98 - White basalt cub
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The sea water was flowing through the pinna, and the dull and silent sound isolated the seabed into a separate world.
Baiju had swam around the foundation of Guihe Island and finally stood at the place where it first formed from the sea, deliberately preparing to continue diving to explore.
The bodies of the ancient beasts were extremely huge, Guihe Island was only a small part of the odd shape exposed on the sea, not the whole picture of the skeleton. A mountain range shaped after the mysterious turtle turned into the island, but the real skeleton was buried deep under the island, a considerable part was even submerged in the seabed.
The first thing Baiju found was a rib, and following the skeleton down, he should be where the skeleton was.
This seabed rock layer was buried quite deep, and the sandy bottom mud between the skeleton and the seawater was so thick that it would fill up a small ocean trench. The texture of the bottom silt was fine and heavy and the task of moving it was very difficult.
Looking at the sea above, Baiju guessed that his movement wouldn’t be too conspicuous, so he reached out and patted the ribs that he had cracked open before, opened his mouth, and said silently, "Excuse me."
Immediately, he clasped his five fingers together and slammed down hard. The bottom of the sea was stirred up by a storm-like sediment, and a deep hole under the rib was suddenly exposed. The sand around it rushed down and would soon cover the existence of the hole.
Slightly lowering his eyes, Baiju stared at the direction of the quicksand without blinking, and breathed a sigh of relief.
He was not mistaken, there was an inconspicuous arch under the ribs. According to the arc, the space underneath wasn’t small, and there were also traces of special material covering it, which could avoid usual sight, sound waves and other explorations.
There was space.
No matter what was underneath, at least he would definitely be able to find clues about the power centre of Guihe Island from it.
Baiju hugged the rib with his arms, and once again exerted force. The meridians on the back of his hands swelled up and the lines of the muscles on his arms were full of strength as he pulled out the half-raised rib. Lying it on its side, he placed the rib on the ocean floor next to him.
With Baiju’s movements, some fine air bubbles drilled out from the gaps between the sand and stone under the ribs, and many seaweeds were uprooted and undulating with the current.
The sea water here was very quiet. Baiju's line of sight followed the direction of the seaweed’s movement for a while, and he saw that it sank to the bottom of the sea not far away, and did not continue to drift far.
Retracting his gaze, Baiju moved his five fingers, and the translucent shirt soaked in his body quickly retracted into his body. The jeans on his legs also turned into the leather pants he was accustomed to. He then raised his hand and gathered his hair, fixing his long hair into a ponytail, twisted it into a bun, and made a silver hairpin at random, and everything was neatly arranged.
He cast a spell and the heavy mud was ripped apart by an invisible force, creating a passage that was two people wide. Baiju swam into the passage and waved his hand to cover the hole with a layer of sand, and then continued to go deeper.
There was no light in the channel under the bottom of the sea, so Baiju had to throw out two bluish flames, suspended in the water and glowing quietly, reflecting the scattered shells and fish bones in the surrounding mud.
The end of the rib was buried at a depth of about twenty meters.
Without much effort, Baiju dug the passage to the bottom. Squatting down, he rubbed the palm of his hand on the hard curved surface under his foot, revealing the light black translucent shell underneath.
The two blue and faint flames summoned by Baiju shifted and got closer to the shell, reflecting the hidden scene inside. Several sturdy pillars extended down, supporting a considerable space under the shell.
The place that the flames could illuminate was limited, but Baiju's eyes could see in the dark, and saw that the place where he was now was a dome.
This was a palace.
Some of the columns had collapsed in half and weren’t really connected to the dome. The curvature and shape of the entire top was inconsistent with the layout of the columns. This layer of black dome was probably a replacement that was covered later.
He leaned his head against the dome, held his breath for a while, and couldn't help but chuckle slightly. The sound transmission effect of this dome and water flow was much better than that of air, and there was the sound of a heart beating in it. It wasn’t particularly smooth and regular, but rather vigilant and frightened.
Turning his palms over, Baiju snapped his fingers on the translucent dome and said, "Excuse me, I'll take you out."
The sound of the heartbeat suddenly stopped, and then jumped faster, as fast as a turtle.
"I know you have a way to let me in." Baiju paused and licked his teeth, "I also have a way to break the dome."
Baiju raised his eyebrows, "This shell is quite filling. I'm very hungry, I want to eat."
The heartbeat instantly went crazy.
Baiju rolled his eyes, this was really a little brat, they had never seen anything in the world, what plans could he have?
He ate that old fish a few days ago, and he wasn’t hungry now, but the shell outside was a genuine basalt egg shell. He didn't know why it was not eaten by the cub, but turned into this dome and planted in the seabed.
Baiju had always been patient with cute cubs, so he simply sat cross-legged on the dome, his fingers rubbed the smooth surface of the shell, and his voice slowed down a little, "How nice, there is bone marrow left by your parents outside."
The little brat, who hadn’t made a sound for a long time, was moving now. The thin neighing sound was not human-like, and the meaning it conveyed wasn’t very clear. Baiju tilted his head and listened to their heart, there was no communication barrier.
"Who are you? What are you doing?"
Baiju lowered his eyes, "My name is Baiju, I'm just a wild white dog...the island outside will soon run into some trouble. I've come to you to borrow some power to bluff a devil."
"Really?" A thin childish voice sounded hesitantly, "...you don't want anything else?"
Baiju was very honest and didn't intend to lie to this little guy, so he said, "It's true, but if I can, I also hope to absorb some of the power here. There is a hurdle in my partner's life, and I have to help him pass it, but I'm not strong enough right now."
The little guy was embarrassed and silent again.
Baiju didn't let a cub ponder blindly, and took the initiative to ask a question, "How about you? How long have you been here, why didn't you absorb all the eggshell?"
The little brat hesitated for a while before slowly saying, "...I don't know, although the energy here is of the same source as mine, I can't eat it."
"I seem to be different from my parents."
Baiju, "..." Can there actually be Xuanwu that is incompatible with the origin of Xuanwu?
With a trace of doubt in his heart, Baiju knocked on the dome, "Come up, let me see you. Don't worry, I won't break the shell."
There was a screeching sound under the dome.
The faint blue light of the fire fell through the translucent shell, and Baiju could see some tiny shimmers that looked like the scales of a reptile.
After a while, a thin snake's tail appeared on the edge of Baiju's field of vision, and with another flash, the little guy swam right below where Baiju was located.
Baiju looked at the turtle snake showing its full face and fell into silence.
This little guy was white, the size of a medium-sized dog, and their tortoise shell was no more than two feet in diameter.
Their four claws were slender and flexible, similar to dragon claws, not thick. They protruded from the edge of the tortoise shell. The thin scales covered the undulating muscles, and when they moved, they revealed the sharp edge of the connection between the pieces. Their neck was a snake neck, curved like a swan into an elegant S shape, and their head was between a turtle’s and a snake’s, with a pair of yellow pupils, like amber.
They were very different from a basalt turtle in the usual sense.
The word "xuan" in the name of the Xuanwu meant black, and the word "wu" was an affirmation of the natural combat power of the mythical beast. Xuanwu, as the name suggested, was a black god of martial arts.
This tortoise-snake-like mythical beast was born huge, with a black body, black tortoise shell, and black snake scales. There were big differences in appearance between individuals, their colours and shapes could also vary...but a white Xuanwu was destined not to be one of these Xuanwu.
Such an occurrence had never appeared before. Xuanwu dominated water, and water dominated yin, and Xuanshui was the most supreme yin existence. Although white basalt turtles still dominated the water, its attribute was supreme yang. It was no wonder that this little guy was obviously a mythical beast from the north, but had hatched in the southeast sea in the pole of fire——Suzaku's domain.
If this guy was born in ancient times, he would have been sent to the Golden Dragon Pond to be raised.
The white Xuanwu was aligned with yang, small in size, with claws like a golden dragon, and rich, they would be very popular with the dragon clan, and could even be regarded as a mascot baby by the dragon clan...on the contrary, such a Xuanwu was no longer a natural god of war, but had become a kind of auspicious beast, and because it couldn’t absorb the power left by its parents, they would become a natural weakling instead.
Baiju's expression was a bit complicated.
The Demon Management Bureau needed an auspicious beast to control the market. This little Xuanwu was a lucky beast, but it couldn't control the market. They could only be a mascot to attract money or something...Moreover, this little guy had a reserve of inheritance from their parents but couldn’t absorb it. At present it was also a big difficulty to find cultivation resources and he was afraid that in the future, they wouldn’t be able to break through and grow into what a divine beast should look like.
With a hiss, Baiju pondered the resources in his hand, and said in pain, "...I have a little treasure of pure yang here, and I can give you...a small portion."
The little Xuanwu's eyes were round, looking at Baiju, they hissed, "Really? Not lying?"
Baiju nodded, "In exchange, I hope to use some of the power here, I won't use much, I’ll only take what I need...the rest is still yours."
The little Xuanwu blinked, paddled the water with four claws, tilted their head and thought, "You are a white dog, how can you have something of pure yang?"
Baiju touched his non-existent trouser pocket and thought about his small storage, "...my father is a black dog, and I still hide his blood."
In the beginning, when his father and mother died, Baiju collected a large lake of blood. Later, the exorcism of the cursed mark used most of it, and now there were less than a hundred jars left. However, it wasn’t very necessary for him, and in the end, it was mostly just a thought left to him by his father.
The little Xuanwu hadn't seen the world since they were born and was stupid and foolish. When they heard that Baiju had black dog blood, they didn't even confirm how much he could give, before nodding and making a deal, "Okay, then you give me blood, I give you the marrow and eggshell.
"The central power of this island comes from my eggshell. Don't eat it clean, save some for the island. But as compensation, you’re responsible for finding a place for me to live and protecting me from death for five hundred years."
Five hundred years was the infancy for a divine beast. The little Xuanwu didn't know much about other things, and so could only find such a requirement that suited him most. After passing through its infancy, no matter how bad it was, they wouldn’t still be a little weakling.
Baiju touched his chin, but without answering, he said, "I originally planned to find a River Dragon King in a while, he owes me a favour. I’ll hand you over to the River Dragon King, and you can make plans with him, is that okay?"
As soon as the little Xuanwu heard the word dragon, it raised its neck, and nodded eagerly, "It turns out that there is still a dragon in the world today, I can rest assured and make a deal."
The dragon clan was naturally closer to white Xuanwu. As soon as the little guy heard that there was a dragon who could take it in, it basically saw a scene where it would have no worries about food and clothing in the future, and its little wariness was immediately dissipated.
"Stand back a little, and I'll come out." The little Xuanwu flicked its tail, and its pink snake tongue flicked out and it hissed happily.
Above is a Xuanwu, basalt tortoise, there are a few variations on it since it's mythical. They are one of the 4 great beasts and are usually associated with cold/water/ice, Yin, and the North (i.e. the cold snowy region of China). Suzaku is the firebird, which is not technically a pheonix, its literally a big red bird, it doesn't turn to ash or reincarnate or cure basilisk poison. It's associated with sun/fire/heat, Yang and the South (i.e. the tropical/hot regions of China). The River Dragon is for the East where the rivers hit the sea and farming is most prosperous (dragons mean money/prosperity), and the White Tiger is for the West - I don't know any cool facts about the Western Tiger, I guess it blends well into the desert?
I have no idea what gender our little white Xuanwu is, the text never says, in Chinese pronouns aren't necessary to make a sentence work. My guess is it might not have one until it reaches adulthood.