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It had been almost a year since the confrontation between species, in which Chief Zhao and the Black-Cloaked Envoy had barely made it out alive. While everyone thought that their deaths were something inevitable, at the last moment (and for everyone’s fortune) Ye Zun withdrew his army after a very long chat with his brother, therefore avoiding the destruction of Haixing.

Several things had changed ever since that moment: Shen Wei and Ye Zun settled down all of their problems and became great brothers (even though the latter one was imprisoned in Dixing, he was allowed to come by Haixing in the company of his brother, who was more than happy to recover all of their lost years by just spending time together and usually let him visit every place of Dragon City); the SID gained more acknowledgment amongst general opinion and higher authorities considered adding new members to the team, however, those plans were not accomplished since Chief Zhao opposed to the idea, claiming that he would have to raise the salaries of his previous employees, something that didn’t seem very appealing –fucking Zhao Yunlan, I would have plenty of fish if you increased our salaries– Da Qing thought when he heard that news; and finally… Shen Wei and Zhao Yunlan established their relationship. Probably the last one was the most important event.

Resting on the sofa, Da Qing was thinking about all of this while watching Zhu Hong and Lin Jing fight over something so ridiculous that isn’t even worth mentioning, when the doorbell rang, indicating the arrival of someone.

His eyes were closed, and his left ear just shook in response to the external sound. Everyone pretended to be occupied to avoid standing up and leaving their comfortable seats; Zhu Hong and Lin Jing acted as if they hadn’t heard the doorbell, Wang Zheng put her most focused gaze upon the report she was “reading” and Sang Zan didn’t even show up. Being that the chief was at his office —and even if he were two meters apart from the door he would still expect someone else to open the door—, Da Qing sighed with fake anger and approached the entrance of the building, where he found a delivery guy carrying a package.

“Does Zhao Yunlan live here?” Asked the guy with monotony. Da Qing nodded and the guy lent him the receipt, asking him to sign it and then delivering a rather small box where the words “FRAGILE” could be read all over it.

Da Qing closed the door while carrying the box and the receipt in his hands, examining it with his cat eyes and finding nothing but a normal package. As curious ­—and nosy— as he was, he read the content of the receipt; the company where the articles came from appeared to be some type of jewelry store and the ticket indicated that a necklace and a ring were purchased. He almost passed out when he read the amount of money that they cost.

Da Qing had known Zhao Yunlan for several years and he had never seen him spent at least half of the money that these pieces of jewelry cost.

They must be for Shen Wei, he thought before heading to Zhao Yunlan’s office. He knew that his friend had changed greatly after meeting the unusual professor, but he didn’t expect him to be the type of person that would give such expensive gifts to their partners —especially when said gifts were worth two months of his salary—.

He entered Zhao Yunlan’s office without asking and left the package over his desk. “It has just arrived, the delivery guy said it’s yours,” Da Qing said nonchalantly.

As soon as those words were heard by Zhao Yunlan, his body tensed up completely and he just murmured a serious “Thank you, Da Qing,” before grabbing the package and putting it in the right drawer of his desk.

“Thank you, Da Qing?”

What the hell? First of all, the last time Zhao Yunlan thanked him for something was years ago. Secondly, he only calls him by his name when there is some serious shit going on. Now, observing these two things combined in one phrase left Da Qing speechless and with a confused look; before he could ask if there was something wrong, his chief just smiled and said: “Everything’s ok, just go with the others.”

Slowly, the cat just left him alone in his office, more confused than ever. The last time his chief hid something from him the world was almost destroyed, which just made him feel more anxious, however, he was sure that Zhao Yunlan wouldn’t say anything unless it was necessary, so it was useless for Da Qing to ask something about it.

The following day, Shen Wei came by to the SID to help with a case —well, probably Zhao Yunlan asked him to visit him at work, considering that their case didn’t appear to involve a very powerful Dixingren, but everyone just faked ignorance to this issue—. Da Qing was eating his fish while watching the professor from afar when he remembered the incident that had occurred the previous day; the cat put the food aside and examined Shen Wei intensely, concluding that the man wasn’t wearing any of the jewelry bought by his chief, which was odd.

Maybe it isn’t very visible, considering that the professor wears several layers of cloth, Da Qing thought. Nevertheless, it should still stand out that something is different between them, but they look pretty normal, he continued with the line of thoughts. Maybe Chief Zhao hasn’t given him the gift yet? No, but why would he wait more time to do so? Well, maybe the jewelry was not even for Shen Wei.

He paused and pondered around that idea. Who else could Zhao Yunlan give something so intimate to? Jewelry is not something you give to your friends, besides, that guy has never even gifted something to his friends (apart from lollipops, and only on special occasions)... Meh, he probably just got nervous and he will give it to Shen Wei tomorrow. Yeah, it must be that.

Before he started thinking more serious things, Da Qing determined that the most logical thing to do was to observe and obviously, research. After all, he was a detective —well, sort of—.

---------------

However, the next day Shen Wei did not wear any of the jewelry. Neither did he wear them three days later nor a week later.

That was the first moment Da Qing noticed there was something wrong.

---------------

After that incident, Zhao Yunlan behaved in a normal way with Shen Wei, according to its own standards, of course. Even though Da Qing was paying attention whenever he could, he didn’t notice anything different in them; Shen Wei still blushed every time Zhao Yunlan flirted shamelessly with him —which happened a lot— and they spent some meals together before going to their home after office like they usually did. Thinking that he was only being paranoid, Da Qing tried to ignore the bad feeling produced when he thought about that issue and kept treating his chief —and friend— in a normal way.

Nonetheless, the second time he noticed there was something wrong was at Zhao Yunlan’s apartment.

It wasn’t exactly his apartment since Shen Wei stayed there every day (or either both of them would stay in Shen Wei’s apartment in case they feel like doing so, but it was not very common). Da Qing arrived at their place without invitation after a long week of hard work like he usually did, since he knew his friend would always welcome him in his home; anyways, it wasn’t like Zhao Yunlan had any other option.

As soon as he entered the apartment, his sensitive cat-like nose perceived the smell of fried fish and other dishes, indicating that Shen Wei was cooking something delicious. He sat on the sofa and heard a voice coming from the kitchen, “Zhao Yunlan is taking a bath, and this will take a few minutes.”

It was at those times that Da Qing wondered what enormous good deed Zhao Yunlan had done to have a man like Shen Wei by his side.

Da Qing looked down at the sofa and thought that if he compared its comfortableness with that of a rock, the rock would be more fucking comfortable. He wouldn’t lay his precious body in that so-called sofa; a cat demanded an acceptable place to rest.

Getting up from the sofa and heading to the bed located only a few meters apart, Da Qing looked over to the kitchen to capture Shen Wei’s gaze, motioning towards the bed and internally asking if he could lay down on it; with a slight nod form the other man, Da Qing fell down heavily into the mattress, appreciating its softness and mentally thanking Shen Wei. Maybe he was behaving a little too comfortable with him, being that he literally had just asked Hei Pao Shi if he could rest on his bed, however, he didn’t really care; certainly, a lot of things were different now.

He started rolling in the bed to find a better position for his spine —something of great importance for any cat— when he felt something tickling him on his arm.

It was one hair, so he quickly discarded it without putting much attention while thinking that Zhao Yunlan should clean his bed more efficiently, when an impression hit him. He observed the hair attentively, noticing that it was way longer than the length of Zhao Yunlan’s or Shen Wei’s hair; it was even longer than his own hair like a cat.

Contemplating the single hair in his hands, he noticed that it could only belong to a woman.

If his estimate wasn’t wrong, he could say that the hair owner had her hair down to the chest or so and her hair color should be completely black, but Da Qing couldn’t think of any women he knew who matched those characteristics.

More importantly, how did a woman’s hair end up in Zhao Yunlan’s bed?

“Dinner is ready.” Shen Wei called from the kitchen with a smile. Da Qing’s chest tightened, and his hunger disappeared, not even fried fish seemed appealing to him.

A moment later, Zhao Yunlan came out of the bathroom with a towel in his hands and just gave a slight smile to Da Qing before heading to the kitchen and hugging Shen Wei from behind, giving him a quick kiss on his left cheek.

Zhao Yunlan, would you be capable of doing what I think you’ve done? Da Qing thought before heading to the table and feigning a smile.

---------------

Da Qing had always considered that he knew Zhao Yunlan better than other people, however, at that moment he didn’t feel very sure about it. Indeed, his friend had many weaknesses and things that could be changed in his personality, but Da Qing couldn’t think of him as a cheater, mostly taking into account everything he had done for Shen Wei, as well as the way he looked at said man, with the greatest love and passion that he had ever seen in a human.

Determined to uncover the mystery behind the found shreds of evidence, Da Qing analyzed the information he had: The jewelry and the hair; of course, I can’t imagine such a thing only because of these items! I’m just being paranoid! Still, it would be an intelligent choice to keep an eye on him just in case. Besides, there must be something that I’m not observing. Now, if that bastard were hiding something from Shen Wei, where would he hide it? Da Qing was putting way more effort into this personal investigation than in actual cases of the SID, but certainly, this was as important as them; this issue even involved a conflict between Dixing and Haixing!

“His cellphone!” He yelled while standing up from his desk. Shen Wei doesn’t understand anything about technology, so that’s the lead I can use to continue the investigation! Da Qing thought, proudly of his detective skills.

Everyone turned around to watch him. Zhu Hung asked briefly, “Are you ok? You’ve been behaving weird this week,” before focusing on her computer again.

Shaking his head, Da Qing just answered a simple: “I’m fine, I’m fine, sorry,” before laying down back in his chair.

---------------

Nevertheless, checking up Zhao Yunlan’s cellphone was more difficult than expected; he always carried it with him —even when going to the restroom— so Da Qing was just waiting for an opportunity to complete his mission and find out the truth.

Said opportunity presented itself three days later when Zhao Yunlan left his office almost at the end of the day and yelled at everyone: “I’m going out, don’t wait for me to come back. Also, I’ll be very busy and I’m not even carrying my phone, so if there’s an emergency you’ll have to solve it by yourselves.”

“Where are you going?” Da Qing asked as the chief approached the exit of the building.

“University.” He answered without even looking at the cat and then hurriedly left.

Everyone ignored him, understanding what business he was going to handle at the university with Shen Wei. Still, it was the perfect moment for Da Qing to end the matter that had been bothering him for the previous days, so he just headed to the chief’s office like it was a totally normal thing to do.

The others just watched him without interest and kept doing whatever they were doing before being interrupted.

Once in Zhao Yunlan’s office, Da Qing gave a quick glance to the room before sitting down on the chair located behind the desk and opening its drawer, finding the so sought object. He grabbed it and started searching for anything that could give him answers; most apps were just games —as expected— and some social media, so he decided to read the last messages received.

Was he invading his chief’s privacy? Probably, but it was for a good cause.

The last message was a selfie sent by Lin Jing earlier that day and the other ones were just from authorities inviting him to reunions, which mostly involved drinking and chatting rather than discussing serious matters. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Suddenly, he found some messages from an unregistered contact —with no profile picture— that dated from 2 days ago; the odd thing was that the number appeared to be from a disposable phone, according to the numbers with which it began. Da Qing became alarmed by the conversation Zhao Yunlan kept with this person.

Zhao Yunlan

Hey, I would appreciate ur help

+ 008 7567 3425

I already did everything I could, the rest is up to you

Zhao Yunlan

Please

+ 008 7567 3425

I’m not even sure about this, you should be glad that I haven’t told anyone

You still don’t know how to tell him?

Zhao Yunlan

Im not sure, I just wanna make everything right

+ 008 7567 3425

It doesn’t even involve me

Zhao Yunlan

It kinda does

Please, im just nervous abt everything

Plus, its a win-win

+ 008 7567 3425

Are you with him? Or can I call you? I don’t want to write

Zhao Yunlan

Nah, he is in class and im at sid so its ok

+ 008 7567 3425 called you

Duration: 10:56 minutes

First of all, the conversation clearly indicated that Zhao Yunlan and a stranger were hiding something from Shen Wei, which already was something odd; in second place, Zhao Yunlan’s calls usually lasted no more than two minutes, since they mostly consisted of him answering monosyllables or insulting the other person. Confused, Da Qing kept searching for more evidence that could help him to complete the puzzle, but apart from that, the rest appeared to be normal.

Before leaving the phone where he found it, he opened its photo gallery, just in case he could gather more information about the mysterious individual. The pictures found in there ranged a wide variety of things which went from numerous selfies of Lin Jing in uncommon scenarios —probably while he was investigating cases— to blurred photos that were obviously taken at reunions while being totally drunk. There were also some selfies with Shen Wei, similar to the one found as his wallpaper.

Then Da Qing stopped scrolling through the gallery.

He found a photo that didn’t match any of the other he had seen. It portrayed the back of a person, covered with bright, long, black hair and white skin, showing a sharp, naked figure; it was undoubtedly a woman’s back resting upon something. Da Qing remembered the hair he had found at Zhao Yunlan’s apartment and concluded that it fitted with the picture he was now seeing in the cellphone.

The person in the picture appeared to be laying on her side, her hair covering her face, but allowing to see a part of her neck; at the right side of the picture, the only visible thing was a blanket covering her lower back. Da Qing looked closely at the background reflected in the photo, observing a bedside table with some lollipops located over it. It became obvious that it was the furniture of Zhao Yunlan’s apartment, therefore reveling that the woman was resting on his chief’s bed.

Probably the most outstanding thing in the photo were the marks traced upon the woman’s skin, some red and others with a darker shade. Some appeared to be scratches and others seemed more like bites or bruises.

Da Qing couldn’t believe his eyes. There has to be something wrong about this picture, right? I must be wrong in some way, were the only thoughts that he could have at the moment.

With almost trembling hands, Da Qing slipped his finger across the cellphone’s screen to see the following photo, finding a picture very similar to the previous one —of the woman’s back—, just that this time Zhao Yunlan’s face appeared on its corner, as if we here taking a selfie and showing on the background the person on his bed.

Having his most scaring thought confirmed, Da Qing became furious.

Fucking bastard.

I’m going to kill him. And I’m not even joking.

Da Qing wasn’t sure about which feeling was stronger: his anger towards Zhao Yunlan, or the incredible sadness and sorrow that compressed his chest just by remembering every single thing Shen Wei had done for that asshole. He couldn’t imagine Shen Wei’s reaction —the pain that he would feel— when he found out about this. He certainly didn’t deserve any of that. Moreover, Zhao Yunlan didn’t deserve that man at all.

It was almost unnatural the amount of rage and disappointment that Da Qing felt.

Zhao Yunlan was his friend, yes. Hell, he was his best friend, but what he had done was unforgivable.

Feeling angrier than he had ever in his life, Da Qing rushed out of Zhao Yunlan’s office, only to be stopped by Lin Jing in the main room.

“Hey hey, what happened?” The latter asked as cheerfully as always, putting his body in front of Da Qing’s, blocking his way out of the building.

“I need to talk to the chief.” Hearing the serious tone with which those words were spoken, everyone turned around to look at him.

Da Qing didn’t mind, he tried to continue walking but Lin Jing grabbed his left arm, looking concerned. Even Zhu Hong stood up from her chair and headed up to them; both partners were looking for an explanation of his behavior.

Understanding that they wouldn’t let him go out without answering his questions, Da Qing sighed sonorously and said briefly, “Chief Zhao is cheating on Shen Wei.”

Everyone became silent.

They just looked at each other, not knowing how to process the information.

“A-Are you sure? Why do you think so?” Zhu Hong asked, “I mean, yeah, he’s not the greatest person I’ve ever met but I don’t think he’s actually capable of doing such a thing,” she made a pause and then continued with a small hint of pain in her voice, “Besides, he loves Shen Wei way too much.”

“I thought the same.” Da Qing replied before showing her the picture he had found on Zhao Yunlan’s cellphone.

Blushing, she asked a little uncomfortable, “Why are you showing me that?” At the same time, Lin Jing looked over Zhu Hong’s shoulder to see what Da Qing was showing her.

With a confused look on his face, Lin Jing also asked, “Yeah, what does that picture mean? Sure, it looks like a beautiful woman, but I don’t get how it’s related to-”

Da Qing interrupted, “This is Zhao Yunlan’s phone, the photo was taken by him.”

At any other time, Da Qing would have laughed at how their expression transformed into a skeptical and shocked frown, but at that moment he couldn’t even smile.

Both Zhu Hong and Lin Jing snatched the phone from his hands, amplifying the picture and concluding the same thing mentioned by Da Qing only a minute ago. The others also approached where they were standing, even Old Chu frowned with anger when observing the picture displayed on the object; after all, Hei Pao Shi was one of the few people he respected.

Again, silence filled the SID’s quarters.

Da Qing removed the phone from Zhu Hong’s hands before saying, “I don’t know what about you, but right now I’m going to talk with him. It isn’t fair.” It isn’t fair for Shen Wei, he thought.

“I’m going with you!” Zhu Hong exclaimed louder than usual. It made sense since she had spent years loving the chief from the distance; in some way, she felt disappointed and betrayed.

In the end, Da Qing, Zhu Hong, and Old Chu went to the university.

However, when they arrived at Shen Wei’s office, they encountered an empty room. Stopping a student that was passing through the hall at that time, Zhu Hong asked her, “Where’s Professor Shen?”

“Oh, I saw him about half an hour ago heading to the rooftop,” the student answered and then continued, “I think he was with that police officer.” After that, the girl kept walking.

They didn’t lose any more time after hearing that information, almost running through the stairs to reach the rooftop of the building.

When they arrived, they found a rather ironic scenario: Zhao Yunlan and Shen Wei were having a romantic dinner. A table with candles was set on the center of the rooftop and they were both eating something that smelled delicious while having a lively conversation that the others couldn’t hear.

Both men turned around when they noticed the three uninvited people, surprised with their looks on their faces.

“Ahh! I told you specifically that I would be busy! Anyways, what happened? Now, who’s attacking us?” Zhao Yunlan said with a slight frown on his face and a small hint of worry on his voice.

No one answered.

Old Chu was the one that took the lead, heading to where Zhao Yunlan was sitting and then grabbing him by the collar, forcing him to stand up.

“Woah, woah! Care to explain why I’m being treated like this?” Zhao Yunlan started joking, considering that if Old Chu had enough time to do that, then the problem wouldn’t be very important.

Oh, how wrong he was.

“How could you do that?!”, instead Da Qing asked, almost yelling, and giving him the angriest glance Zhao Yunlan had seen in all the years he had known the cat.

“How could I do what?” Zhao Yunlan also asked while removing Old Chu’s hands from his neck, however, the latter wouldn’t let go of him.

Shen Wei didn’t know what to do, just looking at everyone and expecting to find answers.

“You’re fucking cheating on Shen Wei!” Zhu Hong yelled from a few meters apart, contempt filling her words.

Both Zhao Yunlan and Shen Wei looked at her, equally perplexed.

“Excuse me, I’m doing what?” Zhao Yunlan started saying, finally removing Old Chu’s grip, who backed off just a few steps. “Shit, I thought that my love for Shen Wei was pretty obvious but now you came here and say stuff like that,” he continued with a mixture of his usual teasing tone and uncomfortableness.

“Don’t try to deny it, there’s evidence!” This time the remark came from Da Qing, who was standing next to Zhu Hong.

Hearing that, Shen Wei stood up from his chair slowly. “Da Qing, could you explain yourself, please?” Shen Wei asked with his typically polite voice as if they were discussing the most normal thing.

Da Qing sighed. “A while ago I discovered some things that bothered me but since they didn’t seem to represent an important issue, I kept investigating. Today I took advantage of this lapse of time where Zhao Yunlan would be busy to check up his cellphone.”

“Excuse me again, but you just took my cellphone? What the hell were you expecting to find there?” Zhao Yunlan was no longer seeing this as a funny situation. There were literally ruining everything.

“I expected to find something that would make you innocent! But instead, I found...” Da Qing didn’t complete the phrase.

“Holy shit, what did you find? Enlighten me, please.” Zhao Yunlan mocked with rising anger while gesturing with his hands.

Shen Wei remained stoic.

Da Qing got closer to Zhao Yunlan, then unlocked the cellphone and showed him the incriminatory picture of the woman’s back.

Zhao Yunlan turned pale, no one was supposed to see those photos. Shen Wei would kill him.

“Fucking cat! Do you know the meaning of the word ‘personal’? How many people have you showed them these pictures?” Zhao Yunlan became uncomfortable.

“We all looked at them, what’s with that? The problem is that you I found a picture of a woman on your bed with you laying down next to her!” Da Qing replied angrily, then continued, “Plus, last time I went to your apartment I found a long hair between the bedspreads.”

Zhao Yunlan didn’t know if he should laugh, cry or yell at them. Instead, he just looked at Shen Wei, who was still on the other side of the table.

“I’m sorry babe, I didn’t mean to do that, but it was impossible to avoid it.” Zhao Yunlan smirked at Shen Wei and scratched his neck with embarrassment.

Everyone was astonished by those words. Shen Wei gave him a confused look.

“Go on, show him the pictures.” Zhao Yunlan mentioned with pretended nonchalance at Da Qing, looking like he was containing himself from something.

Da Qing had lived ten thousand years, he had experienced very important and difficult moments throughout his life, nevertheless, his heart felt broken and he suddenly became nervous while he turned around and showed Shen Wei the cellphone.

With all the atmosphere, the normally calmed professor had started to feel nervous, without knowing what to expect. Certainly, Zhao Yunlan had a flirtatious nature that he didn’t try to hide, but he trusted the man and was sure that he would never do something like that.

Shen Wei grabbed the cellphone.

Everyone was looking at him, waiting for him to cry or punch Zhao Yunlan in the face. At least something among those options.

However, Shen Wei placed his gaze on the picture displayed and… blushed?!

The professor’s face was completely red. He used one of his hands to adjust his glasses, obviously trying to hide the enormous shame he was feeling at the moment.

Zhao Yunlan burst out laughing.

“Sorry, but you look way too lovely when you’re sleeping, Xiao Wei. I can’t help but admire your beauty; that’s why I took the picture.” Zhao Yunlan spoke as he surrounded Shen Wei’s body with his arm.

Shen Wei just giggled, smiling at him. “Still, you shouldn’t keep those type of photos.”

The three remaining people didn’t understand what they had just witnessed.

“What the hell has just happened?” Zhu Hong was the first one to talk.

“Nothing, just that you were blessed by the beautiful sight of a sleeping Shen Wei and mistook him for a woman.” Zhao Yunlan said, clearly making fun of their misunderstanding while forgetting his anger.

Zhu Hong, Da Qing, and Old Chu looked at each other with confusion. Shen Wei started explaining after observing their bemused glances.

“Ten thousand years ago I was a warrior in Dixing, and it was a custom to wear long hair. After I woke up, I kept my hair at that length to remember those past days,” Shen Wei said while looking at Zhao Yunlan. “The only difference is that I use dark energy to make it appear shorter than it actually is, being that men no longer wear it like that.”

“I still think that you would look great having your hair long all the time and not only at home.” Zhao Yunlan said with a smirk on his face. Shen Wei blushed slightly.

“So… the person of the picture is really you?” Da Qing asked slowly and more to himself, this time way more calmed, clearly shocked by this discovery.

Shen Wei nodded without facing the cat, feeling pretty uncomfortable with the fact that they had seen such an intimate photo of him. Clearly, everyone was embarrassed, Old Chu probably wouldn’t be able to face the professor ever again.

Still, in awe, Da Qing remembered the other evidence that he had gathered before. Even if the thing with the hair and the picture turned out not to prove his point, there were still other issues that seemed odd at the cat’s vision.

“But what about the mysterious contact in your phone?” Da Qing started saying, more calmly than he did at the beginning, before anyone could speak again. “The messages you sent to that person were totally weird and you can’t deny it, in them, you stated that you were hiding something from Professor Shen.”

“Fucking cat, you also read my messages?” Zhao Yunlan again looked a bit annoyed. He would definitely reduce their salaries for the interruption that they were making. Sighing, he continued speaking, “I was talking to Ye Zun.” He paused again, what he was going to say next was way more difficult than expected, “I asked him to help me prepare something for Shen Wei.”

Several things captured everyone’s attention, mainly the fact that no one –except Shen Wei– was supposed to contact Ye Zun (although that did explain why the number came from a disposable phone) and that Zhao Yunlan not only voluntarily contacted said person but also asked for his help. Even though things were better between the chief and the Dixingren, it was public knowledge that they just behaved nicely towards each other to keep Shen Wei happy.

All of them remained quiet, looking at the others and trying to understand what the data provided by their chief meant. Before Shen Wei could ask more about Zhao Yunlan’s meeting with his brother, Da Qing started talking again. There was still one more inexplicable matter.

“But then, what about the jewelry you bought almost two weeks ago?” The cat asked, confusion permeated in his words, rather than the rage he felt when the conversation had just started.

In expectation of Zhao Yunlan’s answer, everyone looked at him.

Zhao Yunlan sighed loudly and lowered his head, avoiding their gazes.

“Ah, certainly this wasn’t part of the plan.” Zhao Yunlan smiled weakly. “But thanks to my good cat, I suppose there’s only one last thing to mention.”

Zhao Yunlan turned to face Shen Wei, grabbing both of his hands, and looking at him intensely. His gaze portrayed love in its purest expression.

“Shen Wei, you’re the greatest thing that could have happened to this poor soul and I don’t have words to explain how much this man loves you.” Zhao Yunlan said without removing his gaze from Shen Wei’s eyes, forgetting the audience that looked at their romantic display.

The professor gave him a small, amused smile, not understanding entirely why his boyfriend was saying such things at that specific moment.

Then, Zhao Yunlan let go of Shen Wei, taking a step back and lowering his head again, while starting to kneel down.

He inserted his right hand in his jacket’s pocket. When the hand was visible again, it was now holding a small box.

Giving his brightest smile, Zhao Yunlan looked up at Shen Wei and opened the small box, revealing a shiny ring.

“Shen Wei, the only thing on me that’s worth something is my heart and I’m willing to give it to you. If you want it, it will belong to you for the rest of my life.” Zhao Yunlan paused for a second. “So, do you accept it?”

The mild sunlight accentuated the sparkle of Shen Wei’s eyes, who looked as shocked as the rest of the people there.

I do.” Shen Wei answered. “But you must be aware that after this, I will never let go of you.”

“I’m counting on that.” Zhao Yunlan spoke before he placed the ring on Shen Wei’s finger and kissed him, putting his hands on both sides of Shen Wei’s face, drawing him closer.

The gazes of both men were connected and their foreheads touched each other, long-forgotten the strangers that witnessed their scene with open mouths.

An entire minute or so had passed, but Shen Wei and Zhao Yunlan didn’t pull apart, completely immersed in their own world. It was not until Shen Wei started speaking that they pulled a few inches apart.

“You really asked didi for help?” He asked with a sided smile as if he couldn’t believe what he had heard before.

“Yeah, I wasn’t sure about how to ask you to marry me and I was desperate enough to request his help. However, he wasn’t very helpful and kept saying that you deserved something better, which might probably be true.”

“I couldn’t ask for anything better…” Shen Wei said with a slight frown. “I already have you.”

“Ah, Xiao Wei, if you keep saying stuff like this I will die before we can even have our honeymoon.” Zhao Yunlan added, returning to his usual teasing.

Meanwhile, Da Qing, Zhu Hong, and Old Chu just listened to their conversation and tried to digest the series of events that had just taken place in that abandoned rooftop, sorting their thoughts and becoming aware of what they had done.

As if he had remembered something important, Da Qing spoke. “If I’m not wrong, you bought a ring and a necklace…” He paused for a moment, as if he wasn’t sure about whether to continue taking or not, but then finished his words, “… I can obviously see what the ring was meant for, but what about the second jewelry?” Even though he had eliminated all of his doubts regarding the possibility of cheating, it was the only thing that hadn’t been explained previously.

“Well… I know you always wear the necklace with the lollipop that I gave you ten thousand years ago,” Zhao Yunlan started saying more to Shen Wei rather than Da Qing as if the cat was not really important at that moment, “… So I thought it would be a good idea to also wear something that reminded me of you. I was planning to put a picture in it, maybe it can be one of our wedding.”

Zhao Yunlan’s three subordinates were becoming a bit uncomfortable at seeing their chief behave like that, remembering all those moments in which he had yelled or mocked at them for the most unimaginable issues. However, now that the situation had been cleared, they all felt like they owned him a big apology.

“Uh… Chief and professor,” Da Qing approached Zhao Yunlan, subtly trying to explain himself. “I’m so sorry about this, it wasn’t my intention to ruin this event for you. I panicked and I’m sorry for thinking so bad of you, it seems like I’m not as a good friend as I thought I was.” The last thing mentioned while looking at Zhao Yunlan with sincere guilt.

“Hey hey, calm down you dumb cat! In the end, you kind of did the right thing, becoming worried that I might have done something bad to my dear Shen Wei and that stuff.” Zhao Yunlan answered, unable to avoid thinking that the marriage proposal had made him pretty sentimental.

“Also, you were indirectly protecting me, even if Zhao Yunlan is the person you’re most close to. You really are a good friend Da Qing.” Now it was Shen Wei’s time to speak.

Da Qing’s chest felt tight again, but now for good reasons.

“W-We’re also very sorry chief!” Zhu Hong spoke, bowing to show her apologies. Old Chu did the same thing.

“Agh, you guys! Stop doing that! It’s all forgotten.” Zhao Yunlan said while moving his arm, expressing nonchalance.

“Again, sorry for ruining the proposal.” Da Qing repeated, still feeling embarrassed.

“Ah, that doesn’t matter; the professor agreed, so the rest is meaningless.” Zhao Yunlan said and then took Shen Wei’s hand, interviewing their fingers.

It seemed that the whole conflict was solved and the three visitors were preparing to leave, but they were stopped. “By the way, since you interrupted my romantic evening, you’ll be in charge of the wedding preparations! That way we’ll save some money,” Zhao Yunlan said before smirking widely. “Ah, and your salaries will be cut down for the next two months.”

The mentioned people just nodded lightly –understanding that they did deserve the punishment– and left the rooftop, ready to head again to the SID’s quarters and tell everyone what they had missed.

Alone again, Shen Wei and Zhao Yunlan looked at each other, their hands still interviewed, ready to begin that new stage in their lives, together.