Qi Yanbai admitted that when he said “saving a damsel in distress,” he was indeed testing Lu Ye a bit.
However, he didn’t expect to be so quick in having his words come true.
When he realized he was being followed, Qi Yanbai had just finished dinner and was leaving the restaurant.
The street was crowded with people, and there were many restaurants around.
Initially, Qi Yanbai didn’t notice anything unusual behind him.
It wasn’t until he had walked about ten or twenty meters ahead that he began to sense that someone seemed to be following him.
Having grown up in a family with a rather “abundant” population, Qi Yanbai was quite sensitive to malicious gazes.
Subconsciously, he slowed down his pace.
Seizing the opportunity while at a convenience store by the roadside, he turned to look behind him.
The person tailing him clearly lacked experience in following someone.
He walked openly in the crowd, his gaze firmly fixed on Qi Yanbai’s back.
He carried himself hunchbacked, bumping into people as he went, drawing disdainful glances from passersby, who kept their distance.
Qi Yanbai withdrew his gaze, handed change to the cashier, and the man behind him had caught up.
Through the half-open glass door of the convenience store, Qi Yanbai could clearly see the man’s face.
He appeared to be in his forties or fifties, wearing a somewhat worn black jacket over a pilled and wrinkled gray sweater.
The cuffs and collar were stained with conspicuous dark marks.
His face was flushed, eyebrows furrowed; at first glance, he looked menacing and aggressive.
Qi Yanbai observed him through the reflection in the glass, feeling that his features seemed somewhat familiar.
It was as though he had seen this person somewhere before.
But Qi Yanbai had only recently arrived in the city and had never had any conflicts with anyone.
He furrowed his brows and tried to recall, but he couldn’t figure out where he might have seen this person before.
It wasn’t a robbery.
Qi Yanbai quickly deduced that; otherwise, the person wouldn’t be following him so openly.
And it couldn’t be someone from his family.
If they wanted to find him, they wouldn’t hire such a low-level individual to track him.
Qi Yanbai had a rough idea, but regardless, this was late at night, and even if it was just a drunk, it could still be frightening.
Qi Yanbai didn’t know what the person following him intended, but it was clearly not something good.
So, he thought for a moment, took a drink from the cashier, then took out his phone and opened his contact list.
Qi Yanbai’s finger hesitated over the emergency hotline, for a moment.
Then, he scrolled down and dialed the second number on the list.
When they had parted at the police station, Lu Ye had left his number with him, saying he was busy with work and might not always see Qi Yanbai’s messages.
If there was an emergency, it would be more convenient to call him.
This line had been in Qi Yanbai’s contacts for a few days, but he hadn’t found a suitable opportunity to call.
Now, the opportunity had come, and he didn’t want it to go to waste.
Coincidentally, Lu Ye wasn’t on duty that night.
When Qi Yanbai’s call came through, Lu Ye happened to be having dinner with his colleagues at the night market in the eastern part of town.
“Hello, Teacher Qi,” Lu Ye answered the call quickly, “What’s going on?”
“L-Lu Ye…” The voice from the other end sounded somewhat nervous.
Qi Yanbai cleared his throat and didn’t answer Lu Ye’s question.
Instead, he said something unrelated, “I have some unexpected work to do, so I’ll be working late tonight.
I just wanted to let you know.”
Qi Yanbai hadn’t sent a voice message to him since adding him to his contacts.
Not to mention, he hadn’t expected to call with such an insignificant excuse.
Lu Ye frowned slightly, bidding his colleagues, grabbed his coat, and headed out.
“Are you somewhere you can’t talk openly?” Lu Ye asked.
“Yes,” Qi Yanbai quickly replied.
“Got it.” Lu Ye identified the background noises on the other end of the line, hearing distinct sounds of wind and traffic.
It sounded like he was outside.
Lu Ye paused for two seconds, listened to Qi Yanbai’s breathing, confirming that he hadn’t put him on speakerphone, and then asked again, “Are you outside?… Is someone following you?”
There were many restaurants on the street next to the training center, and some rowdy youths would sometimes get drunk and harass female students late at night.
Lu Ye thought Qi Yanbai was good-looking, with his long hair, and he wouldn’t put it past some intoxicated guy to mistake him for a female.
“Yes,” Qi Yanbai answered quickly again, “I just finished dinner and I’m heading back to the training center.
I’m almost there, just around the corner at the intersection ahead.”
“Got it, don’t worry.” Lu Ye’s dining place wasn’t far from the training center, and as he hurried over, he instructed, “Don’t take any shortcuts, walk where there are more people.
I’ll be there in a moment.”
Qi Yanbai watched as he was almost at the training center, and while he listened to Lu Ye’s instructions, he didn’t dare take the smaller path inside.
Instead, he turned slightly and prepared to make a turn, heading toward the main road nearby.
Lu Ye’s decisive manner, especially in such a situation, made Qi Yanbai feel safe.
His tense nerves relaxed a bit, and he responded with a quiet “Mm” into the phone.
However, before he could say anything else, he suddenly heard footsteps approaching from behind.
Shortly after, a rough and unfamiliar male voice came from the side, shouting incoherent dialect, and then forcefully knocked the phone from Qi Yanbai’s hand.
Qi Yanbai didn’t expect the sudden aggression, and he was taken aback.
He instinctively wanted to seek help from Lu Ye, but his phone was already flung a long way, smashing against the pavement and turning into a brick with a black screen.
“Did you, did you fucking call her?” The drunk man grabbed Qi Yanbai’s collar, reeking of alcohol that seemed capable of suffocating someone.
Qi Yanbai’s breath caught, and he was forced to cough a couple of times by the smell.
“Don’t fucking play tricks with me! Where’s my girl?” The drunk man shook Qi Yanbai’s collar violently, swearing, “Call my girl here now you bastard!”
Qi Yanbai frowned in disgust, his brows furrowing tightly.
He tried to twist the man’s hand to break free, but his physical strength was lacking despite his artistic talents.
After struggling for a while, he couldn’t manage to overpower the man.
He was even starting to feel dizzy from the alcohol breath.
“Who the hell is your girl?” Qi Yanbai retorted, “You’re out of your mind!”
Qi Yanbai was starting to have some regrets—he thought it was great this situation was happening as Lu Ye would be a hero and save him, but it would have been better to hire a thug to act in this play instead.
Even if he had to risk Lu Ye discovering it and spend some money, it would be much better than actually getting harassed by a drunk.
The drunk man kept repeating those same two sentences over and over again.
He mistook Qi Yanbai for someone else, and upon hearing Qi Yanbai’s denial, he suddenly flew into a rage.
He even raised his hand, seemingly to strike.
Qi Yanbai’s teeth were practically grinding together.
He clung onto the drunk man’s hand, seeing that the man’s hand was about to come down on him, he gritted his teeth and instinctively closed his eyes, turning his head away.
But before the drunk man’s hand could descend, it was caught in mid-air, and a hand reached over from the side.
That hand firmly grasped the drunkard’s hand that had grabbed Qi Yanbai’s collar, applying a bit of force to easily pry it away.
The drunk man cried out in pain and released his grip.
“Who’s your girl?” Lu Ye’s voice was calm, and with one hand, he effortlessly pushed the drunk man a couple of steps back.
He raised an eyebrow slightly, mocking, “Buddy, open your eyes and take a look.
You must be confusing him for someone else.”
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