Xin Lan glanced at his expression and then closed his eyes with a sigh. Jinde had said that he didn’t hold much hope that he would be able to do anything for him but he had still hoped. Now, it seemed that his hopes would be dashed.
Giving himself a moment, he opened his eyes again. “Just be honest with me. Is there any chance you can do something?”
Jinde continued to look over his face, not giving him an answer for quite some time. Right now, there was no way to say yes. But he also didn’t want to say no before he really thought things through. In any case, he had learned refinement from a young age. He was good. And he was sure that he could get even better if he put his mind to it.
A few minutes passed by before he finally leaned back and lowered his hand. Sitting down next to Xin Lan, he reached out to take his. “Be honest with me: This matter, how urgent is it?”
Xin Lan lowered his gaze, not quite sure how to say this. “You know about Xiao Yu. We … well, after he refused to marry me back then, we made up and started to travel through the human realm. I thought that if he had some time to grow up, we would be able to build a future together. That maybe everything had just been too much too soon for him. I mean he is young.” He shook his head and sighed again. “It seemed like things were going quite well.
“Today, he actually … initiated. I was …” He looked up at the ceiling and clenched his fists before he realized that Jinde was still holding onto him and hurriedly relaxed his grip again. “I was ecstatic. That was until he reached for my mask.
“I guess he didn’t think it through or maybe didn’t think it would matter much. But I just froze. And then I panicked and ran away. So I guess we’re back to square one and going back will be even more difficult this time because we botched it up twice already. I don’t even know how to explain it to him. And I … I can’t just show him. You know, I could show anyone but not him. I don’t want him to … think less of me.”
There was a trace of pity in Jinde’s gaze. He knew how the dragon race could be. Actually, maybe it wasn’t just the dragons. No matter which race you looked at, beauty was something that was thought of just like strength.
Xin Lan had the latter and originally, he had also had the former. But now, without the mask, his looks were completely destroyed. Even with his status and his strength to back him up, Jinde was afraid that Xin Lan wouldn’t be able to find a partner in the dragon race that easily. And even though Hua Lin Yu might not be one of them, there was a real fear that maybe he wouldn’t be able to take it. Naturally, Xin Lan was afraid of that since he loved him and didn’t want to lose him.
Jinde thought for a while and then reached up again, brushing over what was left from his cheek. “I can’t promise you anything. But I will do my best. The problem is mostly your scales.
“Regrowing flesh and skin is easy and also possible after all this time. Regrowing bones is also something that can be done even though it is more difficult, especially after so much time. It’ll take some work to make it possible but I’m optimistic in regard to that.
“Regrowing scales though … I’ve never even heard of that being done and I don’t think I can just try. The main problem is that all of those parts normally interact with each other. I could reconstruct your bones and then make the skin regrow on top to give you back your face and there shouldn’t be much of a problem there. But I’m not sure if I could reconstruct your scales as well and especially so that they will integrate with your skin and bones as they should. And the consequences of that …”
Xin Lan faintly furrowed his brows. “You mean to say you might be able to give me back my face but only in this form. My dragon form might still be deformed since that hinges mostly upon the scales.”
Jinde slightly inclined his head but his expression was troubled. “That … and I’m not sure what kind of influence it might have in addition to that. Maybe everything would stay as it is but it might also cause it to be further deformed. In fact, this could even have some influence on your ability to change forms at all.
“And I’m not even sure how big the difference would be. It could be that it would merely be an unfinished transformation around the face. It could also cause a lot of pain while transforming. In the worst case though, it could be that you wouldn’t be able to transform at all. After all, I’ve never done anything like this. I couldn’t give you any guarantees.”
Xin Lan furrowed his brows. In his human form, he could always wear the mask and he would seem like a normal man at first glance. But since that day, he had never taken on his other form in front of others because everyone could see his injured face that way. It was obvious.
With his strength and how well-known he was in their race, this refusal had never been a problem. At most, it might have made some feel that he was a little eccentric but that wasn’t strange for old dragons.
Still, there had always been the knowledge that if it was necessary, he would be able to change in a heartbeat. Not being able to do so … that would bring its own slew of problems. The dragon form was a dragon’s pride. And for men as prideful as him, that was even more so the case. If he could, he naturally didn’t want to give it up. But … he also didn’t want to give up on Xiao Yu.
Xin Lan closed his eyes and gulped but finally nodded and turned to look at Jinde again. “Do it. I don’t care about the outcome. As long as I’m able to face him and marry him and spend eternity with him, I can deal with anything else. I don’t need anything more.”
Jinde furrowed his brows, his expression pained. He could see the desperation in Xin Lan’s eyes and he wished that there was anything he could do to help but he was afraid that there wasn’t much of a chance there. He could only try his best to make this happen without injuring Xin Lan.
Taking a deep breath himself, he finally nodded. “I will. Just give me a bit of time. I need to consult the books to make sure I don’t make a mistake. I wouldn’t want to screw up.” Saying so, he brushed over Xin Lan’s face with his fingertips again before he pulled back. “Well, I’ll get to it right now. In the meantime though … you should return to the mortal realm and explain to him. You don’t need to show him if you’re uncomfortable but you need to tell him what is going on. Otherwise, I’m really not sure if you can save your relationship.”