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    At midnight, all was silent.

    While the police officers of the Xinjinqu Public Security Bureau were still busy collecting evidence in the banquet hall, most of the frightened guests in the hotel rooms had already gone to bed.

    In the prestigious city-view suite on the twenty-fifth floor, the silk curtains hung on both sides. The pitch-black night scene outside the window offered nothing to see. Inside the room, only a bedside lamp with a stained glass shade provided light, casting a warm yellow glow on a corner.

    A man, draped in a bathrobe, leaned against the headboard, a Bluetooth earpiece on his left ear. He was reading documents while comforting a woman who was crying softly on the phone: “Lingya, as long as you stay in your room and don’t run around, you won’t encounter the killer.”

    Du Lingya, timid by nature, was deeply shaken by Yu Wencheng’s death. With the police sealing off the hotel, it meant the killer was likely still inside. The mere thought terrified her, and she couldn’t stop crying: “Duqiu, can you come and stay with me in my room?”

    Yu Duqiu’s tone was always gentle when speaking to her, but he consistently refused her: “It’s more dangerous with me. Don’t worry, Lao Zhou and Baoguo have returned to their rooms, right next to yours. If anything happens, just find them. I’m on the same floor; you’re very safe.”

    “But I’m still uneasy and can’t sleep…” Du Lingya sobbed. “I’m your fiancĂ©e, can’t you stay with me at a time like this? Is there someone else in your room?”

    Yu Duqiu’s fingers paused on the document he was reading. He pinched the thin paper and sighed lightly: “Lingya, I got engaged to you because we both have needs. Your brother hopes I can support his business, and my parents want me to find a wife they know well, that’s all. You knew this from the start, so don’t expect me to truly love you.”

    Du Lingya’s face turned pale, feeling immensely humiliated: “Do you have to be so blunt and hurtful?”

    Yu Duqiu continued flipping through the pages, speaking in a business-like tone: “You know I like men, yet you chose to jump into this pit. You should have expected this outcome. Don’t demand anything from me in this relationship; I can cancel the engagement anytime.”

    Du Lingya started crying again, her voice gradually becoming shrill and filled with resentment: “I just hope you can spend more time with me. Is that too much to ask? I’ve liked you for so long, how can you be so heartless?”

    Yu Duqiu’s limited patience was exhausted. He closed the document and placed it on the bedside table: “If you’re not satisfied with me, go find Peizhuo. I noticed he took good care of you today, comforting you when you were scared. You two grew up together, why waste time on me?”

    Du Lingya suddenly stopped crying, a hint of delight in her voice: “Are you jealous?”

    What kind of logic is that… Yu Duqiu rubbed his temples helplessly: “Forget it, let’s not talk about this. I’m tired; you should sleep early.”

    He didn’t have the heart to comfort her anymore. After a few more words of caution, he hung up the phone, ignoring Du Lingya’s cries, and lay down to sleep.

    The bedside lamp remained lit, deepening the night’s silence.

    The corridor of the guest room floor was covered with a thick plush carpet, swallowing the sound of footsteps as someone passed by.

    A “beep” from a password lock echoed in the silence, but to the sleeping guests in the suite upstairs, it was almost inaudible.

    A figure carrying a bag quickly slipped into a room and gently closed the door. The room was dark; he didn’t turn on the lights and headed straight for the balcony.

    The Grand Hyatt Hotel’s guest room building had twenty-five floors in total, with each room equipped with a password lock and a private balcony—except for the top-floor suite.

    The guest on the top floor felt that the password lock was not secure enough and had the hotel replace the entire floor’s locks with their company’s facial recognition technology before moving in, making it impossible for ordinary thieves to break in.

    The shadowy figure stood on the balcony of the twenty-fourth floor, holding onto the chest-high European-style iron railing, looking down.

    The pitch-black ground below was like a giant abyss, waiting for him to fall into its trap.

    Calmly, he turned around and crouched down, taking a piece of folded nylon rope from his bag. One end of the rope was attached to a large climbing grappling hook, and the other end was tied to the safety harness around his waist. He then tied a secure figure-eight knot.

    After completing these preparations, the figure leaned back against the railing and slightly leaned backward, hurling the grappling hook upward with all his might!

    With a “ding!” the hook’s four claws firmly latched onto the balcony railing outside the study room on the twenty-fifth floor.

    The shadowy figure tugged the rope firmly to ensure its stability and, taking a deep breath, leaped up onto the less-than-twenty-centimeter-wide railing.

    Hundreds of meters above ground, the night wind raged, attempting to sweep him into the abyss.

    The figure showed no hesitation or fear. Grasping the rope tightly, he began to climb upwards. With his feet off the ground and no foothold, he couldn’t exert any strength. Relying solely on his remarkable arm strength, he managed to grab hold of the top floor railing within a minute.

    He vaulted over the railing and landed silently. After unfastening his safety harness, he immediately went to the glass door of the suite’s study, not bothering to retrieve his equipment.

    Fortunately, the door was unlocked.

    He entered quietly. The intruding night wind blew the papers on the desk, sending them fluttering to the floor. Among them were highly confidential business contracts and checks worth millions. The shadowy figure closed the door behind him, picked up the scattered papers, placed them next to the chessboard on the desk, without even glancing at them.

    The study door was ajar. Using the faint moonlight, he looked around and headed towards the open master bedroom.

    Thick curtains stood motionless on either side, and a layer of hazy white sheer drapery softened the night, making it look especially gentle.

    On the bed lay a young man, sleeping peacefully with his face turned towards the floor-to-ceiling window. His facial contours were graceful, his expression serene, and the warm yellow light of the bedside lamp cast his silver hair and skin in a rich, golden hue reminiscent of a classical oil painting, bringing to mind Pukirev’s “The Unequal Marriage.”

    Pure, beautiful, yet filled with sin.

    The intruder made no noise, standing quietly by the bed, staring at the sleeping man, contemplating something. Then he picked up the documents from the bedside and opened the first page.

    In that instant, his pupils contracted sharply, and his expression changed. Quickly, he put the documents back and turned to leave.

    “Leaving already?”

    Hearing this, the intruder stopped and slowly turned around.

    A face with a stern but heroic look emerged from the darkness into the light.

    “Stay and wait for you to call the police and catch me?”

    “Calling the police won’t help. I already warned them to keep an eye on you, yet you still managed to slip away. Impressive.” Yu Duqiu got out of bed, lazily tying his bathrobe belt, and waved the documents in his hand. “Aren’t you curious why I’m investigating you, Bai Zhao?”

    “I don’t want to know. I didn’t kill the man.”

    “I know.” Yu Duqiu looked at his handsome face, a smile playing on his lips as he approached. “But you want to see me, don’t you? I could tell from your eyes. A man died right in front of you, yet it seemed like you only had eyes for me.”

    Bai Zhao seemed a bit speechless, taking a step back. “You misread it.”

    Yu Duqiu was confident in his charm. “Don’t deny it. You had the chance to assassinate me just now, but you only stood by the bed watching me. Other than being infatuated with me, I can’t think of any other reason.”

    Bai Zhao regarded him coldly. “I thought your fiancĂ©e was in your room. I came to steal her necklace.”

    “Then you have no taste. That necklace is only worth a few hundred thousand, whereas the man standing before you is worth billions. Steal his heart instead.” Yu Duqiu, who hadn’t encountered such an attractive man in a long time, intended to tease him and kept approaching until he realized Bai Zhao was a centimeter or two taller.

    Looking down, Yu Duqiu thought it might be because he was wearing slippers.

    Midway through looking down, his chin was grabbed and lifted.

    Bai Zhao’s gloved hand, rough as sandpaper, touched his cheek. Though the touch was light, it still hurt a bit.

    “I don’t want your fickle heart.”

    Yu Duqiu’s heart stirred slightly. He opened his mouth, bit Bai Zhao’s glove, lifted his head, and pulled the glove off, spitting it onto the floor. “I might consider keeping only you, provided you obey.”

    Bai Zhao suddenly gave a faint smile.

    The light from the bedside lamp cast his face into areas of light and shadow. His originally sharp, chiseled features were accentuated, with his sword-like eyebrows casting shadows over his eyes, which were as dark as night. But when he curved his lips into a smile, the movement of his facial muscles subtly altered the play of light and shadow, making his face come alive, and his eyes gleamed brightly.

    Yu Duqiu immediately felt that he must have this man, or he would always regret not tasting this fine piece of meat, no matter how many others he slept with in the future.

    However, Bai Zhao’s smile quickly vanished, his expression returning to its icy demeanor. “Sorry, I’m very disobedient,” he said.

    He turned to leave.

    Yu Duqiu, quick as lightning, grabbed the back of his collar and yanked him back hard!

    At the same time, Bai Zhao turned around and reached for his throat!

    Yu Duqiu dodged by turning sideways, grabbed Bai Zhao’s muscular arm, and pulled it horizontally to the right. With his other hand formed into a knife hand, he unhesitatingly struck towards the back of Bai Zhao’s neck!

    Bai Zhao bent over, taking the fierce blow on his back with a grunt. Despite the pain, he didn’t fall; instead, he took the opportunity to pounce, wrapping his arms tightly around Yu Duqiu’s waist. With a strong heave, he lifted Yu Duqiu onto his shoulder, took two large steps, and threw him forcefully onto the bed, following up by pinning him down and finally gripping his throat.

    “Shh… Stay still, young master, or I’ll kill you,” Bai Zhao panted, his back throbbing with sharp pain. A thin layer of anger appeared between his brows, but his fingers gently brushed away the strands of hair from Yu Duqiu’s forehead. Leaning in, their noses almost touching, his breath warm, he said, “Why don’t you be obedient, hmm?”

    Yu Duqiu opened his mouth, unable to produce any sound, his eyebrows knitting in pain, seemingly on the verge of suffocating.

    Bai Zhao hesitated for half a second, slightly loosening his grip.

    In the next moment, a fierce pain exploded in his chest! His heart felt like it was shattered by a punch. He coughed violently, nearly spitting blood, and collapsed with a thud!

    Yu Duqiu flipped over, straddled Bai Zhao’s waist, and grabbed his throat in return.

    During their struggle, the bathrobe had come loose, slipping off Yu Duqiu’s shoulder. His half-naked upper body was muscular and smooth, with delicate skin that balanced out his strength, not giving away how powerful and skilled he actually was.

    In reality, though, Bai Zhao was on the brink of unconsciousness from his grip.

    Yu Duqiu leaned down, his hair falling onto Bai Zhao’s handsome, rebellious face, and sneered, “There are plenty who want to kill me; you don’t even make the list, sweetheart.”

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