Ning Chu looked down and held his forehead, so Bly was concerned, “What’s wrong? Are you not feeling well?”
“No,” Ning Chu tried his best to calm down and shook his head, “I’m fine.”
Except for the Fifth Cub’s “Dead” status, all the other rare dragons and Cubbie’s locations were unknown. They weren’t on Dragon Island. There were also some common dragons of various species, most of them juveniles, and looking at their age, they shouldn’t be the first batch raised by Ning Chu.
The mall wasn’t unlocked, and Ning Chu had no way to buy supplies to put on the island. The only comfort was that all the dragons had good statuses and normal life characteristics.
As for Third Cub…
The restlessness indicated that he wasn’t in a good mood or was under the influence of something. Ning Chu recalled his back when he left and wasn’t sure if it was because of him.
If they parted again, he didn’t know when he could find San San again. It was even less clear what the situation would be when he returned to school, where he had a new identity and needed to adapt as soon as possible.
Ning Chu moved his eyes to the last compartment of his profile card, where Cubbie’s status was. No matter what, he was the most mysterious one.
Suddenly Ning Chu froze, realizing a problem. Five magic dragons correspond to five rare dragons, so what about Cubbie?
Ning Chu asked Bly without moving, “Are there only five magic dragons in total? I heard someone say… there’s also a black one?”
“Black magic dragon?” Bly shook his head, “I don’t know.”
Ning Chu was disappointed, “Oh…”
“But…” Bly thought carefully, “Rumor has it that there’s a dragon king in the dragon clan. It’s a god-like existence in the dragon race, and magic dragons were created by it. It’s the most mysterious, no one has ever seen its appearance, or…” Bly shrugged, “those who have seen it are dead.”
“…” Ning Chu, who had personally hatched the five rare dragons, opened his mouth, unsure whether the dragon king Bly was referring to was Cubbie, or the demonized him. Not being able to get any useful information, Ning Chu had to continue to reassure himself that Cubbie’s status was also good, and there was always a chance to find him.
He opened《Dragon Island》again, and the system prompt of whether to resurrect Fifth Cub was still there in the game interface, folded up and lying quietly in the upper left corner, waiting for Ning Chu to make a decision.
Five purple gold coins were exchanged for ten game coins, and eight were used to unlock the profile card, plus with the original two left, Ning Chu’s balance still had four coins. Other features couldn’t be unlocked, and to revive the dead dragon, five hundred more coins were needed.
In the past, Ning Chu would have recharged directly with kryptonite, but he didn’t have a phone here and had to find another way to get enough money. He didn’t know where to go to get the other dragon cubs back, and the only thing he could do now was to resurrect Fifth Cub.
Ning Chu checked the data card several times along the way, until Third Cub’s status finally returned to【Good】.
Ning Chu saw the whole process with mixed emotions, but also very heartbroken.
Among the five rare dragons he had, First Cub was the gentle and stable sister, Second Cub was like a husky dog running around all day, and Third Cub was more like the boss among them. The other dragon cubs brought food to honor the little black dragon, also following Third Cub’s example.
It usually looked awesome in front of the little dragon cubs, only Ning Chu, who always opened the data card status, knew that his actual mood was unpredictable and sensitive. Even though he had grown up, he seemed to be the same as before.
Ning Chu recalled the old days of raising dragons, feeling both nostalgic and inevitably depressed. He walked with his head hanging, but Bly was unaware of it, and while they were walking, he told him some interesting stories about the mercenary group, so Ning Chu occasionally echoed a few “Mn.”s.
They were on the outskirts of the forest, and there were a number of low-level wild beasts in the forest, which Bly alone was able to tackle, and helped Ning Chu find the third Soul Rejuvenating Grass. The two of them relied on the meat of the beasts to keep them going. Seeing Ning Chu’s hands and knees making fire and roasting the meat, Bly made a face for the first time, “How did you dare come to Enigma Forest alone like this?”
Ning Chu was embarrassed and stammered, “I… I thought…”
“Forget it, I’ll do it.” Bly reached out to take the branch and skewered the meat, “We have to speed up this afternoon. The Scarlet Flame Dragon was seen more frequently in Enigma Forest, so we have to go back and inform everyone.”
The woods were the main area for the mercenary group to capture the dragons, and if anyone continued to bring their team in without knowing, they would only end up in the same situation as his team.
Out of the forest, Bly hailed a magical beast carrier to take Ning Chu to the entrance of Lance Academy before it got dark. The Academy was located in the suburbs, about twenty minutes from Enigma Forest, and was sparsely populated.
Ning Chu was curious and took a look at it. Bly had something to do, so he dropped Ning Chu off and left. There were a few students coming and going at the entrance of the school, wearing the same style of clothes as Ning Chu’s, but in different colors.
Ning Chu stepped into the school and was wondering if he should find someone to ask for directions when a man, also wearing a silver and gray uniform, approached him with an anxious look on his face.
“Hugh! You’re finally back!” The man, a slightly shorter boy around Ning Chu’s age with rimless glasses, said worriedly, “Did you really go to Enigma Forest? You didn’t come back to the dorm last night, and I just heard that…”
“Yes,” Ning Chu replied honestly, unsure of the situation, “I just got back.”
The small man looked around him nervously and saw that he was fine and not hurt anywhere, but only slightly tired, then he sighed with relief and nodded, “Go back first, I have left you dinner.”
Ning Chu happened to have not eaten dinner yet, and followed him, “Thanks.”
The little man looked back at him with some surprise and Ning Chu asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” the little man shook his head, “it’s just that… I feel like you’re a little different today.”
“Is that so?” Ning Chu took the opportunity to find an excuse, “Actually, I… I had an accident in Enigma Forest, and I don’t remember a lot of things.”
“Amnesia?” The small man’s eyes widened, “What happened?”
Ning Chu told him about his encounter with Bly’s team, leaving out most of the details. He was a little embarrassed, “I was so excited to see a dragon that I just…”
This was a slightly clumsy excuse, but the small man had a look of “You’re really something”, sighing and patting Ning Chu’s shoulder, “Why did you believe those people and take the second level assignment?”
Ning Chu claimed to have lost his memory, so the small man didn’t suspect anything, and told him on the way what had happened before, to see if he could remember anything.
His name was Bowen, a classmate and roommate of the original, and the two lived in the same dormitory and usually had a good relationship. From Bowen, Ning Chu learned that ‘he’ was a poor, introverted and timid first-year magic student with low innate skills.
When Ning Chu’s magic innate skill was mentioned, Bowen spoke of it in a euphemistic way, but Ning Chu could see from the expression on his face that he should be in the bottom category. So he, too, was the favorite target of some students to bully.
When in contact with Bly’s squad, Ning Chu vaguely sensed that this world seemed to revere absolute strength. Bly was the captain, but also the highest skilled in the team, so no one dared to disobey his orders, even if it wasn’t always the right thing to do.
Just a few days ago, some students in the class, who often teased Ning Chu, said that they would be willing to tell him a trick to improve magic quickly if Ning Chu would take a secondary assignment and complete it successfully.
This seemed to be a lie, but Ning Chu, perhaps too eager to improve his strength, nodded his head and agreed.
A few students ‘kindly’ accompanied Ning Chu to pick up the assignment, then took him straight to the entrance of Enigma Forest, and left Ning Chu alone before returning.
Bowen didn’t see Ning Chu at night, and only learned the news from other students. His innate skill was actually not high, so even though he was anxious, he couldn’t afford to look for Ning Chu. If Ning Chu didn’t come back tonight, he would’ve to report it to his teacher.
Bowen was very concerned, “Those people are so bold, they can really do anything. Aren’t they afraid of making a mess…”
Ning Chu’s face became more and more sullen as he reassured Bowen, “It’s okay, I’m not hurt, and I’ve found all the Soul Rejuvenating Grass.”
Bowen was surprised, “Really?”
Ning Chu took out the Soul Rejuvenating Grasses from his pocket and showed them to him. The three Soul Rejuvenating Grasses were lying intact on the broad leaves, the leaves were a little wilted after so long, but it didn’t affect the commission reward.
“That’s great!” Bowen’s eyes glowed, “The reward of a second level of commissioning can be quite a lot of money. Let’s go back to eat first, and then go to the Crow Market later to settle the accounts.”
Ning Chu said curiously, “What’s Crow Market?”
“You don’t even remember that?” Bowen told him that the Crow Market was next to the Academy and belonged to the Lance Academy students’ market. It was a place to receive commissions, buy and exchange supplies, and provide a place for students to compete with each other.
Ning Chu was intrigued to hear that the marketplace was a place where he could earn money.
When the two of them returned to the dormitory, the two meals that Bowen had brought back from the cafeteria in the evening were still warm. The dormitory building at Lance Academy was in good condition, with two students in a dormitory room. The rooms were spacious and airy, and it had almost all the essential furniture.
Ning Chu went to the bathroom after dinner, took a shower, changed into a clean school uniform, and left the school with Bowen. Crow Market was brightly lit and more people were inside than when Ning Chu first came back, and there were all young faces as far as the eye could see.
Bowen led Ning Chu inside and found the place where the commission was dealt with. Ning Chu took out his commission card and Soul Rejuvenating Grasses, and asked the commissioner to confirm them.
The man finished checking, raised his eyes to Ning Chu’s face and nodded, “Okay.”
He signed the assignment card and took out three gold coins from the counter and gave them to Ning Chu. Ning Chu took the gold coins and charged them to the game at the first opportunity.
One gold coin could only be exchanged for one credit. After recharging, Ning Chu currently had a balance of five coins and six were needed to unlock the map function.
The map would show all of Dragon Island, including the wasteland, the woods, and he could directly select an area to operate and build on. If he couldn’t unlock the mall, it was okay to look at the map and cut down trees.
Ning Chu turned his head and asked Bowen, “Do you have any money on you? I’d like to borrow a gold coin and return it to you in a few days…”
The marketplace was too noisy, so Bowen didn’t hear him, straining his ears before asking loudly, “What?”
At this time the noisy crowd in front became more excited, a burst of cheering climbing higher and higher, as if something amazing had happened. Bowen stood on his toes and looked over in the direction of the arena. He suddenly drew in a breath and grabbed Ning Chu’s arm, his eyes glowing, “Ah, it’s Wuuth!”
Before Ning Chu could react, he was pulled by Bowen and pushed his way into the crowd.
“He’s in today’s competition!” Bowen spoke fast and was so excited that his face glowed red, “Do you remember him? The number one genius of the magic department! Lance Academy’s school grass!” 1
Ning Chu was still thinking about the missing credits and nodded perfunctorily, “Yeah, yeah…”
The arena was built in the middle of Crow Market, like a huge stadium set into the ground, surrounded by viewing platforms already filled with people. It was so spectacular that Ning Chu even wondered if the whole school was here as he struggled to follow Bowen through the crowd.
Bowen led him to a round table and fished out some gold coins from his coat pocket, “Come on, bet on Wuuth!”
There were two transparent boxes on the round table, and the arena staff was taking care of the registration. The box with the name “Wuuth” was soon half filled, while the other box was empty.
Ning Chu guessed that this should be a place to place bets on who would win the match. He touched his pockets, a little embarrassed.
Seeing that he wasn’t moving, Bowen urged, “Come on, Wuuth won’t lose!”
Ning Chu said calmly, “I… I’ve lost the money.”
The three gold coins for the settlement were put into Ning Chu’s hand not long ago, and now that he said he lost them, the corners of Bowen’s mouth twitched, “You…”
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There were too many people tonight, so it was impossible to go back and find it. Bowen looked down, took three gold coins from his hand and gave them to Ning Chu, “I’ll lend them to you first, so return them to me when you win.”
To everyone, the matchup seemed almost a sure win for one side, and everyone bet on Wuuth, resulting in low odds.
But to make a little bit of money, Ning Chu grabbed three gold coins and dropped them into Wuuth’s box. There were no seats left on the viewing platform, so the two of them had to squeeze in on the outside, and while waiting for the duel to begin, Bowen explained to Ning Chu about the arena and standings in Crow Market.
Dueling was common among students, from verbal battles to the establishment of the Crow Market, which provided a place for dueling so that students wouldn’t fight and damage Academy facilities.
Over time, a leaderboard was created to count the number of wins and losses of all students who participated in the duel. The more they won, the higher their points were.
When the leaderboard came out, it was like an honor roll among students, and more people jumped at the chance to prove themselves by trying to challenge those who ranked high on the leaderboard. As more people watched, people began to place bets on who would win.
Now, in addition to actively choosing people to challenge, Crow Market also randomly drew two people on the list to fight against each other every day, and the winner got points and a substantial amount of money, while points were deducted for defeat or abstention.
When Ning Chu heard that money could be earned, his eyes brightened for a moment, but then quickly darkened. In his case, he would only lose if he went on the field.
Bowen was still talking to Ning Chu with great interest, “Wuuth is the undefeated god of the scoreboard! Do you know what his contracted beast is? A dragon!”
Ning Chu turned his head in surprise, “A dragon?”
“Ahem,” Bowen rubbed the tip of his nose, “A sub-dragon.” He didn’t forget to emphasize, “Sub-dragons are great too! No one in the Academy has ever tamed a dragon!”
As they spoke, the two men involved in the battle entered.
The cheering reached its peak, and Ning Chu covered his ears and looked down through the gap in the crowd. It was too far away, so he could only see two figures, one dressed in a light blue school uniform and the other in black, standing in their respective positions.
The staff let the two shake hands and bow to each other, and then the battle officially began. Both sides’ contracted beasts were released first, and there was another cheer from the stands as the gray-brown dragon appeared on the field.
The one in black was the Wuuth that Bowen was talking about. Ning Chu looked puzzled when he saw the contracted beast beside him, “Huh?”
Why did he think this sub-dragon looked familiar… It seemed to be a kind of ordinary dragon.
Ning Chu wasn’t sure if he was mistaken, so he opened《Dragon Island》and searched through the catalogs one by one. Ning Chu was dazzled by a bunch of pictures of common dragons, and after going through most of them, he saw a familiar grayish-brown one.
At that moment, Wuuth stepped on the back of the dragon and flew up into the sky, so Ning Chu took the opportunity to compare it with the picture in the catalog.
——It was exactly the same.
Dwarf Dragons, as their name suggested, had short and thick hind legs, its front paws were retracted under their abdomen, and had a hard back armor extending from its spine to its tail tip, specializing in short-distance sprinting.
Looking at its appearance alone, people who didn’t know it well might really think it was a sub-dragon. While Ning Chu was comparing the illustrations, the battle was over quickly, and the winner was Wuuth.
Bowen was excited to take Ning Chu to collect his money, while Ning Chu glanced sideways in Wuuth’s direction and gave him a few more looks. The black-haired boy put away the contracted beast and left indifferently, oblivious to everything outside the field.
The three gold coins that were bet on were returned, and only two more were added as a reward for winning the bet.
Ning Chu returned the three gold coins to Bowen, and the remaining one was charged into the game, while the other was kept on his person for backup.
When they returned to the dormitory, it was already late, and they had a theory class the next morning. Ning Chu lay down on his bed and opened《Dragon Island》. The map was already unlocked, and from the overall view, the island was covered by a large area of green.
The darker the color, the more vegetation there was, and the once well established residential areas were also green. Ning Chu tried to enter the area in the map and found that his original in-game character was gone, but he could still operate the tools to cut the trees, but he couldn’t see his character. He followed the approximate directions shown on the profile card and found sleeping common dragon cubs in a few caves.
They were clinging to each other, lying on the ground with a thin layer of hay, not even aware of Ning Chu’s arrival.
Ning Chu wanted to reach out and touch them, but there was no prompt for him to do any interactive action. He left the cave and found the playground again in the back of the hill that was repaired before his transmigration. The inside and the surrounding of the playground had been covered by thick bushes, the freshly painted brand new dragon climbing frame’s paint was chipped, so Ning Chu carefully selected redwood and angled, but it looked unbearably desolate.
He sighed, cleared the playground of weeds, and went back to the residential area to cut down trees.
After transmigrating, time in the game seemed to become synchronized with reality. Ning Chu worked until the latter part of the night, and then went hunting to catch some rabbits and put them at the entrance of the cave together with some soft fresh grass and leaves.
After doing all this, Ning Chu went offline to sleep.
After he left, a shadow appeared over Dragon Island. The shadow flew down through the clouds and a giant dragon stopped outside the cave.
It was smooth and fit, covered with mostly purple scales that glowed softly in the moonlight, with some silvery-white scales falling on its side and the ends of its wings, short horns on either side of its forehead, and one of the longest ones growing on its brow, with its sharp tip upward. The purple dragon saw the hay and rabbit meat at the entrance of the cave, and the outer area that had obviously been cleared, and a puzzled look appeared in its eyes.
The next morning, Bowen opened his eyes in a daze and saw Ning Chu already up and sitting on the edge of his bed, staring. Ning Chu had just looked through his belongings, but didn’t find a single penny except for his school uniform and some books.
Seeing Bowen wake up, Ning Chu asked him, “Bowen, I want to make money. Is there a quick way?”
Bowen yawned, “Commission and the arena.”
In the Academy, they could only rely on these two ways to earn money.
Bowen sat up slowly to get his jacket, “Those aren’t easy… What are you going to make money for?”
Ning Chu was silent for a moment and replied vaguely, “Nothing, I was just asking.”
The two of them went to the cafeteria for breakfast and then went to class together in the school building. The academy provided food and housing, so Ning Chu didn’t have to worry about eating. When they arrived at the classroom, there were very few people inside, and the classroom wasn’t full until the bell rang.
The teacher in charge of the lecture walked in, scanned the room and opened the textbook.
Bowen, who sat next to Ning Chu, leaned closer and whispered, “Many people don’t like theory classes… They have enough credits for the practical classes.”
The implication was that only losers like them needed to take theory classes. Ning Chu flipped through the textbook and found the schedule of the classes. This was the only class for the whole day, and the rest of the day was up to the students to make their own arrangements, to get their questions answered by the teacher or to practice magic on their own.
Ning Chu stared at his textbook, intending to make a trip to Crow Market.
In the afternoon, Bowen took a nap in the dormitory, and Ning Chu left quietly, returning to the Crow Market office alone.
Ning Chu stood in front of the desk and asked, “Do you have an assignment for a first year?”
The same person as yesterday took out a booklet full of cards, “Find one yourself.”
Ning Chu looked through the cards and saw a card with “Enigma Forest” written on it.
“Level 1 assignment: 30 pieces of Flocculent Fruits. Location: outskirts of Enigma Forest. Reward: one gold coin.”
The outskirts of Enigma Forest were generally not infested with magical beasts, and were safer than when Ning Chu had last been there. He drew the card out, “This one…”
The staff took a glance, “The price of this one has gone up, thirty for two gold coins.”
Ning Chu’s eyes suddenly lit up, when he heard the clerk go on, “Recently there’s a magic dragon in Enigma Forest, so no one’s willing to take the orders there… You can go if you’re not afraid to die.”
“I’ll take this one,” Ning Chu said as he signed the card with a pen, “If I’m lucky, I won’t run into it.”
He said this, but he was actually thinking the opposite. Ning Chu didn’t have a contracted beast, and it would take him a long time to walk to Enigma Forest. He was torn for a while, and finally paid a bronze coin to take the beast cart.
When the driver stopped a short distance away from the forest, Ning Chu had to get out and walk alone. He had made some preparations before he came, carrying a small knife he found from his dormitory and urgently reading half a magic book, although he didn’t understand anything.
Ning Chu just walked two steps into the woods and saw a fruit tree. He took out the cloth bag he had prepared in advance and looked around while picking the fruit. The surrounding area was quiet, with the occasional passing birds and insects, or the sound of leaves being blown by the wind.
Ning Chu finished collecting the fruit from the tree and called out into the air, “San San.”
He knew that he probably wasn’t around and couldn’t hear him. Since no one was nearby, Ning Chu simply raised his voice and shouted, “Old San San! Are you still there?”
The sparrows in the forest were scared away by Ning Chu, and the wind was still blowing, but no dragon answered Ning Chu. He didn’t dare to go deeper for fear of disturbing the magical beasts in the forest, and only shouted a few times while picking fruits. He felt like the master who kept calling his dog home for dinner, but he didn’t know if Third Cub remembered him or not.
After picking thirty fruits, Ning Chu stood there for a while, holding the bag.
If he didn’t find him today, he would come back another time, there was always a chance. Ning Chu was about to turn back along the road, when suddenly a shadow was cast under his feet.
A hot wind blew by, a heavy exhale slowly approached behind him, and the sound of a branch being crushed was heard at the same time. Ning Chu turned around and his eyes widened in disbelief.
The red dragon retracted its wings, its huge body huddled in the woods, its black eyes gazing coldly at Ning Chu.
Ning Chu put down the Flocculent Fruit in his arms and tried to approach, “Third Cub, it’s me, I’m dad.” His tone was sour, “Do you still remember me? I had an accident that day, I didn’t mean to not come back,” Ning Chu became a bit incoherent at this point, “I built the playground at the bottom of the mountain, did you see it? I transmigrated the day I first saw you…”
At the mention of the playground, Third Cub’s tail twitched slightly. He ducked his head close to Ning Chu and sniffed at him. The proximity of such a huge dragon was so powerful that Ning Chu’s heart beat wildly and he reached out to touch the tip of its nose.
However, before he could actually touch its scales, it suddenly backed away. Third Cub straightened its back and glanced into the distance. It looked back at Ning Chu again, and then moved to fly away.
The hot wind blew Ning Chu’s eyes, so he raised his hand to block it and asked with difficulty, “Where are you going?”
By the time he tried to chase after him, Third Cub’s figure had already disappeared.
Ning Chu was lost and confused, so he opened the game to check Third Cub’s current status.
In the blink of an eye, the status bar changed from ‘apprehensive’ to ‘excited.’
With such an emotional reaction, it should have recognized him… but why did it leave again? Ning Chu stayed in the same place for a while, but didn’t wait for Third Cub to return, seeing that it was getting dark, he took one step and left the forest.
After leaving Ning Chu, Third Cub flew deep into the forest and arrived at a lake. There was another man by the lake, dressed in a black robe, sitting on a rock sharpening his sword, a gray-brown dragon lying quietly at his feet.
The red dragon slowly dropped down, and Wuuth blew on his sharpened silver blade and looked up at it, “Why are you so late?”