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    Lin Shuicheng spent the entire day ensconced in his workshop.

    Fu Luoyin tidied up the room, gave the two cats a bath, and even brushed their teeth, during which he was scratched by the Chief on the back of his hand. He then trapped both felines in the drying room, watching through the small glass window as the Chief meowed desperately.

    The Chief had always disliked bathing. Whenever he witnessed Lin Shuicheng washing the cats, he would laugh from the side, seemingly intensifying the Cow Cat's resentment towards him, putting their relationship on thin ice.

    Little Gray, on the other hand, was quite different; he behaved like a dog, wagging his tail at people and cooperating fully during baths. While the Chief howled in agony, Little Gray calmly approached to groom his fur.

    Fu Luoyin tapped on the small glass. "Want to come out?"

    The Chief glared at him with his emerald-green eyes.

    "In a bit, don't be so upset. Want some tuna jerky?" Fu Luoyin opened a packet of cat treats and waved it in front of the Chief, who only grew angrier, wailing incessantly.

    As Fu Luoyin teased the cats, Lin Shuicheng emerged from his workshop shortly after.

    Locking the door securely behind him, Lin Shuicheng fetched a glass of water and stood there observing. Unable to resist a chuckle, he said, "That's enough. You're always playing with the Chief. You know he has a temper. Be careful, or he might scratch you."

    Rolling up his sleeve to display the scratches, Fu Luoyin gazed unblinkingly at Lin Shuicheng, his steady voice laced with a hint of grievance. "It's already too late, look what your son did."

    Three bloody streaks lay on the skin, and Lin Shuicheng's brow lifted. "You didn't wear gloves while bathing it?"

    Their family had a complete process for washing cats, and Lin Shuicheng had even prepared a full set of grooming equipment, including anti-scratch gloves.

    "I couldn't find the gloves. You were clattering around yesterday, and I have no idea where you put them... Also, I couldn't find the lemon shampoo, only strawberry scent left." Fu Luoyin looked into his eyes. "I cleaned the room and bathed the cat. Why are you being so fierce?"

    Lin Shuicheng sighed. "Okay, okay, it was my mistake. Stay here, don't move or touch water."

    He reached on tiptoe to fetch iodine swabs and band-aids from the cabinet, then bent down to tend to Fu Luoyin's wounds.

    The scratches weren't deep, and the cat had been vaccinated early on. Fu Luoyin didn't originally take these minor injuries seriously. As he watched Lin Shuicheng lower his head, his slender, fair fingers gently touching the wounds, his dark eyelashes drooping in a gentle and alluring manner, it was utterly captivating.

    "What are you smiling about?" Lin Shuicheng seemed to have eyes on the back of his head, asking as he dressed the wound.

    Fu Luoyin whispered, "Smiling at how obedient and gentle my little kitten is."

    "You were waiting for me to come over," Lin Shuicheng glanced at him softly.

    Fu Luoyin tilted his head with a smile. "Didn't I wait for you to come over, hmm?"

    He gently leaned in, their foreheads touching. "You spend your whole day in that laboratory of yours... and you don't even let us in. We can only wait for you to come out."

    As they drew closer, their breaths mingled, warm and intimate, their eyes locked in a mesmerizing gaze. A mere tilt of their heads led to a fleeting yet passionate kiss.

    With one hand, Lin Shuicheng held Fu Luoyin's wrist, while Fu Luoyin gently clasped the back of his head, and they kissed in silence.

    This kiss lasted a long time, a pure exchange of lips and teeth, intimate and tender, devoid of lustful desire.

    "Professor Little Lin, did you happen to see the note beneath my bedside lamp?" Fu Luoyin asked casually, pretending that nothing had happened after their kiss.

    Lin Shuicheng blinked, as if recalling something. "What note?"

    Fu Luoyin casually made up an excuse. "I tore it off last night to prepare for a speech during a meeting."

    "I thought it was trash when I got up and threw it away," Lin Shuicheng said. "Do you still have a meeting to attend?"

    Fu Luoyin vaguely replied, "I'm not sure. It might not be necessary. Let's just forget about it."

    Fu Luoyin was somewhat frustrated – without the note, how could he proceed with ordering the ring?

    He's already picked out the diamond and style!

    Moreover, given how busy Lin Shuicheng had been lately, it was unclear when he'd next have the chance to secretly measure him while he slept. After finishing his recent workload, Lin Shuicheng had plunged himself back into his workshop.

    Fu Luoyin vaguely knew that Star University was considering hiring Lin Shuicheng as a Quantum Analysis professor for their Jiangnan branch on an exceptional basis. Negotiations were currently ongoing. Initially, Lin Shuicheng felt weary about it since, if promoted, he would need to mentor two batches of students. However, Star University offered to grant Lin Deng an exceptional admission, leaving Lin Shuicheng in a dilemma.

    Fu Luoyin asked, "So you're still planning to go to Star University?"

    "Mm-hmm, I've thought about it. It'll be pretty relaxed after two terms. I do enjoy the academic environment," Lin Shuicheng replied.

    Fu Luoyin continued, "Teacher Little Lin, is this your idea of relaxation—juggling between Site Seven, the Jiangnan branch, and teaching at Star University with only two hours of free time per week?"

    He led Lin Shuicheng to sit on the sofa, and Lin Shuicheng leaned against him, pulling out his phone to play a matching game. "Just for a few years, Fu Luoyin. I promise. After two years, once things settle down, we'll..."

    "Have another Chief?" Fu Luoyin inquired.

    Lin Shuicheng chuckled, slightly taken aback. As Fu Luoyin's hand moved to caress his cheek, Lin Shuicheng playfully nipped back, "You can give birth, you're the one who keeps having cats."

    "Seriously, Lin Shuicheng," Fu Luoyin held him close, burying his face in the crook of his neck, his breath hot. "I want to see you every day. I want to keep you by my side."

    Lin Shuicheng whispered, "Let me tie you up tonight, okay, hubby?"

    Fu Luoyin whispered back into his ear, "You're the one who brought it up… Don't keep changing the subject. Don't you want to? Teacher Little Lin… Only you have the self-control, you heartless little kitten. You even said the Chief wasn't your child."

    Lin Shuicheng ignored him. "I'm going to go back and work on the reagent. When I come back later, make sure he writes an apology for me. As for the snacks… forget it if it's coming from you, alright?"

    "Kiss me, kiss me." Fu Luoyin tugged at him, eager like a child seeking candy.

    Lin Shuicheng wriggled out of his embrace, turned around, and pecked his cheek before saying nonchalantly, "Alright, behave yourself."

    Fu Luoyin put on a show, looking at him askance and asking, "Who were you talking to, Teacher Little Lin?"

    The corner of Lin Shuicheng's mouth lifted. "I was talking to a cat, not you."


    In the following days, Lin Shuicheng mostly stayed in his home workspace. After they moved back in together, they converted the balcony into an extension of the workspace, turning it into a chemistry lab.

    He didn't need to travel for work recently and seemed busy with some organic purification experiment. The reactants were delivered by appointment, packed in boxes and sealed tightly. Fu Luoyin and Lin Deng would occasionally bring him midnight snacks, but they couldn't even knock on the door as it was locked. Lin Shuicheng would come out to eat.

    "My brother has been acting weird lately," Lin Deng said.

    At the dining table, Lin Shuicheng and Fu Luoyin each had a bowl of udon noodles they had just ordered for takeout.

    Fu Luoyin agreed, "That's how it is with researchers. You didn't see him back then..."

    He rambled on about the gossip surrounding Lin Shuicheng's resolution of a famous painting case years ago. Lin Deng asked, "So, Brother-in-law, how's your proposal going?"

    The mention of this made Fu Luoyin's face darken. "I haven't found the right opportunity yet. I originally planned to propose to him at the Seventh Bureau's mid-year review meeting, but looking at the current situation, it seems like it'll have to be postponed."

    The mid-year review was similar to their annual gathering, where all departments came together to eat, drink, and watch performances by employees or sing karaoke. The atmosphere was relatively relaxed.

    It was an event with many people, perfect for making a grand declaration, yet not overly formal.

    In recent days, he hadn't found a chance to stay up later than Lin Shuicheng. With his overtime work, he was quick to feel tired, and every time Lin Shuicheng accompanied him to sleep, he would get up in the middle of the night to continue his experiments.

    As soon as the two finished speaking, Lin Shuicheng emerged from inside, dressed in a formal shirt, indicating that he was about to leave.

    Lin Deng and Fu Luoyin fell silent at the table, turning to look at him.

    Lin Shuicheng said, "I'm stepping out for a bit. The driver is waiting downstairs."

    Fu Luoyin's senses were instantly on high alert. "Where are you going?" he inquired with a guarded tone.

    Lin Deng's face lit up with delight.

    Lin Shuicheng said, "I'll be discussing matters with someone tonight and will return later. There's no need to save dinner for me. Lin Deng, don't get too excited, I'll still be checking your homework."

    Both men at the table fell into a sullen silence.


    Star City Alliance's Autumn Water Jewelry Design Studio.

    This studio is the only one of its kind in the entire league. The designer himself only takes private commissions, yet they're still incredibly sought after. The officially listed one-on-one design consultation slots have been bid up to a staggering twenty thousand per hour. The "King and Morningglory" brand, created by Qiu Shui Studio, has become the pinnacle of high-end design in the entire league, with its dual series symbolizing a king and a morning glory, or a monarch and the glory of dawn.

    Moreover, this designer seems to have quite an intriguing background. He's not motivated by money, nor does he seek public listing; he accepts jobs solely based on personal preference.

    "Hello, Mr. Lin? Please come in."

    The designer stood up to greet him. He was dressed in casual home attire, looking clean and handsome, yet his age was somewhat elusive—his physique and demeanor suggested maturity, but his delicate features held a childlike innocence.

    He extended his hand to shake Lin Shuicheng's. "My name is Yun Qiu. Nice to meet you. Sir, I believe you've made an appointment. You're here today to commission wedding rings, correct? We had a brief discussion about your ideas online previously."

    Lin Shuicheng nodded. "Yes, I'll have to trouble you. Last time, we didn't have the chance to take measurements, so I brought some with me this time."

    He pulled out two slips of paper from his pocket. The designer didn't find it odd and promptly fetched a tape measure to help with the sizing, double-checking the dimensions of his fingers.

    Sketches were laid out one by one, and the designer sat beside him, attentively explaining and sketching out each design, creating mock-ups of the finished product. "As per Mr. Lin's request, the sapphire will be surrounded by the latest discovered celestial mineral, right? This mineral is slightly less hard than a diamond, so my idea for the ring design would be..."

    The two spent the afternoon discussing and finally settled on a final plan.

    Before sending him off, the designer scratched his head and gave him a bright smile. "I wasn't aware of this mineral you mentioned at first, but after visiting the space station, I learned that it's a newly discovered celestial mineral. It hasn't been named yet, but the transparent silver luster is quite appealing." He seemed eager.

    "Naming is about to be announced," Lin Shuicheng acknowledged with a nod. "This mineral was first detected by the Fu Corporation's space station and is still under development and confirmation. It will be called 'Falling Silver.' If you like it, Mr. Yun, we can send you a few sample sets."

    The designer was delighted. "That's great! Thank you so much! I'll work diligently on your ring, and Mr. Lin can come back in half a month to collect it."


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