Tian looked at Xin Lan dispassionately, even his raised brows returning to normal. For all intents and purposes, he didn’t seem like he was considering this offer. Actually, he felt slightly intrigued though.
Just like Xin Lan hated him, his own impression of this dragon that had been born shortly after his curse hit their race wasn’t very high. With this mutual dislike, there was naturally no way he’d be interested in doing him a favor.
As for Jinde, the person this was about … well, just as Xin Lan had thought before, Tian indeed empathized with him. He had lost his own son to the schemes of the Heavenly Empress and those seeking to separate him and Xing. The pain of losing a child, he was all too familiar with it. Naturally, he wouldn’t wish it on innocent people.
Be that as it may, this person was a stranger, somebody he didn’t know or care about. Was there a reason for him to go out of his way to help prevent yet another loss for him? He didn’t think so. If he did, he wouldn’t need Xin Lan to alert him. He’d have helped on his own. In fact, he wouldn’t just help this person but all those in similar need. He had never done that though because he simply didn’t have any obsession with saving others.
Originally, he had been alone in the High Heavens. At most, he’d come across a fallen god every now and then who managed to flee the pursuit of the immortal races and somehow found their way there. He didn’t bother about them. They didn’t concern him and he didn’t concern them. Thus, everyone simply went their own ways. If they didn’t infringe on each other, they could happily live in this big realm that was devoid of most of what the other realms offered.
It was only when he noticed Xing in the Nine Heavens that his heart finally moved and he started to care. That care had always been limited to this person though. It might have extended to the people important to him but … there hadn’t been someone like that for most of the time. Their life had only contained the two of them.
After Xing fell, nothing had changed about that. In fact, maybe he cared even less. Or maybe he did care but this ‘care’ was expressed in the opposite way of what others hoped for.
Anyway, he wouldn’t help others just because he could. That wasn’t his way of doing things. Still, Xin Lan’s offer held some interest to him. Not because he cared about either of the people involved but because of the magnitude of Xin Lan’s promise.
He considered it for a moment but couldn’t quite make up his mind. “You’ll do no matter what?”
Xin Lan inclined his head. He didn’t hold much hope. Tian needed nothing or rather, whatever he needed, he could get himself. What could he need from him? But he didn’t have another choice. He could only try this way so if Tian wanted to test his limits, he had to comply with that, no matter whether he thought this guy was wasting precious time. “Yes, whatever it is you require of me, I’d be willing to do it as long as you can get Jinde out of his current situation and save his child in return.”
Tian hummed. “Would this even count if I were to ask you to give up your own life?”
Xin Lan stared at him. Actually, he could see Tian doing that. Their dislike was mutual and wanting to get rid of him who he likely deemed to be a major annoyance … yes, that was something Tian would do. He didn’t need an excuse for it but he’d probably be happy to make use of it.
Xin Lan thought of the person he had recently buried and then of the one person left in this world that he still cared about. His own lover was already gone, not waiting for him to return.
He would likely never be reborn either considering his soul had returned to the body of a fallen god who were notoriously hard to kill. And even if, he wouldn’t be the same person, and the feelings they had originally cultivated would not necessarily bloom again. So really, what was keeping him here?
If giving up his life could save Jinde and his child, then yes, this seemed to be for the best. Anyway, he had lived for a long time. He was … tired of it. This world had long stopped holding value to him. He couldn’t see the beauty in it, the excitement he had still felt when he was young. And Hua Lin Yu’s death had been an unwelcome reminder that even if he managed to find another person someday, it might not work out or might not last. So really, why cling to it?
He closed his eyes and finally nodded with exhaustion, already having made his peace with it. Looking at Tian again, he straightened up. “If I have your promise, then yes, I am willing to give up my life right now.”
Tian watched him closely. Seeing that Xin Lan meant business, he nodded as well. “I see you’re serious about this. In that case, I will grant your wish. I’ll pull that person out of his stupor and I will allow his second child to be saved. I will only extend an initial helping hand though. I won’t interfere if he can’t pull himself together afterward.”
Xin Lan tensed, not sure what this ‘initial helping hand’ might constitute in Tian’s mind. But then, what choice did he have? It was good enough to get this promise. He couldn’t very well ask for more.
Xin Lan forced himself to relax and nodded once again. “That is enough.” Anyway, Jinde had Qiu Ling and Leng Jin Yu, as well as Xiang Yu, by his side. Somehow, he’d make it through this.
Tian nodded with the same dispassionate expression as before and finally reached out, his fingertips touching the dragon’s forehead. “Then so be it.”
The next moment, the dragon that had almost experienced the cursing of the three races fell to the ground without a sound.