When the little dragon cub woke up, he found a string of blood-red pearls on his wrist, curious, he fiddled with it.
“Don’t take it off.” Bai Huo walked in with breakfast.
Seeing his empty wrist, the little dragon cub rolled out of bed to give the bracelet back to him: “Yours.”
Bai Huo had been wearing it for so long, naturally, the little dragon cub had seen it.
Bai Huo patted his head with a smile: “I’m giving it to you, keep it on for now, don’t lose it.”
“For me?” The little dragon cub had received a gift, even better, it was one of his Dad’s personal belongings. He was so happy that he stretched his hand out, turning it this way and that.
Bai Huo was amused: “Don’t just watch, come and eat.”
At noon, the little dragon cub ran out to go play while Bai Huo and Jing Lan discussed something. Meeting the little blue dragon, Ah Zhen, at the door, the little dragon cub took the initiative to talk him, exciting Ah Zhen so much that his speech became incoherent.
“Wow, your Dad gave you this? It’s pretty.” Ah Zhen spun around him, his eyes full of envy, “Can I see it?”
Little Lin Xi pretended to calmly think over it, before saying: “Can’t take it off.”
“No, no, you don’t have to take it off. I just want to look at it.” Ah Zhen hurriedly waved his hands.
Little Lin Xi tilted his head and reluctantly reached out: “Alright.”
The two little dragons were huddled together, laughing and chatting, even wagging their tails at the same frequency. Bai Huo looked outside, feeling amazed.
“Looks like he’s adapting quite well.” Jing Lan said from behind him.
Looking at the little dragon cub chatting enthusiastically, Bai Huo also had to admit it: “Yeah, he wasn’t so lively in human society. Except for me, if other people talked to him, he just ignored them.”
“The environment and atmosphere are different. Ah Zhen is also very lively, so he’ll infect him.” Jing Lan smiled and said. “In fact, for children, sometimes the influence from their peers is more profound than the education from adults. Little Lin Xi is a dragon, he’ll feel more secure and more open among his own people.”
Bai Huo didn’t speak.
Jing Lan thought for a moment, then hesitatingly said, “Little Bai, have you considered changing Lin Xi’s environment?”
Bai Huo sensed that he had something to say, frowning slightly: “You mean …”
Jing Lan nodded: “It’s unrealistic to force a tiger to learn to eat grass. Lin Xi is a dragon, human education isn’t suitable for him, moreover, learning only human knowledge isn’t feasible for dragons. How to use the divine bone, control spiritual power, spells, flying … and even the eventual estrus. He needs to learn a lot, and humans can’t teach him these things.”
Jing Lan was right. It’s not that Bai Huo had never thought about these things, but he was very reluctant to send his son to the association.
“I …” Bai Huo was at a loss for words, “I’ll ask him his opinion later.”
Jing Lan just nodded gently.
After all, the two little dragons were boys, after playing for a short while, they started to compete.
Ah Zhen showed off his vivid blue tail, stretching and swinging it bashfully, saying, “Look, my tail is azure. Granny said that it’s the color of the sky outside.”
Little Lin Xi stretched his head to look back at his blue-black tail, which wasn’t as bright as sky blue. The tip of his tail was dipped in white, but it felt far less impressive than Ah Zhen’s tail. The little dragon cub immediately showed a gloomy expression.
“Ah, you have a white point.” But Ah Zhen had on an envious look, looking at the little dragon cub’s brows, he added, “There’s one between your brows too.”
Little Lin Xi didn’t know what a “white point” was, but listening to Ah Zhen’s tone, it should be a very special thing. He immediately became energetic, shaking his tail from side to side: “Bai Huo said it looks good.”
Ah Zhen carefully touched the white feathers on Little Lin Xi’s tail with his small paw: “It’s nice that you have a Dad.”
The little dragon cub was baffled: “You don’t have a Dad?”
Ah Zhen shook his head: “I only have a granny.”
The little dragon cub was shocked: “Doesn’t everyone have a Dad?”
Ah Zhen gave him a strange look: “Of course not, many people don’t have one. I don’t, the patriarch also doesn’t, um … does your Dad have a Dad?”
The little dragon cub got lost in his thoughts, Dad’s Dad? He’d never seen him before, and he hadn’t heard Bai Huo mention him.
“Exactly.” Ah Zhen sat on the stone steps and sighed, exclaiming worriedly. “Do you know? I heard my granny say that when we grow up, they won’t stay beside us anymore.”
“Why?” The little dragon cub was puzzled.
“Because when we grow up, we have to find wives for ourselves, then we can’t live with Dad and granny again.” Ah Zhen looked very worried, “But I can’t catch fish yet, how will I survive?”
The little dragon cub turned, looking at the room Bai Huo was in, his heart suddenly choked with anxiety. He can’t live with his Dad when he grows up? Bai Huo once promised that he’ll never abandon him, did that not count after he grew up?
The two children sat on the stone steps, their expressions filled with anxiety, feeling the loneliness of the dragon race for the first time.
A few moments later, Bai Huo walked over with bowls of dried squid, “What are you chatting about, cubs? You guys look like you’re at a funeral.”
Ah Zhen was taught from an early age that he should always salute his elders, but before he could get up, Bai Huo pressed him back down: “Don’t worry about that, come, come eat some dried squid.”
The little dragon cub looked at him, conflicted on whether or not he should say something.
The three ate the dried squid, Ah Zhen living up to his reputation as a little chatter box. From how Mr. Wang from next door bit a shark during estrus, to rumors about the origins of the incense burner in the patriarch’s chambers, he never stopped to breathe. While munching on dried squid, Bai Huo felt that this child had the talent to study in the Deyun Society.
“Uncle Bai, will you stay here for a long time?” Ah Zhen asked.
Bai Huo snapped back to reality and smiled, “Why are you asking?”
“I still have a lot of treasures to show Lin Xi,” Ah Zhen scratched his head, embarrassed, “I finally found a friend to play with, don’t take him away.”
Bai Huo smiled and patted his head: “Hey, look at you, you’re so young yet so articulate, how about you share some of those words with my son?”
The little dragon cub looked at his hand and pouted.
After eating the snacks, Bai Huo saw Ah Zhen off and carried the little dragon cub back inside for his nap. That evening, Jing Lan, who had handled his official business, came in to feel the dragon cub’s pulse.
“The divine bone has already healed, but his pulse is still unstable.” Jing Lan pulled back his hand and asked softly, “Have you felt uncomfortable anywhere these past two days?”
The little dragon cub’s head drooped, reaming silent.
Bai Huo finally felt that something was strange, rubbing his son’s head: “Cub? Shishu asked you something.”
The little dragon cub shook his head.
Jing Lan looked at him and seemed to sense something. He put his hand over the little dragon cub’s divine bone and closed his eyes. After a moment, a trickle of spiritual power leaked from his fingertips and was injected into the little dragon cub’s body.
The little dragon cub felt his back heat up and couldn’t help but shrink away.
Jing Lan withdrew his hand and re-fastened his clothes, then glanced at Bai Huo, his expression a bit complicated.
“What’s wrong?” Bai Huo asked hurriedly.
Jing Lan didn’t reply, just gently asking the little dragon cub: “You haven’t told your Dad?”
“What? What’s going on?” Bai Huo was puzzled.
The little dragon cub looked up at Jing Lan, his expression a bit grieved.
Jing Lan understood his heart, comforting him, “It doesn’t matter, talk to your Dad.”
Bai Huo heard them talking in riddles and started sweating anxiously, circling around the little dragon cub.
The little dragon cub clenched his fists, then said to Bai Huo in a barely audible voice, “I can’t go back.”
Bai Huo didn’t understand: “What?”
“Since he arrived at the Water Dragon Palace, he’s never changed into his human form.” Jing Lan explained.
Bai Huo was stunned.
The little dragon cub’s eyes flushed, squeezing into Bai Huo’s arms without looking up at him.
Bai Huo hugged him tightly, continuously patting his back, saying roughly: “Baby, why didn’t you tell me? Were you trying to worry your Dad to death?”
The little dragon cub hugged his neck, mumbling, “I thought you wouldn’t want me.”
Bai Huo didn’t know whether to laugh or cry: “Why would Dad not want you? This has nothing to do with whether you can transform into a human form.”
“You won’t take me back with you.” The little dragon cub buried his face in Bai Huo’s neck.
Bai Han wanted to comfort him, but thinking of Zhou Chong Wen’s pledge hanging over his head, he couldn’t open his mouth.
Jing Lan patiently waited until both the father and son had calmed down, before saying, “It’s as I expected, the divine bone has only healed on the surface. In reality, his spiritual power has been blocked, he can’t use it freely.”
“Will it always be like this?” Bai Huo asked urgently.
Jing Lan shook his head: “I can’t tell right now, I can only slowly nurse it.”
Jing Lan never exaggerated or concealed the truth. If he said that he wasn’t sure, then he wasn’t sure, it could heal in three months or eight years, it all depended on the Will of Heaven.
“It’s late, rest first.” Jing Lan retreated in a timely manner.
That night, after Bai Huo coaxed the little dragon cub to sleep, he went out to the front hall to find Jing Lan.
Jing Lan was reclining on a rattan chair, reading a book, a blanket covering his legs. As soon as Bai Huo entered the room, he asked, “Are you leaving?”
“I promised Shige.” Bai Huo heaved a sigh. “And there are other things to deal with, I must go back.”
Jing Lan pondered for a moment: “How long?”
Bai Huo frowned silently.
“Lin Xi is injured, it’s best if he doesn’t leave for too long. He needs the crystal bed to help him heal.”
“I know …” Bai Huo paced fretfully at the steps by the door, then sat down, supporting his forehead on his hand as he sighed deeply, “I didn’t watch him properly.”
Jing Lan put down his book and adjusted his robe, walking over slowly: “Don’t criticize yourself too harshly, everyone has their own life. I think Lin Xi is a very talented child, he’ll surely be capable in the future.”
Bai Huo thought about the little dragon cub, and finally felt a little comfort: “Yeah, he’s such a clever child. I’ve never been a Dad before, it’s my first time raising a child, I’ve definitely made many mistakes, but he’s never complained. Did you know, Jing Lan, past Bai Huo would’ve never believed that such a person could exist. He has no blood relationship with me, but he trusts me with all his heart, and he depends on me. He smiles when I appear, he cries when I leave. When I feel sad, he’s sadder than me. When I’m hurt, he cries harder than me. “
Bai Huo smiled slightly: “It’s a strange feeling, but it’s not bad, really.”
Jing Lan looked at him quietly.
“That’s why,” Bai Huo continued, “My son made a mistake, as his Dad, I naturally have to bear the responsibility for him, not to mention my part in this mistake.”
Jing Lan sighed wordlessly.
The two fell into silence, one standing, one sitting. A long moment passed, the room was extremely quiet, only the sound of gurgling bubbles breaking the hush.
“Jing Lan, do me another favor,” Bai Huo looked up, saying earnestly, “I can’t take Lin Xi to the association, can he stay here with you after I leave?”
Jing Lan turned around, frowning slightly.
“His injury isn’t healed yet, and the association is a ruthless place, he’ll only be bullied if he goes there.” Bai Huo had a heart-broken expression on his face, “He’s originally a water dragon, staying here with you guys is basically a return to the clan. “
“As long as the child is willing, I naturally won’t object.” Jing Lan said softly, “But, how do you plan to tell him?”
When this was brought up, Bai Huo took a deep breath, obviously feeling helpless. A moment later, he said: “I’ll find a time to talk to him in the next two days.”
Bai Huo spoke boldly, but the reality was “See cub = terrified”. For the next two days, whenever he saw the little dragon cub, he always had an anxious, conflicted expression, making Ah Zhen think that he was constipated, secretly handing him some laxatives. At this, Bai Huo didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Although he didn’t say anything, the sensitive little dragon cub seemed to perceive something. He brooded silently, sticking to Bai Huo even more closely, even following him to the bath, afraid that his father would run away without him.
Bai Huo knew that this couldn’t go on, before going to bed, he finally made up his mind to have a showdown with the little dragon cub.
The little dragon cub had just pulled off his socks and climbed into bed, hearing his tone, his back instantly stiffened.
“Dad has something to discuss with you, I—” Bai Huo took a deep breath, but unexpectedly, when he started to speak, his mouth was immediately covered by the little dragon cub’s paws.
The little dragon cub’s eyes quickly reddened, but it wasn’t enough to cover with one paw, so both paws were raised. He stared at Bai Huo fixedly: “How long?”
Bai Huo was stumped for a moment.
“How long will you be gone?” The little dragon cub’s eyes were filled with tears, but he kept them from falling.
They really were father and son. How could the little dragon cub not know anything about him after so long?
Bai Huo’s heart was seized, pulling his son into his arms: “It might … it will be a long time.”
“Then, will you still come back?” The little dragon cub choked on his sobs.
“I’ll come back.” Bai Huo said assuredly.
The little dragon cub couldn’t hold back, grabbing Bai Huo’s shoulders, his tears fell like a waterfall.
“Okay, okay, don’t cry, we’re big boys.” Bai Huo also felt choked up, coaxing as he wiped away the child’s tears. “Don’t we have the contract? Jing Shishu will teach you a lot of spells, soon, you’ll be able to sense Dad’s location from wherever you are.”
The little dragon cub clutched his shoulders and sobbed sporadically, “You’ll come back, really?”
“Yes!” Bai Huo nodded firmly, his heart panicking.
If the little dragon cub had beaten him and scolded him, he would’ve gladly accepted it, unfortunately, this child was too sensible, making his father appear even more heartless.
I’ve sinned …
Bai Huo felt a stab in his chest.
As Bai Huo expected, two days later, the Water Dragon Palace received a greeting notice, written by Zhou Chong Wen himself.
“A greeting notice? Not a co-investigation order?” Bai Huo was baffled.
A greeting notice was basically a name card sent when one high-level party visits another, mostly sent at the private level, while the co-investigation order was an official document that invited one party to jointly investigate something. If Zhou Chong Wen issued a co-investigation order in his capacity as the patriarch of the fire dragon clan, and requested that the Water Dragon Palace cooperate, then he wouldn’t need to come in person at all, he could merely order Bai Huo to report to the association within the time limit. But Zhou Chong Wen handed over a greeting notice, which meant that the person himself would come here from thousands of miles away, this move was somewhat intriguing.
Jing Lan put away the greeting notice: “They’re already on their way, and will arrive tomorrow morning.”
“A group of fire dragons coming to the Water Dragon Palace …” Bai Huo couldn’t imagine it, “Are they planning to come down in a submarine?”
Jing Lan smiled faintly: “Since they’re coming, they will naturally be welcomed at the door.”
Jing Lan responded to the invitation, then left to settle some details. Before leaving, he also returned Bai Huo’s freshly cleaned modern outfit. The next morning, when the little dragon cub saw his clothes, his eyes reddened again. Bai Huo patiently coaxed him for a long time before he calmed down, then the cub obediently followed behind him, looking at Bai Huo in extreme grief.
Bai Huo’s heart broke whenever he saw this expression, so he cruelly chose to not look back.
“Are you okay?” Jing Lan shifted the bead curtain and came in. He wore a gorgeous blue gown with a long, finely embroidered cloak. His hair was tied up more attentively than usual, still draped over his shoulders.
“Are they here?” Bai Huo asked.
Jing Lan nodded.
The delegation headed into Lan Ting Pond, several guards clearing the way. The swimming ability of pure breed water dragons couldn’t be compared, reaching the surface, Bai Huo’s clothes didn’t even get wet.
Outside, a heavy snowfall had just ended, although the snow had lightened, it hadn’t stopped. The wind was bitingly cold, and the sky was vast.
Bai Huo saw dark shadows standing on a distant snow slope, and his hold on the little dragon cub’s shoulder tightened a little.
The little dragon cub seemed to feel something, and looked up at him.
In the end, Bai Huo said nothing, just patting his shoulder, and instructing him to go stand behind Jing Lan.
When the group got closer, he saw that Zhou Chong Wen had only brought two people, one was Ding Ping, the other was a man Bai Huo has never seen before. Looking at his outfit, he was most likely an assistant. Fire dragons weren’t cold-resistant, at this moment, the temperature was at least minus 20 degrees. The three of them were frozen stiff, especially Ding Ping, who Bai Huo suspected was going to faint in the next second.
Relatively speaking, Zhou Chong Wen looked better off. Although he was trembling from the cold, he was holding up pretty well, and when he approached Jing Lan, he bowed slightly.
At this, not only did Bai Huo freeze, even the two escorts at the back stared blankly.
Zhou Chong Wen’s greeting was actually out of order. Of the three major dragon tribes, one had shunned the world, and the other was declining. Nowadays, only the fire dragons were still active, they were in charge of everything in the association. It could be said that they were the leaders of the dragon race. Whether comparing power or status, Zhou Chong Wen shouldn’t have greeted first.
Jing Lan obviously froze for a moment, but he quickly recovered, smiling: “Patriarch Zhou traveled for thousands of miles, please excuse the Water Dragon Palace for not going out to meet you.”
Zhou Chong Wen glanced up at him, then quickly lowered his head again, saying softly, “You’re too polite.”
Bai Huo stared at Zhou Chong Wen, the astonishment in his heart growing stronger. He knew Zhou Chong Wen since he was a cub, so many years had passed, but he’d never seen him look like this. The tone and posture couldn’t be called polite, it was better to call it humble, there was even…. a trace of inferiority.
When an ordinary person saw Jing Lan, it was normal for them to feel inferior, after all, Jing Lan’s makings and place of birth was here, but Zhou Chong Wen was different. He was now the patriarch, and his status was even higher than Jing Lan. This behavior didn’t make sense.
The snow was still trickling down, the cold wind lifted Jing Lan’s cloak, two people, one dressed in brown and one in blue, stood opposite each other. Zhou Chong Wen bowed slightly again, saying, “I came here today to trouble you for two matters. Please excuse us for the disturbance. “
Jing Lan nodded with a smile: “Please speak.”
“The first matter is this notice.” Zhou Chong Wen took out the official inauguration notice from his pocket and handed it over with both hands. Who knew whether it was from the cold or nervousness, but his fingers unexpectedly trembled, “I should’ve delivered it to you half a year ago, but because the journey is so long, I was afraid that my subordinates would be negligent, so I wanted to deliver it in person. However, the association had a lot of matters that needed to be settled, and I only recently gained some free time, I’m deeply sorry. “
“Ah …” Jing Lan took it and glanced over it quickly, handing it to the guard behind him. “Patriarch Zhou is considerate.”
“The second matter is my Shidi,” From beginning to end, Zhou Chong Wen never dared look directly at Jing Lan, moving to this topic, he turned his gaze to Bai Huo, “Presumably you’ve already heard about his disturbances in the human world. Although Bai Huo has half water dragon lineage, he still belongs to my fire dragon clan. I need to take him back to ascertain the facts.”
Jing Lan looked at Bai Huo with a worried expression: “Little Bai is still young, I hope that Patriarch Zhou will be a bit more lenient.”
Zhou Chong Wen nodded, quickly glancing at Jing Lan, then looking away again.
Bai Huo didn’t care to investigate the strangeness between the two people, looking back at the little dragon cub, he forced a smile, then turned around with fake casualness, walking towards Zhou Chong Wen: “Let’s go, Shige.”
The little dragon cub was already in tears, he moved forward two steps, but Jing Lan put a hand on his shoulder, stopping him.
Zhou Chong Wen’s gaze wandered between Bai Huo and the little dragon cub, hesitating, “This child …”
“I’ll take care of him temporarily.” Jing Lan smiled, raising his hand to gently touch the back of the little dragon cub’s head.
The little dragon cub stared as Bai Huo walked away, silently biting his lower lip, his tears rained down.
Zhou Chong Wen’s ears were frozen red, he gave Jing Lan a stiff salute and led his people back.
After walking about ten meters away, the group successively transformed into dragons, and flew into the sky. Bai Huo stood in place, looking back at the little dragon cub with deep eyes.
“Listen to your Shishu, okay?” Bai Huo yelled, his voice sounding particularly far away in the empty snowfield.
The little dragon cub finally couldn’t suppress it, he broke free of Jing Lan’s hold and ran over the snow piles towards Bai Huo, crying loudly.
Bai Huo forced his quickly moistening eyes away, and after a long howl, his dragon scales flashed and disappeared into the horizon.
The little dragon cub continuously threw himself into the air, plopping back into the snow.
Jing Lan couldn’t bear to look, he slowly walked over, reaching out to help him up, when the little dragon cub suddenly resolutely wiped away his tears, and climbed up, grabbing Jing Lan’s robe.
“Jing Shishu, teach me.” The little dragon cub looked up at the point where Bai Huo disappeared, tears in the corners of his eyes, “I want to learn spells.”
Jing Lan looked amazed, a moment later, he smiled: “Good.”
Deyun Society- China Wiki “Deyun is one of the most popular crosstalk theaters in Beijing. It is an ideal destination to enjoy crosstalk created by skilled comedians.”
Shidi- Junior Martial Brother
I was gonna be all cute and translate the first chapter of the next volume so this wouldn’t end on a sad note, but this chapter alone was 6k words, so forget that. Oh well, a time skip had to happen eventually, this is a BL after all. Hoped you guys enjoyed this volume, I always cry on the last few pages. I’m a big ole softie. I’m taken a few days break so I can start feeling my fingertips again. See you in VOL 3!!