Bai Huo lived near the old forestry station in the eastern suburbs.
The wooden house was bought from an old lady, it was a little old, but it was more convenient to live in a single house when keeping a secret identity. When it snowed in winter, the opening of the reservoir would freeze, becoming a pure white together with the surrounding woods. At first glance, it looked like a winter paradise.
Early in the morning, Bai Huo was holding his coat in one hand, and three breakfast crepes in his other, unsteadily pushing his door closed with his shoulders.
”Thump”, the door closed, and the fat bird immediately flew out of the scarf, circling around the three crepes and sniffing, accurately pulling out the one with the extra eggs and chowing down.
Because Bai Huo had no choice but to slowly walk to the sofa to put down the little dragon, when he turned around, the double egg crepe was already being devoured.
”Fat chicken, that’s cannibalism ah.”
The fat bird “mmh humpd’’ for a long time, who knew what abuses it was hurling.
The little dragon had fallen asleep on the way here, which spared Bai Huo a lot of trouble. The first few days following a young dragon’s birth, the divine bone would slowly awaken, involuntarily releasing a little divine power occasionally. Like releasing a puff of fire, or suddenly changing shape and the like. Never mind a little destruction here and there, but exposing your identity was very troublesome. Bai Huo was on edge the whole journey, but fortunately, this little cub didn’t have any plans to make a fuss. As soon as he’d held him close, he’d automatically curled up into a ball, and fell asleep in the crook of his arm, very obedient.
Gently putting down his coat on the sofa, Bai Huo stared at the small face poking out of the collar for a long time. The little dragon was covered in fine fuzz, as if he came with his own bloom effect, and his small claws were plump, very cute. Maybe it was because of malnutrition, his coat was very faint, not like a dragon, but like an artic wolf on a snowy field. His physique was also slightly off, the tail was too long and the wings were too big, the dragon cubs Bai Huo had seen in the past didn’t quite look like this.
In terms of dragon esthetics, he almost looked alien.
The dragons were a divine race born from the primordial chaos when the heavens and earth first opened. Their divine bone was bestowed by the heavens, so their physical appearance was generally not lacking. Even in human form, their appearance would be a few grades higher than an ordinary human.
Bai Huo lifted the little dragon cub’s tail and pinched it for a while, thinking that it was no wonder human babies competed in cuteness, it must be to prevent them from being thrown away by their parents when they cried too much. In current human society where everyone still looked at the face, being good-looking was awfully advantageous. Bai Huo himself has also shamefully taken advantage of this fact.
This little guy also had a big advantage. He could grow up wantonly just by relying on his status as a last generation dragon. In any case, the association wouldn’t dare not foster him. If this was the war-torn era, it was entirely possible for him to be abandoned if he had a cold-blooded parent.
In the end, the little dragon was a tiny thing, so even after Bai Huo examined him for a long time, except for determining that he was a genuine baby dragon, he really couldn’t make out his ancestry, and had no choice but to give up.
Taking advantage of the little one being sound asleep, Bai Huo massaged his aching temples, and turned over the cupboard to pull out a bottle of Qingke beer. Then he ran to the bathroom while drinking, filling the tub with hot water.
Bai Huo had a terminal case of laziness. After buying this house, he never did any renovations. The only thing he did was pay someone to repair the bathroom and install a modern toilet and bathtub. The sad fact was that this less than eight square meter bathroom was the most atmospheric place in the entire house.
The day had been really overwhelming, Bai Huo was a bit out of energy. Holding the beer bottle, he sank into the hot water, slowly unwinding.
Within the steam, two tall horns quietly appeared at the top of his head. The horns were also white, almost the texture of mutton fat jade, it and its owner’s skin tone complemented each other.
Bai Huo lazily flexed his legs in the water, his whole body relaxing into the water, his head tilted, revealing a slender neck line. Under the influence of alcohol, a blush slowly emerged on his face.
The dragons have been lurking among mankind for thousands of years. Many things had already become customary. For example, for the sake of security, if it wasn’t an absolutely safe area, dragons never showed their real bodies. They usually dealt with daily life in their human form, including sleeping, eating, etc.
This wasn’t problematic for Bai Huo. On the contrary, he’d always been pleased with human civilization, especially the eating, drinking, prostitutes, gambling…uh, never mind the prostitutes.
Thinking of this, Bai Huo slowly opened his eyes. Today’s growth environment was not like a hundred years ago, human expansion into the natural world had reached the point of pervasiveness, the little dragon cub would most likely be forced into human spaces from now on. He was so young, who knew if he’ll be able to adapt.
What if he failed and accidentally revealed his identity…How would the association handle that? Would he be condemned?
”Ack–” A shriek was suddenly heard in the living room.
Because of the strong alcohol, Bai Huo’s reaction was sluggish. After muttering a few words, he slowly climbed out of the bathtub. The horns on his head had already disappeared. He wiped off and pulled on a pair of beach shorts before opening the bathroom door.
”What are you doing so early in the morning – Oh.” Bai Huo caught the little dragon cub that had pounced at him.
In less than ten minutes, the living room was raining bird feathers, and the fat bird had pitifully covered his wings and was throwing a tantrum on the floor: “This little thing bites people, ah, it really hurts….”
Bai Huo asked helplessly: “He was sleeping so well, what did you do to him?”
The little dragon had obviously received a fright, he buried his head in Bai Huo’s chest, letting out two cat-like sounds of complaint.
When Bai Huo was embraced this way, his heart melted, and he immediately felt a burst of protective instinct: “Shhh, nothing’s wrong, don’t be scared.”
”He’s obviously the one who rushed over to bite me!” The fat bird flapped its wings.
Bai Huo patted the trembling little dragon cub, asking softly: “I was just taking a bath, do you want to bathe too? You, uhh, smell like raw eggs.”
As he spoke, he brought the little one to the bathroom, ignoring the fat bird’s bawling behind him.
The water in the bathtub was still hot, but Bai Huo wasn’t too concerned about this, and he directly tossed the dragon cub in. He looked around, trying to find the shower gel, not sure where he’d last left it.
Bai Huo generally didn’t use human detergents; the scents were way too strong. With his sensitive sense of smell, they stimulated him like a drug. Someone once gave him a free bottle of shampoo for a supermarket promotion. He’d used it out of curiosity and felt dazed for several days.
The little dragon was covered from head to toe in egg liquid, water alone probably wouldn’t be enough to clean him. At this time, he could only rely on the human race’s vast wisdom. Bai Huo fished about for a long time, and finally pulled out a half bottle of shower gel from the drawer. He looked at the bottle, surprisingly not expired.
Bai Huo pinched his nose and poured some out into his hand. He walked to the bathtub and found that the little dragon was floating on his back. Like a small otter, two delicate claws lying on his chest, swinging his tail, happily swimming back and forth.
”Well, you’re gonna enjoy this,” Bai Huo pulled him closer to the edge and smiled. “Come on, close your eyes.”
The little baby dragon’s sense of smell wasn’t fully developed yet, so it wasn’t sensitive to anti-dragon things like this shower gel. He’d noticed that his whole body had become slippery, but he was very happy, incessantly chasing after Bai Huo’s fingers.
This marked the beginning of Bai Huo’s suffering. After all, he was incompetent at life. When he came to do battle, he regretfully realized that his bathing ability wasn’t as skilled as his mahjong. He struggled for a long time, pasting and rubbing, somehow managing to cover himself in bubbles.
In the end, at his wit’s end, he could only throw the dragon cub back into the water and let him swim around, considering the project complete.
One man and one dragon “bathed” then came out of the bathroom. The fat bird was already eating a second breakfast crepe, it looked up at the two with a look of incredulity.
”What, never seen a divine being bathe before?”
“Well I’ve certainly never seen such a rotten divine being…” The fat bird looked at the little dragon cub. “Was he not afraid of water?”
“Ah right…” Bai Huo said vaguely. He stared blankly for a moment, then shivered, suddenly sobering up.
Fat bird: “…”
Just how drunk were you?
In fact, not every dragon could swim. Dragons could be roughly divided into three types: water dragon, earth dragon and fire dragon, which were equivalent to humanity’s ocean, land and air military. Only water dragons were born with natural swimming ability. A few earth dragons could stay in water for a short time after learning how to swim. And fire dragons were completely at odds with water, entering water was a quick way to commit suicide.
”So…you’re a baby water dragon, huh?” Bai Huo pinched the little dragon cub’s tail and lisped, “Oh, the tail is a little thick.”
Water dragons were born to swim, thanks in large part to their flat, long, sting-ray like flexible tails, which could be used to freely control their speed and direction in the water. Relatively speaking, their scales were also the weakest, in order to help them feel the current and temperature of the water. The color of their scales was mostly cool colors such as blue and green, which acted as camouflage in water.
Luckily, this little guy was a water dragon, Bai Huo thought, slightly traumatized. Otherwise, he would’ve just committed a major sin.
The fat bird swallowed the last bite of crust, burping in satisfaction, then its claws reached for the third crepe.
The little dragon heard the sound and poked his head out from Bai Huo’s shoulder, looking at the fat bird, gulping.
”What are you looking at? Ask your cheap dad for food!” The fat bird humphed.
Bai Huo explained: “He wants to eat you.”
”…” The fat bird silently withdrew his claw.
”You hungry?” Bai Huo patted the little dragon and grabbed the crepe from the fat bird, holding it up to the little dragon’s mouth.
Poor little dragon, it was his first meal after birth, yet he was immediately forced to confront this huge monster that wasn’t much smaller than his own body. He side eyed his senseless temporary dad, then stretched out his nose and sniffed, tentatively taking a small bite.
The fat bird furiously flew to the top of Bai Huo’s head and stomped, expressing his dissatisfaction.
”Tastes good?” Bai Huo grinned and touched the little dragon’s head, moving the crepe back to his mouth. “Let’s eat some more.”
Unexpectedly, the little dragon cub took two bites, then his small face wrinkled into a ball, and he buried his face in Bai Huo’s chest, not eating.
”Look, he doesn’t like human food.” The fat bird was elated, it flew down and grabbed the crepe, carrying it out through the window.
Obviously, this little thing hadn’t ‘imprinted’ on the food. Bai Huo didn’t expect him to be a picky eater, it was quite surprising.
”What do you want to eat?” Bai Huo asked.
The little dragon glanced at him, then waddled up a stool and rested his two front paws on the window sill, looking out at the nearby reservoir, then anxiously looking back at Bai Huo.
Meaning, he wanted to go out.
”You want to go out to eat?” Bai Huo was happy, completely not feeling that there was anything wrong with casually taking a barely mobile newborn outside, saying in delight “Let’s go!”
After saying this, Bai Huo started looking for his windbreaker, but once he stooped down to pick it up, he felt a wave of dizziness. When he got up, he was unsteady on his legs, and almost fell back down.
The little baby dragon saw this and quickly ran over.
Bai Huo sat on the ground, dizzy, his back against the sofa, his palm on his forehead: “Baby, sorry, it seems I’m a little drunk. I’ll call in some take-out for you, let’s go out tonight instead, okay?”
The little dragon cub clearly understood, obediently squeezing into Bai Huo’s arms.
Bai Huo stared at his swaying horns, wondering, this kid’s IQ seemed to be beyond the standard? He even understood the concept of ‘drunk’.
He scrolled through a few pictures of food on his phone.
”Cake? Fried chicken? Rice bowl? Milkshake?” Bai Huo flipped pages, asking.
As his finger scrolled past one page, Bai Huo noticed that the little cub’s paw had reached out and he quickly scrolled back, asking: “You want to eat this?”
This was a grilled fish from a nearby traditional restaurant. In order to highlight the freshness of their fish, the store owner had included two pictures of a lively fish.
The little dragon silently pressed his soft paw to the middle of the screen, not moving.
Bai Huo was shot by the cuteness, indulgently saying: “Okay, I’ll order this right away.”
He ordered the roast fish, also adding in two bowls of sweet congee. When the order was placed, Bai Huo felt extremely sleepy, his eyes refusing to stay open. He shouted for the fat bird, but no one answered. He had no choice but to turn on the old dusty TV set, flip to the parenting channel, and climb onto the sofa. He held the little dragon in his arms and fell asleep.
Today was Monday, early morning, and the city was displaying its unique charm – traffic, endless, impenetrable traffic. On the main road, two police cars flashed their lights and zipped down the emergency lane, and a meddlesome driver looked out of his window.
”So early in the morning, was there an accident?”
”Who knows, there’s been no peace lately.”
”bang-” a loud noise broke the silence of the Xi City office, and a furious snarl opened the prologue of the week: “I don’t care what method Luo Wen Xu uses, this situation must end, now. If there’s a fourth murder, your whole team had better pack up and beat it! Old Song, let’s go!”
The two’s footsteps sounded like a storm was passing through the corridor. Inside the anxious office, everyone immersed themselves in work, afraid of being noticed by the superiors.
Ji Bei lagged behind: “Take care, Yang Ju.”
A young police officer, Lu Luo, bit into a steamed bun, and raised her head from behind her desk, asking in concern: “Vice-Captain, are you okay?”
Ji Bei rubbed his obviously sleep deprived eyes, tiredly saying: “It’s nothing, continue on.”
”But Yang Ju is being so…ugh! Captain Luo rushes to the crime scene as quickly as possible, he’s actually a really good captain. He doesn’t even need to ask about the case before figuring out the murderer.” Lu Luo was indignant. “They only take advantage of when the fierce Captain Luo isn’t here to bully you. Just wait for Captain Luo to come back, I’m going to complain!”
Xi City really hadn’t encountered such a difficult case in years, it’s not like Ji Bei didn’t understand, but the superiors have been too comfortable these years, and had already forgotten that Luo Wen Xu was also a mortal.
Although Lu Luo’s words were unprofessional, as a violent crime detective working in the same unit, Ji Bei still felt very pleased to hear these words. He joked in a low voice: “You’re not afraid of them hearing you and singling you out? Later…
”Ah, what’s wrong Vice-Captain?!”
Before he could take a bite of breakfast this morning, Ji Bei had been dragged in by the superiors to be reprimanded. Now that the superiors had left, he felt somewhat dizzy. Everyone heard the shout and came over to help him sit down, Lu Luo immediately went to get him a glass of sugar water.
”It’s nothing, I’m fine.” Ji Bei’s face was deathly pale, he waved his hand weakly. “You guys can go back to work. I’ll be okay after taking a short break, thanks.”
”Vice-Captain, don’t collapse ah.” Lu Luo’s eyes were red, she stretched out to pull open a drawer, “I think I still have two buns hidden here, eat it.”
Ji Bei shook his head, politely declining her kindness.
Lu Luo felt a burst of helplessness, just as she was about to close the drawer, Ji Bei noticed that there was a yellow book inside it. He asked, “Wait, what’s that?”
”What?” Lu Luo pulled the drawer open again, and tilted her head, saying, “I think this is Xiao Shu’s.”
Ji Bei has been on the front lines for many years, he was very sensitive to suspicious items. He reached for the book.
It was a vertical handwritten, thread bound manual. Looking at the wear and tear of the paper, it was at least forty years old. The title was very worn out, he could only vaguely distinguish a few of the characters. It was “Dragon Search Manual”. Ji Bei flipped through it and couldn’t make heads or tails out of it. It was a completely messy pattern, and some symbols were indiscernible. Nowadays, these kinds of old books were rare. Ji Bei couldn’t help but find it a little strange.
He looked around and asked: “Is Xiao Shu still not here yet?”
“He went to the Family Affairs Division.”
Seeing Ji Bei’s confusion, Lu Luo hurriedly explained: “As soon as he came in this morning, he started chattering nonstop about that zoologist yesterday and asking for his name, then he ran to the Family Affairs Division to look up his household registration.”
Ji Bei frowned: “What a troublemaker.”