On the day of departure, Zhao Yunlan’s face remained as solemn as a coffin until they reached the airport.

When the life-sized inflatable doll arrived at No. 4 Guangming Road and appeared before everyone, even the delivery boy who hadn’t had a chance to leave heard Zhao Yunlan’s furious roar.

He said, “Guo Changcheng, is that a chamber pot you’re carrying on your neck?!”

Guo Changcheng couldn’t adapt to the sudden removal of his leader’s gentle facade, and his face showed a dumbfounded expression overloaded with information.

Out of curiosity, Daqing reached out and scratched the large doll in front of him. Unintentionally, he triggered something, and the doll emitted a very realistic… disharmonious sound.

Daqing’s fur stood on end, and Zhao Yunlan’s face turned purple. He pointed at the doll and was so angry that he couldn’t speak for nearly half a minute.

Guo Changcheng looked like a frightened little mouse, with his eyes fixed, standing dumbly against the corner of the wall.

Zhao Yunlan struggled to suppress the anger in his chest. It was choking him, causing his throat to ache. After a while, weakly, he said to Zhu Hong, “Can you… find some clothes for it to wear…”

As he spoke, he realized it didn’t sound right, but before he could correct himself, the message notification sound from his phone, which he left in his office, rang. Zhao Yunlan muttered, “It’s driving me crazy.”

He slammed the door and left.

Zhu Hong turned her head and said to Guo Changcheng, “Did you make the ghosts so frightened that they can’t speak? Impressive.”

Guo Changcheng: “…”

He miraculously understood who Zhu Hong was referring to as “frightened ghosts.”

Lin Jing patted his shoulder. “I just realized, Xiao Guo, you are a true hero!”

Guo Changcheng was on the verge of tears.

Chu Shuzhi silently picked up Daqing the cat, covered its eyes with his hand, and with his usual expression of deep resentment, turned his head away, avoiding the sight of the unsightly thing.

Just before they were about to depart, Zhu Hong found a huge military bag from somewhere and stuffed the doll into it. She said to the air, “You stay in Mingjian for a while longer. We’ll let you out after we land.”

A wisp of white smoke flew out from Zhao Yunlan’s watch, circled around Zhu Hong, and finally stopped in front of her, revealing a blurry image of a young girl. Zhao Yunlan didn’t seem to make the ghost comfortable, and Wang Zheng appeared noticeably haggard.

“I’ll just pretend it’s motion sickness,” Wang Zheng said in a voice as delicate as a thread. Then she looked at her future body, and her misty eyes finally showed a hint of indescribable condemnation.

Guo Changcheng didn’t even dare to lift his head.

Finally, the entire Criminal Investigation Division of No. 4 Guangming Road shamelessly followed along. They had nothing better to do and were determined to see what on earth had provoked Zhao Yunlan, the revered figure.

However, no one dared to touch Zhao Yunlan’s sore spot along the way. Even Daqing had turned into a small cat pendant, obediently hanging on Zhu Hong’s phone. Their leader looked as if he was about to hijack the plane.

… Until they encountered Shen Wei and his students in the airport lounge.

Everyone watched as Zhao Yunlan’s darkened face suddenly cleared up, and his cold gaze melted away in an instant. The black aura that had been lingering around him dissipated instantly.

Then, without hesitation, he abandoned his colleagues and strode towards the man surrounded by the students, putting on a show of coincidence in their carefully arranged encounter. He said, “Shen Wei, what a coincidence!”

Shen Wei’s eyes flickered, and Zhao Yunlan couldn’t tell whether he was pleasantly surprised or shocked. In any case, it took a while before Shen Wei pushed his glasses and nodded, saying, “Officer Zhao.”

Zhu Hong watched the scene and seemed to suddenly understand something.

Among a group of teachers and students in an ivory tower, Zhao Yunlan easily became the one who controlled the situation. Shen Wei didn’t even have a chance to speak, and these mischievous kids were easily manipulated by Zhao Yunlan, revealing the specific destination and purpose of their field trip.

Zhao Yunlan asked with a smile, “It takes over ten hours of mountainous road travel between the urban area and Qingxi Village. How do you plan to get there?”

Shen Wei immediately understood the other’s ill intentions, but unfortunately, there were too many teammates who were as clueless as pigs. Just as he was about to speak, the female class leader in the red uniform quickly interjected, “By bus!”

Shen Wei: “…”

“The bus only runs once a day, departing at six in the morning. Moreover, it doesn’t follow the exact route to your destination. I know the bus you mentioned; it goes to a different county.” Zhao Yunlan became even more composed as he saw that he had hooked them.

The female class leader paused for a moment. “I checked the map, and it seems like we can get off midway and walk the rest of the way. It doesn’t seem far…”

“On your small frames, it will take about four to five hours,” Zhao Yunlan leaned back and glanced at Shen Wei from the corner of his eye. “To the east, there are plains, and to the west, there are mountains. In the mountainous region, according to the map, the distance isn’t far, but you may have to cross several undeveloped hills. I said four to five hours, assuming you won’t get lost. Just imagine, by the time you get off the car, it will already be evening. And then, walking for another four to five hours, you’ll probably end up camping in the wilderness. In this season, it’s already cold there to an unimaginable extent, camping in the snowy terrain…”

The students anxiously began discussing among themselves as expected.

Zhao Yunlan noticed Shen Wei looking at him with a half-smile, and he immediately felt the awkwardness of being caught in the act of trying to please someone. He couldn’t help but rub his nose and cough dryly. “Alright, alright, students, please calm down. In that case, I have a few friends who can arrange some cars for you. That way, everyone can go together and have someone to take care of you. What do you think?”

The female class leader hesitated, “Isn’t that too much trouble for you?”

Zhao Yunlan waved his hand and took out his phone. He reached out and hooked Shen Wei’s shoulder, winking at him. “What’s the problem? What’s the relationship between your teacher and me…”

Shen Wei turned his head, looked at him indifferently, and asked, “What relationship?”

Zhao Yunlan stumbled for a moment, Shen Wei’s gaze was like a hook—answering this question would be embarrassing himself in front of others, and answering too honestly would make him seem shameless. Zhao Yunlan changed his mind and said, “Neighbors! Remember, when you’re away from home, neighbors are closer than distant relatives. If you get along well, neighbors can be closer than real family. Isn’t that right, Teacher Shen?”

Shen Wei smiled with a hint of helplessness, which made Zhao Yunlan, who had ulterior motives, dizzy.

“Thank you,” Zhao Yunlan heard him say.

“What for?” Zhao Yunlan stood up and said graciously, “Oh, by the way, you haven’t had dinner yet, have you? Wait for me.”

Shen Wei didn’t stop him, and he had already turned and walked away.

Moments later, Zhao Yunlan came out carrying several large plastic bags. Fortunately, he hadn’t fainted completely, and he even handed two bags to Guo Changcheng as he passed by.

Chu Shuzhi said, “Oh, rare. I thought he forgot about us.”

Lin Jing casually said to the fried chicken leg, “Amitabha, forgive me, forgive me.”

Then the gluttonous monk couldn’t wait to take a bite of the chicken leg and grabbed a cup of cola.

The thing in Guo Changcheng’s arms was instantly divided among them. While he was still stunned, someone handed him a hamburger.

Guo Changcheng turned his head and saw it was Zhu Hong.

Zhu Hong handed him the food but didn’t look at him. Her eyes glanced at Zhao Yunlan’s direction. After hearing whatever Zhao Yunlan said, the whole group burst into laughter. It seemed that wherever that person was, he was the center of attention for everyone.

“Thanks…”

“No need to thank me.” Zhu Hong interrupted him, lowered her eyes, and glanced to the side. She leaned in close to him and asked, “Hey, who is that guy?”

Guo Changcheng realized she was talking about Shen Wei and said, “He’s a professor at Dragon City University. He helped us with the previous case. When Zhao isn’t around, we worked together to deal with the starving ghost. But Zhao said he wouldn’t remember that part.”

Narrowing her slender eyes, Zhu Hong muttered, “He’s already a professor? He looks so young… But professors should be quite old, right? He should be married with children, right?”

Guo Changcheng scratched his head in confusion, “How would I know?”

Zhu Hong glanced at him sideways, then her gaze shifted to Zhao Yunlan. Just as Shen Wei picked up a chicken nugget, Zhao Yunlan immediately tore open a sauce packet and handed it to him. Even from a distance, the tenderness in his eyes could be seen, as if it could drip with water. It was completely different from his morning behavior of jumping, cursing, and slamming doors.

“Hmm, well, it seems he doesn’t have a family yet.” Zhu Hong observed for a moment and came to this conclusion. “Even though Shameless Face is shameless, he never messes with married men… Oh my goodness, even a dog’s eyes would go blind.”

Zhu Hong and Guo Changcheng joined the onlookers. While the entire staff of the Special Investigations Department had been abandoned by their leader for three and a half hours—Zhao Yunlan changed seats under the pretext of wanting to hear Professor Shen’s lecture on Qingxi Village—their plane finally landed in the nearest city with an airport to their destination.

Just as they exited the airport, before everyone could truly feel the coldness unique to this high-altitude place, a middle-aged fat man in a fur coat, resembling a bear, stepped out of the row of SUVs parked at the entrance. The fat man held a sign with the name “Zhao Chu” and was craning his neck, looking around.

Zhao Yunlan, accompanied by two groups of people, walked straight towards him. The fat man looked at him, his expression first hesitant, then turning into a sudden realization and a warm smile as he eagerly greeted, “Zhao Chu! It must be you, right? I knew from your spirited appearance that you are the leader.”

“Oh, what leader?” Zhao Yunlan took a step forward, extending his hands to shake with him. “It’s really hard to find your way around in this place when you first arrive. Luckily, we have you, Brother Lang. We have peace of mind with you along the way.”

Brother Lang firmly shook his hand up and down, “No, when Xie Yuanming called me and asked me to help arrange a car, I said, can I do it? Xie Ge and I are sworn brothers. His friends are my friends. There’s a saying, ‘When friends come from afar…’ I had to come personally to pick you up!”

Zhao Yunlan widened his eyes in feigned surprise, “Is that so? You have such a close relationship with Fourth Brother Xie?”

Brother Lang said, “Of course! We even became brothers after getting drunk together once.”

Zhao Yunlan pointed at him, his face turning serious, “That’s your mistake. What’s the difference between my sworn brothers and yours? Brother Lang, what did you just call me? You’re being too distant, aren’t you?”

Brother Lang was a street-smart person, and after a momentary daze, he immediately changed his tune and laughed, “Ah, of course! Look at my mouth… That’s right, it’s great. In the future, I’ll tell everyone proudly that the leader from Dragon City is my brother. That’s quite prestigious! Let’s go, I’ll settle you in first, and then we’ll have a welcoming celebration. You can’t be polite with your old brother, being polite means looking down on me!”

The two of them continued their banter, with almost no room for others to interject.

Shen Wei and his students exchanged glances.

Zhu Hong followed along and whispered to Daqing on her phone, “Alright, now I understand how Minister Song became his brother-in-law.”