During the investigative process, it was reasonable to not involve unrelated individuals.
However, the temptation brought by the “technical occupation” was too strong, so after some contemplation, Lu Ye decided not to outright refuse Qi Yanbai.

“I can’t make a decision on this matter for now,” Lu Ye thought for a moment and suggested, “Here’s what we can do, Teacher Qi.
Come in and sit for a while, and I’ll ask my superiors.”

Qi Yanbai was an easygoing person.
He didn’t inquire about how long the process would take; he just nodded and said, “Okay.”

“But why do you still call me Teacher Qi?” Qi Yanbai’s tone was just right, both affectionate and playful, like a mix of intimate complaint and friendly banter between ordinary friends.
“You’ve had more than just two meals with me.”

“Isn’t that a sign of respect?” Lu Ye chuckled and changed the bag he was holding.
Then, he extended his arm and playfully draped it around Qi Yanbai’s shoulder, leading him into the police station.

“If you don’t like it, I’ll call you by your first name from now on,” Lu Ye grinned.
“Can I call you Yanbai?”

Qi Yanbai had heard Lu Ye call him many times before, but whether it was his full name or “Teacher Qi,” the feeling he got from hearing it this time was completely different.

Dropping the surname obviously represented a closer relationship, so Lu Ye’s tone became more relaxed and familiar.
Those words rolled off Lu Ye’s tongue, and when they emerged, the ending note lightly curved upwards, like a fine hook that effortlessly caught Qi Yanbai’s heart.

Qi Yanbai’s breath caught for a moment, and he even subconsciously wanted Lu Ye to say it again.

But the timing wasn’t right now; sometimes too much can be overwhelming.
So, Qi Yanbai could only regretfully suppress his restless feelings and softly agreed with a “Sure.”

His voice was soft, like a faint, cool breeze, and it lightly brushed against Lu Ye’s ears, tugging at him gently.
Lu Ye turned his head to look at Qi Yanbai, lightly squeezing his shoulder.

“Don’t be so easy going either,” Lu Ye smiled and half-seriously reminded, “Be careful not to get taken advantage of.”


Evening was the peak time for various police incidents.
Lu Ye guided Qi Yanbai through the lobby, where several groups of people were waiting to make statements, and led him to the second floor.
He settled Qi Yanbai in a public lounge area and then went to explain the situation to his superiors.

The last time Qi Yanbai had been to the police station, he had been downstairs as a complainant.
This time, he finally stepped into Lu Ye’s work area officially, and everything seemed so fresh.

As the door to the public lounge opened, the office of the Public Security Brigade was right across.
Qi Yanbai sat on the sofa, tilted his head, and observed the other side for a while, watching people come and go, trying to guess which desk was Lu Ye’s.

Lu Ye was an independent person.
He lived alone but always kept things organized.
His casual clothes were clean, always faintly smelling of laundry detergent.

So, Qi Yanbai guessed that his workspace shouldn’t be that messy either.
Although there were quite a few things, they were likely in an organized chaos.
Following this criteria, Qi Yanbai circled around the large office, and unsurprisingly, he found Lu Ye’s jacket hanging on the backrest of a chair in the right end corner.

Compared to the desks where signatures and stamps were flying all over, Lu Ye’s workspace was neat and tidy.
Office supplies like folders were neatly arranged on the shelf to the right of the computer, and personal items like a water bottle and wallet were on the left.
Qi Yanbai’s gaze traced over these items, as if he could mentally outline how Lu Ye looked while working.

Definitely handsome, Qi Yanbai thought.

He let his thoughts wander aimlessly for a few minutes, maybe three to five, before Lu Ye returned from outside and brought back a confidentiality agreement.


“The supervisor agreed.
In a moment, I’ll take you to create a suspect’s portrait,” Lu Ye handed Qi Yanbai the confidentiality agreement, then crouched down by the sofa, indicating the signature area, and advised, “But since this is an ongoing investigation, it needs to be kept confidential.
You can’t disclose details or the contents of the portrait, otherwise you’ll be legally responsible.

He spoke seriously, with a hint of detachment related to official business, but perhaps due to his humble demeanor, Qi Yanbai didn’t feel pressured.

“I understand,” Qi Yanbai signed his full name without hesitation and softly said, “You can rest assured, I won’t say anything.”

Lu Ye trusted Qi Yanbai’s character, nodding and putting away the signed confidentiality agreement.
He didn’t say much more, just took him to the waiting area at the other end of the corridor.

To maintain the utmost confidentiality for civilians, Qi Yanbai couldn’t be in close proximity to the victim herself.
They could only meet in an enclosed room separated by one-way glass.

“The victim will be arranged in the room next to yours.
We’ve prepared headphones inside the rooms for communication,” Lu Ye unlocked the door to the room and gestured to the table and chairs inside, asking, “All the drawing materials are ready for you.
Is there anything else you need?”

“No,” Qi Yanbai shook his head and said, “A pencil is enough.”

“Alright then,” Lu Ye said, “You can sit for a while.
I’ll be outside observing the situation.
If you need anything, just call me.”

He spoke and nodded to Qi Yanbai, then exited the room, considerately closing the door behind him.
He then called Yao Xing and had her bring the victim over.

Perhaps to create a sense of pressure for suspects, the identification room was quite small.
Coupled with no windows, it felt a bit stifling when the door was closed.


Qi Yanbai sat behind the only set of tables and chairs in the room.
His eyes wandered around, and he noticed a working camera in the corner of the room, aimed at the one-way glass.

The camera was hanging low, pointed directly at the center of the room.
Its red light blinking regularly, dutifully capturing everything.

The victim, the girl, was on her way back from the hospital to the police station.
Behind the one-way glass was a deep, pitch-black darkness.
Qi Yanbai put on the headphones for communication, hearing faint electronic sounds inside.
Suddenly, a layer of goosebumps formed on his skin.

Perhaps due to the environment, or maybe just psychological, despite knowing that there was nobody watching from behind the glass, Qi Yanbai inexplicably felt a sense of being scrutinized.

He unconsciously tightened his grip on the pencil in his hand, glancing around the room.
Unfortunately, the wall facing the hallway was also one-way glass, and Qi Yanbai’s gaze didn’t catch Lu Ye’s figure.

However, Qi Yanbai knew that Lu Ye was outside at this moment, and perhaps he was watching him.
With that in mind, he breathed a sigh of relief, forcing his attention back to the drawing materials in his hand, attempting to ease that strange nervousness.

Emotions triggered by the environment wouldn’t fade with time.
Qi Yanbai sat stiffly, still feeling awkward all over.

As he pondered what he could do to distract himself, the room’s door suddenly turned from the outside.
The next moment, Lu Ye walked in with a chair and sat down beside him.

When he appeared, the inexplicable feeling of being observed that had hung around the room vanished in an instant.
Qi Yanbai’s heart silently settled, and he suddenly felt reassured.

“Lu Ye?” Qi Yanbai was puzzled.
“Why did you come in?”

Lu Ye didn’t answer his question.
Instead, he asked, “Nervous?”

Qi Yanbai was taken aback for a moment, then instinctively asked, “How did you know?”

He was a little nervous, but he definitely hadn’t shown it that obviously.
Qi Yanbai was confident he wouldn’t slip up on something as small as this, especially since he was determined to subtly immerse himself in Lu Ye’s professional sphere.

“I saw you looking for me,” Lu Ye said.

Perhaps Qi Yanbai hadn’t realized it himself, but when he had been in the room just now, he had subconsciously looked outside several times.
At that time, Lu Ye was in the corridor making a phone call, and his gaze was clear.


It was only then that Lu Ye realized that they didn’t think much of the environment since they spent a lot of time at the police station.
However, this was Qi Yanbai’s first time in this kind of setting, so he might not be used to it.

Qi Yanbai blinked and his face, for once, revealed a trace of genuine unease.

He hadn’t expected the answer to be so simple, and he hadn’t expected Lu Ye to be so perceptive.
Furthermore, he hadn’t expected that Lu Ye would enter so readily based on those ambiguous glances, just to console him.

In that moment, Qi Yanbai felt an embarrassing sense of being seen through, yet at the same time, he was flooded with a complex mix of emotions—uneasiness combined with a hint of delight.

“Actually… I was a bit,” Qi Yanbai forced a smile and said, “But it’s okay, I’ll adjust.”

“No need to adjust,” Lu Ye said.
He took the headphones from Qi Yanbai’s ears and put them on himself.
Then he took the worn-out pencil from Qi Yanbai’s hand and replaced it with a new one.
“I’ve already asked a colleague to come and observe from the outside.
No need to worry.”

“I’ll stay here with you,” Lu Ye said.

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