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    When Fu Luoyin awoke, he found himself hugging a fluffy slipper in bed.

    His head throbbed with pain. As he got up, he accidentally knocked something off the bedside table. Picking it up, he realized it was his backup phone.

    The screen was still on, displaying the message he had sent. Fu Luoyin glanced at it.

    Lin Shuicheng hadn't replied to him all night.

    That jumbled sentence with misspelled words didn't seem like something he would have sent. Fu Luoyin looked at it, barely managing to resist the urge to smash this phone too.

    A movement caused a wave of pain in his stomach, making him pause slightly.

    He picked up the phone again and read the message once more.

    Lin Shuicheng truly hadn't responded.

    Both his backup phone and his main phone shared the same number sequence. It dawned on him that he had blocked Lin Shuicheng yesterday. Even if Lin Shuicheng had replied, he wouldn't have seen it.

    He tapped on the menu bar, and an automatic synchronization appeared, prominently asking, "Remove from blacklist?"

    Fu Luoyin gazed silently at those words for a moment, then exited the page. He proceeded to type in the input box: "Wrong message sent."

    Concisely, he sent the three words followed by a period, adhering to proper etiquette. Back then, it was Su Yu, or perhaps someone else, who often teased him about his habit of adding periods when typing online, claiming he resembled a stiff, old scholar, conveying an air of aloofness. Yet, he had grown accustomed to this – it was part of the strict Fu family upbringing. When he texted Fu Kai, Fu Kai would also nitpick his choice of words, urging him to be concise and focused, as befitting someone engaged in significant endeavors.

    He never alters his pace for anyone. Xia Ran saves his pocket money to buy him a hairdryer, yet he still contends with the winter wind and other boys in class to be the first to turn on the classroom lights. The sky at dawn is sparsely studded with stars, and frost forms in his hair. Su Yu teases him about his typing style, which ends sentences with periods and seems cold, yet he never changes it.

    In these twenty-five years, he had never lost control in such a manner, except for yesterday, which left a slight impression on him. Fu Luoyin attributed it to the influence of alcohol.

    He tossed the plush, black-and-white slipper under the bed.

    Only after sending "Sent in Error" did he realize that his previous message had directly addressed Lin Shuicheng by name.

    "Lin Shuicheng, I'll have porridge if the chicken soup's not available."

    "My stomach's upset."

    After an entire night, "Sent in Error."

    It was like trying to cover up a mistake only to make it more obvious. He wondered what Lin Shuicheng would think upon seeing this.

    Fu Luoyin's grip on his phone tightened.

    He told himself that he didn't care what Lin Shuicheng thought.

    After all, he wasn't interested in Lin Shuicheng.

    When Fu Luoyin finished his ablutions and emerged, Zhou Heng was already waiting in the living room.

    On the table were congee with century egg and lean meat, as well as scrambled eggs with ham, clearly ordered by Zhou Heng when he heard movement from inside the room, anticipating Fu Luoyin's awakening.

    In addition to that, there was a new phone on the table, identical to the one Fu Luoyin had shattered at the door the day before. Fu Luoyin knew without asking that Zhou Heng had arranged for its delivery, with all the data synchronized and restored as if the old one had never existed.

    The food was from a private restaurant Fu Luoyin frequented, which normally didn't accept reservations or deliveries. Only ten tables were served each day. The congee was rich and savory, and the scrambled eggs with ham were cooked to perfection. However, Fu Luoyin found it tasteless, barely managing a few bites before setting down his chopsticks and picking up his phone to read documents.

    Zhou Heng dared not even breathe loudly beside him.

    He was aware of what his boss had been going through recently. When Dong Shuoye and Su Yu had contacted him yesterday, they had given him a general idea about Fu Luoyin's situation, likely related to an unhappy romance. Having observed the situation now, Zhou Heng guessed that Lin Shuicheng was no longer living with him, probably due to a breakup.

    There was no visible change in Fu Luoyin; he appeared slightly paler and more exhausted than usual, but still maintained his customary silence while handling matters.

    Yet, he noticed that Fu Luoyin seemed a little off today; his train of thought would occasionally break. During the intervals of reading documents, if there were any information to look up or when waiting for Zhou Heng to fetch something for him, those brief pauses would turn into moments when Fu Luoyin was lost in thought. His eyes slightly lowered, and the shadow beneath his eyelashes seemed to conceal some profound preoccupation.

    Su Yu called him, even video-called him, sending countless ingratiating emojis: "Minus Two, Minus Two, Brother Minus Two, I've skipped work to surprise you with Old Dong. Hurry up and answer the video call."

    Seeing Su Yu reminded Fu Luoyin of the slipper from last night. He hung up once, but Su Yu relentlessly called again. This time, Fu Luoyin answered.

    Su Yu's silly face almost filled the screen before he adjusted it, probably handing the phone over to Dong Shuoye for assistance in capturing the moment.

    Fu Luoyin could now see that Su Yu was at an A-grade pet center. He recognized the place as the most expensive specialized pet breeding facility in the entire alliance. All pets were raised in a free-range environment. For instance, each cat had its own dedicated nutritionist and health consultant, regardless of whether the cat was for sale. They took full responsibility for the cat's care and medical treatment from birth to death.

    Still ingratiatingly smiling, Su Yu continued, "Look, your birthday is coming up soon. As your brother, I'm going all out this time. Whatever kind of kitten you want, I'll get it for you. Go ahead and pick one."

    Fu Luoyin replied, "..."

    He said softly, "Nonsense, my birthday was just two months ago. Stop bothering yourself. You haven't even found a job yet, and you're thinking about selling yourself to buy a cat?"

    Before Su Yu could say anything else, Fu Luoyin suddenly felt a sense of annoyance and weariness.

    This frustration wasn't directed at anyone or anything specific. Fu Luoyin simply couldn't quite grasp the reason behind it.

    Why does everyone think I'm not doing well and rush over to worry about me?

    He hung up the call and then messaged Su Yu, "I'm fine, don't worry. Thanks for sending me back last night."

    Su Yu replied, "You didn't look fine yesterday, minus two."

    Fu Luoyin wrote, "I was just drunk, what's the big deal? Do you really think I had a breakup? Lin Shuicheng is the one who's heartbroken, not me."

    Su Yu responded, "Okay, okay."

    Fu Luoyin continued typing, "He likes me, and I'll prove it to you."

    Su Yu wrote back, "Sure, sure. Don't forget about my mom's birthday, I won't send you an invitation, just come straight over, and I'll pick you up."

    Fu Luoyin agreed.

    After lounging on the sofa for a while, he suddenly said to Zhou Heng, "I want to..."

    Zhou Heng sprang up, fully focused on listening to his request.

    Fu Luoyin's voice was nearly hoarse, tinged with an imperceptible tremble. "I want all the information Lin Shuicheng has accumulated so far, both before and after being with me. Order someone to clean up thoroughly, check everything to see if he left anything behind. Go find out, investigate – I want to know what he's been doing these few days. He must like me."

    Lin Shuicheng... must be even more disoriented than him.

    These past few days, Lin Shuicheng had stayed in his rented apartment.

    His fever lingered, an unbearable state where it remained low but persistent, sapping his energy entirely. The medicine seemed to have no effect.

    He had repeatedly booked flights to Dongtong City, only to cancel them each time. Due to the recent lockdown in Star City caused by RANDOM's attacks, he didn't have a driver's license and couldn't rely on AI-assisted autonomous driving to return home. He was at a loss about what to do.

    When tired, he would sleep, waking up groggy from his shallow slumber. He found it difficult to fall asleep, was easily startled, and his mental state deteriorated. Lin Shuicheng went to the school hospital for intravenous fluids, but the outcome wasn't satisfactory.

    Eventually, he found a way to pass the time – playing Match-3 puzzles. His head spun, and he couldn't concentrate on any academic materials. The crystals in his storm glass had started to gray with contamination, yet he paid no attention. He simply lay in bed, quietly engrossed in the game.

    Occasionally, he played a few rounds of Texas Hold'em Poker.

    He tried watching movies and attending plays, but after purchasing tickets, he lacked the motivation to get up and leave as the showtimes approached. Thus, he continued to stay quietly at home.

    When hungry, he cooked frozen dumplings, which resulted in Lin Shuicheng gaining a bit of weight over the days, no longer as thin as before.

    On the first floor, with ample space, the leader gradually learned to sneak out to play. At first, Lin Shuicheng didn't pay attention, but later he discovered that the leader would bring a few cats home to play with, mostly stray cats from around the campus.

    Thus, he found a new task – taking these stray cats to the school's pet hospital for check-ups, deworming, and vaccinations, and while at it, giving them baths. The cats didn't follow him home; they only came for food and drinks. Every day, the leader went out to inspect his feline minions and returned home with a grand entourage of cats. After Lin Shuicheng finished feeding them, they solemnly took their leave. The strays returned to their hideouts, while the leader was caught by Lin Shuicheng for a bath, meowing loudly in protest.

    He named the orange cat Kitchen Squad Leader, the tabby cat Pepper, and the black cat Little Bai.

    There was also a little gray cat who always tried to lick the leader's fur but was always pinned down by the leader, which Lin Shuicheng eventually named Fu Luoyin after much contemplation.

    One day, he activated the autonomous driving system and brought the group of cats back from the school hospital. As soon as he got out of the car and released the cats, he heard a familiar voice behind him, "…Lin Shuicheng?"

    He turned around and saw Han Huang.

    Han Huang was wearing sportswear, drenched in sweat, clearly just coming down from the sports field. He was accompanied by several boys and girls whom Lin Shuicheng recognized. Upon seeing him, they giggled and whispered among themselves, their gazes filled with intrigue.

    Scratching his head, Han Huang quickly corrected his address, "Senior, why are you here? And...?" His eyes swept over the pile of kittens that had just jumped out of his car, "You have so many cats?"

    Lin Shuicheng smiled, "They're all brought home by my cats. I brought them along for check-ups. Luckily, they're all healthy."

    Han Huang watched as Lin Shuicheng set his phone to command the car to park automatically, finally realizing, "…Senior, you live around here?"

    Lin Shuicheng said, "I just moved in recently."

    He glanced at Han Huang and his friends, politely asking, "Would you like to come in for a drink?"

    "Oh no, we suddenly remembered that our debate team's report isn't ready yet. We should go! Thanks, senior! Brother Han, remember to have ours too!" Han Huang's friends were quick-witted, promptly pushing him towards Lin Shuicheng. Han Huang's ears turned red all the way to the roots as he stared at his laughing mates who were running away. He scratched his head bashfully, "Senior, don't mind them. That's just how they are."

    Lin Shuicheng smiled. "Come in and take a seat."

    He poured water for Han Huang while Han Huang observed his rental apartment – he had never heard that Lin Shuicheng lived within the Star University campus before.

    The place was spotless, clean to the point that it conveyed the information of only one person living there. There was only a single pair of slippers by the door.

    Han Huang had a certain speculation in his heart, so he asked softly, "Senior, are you currently...?"

    "I've separated from him," Lin Shuicheng lowered his eyes and whispered. "Thank you."

    Of course, Han Huang knew what Lin Shuicheng was thanking him for, and he felt relieved.

    Fu Luoyin's identity was like a ticking time bomb. He knew that Lin Shuicheng was still unaware of its existence. If the two could separate, it would be the best outcome for Lin Shuicheng.

    Han Huang initially expected their encounter to be awkward after the last incident, but to his surprise, it wasn't. However, Lin Shuicheng looked rather pale and exhausted.

    Staring at Lin Shuicheng, Han Huang hesitated for a moment before saying, "You seem... not quite well."

    Raising his gaze to meet Han Huang's, Lin Shuicheng sighed softly. "Maybe so. I've been rather lazy lately, sleeping too much."

    "I...," Han Huang swallowed, mustering the courage to look directly into Lin Shuicheng's eyes, "can I pursue you now, Senior?"

    Lin Shuicheng was taken aback before replying, "I might not be in the right place right now..."

    "I understand," Han Huang interrupted, appearing eager. "I mean... you don't have to be with me, but can you give me a chance to court you? Before, I didn't even have the chance to get close to you. Now that you're single, I want to make up for what I owe you, like sending you flowers or inviting you to watch a movie—these things can happen between friends, right?"

    Lin Shuicheng gazed at him for a moment, still searching for the right words. Before he could respond, Han Huang had already burst into a radiant smile. "Thank you, Senior! Please give me a chance! I'm a great guy!"

    Before Lin Shuicheng could say anything, Han Huang hastily stood up and dashed out.

    After a moment of hesitation, Lin Shuicheng also got up to look outside. He saw Han Huang running far away, stopping at a student florist on the corner. When he emerged, he held a large bouquet of sunflowers.

    Han Huang had chosen sunflowers instead of roses that might put pressure on Lin Shuicheng. He rushed back and thrust the flowers into Lin Shuicheng's hands. "Senior, be as cheerful and energetic as these sunflowers every day!"

    Lin Shuicheng took the sunflower and examined the vibrant golden bouquet – for a moment, he found the color too dazzling for his eyes.

    He expressed his gratitude with a "thank you."

    The Chief leaped out and tumbled with the little gray cat playfully.

    In front of the rental apartment on the first floor, the two young students formed a picturesque scene that was flawlessly captured in the camera. This snapshot would soon become part of "Lin Shuicheng's recent updates" and be sent to Fu Luoyin.

    Author's Note:

    Little Fu: I'm lying to myself.

    Little Fu: I can't keep it up anymore, what should I do? Urgent, waiting online.


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