t mind that didn’t mean that he necessarily wanted to be seen as he was either. Thus, he just turned around and then went to the room that Jinde indicated, turning back to him as soon as the door closed behind them.
Jinde went to close the windows, making sure that nobody would be able to peek in, and even went so far as to put down a formation just in case. “Let me say again that I don’t have much hope for this. I’m not even sure if I will be able to do a little for you. There are just some things … well, I also haven’t been able to practice for a long time. So even if I could do something, it would take some time until then.”
Xin Lan nodded and sat down in front of him, reaching up. His hands paused just before he was about to touch the mask and he needed to take a deep breath before he was able to take it off.
Even he himself hadn’t looked at his face for years. In any case, this wasn’t just a normal mask but one that was infused with spiritual energy so it would usually stay in place no matter what was going on around him. It also wasn’t that easy to take off for anyone but him.
Jinde sighed when he saw Xin Lan’s face. Or, well, what was left of it. Walking over, he reached out to carefully touch it.
Back then, when he had found him, Xin Lan really hadn’t been in a good condition. His whole body had been injured to the point where it was doubtful if he would even make it. But most of that had just been normal wounds, caused by the fight he had gotten into.
His face was a different matter though. What he had fought against was one of the mythical creatures of the immortal realms, the kind that even a dragon with their scales was unable to just challenge recklessly.
Jinde wasn’t even sure if Xin Lan had won back then despite the fact that he had already been old and probably the strongest person of their race. But he had for sure managed to injure that beast because one of its most vicious features was that its blood was highly acidic, able to corrode almost anything which unfortunately also included the scales of the dragons. And at that time, Xin Lan had collapsed precisely in a puddle of that blood, causing half of his face to downright melt.
Now, there was hardly anything left, whether it was the skin on top or the bones below. This mask he had made for him as a cheap apology for not being able to do more was the only thing that actually made it seem as if there was still a full face present. But the truth was that that just wasn’t the case. And even though a lot of things could be healed, it was difficult — if not downright impossible — to regrow the scales of a dragon. Even if it was possible, he didn’t think that he had the skills to do so.