The two of them made their way straight over to the palace. Zheng Yin had been in the dragon realm’s capital city when he was so he had a rough idea of the outlay of the city. He wasn’t too familiar with it though and mostly relied on Xin Lan to lead the way.
When they reached the palace, Jinde was already standing on the square in front together with his husband, smiling faintly. Seeing Xin Lan, he inclined his head and then gave a bright smile. “Senior Xin Lan.”
Xin Lan froze in his steps, not sure what was going on. When had he ever been greeted by Jinde like this? He couldn’t remember a single instance and, for a moment, he didn’t know how to react. This was just so … out of normal.
Jinde’s smile brightened even further when he realized that he had managed to confuse Xin Lan. Really, how often did he get a chance like this? Thus, he happily continued. Anyway, it wasn’t like he had another choice. “I’m adviser An Bai’s substitute, Jiang Li. Thank you for taking the time to come by.”
Xin Lan continued to stare at him but slowly, he realized what was going on. Right. Naturally, Jinde couldn’t stand in front of the palace announcing his real name. Of course, he had given himself another identity with a different backstory that the people here were already familiar with.
He should have expected that. Thankfully, Jinde had made sure to tell him immediately what kind of identity he had assumed or this would have ended in a disaster. He nodded in appreciation, reminding himself to be more careful going forward. “No problem. Let’s go in then?” He reached out to grab Zheng Yin’s waist, pulling him along when Jinde nodded and led the way.
Jinde gave the youth a short glance but didn’t comment on how close the two of them looked. Inwardly, he couldn’t help but feel that he should scold Xin Lan though. He realized how badly he must’ve taken it that his fiance didn’t want to be with him anymore. But it wasn’t a good idea to hook up with somebody else in that kind of situation.
In the long run, that would just make matters worse. Although it was probably good that he was currently on good terms with Zheng Yin or they wouldn’t have gotten any help. And while that might have only meant working a few more days, he was still happy if they got things done even a single day faster.
He led the two of them to his own room, where most of the necessary books had already been gathered. In any case, he had already figured out that he couldn’t take care of things over in the library. If he tried to, then that Lan Ling wasn’t far, always keeping a vigilant eye on his husband. Which dragon would allow that?
No, it was much better to take care of things here. That way, there would be no troublesome person to bother him and his husband. If they wanted to take a break in-between, it would only be the two of them. Those other two be damned. He didn’t care what they thought. As a newly married couple, they should be expected to spend more time together after all, shouldn’t they?
He sat down at the table and motioned for the others to take a seat as well. “So far, things are looking quite good. The way I thought about before might indeed be working. Right now, I’m just trying to make sure of it and see at the same time if there isn’t a better way that I overlooked so far.
“It doesn’t really look like that though so I’m afraid I’ll have to go with the original method. As I mentioned before, I can’t guarantee that I will be able to make sure that your skin and scales will be interacting the same way that they normally would. That is still true. I’ll give my best but so far, there’s no way for me to promise you anything.” He felt a bit guilty saying this but even though he had learned a lot since the days back then, he still wasn’t far enough. If he was, he would have long offered to heal Xin Lan on his own accord.
Xin Lan nodded, not looking too bothered by it. “It’s alright. Anyway, in these years, I haven’t really taken on my dragon form. Showing my looks whether it’s in this form or the other hasn’t been something I am too fond of. You also know that.”
Jinde nodded and then turned to Zheng Yin. “How much has Xin Lan told you about the situation?”
Zheng Yin shook his head. “Not much, I’m afraid.” Actually, he hadn’t told him anything when it came to his face. He had only guessed a bit. He wasn’t about to make that clear to Jinde though. As Xin Lan’s lover — even if it was only a temporary one — he wouldn’t expose him in front of anyone. “Somebody will have to explain first before we can start with the actual work.”
Jinde gave a hum and then turned to Xin Lan. “Has he seen your face?” So far, it really didn’t seem like it. But that was something that should happen if this Zheng Yin was supposed to really help. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.
Xin Lan shook his head but then turned to Zheng Yin. “I’m not sure if I should warn you but it is bad. Probably worse than you’ve assumed.”
Leng Jin Yu looked from one person to the other and cleared his throat. “Should … I leave the three of you alone?”
Jinde didn’t answer, leaving the decision up to Xin Lan.
Xin Lan glanced at him and shook his head. “Why bother? Anyway, the two of you are married. And it’s not like we don’t know each other.” Even though he had never had a good relationship with Chun Yin, it was still true that there had at least been some connection. As such, he really didn’t mind him seeing. Especially not now that he was in love with somebody other than Jinde
Leng Jin Yu nodded and then stayed where he was.
Zheng Yin had no idea about the situation so he could only stay quiet and wait for what Xin Lan would do. Seeing him raise his hands to take off his mask, he tried to make sure that he would keep calm no matter what. He was sure that he wasn’t one to be shaken easily but from what Xin Lan had said, he knew that this was something that he had to harden himself for. The visual would definitely not be pretty.