The little dragon slept soundly.
As his body grew up day by day, his five senses had gradually gotten stronger, and he no longer needed Bai Huo to hold him all the time. Five meters, ten meters, as long as Bai Huo was within his range of perception, the little cub could sleep soundly.
Bai Huo shifted his gaze away from the sofa and to the person sitting opposite him. Zhou Chong Wen was looking at him with a faint smile.
”You look like you’ve been doing fine.” Zhou Chong Wen usually had a gentle expression, but when he looked at Bai Huo, his eyes were especially deep. “When you left, I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to adapt. Now it seems that I was overthinking.”
”At that time, I wasn’t very sensible. I gave Shige a lot of trouble.” Bai Huo was sitting with his back straight, none of his usual sloppiness could be seen. He looked like a student called before the principal.
Zhou Chong Wen smiled and shook his head, then he took a sip of his tea.
”Someone from the association said that you’re going to be the new patriarch?” Bai Huo asked.
”Where did you hear that?”
”From Ding Ping,” Bai Huo lowered his head. “The old patriarch…”
”He’s sick.” Zhou Chong Wen sighed, “Scale rot.”
Bai Huo shuddered.
Scale rot was one of the dragon race’s most painful terminal diseases. Adult dragons over the age of 300 had a higher risk of contracting it. The disease didn’t kill immediately, instead, the dragon’s scales would gradually harden and fall off, and the disease was incurable. Eventually, the dragon loses their source of protection and dies painfully.
Thinking of that old man’s kind hands, Bai Huo’s heart couldn’t settle down for a long time.
”He can probably still hold on for twenty more years,” Zhou Chong Wen saw his abnormal expression and consoled him. “Are you going to see him? He misses you.”
Bai Huo stared blankly, after a long time, he shook his head, his expression sad: “I won’t.”
Zhou Chong Wen didn’t push him, he looked at Bai Huo with a complicated expression.
The two men quietly drank tea for a while, then Bai Huo asked: “Why did you want to see me?”
”The old patriarch sent me to Xi City to handle some matters involving the succession. I remembered that you’ve been living here for a long time and came to see how you were doing.” Zhou Chong Wen seemed to unintentionally scrutinize Bai Huo’s face. “When you live in the same place for a long time it gets easier to expose your identity, do you have any plans to move?”
Bai Huo stroked the teacup with his thumb. “I’ll think about it in a few more years. I have to wait for my child to get a little bigger.”
”Child…” Zhou Chong Wen looked at the little dragon sound asleep on the sofa, there was some concern in his eyes. “Can you do it alone?”
”I can,” Speaking of the little dragon, Bai Huo’s expression lightened a little, the corner of his mouth rising unconsciously. “He’s very obedient. He eats whatever I give him, and does whatever I ask him to do. He doesn’t need much maintenance.”
Seeing Zhou Chong Wen’s silence, Bai Huo earnestly said: “Shige, you don’t have to worry about me. I’ve already let go of the past. Humans are not as unbearable as the clan members like to say. I’ve lived among them for a long time, I’m happy here.”
”How could I not worry…” Zhou Chong Wen let out a long sigh and glanced at Bai Huo’s wrist, suddenly reaching out for it.
Bai Huo subconsciously pulled back, but Zhou Chong Wen was very strong. He tightly gripped Bai Huo’s wrist with one hand and pushed up his sleeves with the other, seeing the still unhealed chain scars and bite marks, he exposed a slightly helpless expression.
”Why do you always get hurt?” Zhou Chong Wen’s tone had a trace of blame. He covered the wrist with his palm, and before Bai Huo could protest, the wounds had already been absorbed by the transference spell.
”Shige, you didn’t have to…” Bai Huo anxiously said.
But Zhou Chong Wen interrupted him: “Since you’re calling me Shige, just accept my kindness– wait, there’s a wound on your shoulder?”
”Don’t…” Seeing Zhou Chong Wen about to get up, Bai Huo sternly refused, saying in shame, “It’s a lost scale.”
Zhou Chong Wen frowned, and Bai Huo hurriedly explained: “It’s not a big deal, the wound has already closed, it doesn’t hurt anymore. I just have to wait a few months for the scale to grow back.”
This was the truth, wound transferal could only shift injuries, but it couldn’t do anything against diseases and damaged scales. Wound transferal would be no help for a missing scale.
”You…” Zhou Chong Wen wasn’t extremely handsome, but he could beat any opponent in temperament. He had an indescribable calmness and elegance. When he looked at someone and sighed helplessly, he’d make that person feel a special type of intimacy.
When he was a child, Bai Huo was ostracized by the other dragons because of his abnormal color. Everyone looked at him like he was some kind of alien. Only Zhou Chong Wen treated him like a little brother. He would always protect him and play with him, although Zhou Chong Wen was also not well-liked at that time.
Perhaps because of their similar circumstances, the two had formed a deep friendship. Afterwards, Bai Huo left the dragons to live among the humans, and Zhou Chong Wen stayed in the dragon clan, the two were then separated. After many years passed, that soft-spoken and clumsy Zhou Chong Wen had been reborn. He didn’t amount to nothing like everyone said he would, instead, he’d taken over the highest position, becoming the dragon race’s patriarch. As for the hardships he’d had to face to get this far, Zhou Chong Wen didn’t say it, but Bai Huo knew that it couldn’t have been easy.
”Right, this is for you.” Zhou Chong Wen took off the blood-red giant pearl bracelet from his wrist and put it on Bai Huo’s wrist. “Take off the heated iron. Although you use your scales to dampen the heat, it takes a long time to work, and your body will eventually be damaged. The effect of these blood pearls is no worse than the heated iron, they can also suppress the mania during estrus.”
Bai Huo was usually shameless, but after Zhou Chong Wen unexpectedly brought up this subject, even he felt a little embarrassed, his face reddening.
”Are you going to treat your Shige as an outsider,” Zhou Chong Wen was amused, his expression calm. “I got married soon after you left. I don’t need this anymore.”
Bai Huo was astonished: “Shige got married? When? To who?”
Zhou Chong Wen didn’t answer, he put down his teacup and said indifferently: “If there’s an opportunity later, you’ll know when you see them.”
Bai Huo felt that Zhou Chong Wen’s reaction was a bit strange, but if his Shige didn’t want to say it, he naturally wouldn’t push it, he lowered his head to accept the blood pearls.
Although dragons were civilized, ancient spiritual beasts, they were still animals. Soon after reaching adulthood, dragons would greet their first estrus. After this, they would greet it again every five to ten years, the time varying from person to person. A dragon’s estrus was very primitive. If they couldn’t vent in a timely manner, their eyes would redden, and they would get very irritable, if it got serious, they could even lose their senses and injure their mates.
In order to prevent such incidents, dragon cubs need to be educated about this aspect from a young age and given proper guidance. Meanwhile, the parents wouldn’t stay idle. When the children were still young, they would secretly pick out a suitable mate for their children. Just waiting for them to become adults and fly to court the mate with their beautiful scales.
To not have a mate was almost a kind of punishment for a dragon, whether mental or physical.
In this peaceful era, the dragons hold a sacrificial ceremony every two years, which was equivalent to a graduation party for humans. It served three functions: the first was to honor any dragons who had made outstanding contributions to the community, and condemn the dragons that had violated the law; the second was a coming of age ceremony where young dragons had their first independent flight; and the third was to encourage friendship between young dragons who were about to become adults, helping their mate selection.
From this, it was obvious that from ancient times to the present, whether human or beast, no one could escape the fate of being pressured to get married. How tragic.
”Ding Ping said that you don’t want to let the child be fostered by the association?” Zhou Chong Wen interrupted Bai Huo’s wandering thoughts.
”Huh?” Bai Huo snapped out of it, then his face hardened. “He’s too young, and he’s imprinted on me a little. I can’t give him to the association.”
This type of imprinting should only last about a month. Zhou Chong Wen looked at the obviously almost three months old little dragon, but he didn’t expose it, merely saying: “He was born in a bad era, I fear that his future will be a little rough.”
Bai Huo nodded; his expression somewhat gloomy. Forget about the fact that the little dragon’s growth environment was poor, selecting a mate in the future would be the biggest obstacle. In this era, there were hardly any new dragons being born, it was almost a certain fact that the little guy won’t be able to find a wife in the future.
Did he have to live like his dad, who could only rely on magical artifacts to suppress himself? It was a miserable existence. It was precisely because of this bitterness that Bai Huo refused to let the little dragon repeat his choices.
”I’ll think of a way for him.” Zhou Chong Wen spoke in a timely manner. “You should also think about your child. Although Ding Ping doesn’t have much diplomacy, it’s not all for the association’s benefit.”
Hearing this, Bai Huo understood why Zhou Chong Wen visited at this time, and his heart sank a bit.
Zhou Chong Wen saw the change in his eyes and sighed: “Bai Huo, I know what you’re thinking, you’re always so stubborn.”
”Shige is overthinking it,” Bai Huo smiled. “I know that you’re trying to do what’s best for me.”
”It’s good that you understand. The association is different now. The things we experienced when we were children won’t happen again. If you give the child to us, he won’t be mistreated.” Zhou Chong Wen glanced down at his watch. “You should think it over. The child will eventually need education. Human education isn’t suitable for dragons, it’s too easy for them to expose their identity.”
”Is Shige leaving already?” Bai Huo asked.
”Yeah, there’s still things to be done before dawn.” Zhou Chong Wen stood up and looked at Bai Huo’s nearly flawless face illuminated by the lamp light, his tone changing into one of an earnest elder brother, “Don’t worry, the decision is all yours. With me here, no one can force you to do anything. Although the old patriarch has stepped down, I feel the same way as him.”
Bai Huo hesitated for a bit, then nodded.
Zhou Chong Wen walked to the sofa and stuffed a fist-sized night pearl into the little dragon’s arms. He smiled and rubbed his small horns, then he got up and said his goodbyes to Bai Huo: “I didn’t bring anything valuable with me when I came out, I’ll give him a proper gift next time. I’ll be going now.”
”Have a safe trip, Shige.” Bai Huo sent him off.
After seeing Zhou Chong Wen out, Bai Huo’s heart was a little uneasy.
The little dragon was still asleep, sensing his close presence, he instinctively rolled into his arms, the glowing green night pearl thrown aside.
”Hah…” Bai Huo stroked the little dragon’s hair, sighing aloud after a few minutes.
What a worrisome boy.
Are you going to treat your Shige as an outsider: 跟你师哥见什么外 – not sure about this translation
What a worrisome boy: Someone who causes others to feel worry
That’s it for VOL 1, I hope you guys liked it. It was a lot of work; each chapter took about 6-8 hours to translate, and it’s as accurate as I’ll ever get it, seeing as I don’t know Chinese lol. I’ll take a few days break then get started on VOL 2. The second volume is absolutely amazing(imo). I was at the edge of my seat, I laughed, I cried, I stayed up all night reading it. It’s the whole reason I decided to translate a story that’s on hiatus. Yes, hiatus. If you’ve somehow missed all the warnings, this story, as of writing this, hasn’t been updated in almost a year. If the thought of that makes you want to cry, then please don’t cry at me cause I warned you.
See ya in volume 2!