Ying Qiao successfully intercepted Jiang Lan on his way home and brought him to a seafood restaurant.
Ying Qiao had already made a reservation here a while ago. Since he tasted the food Jiang Lan cooked, he had always meant to take him out to treat him to good food. Instead of relying on frozen food and burned food, which might stunt his growth, adolescent cubs need proper food to maintain health.
Their dishes were all pre-ordered fresh seafood, which was quickly served after they took their seats.
The shrimps, shellfishes, and crabs were all giving off an enticing smell.
But the diners all seemed a little distracted.
Ying Qiao was trying to figure out a way to give the Little Monster some money without appearing so. His heart ached with pity for him when he looked at his wealthy cousin. But giving money directly to him would be too disrespectable, and the Little Monster would definitely refuse. On the other hand, his role now wasn’t supposed to have extra money to give him. Ying Qiao was rarely at a loss to solve his problem. He planned to ask for other people’s advice when he got home.
Jiang Lan was distracted because he felt guilty. With Jiao Tu in his arms, he remained alert in case Ying Qiao suddenly decided to press for more information concerning Jiao Tu. The delicious shrimps became tasteless, with him keeping an eye on Ying Qiao.
They remained preoccupied throughout this meal. After the dinner, Ying Qiao was in a hurry to seek advice, and Jiang Lan wanted to move Jiao Tu away from his sight. So they decided to skip the after-meal stroll and hurried home.
When Ying Qiao reached his villa, he first wanted to ask Cheng Hua, but he couldn’t reach him.
After a pause, he decided to add his friends to a WeChat group chat.
[ You are inviting Kai Ming, Tai Feng, Cheng Hua, and Lu Wu to join a group chat. (System message)]
[Kai Ming: ??]
[Tai Feng: I have a bad feeling about this.]
[Kai Ming: Don’t be like this, let’s focus on the positive. Perhaps @Ying Qiao decided to create a group chat to distribute red packets红包, also translated as Red Envelope. It’s a tradition where money is given to family and friends as a gift. WeChat has two types of “Red Packet.” One is a private chat red … Continue reading to us.]
[Lu Wu: @Kai Ming, you are too naïve.]
Ying Qiao chose to ignore these messages flooding the group chat. After a pause, he typed: [@ALL, the Little Monster must have fallen out with his family and lives a hard life with his little brother among humans. I couldn’t bear to see him live like this. But he would definitely refuse my money. Could you please offer any advice that might improve the quality of his life, to make his life easier?]
[Tai Feng: See, I am right about my bad feeling. See you! (here he attached a goodbye emoji)]
[Kai Ming: Is it ok to leave the group chat now?]
[Lu Wu: Obviously not.]
[Ying Qiao: [WeChat Red Packet]Wish you prosperity and great fortunethe original text is 恭喜发财，大吉大利(system message)]
[Ying Qiao: [WeChat Red Packet]Wish you prosperity and great fortune(system message)]
[Ying Qiao: [WeChat Red Packet]Wish you prosperity and great fortune(system message)]
Ying Qiao sent three red packets in a row, and everyone quickly clicked it to claim the money. A chain of messages expressing their gratitude quickly flooded the group chat.
Ying Qiao was impatient:[ Let’s return to the business at hand.]
Kai Ming sent an emoji depicting a scene in which a boss was offered a cup of tea:[ Oh, this is easy. Did you mention the Little Monster has fallen out with his family? Why not adopt him formally? So you can give him pocket money whenever you want without bothering to consider the proper excuse.]
He didn’t understand why Ying Qiao kept fixating on a problem this simple.
[Tai Feng: He refused your money? I will take it if he doesn’t want it.]
[Lu Wu: @Kai Ming. Who would refuse money? If he refuses, there are two possibilities. One, the money offered wasn’t enough. Two, you two are not close enough. If you gave money to me, I would take it without a second thought.]
Ying Qiao furrowed his brow and began to regret his decision to seek advice from this bunch of “friends.”
Not a single one of them was reliable.
Adopting the Little Monster? He got goosebumps when he pictured Jiang Lan calling him daddy.
Definitely out of the question!
Even though he was much older than the Little Monster, the Little Monster was independent now, so it was inappropriate for him to act as his daddy.
So he explained:[ The Little Monster doesn’t know who I am. I just told him I am an ordinary snake monster. Besides, he has formal employment and stable income despite just entering human society. It was not appropriate for me to adopt him.]
Seeing this message, his friends again flooded the group chat with many question marks.
[Kai Ming: So how old is your cub?]
[Tai Feng: A cub had a job in the human society?]
[Lu Wu: @Ying Qiao Are you sure he is just a cub?]
The wrinkles between his eyes deepened. He didn’t understand why they acted surprised. For an ancient high monster like him, who had lived for several thousand years, the Little Monster was just a cub for him.
[He is just a cub in my eyes. He is in his twenties in human age. Compared with my age, if he is not a cub, then what should I call him?]
[Tai Feng: I see.]
[Lu Wu: I see too.]
[Kai Ming: ??? What did you “see” exactly?]
Lu Wu snorted and typed fast: [Have you seen a cub who has a job in his twenties? I say he is not raising a cub. More likely, he is raising a lover. Haha.]
[Kai Ming: ????]
[Kai Ming: ……. It starts to make sense to me.]
[Kai Ming: @Ying Qiao Are you raising a cub or a lover? Let’s be clear about it. We would reserve our red packets for a later time TL’s note: For the marriage ceremony? if you are raising a lover.]
Looking at this outrageous group chat turning wild, he shook his dragon tail in anger. They were so unreliable! What filthy thoughts they had!
He just wanted to improve the quality of the Little Monster’s life. He acted purely out of his care for him as a senior would towards a junior. How come they talked about raising a lover?
Their minds were so filthy!
In his rage, his dragon tails appeared, flapping on the sofa. If Kai Ming and others were here, he would definitely knock the hell out of them to teach them a lesson!
Throwing the phone aside, Ying Qiao retracted his tail and started to pace back and forth irritably in the living room.
At this moment, his phone rang again with the familiar sound of a WeChat notification. Paused a second, he picked up the phone again.
[Cheng Hua: What did I miss?]
[Cheng Hua: @Kai Ming @Tai Feng @Lu Wu How could you think my boss is a filthy man?!]
[Cheng Hua: @Ying Qiao Boss, I missed the red packet(Cry Emoji)]
Considering that he just defended him in the group chat, Ying Qiao sent another red packet.
Cheng Hua immediately clicked to claim it. [Thank you, boss! It is easy to give money to the Little Monster without appearing so! Did you just plan to take on extra work in the future? Take him with you the next time you are on a mission and reward him with whatever bonus you think fit.]
[Kai Ming: Oh my! It is brilliant. @Ying Qiao please also take me with you on the next mission. I am perfectly fine with just half the bonus.]
[Tai Feng: @Ying Qiao your Little Monster works in the Bureau? You know, workplace romances are not encouraged these days.]
[Lu Wu: @Tai Feng Did you just forget your partner who also works in the Bureau? TL’s note: The Director of the Family Planning Committee who started all these, first appeared in Chapter 1 Do you feel ashamed when you say you don’t encourage office love? Double Standards! ]
Ying Qiao was still contemplating what Cheng Hua just said. Cheng Hua turned out to be more reliable than he thought. He can actually accomplish something.
He snorted and remorselessly gave them a tongue lashing: [ @Kai Ming @ Tai Feng @ Lu Wu The money I spent on you guys turned out to be wasted! What utter nonsense you guys said! @Cheng Hua I will send you a red packet in our private chat.]
Then he deactivated the group chat without a second thought.
Cheng Hua said in their private chat:[ Thank you, boss! I have the latest report on my hand, saying a young man went missing in Xun Yang Lake. A sighting of a mermaid was mentioned in the report. No one has claimed the case yet; do you need me to claim it for you?]
Ying Qiao was delighted and transferred a sum to him. [Yes.]
When he left the private chat with Cheng Hua, Ying Qiao discovered he was added to another group chat, which was started by Tai Feng. In this group chat, Cheng Hua was flaunting the screenshot of the red packet sum he received from him while others were flooding the chat with lemon emoji Means they are sour and jealous and @ Ying Qiao.
Ying Qiao sent a smile emoji and blocked this group chat.
The next day was Saturday. In the morning, Jiang Lan cooked a bountiful breakfast for his brothers with the food ingredients brought over by Uncle Gui.
He planned to take Jiao Tu out after breakfast to let him get familiar with the human society.
Jiao Tu was different from Suan Ni, who had regressed into a cub for some reason and could not transform into a human form. Jiao Tu could perfectly go back and forth between a human form and his original form. But he was timid and rarely left the ocean, so he seldom had the need to turn into a human and preferred to be left alone in his original form.
At this moment, he was content to stay in his aquarium.
Uncle Gui had thoughtfully placed the aquarium in the corner of the balcony, which receives much sunlight. When it is sunny, Jiao Tu could enjoy the sunlight while sterilizing the conch with the sunlight and admiring the beautiful gemstones.
When Jiang Lan came to ask him to have breakfast, Jiao Tu had crawled out of his conch and curled on the top of his conch to enjoy the sunlight. He placed his chin on a shining yellow gemstone with his milk-white jade-like tail dipped in the water, slowly swinging.
Jiang Lan leaned over the aquarium and poked his small head.” Little Nine, it is time for breakfast. We will go to a park after breakfast.”
Jiao Tu opened his eyes and rubbed his head against his finger. He said hesitantly.” We will go out?”
Jiang Lan was affirmative. With a soft look in his eyes, he pointed to a lake not far from their flat.” That lake is where we are going. It is not far and not crowded. If you like, you can even go into the lake.”
Jiao Tu looked thoughtful with his head tilting slightly, then he nodded. He said in a soft voice.” Ok.”
If left to himself, he would not go to any place crowded with people. But considering the fifth and eighth brothers were with him, he grew less afraid and was even looking forward to it.
“Then we have breakfast first.” Jiang Lan placed a towel and a set of clothing beside the aquarium.
The clothing was prepared by Uncle Gui. The two brother’s new clothing was the same except for the size.
Jiao Tu’s human form was a young man aged around eighteen.
He looked a little like Jiang Lan with round shining eyes. But his cheeks are more full, and he was a little shorter than Jiang Lan. With curly hair and milk-white skin, he looked a little plump.
Now with the twin clothing, there was no mistake that they were brothers.
Jiang Lan stroked his curly hair and passed him a spoon:” Anything you like.”
Jiao Tu grabbed the spoon in a way that seemed he had never used it before. Seeing Suan Ni sitting by his side, he greeted him.” Eighth brother.”
“Good Boy.” Suan Ni walked over and raised his paws, wanting to pat his head and act like his big brother. It turned out that he could barely reach his head, so he had to settle for patting his arms. He said to Jiao Tu with an authoritative voice.” If you want to eat anything, I will pick it up for you.”
In his original form, Suan Ni couldn’t use chopsticks, but fork and knife were his forte.
Jiao Tu scooped some rice with his spoon.” All right.”
|↑1||红包, also translated as Red Envelope. It’s a tradition where money is given to family and friends as a gift. WeChat has two types of “Red Packet.” One is a private chat red packet containing a fixed amount of credits sent from one user to another. Another is group red packets, which are posted to a group chat. The app system randomly assigns the amount in each packet to each recipient, who must click the “red packets” to ask the app system to start this random assignment. This group red packet has become a favorite pastime among friends and families in China. This randomness adds much flavor to this Chinese tradition. Ying Qiao used the first type to Cheng Hua in a private chat, and the second type in their group chat|
|↑2||the original text is 恭喜发财，大吉大利|
|↑3||TL’s note: For the marriage ceremony?|
|↑4||TL’s note: The Director of the Family Planning Committee who started all these, first appeared in Chapter 1|
|↑5||Means they are sour and jealous|