Two minutes later.
Besides the fire, the little dragon cub was biting into a half-cooked grilled fish fillet.
Bai Huo helped him wipe off the sauce on the corner of his mouth, urging with an indulgent expression, “Eat slowly, don’t choke.”
Ji Bei was dumbfounded.
Hey ‘loving father’, what happened to your principles? What about not being allowed to eat half-cooked meat? This was the first time Ji Bei saw someone backtrack so quickly. He looked at the little dragon cub and the fat bird thoroughly enjoying their meals, and decided to not touch his share, leaving it for the two children.
“Eat up, at the rate they’re going, there won’t even be bones left over in a little while.” Bai Huo advised.
Ji Bei had a chronic illness, so his appetite was as small as a cat. He shook his head, saying, “It’s all right, I’m not hungry. They’re growing children, let them eat a little extra.”
Bai Huo dug out the warm Qingke beer he’d buried besides the fire and handed him a small jar. Ji Bei smelled it and took a sip out of curiosity, then he immediately coughed: “Spicy.”
Bai Huo laughed: “Officer Ji doesn’t drink beer often?”
“I don’t drink.” Ji Bei coughed twice, his cheeks flushing. “There’s so much work to be done at the office, I must stay alert 24/7.”
“Oh, so that’s how it is. But don’t worry, this beer isn’t very strong, you’ll get used to it after a few sips. It tastes good, and it’s very refreshing.” Bai Huo seemed a bit regretful about not being able to sell the product.
He glanced at the little dragon cub, the child was tearing off a piece of meat from the fish’s tail, raising his head to gulp it down in whole, his movements were very bold. After entering the soft-scale stage, the little dragon cub’s appetite grew significantly larger, and he no longer ate in small bites like before, gradually exposing his fierce dragon instincts.
It’s a pity that the child couldn’t drink, Bai Huo thought, feeling lonely. He’d been drinking by himself for so many years, no one willing to accompany him.
The two men were slender types, especially Bai Huo. Ji Bei was well dressed, but Bai Huo just wore a thin shirt, his sleeves rolled up to his elbows. There was a slight breeze over the lake. In the fire’s light, the outline of Bai Huo’s face was extremely soft. From the neck down, his skin was so white it was almost transparent. A sexy collarbone was hidden under the slightly messy white shirt. He narrowed his eyes and lifted the beer bottle, exuding a languid and charming atmosphere.
The little dragon cub and the fat bird battled for the last fish, Bai Huo was completely relaxed, obviously not intending to mediate. He had on a leisurely expression of watching a cockfight.
In the end, Ji Bei couldn’t stand it, he helped them split the fish in half: “Half each, play nice.”
Although dragons could change shape, it still consumed their spiritual power. As a cub with limited spiritual power, it was much more comfortable for the little dragon to keep his original shape.
After receiving Bai Huo’s approval, the little dragon cub turned back into his dragon form to eat the fish.
Ji Bei watched his little furry tail sway back and forth and his hands itched, he couldn’t help but stealthily reach out to touch it.
He rubbed the furry tail.
Upon seeing this, Bai Huo broke out into laughter and asked, “How does it feel?”
“It’s … soft.” Ji Bei stared blankly.
The little dragon cub sensed the sneak attack and glanced at Ji Bei alertly. He squeezed into Bai Huo’s arms, turning to conceal his back. The little dragon cub still had sauce on his two paws, while climbing up Bai Huo’s arms, he’d left a bunch of oily paw prints on Bai Huo’s designer shirt. But Bai Huo didn’t get upset, he just fondly patted the child’s head.
Ji Bei finally knew where the wrinkles on Bai Huo’s shirt came from. As a certified Virgo detective, he immediately felt strong distress.
Bai Huo was very slender, he looked like he’d never touched a dumbbell in his life. Even his arms holding the little dragon cub looked a bit thin. Ji Bei watched as the stains on his white shirt increased with each passing minute. He couldn’t help thinking that it wasn’t easy being a single father. No matter how unreliable you were, feeding, washing clothes, and coaxing your child to bed, all these things couldn’t be avoided. At first glance, the little dragon cub was well-mannered. He never stayed upset for long, he didn’t even get angry when he’d fought with the other child just now, which showed that he was many times more patient than other children.
Besides, such an expensive shirt was scrapped so easily. As an unemployed single father, although he didn’t say a word, Bai Huo must be very distressed. Bai Huo looked unperturbed on the surface, but who knew how helpless he felt inside.
“It’s very hard to take care of a child alone.” Thinking of this, Ji Bei couldn’t help but deeply respect him.
“Huh?” Bai Huo asked. He didn’t know that Ji Bei’s imagination was almost as wild as Lin Ke’s. After seeing such sincere respect in the other man’s eyes, he was at a complete loss for a moment.
Regarding eating, the little dragon cub usually caught fish himself, if not, Bai Huo would simply order a salmon set takeout. As long as there was fish, the little dragon cub wasn’t picky with the side dishes, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, it was all good. The only thing Bai Huo needed to do was observe to prevent him from eating raw meat.
Regarding baths, since the little dragon cub hatched, Bai Huo only washed him once to get rid of the egg liquid. After that, the child inexplicably felt embarrassment, and refused to let Bai Huo wash him, preferring to jump into the lake and bathe himself.
Regarding sleeping, as long as Dad Bai Huo’s breath was around, he could fall asleep at any time, there was no need to coax him.
Additionally, the housework and the laundry were all taken care of by the cleaning lady. The cleaning lady Bai Huo hired was an elderly earth dragon. She worked attentively and skillfully. Bai Huo only had to worry about her nagging; housework wasn’t a concern at all.
To sum up, it was really easy to raise this child. These few months Bai Huo had raised him, except for running over to the mahjong parlor to lose some money every day, he’d never done any proper business.
Thinking of this, Bai Huo’s shriveled up conscience was finally tugged.
This won’t do, he needed to be a loving father who took responsibility for his child.
Fortunately, Ji Bei was very professional, and didn’t diverge too much into this topic. Instead, he asked: “How old is Little Lin Xi in human age now?”
Bai Huo rubbed the little dragon’s head in shame: “About three years old, but this child is probably a little bit more intelligent.”
Ji Bei nodded: “I just saw you holding what seems to be a kindergarten brochure? Are you planning to let him receive a human preschool education?”
“I’m thinking about it,” Bai Huo said frankly. “He should be done shedding in a few days. I’ll take him to see the school, then I’ll make a decision.”
Ji Bei consequently revealed the reason for this visit: “Actually, I didn’t just come here to reminisce, I came to ask for you guys’ help.”
Bai Huo noticed that he said “you guys” instead of “your”, asking, “Including my son?”
Sure enough, when it comes to his child, Bai Huo immediately became more alert.
Ji Bei suddenly felt a little pressure, he explained in as mild a voice as possible: “This is the case. Starting six months ago, we’ve continuously received reports from parents, stating that their children disappeared from Oak International Kindergarten. After investigating with Captain Luo, we discovered that this was part of an organized child trafficking ring. The victims were all kindergarten aged boys. This gang is very cunning. We’ve tracked them for several months, but two weeks ago, when we were planning to close the net, they suddenly stopped moving for some reason.”
“You want to……”
“If we’ve guessed correctly, they’ll continue to commit crimes,” Ji Bei said, “By comparing the information about the victims, we’ve noticed that their trafficking targets have distinctive characteristics, such as moderate height and weight, large eyes, white skin ….”
Bai Huo glanced at his son’s body.
“We’ve already thought about finding suitable human children to help the police complete the arrest, but working with three-year-olds is too difficult. One, they’re too small to control, two, the sting is too dangerous, no parents want to let their children take the risk. “
Bai Huo didn’t understand: “Officer Ji, I understand that you want to solve the case urgently, but how can you be sure that I’ll let my son participate. I’m also a parent.”
Ji Bei seemed to look very ashamed: “I know this is putting you on the spot, but please think over it, Bai Huo. If this case isn’t closed, the children in Xi City will be in danger. You dragons are stronger than humans, after all. I can only turn to you for this. You don’t have to worry about safety. We’ll arrange plain clothes officers to protect Lin Xi throughout the process. We absolutely won’t let him be harmed. “
Seeing Bai Huo hesitate, Ji Bei handed the file he’d brought from the car to him, emphasizing: “Why don’t you read this report first? We can reimburse you for all expenses, including the high admission fees for the international kindergarten.”
Bai Huo picked up the file and started reading.
Contrary to expectations, he wasn’t short on money. When all was said and done, he’s lived longer than most humans, he has many sources of information and connections, it was quite easy to make a living. In the early years, when the country wasn’t very developed and the laws were flawed, Bai Huo was strolling along the coast one day when he suddenly devised a plan. He tricked several human big shots into opening several underground bars and mahjong parlors. Later, when the big shots died out, the shops naturally fell to him.
Given that he was too lazy to even count a few dollars, he later pulled He Ling in to invest, leaving only half the shares to himself. He became the behind-the-scenes boss, earning dividends every year. Although He Ling disliked talking, she was a business genius in the human world. After so many years of development, he’d accumulated a considerable amount of wealth.
He Ling once pitilessly calculated that if Bai Huo hadn’t squandered so much money at the mahjong tables over the years, instead investing his money in real estate, he’d easily make the list of Xi City’s richest and most influential persons.
The title of director of the Poverty Alleviation Office wasn’t just empty talk.
“Huh?” Bai Huo turned the page and saw a familiar face, suddenly frowning. “This child …”
Ji Bei looked over and said, “This is the latest victim, he was studying in Oak Kindergarten’s upper class. He disappeared a month ago. The child’s father is an executive of a listed company. Because the boy is his only son, he spoiled him a lot. After the abduction, the family went crazy, the mother was extremely distressed. She’s been admitted to the hospital, and lives on nutritional injections. “
With that said, Ji Bei flipped the file over, revealing a photo of the grief-stricken mother.
It really was that child.
The little dragon cub obviously also recognized the two people, he pouted and poked at the child’s face. After hatching, this child made him show his fangs for the first time by snatching his glass beads.
Bai Huo gently rested his chin on top of the little dragon cub’s head: “Do you remember him?”
The little dragon cub nodded.
“Do you still hate him?”
The little dragon cub was silent for a while, then he shook his head.
After that incident, Bai Huo had bought him a case of glass beads, big and small, of every color. By comparison, he could generously ignore this little bit of hatred.
Bai Huo saw this and felt both amazed and gratified. This boy was so fierce, but his heart was quite broad. Plus, it was rare for people to be able to weigh the gains and losses without holding grudges.
“This child has been taken away by a bad guy. Do you want to save him?” Bai Huo asked.
Ji Bei watched this interaction between father and son, his impression of Bai Huo once again refreshed.
This time, although he was asking Bai Huo for help, the final decider was actually Little Lin Xi. As a father, Bai Huo didn’t choose to make all the big decisions by himself, instead choosing to ask for his child’s opinion. This approach really surprised Ji Bei; Bai Huo always seemed to be quite senseless.
As Bai Huo had previously explained, the little dragon cub looked like a normal three-year-old, but his IQ was clearly above that. After thinking calmly for a while, a pair of big eyes looked up at Bai Huo’s face: “What about you?”
“Of course, I’ll be with you.” Bai Huo smiled.
The little dragon cub climbed up Bai Huo’s body, hooking his hands around Bai Huo’s neck. “Let’s go on an adventure.”
Ji Bei was petrified by this soft tender voice, when he could finally react, he asked in excitement, “He … did he agree?”
“We’ll give it a try,” Bai Huo hugged his son tightly to prevent him from sliding down, and looked at Ji Bei solemnly. “If it’s no fun, I’ll put a stop to this immediately.”
“Yes, that’s fine …” Ji Bei nodded and suddenly stood up, earnestly saluting the two, “I represent Xi City …”
“No, no, no, sit down.” Bai Huo hurriedly cut him off.
Ji Bei smiled, embarrassed, and pushed his hair back, then he remembered that he needed to make some calls: “I’ll arrange the interview for you next week.”
“Yeah,” Ji Bei fished out his phone as he explained. “Nowadays, kindergartens need interviews in order to be admitted. Little Lin Xi will be a transfer student. I’ll tell the headmaster; she’ll meet you in person. The process is relatively simple, just act natural, no need to worry.”
“What do I need to prepare?” Bai Huo woke up from his daze; his son was actually going to kindergarten.
“Just prepare suitable clothes, everything else is the same as ordinary. Oh right, just in case something leaks out, we’ll need to keep your identity confidential. Except for the headmaster, everyone in the school will think that Little Lin Xi’s a normal transfer student.”
“Moreover, we’ll give your child a GPS chip and an emergency alarm button –Hello? Lu Luo, Director Bai agreed, quickly head to Oak International Kindergarten …” Ji Bei arranged the follow-up matters on his phone.
The fat bird heard that the little dragon cub was going to kindergarten and excitedly flew down from the tree branches: “Kindergarten! No more food sharing!”
Bai Huo reached out and flicked him away. Watching the little dragon cub innocently climb up and down his body, using his legs as a slide, Bai Huo’s emotions felt jumbled.
In the end, the cub was a boy, no matter how clingy he was with his Dad, it’s only natural that he yearned for adventure and discovering new things.
Oh no! What’s with this sudden feeling of loss, like an old man living in an empty nest!
upper class– Wikipedia “In China, pre-school education is generally divided into a “nursery” or “preschool” stage and a “kindergarten” stage.
Nursery (or “preschool” or “playgroup”): 3- to 4-year-old children
Lower Kindergarten: 4- to 5-year-old children
Upper Kindergarten: 5- to 6-year-old children.”
an adventure- could also be to take risks / to take chances
empty nest- a home where the kids have grown up and moved out