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Thank you to Magpie for the ko-fi~


In the unrestrained screams within the forest, amidst the clamor, the jiaolong received Shu Shuishui’s command to accelerate and dashed forward like a streak of lightning.
Lin Huang felt as if he blinked, and the pool of water in the mountain forest vanished from his sight.

Lin Huang clung tightly to the jiaolong’s claw, feeling the intense pounding of his heart.
This sensation was too exhilarating.

When Lin Huang’s mind finally calmed down, he realized that although the jiaolong was fast, its flight was smooth.
Strangely, despite the high speed, there wasn’t much wind blowing against him.
It seemed that some kind of barrier automatically formed around the jiaolong, blocking out most of the wind and cold air.

Looking down, he saw an expanse of verdant green fields and hills beneath him.
The mountains rose and fell, sometimes steep, sometimes gentle.
Mist alternated between thick and thin, gathering around perilous peaks at times and spreading out over plains and shallow ponds at others.
The entire view was filled with vibrant greenery and clear blue rivers.
The rich vitality collided and intertwined, and with every breath, one could sense the exuberant life force of every blade of grass and tree.

“Mr.
Shu! Do you think this is a star system from the Era of Apocalypse? We didn’t teleport to the wrong place, did we?”

Not only could Lin Huang not understand, but Shu Shuishui was also baffled.
From what they could currently see, the vitality here was thriving, much better than the Cang Zhan Star by a considerable margin.
There wasn’t a trace of decline to be found.

However, before the dungeon began, the introduction provided by the Galactic Alliance explicitly stated that the teleportation location was a domain of unknown origin in the Era of Apocalypse, spanning the entire star system.
Due to the vast scope, they had initiated a collective instance.

“I know!” Lin Huang suddenly had a look of enlightenment.
“Biological mutations must have caused the Era of Apocalypse in this star system.
Mr.
Shu, look at the trees below.
They must be around a hundred meters tall, and they’re so robust.
They’ve definitely mutated.
And then there’s that red frog from earlier—clearly a highly venomous creature.
Quite coincidentally, two unlucky souls were eaten shortly after being teleported.
These mutated creatures must have had an impact on advanced intelligent life forms, leading to the disappearance of higher civilizations.
Just like our situation now, there are also mutated creatures on your Cang Zhan Star.
Who’s to say…”

Lin Huang believed he had found the reason, and he explained his reasoning incessantly.
As he spoke, he suddenly felt a bit chilly.
Looking up, he saw the dangerous orange vertical pupils of the jiaolong.

Lin Huang: “…” He had forgotten that this individual was also a mutated creature.

After a quiet moment, Lin Huang bowed to the jiaolong, his movements restrained due to holding onto the dragon’s claw.
“Big brother, my bad.”

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The jiaolong seemed to exhale in disdain and averted its gaze.
Lin Huang couldn’t help but mutter to himself incessantly, wondering if the mutated creatures in this world were a bit too intelligent! And as for this massive creature, he really didn’t know how to describe it.
If he said it was ferocious, it hadn’t eaten anyone; it had been rolling around on the ground asking for head pats earlier.
If he said it was cute, he really couldn’t handle that either.

What Lin Huang guessed, Shu Shuishui had also considered, but quickly dismissed.
Shu Shuishui didn’t know how this world defined the Era of Apocalypse for star systems, but for a hibernating dormouse, as long as the world still held life and there was a cozy nest to hibernate in, it wasn’t an apocalypse.

As a dormouse, Shu Shuishui’s inherent perspective on problem-solving was destined to differ from that of humans.
In the eyes of humans, higher life forms, namely humans, were the pinnacle.
Once they were annihilated, the star system would be destroyed.

Shu Shuishui couldn’t currently confirm if there were truly no humans left in the star system they had been transported to.
However, the vitality in this region was exuberant, and faintly, Shu Shuishui could sense that the cycle of life and death in this place was normal, unaffected, and undisturbed.

The jiaolong’s speed was incredibly fast, at least according to Lin Huang’s judgment.
It wasn’t any slower than flying in an aircraft.
Moreover, up until now, Lin Huang hadn’t figured out how this massive creature, over thirty meters in length and without wings, managed to take flight.
It was entirely unscientific.

Neither Shu Shuishui nor Lin Huang anticipated that this flight would continue for a full two hours.
During this time, they hadn’t spotted a single human, but they had encountered a variety of strange creatures.
These unique beings were completely unfamiliar to Lin Huang.
While they shared some similarities with the beings in the Cang Star system, there were clear differences.

At the very least, before this point, Lin Huang had never seen a lion capable of breathing fire—assuming it could be called a lion.
There was also a certain ice-blue bird that flew with a cold aura and a giant ape over ten meters tall.
These creatures each possessed distinctive traits, as if they were capable of thought.
Lin Huang didn’t dare to lock eyes with them for too long.

Two hours passed without a hint of boredom.
Along the way, everything they saw and heard was so novel, so challenging to their worldview.
Lin Huang tried to explain everything scientifically, but in the end, he could only attribute it to biological mutations.
“Mr.
Shu, can you ask your little companion, Jiao Jiao, where we’re headed?”

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“Brother Lin, if there were anything I could ask, I would have asked it already.
This place is devoid of human presence.
Even though the spirit beasts possess awakened consciousness, they seem to lack the ability to communicate.
They have no experience in interacting with humans,” Shu Shuishui also sighed in helplessness.
The spirit beasts in this world were of a considerable rank, seemingly having undergone years of cultivation and accumulation.
However, for reasons unknown, they struggled to communicate effectively.

Along their journey, Shu Shuishui had even spotted divine birds like the Ice Phoenix, but these divine birds were likely rather aloof and offered no possibility of interaction.
Moreover, for some inexplicable reason, the jiaolong’s lineage and rank were higher to that of the Ice Phoenix.
When they crossed paths, the Ice Phoenix actually stepped aside! This act was akin to submission— an entity referred to as a divine beast, a phoenix, lowered its head to the not-yet-transformed dragon!

Aside from these occurrences, just as Lin Huang had mentioned, it wasn’t solely the spirit beasts; the world was rich in spiritual plants as well.

Although the jiaolong appeared childlike, it had an innate ability to discern treasures from the heavens and the earth.
So, as they flew along, the jiaolong continued to sweep through the area, taking everything in.

Shu Shuishui was incredibly fortunate that he had chosen to enter the dungeon this time, activating his ring and gaining access to a spacious storage space.
Otherwise, he would have had to carry all these heaven and earth treasures.


Shu Shuishui rubbed the ring on his ring finger with his index and middle fingers.
“They’re all items of divine-tier rank.
At the very least, they deserve names.
What do you want to call this little ring? Tiny Ringy? Little Fingerling?”

Perched on the jiaolong’s claw, Lin Huang found Shu Shuishui’s choice of names no longer strange.
“Brother, your naming style is unique.
Thankfully, you didn’t call me Xiao Huang Huang.”

Shu Shuishui replied, “Xiao Huang Huang sounds so bad.
Your naming sense is just trash.”

Lin Huang felt as if he had been cut with a knife.
Who truly had a trashy naming sense?

After hesitating between Tiny Ringy and Little Fingerling for a long time, Shu Shuishui’s eyes suddenly lit up.
“I’ve got it.
Let’s call it Lan, Lanjie!”

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Lin Huang: “…” He suddenly felt exhausted.
Indeed, this person was extraordinary—completely unpredictable, not following the usual path.

As Shu Shuishui’s words fell, a faint light flashed on the ring on his ring finger, revealing an exquisitely detailed orchid pattern.
Shu Shuishui was slightly stunned.
The ‘Lan’ he referred to wasn’t the orchid flower but the ‘Lan’ in ‘Gu Langu.’ Although the ring’s interpretation was a mistake, it didn’t look bad.

Tugging at the corner of his lips, Shu Shuishui suddenly recalled the scene when he was still a dormouse, placing a ring on Gu Langu’s finger.
A trace of cunning flashed in his eyes once again.

Shu Shuishui truly didn’t know the significance of kneeling down with a ring and flowers—nor did he know about the implications of the ring and the flowers combined.
Of course, nobody could have anticipated that both Nan Ge and Gu Langu, including himself, would be completely fooled by Shu Shuishui’s innocent appearance.
After all, who could have guessed that such a furry and cute bundle of softness would be so cunning?

Moreover, Shu Shuishui wasn’t exactly lying; he had witnessed ring proposals on more than one occasion.

And so, without even Gu Langu’s awareness, he had been securely tied down by a little dormouse.

As the ring rotated, the jiaolong once again lowered its flight altitude.
Maneuvering through an area cloaked in dense foliage, Shu Shuishui had become quite skilled at standing up during these moments.
Casting a glance, he noticed a nameless ancient tree adorned with golden nuts that resembled hazelnuts! “Xiao Jiao Jiao! Over there, over there!”

Originally flying in a different direction, the jiaolong’s elongated body agilely twisted in the air and shot toward the direction indicated by Shu Shuishui.

After a moment, the jiaolong crouched on the ground, while Lin Huang sprawled beside it, stretching his limbs.
Having endured two hours of flight without safety restraints, Lin Huang felt completely drained.

He no longer had the energy to worry about hygiene and simply lay flat on the grass.
His gaze fell upon the towering ancient tree above.
Looking up from the ground, the ancient tree was a magnificent sight, covering the sky and completely blocking out the azure blue sky.
It resembled a house, shielding everything from wind and rain.

However, at this moment, the ancient and dark brown tree was unexpectedly bustling with activity.

Lin Huang didn’t expect Shu Shuishui to be so agile.
With a few swift movements, Shu Shuishui was already up in the tree and heading straight for those golden fist-sized nuts.
In Shu Shuishui’s eyes, Lin Huang saw a fervor that remained undiminished, even when he collided with a few large squirrels.

Possibly sensing that someone was attempting to snatch their food, the mutated squirrels in the jungle gathered around.
These squirrels were only twice the size of regular ones, but there were quite a few of them, creating an intimidating presence.

Lin Huang had thought that the ground monsters were about to take action.
However, as Shu Shuishui agilely hopped around in the trees, he encountered the numerous squirrels and calmly greeted them, “Brother Squirrel! Need any help?”

Lin Huang: “…”

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Squirrels: “…”

The jiaolong on the ground merely lifted its eyes and paid no attention to the squirrels.

Sure enough, after a while, following Shu Shuishui’s subjugation of two “mighty” squirrels, all Shu Shuishui had to do was take out a few bags.
The squirrels spontaneously formed small teams, chattering as they scampered off to gather nuts.

Even with the formation of the nut-gathering squad, Shu Shuishui didn’t idle.
He continued to joyfully leap between branches, carefully selecting the exquisitely formed nuts.
“This one looks good, for Gu Gu.” “This one is nice too, for Gu Gu.”


On the ground, Lin Huang felt that he had grown much calmer.
Seeing Shu Shuishui command the mutated squirrels didn’t even surprise him excessively.
With nothing else to do, Lin Huang pulled out the so-called driver’s license from his pocket.
Upon closer inspection, the more he looked at it, the more speechless he became.
The age section was listed as unknown, which was one thing, but even more baffling was the hand-drawn image that served as the photo.
And not just any image—it was a hand-drawn picture of a mouse’s head.
What kind of operation was this?

“Mr.
Shu, what’s the story behind this photo?” Lin Huang couldn’t make head or tail of it and couldn’t help but ask.

Unexpectedly, before Shu Shuishui, who was busy on the tree, could respond, the previously placid monster next to them suddenly leaned its massive head over, seemingly quite interested in the driver’s license.

Even though Lin Huang had never been harmed by the monster until now, he couldn’t help but instinctively feel fear towards it.
His body tensed up.
The jiaolong’s large eyes glanced over the open driver’s license before finally seeming to find something amusing.
It swayed its tail with a thud, striking the ground like an exuberant cat.
The impact caused the ground to tremble.

Just as Lin Huang was about to jerk upright, the jiaolong snatched the driver’s license with one claw and placed it neatly under its head, carefully examining it.

Lin Huang was speechless.
He looked at the monster beside him and increasingly felt it was absurd.
Wasn’t this the same as the Second Fool who used to lie on the bed and watch TV? And it was an especially lowbrow version of the Second Fool, one Lin Huang couldn’t find any humor in, at least not on the driver’s license.

Shu Shuishui, perched in the tree, also felt the tremors.
He looked down and saw the jiaolong lying obediently on the ground, seeming to have spotted something delightful.
It rhythmically swayed its tail, looking more and more like a long, feline creature.
Shu Shuishui couldn’t resist shouting towards the ground, “Xiao Jiao Jiao, come on, give this grandpa a meow to hear.”

Lin Huang almost choked.

Upon hearing Shu Shuishui’s voice, the massive head of the jiaolong lifted up.
It gazed at Shu Shuishui in confusion, seemingly unable to comprehend what he was saying.

Shu Shuishui waited for a while and eventually, in disappointment, realized that the jiaolong probably hadn’t encountered cats before and didn’t know Gu Gu’s cute meow.
Shu Shuishui waved at the perplexed jiaolong below the tree.
“It’s alright, let me give you a meow, meow~ meow~ meow~”

Lin Huang: “…”

Xiao Jiao Jiao: “…”

However, Shu Shuishui seemed to have discovered a new world.
“Xiao Jiao Jiao, you might not believe it if I tell you, but I’m actually learning to meow like a cat.”

Xiao Jiao Jiao: “…” You’ve already meowed, what’s there not to believe?

Lin Huang sighed and rubbed his temples, feeling a headache coming on.

For a mouse that had a perpetual fear of cats, mimicking cat sounds seemed to provide some odd sense of accomplishment.
Thus, the subsequent nut-gathering journey was accompanied by meow after meow.

It wasn’t until all the nuts were harvested that the squirrels, one by one, lined up obediently and handed over the filled bags to Shu Shuishui, after which they disappeared in an instant.
Shu Shuishui’s brainwashing meowing finally came to a stop.

Lin Huang let out a sigh of relief, finding that the flight without safety restraints wasn’t as hard to bear as he had initially thought.
With over a dozen bags full of fist-sized nuts, Shu Shuishui felt that this trip into the dungeon was well worth it.
To make the nut collection feel more ceremonial, he emptied one of the bags and piled up the golden nuts into a small mountain.
If it weren’t for the fact that he couldn’t enter his spiritual storage, Shu Shuishui would have pounced on them long ago.

The two of them, along with the jiaolong, were getting ready to hit the road again.
Shu Shuishui walked up to the massive head of the jiaolong and then noticed his own driver’s license.
He reached out and picked it up.
“I need to keep this safe.
If I lose it, I’ll have to reapply for it.
Plus, I can’t drive without a license.
I’m a law-abiding citizen, after all.”

Lin Huang: “…” Well, as long as you’re happy.

Just as the law-abiding citizen was about to put away the driver’s license, the jiaolong’s enormous claw stopped him.
“Xiao Jiao Jiao, what’s up? Do you also want a driver’s license? Let me think… You probably don’t need a driver’s license; you should have a ‘travel permit’.”

Clearly, the jiaolong didn’t understand the difference between a driver’s license and a travel permit.
It merely extended its claw’s tip and lightly tapped the age section of Shu Shuishui’s driver’s license.

Shu Shuishui was slightly surprised.
“Xiao Jiao Jiao can understand.”

The jiaolong let out a pleased rumble and persistently tapped the age section again.


Shu Shuishui tilted his head.
“Is Xiao Jiao Jiao trying to tell me how old I am?”

The pleased rumble from the jiaolong grew even louder, clearly indicating that Shu Shuishui’s guess was correct.

Beside them, Lin Huang was dumbfounded.
Could this even be possible?! What kind of comprehension and communication ability was this?

Shu Shuishui was even more astonished.
After all, he was a little cub who didn’t even know how old he was, so how could a newly acquainted jiaolong possibly know his age?

However, seeing the gleam in the jiaolong’s eyes, Shu Shuishui sighed.
What else could he do? Of course, he would indulge it.
Shu Shuishui took out a pen from his spiritual storage and handed it to the jiaolong.
“Since you’re so interested in my age, why don’t you write it down here, Xiao Jiao Jiao?”

The jiaolong received the pen in a flurry, then clumsily tried to grip it, fumbling as it did.
Shu Shuishui reached over, as if teaching a child how to hold a pen for the first time, guiding the jiaolong’s grip bit by bit.

He placed the driver’s license on a notebook he had just taken out, preventing the jiaolong from accidentally piercing it.

The jiaolong held the pen shakily and approached with caution, its entire body tense and straight, visibly nervous.

Encouraged by Shu Shuishui’s pat on its head, the jiaolong began to write.
At first, the strokes were a bit crooked, but they quickly adjusted and produced surprisingly neat handwriting.

Lin Huang, curious, approached and watched for a moment before exclaiming in surprise, “Traditional characters! Impressive! But is the number correct?”

The Cang Star System shared cultural overlap with Earth, and now it seemed to overlap with this unknown world too.
The age the jiaolong wrote in the age field was astonishingly “9000”.

Shu Shuishui scratched his head.
“Xiao Jiao Jiao, did you add an extra zero? A nine-thousand-year-old little cub? I can’t believe I’m that old.”

The jiaolong thought for a moment, then scratched out the “9000” and replaced it with “10,000”.

Shu Shuishui sighed.

Lin Huang couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Haha, brother, you’re already ten thousand years old! I never would’ve guessed, you look so young.”

Shu Shuishui felt quite annoyed, thinking that the dragon probably wasn’t good at math.

The jiaolong, now quite pleased, retracted its claw, tossed the pen aside, and eagerly handed the driver’s license back to Shu Shuishui.
Shu Shuishui could only pat the jiaolong’s massive head.
“Xiao Jiao Jiao, you’re the best.
I had no idea I was this old.”

The Jiaolong’s tail lifted, and it let out a smug purr.

Shu Shuishui chuckled softly and no longer dwelled on the age issue.
He picked up his notebook and pen, stored the driver’s license, and then jumped back onto the jiaolong, ready to set off.

Lin Huang, having had his fill of laughter, was much more obedient this time.
He went forward and hugged the jiaolong’s massive claw.
Unlike Shu Shuishui, he didn’t attempt to climb up.
Lin Huang wasn’t foolish enough to think that the creature would allow anyone other than Shu Shuishui on its back.

Taking flight once again, the jiaolong carried the two onwards into the unknown.
After flying for another hour, it was already noon.
As they flew over a forest, a group of colorful phoenix-tailed birds took off in a flurry, their bodies brushing past them as they fled.
Shu Shuishui’s gaze followed them, and it took him a while to pull his gaze back.

The jiaolong emitted a low purr, seemingly inquiring about Shu Shuishui’s sudden change in mood.

“It’s nothing.
I just suddenly thought of down jackets.
I wonder how it feels to wear down pants,” Shu Shuishui responded.

The jiaolong didn’t understand and fortunately, it didn’t know what a down jacket was.
Otherwise, it might have just turned around and chased after those unlucky phoenix-tailed birds.


Shu Shuishui didn’t have the chance to experience a flashy pair of downpants.
Lost in thought, he considered finding something like spiritual silk to make himself a pair.
However, the jiaolong suddenly accelerated, and the force thrust Shu Shuishui’s body backward.

Just as he was puzzled, the jiaolong seemed to collide with an invisible barrier.
Its tremendous force shattered the barrier, and the barrier it had raised didn’t harm Shu Shuishui or Lin Huang on its claw in the least.

But beyond the barrier, it was a scene of chaos.
Purple and black lightning crackled and sparked in the dark space, illuminating it with an eerie glow.

In an instant, it felt as though they had transitioned from a peaceful world into a realm of hell.
Lightning flashed, thunder roared, and chaos reigned.

Shu Shuishui quickly realized that it was a barrier, a powerful one.
Within the barrier lay imminent dangers, preventing outsiders from passing through.
Perhaps only a spirit beast as powerful as the jiaolong could break through the barrier and traverse it.

After a moment of heart-pounding tension, the deafening thunder and lightning disappeared, replaced by a sudden, deathly silence.

Still reeling from the rapid change of scenery, Lin Huang seemed dazed and disoriented, experiencing the classic “Who am I? Where am I?” confusion.

The jiaolong let out a gentle purr as if to comfort Shu Shuishui.
Shu Shuishui lightly pinched its horn.
“Xiao Jiao Jiao, I’m fine.”

Shu Shuishui’s gaze shifted to the distance, taking in the new scene.

Desolation, darkness, death, decay… Life seemed to visibly wither away.
The earth cracked, mountains crumbled, rivers dried up, trees withered, and corpses littered the ground.
This was the true epoch of the apocalypse.
“Xiao Jiao Jiao, there’s a city over there.
Let’s go take a look.”

The jiaolong seemed unperturbed by the scene, suggesting it had been here before.

Approaching the city, Shu Shuishui discerned its outline—a city full of ancient charm.
The city walls were already damaged and crumbling, and the pavilions and buildings within the city were dilapidated.
Some had rotted away, appearing to have fallen into decline long ago.

Descending onto a street in the city, Shu Shuishui dismounted from the jiaolong and examined a nearby building.
He discovered that it was constructed not from ordinary wood, but from spirit wood.
Even so, the spirit wood had deteriorated to its current state, indicating the passage of time.

“Mr.
Shu, this architectural style… It’s not just too ancient, it’s beyond the scope of history, almost like it’s from the ancient past.” More than just being ancient, it’s somewhat beyond comprehension.

Shu Shuishui acknowledged with an “oh.” “Mr.
Lin seems to have quite a bit of knowledge about these things.”

Lin Huang chuckled.
“I’ve just heard about it, heard about it.”

Shu Shuishui nodded.
“I’ve also seen it.
Mr.
Lin recognized the traditional character ‘壹萬’.
You were quite happy and impressed about it earlier.”

Lin Huang: “…” Did I expose myself because of that? He helplessly drooped his head.
“Fine, I admit I’m a bit old-fashioned.
When did you recognize me?”

Shu Shuishui felt a bit confused by the conversation and sorted through the information.
Judging by Lin Huang’s reaction, it seemed like he was someone quite famous? As a face-blind non-native of the Cang Star System, Shu Shuishui was a bit bewildered.

However, Lin Huang seemed to see through everything.
“You’re indeed not simple.
You must have been suspicious for a while, right? Naming the ring was a test, and recognizing the traditional characters confirmed it further.
I really underestimated you.
Do you have anything else to ask or say?”

Shu Shuishui scratched his head.
“I just wanted to genuinely praise you for recognizing traditional characters so impressively.
What did you just say? You’re not Lin Huang? Do I know you?”

Lin Huang’s alternate identity, Gu Lanyi, fell silent.

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