When Shen Wei walked into the school infirmary carrying packed food from the cafeteria, he saw Guo Changcheng standing timidly at the entrance, hesitating to go in. Meanwhile, the now proud black cat, Daqing, sat on the side with its belly exposed, nonchalantly licking its sleek black fur.

“Aren’t you…” Shen Wei started but hesitated slightly, realizing his attention had been focused on someone else. “I’m sorry, what’s your name?”

Guo Changcheng startled him at first, but then recognized Professor Shen.

Facing Shen Wei, Guo Changcheng felt much less pressure. In Shen Wei, he couldn’t sense the same oppressive aura that came from Zhao Yunlan… even with his amiable attitude. Perhaps this was the charm of being an intellectual. Guo Changcheng thought with envy that when he was with someone with a strong presence, he felt at ease and didn’t appear weak. When he was with himself, a complete loser, he also didn’t come off as overbearing.

Guo Changcheng sheepishly said, “My last name is Guo.”

“Oh, Officer Guo,” Shen Wei smiled. “What are you doing here?”

Guo Changcheng hesitated, unsure if he could disclose the task assigned to him by his leader. He was torn, so he lowered his head to gauge Daqing’s expression. However, Daqing was just a long-haired cat with a shiny black coat, and Guo Changcheng couldn’t find any clues in its appearance.

Daqing silently covered its face with its front paws—under broad daylight, why couldn’t they communicate properly without consulting a cat?

It felt that their wise and valiant leader’s conclusion about this peculiar intern was absolutely accurate and piercing.

Fortunately, Shen Wei was tactful and quickly said, “You know, what I just said didn’t even cross my mind. It was just a casual remark. Sorry if I gave you the wrong impression.”

Guo Changcheng felt ashamed and lowered his head… even though he didn’t understand why he should feel ashamed.

“Have you eaten? I bought a lot of food. If you don’t mind, let’s eat together,” Shen Wei suggested.

Guo Changcheng was about to refuse, but his stomach growled—since last night, he hadn’t eaten anything.

As he struggled to make a decision on the spot, Shen Wei successfully summoned Daqing, saying, “Come, Mimi, I bought milk. The doctor on duty is probably having a meal break. Let’s eat quietly, so no one sees us.”

Watching his backbone—fat cat Daqing—fall for the sugar-coated bomb, Guo Changcheng had no choice but to follow suit, bewildered.

Shen Wei probably didn’t want him to feel awkward, so he casually said, “Officer Guo looks young, about the same age as my students. You must have just started working recently, right?”

Guo Changcheng honestly confessed, “It’s my second day…”

Shen Wei laughed. “How does it feel to enter society?”

Not great at all… Although Guo Changcheng struggled to find the right words, he replied cautiously, “It’s fine.”

Shen Wei walked with Guo Changcheng and Daqing through the narrow corridor of the school infirmary. His eyes, hidden behind his glasses, flickered, but he nonchalantly said, “How are your colleagues and… your leader treating you?”

“Zhao Yunlan has been nice to me, um, that person in the morning. As for my colleagues…” Guo Changcheng’s expression twisted subtly, recalling the face of Old Wu, which resembled a paper mache, and Wang Zheng, whose head seemed stitched back on after being chopped off. He couldn’t help but feel a toothache as he said, “They… they are fine too.”

“Zhao Yunlan,” Shen Wei repeated softly and then asked, “Is Zhao Yunlan usually busy?”

Guo Changcheng scratched his head and said, “Probably… probably very busy? Today is my first day, so I don’t really know.”

Shen Wei looked at him and asked, “What do you think of him as a person?”

Guo Changcheng replied, “He’s good.”

Shen Wei glanced at him and said, “Why do you seem a little afraid of him?”

Startled, Guo Changcheng replied, “He’s the leader…”

Shen Wei laughed, realizing he couldn’t get much from him, and stopped tormenting him. Together, they arrived at Li Qian’s resting room.

Shen Wei seemed accustomed to taking care of others. He quickly arranged the food, set the tableware, found the microwave, heated a few bags of milk, and finally tore off the lid of a disposable lunch box, poured the warm milk, and pushed it in front of Daqing. “Let’s eat. Stop standing there.”

Guo Changcheng was already starving, but his appetite wasn’t particularly strong. Back in school, he didn’t often eat in the cafeteria—not because the food was bad, but because whenever the place got crowded, someone would come to share his table, making him feel uncomfortable and lose his appetite. Now, he had to eat with two strangers in a hospital room, which was even more challenging.

Li Qian didn’t seem to have much of an appetite either. Both her words and actions appeared disorganized. If it weren’t for the assurance from the school doctor that she was fine, Shen Wei would have suspected she was on drugs.

Professor Shen Wei noticed that as soon as he fell silent, the entire ward was filled with nothing but the sound of the black cat Daqing lapping up milk. He had no choice but to find something to say and asked Li Qian, “You said you’re a local, is your home far from here? If it’s not too far, you should go back and rest for a few days. If you need anything, I can talk to your supervisor on your behalf.”

Li Qian’s chopsticks paused almost imperceptibly, hesitated for a moment, and she softly replied, “At home… we’re holding a funeral. There are quite a few relatives who came in these past couple of days, and there’s not enough space.”

Shen Wei was taken aback.

Li Qian lightly tapped the rice in her bowl with her chopsticks, barely visible. She said hesitantly, “My grandmother… passed away a few days ago.”

Shen Wei immediately apologized, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know. My condolences.”

Li Qian didn’t respond, keeping her head down, swallowing spoonfuls of plain rice with difficulty.

Shen Wei picked up an extra pair of chopsticks and used them as shared utensils to put some food into her bowl. “The teacher bought a few things randomly, not sure if they suit your taste. Eat a little bit more.”

Guo Changcheng, who had been pretending he didn’t exist, suddenly interjected, “I was also raised by my grandmother. She passed away when I was sixteen, and because of that, I took half a year off from school.”

Shen Wei and Li Qian looked at him together.

Guo Changcheng fell silent for a moment, then mumbled, “I was always a disappointment since I was little. When other kids bullied me, I didn’t dare fight back or cry. When she found out, she took me with her all the way to find a school, then scolded me at home… She would take me out to buy yogurt, chocolates, candies, and vegetarian buns from Qingfeng, but she wouldn’t eat any herself. She gave everything to me, only taking a bite… I always thought when I grew up and earned money, I would take care of her and buy yogurt, chocolates, and small buns for her. But… she didn’t wait.”

Li Qian didn’t know what touched her, tears welled up in her eyes, while Guo Changcheng, unaware of the impact, didn’t seem like he was speaking to someone else. Instead, he sounded like he was talking to himself. “She passed away in her sleep one night. No one knew. The next morning when she didn’t wake up, they went to call her and found out… I dreamt of her all those years. When I took a break from school, I dreamt of her pushing me with her hand and telling me to study well. Then when I resumed studying, sometimes she would smile at me when my grades were good, and sigh with a frown when my grades dropped, until I entered university.”

Guo Changcheng’s appearance was like a frost-bitten eggplant. Shen Wei couldn’t help but touch his head.

Guo Changcheng shyly smiled at him, the smile fleeting. “I received my acceptance letter later than others… in the third round. It was already delayed until September. On the night when I last saw her, she told me, ‘You’ve become an adult, and Grandma can rest in peace.’ I asked her where she was going, but she just shook her head and said it was a place for the deceased, not for the living to inquire about. Since then, these years, I never dreamt of her again, not even once. My uncle said she was reincarnated.”

Tears streamed down Li Qian’s face like beads falling off a broken string, silently rolling down.

“What I mean is…” Guo Changcheng awkwardly scratched his head, surprised that he had spoken such a long passage. He almost admired himself for having so much to say. “Hey, classmate, don’t cry. When my grandmother passed away, I felt like my world collapsed. I thought I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my filial duties anymore, so what was the point of studying or working hard? I was willing to exchange my life for hers at that time, but… sigh, I still can’t speak properly. What I mean is, don’t be sad. Our deceased loved ones are watching over us.”

Once those words were spoken, Li Qian trembled uncontrollably. She cried loudly, unable to stop. By the end, she had lost some consciousness, her limbs twitching involuntarily.

Shen Wei hurriedly went out to call the school doctor. Guo Changcheng had never seen someone so heartbroken before, standing there at a loss.

The school doctor usually only prescribed cold medicine or antidiarrheals. Seeing this situation, they immediately wrote a note, “Transfer to the Second Hospital!”

Guo Changcheng could only follow Shen Wei in carrying Li Qian out of the school hospital and taking her to the hospital. Sitting in Shen Wei’s car, he supported the barely conscious stranger. Through the car window, as they watched Longcheng University gradually recede into the distance, Guo Changcheng felt more and more that work was truly a mess.

Shen Wei wasn’t Li Qian’s supervisor, advisor, or even her ideological and political education teacher. As a teacher for an elective course, he had already been conscientious and responsible to the utmost extent. At least, Guo Changcheng had never seen such a good professor in their shabby little school.

He took care of the registration and medical expenses, and even after they sent Li Qian to the emergency room, Guo Changcheng saw Shen Wei making a phone call in the hallway, inquiring about Li Qian’s condition and contacting her family.

Although Shen Wei’s tone had always been calm and polite, Guo Changcheng could still sense something was wrong. Every time Shen Wei spoke on the phone with Li Qian’s father, he would be interrupted halfway through a sentence, as if being cut off by the other party. After a moment, Shen Wei would helplessly hang up the phone, pinch his nose bridge, and make another call.

Several consecutive calls were like this.

Guo Changcheng observed coldly, feeling that Shen Wei didn’t seem like he was informing the parents about the student’s condition. The difficulty seemed as if he were petitioning for something. Li Qian’s biological parents, aunts, and uncles all pushed responsibilities around like kicking a ball, and in the end, no one said they would come and see her.

Even Guo Changcheng could sense a hint of anger. He thought, “This is truly messed up.”

It’s difficult for an upright official to resolve domestic affairs. That’s just how it is in other people’s families. Shen Wei had no other choice. After hanging up the phone, he crossed his arms and leaned against the wall, furrowing his brow.

He had broad shoulders and a narrow waist, with long and slender legs. The sleeves of his shirt were buttoned tightly, and he wore frameless glasses on his nose. At a glance, he looked like a male model exuding a fragrance of desire in a perfume advertisement. He stood there silently for a moment, and Guo Changcheng almost thought he would open his mouth and scold someone. But Shen Wei still didn’t say a word.

After a while, the creases between Shen Wei’s eyebrows remained, but he looked up and smiled at Guo Changcheng. “Thank you, Officer Xiao Guo. How about this, you go back first, and I’ll take care of this student myself. Don’t let it delay your other work.”

“I… I don’t have any other work…” Guo Changcheng stammered, coincidentally locking eyes with Daqing, whose head was desperately peeking out from the bag he carried. Under the green eyes of the cat, he blurted out, “Zhao Section Chief said for me to follow her, but she didn’t say what to investigate or when to come back…”

When the hot-bloodedness that Zhao Yunlan instigated in Guo Changcheng subsided, he instinctively understood something from this inexplicable mission—that he was slow, but not foolish. Following a sickly and unstable young girl was not a task to improve him. Zhao Yunlan probably just found him to be a hindrance.

Indeed, with his useless abilities and only causing trouble, who would want him?

“That’s not what Zhao Section Chief thinks,” Shen Wei said helplessly—although he knew very well that Zhao Yunlan definitely thought that way. “Don’t overthink it.”

Guo Changcheng once again turned into a melancholic mushroom with a fat head and big ears.

After a while, the doctor came out and said that Li Qian had experienced a shock. Combined with her long-term negative emotions, malnutrition, and low blood pressure, her reaction was quite intense. They had given her a sedative, and she had fallen asleep. They suggested she be hospitalized first.

Shen Wei had no choice but to complete her hospital admission procedures again. The miraculous combination of the two of them and the cat stayed with Li Qian in the hospital until the sun set, and not a single one of her family members came to visit.

Guo Changcheng asked softly, “Professor Shen, doesn’t her family care about her?”

Shen Wei didn’t know what to say, so he sighed.

Guo Changcheng sat by Li Qian’s bed and suddenly understood why she was so heartbroken, why her emotional reactions were so intense, why she cried convulsively and even attempted to jump off the building…

It was because perhaps the only person in the world who loved her was no longer here. From now on, no one would care about her joys and sorrows. No one would continue to gaze upon her figure, yearning for her to go farther away.

And the night fell just like that.