The rain stopped gradually. Feeling very full, Xie Min leaned back on the chair to rest.
“Did you have any plans tonight, Mr. Xie?” Sui Yang asked.
Xie Min said, “No.” So, Sui Yang told him about a friend who had recently opened a hot spring resort in the suburbs of Yuhai City and asked if Xie Min wanted to go there overnight.
To avoid his father, whenever Sui Yang came, Xie Min would put his phone on silent mode. As long as there was somewhere to pass the time, he considered it good enough. He didn’t feel like driving, so he changed seats with Sui Yang and watched him open the navigation.
The resort was close to the elderly care project that Xie Min had visited yesterday. In recent years, after the roads were built, there was significant development in that mountainous area, with many large projects being constructed there.
Xie Min lazily half-lay, watching the green, moist plants along the road quickly pass by. He felt much more relaxed.
He turned on the radio and listened to the midday news of Yuhai City.
“Recently, the police discovered two cases of smuggling cultural relics at Port No. 3 in the city,” the voice of the female anchor came from the background. “What’s important to note is that the origin of these relics couldn’t be traced, and their source hasn’t been found yet. Experts suspect that there might be undiscovered looted tombs. We urge the public to provide any information. If you have any leads, please contact…”
Xie Min yawned and discussed with Sui Yang, “Did you hear? They said it was Eastern Han Dynasty figurines and stone portraits. They were sold at high prices on the black market but got caught before they could be taken out.”
Xie Min learned about this when Sui Yang showed her paintings.
Shi Shanshi said that initially, the smuggling operation was conducted very discreetly by the smuggling group. However, as if it was meant to be, because the stone portraits were too large, their sharp corners tore through the packaging. During the transportation, the stones became visible from the cardboard, and the dockworkers nearby noticed something was wrong and secretly reported it to the police.
The police seized the stone portraits and conducted inspections on the cargo at several docks, leading to the discovery of two smuggled figurines.
Sui Yang has been busy lately and doesn’t know much about this.
Xie Min sat there, bored, and described the whole incident to him. Sui Yang somehow started smiling and praised Xie Min for his storytelling talent, asking if he could tell more.
The two of them chatted as the resort approached.
The hot spring resort was built halfway up the mountain, requiring some more driving after entering the gate. They went to the lobby to check-in. Xie Min bought some fresh clothes for the evening at the boutique. A staff member led them to their accommodation.
Most of the villas in the resort had private hot springs. Xie Min entered their villa, lay down on the sofa, and glanced at his phone screen, noticing missed calls and messages from his subordinates and father.
He only glanced at the messages sent by Chi Yuan and Tan Sichen. They were just some unimportant work information and schedules. He tossed the phone aside and decided to take a short nap.
Sui Yang walked up to him, leaned down, and touched his face. “Feeling happier now?”
“I’m not unhappy,” Xie Min replied with his eyes closed, stubbornly.
Sui Yang’s fingers brushed against his eyelashes, which tickled him. Then he heard Sui Yang say, “Xiao Tu.”
Sui Yang calling him “Xiao Tu” sounded more extreme than calling him an “elementary school student.” Xie Min was about to open his eyes and reprimand him when Sui Yang kissed him. Sui Yang’s kisses always made Xie Min feel cherished. They spoke more seriously than words, as if there was an indescribable fondness.
Xie Min felt like he understood.
The wind in the mountains was warm, blowing in through the gauze window, carrying the dampness of the rain and the scent of leaves.
Xie Min was originally not someone with strong demands, and he didn’t understand why Sui Yang always carried these things around everywhere. The cool breeze from the air conditioner mixed with the humid mountain wind. Xie Min didn’t want to make a sound, fearing someone would hear, but Sui Yang had great strength and knew more than Xie Min did. He coaxed Xie Min, making him forget his principles and say things he had never heard before.
They fooled around in the room until late into the night. Xie Min didn’t find rest in the spa resort.
Around eight or nine o’clock, Sui Yang ordered room service. Xie Min ate a few bites but felt drowsy and returned to bed. Not long after, Sui Yang joined him. Sui Yang’s hand was warm, holding onto Xie Min’s waist. Xie Min pushed him away, but as soon as Sui Yang leaned in, he pressed his lips against Xie Min’s. The phone on the bedside table rang.
After kissing Xie Min for a while, Sui Yang finally went to answer the phone.
Xie Min was already drifting off to sleep when he suddenly heard Sui Yang say, “Wu Hui didn’t get on the car, are you sure?” His drowsiness vanished instantly as he opened his eyes and saw Sui Yang looking at him, playing the audio from his phone. Investigator Chen Liao spoke on the other end of the phone, “I checked all the recent shifts for the past two weeks and the future ticket bookings, but there is no record of Wu Hui. We did find her hometown acquaintance who mentioned that her mother passed away many years ago.”
“Her phone has been turned off for three days,” Chen Liao said. “The last call was made on Sunday night to her son who is working in the south. She suddenly asked her son to look for a house, claiming that she had enough money for the down payment.”
Listening to Chen Liao’s words, Xie Min sat up slightly, feeling a bit dizzy as he slowly pieced together the recent events in a timeline.
During the month when he was in a coma due to a car accident, there were issues with the project’s progress. As soon as he woke up, food brought by a delivery person using a fake identity was once again delivered to the hospital.
After Xie Min was admitted to the hospital, his father reported it to the police. The project’s financial manager was exposed for fabricating false contracts and embezzling funds. With the situation resolved, the project resumed smoothly. However, the whereabouts of the delivery person remained unknown.
Lastly, two days ago, Tan Sichen informed Xie Min that his housekeeper, Wu Hui, had an urgent matter at home and quit her job. Xie Min’s heartbeat accelerated instantly. He turned to look at Sui Yang. After a few seconds, he finally uttered the words, “Sui Yang, it seems like something is wrong with Xiao Tan.”
Sui Yang looked at him, slightly taken aback. Before Xie Min could articulate his thoughts properly, Sui Yang asked, “Tan Sichen was the one who told you about Wu Hui’s resignation yesterday, right?”
“Yes,” Xie Min carefully recalled the events from yesterday when he visited the construction site. He recounted every detail to Sui Yang, starting from when he and Tan Sichen arrived at the construction site near the lake, where work lights were illuminated. “I found it strange at the time…”
Xie Min couldn’t shake off his worries and picked up his phone again. After some consideration, he called Chi Yuan and asked, “Did you manage to contact the officer who was in charge of the delivery person case for me?”
“Xiao Tan asked me for the number, saying he would handle him,” Chi Yuan informed him. “Has he not contacted you yet? Shall I ask him?”
“No, there’s no need to ask him,” Xie Min immediately stopped him.
Xie Min hesitated in his mind, unsure whether to trust Chi Yuan. He held onto Sui Yang’s hand and listened to Chi Yuan’s steady voice, “Should I make a call to Officer Zhang? He’s easy to talk to. If he’s available, I can ask him to call you.”
Xie Min agreed.
After about ten minutes, an unfamiliar number called.
Xie Min had met Officer Zhang during his hospital stay and recognized his voice.
Officer Zhang politely asked about Xie Min’s health and briefly explained the case. Xie Min then told him about his missing housekeeper and his suspicions regarding the assistant and the construction manager at the site.
After hearing Xie Min’s account, Officer Zhang’s tone became more serious. He mentioned that he and his colleagues would visit the construction site tomorrow.
“However, if it’s an official investigation, I’m afraid it may tip them off,” Officer Zhang hesitated.
Xie Min thought of the smile that appeared on Wang Kai’an’s face when he approached the dark work area. A chill ran down his spine. After some thought, he suggested to Officer Zhang, “Officer Zhang, how about I call the project manager tomorrow and tell him that I lost my watch there? You and your colleagues can go undercover, pretending to look for the lost watch on my behalf.”
Officer Zhang agreed to the plan, and Xie Min hung up the phone.
He was already physically exhausted, having thought about so much just now. Feeling a bit drained, he leaned against the pillow and remained still.
Sui Yang lay beside him for a while, calling his name and saying, “After all this is over, I’ll take you on a real vacation.”
Xie Min lifted his face and looked at Sui Yang.
The room had a wooden pointed roof, with Southeast Asian-style hanging fans and lights. Warm light illuminated Sui Yang’s face.
Xie Min said, “Sure, once I resign. Have you been to the hotel where you gave me the ticket?”
Sui Yang smiled and said, “No, I haven’t.” He continued, “It was Jiang Ci who recommended it to me, saying it’s good. At that time, I wondered if you would want to take a break if you saw it.” He touched Xie Min’s hand and whispered, “It’s surprising how the elementary school student completely transformed their laid-back lifestyle after starting to work. They have become so diligent that they don’t even take a single day off.”
Xie Min lightly tapped Sui Yang’s hand on his back, and Sui Yang said, “Xie Min, until Officer Zhang concludes the investigation, don’t go to the company.”
“Are you having paranoid delusions again?” Xie Min was more optimistic than Sui Yang. “I’m fine. I’ve survived all these years, and besides, I can turn into a LEGO bunny. See, I have superpowers.”
Sui Yang looked at him, and after a while, said, “Maybe.”
“Perhaps I am the chosen one,” Xie Min added, making it clear that not just anyone could inhabit a plastic toy like he did.
“Hmm,” Sui Yang added, “You are.”
“Are you jealous that I can switch between being a LEGO bunny and a human?” Xie Min felt unsatisfied with Sui Yang’s attitude and immediately asked.
“No,” Sui Yang laughed and said, “No, not at all.”
The next day, when Xie Min woke up, it was already nine o’clock.
He called Wang Kai’an, saying that he couldn’t find his watch and dispatched two subordinates to search for it. Wang Kai’an readily agreed and promised to dig up the ground and turn the project upside down to find Xie Min’s watch.
Officer Zhang arrived at the project site around ten o’clock, and there was no further communication. Xie Min and Sui Yang had lunch, but they couldn’t shake off the feeling of impending danger. In the afternoon, unable to bear it any longer, they got into the car and headed towards the vicinity of the project.
Before they reached the entrance of the project site, Xie Min heard the sound of sirens. They turned onto a small road and saw a long line of police cars parked at the entrance. Officer Zhang stood at the gate, his face showing signs of a struggle, raising his hand to direct something.
At that moment, Xie Min’s phone rang again. It was his father calling, and this time he answered. He heard his father angrily shouting on the other end, “Do you have any idea what has happened at the retirement project?”
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