Thank you to Magpie for the ko-fi~

“Other bugs?” Shu Shuishui pondered earnestly for a moment.
“Do grasshoppers count?”

Da Bai’s face darkened, clearly not expecting that Shu Shuishui would actually have other bugs in mind.
“How many?”

Shu Shuishui was honest.
“Currently, not many.”

“Currently?” Da Bai’s gaze grew increasingly dangerous.
As a bookworm who had never left the study since his inception, Da Bai’s deepest memories were probably of gaining consciousness and hiding within the pages, secretly listening to the comings and goings of people in the study, as well as the exchanges, discussions, and planning between Dreams and that figure.
He listened to them composing books, planning their next journey, discussing where the best spiritual fruits were, and where the aquatic products were abundant.

Until one day, still idly rolling around in a book, Da Bai suddenly found himself being lifted.
He slightly panicked, carefully shrinking himself within the seams of the pages.

Page by page, as if someone were searching for information.
In the end, Da Bai felt a bright light before him, the space widening, and even his breathing became smoother.
At the same time, the person’s motion of flipping through the book also came to a halt.

Da Bai raised his head, struggling to open his small eyes, and saw the person above clearly.

It was someone who seemed as serene as a gentle breeze, the area between their brows and eyes seemingly expressing unbounded freedom.
However, at this moment, that person was looking at Da Bai in astonishment, then reached out a finger and lightly poked his body.

Da Bai squirmed a little, then used his almost-invisible short hands to touch the person’s finger.

The person’s eyes brightened even more, and then they turned their head to shout excitedly to the side, “Lan Lan, Lan Lan, Lan Lan, come and see! We have a son!”

A stumble sounded from the side, as if someone almost fell.
Soon, the sound of footsteps followed, and a person dressed in a pure white robe with indigo-blue accents appeared in Da Bai’s line of sight.
This person seemed taller, with a slightly broader build, and their gaze carried a touch of aloofness.
They spoke with a hint of condescension, “So ugly? Impossible.”


At that time, Da Bai didn’t quite understand the boundary between beauty and ugliness, but he sensed the disdain and grievances.
He buried their head in the seams of the pages.

A finger lightly tapped his tail tip from behind, and Da Bai pulled his head out of the pages, turning to see a smiling face as radiant as a starry river.
The gentleness in their eyes was softer than the paper beneath them.
“Lan Lan’s eyesight isn’t great, this is clearly very cute.
Indeed, this bookworm bred in my study, chubby and white, suits my taste well!”

The person referred to as Lan Lan beside them seemed a bit helpless.
“Hmm, it does indeed suit your taste.”

Da Bai’s little head swung back and forth between the two people, then lifted his head proudly in response to the affirmation.
Yet, at that time, he didn’t understand that ‘suiting one’s taste’ was simply a matter of preference.

The following days were the happiest in Da Bai’s life, and indeed, in the next nine thousand years.
He woke up surrounded by the fragrance of books each day, and a person greeted him cheerfully.
“Good morning, little cutie.
You look even rounder today, how wonderful.”

Although Da Bai couldn’t speak, he responded happily by waving his short little hands toward the person.

Incense burners often burned in the ‘Li Dream Study’, with fragrant orchids emitting a light, subtle scent that was refreshing to both body and mind.
Amidst this fragrant atmosphere, what brought the most joy to Da Bai was listening to the man who referred to himself as “daddy” holding a book and using a refined yet unrestrained voice to tell stories.
It was as if, through his narration, those flat words instantly came to life, brimming with vitality.

The study was adorned with various spirit formations; naturally, real insects couldn’t exist within it.
Da Bai’s ability to be nurtured and born in the study relied on the spiritual ink and fragrance of books.
He was sensitive and fond of the words within the books, with a simple and somewhat shy nature.
Every day, apart from lying on the pages to read, he waited to listen to stories.
Occasionally, he would be bolder and crawl out of the pages, secretly tasting the spiritual fruits and nuts.


The most common fruit in the study was hazelnuts, a type of fruit that couldn’t be considered a spiritual fruit.
Even if nurtured with spiritual power, it would only grow slightly larger in size, and its shell remained hard.
Da Bai lay on top of it, gnawing for a long time to create a small hole, then crawled inside.
Well, the taste was indeed quite good, and that hazelnut shell became Da Bai’s personal property from then on.
It was placed on the second-floor bookshelf.
Whenever Da Bai suddenly didn’t want to stay in the pages, he would burrow into the hazelnut shell, which had been lined with silk from Xuan paper, creating a soft nest.

As night approached and it was time to rest, that person would also bid farewell with a bright smile and gentleness.
“Little cutie, sleep early.
Good sleep leads to quick growth, to becoming strong.
It would be best if you could grow as tall as Lan Lan.”

In this gentle voice, Da Bai would happily roll over, then fall asleep contentedly, praying to grow up quickly.

However, in the end, Da Bai’s ideal life was disrupted.
The person who called themselves ‘daddy’ suddenly disappeared one day, leaving Lan Lan in a state of madness.
Da Bai didn’t dare to venture outside the study, so he could only learn some news from the man who came to the study every day.

The study was no longer open to the outside world, but by the window, Da Bai still heard and saw much.

Living beings in despair, cycles collapsing, days and nights reversed, spiritual power dwindling, death’s aura spreading, the apocalypse arriving… the world was collapsing…

Countless people ran and wailed, complaining about the unfairness of fate.
Numerous people knelt and implored the heavens for mercy, while others cursed in desperation, cursing the gods and the world for not saving humanity from disaster.

Da Bai was very afraid.
He didn’t really know Lan Lan’s identity, but there was a subtle intuition that Lan Lan’s identity was very high, extremely high.
So, even though this person was also his nominal ‘daddy’ and treated him well, Da Bai never dared to be impudent or playful in front of him.
Da Bai deeply missed that smiling daddy.

In Da Bai’s yearning, the daddy disappeared for a period of time, which seemed quite lengthy.
In any case, Da Bai waited and waited until the outside world grew quiet.
No one was crying, no one was praying or cursing, because no one was alive anymore.

The city lay in silence, bodies on the streets slowly decaying into bones, until even the bones were no more.
Da Bai could only make a rough estimate; this might have gone on for several hundred years.


The entire city seemed to be fading away with time, yet this study was protected by formations, undisturbed.

One day, Da Bai assumed a humanoid form, turning into a small round shape about the size of a palm.
Da Bai stood in front of a copper mirror for a long time, still unsatisfied with his height.
Coincidentally, that was when Lan Lan arrived, and the two faced each other in silence.

Ultimately, Da Bai was the first to approach, then jumped off the table with a ‘pat’, standing by Lan Lan’s feet.
He extended his small palm to measure his height against Lan Lan’s, hmm, he had to stand on tiptoe to reach Lan Lan’s ankles.

With an effort to maintain his smile, Da Bai was lifted by the back of his collar and placed back on the table.
The man with the cold expression finally spoke, his voice hoarse, as if he hadn’t spoken in hundreds of years.
“I leave the study in your care.
Guard this place well, wait for his return.
I leave a scale of the anti-dragon scale, for it to guard the study and the world.
If he returns… forget it…”

The man reached out and patted Da Bai’s head, then turned and left the study.

Da Bai thought he wouldn’t cry, after all, this person always had that lofty appearance, never telling stories, never laughing, always cold and frightening with his stern face.
He didn’t even say good morning or good night…

Da Bai listed the person’s faults one by one, but in the process, tears began to flow down his eyes.
Da Bai stumbled downstairs and to the entrance, just in time to see the man’s departing figure.
In the end, he couldn’t hold back his sobbing and burst into tears.

The person stopped their steps, turning around to look at him.
They had no intention of coming back to console him.
Da Bai thought, see, that’s how annoying he is, not gentle at all.
But why is it still so hard to let go? “Bad person! Go away! Deceiver! You said you’d make me wait! Waaah… I want to hear Daddy tell stories…”

However, in the end, the person didn’t stop.
They simply waited for him to cry himself out and then continued on their way.
Da Bai didn’t know where they were heading, but at least when he chased after them, he couldn’t catch up to their footsteps.

And so, Da Bai wandered in this silent deserted city for a long time, rubbing his swollen eyes as he searched every corner carefully.
Finally, he confirmed that he was truly the only one left.

Da Bai was born in the ‘Li Dream Study’, and as a newly-formed being, he couldn’t stay away from the study for too long.
With the chaotic demonic influences and deathly aura outside at the time, Da Bai could only return to the ‘Li Dream Study’ with his head hung low, climb over the threshold, and enter the study.

The study’s door closed shut, and this time, Da Bai wouldn’t actively open it.
Later, after a long while, Da Bai heard a knocking sound.
A young jiaolong squeezed in.
At that time, the jiaolong wasn’t as large; it was about the thickness of a finger.

For the next thousands of years, Da Bai spent time in the study, keeping company with the books each day.
He read through the books in the study again and again, only accompanied by the jiaolong, which grew larger over time.
However, the jiaolong didn’t like to assume a reduced form, so it didn’t enter the study much either.

Day after day, until today, Da Bai heard the sound of the door opening once again.
Assuming it was the jiaolong, he didn’t pay much attention at first.
However, after a while of not hearing any movement, Da Bai prepared to go downstairs and check.
The moment he saw Shu Shuishui, he felt the world suddenly become quiet, as if his breath had stopped.

Perhaps he had waited for too long, waited until all the anger, grievances, and confusion had been washed away by longing and joy.
He struggled to remind himself that he wasn’t a child anymore; he was a mature adult now.
That’s why he didn’t rush forward.


Da Bai looked at the person sitting by the table and finally spoke in a muffled tone.
“Don’t you want to pat my head? Haven’t you always wanted me to grow up?”

Shu Shuishui composed himself, trying to look as serious as possible.
“You’ve mistaken me for someone else.
I’m Shu Shuishui.
Is it because of this ring?”

Da Bai responded with a hint of indifference.
“I know you’re called Meng Meng.
Hasn’t Lan… been calling you that all along?”

This caught Shu Shuishui off guard.
The original meaning of his name was indeed to signify a comfortable sleep.
“Why is this study named ‘Li Dream Study’?”

“Didn’t you say that one shouldn’t be too immersed in dreams, should leave the dream world, travel more, accompany Lan Lan, and see the three thousand worlds?” Da Bai remembered vividly the spirited explanation this person had given for the meaning of the study’s name.

Shu Shuishui felt a bit puzzled.
So, it meant that Li Meng also had the name Meng1dream? And it just happened that due to the name ‘Li Dream Study’, Li Meng used Shu Shuishui as a pseudonym.
“What’s the full name of both me and that person?”

Da Bai fell silent for a moment.
To be honest, he had discovered both individuals’ full names through reading the books in the study over the course of nine thousand years.
They hadn’t directly told him.
“Meng MoLi, the author of the writings under the name Li Meng.
Only Dad Lan calls you Meng Meng.
Dad Lan’s name is Lan Gu, the origin of all things, the root of all things.
His true form is that of a Qinglong divine beast, the supreme existence of this realm.
It can be said that he is the one who founded and created this continent.”

“Hey, little one, hold off on talking for a moment.
I want to be alone.” Shu Shuishui felt that his worldview was on the brink of collapse.
Meng? Is it really a coincidence? Is Meng Mo Li truly Li Meng’s real name? Li Meng… Could it really be as simple as wanting to sleep less? Meng Mo Li… Li Meng… Li Meng… Is it trying to remind him of something?

Shu Shuishui felt his heart racing.
It seemed that over the long years and endless time, he had genuinely forgotten something.
He wanted to pick it up, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t retrieve it.
If reincarnation were indeed real, were he, Li Meng, and Meng Mo Li truly the same person? Or perhaps, is it all just a coincidence…

As for Lan Gu, Lan Lan, Gu Gu… Regardless, he had to find Gu Langu first.
Shu Shuishui worked hard to simplify his thoughts, intending to ask about the fundamental aspects of this world.

However, a roar echoed from outside the study.
It was the voice of the jiaolong, urgent, agitated, and full of anger.

Shu Shuishui looked towards the door, only to see the rapidly departing figure of the jiaolong.
Astonishingly, the jiaolong was flying away on its own! Shu Shuishui hurriedly followed, and in the sky, the jiaolong had already become a small black dot, seemingly heading towards the city outskirts.

“What’s happening to it?” Gu Lanyi also followed, watching the jiaolong leave in a puzzling hurry.

Stepping over the threshold, Da Bai’s eyes squinted due to not having seen sunlight for a long time.
He sighed softly, “Nine thousand years have passed.”

“Do you know where Xiao Jiao Jiao went? Take me there, little one.
Daddy loves you,” Shu Shuishui worried about the jiaolong’s situation.
After all, its recent roar didn’t sound promising.

Da Bai pursed his lips discontentedly.
“Xiao Jiao Jiao? Why does it have one more character than me?”

Shu Shuishui: “…”

Gu Lanyi: “…”

Da Bai wasn’t insane.
Presently, he wasn’t the small ball unable to leave the study for long.
Nine thousand years of cultivation allowed him to overturn mountains and seas, and traverse the sky.

Da Bai conjured a book-like magical tool.
After it expanded in size, it carried Shu Shuishui and Gu Lanyi, rising into the air, and rapidly pursuing the jiaolong.

After Gu Lanyi had boarded the flying book, defying any scientific explanation, he said, “Brother Shu, where do you think the enormous book gets its power from? Is it a propulsion device or an energy converter?”

Shu Shuishui: “…” Oh Gu Gu, I miss you.
These guys with their absent intellect are really far from you.

Da Bai’s speed was impressive.
In no time, they arrived at their destination.
It was a desolate chasm filled with jagged cliffs.
One peak directly pierced the clouds, its end unseeable.
Yet halfway up the peak’s side were numerous craters, seemingly caused by intense collisions.

Amidst Shu Shuishui’s and Gu Lanyi’s stunned gazes, right in front of them, the jiaolong showed no sign of slowing down.
It actually charged straight toward the cliff!

“Xiao Jiao Jiao! Come back!” Shu Shuishui almost rushed forward, but as a newly-formed being, he didn’t even know how to fly.
Fortunately, Da Bai beside him held him back.

A deafening roar resonated through heaven and earth, shaking their souls and minds.
Debris from the shattered rocks flew in front of them, creating a scene of devastation.

The jiaolong crashed head-on into the cliff, forcefully creating a crater on its surface.
And beside this crater, there were many similar ones.

Gu Lanyi couldn’t help but cover his ears, yet he still felt his blood surging, nearly getting stunned.

Seeing this, Da Bai waved his sleeve, activating the enchantment of the book, blocking out the majority of the noise.

Nevertheless, the jiaolong repeatedly, as if locked onto the cliff, continued to rapidly crash into it.
There were even blotches of blood on the cliff’s surface.

Da Bai’s expression became somewhat melancholic.
“Don’t worry, it goes through this once every thousand years.
It’s accustomed to it.”

Shu Shuishui’s eyes were bewildered.
“What do you mean?”

“It’s the Jiaolong’s Reverse Scale transformation.
Its bloodline dictates that it will transform into a dragon after a thousand years.
However, the world’s spiritual energy can no longer sustain the existence of two Qinglongs.
If the jiaolong were to transform, it would have to ascend to a higher world.
So, every thousand years, it crashes off the growing dragon horn.
This way, it won’t transform into a dragon.
Once every thousand years, and today, precisely nine thousand years.”

Shu Shuishui recalled the pile of dragon horns the jiaolong gave him before leaving the water.
There were exactly eight pairs, one pair every thousand years.

“The Qinglong is Lan Gu, destined to protect this land and guard Li Dream Library.
If he doesn’t return, it will continue like this until the world is utterly destroyed, and nothing remains.
And I… will be the same.” Da Bai’s gaze was fixed ahead, where the jiaolong accelerated once more, aiming straight for the cliff.

Translator’s corner:

Did anybody see that coming…? ‘-‘


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