Chapter 207 - Collapse

Zhou Shanhu’s small head appeared after it collapsed for a while. She shouted towards Xiaocao, “How is it? Did you harvest anything?”

Xiaocao shook her head and disappointingly said, “There’s nothing!”

Zhou Shanhu smiled and comforted her, “Maybe it’s because we’re too close to the sea, so there’s nothing good around here. Other people are professional divers, so they can submerge underwater for several minutes. Do you want to look further in?

Xiaolian continued to gather goose barnacles by the shore when she saw that her younger sister’s swimming skills were very good, and that Zhou Shanhu was looking after her too. Younger Sister seemed to like to eat goose barnacles with soup. After their family separated from the main branch, she didn’t have any time to gather seafood, so she rarely had the chance to eat the seafood soup made by her younger sister! Xiaolian put her younger sister’s outer garment on the dry reef to dry, then she stooped over and busied herself.

Xiaocao had gradually swam into the depths of the sea, but her ability to hold her breath wasn’t that great. She often had to come up to take a breath when she had just reached the seafloor. She felt very discouraged because she had busied herself for a long time, yet she still didn’t get any harvest.

The little divine stone’s mocking voice suddenly appeared in her mind, [I reckon that even if you dawdled until dusk like this, you probably still won’t get any harvest. Do you want this Divine Stone to help you out?]

Xiaocao was somewhat exhausted as she treaded water and asked impatiently, “No kidding! If you were able to help, why didn’t you say so earlier rather than watching me from the sidelines?”

 [What’s with your attitude? This Divine Stone is unhappy, I’m not helping anymore!] The little divine stone proudly and lovably snorted, giving off an unhappy appearance.

“If you don’t want to help me, then don’t! I don’t care!” Xiaocao didn’t try to please its temper! Who was the master in this relationship? She took a deep breath in and dove underwater again.

The little divine stone was speechless for a long time by her words, it really wanted to just wash its hands of her and ignore her. However, it had reached a bottleneck at a critical point right now. If the little divine stone helped its master, then it could absorb the spiritual powers from heaven and earth, recovering its full power!

Although the little divine stone was still angry, it still helped Xiaocao. The little divine stone condensed a protective screen of spiritual power around Xiaocao’s body. It seemed as if she was wrapped in a transparent bubble, the seawater couldn’t get close to her and the pressure from the surrounding water disappeared instantly.

Xiaocao held her breath and looked at the magical scene happening in front of her, it seemed as if she had entered a fantasy world. The transparent bubble slowly sank down, the cute little fish in the surrounding curiously swam toward her. They gently touched the spiritual barrier with their mouth, but it seemed as if they had touched a transparent film, they could see it but could not enter it.

Xiaocao was so entranced at that moment that she forgot to breathe, and her face turned red. She thought that she should hurriedly go up and to take a breath when the little divine stone’s annoying voice appeared again, [You’re so stupid! You can breathe freely in my spiritual barrier. Alas… why do I have such a stupid master? Forget it, go and suffocate to death!]

Xiaocao rolled her eyes in her mind and tentatively breathed in. Sure enough, fresh air filled her lungs and her stuffy chest. She extended her hand out of the bubble-shaped spiritual barrier and discovered that she wasn’t obstructed by the barrier. She looked around and tried using her mind to control the bubble to float toward where a fat sea cucumber was. Just as she thought, she had quickly arrived next to the sea cucumber. As soon as she reached out, she caught the squirming sea cucumber.

“The size of this sea cucumber is pretty big, so the grade of this product should be good. We finally got some harvest.” Xiaocao put the sea cucumber into the bamboo basket tied around her waist and advanced further into the depth of the ocean.

However, in order not to worry Xiaolian who was at the shore, she would occasionally emerge from the sea to breathe and then descend into the sea again. Thanks to the little divine stone’s spiritual barrier, her speed was no longer hindered by the sea, so she was much more agile now.

The little divine stone had nothing to do, so it guided Xiaocao to capture the more valuable seafood like sea cucumbers, abalone, and armored lobsters…these all became goods in Xiaocao’s basket.

The seafloor was like a big treasure field that had yet to be exploited by humans as it completely presented itself in front of Yu Xiaocao. The bamboo basket on Xiaocao’s waist was relatively small, so it couldn’t hold much. She began picking and choosing on the ocean floor. One moment she disliked this sea cucumber for being too small and another moment she disliked this lobster for not being fat enough. She specially picked only the best quality seafood. If other people knew that the things they’ve wished for but couldn’t get was being discarded like trash, Xiaocao likely would have received a multitude of glares!

Just as the bamboo basket she brought could no longer hold anymore, a distant group of huge, dark shadows swam towards her. Xiaocao was shocked and thought that she had encountered a group of sharks. She was about to run away when she was teased by the little divine stone: [Why are you running? You really are a coward! It’s a pod of dolphins, they are very docile, and they won’t hurt people!]

Dolphins? She had only watched dolphin performances on television before and knew that they were adorable sea creatures. She floated quietly at the bottom of the sea as she looked at the shadows in the distance. Sure enough, when the group of black shadows approached, she finally saw their appearance: their bodies were glossy and bright with a graceful physique, their movements were light and quick, and their snouts were bent into a curve like they were smiling.

The dolphins seemed to be very interested in her, and they swam around her. There was a cute little blue dolphin that lightly bumped its head against her just like a child asking for a caress.

Yu Xiaocao smiled lightly and reached out to touch the little dolphin who wasn’t afraid of people. The little creature didn’t dodge away from her touch, and it gently pecked her palm with its mouth. The ticklish feeling made Xiaocao smile. 

Xiaocao changed the shape of the spiritual barrier so that it clung onto her body like a second skin, while allowing it to supply her with oxygen. She wrapped her arm around the little dolphin’s body, and the little dolphin brought her along to travel freely around the seafloor. The scenery at the bottom of the sea was unobstructed through the transparent barrier.

There were various kinds of corals on the seabed reef. Some of them looked like red antlers, some looked like pink flowers, and others looked like purple cactuses… there were all kinds of colors and shapes that one would’ve never imagined. The sight of the coral dazzled Xiaocao’s eyes.

All kinds of small fishes shuttled around Xiaocao. Some of the fishes were covered in multicolored stripes, some were wearing a red hat, some looked like military flags in Beijing operas, and some looked like a round hedgehog… they all surrounded her, refusing to leave.

With the help of the little dolphin, she became a guest of the sea. As she enjoyed the scenery around the seafloor, she had picked up many high-quality abalones and now had a large harvest.

Xiaocao was playing happily with the dolphin and she forgot the time. After Xiaolian dug a lot of goose barnacles and was prepared to head home for lunch, she looked at the sea. Besides Zhou Shanhu occasionally floating to the surface of the sea, there was no movement from her younger sister for a long time.

The wicker basket in Xiaolian’s hand fell onto the ground and she threw herself into the sea without wearing a diving suit; she crazily swam in the sea. Xiaolian’s swimming skills were pretty good, so in a short time, she reached Zhou Shanhu. When Zhou Shanhu revealed herself from the water, she was caught by Xiaolian.

“Did you see my younger sister? When was the last time you saw her?” Xiaolian’s voice was trembling as she urgently asked.

Zhou Shanhu was alarmed; she looked around and saw that the sea was calm. She thought about it and said, “I think the last time I saw her was about half an hour ago. When I surfaced from the water, I thought that we had just missed each other, so I didn’t pay much attention…”

Xiaolian’s complexion was deathly white and said in a sobbing tone, “I looked around for a quarter of an hour and I didn’t see my younger sister surface from the water. She… something must’ve happened to her! I deserve to die; I shouldn’t have been digging for goose barnacles. This is the first time that my younger sister went into the sea, I should’ve been watching attentively over her the entire time so that if anything went wrong, I could immediately search for her in the sea. What should I do now? I don’t even know when the accident happened… no, I have to look for her…”

Zhou Shanhu also lost her head. The sea was so big, and they didn’t know where and when the accident happened, how could they find her? Each year, it was not known how many people had been swallowed up by the sea.

“Xiaolian, don’t be too anxious. Maybe Xiaocao had just swum to someplace further… look! There is a shadow that looks like a person, let’s go see if it’s Xiaocao!” Zhou Shanhu was pleasantly surprised when she found a small head popping up from the water in the distance. After a moment, it dived into the water again.

A spark of hope was ignited in Xiaolian’s heart. She tried to calm herself down; she couldn’t panic because her younger sister was still waiting for her to find her!

The two worked hard and swam in the direction of the place where the shadow had surfaced.

“Huh? Aren’t you the little girl from Dongshan Village that sells braised food? Why didn’t you wear a diving suit before you entered the sea?” Xiaolian was disappointed to find that it was a teenager with dark skin and a handsome appearance.

Xiaolian burst into tears, “Younger Sister! Something must’ve happened to my younger sister. If something happened to her, then I don’t want to live either! Wah…”

The youth looked at Xiaolian as he was at a loss as to what to do. Could it be that he said something wrong and made this little girl cry?

“You… don’t cry! Do you need me to help with anything?” The young man asked with concern while frowning.

Zhou Shanhu was sobbing beside her, “Her younger sister had been diving with me, but she has yet to surface from the water for a long time. Have you seen a little girl that looks a lot like her?”

The suntanned youth’s expression became solemn. He slowly shook his head and said, “This place is relatively remote, so there are only a few people who come here. I didn’t see anyone else besides the two of you. But… don’t cry, I’ll help you look for her. Maybe she had swam to someplace further away!”

“My younger sister… this is her first time diving. She had never learned how to swim before… I deserve to die. Why didn’t I stay beside her and watch over her? Wu wu…” Xiaolian gasped for breath as she cried.

The suntanned youth’s heart sank even further. If it was her first time diving, then she definitely wouldn’t have swum too far. It wasn’t a good sign if she hadn’t surfaced from the water for a while. But seeing the two crying little girls in front of him, the young man still comforted them, “Don’t cry anymore. I’ll look around nearby, maybe I’ll find something. You… can just wait here…”

The little girl had cried until her eyes were swollen. If she dove into the water like this, it was hard to guarantee that an accident wouldn’t happen. Only after he let the other little girl watch over her did he begin swimming into the distance. He dove again and again into the water, looking for the little girl.

It was already half an hour later when Yu Xiaocao realized that she had stayed underwater for too long. The little dolphin seemed to have perceived her intentions, using its back to help her float to the surface. It let out an “ahh——” sound, it seemed as if it was urging her to stay.

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Translator: Vi