Xin Lan nodded to acknowledge his words and then walked past him to Jinde’s side. “I got everything you wanted me to.” He took out the ingredients from his spatial ring and put them down on the table in front of Jinde, raising his brows. “When are we going to start?”
Jinde didn’t answer immediately. In fact, he didn’t even take a look at the ingredients and instead turned to Xin Lan, watching his expression.
The two of them had known each other for thousands of years. From the time shortly after his coronation when everything had gotten too much for him and he went out only to find this injured dragon and bring him back home, while they hadn’t always been together, the time spent with each other had still been more than the time spent apart.
To say that he knew Xin Lan well would be an understatement. As such, he had no difficulty seeing that his expression was a bit wrong. He reached out, gently grabbing onto the side of his jaw. “Do you want to talk about it?” He lowered his hands to his shoulders instead, giving him a deep look.
Xin Lan’s lips parted but in the end, he just shook his head. “There’s nothing to talk about. But … thank you for the offer. Anyway, I’d just like to get this done. Time runs differently in the human realm so it’s good to finish things early.”
Yes, if he stayed here, then after a few days, the situation in the mortal realm might have changed already. After his face was healed, he would go and take a look. Maybe he could also make up with Hua Lin Yu. Not necessarily getting back together but at the very least making sure that he didn’t hate him for making trouble for Xiao Li. That would be a step in the right direction. Not perfect but he couldn’t expect miracles.
Jinde wasn’t sure if he should believe this but he also knew that he couldn’t force him. “If you change your mind, you know that I will always be there. Now, if you’re ready, then let’s talk about what we are going to do.” He let go and sat, looking over the ingredients to make sure that they were alright.
In fact, he didn’t have any doubt about it. Xin Lan had often helped him find ingredients over the years so he expected the same good results. And indeed, he wasn’t disappointed. Putting the last ingredient down, he turned back to Xin Lan and then motioned at the other chair. “Have a seat.”
Xin Lan didn’t argue and sat down, watching Jinde’s expression. From the looks of it, he seemed pretty calm. This had to mean that at least the first step shouldn’t be too difficult or risky. “Be straightforward with me. No matter the chances to get it back to normal or the risk involved, I can take it and I’d rather know than to be surprised.”
Jinde inclined his head. “I know. Either way, for now, what I want to do is reconstruct the bones first.” He reached out and then gently took off Xin Lan’s mask, once again taking a look. “Actually, the damage to the bone isn’t that bad. With my current skills, we will be able to do this. Especially so with Zheng Yin helping at the side. There is only one downside to this.”
Xin Lan raised his hands. “Go ahead.”
“After we do this, you won’t be able to wear the mask.” Back when he had created the mask, he had done so for the current condition of Xin Lan’s face. In these years, nothing had changed about that. So of course, it had still fit him perfectly. But as soon as the bone was reconstructed, that would change.
Xin Lan clicked his tongue. “I see.”
Jinde nodded. “Yes. We could cover it if you want to go out but that would only be something temporary, nothing as reliable as the mask. Just tell me if you want me to prepare something. Otherwise, we could also adjust the mask but I’m not sure if that would make sense since the rest of the procedure will be done soon.”
Xin Lan took the mask from Jinde’s hands, turning it between his own fingers. He had been wearing this for thousands of years. To imagine that he would suddenly be without … he had to admit that the thought was a bit daunting.
He had never realized it but, by now, this had almost become part of his identity. There was just no him without this mask. Even among the dragons, most probably didn’t recognize his face but the mask he used to obscure half of it. So yes, the thought that he would be without was rather strange.
“How long until you can do the rest?”
At that, Jinde’s brows furrowed a bit. “Well, we studied most of the texts already. With a few more hours tomorrow, Zheng Yin and I would be done with everything. Then after that, we just need to decide on how to continue. That is something I’d like your input on so we will need to talk it over.
“Otherwise, it mostly depends on you. Maybe you’d like to first get used to the change after the bone is done. In that case, I’d say that maybe two or three days would be a good time frame before the rest should be done. If you don’t want to wait, we can also do it earlier than that. Tomorrow might be possible.”
Xin Lan hesitated. This matter, he wasn’t completely sure what to think. Yes, he wanted to insist on as soon as possible but rushing ahead wasn’t always the best option. “What about you? And Zheng Yin?” He glanced at the spiritual beast that was still sitting to the side, looking through another text before turning back to Jinde. “Reconstructing the bone should already take some energy. You just expanded some for the matter with Qiu Ling. Will you already be up for tomorrow?”
Jinde nodded, not doubting it in the least. “I was healed some time ago. Basically, I’m back to my peak state. And also, if the situation isn’t good, then I could take a potion to regain some energy. It’s possible.” He hesitated for a moment and then leaned forward and reached out again, gently cupping Xin Lan’s cheeks. “I know you want to get this done. You’re not the patient type even in the best circumstances, not to mention right now. So, just tell me honestly what you want and we’ll do it.”
Xin Lan nodded. Then let’s do the bone today and the rest tomorrow. I don’t want to wait too long. Whenever things change in the mortal realm, I’ll go back. I need to be ready for that time.”
Jinde smiled faintly and then got up. Very well. Then I’ll go and prepare. As soon as I’m done with that, we can start.” He patted Xin Lan’s shoulder and then left, taking the ingredients with him. Now, there really was no reason to lose time.