Xie Min said he couldn’t determine which person, himself or Sui Yang, was more abnormal at present.
Sui Yang seemed abnormal on the outside, while Xie Min carried his abnormality internally. They were evenly matched, lacking the necessary conditions for a lasting companionship.
Xie Min understood, in theory, that being a small toy couldn’t last forever, but he struggled to control his emotions. Even though his body lay in the hospital, transforming into a small rabbit still brought him a fleeting sense of guilty relief.
The next morning, Chi Yuan arrived at Sui Yang’s hotel. He accepted Xie Min’s phone and informed Sui Yang that Xie Min remained unconscious.
As a clothed little rabbit, Xie Min sat unmoving on the coffee table’s tissue rack, pretending to be a decorative item in the hotel.
Sui Yang asked Chi Yuan if there were any results from the tests. Chi Yuan hesitated briefly and said, “The results have come in…”
“Mr. Sui, I have a personal question to ask you,” he abruptly shifted the topic, “Did you plan to meet Mr. Xie yesterday, or was it a spontaneous decision?”
Sui Yang replied, “It was spontaneous,” and Chi Yuan fell into deep contemplation.
After waiting for a short while, Sui Yang spoke up, “Is there a reason why Assistant Chi brought this up?”
“It wouldn’t be quite appropriate to tell you in advance,” Chi Yuan pondered, “but… the hospital meals provided to the patients were different from what Mr. Xie ate. We reviewed the surveillance footage of the hospital kitchen and the meals at the time of discharge, but we couldn’t make sense of it or figure out which step went wrong. After reporting it to the chairman, he decided to involve the police. However, the police investigation should be discreet since Mr. Xie recently had a car accident, and we can’t afford any more fluctuations in the company’s stock price. There might be a need for your cooperation in the ongoing investigation, so I took it upon myself to inform you. I kindly request your temporary confidentiality regarding Mr. Xie.”
Sui Yang agreed, and Chi Yuan said goodbye.
After seeing Chi Yuan off, Sui Yang walked back to the little bunny figurine and picked up Xie Min.
“Something doesn’t seem right,” Xie Min commented.
Sui Yang nodded and asked him, “How did the hospital deliver your meals? Was there any difference between yesterday’s dinner and your usual meals?”
“Usually, they deliver different meals every day. Yesterday’s meal was not only exceptionally tasteless, but there was no visible difference in appearance,” Xie Min carefully recollected, “They have dedicated delivery staff who bring the meals to my home, and then the housekeeper unpacks and reheats them for me.”
“How long have you had your housekeeper?”
“It’s been three years. She shouldn’t have any issues.”
Xie Min’s housekeeper’s name was Wu Hui. She was efficient, quick with her hands, spoke very little, and barely made her presence felt. She never engaged in idle chitchat with him. Xie Min found her through a professional domestic services agency when he first moved out, and she had been with him ever since.
Sui Yang nodded without expressing agreement or disagreement. “Do you have more detailed information about the project we discussed yesterday?”
“I can access the intranet with my backup computer,” Xie Min informed him, “It’s in the safe at my home.”
“She’s not at home in the evenings, right?”
Xie Min replied with an “Mm,” and Sui Yang suggested, “Then let’s go to your place again in the evening and retrieve your backup computer, okay?”
When Sui Yang brought up the important matter, his tone became serious, devoid of any impatience, and it made him seem dependable. Xie Min softly said, “Thank you,” and Sui Yang reached out to stroke Xie Min’s bunny ears, saying, “No need to be polite with me.”
Sui Yang had to go out for work during the day. Xie Min didn’t want to accompany him. Instead, he stayed behind in the hotel apartment, basking in the sunlight and feeling extremely content.
Approaching noon, Xie Min indulged in a refreshing nap and dreamt of having a video call with Master Yi. Master Yi listed some better animal toys that Xie Min could possess and provided their respective prices.
Xie Min flipped through them one by one, as if perusing a menu and selecting dishes.
Upon waking up, Xie Min felt unsatisfied and turned on the tablet, beginning to search for toys while indulging in fantasies of soul-swapping.
Afraid that he might get bored, Sui Yang left the tablet in the hotel and even made a simple rotatable stylus stand for Xie Min, allowing him to operate the screen, read books, or watch movies. Xie Min was impressed by Sui Yang’s strong manual skills, wondering if he had previous experience in such craftsmanship.
While carefully examining a West Highland Terrier plush toy, perhaps due to the tablet’s connection with Sui Yang’s phone, an incoming call suddenly appeared on the computer screen. The caller was Zhuo Ping.
Xie Min remembered this name. Last time when she called Sui Yang, he took the phone and went outside the study. Considering himself to have basic social etiquette, fearing that he might accidentally press the wrong button, he quickly moved the stylus away from the screen. However, as he positioned the stylus stand on the bunny’s shoulder, his control was not proficient or precise. With a slight movement of the shoulder, he ended up clumsily answering the phone.
A knowledgeable female voice came through the speaker, “When will you come this week?”
Xie Min froze for a second, hastily maneuvering the stylus, and hung up Zhuo Ping’s call.
The surroundings fell silent, and Xie Min waited, feeling a mixture of complex emotions. With a dazed and contemplative state, he couldn’t help but wonder why Zhuo Ping and Sui Yang sounded so familiar in their conversation, as if Sui Yang visited her every week.
Xie Min didn’t know if Sui Yang saw that he had returned the call, but in any case, Zhuo Ping didn’t call back.
Less than an hour later, Sui Yang returned to the hotel.
Xie Min refrained from touching Sui Yang’s tablet anymore. The little bunny sat on the table, lost in thought. When Sui Yang walked in through the door, he felt a mixture of awkwardness and nervousness, remaining silent.
Sui Yang placed his clothes on the sofa and naturally approached him. “What have you been up to all day?”
“I read a bit and casually played with the computer,” Xie Min replied. Then, with a forced courage, he continued, “I accidentally answered your phone call. You must have noticed, but I hung up immediately without saying anything.”
“Oh, it’s alright,” Sui Yang lowered his head, reached out to touch Xie Min’s tummy, and said, “She’s my fitness instructor.”
Xie Min was taken aback, uttered an “Ah,” and Sui Yang smiled at him. “What did you think it was?”
“…Nothing,” Xie Min quickly replied.
“No need to be so nervous. I called her back and said I pressed the wrong key,” Sui Yang said. “It’s getting late. Let’s go to your place now. The housekeeper shouldn’t be there anymore.”
Sui Yang skillfully operated the software for Xie Min’s residential complex, received the access code, and put it in his pocket before leaving the room with Xie Min.
Xie Min crouched quietly in the darkness. At first, he was momentarily stunned, but then he couldn’t help but wonder why the fitness instructor’s call had to be answered outside the study.
It didn’t take long for Sui Yang to travel from the hotel to the residential complex. He entered Xie Min’s home, took out Xie Min, and held him in his palm.
As expected, the housekeeper had already left. They passed through the living room, and Xie Min noticed that the computer he had placed on the coffee table that day was no longer there. Perhaps Chi Yuan had taken it.
For some reason, Sui Yang was quieter than usual, silently heading towards Xie Min’s room. However, Xie Min called out to him, “Wait, first grab the key from my study.”
Xie Min’s safe had a dual-password lock, and the key was hidden inside a book in the study.
Sui Yang led him to the study, obtained the key, and as they walked towards Xie Min’s room, he remarked, “You have good security awareness.”
Xie Min ignored his comment and instructed him to go to the cloakroom. He himself walked to the far end and opened the cabinet door.
Sui Yang inserted the key, turned it once, opened the keypad, and Xie Min told him the password. Sui Yang paused, looking at Xie Min as if wanting to say something, but he remained silent. After entering the password, he retrieved the backup computer.
As they entered the elevator, Sui Yang finally spoke, “Why has the password remained unchanged all these years?”
Xie Min suddenly remembered that Sui Yang also knew this password. It was a combination of his own lunar calendar birthday and his middle school student number. It was also the password he used on his computer when he was a child.
Back then, he always asked Sui Yang to help him with his homework, and Sui Yang had used it many times. However, he hadn’t expected Sui Yang to still remember it.
“I don’t use it for anything else anymore,” Xie Min simply said, “You have a good memory.”
Sui Yang remained silent. After exiting the elevator and walking towards the outside of the residential complex, he suddenly stopped, took out Xie Min, turned him in a certain direction, and asked, “Is this your housekeeper?”
Xie Min focused his gaze and saw Wu Hui hastily entering the building, then turning towards the direction of the elevator.
“Why would she come so late?” Sui Yang whispered.
Xie Min also felt puzzled, but Sui Yang didn’t linger and took Xie Min back to the hotel.
Xie Min noticed the issue concerning the company’s major project this year, which involved a substantial investment. Before his accident, Xie Min personally reviewed every payment. He had a good memory and kept all the detailed budget figures in mind. Just over a month had passed, but the payment progress was not in line with the progress of the project, raising his suspicion.
Going through the project again with Sui Yang, the more Xie Min looked at it, the more it seemed familiar. Three years ago, the company had faced a similar situation where it was discovered that a manager was involved in corrupt activities, profiting from it. The company even went to court against him.
The strange feeling intensified compared to during the day. Xie Min finally started to feel restless and anxious. He sensed that if he didn’t return, his physical body lying in the hospital would be in danger. He became restless, and the fleeting moments of leisurely joy vanished.
The trust from his subordinates and father was not sufficient to maintain his sense of security after being separated from his body. He felt it would be better to leave the little bunny as soon as possible.
Sui Yang was still looking through the documents. Xie Min crouched down, keeping him company for a while, pondering various thoughts. Suddenly, an idea struck him, “Sui Yang, do you think we could contact Master Yi and ask if there is any way to force me back into my body? Actually, I’m not that afraid of pain. I’m afraid that if I don’t return soon, someone might harm me.”
Sui Yang’s gaze shifted away from the computer, he glanced at Xie Min and said, “I’ll ask.”
He made a phone call to one of Master Yi’s disciples to schedule an appointment with Master Yi.
Master Yi had availability tomorrow afternoon for consultation services. After Sui Yang made the appointment, he sent the consultation fee in advance.
Xie Min stayed on the desk, grateful as he watched Sui Yang operate the phone. Suddenly, he caught a glimpse of Sui Yang’s phone screen reflecting off the steel vase behind him. Xie Min only glanced at it because, like accidentally answering Sui Yang’s call, it didn’t seem very polite. However, due to his good memory, he couldn’t stop himself from remembering the image he saw.
He noticed something off about the transaction record Sui Yang made to Master Yi. It seemed a bit suspicious.
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