Not sure if it was an illusion, but in the instant the door opened, Lu Ye seemed to catch a glimpse of coldness in Qi Yanbai’s eyes.
But that feeling passed in an instant.
The next second, Qi Yanbai had already lowered his head slightly.
He gripped the door frame with one hand and glanced at Lu Ye nervously.
Hesitatingly, he asked, “May I ask… is there something you need?”
There was a hint of doubt and surprise in his voice.
Lu Ye assessed him and thought that maybe the strange sensation he felt earlier was just a trick of the light.
Honestly, Lu Ye hadn’t expected to see “Professor Qi” here.
Perhaps the image of him during the day was so strong in his mind that it was difficult for Lu Ye to connect Qi Yanbai with the idea of “engaging in prostitution” at this moment.
Although men could be one way during the day and completely different at night, Lu Ye discreetly looked Qi Yanbai up and down.
He couldn’t help but feel that there might be a misunderstanding in all of this.
Qi Yanbai was still wearing the same outfit he had during the daytime class.
Perhaps he hadn’t had a chance to change after coming back from work.
He had rolled up his sleeves, tucking the hem of his shirt neatly into his belt.
The front was clean and orderly, with only slight creases on the sides of his waist, marks left from sitting.
Lu Ye quickly estimated the time from when he knocked on the door to Qi Yanbai opening it.
It didn’t take more than a minute and a half in between.
If he had indeed been engaging in illegal explicit activities at home, it didn’t seem like enough time for him to dress so neatly.
Qi Yanbai’s apartment wasn’t brightly lit, but the entire living room had an open layout.
Lu Ye’s gaze passed over his shoulder and scanned inside.
He didn’t see any signs of a second person being present.
What’s going on, Lu Ye wondered.
Did he respond to a false alarm, or was Qi Yanbai just exceptionally fast, finishing whatever he was doing in such a short amount of time?
The old police officer Li Zhiwen, who was a bit behind Lu Ye in the dark, drew closer to examine the apartment.
After a quick glance, Li Zhiwen furrowed his brow slightly and signaled to Lu Ye.
He stepped back a few steps into the stairwell, indicating for Lu Ye to go in and assess the situation, while he contacted the command center to confirm the alarm information.
Understanding Li Zhiwen’s gesture, Lu Ye nodded slightly and then shifted his position to block Qi Yanbai’s view.
He spoke, “We received a report from the public about alleged prostitution activities happening here.”
Because there was a possibility of a misunderstanding in this situation, Lu Ye’s attitude wasn’t overly aggressive.
After pausing for a moment, he continued, “Could you please cooperate with the investigation?”
Qi Yanbai usually maintained a gentle and kind image in front of others.
Within just a few minutes, he had regained his composure.
Hearing Lu Ye’s words, he nodded and kindly stepped aside, inviting Lu Ye in.
“…Sure,” Qi Yanbai softly replied, “Please come in.”
The layout of the Twin Apartment varied in size.
Qi Yanbai rented a medium-sized layout, a two-bedroom and one living room.
The living room and open kitchen were connected, allowing one to see all the way to the back at a glance.
Lu Ye entered the apartment and thought for a moment.
Just as he was taking shoe covers out of his pocket, Qi Yanbai timely spoke up, “It’s alright, just come in.
I’ll clean up later.”
Since he had put it this way, Lu Ye didn’t stand on ceremony.
He thanked him and entered the living room.
Qi Yanbai’s home was quite simple, with white walls and tiles.
Apart from a few essential pieces of furniture, there weren’t many personal items around.
There was only an easel standing conspicuously in the middle of the living room corridor.
Lu Ye’s gaze lingered on the easel covered with white paper for a couple of seconds, then he looked away and walked to the balcony to pull back the curtains and look outside.
“By the way, could you please show me your ID?” Lu Ye mentioned.
Qi Yanbai seemed to be at ease with Lu Ye glancing around.
He didn’t say anything and turned to walk towards the entrance, where he took a backpack hanging by the door.
After Lu Ye finished looking at the balcony, he opened the bedroom door nearby without thinking and took a look inside.
The bed in the bedroom was neatly made, with the sheets smoothed out, without even a single crease.
Whether it was engaging in prostitutional activities, in the time that had passed, even if the people involved had left, there should still be some evidence.
Lu Ye walked around each room, forming a rough idea of what had happened.
“This is my ID.” Qi Yanbai returned just in time.
He handed over his ID card and glanced nervously at Lu Ye’s expression, as if hesitating whether to explain himself.
“Well…” Qi Yanbai licked his lips and said softly, “This might be a misunderstanding.
I haven’t done anything illegal.”
Lu Ye glanced at the ID card and finally learned Qi Yanbai’s full name.
Qi Yanbai, Lu Ye thought, a name that sounded quite artistic.
“It’s alright, don’t be nervous.” Lu Ye knew that in all likelihood, this was a case of mistaken identity.
He spoke apologetically, “Thank you for your cooperation.
Seems we got the wrong person.
This was something any police officer would say, but Qi Yanbai seemed genuinely comforted by it.
He let out a sigh of relief, his tense posture relaxing.
In the meantime, Lu Ye received a new reminder on his phone.
Li Zhiwen had managed to contact the person who reported the incident and was verifying the situation.
He asked Lu Ye to wait a bit longer.
Lu Ye replied with an “OK” and was about to go out to the corridor to check the situation when he accidentally bumped into the easel.
The piece of white paper covering the canvas fell off with a swish, and Lu Ye quickly caught it.
Qi Yanbai hadn’t shown anyone his oil paintings in many years.
His heartbeat seemed to pause for a moment.
He instinctively tightened his grip on the doorframe, and in an instant, he felt a rush of coldness in his hands and feet, even more nervous than when the police knocked on his door.
However, Lu Ye seemed not to notice his unusual behavior.
He straightened up, casually placed the paper back on the coffee table, and glanced at the painting, saying, “Isn’t this well-painted? Why is it covered?”
His initial comment was just a casual observation, an attempt to lighten the mood a bit, but Qi Yanbai seemed to be touched by this simple statement.
He lifted his head and gave Lu Ye a glance, asking, “You think it’s good?”
Lu Ye had no artistic sense whatsoever.
He didn’t understand colors and lines, and he judged paintings based on whether they looked realistic or not.
In his outsider’s eyes, Qi Yanbai’s painting, even without fine details, clearly depicted something.
To Lu Ye, it was already quite impressive.
“It’s pretty good,” Lu Ye said, “At least better than most people.”
It was a mundane and perfunctory evaluation, far from an artistic critique.
However, Qi Yanbai seemed to receive it like a divine compliment.
He smiled gently as if he had been praised by a deity.
Lu Ye was just offering a casual compliment, not thinking much of it.
But coincidentally, his phone reminded him of something again.
So, he took a couple of steps toward the door, checked the message, and then turned to say goodbye to Qi Yanbai.
“Very sorry about the misunderstanding.
Thank you for your understanding,” Lu Ye said.
“It’s alright,” Qi Yanbai smiled and escorted him to the door.
“Thank you for your hard work officer.”
Li Zhiwen had already gone downstairs to start the car, while Lu Ye remembered something as he was about to leave.
He fumbled in his pocket and pulled out a slightly crumpled bandage, handing it to Qi Yanbai.
“By the way, be careful when cutting paper for your paintings,” Lu Ye advised.
“Use less pressure with the knife and watch your fingers.”
He delivered this reminder, and Qi Yanbai stared at the bandage in his hand for a moment, then lowered his head, only to discover that his right index finger had been cut open at some point.
Blood was slowly seeping from the small wound.
Qi Yanbai instinctively pressed on the narrow cut, and a mixture of stinging and itching sensations spread from his fingertips, making his entire right hand tingle.
He remained stunned for a moment.
Shortly after, a sudden urge welled up inside him, compelling him to take a few quick steps to catch up to Lu Ye before he left.
“Officer,” Qi Yanbai called.
Lu Ye halted upon hearing the voice, turning to look at him.
The overhead lights in the corridor illuminated Lu Ye, accentuating his stern brows and eyes, as if darkness couldn’t escape his notice.
Qi Yanbai gripped the door frame and didn’t follow him outside.
He hesitated in the dim evening for a moment before speaking up, asking, “Could you tell me your name?”
Lu Ye knew that being asked for his name at a time like this was not a good sign.
Tomorrow, there might be a complaint filed against him, a written report sitting on his desk.
However, as he looked at Qi Yanbai, Lu Ye still answered the question.
“Lu Ye,” Lu Ye said, “Wilderness of the wilderness.”
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