Xie Min and Sui Yang got off the car and went to find Officer Zhang, without knowing that they would become honored citizens of Yuhai City a month later. They even went on stage to receive an award from the mayor.
The weather was nice that afternoon, and a gentle breeze blew from the lake. Xie Min and Sui Yang approached Officer Zhang and noticed that his injuries looked worse up close. There were several small bloody wounds on his face.
“Mr. Xie,” Officer Zhang took the paper handed to him by his colleague and wiped off some sweat, “I was busy earlier and forgot to contact you. I really appreciate your help in solving a major case!”
He led Xie Min and Sui Yang to the car and told Xie Min about the thrilling situation that happened that afternoon.
Before Officer Zhang arrived, he had a feeling that things weren’t so simple. He contacted the police station and requested backup, which waited nearby.
Along with his colleagues, Wang Kai’an entered the construction site and wandered around the first phase of the project.
The second and third phases were still empty land by the lake. Officer Zhang and his colleagues walked towards the bathhouse direction that Xie Min had mentioned for the third phase. Suddenly, Wang Kai’an started making excuses and tried his best to prevent them from getting closer to the small construction site by the lake.
Afraid that it would raise Wang Kai’an’s suspicion and retaliation, Officer Zhang didn’t forcefully approach. He planned to go back to the station and report to the superiors. As he pretended to search for Xie Min’s watch near a simple shed, he suddenly heard a loud noise as something got knocked over.
The door of the cottage where the sound came from was locked with an iron lock. Officer Zhang remembered what Xie Min had said about the missing housekeeper, which made him suspicious. He looked at Wang Kai’an, who had a slight change in his face, and explained that the noise might be from the workers and his wife inside, maybe making too much noise.
Officer Zhang and his colleague exchanged glances. Before they could speak, they heard hoarse cries for help from inside.
Feeling the urgency of the situation, he revealed his identity and ordered Wang Kai’an to open the door. Unexpectedly, Wang Kai’an took a step back, and the two workers who had been following them surrounded them.
Officer Zhang sent an urgent message to the backup team and started fighting the two workers. He realized that their punches were well-coordinated, indicating that their identities were not simple. Luckily, both he and his colleague had guns this time. After less than twenty minutes, the backup arrived and subdued Wang Kai’an and the workers.
Inside the locked small iron shed was indeed Xie Min’s housekeeper, Wu Hui. And the construction site in the third phase, located by the lake, turned out to be the excavation site of the mysterious tomb that had been a hot topic in recent news.
Wang Kai’an was taken to the station by Officer Zhang’s colleague and underwent a brief interrogation.
He confessed to his criminal acts, admitting that when the construction had just started, his workers went for a swim in the lake and found a fragment of an ancient artifact.
Wang Kai’an himself had a questionable background. When he saw the fragment, wicked thoughts arose in his mind. He contacted a friend involved in smuggling artifacts, had the fragment authenticated, and secretly arranged for exploration. They discovered a small tomb from the Eastern Han Dynasty at the bottom of the lake.
While hesitating about how to handle the situation, coincidentally, Xie Min had a car accident and fell into a coma at the hospital. The progress of the project lacked attention, and Wang Kai’an discovered the financial misconduct of forged contracts and embezzlement. He felt that the timing, location, and people were all in his favor. He turned a blind eye to the financial activities, allowing them to slow down the project. At the same time, he constructed a small bathhouse by the lake, creating a passage leading to the underwater tomb.
Soon after, his cousin and Xie Min’s secretary, Tan Sichen, often visited the construction site and discovered Wang Kai’an’s secret.
Wang Kai’an used every means of coercion and persuasion, exploiting Tan Sichen’s professional prospects and the vulnerability of his elderly family members, convincing him to keep it a secret.
When Xie Min woke up, Tan Sichen noticed his intense focus on the project. Worried about being exposed, Wang Kai’an urgently sought advice from an artifact smuggler. The smuggler sent one of his subordinates, disguised as a delivery person, to replace Xie Min’s hospital meals. The plan was to make Xie Min stay in the hospital for a few more days, allowing Wang Kai’an enough time to push the financial matters onto someone else.
Unexpectedly, the delivery person overlooked crucial identity information at Xie Min’s home. Wang Kai’an forced Tan Sichen to retrieve it. However, as soon as Tan Sichen entered, he was noticed by Wu Hui.
Wu Hui discreetly took photos, left Xie Min’s house, and sent the pictures to Tan Sichen, blackmailing him for money. Tan Sichen paid several times until his savings ran out. He had no choice but to seek help from Wang Kai’an, which infuriated him. Wang Kai’an had someone capture Wu Hui.
The items involved in smuggling were already seized, and the stolen artifacts from the tomb were scattered. They planned to destroy the passage in the afternoon to eliminate evidence. However, just after noon, Officer Zhang appeared.
As Xie Min listened to Officer Zhang’s story, he was left speechless. At that moment, a television interview van arrived. The female journalist from the prime time program, who seemed familiar to Xie Min, jumped out of the car and went straight to Officer Zhang. The cameraman and photographer approached, holding their equipment. Before Xie Min could react, they started taking photos and filming.
“Hello, dear viewers,” the female journalist smiled at the camera. “We have arrived at the scene of tomb looting, and this is Officer Zhang, who was the first to discover the criminals. We are now broadcasting live on our show.”
Xie Min saw Officer Zhang standing in front of the female journalist, looking unsure of what to do. He couldn’t help but almost burst out laughing. Then, he saw Officer Zhang suddenly turn towards him and awkwardly begin introducing, “This is Mr. Xie, the CEO of Wanzhuang Real Estate. He provided the police with valuable leads that greatly helped in solving the case. Please interview him.”
The camera immediately shifted to Xie Min. Xie Min watched as Sui Yang, who almost entered the frame, took a step back and stood behind the cameraman, giving him a relieved smile.
The puzzling case that had troubled Xie Min for over a month was finally solved without much danger. However, it was followed by constant arguments with his father. His father was furious about his resignation and placed numerous obstacles with the help of a lawyer.
Xie Min wasn’t in a good mood. Sui Yang made more time to accompany him, often making four trips back and forth each week.
Sometimes, Xie Min felt like Sui Yang was trying to make up for the time they hadn’t spent together before. Whenever Xie Min returned home, he would receive expensive and peculiar gifts from Sui Yang. From art pieces to high school uniforms, Sui Yang filled the fridge with soda and Xie Min’s favorite snacks.
Strangely enough, when Sui Yang wasn’t in his life, Xie Min didn’t consider himself to be leading an empty existence.
He worked and studied diligently, constantly engaged in endless projects and plans from morning till night. In his spare time, he had a small circle of friends. It could be said that there was always something that needed to be done every moment. When he returned home, it was either to continue working or to sleep.
Once Sui Yang moved in, Xie Min suddenly realized that there could be things to do at home as well. They would sit on the couch, bantering or kissing, talking about trivial matters, as if they had never broken up. It felt like they had been together since high school until the present.
The regret of the missed ten years no longer haunted him as often.
On a June evening, Xie Min was busy and overwhelmed. He returned home at ten o’clock. Sui Yang said he had arranged for a private night tour at the wildlife park, which would be closed for the night. He wanted to take Xie Min for a nighttime adventure.
Xie Min was actually very tired and slept for twenty minutes on the way there.
The smell in the zoo wasn’t pleasant. Due to the spring and summer seasons, the grass and trees had been scorching under the sun during the day. The scent of vegetation and animals mixed together, making Xie Min feel like life had suddenly escaped the busyness and become real.
They followed the guidance of the tour car provided by the zoo director, driving through the flamingo area when Xie Min received a call from Officer Zhang.
Excitedly, Officer Zhang informed Xie Min that his application for the honorary citizen medal had been approved. The city had decided to hold a commendation ceremony for Xie Min, and someone would contact him and his secretary to confirm the time.
After hanging up the phone, Xie Min noticed Sui Yang driving and smiling at the same time.
“What’s so funny?” Xie Min asked, feeling curious.
Sui Yang said, “I just find it amusing that the elementary school kid has grown up and become Mr. Xie, an honored citizen of Yuhai.”
“I have always been a responsible and good citizen,” Xie Min defended himself. “Considering all the physical injuries I’ve endured for this city, receiving an award is only natural.”
“It’s better if you don’t have to endure any more injuries in the future,” Sui Yang fell silent for a few seconds before saying, “Being an ordinary citizen is the best.”
Xie Min saw a massive red bird sculpture that had been moved to the zoo not far away. After thinking for a while, he said, “But if none of these things had happened, I might not have become a LEGO.”
Not becoming LEGO meant not being by Sui Yang’s side, not breaking a rabbit’s leg on Sui Yang’s floor, not engaging in harmless little adventures like those in cartoons, and not becoming an honored citizen or receiving rewards for acts of bravery.
This time, Sui Yang didn’t refute him. He stopped the car next to the red bird sculpture. Perhaps because they were very close, Xie Min felt like the sculpture was even larger than what he had seen in his childhood.
“Why did you stop?” Xie Min intentionally asked Sui Yang, “Are you here to catch up with this young master? I once waited for someone across from this statue for an hour.”
Sui Yang turned off the engine, and the car became quiet, making Xie Min nervous.
Sui Yang made a sound of acknowledgment and said, “Xie Min.” He opened the armrest compartment and took out a velvet box.
“Actually, when I was around twenty-three years old, I had some money,” Sui Yang said, “I saw subordinates buying rings, so I bought a pair too.”
He opened the box, revealing two rings placed side by side. Xie Min let out an “Ah” and his heartbeat became erratic.
“You were right when you said I was useless,” he looked at Xie Min, speaking earnestly, “I believe that someone who goes back on their word has shallow feelings. I never dared to approach you before, and even when I bought these rings, I didn’t dare to give them to you. I was a coward.”
“I was just speaking in anger at that time,” Xie Min softly said, “Don’t take it seriously.”
Sui Yang remained silent as Xie Min reached out and took the slightly slimmer ring. He lowered his head to examine it. The ring was made of platinum and had a simple diamond embedded on the inner side. Xie Min commented, “President Sui has good taste.”
“Why did you suddenly give this to me today?” Xie Min asked Sui Yang, feeling a bit curious.
Sui Yang subtly smiled and said, “Is it because you never care about yourself at all?”
He leaned closer, gently touching Xie Min’s face with his right hand, and kissed him. His lips and palm were warm, rendering the car’s air conditioning ineffective. He said, “Because it’s past midnight. Happy birthday.”
Xie Min heard Sui Yang say, “I love you.”
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