Perhaps it was the rapid drop in temperature in Longcheng this year. Before the leaves had a chance to turn yellow, they had all fallen. Zhao Yunlan felt a bit lazy and lacked enthusiasm for anything. There wasn’t much to do at work either. Apart from attending important social events and occasionally finding ways to pester Shen Wei, he spent most of his time at home.

Zhao Yunlan had left his parents early on and bought a small studio apartment of about 40 square meters in the city center. He lived the typical life of a bachelor—looking presentable on the outside, but living like a pig at home.

Daqing always felt that this generation’s “Soulchaser Chief” was a headache. Zhao Yunlan had ingeniously turned the “Soulchaser” into a government agency called the “Special Investigations Department.” He had great abilities and connections, and when handling cases, he demonstrated keen insight and decisiveness. However, Daqing always felt insecure.

The black cat always suspected that one day Zhao Yunlan would quit and focus on his promising life of revelry and debauchery. But Daqing, despite living for thousands of years, was just a cat, and Zhao Yunlan’s leisurely life was far less lively than it imagined.

Zhao Yunlan himself was probably a typical “silent after work” type, and no one knew where this peculiar habit unique to urban dwellers came from. He had been single until now, and besides the special nature of his profession, part of the reason was his own fault—charming and eloquent outside, but at home, he became a closed book. It wasn’t intentional coldness; he simply lacked the desire to communicate with others. If no one approached him, he could remain silent all night without even showing any expression, let alone expect him to engage in some interesting activities.

If not for the extra set of bowls and chopsticks at mealtime, it would be as if he didn’t exist.

Several past lovers had all ended the same way, with reasons such as “lack of communication,” “lack of passion,” “our personalities aren’t compatible, we have no common ground.” The most ridiculous one was a young girl looking at him with resentment and saying, “You never loved me at all, you never took me to heart.”

Zhao Yunlan was indeed a handsome and wealthy young talent, but this was Longcheng, where there was a shortage of wind, water, and time, but certainly not a shortage of young talents. Moreover, despite having some savings, these talents had no intention of buying decent properties. The place he lived in was essentially a hotel apartment with property rights, and the layout of the rooms resembled a hotel rather than a home. He exuded an unreliable vibe, clearly not someone who was living a settled life.

Having made plans to meet Shen Wei on Sunday night, Zhao Yunlan had no other arrangements for the day. After a night of heavy drinking, he comfortably stayed in bed until noon. With a small amount of dry bread and tea, he spent the day indoors. First, he went through various materials he could find, investigating the Four Supreme Beings of the Ghost Realm, and then he spent dinner time playing games.

Finally, when it was already dark outside, he felt a sharp pain in his stomach, diverting the attention of the focused gamer.

At first, Zhao Yunlan didn’t want to move and decided to tough it out with a cup of hot water. However, the pain in his stomach intensified, and after forty minutes, he was drenched in cold sweat. He decided to go out and find food.

It was already late autumn, and he couldn’t be bothered with dressing properly. He lazily put on a pair of pants over his pajamas, wrapped himself in a long coat, and didn’t even bother with socks. In such a sloppy state, he walked out.

Zhao Yunlan walked out of the residential area as if he knew the way by heart, crossed the road, and turned into a small alley. At the intersection, he entered a small restaurant and ordered a plate of fried rice and a bowl of porridge.

As the food had to be cooked on the spot, Zhao Yunlan suddenly realized that he was underdressed. He decided not to wait there foolishly and instead touched his coat pocket. He planned to take advantage of this time to buy a cigarette at the nearby convenience store.

Just as Zhao Yunlan was crossing a small road where two out of three streetlights were broken, he heard voices.

A man spoke rudely, “Hurry up and give me the money, stop wasting time!”

Another voice said, “Brother, don’t blame us. Everyone’s struggling. You’re dressed so well, clearly a wealthy person. Be sensible. It’s almost New Year’s, it’s best if everyone stays safe and sound, don’t you think?”

Oh, a robbery?

With New Year’s approaching, Longcheng was a mix of all kinds of people. The recent period seemed to have poor public security.

Zhao Yunlan strolled over slowly, squinting his eyes. He saw three or four hooligans surrounding a man, and the unfortunate victim turned out to be someone he knew.

Shen Wei.

What was he doing here?

It seemed that Shen Wei’s good temperament wasn’t limited to his students. Zhao Yunlan quickly noticed that he treated both friends and enemies with the warmth of spring. Even in the face of a robbery, as a normal adult male, he didn’t resist at all, not even with verbal attacks. He obediently took out his wallet!

The small hooligans realized that this was an “easy target” and immediately took advantage of the situation, saying, “Watch! If this damn thing is a designer brand, it’s worth several thousand bucks. Let’s snatch it!”

Shen Wei, without a word, handed over his watch as well.

“A bookworm is useless.” Zhao Yunlan sighed inwardly, feeling unable to bear it any longer. He walked over with his hands in his pockets.

He saw the small hooligans snatch Shen Wei’s watch, and with a push, Shen Wei stumbled and hit his back against the wall, revealing a red mark on his neck.

“Hey, let’s see what’s hanging on his neck. It might be jade,” one person said. “Or it could be agate or jadeite,” another person added.

Another person abruptly grabbed Shen Wei’s collar and rudely tore off a large piece of his neckline. It revealed a small pendant hanging between Shen Wei’s collarbones—a thing no larger than a fingernail. However, even before Zhao Yunlan, who hadn’t come closer yet, could see clearly, his eyes were dazzled. He couldn’t tell what material it was, but under the flickering streetlight, it seemed to emit a resplendent light.

“This… Is this thing a diamond?” one of the small hooligans widened his eyes and reached out his dirty hand to grab the pendant on Shen Wei’s neck.

Just then, Shen Wei, who had always been obedient like a filial child, finally frowned and raised his hand to grip the pendant. He spoke, “You’ve already taken my money and belongings. Don’t go too far.”

His face suddenly turned serious, like a mask coming to life. The person gripping his collar only then noticed that this man had dark, profound eyes, emanating an indescribable coldness. When he looked at people, it inexplicably made them feel a hint of fear. This startled the small hooligan, who involuntarily released his grip and took a step back.

However, they quickly reacted. There was only one person on the other side, and he seemed timid—no, could someone who readily gave money be so bold?

Damn, are we doing charity work?

The person closest to Shen Wei raised his hand and swung at his head—his experience taught him that when dealing with someone wearing glasses, he should surprise them by striking their head. The glasses would fly off, and the person would be knocked out. Then, he could give a kick to the lower body, ensuring that the opponent wouldn’t be able to get up.

But just as his hand was raised, before it could descend, someone suddenly kicked him hard from behind. The small hooligan felt a tightness in his chest and almost spat out blood. He rolled and crawled forward, while Shen Wei moved aside to avoid him. The small hooligan ended up crashing into the wall.

Shen Wei looked up in astonishment and saw Zhao Yunlan standing there, breathing between his hands, rubbing them together. Then, with a tone that was more thuggish than the small hooligans, he said, “On such a cold day, who’s stretching their muscles here?”

His kick had been thunderous, full of intimidation. The others hadn’t reacted for a while, until finally, one person abruptly spoke, “Who… Who are you? Mind your own business, I warn you.”

Zhao Yunlan tilted his head, and there was a crisp crack in his bones. He stomped his foot, his face showing a cold smile with a dimple, “Do you know where the grandchildren who dare to warn me are playing now?”

Five minutes later, Zhao Yunlan dialed the nearby police station and urged them to come and take the culprits away. After making the call, he used his toes to flick the person he had knocked down. “When I was hustling out there, you little bastards hadn’t even learned to suck milk yet. Next time before coming out, please make sure whose territory this is, okay?”

The small hooligan, who let out a painful scream when Zhao Yunlan stepped on him, said, “B… Big… Brother, we… We…”

“Who the hell are you calling big brother? Who do you think you are?” Zhao Yunlan kicked him again. “Can you crawl up the pole? Your granddaddy here is a bona fide policeman. Who’s your brother? What are you to me? Take off your belt yourself, hurry up!”

Shen Wei watched as Zhao Yunlan skillfully tied all the small hooligans to a lamppost. He even chuckled nonchalantly.

Only at this moment did Zhao Yunlan suddenly realize that he had just experienced a classic scene of heroically saving the beauty. This coincidence was so beautiful that he almost believed he had orchestrated it himself.

Zhao Yunlan couldn’t help but be invigorated. He suddenly felt that the world was beautiful, the air was fresh, and even his stomach didn’t hurt as much.

He returned Shen Wei’s wallet and watch. “I didn’t expect to run into you here. Are you okay?”

Shen Wei, with an elegant demeanor, dusted off his clothes and took his belongings. “Thank you.”

Zhao Yunlan’s gaze couldn’t help but linger on Shen Wei’s pendant for a moment. He finally saw that it was a hollow, transparent small sphere, emitting a fluorescent light from the things inside it. The color was warm, vibrant, and alive, something that couldn’t be artificially replicated in the world. It was almost… like a living thing.

He looked at that dazzling little thing, feeling an inexplicable sense of familiarity and fondness. However, Zhao Yunlan immediately realized that it was impolite to keep staring at someone else’s belongings. So he averted his gaze and casually said, “Aren’t you afraid of radiation? I’ve heard that these extra bright things are not good for the human body.”

Shen Wei tucked the pendant back into his clothes, close to his skin, and smiled without saying anything.

Zhao Yunlan wasn’t a curious person. Seeing that he didn’t want to discuss it, he tactfully dropped the subject. He raised his hand and buttoned up a button on his coat, covering a corner of his pajamas that was exposed. “These small hooligans are just all bark and no bite. Why should we be afraid of them? Have you eaten? Come, let me treat you to a late-night snack and surprise you.”

Shen Wei smiled, “But how can I let you treat me? It should be the other way around.”

As he spoke, he glanced back at the small hooligans tied together under the lamppost by Zhao Yunlan. He hesitated for a moment and said, “Actually, they’re not easy either…”

Zhao Yunlan turned around, rolled his eyes at Shen Wei’s back, and then remembered something. He asked curiously, “By the way, Professor Shen, do you also live nearby? How come I’ve never seen you before?”

Shen Wei’s eyes dimmed, “In a city like this, two people may live close to each other and never meet. But who knows, one day they may start running into each other every day. It’s all fate, I guess.”

Zhao Yunlan chuckled in agreement, not taking it to heart. As a shut-in, let alone living nearby, he couldn’t even recognize the neighbors on the same floor. Fate, a vague and elusive concept, had no relevance to him whatsoever.

Shen Wei fell silent and followed half a step behind him. In a place out of Zhao Yunlan’s sight, his gaze became extremely peculiar. Hidden behind his glasses, it shot out obscurely, staring at the man’s back with a mix of greed and restraint.