40 - Are you willing?
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40 - Are you willing?

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The morning sun penetrated through the gaps in the curtains and fell on the light gray bedding in the bedroom, outlining two bumps where the bodies cuddled closely.

When Xiao Yao opened his eyes in a daze, he noticed that the old white dog next to him this morning was in a different state than before.

Before, the old white dog would also watch him get up, but his gaze was generally quite gentle, not as inexplicably existential as it was today.

Xiao Yao raised his hand and rubbed the corner of his eyes. The arm behind his back was stiff, and patted his back comfortably.
Baiju recovered from his daze, narrowed his eyes, and coaxed in a low voice, "It's still early, stay in bed..."

Xiao Yao blinked twice, stretched out his arms relaxedly and hugged Baiju, rubbing the side of his face against his chest lightly, "Nah... I won't sleep anymore. I'll have something to eat later. Let's go to the beach early and get a good seat."

Baiju still seemed to be a little distracted, his arms moved naturally, and after a few strokes on Xiao Yao’s back, he regained his soul, "...ah, okay, let's get up."

Xiao Yao lifted his face from Baiju's chest and looked at Baiju's throat, waiting for the old dog to let him get out of bed.

Baiju was stunned again. He clearly said "yes" with his mouth, but in fact, after patting Xiao Yao a few times, the old dog took the person in his arms again.

Xiao Yao, "..."
Xiao Yao waited for a while, raised his hand and patted the old dog on the back with a smile, reminding him, "Ge, Bai’ge, get up."

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh..." The old white dog shook his body and was called back to the world by Xiao Yao calling him ‘ge’. The "warden" entry that ran around in his head for the whole night was considered to be temporarily put to rest.

After a while, Xiao Yao was brushing his teeth in the bathroom, across the frosted glass between the bedroom and the bathroom. He looked up and saw that Baiju had made up the bed and stood there in a daze. He shook his head helplessly.
After washing, Xiao Yao opened the bathroom door and walked to the closet to fetch clothes and asked the old white dog, "Bai’ge, what are you thinking about this early? Did you sleep at night?"

Baiju turned his head and looked at his relaxed little warden. The problem that he hadn't figured out all night came out of his mouth, "Yao Yao, tell me, what do the people in your bureau think...calling me down the mountain and wanting to give me a father."
The old white dog was puzzled, "Do you really want to be my father?"

Xiao Yao grabbed the handle of the closet door, moved for a while, and then let out a chuckle, "I see what's going on...Bai’ge, did you search the meaning of warden?"

Baiju touched his nose and nodded a little embarrassed. The explanation in the entry was a bit confusing, and Baiju didn't understand it very clearly, but he still understood that a warden was generally a role held by parents, grandparents or other elders.

Xiao Yao took two sets of clothes out, then turned his hands to close the closet, glanced at Baiju with a smile, and threw the clothes over, "That's just a legal interpretation. I guess the words are used like that too. You don’t need to understand it...Change your clothes and prepare to go out first."

Xiao Yao spoke, walking to the dressing room with his own clothes, then explained to Baiju through the door, "The Demon Management Bureau hired you down from the mountain. Naturally, there will be some control measures. I’m just responsible for supervising you in the world, your behaviour and education as appropriate. My responsibilities are quite different from wardens in the strict sense. However, in this case, it’s difficult to express the relationship between me and you. After all, when you live together, it’s difficult to define it with a profession... The Demon King and his warden is almost the most appropriate expression."

Although Xiao Yao once joked that Baiju should call him daddy, he was just playing with the old dog. Now that Baiju has begun to wonder what "warden" means, he wanted to explain it seriously.

But Baiju still felt awkward.

At the beginning, he thought that a warden was a human being who needed his supervision and protection. So he gained a sense of mission and responsibility, and it also triggered his initial attention and love for this human being; after all, the old white dog who wanted to take care of others suddenly learnt that there was a human who needed his care. It feels like a big pie falling from the sky, and the little things he wanted most were wrapped inside.

Later, as he got along with Xiao Yao, Baiju was even more satisfied with this little warden.

He was good-looking, well-behaved, could cook, loved to act like a baby, and occasionally was a little unpredictable, but that didn’t affect the old white dog’s ability to make appropriate judgments about his character. Even if they had some generation gaps due to the different ages of their lives (deeper than the Mariana Trench), Baiju himself felt that after taking some courses, there was no longer a communication barrier.

The time passed was neither short nor long, and good days were always particularly easy to adapt to. The old white dog accepted this human from the bottom of his heart, put him under his protection, and regarded the "little warden" as very, very special. So very, very special that he was appropriate to be placed on the apex of his heart...
At this moment, he suddenly told him that "warden" wasn’t a very special word, and was far from his initial understanding. The old white dog felt very resistant to the change in his heart.

That's why he stayed up all night, staring at Xiao Yao's sleeping face from his hair to the tip of his eyelashes.

Such a well-behaved, silly young man, how could he not be his exclusive, and closest person.

The old white dog sullenly and slowly changed into a floral shirt and relaxed pants, his Samoyed pyjamas specially bought by his little warden hung in his arms, and he sighed.

So depressing.
In this case, what reason should he find to keep the young human being in his den?

Baiju wandered through the clouds, and the whole dog looked embarrassing; half of his pyjamas were pulled away, but he still grabbed a sleeve and didn't let go.

"..." Xiao Yao shook his pyjamas, "Bai’ge, the clothes are going to be torn."

Baiju looked at Xiao Yao weakly, curled his lips, and let go.

Xiao Yao raised his eyebrows, folded the clothes on the bedside table, then turned around and took Baiju to sit on the sofa in the bedroom, rubbing the dog's head, "Okay, Bai’ge... explain, what's wrong? Don't hold back any thoughts."

Baiju thought for a while, pressed his little warden's hand on top of his head and rubbed it twice.

"Um... Yao Yao," Baiju considered his words, leaning against Xiao Yao, "Will you always be my warden?"

Xiao Yao was a little surprised and said truthfully, "It stands to reason that I won't always be your warden. Let's put it this way, our bureau decided to let me be your warden because, in reality, they still don't trust you in some ways. Since this is the case, their evaluation of you will continue for a period of time, and we will also hold meetings from time to time. When you get more than 80% of the votes in a meeting, you’ll be completely independent and I will step down as a warden."

Hearing this, the old dog frowned, with a very difficult look, and inhaled a little, “Sii…"

Baiju held Xiao Yao's suspicious gaze and touched his chin to ponder.
That was not okay. For now they still had a ward to warden relationship. After he passed this meeting, his Yao Yao would no longer be his warden, and the special bond between them would be gone.

The old white dog was quite confident that even without the bond of "warden", he and Xiao Yao wouldn’t become strangers. But the old white dog still desperately wanted a status, an official bond recognised by human society. A seal of relationship certification. As if this way he had the confidence to lead Xiao Yao and say, this is Yao Yao, it is my xxxx.

"Yao Yao, when we go back to the mainland, I’ll take you somewhere." The old white dog’s brain wasn’t big enough, but after thinking about it, he thought of a safer way, "I’ll take you to see my mother-in-law, let’s get recognised as relatives, so even if you aren’t my warden in the future, we will be family members."

Xiao Yao gaped, "..."
This... Is this meeting the parents? Wait, no, this old dog's parents are still alive? ? ? Impossible!

Xiao Yao reached out and touched Baiju's forehead, "...that's not it, you don't have a fever."

Baiju felt confused by Xiao Yao’s reaction, but gave in a little bit later and took Xiao Yao’s hand off his head and held it in his palm and kneaded it, "What's the matter? Doesn’t it work like this anymore in the human world…...aren’t incense offerings and sacrifices to ancestors good?”
How else can I keep you by my side?

Xiao Yao couldn't connect to Baiju's brain circuit for a while. According to Baiju's own words, his parents should no longer be alive. What they could see would be nothing but the memory of Baiju's parents.
So Xiao Yao cautiously asked, "No...Bai’ge, your parents are no longer alive, and you suddenly take me to visit them, is it a bit annoying? And if you want to recognise someone as a relative,  don’t have to go there, it’s the same to tell it to their tablet."

In the era when the gods and demons were rampant, after the life of a demon ended their corpses were often destroyed for food, and some parts were refined into weapons by other demons or their descendants. Only the demon soul could be retained.

However, the demon tribe’s ancestor worshipping, soul-drawing and meditating, did nothing more than summon a memory. This memory was often left in the world by the deceased demon to protect their offspring and would gradually dissipate as the number of summons increases. It was considered a consumable item. .

Xiao Yao wasn’t uncomfortable. No matter what the purpose of the old dog was, his idea of seeing his parents was full of sincerity. However, in order to meet his parents, he would consume this memory slowly and Xiao Yao felt that it was too wasteful.

Baiju disagreed. Seeing that paying respects to relatives was still useful in the human world, he shook his head and explained to Xiao Yao earnestly, "It's not the same... the demon clan’s memory protects it’s descendants, in fact, it can be regarded as a kind of protection from heaven. If we just confess it to the tablet, the blessing cannot be given."

"Yao Yao," Baiju shook Xiao Yao's hand, lowered his eyes slightly, and his dark pupils looked into Xiao Yao's eyes for an instant, "I don't know how to add a more firmer relationship than  a warden...I hope you can leave me a place by your side in this lifetime, not only limited by the status of a ‘warden', but also not free of status and tacit understanding."

"I want to protect you, and I also want to divide the protection I have into half for you."

Baiju was a little nervous, his palm was slightly moist, and his throat was a bit dry, "Yao Yao...on the mainland, there is a gorge between the glaciers in the northwest."

"My parents...I was by their side when they left." Baiju swallowed and tried to find a simple way of explaining, going straight to the point, "Their flesh and blood have disappeared, but the bones haven’t been damaged, they were buried in the canyon. My father said that if I find someone and want to give him shelter, then I can pick a canine tooth and make him an amulet.

"Yao Yao, are you willing to accept this amulet?"

Baiju looked at Xiao Yao steadily, very nervous.

Human beings had to pay for the shelter of demons, even if the demon was voluntary, and this kind of shelter held great weight. If the sheltered humans tried to reject the shelter, or intended to harm the demon who gave them shelter, then how powerful the protection was would be how deadly the backlash they received.

It was a double-edged sword, a real treasure based on love and trust.

Although Xiao Yao wasn’t a human from ancient times, these rules were recorded in their files. Of course he understood what Baiju just said.

Xiao Yao covered his face.
After he somewhat calmed down, Xiao Yao gave Baiju an answer, "Bai’ge, if it is your protection, I am willing to accept it."

"But, even if there is no protection," Xiao Yao raised his head and looked into Baiju's eyes, and said seriously, "You would have your place by my side in this lifetime...if you don't mind, I also hope you can accompany me to the end of my life."

Baiju was taken aback for a moment, his eyes lit up, and the corners of his mouth couldn’t help but ride, "Yao Yao... even if you aren’t my warden from now on, you will be mine."

As soon as Xiao Yao felt his ears burn, his courageous eyes began to flutter.
...this old dog's choice of words has always been terrible.

The author has something to say:
Old white dog: I’ll confess first, and then make him my own, then the little warden can't escape, while I think about why I want to confess...

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