01 - Vicissitudes of an old dog
Hello, ShittyMTLer here, you can skip this orange bit if you want to jump straight into the chapters.
This is a modern fantasy with a lot of daoist-style magic, there will be a lot of long footnotes, you can mouseover or tap on any underlined section to read them. There is also a lot of old-fashioned things said as one of our main characters is a thousand year old demon I'll try to make them all English-y. I'm mentioning all of this at the start because I'm not fluent in Chinese, I MTL and use Baidu to make these so...I might make some errors in this one. If you find any, let me know~
Lastly, I'm going to vaguely assume most people have read some fantasy manga/chinese novels that involve Daoism. But if do want something noted just let me know, I'm not scary, just lazy.
Baiju squatted on the side of the road, squinting, his gaze fixed on the four-wheeled iron shell, not far from Juechen. His teeth felt a little itchy.
How dare they suffocate him.
But he had heard that this thing was called a car. A car was lifeless. It was a human who drove the cars and if he wanted to retaliate, he could only retaliate against humans.
The first rule in the Standard Code of Conduct for Demons and Ghosts in the Human World issued by the Bureau of Democracy was that you couldn't hurt humans at will, it was made by Baiju himself.
Haa, it's annoying.
He recalled that when he wrote this rule, horses on four hooves still ran on the roads. He couldn't hurt people, but it was okay to have a horse to relieve the hunger.
Baiju flicked his tail, stood up, and magnanimously decided not to mind these unruly humans.
He, Baiju, was a good demon. He didn't come down to cause trouble.
Licking his teeth, Baiju felt that he had better find the head of Loucheng General Administration to talk.
Hundreds of years ago, his residence was still a whole mountain, but now only a small piece of ground that held the enchantment where he'd slept was left. The rest of the mountain had become a tourist haven and one couldn't take a step without trodding on three people's heads.
As a guardian dog, he didn't like transforming. He used to act as a mountain god and gave shelter to the villagers when he was idle. He really didn't leave any shrines or anything, so he didn't even have a foothold left when he went down the mountain.
Holding the pet tag and dog leash that the little macaque gave him, Baiju kicked off and stomped along the road, following the spiritual guidance of the street to the Demon Management Bureau. He listened to everything around him along the way and heard many small clicking sounds, accompanied by a few little girls exclaiming in low voices:
"Ohmigawd, whose Samoyed is so big!"
"Ah, it's too good, walking by itself. My dog only destroys our house."
"Here! Woo woo oo, ah! It's a pity that dog has a master, otherwise I'd buy some dog food and abduct him home!"
"That white hair is so tempting, I really want to bury my head in it and take a breath..."
"...hey, look, is he looking at us?"
Baiju flicked his ears and looked away politely, thinking, this king wouldn't stare at your family's little girls for no reason, this king just saw his contact behind you.
The contact was the tea server Yu Le of the Demon Administration Bureau, who worked part-time as a masseur, street sweeper, and express delivery driver; the little macaque had showed Baiju a "photo" before. Baiju looked up at the tanned man behind the two little girls and secretly marvelled, the painters these days are so powerful, they could recreate a figure without fault...except he was a little lighter.
Yu Le excitedly looked at the big white dog turning around the corner of the street, feeling a little nervous.
He was under the Demon Management Bureau's special commission to receive a distinguished guest. He seemed to have a good temper. He was holding a lead and observing the traffic rules. He was courteous to pedestrians, and his whole demeanour was full of righteousness.
To be real, since he'd woken up, he hadn't seen any little villagers in the mountains, and it was really the first time he'd seen such a sight.
Baiju sat down and straightened his back majestically.
Yu Le was worthy of his role of serving tea in the Demon Administration Bureau for the last few years. As soon as he saw Baiju's action, he immediately ran over and kneeled in front of Bai Ju and smiled with a mouthful of white teeth, "Well met! White King, I am Yu Le sent by the Demon Management Bureau to take care of you. You can call me Xiao Yu!"
After he said this, Yu Le held out his right hand.
Baiju lowered his eyes: ….
In human etiquette this was probably called a handshake.
Baiju held up his right front paw and placed it on Yu Le's palm, stepped on it slightly, and then retracted it.
Yu Le was almost stunned by Baiju's kingly temperament from his majestic white hair.
The little girls who secretly photographed Baiju on the street almost fainted.
This cutie! He! Greeted! Shakes hands! ! !
It wasn't a limp handshake with his paw in the palm of your hand, he stepped on his hand with such restraint!
It was as if those two paws had stomped on their hearts. They squeezed each other's hands, screamed and jumped silently with their mouths open.
Baiju felt that the fur all over his body was tight.
He moved his ears vigilantly, the corners of his eyes swept across the streets and alleys. With a low growl in his throat, a calm voice reached Yu Le’s ears, “It’s not good to stay here. Take this king to the Demon Management Bureau."
Yu Le regained his senses, cleaned up his expression, stood up doggedly, and symbolically held the lead around Baiju's neck.
Although he didn't understand what the boss had discovered or why he was anxious to leave, as he had spoken, Yu Le chose to execute the order without saying a word.
These big demons that could sleep for hundreds of years without stirring weren't good-tempered by nature; although the white king was known for his reputation, he wasn't necessarily a gentle character.
Baiju sat in a car like the ones he had seen before, and was very satisfied with the soft cushion under him; his tight nerves also relaxed slightly.
Humans now were weird.
He just acted according to the human rules explained to him by the little macaque. Crossing the road and shaking hands were all very common things, why were there always lingering sights locked on him? Especially after he shook hands with Xiao Yu, he could feel the gazes that he'd observed before become more and more hot, and there were obvious mental fluctuations in the air.
Baiju's spiritual pressure was a little bit heavy.
He didn't notice any malice, but this kind of mental fluctuations made him find it difficult to adapt.
Humans in the past weren't like this...they tended to exude awe and pious spiritual fluctuations in front of him. Reserved, tactfully and humble, or hopeful and longing, or even greed. They were not as straightforward and enthusiastic as they were now, making shows of love in the street, it made people feel uncomfortable.
Baiju put his chin on his front paws, feeling the slight vibrations of the car, and slightly lowered his eyelashes, a trace of blood ran through his dark pupils.
Before he'd fallen asleep, he had been a small but famous demon king.
As a demon king, he naturally knew how to fight, but he also had an ability that most other demons didn’t. He could listen to other's hearts.
This ability wasn't something he'd had at the beginning, but after he started sheltering villagers and listening to their prayers, the ability that gradually appeared. He seemed to be tacitly approved by the heavens to be a little wild god. After all, the low-key white king was only one step away from being a real god.
The ability to listen to hearts was originally used for listening to prayers, but now his followers were gone, and it didn't seem polite to pry into the hearts of ordinary people.
Baiju was a little bit distressed.
On the one hand, he wanted to know what modern people were thinking about. On the other hand, he considered himself a polite demon, listening to their hearts without authorization was like peeping at a young lady taking a bath. It was inconsistent with etiquette.
Otherwise, he could set some parameters for himself.
You can listen to hearts, but only to those of your relatives; and you can’t listen too much, the upper limit is once a day.
Baiju did a psychological review for himself, and finally felt a little more at ease.
Lifting his head, Baiju gradually closed his eyes and took a nap while looking at the rapidly retreating scenes outside the car window.
The scenery outside came into his mind little by little, and Baiju sniffed lightly, feeling a little lost.
The world was now in decline, it was no wonder that there were so few big demons like him. He could only be regarded as a demon king or a small mountain god. Now, there were almost none that could be compared to him in the entire country of China.
In this way, he inexplicably became a big brother. Baiju was a little legend, a little lonely, and a little bit of a threat.
It was very difficult to be a good king. The more little brothers you have, the more difficult they were to manage. Fighting and seeking prestige, and also helping to take care of the young. Baiju just imagined a future of fires and floods, and felt that his eyes were dark.
He hoped that the curator of the Demon Management Bureau would cooperate well with him, not like the former county officials, who talked to him all day long with official accents that he didn't understand.
The black humble car plunged into the traffic, shuttling through the streets and alleys of the city. It drove round and round to the ancient town of Luoshan to the outskirts of the city, and finally slowly stopped on the edge of an open bluestone ground.
Baiju lay down on the car seat calmly. Seeing Yu Le opened the door for him, he raised his eyelids, nodded slightly, and jumped out of the car lightly.
His paw stepped on the wet and cool bluestone ground. The air here was hundreds of times cooler than in the city and poured into his nasal cavity. Baiju couldn't help but lift his head and take a deep breath.
This ancient town was a heritage protected area. A barrier was set up in a hidden 'dead end' in the middle. The car had to cross the barrier to arrive at the mansion where the Demon Management Bureau was located.
After all, there were still many demons living in the mansion, and there were also many spiritual items hidden inside. Although the area couldn’t compare to the secret realm where Baiju slept, it was still very finely crafted.
While Yu Le introduced the various facilities in the mansion to Baiju, and led him through the front courtyard, past the stone bridge on the Yunze Lake, and towards the villa area on the hill.
The hillside where the villa area was located wasn’t high, and Baiju and Yu Le weren’t walking slowly. Yu Le didn’t speak much and they soon arrived at the door of Curator Xiao's villa.
Baiju looked up at the brass sign at the door, it had a small seal engraved on it:
Hall 1 · Curator Xiao Yao
Yu Le took two steps back, and said, "...I don't have permission to enter the curator’s villa. The pet tag on your body is the key to unlock the door, and only you have the permission to use it. Curator Xiao will be back at about eight o'clock in the evening. You can go into the house and rest. If you have any needs, you can tell me now, or you can tell the housekeeper demons in the mansion through fúlù. We will deliver anything you need.”
Baiju sniffed the air coming out of the door, and it was gentle and clear, which unexpectedly made him feel quite comfortable.
"No, you go back. This king will just go in and wait." Baiju turned his head back and spoke telepathically, then watched Yu Le turn around and walk away, then he straightened up with a kick of his legs and put the pet tag hanging on his neck to the doorknob. The door in front of him opened with a beep.
A new invention.
The current world’s technology was really convenient.
Baiju slowly walked into the house. He stood at the entrance, looking at the furnishings in the room. Then continued to stand there politely.
After all, this was someone else's house. Although he was invited to live here, he was still a foreigner. It would be better not to disturb the host's things without permission.
Baiju stood there for a while, then turned around, and lay down facing the hallway.
Slowly closing his eyes, he took a nap, deciding to lie down here and wait for Curator Xiao Yao to return home.
After Xiao Yao had gone through all the relevant procedures for a Demon King coming down from the mountains, it was already 7 o’clock in the evening. He returned from the capital with Baiju's identity certificate and many other documents, looking a little dishevelled.
On the way back, he went by the front hall to check the recent acquisition records. Xiao Yao carried a few documents back to the door of his villa, stretched out his hand to open the familiar door, but paused slightly when he entered the house.
At 8 o'clock in the evening, at the entrance of his home, under the warm yellow light, lay a majestic white dog. It raised its black eyes and looked at him intently.
Xiao Yao: …...
Xiao Yao slowly removed the palm of his hand from the doorknob, the tone of his voice followed two beats slower, "...White King, an honour to meet you, call me Xiao Yao, I am your temporary warden."
Baiju shook his fur, stood up, leaned forward and sniffed Xiao Yao's waist, making note of his scent. His low voice sounded in Xiao Yao's mind without warning, "I know."
A ward, a human being who needs to be supervised and protected by this king.
Baiju nodded affirmatively in secret.
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Soooo many notes, here's another: Baiju actually speaks/thinks with a southern Chinese accent, he uses Cantonese (I think??? The Baidu page had some people say Cantonese and some say Hokkien) slang sometimes, although he is usually very 'refined' when he speaks. It's a bit impossible for me to recreate this in English but just a fun fact. I believe it's to either make him sound more ancient or more country bumpkin-y.