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    Yu Duqiu calmly pressed the bedside bell while maintaining his grip on the man’s neck.

    Within ten seconds, a commotion arose at the suite’s door.

    The facial recognition lock had recorded his entourage’s faces. Lou Baoguo’s face was the largest and the first to be recognized. He burst into the bedroom ahead of the others, shouting, “Young Master! Are you—”

    Two disheveled figures on the bed looked up in response.

    One was pinned down with his neck being held, and the other, shirtless, was straddling him.

    “Uh…” Lou Baoguo’s face flushed red, then turned white, and then red again. He couldn’t tell what position this was. His young master had always been on top, but the current scene didn’t seem to fit the usual “top” meaning. However! His young master was still in control…

    Zhou Yi came in next, ignoring the stunned Lou Baoguo. He stepped forward, removed his tie, and used it to bind Bai Chao’s hands behind his back, dragging him off the bed and throwing him onto the floor.

    Yu Duqiu exhaled a heavy breath, rubbing his sore arm. “This guy is tough. Normally, someone would have passed out by now with that chokehold. Check how he got into my room and make sure this mistake doesn’t happen again.”

    Bai Chao, with a fresh red mark on his neck, focused on breathing and said nothing.

    Lou Baoguo, snapping out of his daze, quickly searched the room with Zhou Yi. They found several climbing tools left on the balcony of the study and threw them in front of Bai Chao.

    Yu Duqiu adjusted his robe, sat on the edge of the bed, crossed his legs, and pointed his toe at the man on the floor. “Baby, were you so reckless that you risked your life for a necklace? I don’t believe it. Tell me honestly, what did you come for?”

    Bai Chao, now breathing steadily, said, “I came to see you.”

    Yu Duqiu was stunned for a moment, then laughed heartily. “Haha, trying to flatter me now? Too late.”

    Bai Chao watched him silently until he finished laughing. “I know why Yu Wencheng committed suicide.”

    Yu Duqiu’s expression froze.

    Lou Baoguo scoffed. “This kid must be talking nonsense to save himself.”

    “Let’s hear him out first,” Yu Duqiu smiled. “If you’re lying, I’ll throw you out… and I don’t mean through the door.”

    The suite had only one door to the outside… and several windows.

    Lou Baoguo shuddered, remembering the gruesome state of Yu Wencheng’s fall. Falling from a few dozen meters was bad enough, but from over a hundred meters, it would be a complete splatter.

    Bai Chao, the target of this threat, remained calm, as if resigned to his fate. He asked a seemingly unrelated question, “What information did you find about me?”

    Yu Duqiu opened the file by the bed and listed the details. “Not much, collected in a hurry. You’re an orphan, grew up in an orphanage, adopted at age eight, lived with your adoptive father, now twenty-five, work as a security guard for a jewelry company. Oh, and that company, Pei’s, is owned by an old classmate of mine. He was here today, quite a coincidence.”

    “Gathering that much in two hours is not bad,” Bai Chao remarked unemotionally. “But none of that is the main point. The main point is that my adoptive father, Bai Zhiming, died three months ago.”

    Yu Duqiu closed the file, showing interest. “Oh? Elaborate.”

    Bai Chao lowered his eyes, his gaze darkening. “On February 1st this year, he took a long leave from work and left home. He went missing after that. I was abroad on a business trip at the time and didn’t notice immediately. Half a month later, his body was found on a beach in the Changhe District. It was winter, so the body surfaced slowly. By the time it was discovered, it was swollen and decomposed beyond recognition. But from his clothes and ID, it was confirmed to be him.”

    Zhou Yi, who had a daughter himself, couldn’t bear such stories of broken families. Sympathy filled his voice as he asked, “Did he jump into the sea?”

    Bai Chao shook his head. “He had been unusually anxious during that period, as if he was troubled, but not to the point of suicide. After the police investigation, they found LSD in the shape of a postage stamp in his coat pocket.”

    Luo Baoguo was confused. “Eh-lu-eh-su-di? What is that?”

    Zhou Yi couldn’t bear it. “Drop your Shandong accent.”

    Bai Zhao didn’t answer and looked at Yu Duqiu instead.

    Yu Duqiu suddenly understood. “Oh, I see.”

    Now Zhou Yi was also confused. “Young master, what exactly is ‘eh-lu-eh-su-di’?”

    Luo Baoguo said, “Your Sichuan accent isn’t any better than mine!”

    Yu Duqiu, using fluent American pronunciation, explained, “LSD, Lysergic acid diethylamide, is a powerful hallucinogen, also known as ‘crazy drug.’ It originated in Europe and became popular in the United States. Even Steve Jobs used it. It can cause dizziness and vomiting in mild cases, and mental breakdown and terrifying hallucinations in severe cases. The scariest part is that after the hallucinations disappear, the user is likely to become depressed and have suicidal thoughts, so it is classified as a new type of drug in most countries.”

    Bai Zhao suddenly looked up. “How do you know so much? Most people wouldn’t know this in such detail.”

    “I just happened to read about it, and I have a good memory.”

    Bai Zhao let out an inexplicable cold laugh.

    Yu Duqiu was puzzled. “What are you dissatisfied with?”

    “Everything.” Bai Zhao turned away, seeming to sulk. “Especially with your memory.”

    His last words were so soft that Yu Duqiu didn’t hear them clearly. Just as he was about to lean closer to ask Bai Zhao to repeat, Zhou Yi, who had been digesting the information for a while, finally reacted. “So, you mean the young master’s second uncle also committed suicide because of this ‘eh-lu-eh-su-di’ drug?”

    Bai Zhao nodded.

    Luo Baoguo slapped his forehead and exclaimed, “I get it! Your foster father and the young master’s second uncle were drug addicts!”

    Zhou Yi and Bai Zhao simultaneously responded, “You don’t understand anything.”


    Yu Duqiu smiled. “Thank you for telling me such important information. However, it still doesn’t explain why you broke into my room at night. If you think your foster father’s suicide is suspicious, why don’t you go to the police in Changhe District directly? Why come to Xinjing District?”

    Bai Zhao’s eyes were extremely deep, like a still pool of water with no visible bottom. Even though he was tied up and had no chance to escape, Yu Duqiu felt like he was the prey being watched. He didn’t like this feeling and raised his chin to urge him to continue.

    “I’ve never seen my foster father take drugs. He must have been murdered. I heard your new project is related to drug rehabilitation. The drug dealers hiding in Pingyi City are very likely to trouble you. Maybe the murderer who killed my foster father is among them.”

    “No matter how related it is, I’m just a businessman. Catching drug dealers should be left to the police.”

    “There are too few clues, and the police can’t do anything at the moment, so they’ve classified it as a suicide. By staying with you, maybe I can find new clues.” Bai Zhao smirked. “Isn’t there one tonight? Yu Wencheng’s abnormal behavior is very similar to the symptoms after taking LSD. Pingyi City is only so big, and LSD isn’t common in China. I guess these two unusual ‘suicides’ must be connected. If you’re willing to let me follow you to investigate the murderer, in return, I can be your bodyguard for free.”

    Yu Duqiu shrugged. “I already have two top-notch personal bodyguards, plus dozens of bodyguards for different tasks. I don’t need more people.”

    “I can be their translator. I speak English.”

    Luo Baoguo said, “… It’s all Zhou Dog’s fault for not studying English properly, now there’s someone to take his job!”

    Zhou Yi retorted, “How can you criticize me, Pot-Sticker?”

    Yu Duqiu still refused. “I don’t need a translator either.”

    “But you want me.” Bai Zhao’s cold eyes stared at him, but his words were unusually passionate. “Don’t you want me to be with you every day?”

    Yu Duqiu smiled. “That’s indeed a big temptation. I like smart and straightforward people. Fine, having one more bodyguard won’t hurt.”

    Zhou Yi whispered in his ear, “Young master, we haven’t verified his background yet… Isn’t this too hasty?”

    “Even if his background is clean, it doesn’t mean he won’t betray me in the future. Better to have him and enjoy it sooner, and deal with him if he turns out to be a problem.”

    This strange yet inexplicably reasonable logic was typical of Yu Duqiu’s style, leaving Zhou Yi helpless. “Alright, what do we do with him now?”

    Yu Duqiu thought for a moment and pointed to the single sofa in the room. “Tie him there. Didn’t he say he wants to stay with me? Let him watch me sleep.”

    Zhou Yi didn’t dare question his twisted sense of humor. He and Luo Baoguo tied Bai Zhao’s legs to the sofa legs. Bai Zhao didn’t resist and sat quietly, allowing them to bind him.

    “I’m going to sleep now. It’s been a long night.” Yu Duqiu lay back on the bed and waved them away. “You two should go sleep too. Let’s wait for the forensic results tomorrow to see if they match what he said.”

    Luo Baoguo and Zhou Yi obeyed and left. Once they were gone, the room fell silent, and only the two of them remained within the circle of light from the bedside lamp.

    “Is this how it’s going to be every time I sleep?” Bai Zhao asked.

    Yu Duqiu lay on his side, looking at him. The backlit silhouette cast a halo of soft golden light around him. “Depends on your behavior… Tsk, do all the bodyguards in the Pei family have physiques like yours?”

    Bai Zhao felt uneasy under the brazen gaze from the bed. He arched his back slightly, but with his hands tied behind him, his chest tightened, and the thin shirt couldn’t hide his well-defined chest muscles.

    Yu Duqiu’s suggestive gaze roved over him. “If you’re willing to join me in bed, I can untie you right now.”

    Bai Zhao raised an eyebrow. “Have you heard the saying, ‘lust clouds judgment’? You’re agreeing to my request too easily. Aren’t you afraid I’m pretending to be loyal?”

    “Judging by the way you hesitated to strangle me earlier, I guess you don’t really want to harm me. At least not for now. Am I right?”

    Silence was the only response.

    After nearly five minutes, just as Yu Duqiu was about to fall asleep, he suddenly heard a voice call his name from the opposite side. “Yu Duqiu.”


    “Why are you named… Duqiu?”

    “Why do you ask?”

    “I want to know about my new employer.”

    Yu Duqiu chuckled lightly. This person was indeed interesting.

    “My grandfather gave me the name. ‘The affairs of the world are like a great dream, how many times has autumn’s chill touched a man’s life?’

    Bai Zhao didn’t say anything more. After a while, out of courtesy, he asked, “What about you?”

    Bai Zhao didn’t answer for a long time. Yu Duqiu had only asked casually and, receiving no response, soon drifted off to sleep.

    ‘The affairs of the world are like a great dream, how many times has autumn’s chill touched a man’s life?’’ is written with a tone of having experienced the vicissitudes of life. The question about several autumns passing, coupled with the sound of wind rustling through the leaves in the corridor, suddenly makes one feel the brevity of life. Already startled by the frost invading one’s hair, one increasingly feels that the initial sigh—life is but a fleeting dream—is not a profound enlightenment of seeing through worldly illusions, but rather a sense of injustice towards one’s own circumstances, thus deeply feeling the absurdity and helplessness of life as if it were a dream.

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