Qi Yanbai hadn’t expected Lu Ye to appear so quickly.

When he heard Lu Ye’s voice, Qi Yanbai was momentarily stunned, and then he realized what was happening and abruptly opened his eyes.

“Lu Ye!”

Lu Ye had dashed over from across the street.
He hadn’t fully caught his breath yet.
Upon hearing Qi Yanbai’s voice, He sized him up from head to toe, his gaze lingering for quite a while on the messy collar and side of Qi Yanbai’s face.
Seeing that he wasn’t injured, Lu Ye’s tone relaxed a bit as he asked, “Are you okay?”

Qi Yanbai always appeared gentle and harmless in front of Lu Ye.
He struggled to calm down the anger and disgust in his heart.
He let out a sigh of relief and said, “I’m fine.”

The drunken man didn’t realize where Lu Ye had appeared from.
He was pulled by Lu Ye, looking nervous.
He struggled fiercely and pushed Lu Ye away with force, cursing loudly, “Get lost, what’s it to you? I’ve got AIDS, mind your own business, or I’ll kill you.”

“Wow, what a coincidence,” Lu Ye chuckled and said, “I’ve got rabies.”

He didn’t take the drunkard’s crude threat seriously at all.
Turning to Qi Yanbai, he nodded slightly, indicating to him to retrieve his phone.

“Take a good look, you must have got the wrong guy, he doesn’t know who your girl is.” Lu Ye, who wasn’t officially on duty that day and thus didn’t have much authority, tried to reason, “Stop bothering him and find a place to sober up.”

The drunkard didn’t seem to fully comprehend Lu Ye’s words or intentions.
He squinted his eyes, struggling to focus on Qi Yanbai for a while.
It was unclear whether he was contemplating or recognizing something.

Following his instructions, Qi Yanbai walked to the side and bent down to pick up his phone.
He casually dusted off the faint ashes on its surface and then pressed the power button, checking if the phone had been damaged.

The corner of the drunkard’s eye caught the screen lighting up.
He struggled to sit up, and his expression changed immediately.
He swore, “Are you trying to call her again? Let me tell you, you’re delusional—”


He struggled and attempted to grab Qi Yanbai’s phone.
When a drunkard went into a frenzy, they could be surprisingly strong.
Lu Ye, relying on just one hand, momentarily couldn’t control him.
He had no choice but to grasp the drunkard’s shoulder, trying to pull him away from Qi Yanbai.

However, for some reason, the drunkard, apparently agitated by something, was determined to get to Qi Yanbai.
His eyes, reddened by alcohol and he suddenly took out a gleaming, sharp fruit knife.
He viciously lunged toward Qi Yanbai, swinging the knife recklessly.

The knife glinted with a cold light, and Qi Yanbai’s heart skipped a beat.
He instinctively wanted to shield Lu Ye.
But Lu Ye had already stepped forward, sidestepping the blade, and reached out to twist the drunkard’s wrist forcefully.
The fruit knife instantly slipped from his grasp, clattering onto the ground.

Qi Yanbai’s heart was still beating fast.
Before he could stabilize himself, the drunkard went mad and pounced.
Qi Yanbai instinctively tried to dodge, but Lu Ye had already extended his arm, positioning himself between Qi Yanbai and the drunkard.

The drunkard, without the knife, perhaps acting on impulse, bit down fiercely on Lu Ye’s wrist.
His bite was strong, and blood immediately dripped from Lu Ye’s wrist.
Qi Yanbai’s expression changed abruptly, and a surge of uncontrollable anger welled up from deep within him.

Qi Yanbai had always maintained a façade of harmlessness, but at this moment, a crack appeared in that façade, revealing a glimpse of genuine panic and anger.

“Lu Ye!”

“I’m fine.”


Lu Ye shook his head at Qi Yanbai, signaling him not to approach.

Qi Yanbai gazed into Lu Ye’s eyes for a few seconds, suddenly recalling something.
He grabbed Lu Ye’s hand and tried to lead him away.

“He said he’s sick.” Qi Yanbai spoke rapidly, “We should go to the hospital—”

“You actually believed his nonsense?” Lu Ye chuckled and reached out to hold him, saying, “I bet he was simply bluffing, trying to scare me.”

Qi Yanbai was being led away by him, but he couldn’t take his eyes off Lu Ye’s bleeding wrist.
The tobacco scent wafted in the air, and Qi Yanbai couldn’t help but feel touched.

Qi Yanbai knew he had lost control earlier and almost revealed a different side of himself.
He was aware that Lu Ye preferred straightforward and simple interactions.
Therefore, he had always appeared gentle and kind in front of him.
Yet, in that moment, he indeed couldn’t control his emotions.

He wasn’t sure if Lu Ye had noticed anything from those few minutes, but he took a deep breath and found his composure once again in Lu Ye’s embrace.

“But it’s still not safe…” Qi Yanbai withdrew from Lu Ye’s embrace, his head lowered as he stared at the floor tiles.
He said, “It would be better to go to the hospital.”

After all, it was unclear where the drunkard man had come from.
Even if his threat was baseless, it was best to go to the hospital and get a dose of post-exposure prophylaxis for safety.

As the night grew darker, the emergency room at the New City People’s Hospital was relatively quiet.
Qi Yanbai accompanied Lu Ye as he registered and got medication.
He sat at waiting room, holding Lu Ye’s coat and waiting outside for him.


He held Lu Ye’s coat tightly and lowered his head to smell the tobacco scent on the collar.
From the depths of his heart, he felt a stirring.

In Qi Yanbai’s experience of over twenty years, everyone’s kindness towards him had been motivated by some purpose—his father wanted him to paint, to bring glory to the family; his mother’s kindness was meant to make him excel, garnering more attention from his father; students and parents were friendly to him out of respect for the title of “teacher,” and also hoping he would look after their children; the kind elderly neighbors wanted mutual assistance with him.
Even the single parent who gave him biscuits aimed to develop a closer relationship.

Only Lu Ye seemed to have no ulterior motives and hadn’t tried to gain anything from these past interactions.
He wasn’t even in uniform today and had no formal “protect the people” duty.
Yet, he had shielded Qi Yanbai and gotten hurt from a suspected AIDS-risk drunkard.

How could there be someone like this, Qi Yanbai wondered.

Something seemed to be taking root and sprouting within him.
The memory of that thin sketch of Lu Ye in his apartment seemed to have been painted with another color, Qi Yanbai leaned against the cool wall, closing his eyes.
Once again, the vivid image of Lu Ye’s bloody wrist came into his mind.

However, compared to the anger he felt at that moment, Qi Yanbai now, in a moment of calm, captured a faint thread of thought amidst the complex emotions.

He seemed to have been not only angry but also experiencing a subtle kind of joy in that overwhelming anger.

This joy was subtle, deep, and hard to detect.
Qi Yanbai followed this thread back, and an abrupt realization popped into his mind.

—He wanted to kiss Lu Ye’s wound.

As he followed this train of thought, Qi Yanbai sensed something new arising from the mix of his emotions.
He tightened his grip on the coat, listening to the hushed conversations from the treatment room.
Suddenly, his heart leaped, sensing an unfamiliar emotion.

Something seemed to be flowing out from his heart slowly, and it was complex beyond imagination.
Mingling with his racing heart was an indescribable mixture of pity and joy, guiding him silently and reminding him of something.

I might actually like him, Qi Yanbai finally realized.

As this thought surfaced, the hidden attractions suddenly became vivid.
The desire to be close to Lu Ye, unexplainable until now, finally found its answer.
Qi Yanbai recalled a night not long ago when he had felt like a trapped animal and the way Lu Ye had looked back at him giving rise to a new sense passion inside him.

So this is what love at first sight feels like, Qi Yanbai thought.

He suddenly understood his own feelings and the source of his possessiveness.
However, Qi Yanbai didn’t feel that things were beyond his control.
In fact, quite the opposite.
He felt a surge of excitement and clarity, merging into something new.


Qi Yanbai had always wanted to possess Lu Ye, but he hadn’t found a way.
He had been circling around the edges clumsily.

But now, he had a clear and natural way forward.

Qi Yanbai was pleased that his genuine fondness for Lu Ye proved that he could use an alternative method to reshape their relationship.

Because love is the most mysterious thing in the world.
It’s the deepest shackle, quietly binding even the hardest hearts.

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