From age one to five, mermaid cubs were likely to shed scales. It was neither because of some sort of illness nor because the cub was unhealthy, it was just a normal part of mermaid cubs’ growth process.
For example, it was somewhat similar to how human children lost their baby teeth.
Mermaid cubs could normally sense when a scale was about to fall off, and in order to be able to collect the fallen scales, they would instinctively stay in a fixed area in the water.
That way, when a scale came off, it would be easier to find.
Mermaid cubs would then carefully pick up the first scale they shed and give it to their parents for safekeeping.
A cub’s first scale was a very important keepsake, so parents were usually very happy when they received the small scale from their cub.
Although the staff at nursing clubs were indeed guardians to the cubs without parents, there was a difference between being a guardian and truly being a parent in the heart of the cubs.
Just like how the mermaid cub had chosen to give his first scale to Xie Luan and not any of the other caretakers.
When the others told him the meaning behind the scale, Xie Luan did not react and only stared blankly at them for a second. He then reached into his pocket.
His fingertips grazed the small scale, it was smooth and cool, like a little piece of jade. Xie Luan could not help but take it out.
With everyone’s eyes on him, Xie Luan opened his hand and looked down at the scale laying in the middle of his palm and for a moment he was speechless.
The ice blue scale shed by the mermaid cub seemed especially transparent and beautiful under the indoor lighting. Xie Luan had planned on collecting all the other scales Gale shed as well. But now that he knew the significance of the scales, he was much more careful when handling it.
The little mermaid thought of him as a parent…?
Looking at the ice blue scale in his hand and thinking this, Xie Luan suddenly felt like that small scale gained weight for no reason.
At the same time, he recalled another thing–
Because the mermaid cub could not speak and could only issue low monotone sounds together with the sound of air being pushed out, one needed to listen very carefully to distinguish the specific syllables.
Xie Luan thought about the sound the mermaid cub most frequently made, the sound that was the clearest and that the cub put most effort into…
After feeding the cubs with the other three caretakers, Xie Luan went back to the staff quarters and opened the small wooden box.
In the box still laid a few rice-sized crystals. Xie Luan looked at the ice blue scale in his hand and then carefully placed it in the box, closed the lid, and put it back at his bedside.
Xie Luan then turned around to walk back to the cub house. There was something he wanted to confirm.
Hearing the familiar footsteps, the mermaid cub quickly swam towards the sound. Since he could not leave the pool, he simply leaned against the edge and watched as the human youth approached the pool.
Once Xie Luan walked over and squatted down by the poolside, the mermaid cub raised his arms and stretched his body to reach out.
A little hand dripping water touched the back of the youth’s left hand and the little mermaid cub with short blond hair then gently grabbed ahold of the youth’s finger.
“Ah?” The little cub looked at the youth’s left hand, then at his right. Finally, the cub lightly shook the youth’s finger back and forth, gazing up at him as he, with a weak voice, made a sound.
It was hard to understand what he wanted by just listening, but Xie Luan could hear that the sound was a question and together with the cub’s movements, he was able to figure out what the cub most probably wanted to ask him.
“I have placed the scale in a wooden box for safekeeping. I will properly take care of it for you.” Xie Luan explained it to the cub. He did not pull back his finger that was being held and instead lifted his other hand to touch the cub’s soft hair.
The mermaid cub’s tail swayed beneath the surface, the fin moving left to right as he quickly made a joyful sound.
The youth had accepted his first scale and had said that he would take good care of it, this of course made the mermaid cub very happy.
Because it made the cub able to feel his parent’s love.
The mermaid cub wanted now, more than ever, to call out to the youth in front of him.
The first sound was mostly air. Hearing this, the cub stopped. But after a few seconds, he called out again and much stronger this time.
“Pa-” Azure eyes were gazing up at the youth. The mermaid cub had gathered all of his strength to produce this one sound and after he called out, he quietly waited for the youth’s reaction.
You could hear how much effort was put into it and the tone was clearer than before. But it seemed to be the limit of what the mermaid cub could currently accomplish.
Xie Luan had pondered on the meaning of the syllable many times before. Especially when the cub made an extra effort to pronounce this one syllable to him; it had really made him wonder what the sound meant.
Because the cub had always looked at him with eyes filled with expectation after he had finished pronouncing the syllable, Xie Luan had mistakenly thought that the cub was asking for something…
This matter had worried him up until today, but even though he had thought about it a lot, he had never been able to figure out what it was that the cub wanted.
He had feared that he had overlooked something important that the cub needed, and that it could have bad consequences.
But, now, Xie Luan finally understood.
“En.” He nodded and smiled gently at the cub who was expectantly looking up at him. 
Hearing his response, the mermaid cub’s tail swayed even happier and the little hand’s grip around Xie Luan’s finger tightened as the cub tried to make the two syllables clearer and coherent, “Pa…ah…”
It would be seen that the cub was trying very hard and even though the second syllable failed to be pronounced correctly, Xie Luan now understood it.
The mermaid cub wanted to call him “Papa”. The expectant look he had after calling out to him was because he wanted him to respond to it.
“En.” Xie Luan answered with a warm voice and nodded, responding for the second time.
After becoming aware of the fact that the mermaid cub was trying to say “Papa”, Xie Luan had, for a moment, unexpectedly had the feeling of being quite unprepared.
But seeing the cub try so hard to pronounce these two syllables for him, Xie Luan at once became soft-hearted.
Even if the mermaid cub could only pronounce one syllable in a coherent voice, he would certainly respond each time he heard it.
I have officially died. It was a combo of exams, last minute translating and the super-duper-too much for me to handle-sweet-adorable-heartwarming-ness in this chapter. _(:_」∠)_
[EXAMS +600 XP | -1000 HP] [TRANSLATING + 300 XP | -500 HP] [CUTENESS ATTACK -50 HP] [ADORABLENESS ATTACK -50] [HEARTWARMING ATTACK: MELTING HEART -200 HP] [COMBO -200 HP]
[THE GODS HAVE CALLED YOU HOME]
[LEO -1640 XP]
[READ 15 CHAPTERS TO REVIVE OR WAIT 2 WEEKS TO BE REINCARNATED]
[DO YOU WANT TO PRAY FOR BLESSING?]
[THE BL GOD LIKED YOUR PRAYER, REALLY PITFUL, 50% XP RESTORED]
 – 嗯 (en) Is an interjection indicating approval, appreciation or agreement.