Zheng Yin had done a good job preparing himself. For a moment, his brows furrowed but then his expression already smoothed out again. Well, he had expected it to go in this direction. Not quite as bad maybe but in general, this had been his idea of what he’d get to see.
He reached out and gently touched his skin, trying to get a better understanding of what they were dealing with. Seeing the old wounds up close, he understood just why Jinde was worried. This injury wasn’t just skin deep. No, this also concerned the layers beneath which made it difficult to handle.
If Xin Lan had been a spiritual beast, it might’ve still been relatively easy to take care of. But for a dragon whose scales were fuse with his skin to this degree, it was almost impossible.
After a moment, he took back his hands and then turned to Jinde. “I see what you mean. But you said you had a plan?”
Jinde had watched the process and seeing how gentle Zheng Yin was with Xin Lan and how closely he looked at everything, he relaxed. Yes, he had a good feeling about this. “I do. And with the two of us working together, this will get a lot easier. Come, I’ll show you what I have in mind.” He got up and waved at Zheng Yin, going over to a smaller chamber that was separated from the main room by a door.
This matter with Xin Lan was something that he didn’t want to get out so he hadn’t been working on it in plain sight and instead did most of it in there. Having some general texts outside wasn’t a problem but when it came to the finer details, he’d rather keep them a secret.
Zheng Yin followed him while Xin Lan and Leng Jin Yu remained at the table.
Xin Lan put the mask back in place, his gaze staying on Zheng Yin’s back for a moment. This youth … it really was a pity that he hadn’t fallen in love with him. Actually, thinking about it now, he was a bit surprised he hadn’t. Clearly, he was a bit similar to Jinde. They probably would’ve made a good couple.
But then, maybe it was precisely this similarity with Jinde that had kept him from developing deeper feelings for him. After all, at that time, he had still been much too interested in Jinde himself. Zheng Yin could have been a substitute for him at most. And the more similar they were, the more that was the case. It was probably Zheng Yin’s luck that his temperament was different from Jinde’s or this might have gone worse.
Leng Jin Yu watched him and then couldn’t help but glance at Zheng Yin himself. Clearly, this was not Xin Lan’s fiance and yet, the gazes that he threw him suggested otherwise.
This wasn’t something he should get involved in though. Anyway, he wasn’t all that close to Xin Lan and he didn’t know that youth either. If somebody got involved, it should be Jinde but something told him that even his husband wouldn’t say anything in this situation. Well, he couldn’t fault him. There was just too much going on.
Over in the chamber, Jinde and Zheng Yin sat down, going through what Jinde had already written down. He added some notes where he figured that Zheng Yin might need them and slowly explained.
“Actually, the steps in general aren’t the problem. We can regrow skin, and we can regrow bones, and in theory, I guess we could also regrow dragons scales. I found some sources that suggest that the latter was done in the past. Unfortunately, the details haven’t been recorded and I don’t know what the final outcome was.
“In Xin Lan’s case, I think that there is only one bone that has been impacted. We should start by working on that. After that, we can get to the scales and skin. My idea would be to go step-by-step. Create one scale, add the skin on top, then the next scale, the skin on top, and repeat. Just like that.”
Zheng Yin furrowed his brows. “Just like that? I’m afraid it won’t be that easy. The scales and skin need to be woven together.”
Jinde nodded. “Which is what had me worried originally since I’d need to be fast to make sure they can fuse well-enough. But now, we are two people. While I am doing the scale, you can take care of the skin. It will be much easier than just one person handling everything. I do think that with the two of us, we have a very real chance to actually be able to pull this off.”
Zheng Yin wasn’t too sure but he still nodded. He still had some further doubts though. “Xin Lan does realize what could happen if this goes wrong, doesn’t he?”
Jinde inclined his head. “He does. I told him immediately when he came to me with this. He says he doesn’t mind. I’m not sure if he fully understands the implications of this but I trust him on this. If he says that he wants it, then I will do this for him.”
Zheng Yin nodded again, staring at the sketches and notes on the paper in front of them. He would also do this for Xin Lan. An injury to that degree … he could imagine how much of an impact it had on him. Even if they weren’t able to re-create the scales and skin perfectly and scars remained, Xin Lan would be happy enough.
It was just that he might lose the ability to turn into his other form that worried him. After all, to a spiritual beast or a dragon, that was a big deal. Maybe too big of a deal. “And if we did this in his dragon form? The scales would be on top. Wouldn’t there be a chance that we could create them first and take care of it this way?”
Jinde sighed when Zheng Yin brought that up. “To be honest, I have been thinking of that. It’s just … while it’s difficult to do this on his face in this form because you need to pay more attention to detail, it also means that we can be quick. Doing this on his dragon form would take more out of us just because of his sheer size. And even with two people … I’m not sure we would be up to it.”
“But in his dragon form, there would be no skin to regenerate. We could both work on the scales. I think we could do it. I mean, I’ve never tried before but I think I should have the skills to help. So maybe … maybe we could do this. I just think that the risk is much smaller.”
Jinde nodded, feeling that maybe Zheng Yin was right. Yes, the risk that Xin Lan would lose his other form was indeed smaller. It was not a guarantee but there was a good chance.
On the other hand, if they didn’t manage to pull it off, who knew if turning back into his current form wouldn’t be a problem as well? And he really didn’t think that Xin Lan would appreciate that. He would hate that even more than losing his dragon form.