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cracking open a cold one (it's a boy!!)

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"You shouldn't eat so many sweet things," says Shen Wei (all six-foot-showstopping-looks of him) but in a tone that suggests he's personally invested in this in a way he hadn't been even when delivering admonishments about not heckling his students, and Zhao Yunlan thinks: huh.







Da Qing

lao zhao you have a pakige

a what

pakige

packag

SHUT UP YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN

see even autocorrect can't save you

if ur gonna keep typing as a cat im buying u one of those old people phones

with the big keys

for ur fat paws

yeah well not before i scratch up all your furniture

as a cat

so keep that in mind

anyway why did you even buy a cookbook who are you trying to fool

YOU OPENED MY PACKAGE ?? y am i even surprised

and no ofc i didn't buy a cookbook why would i waste money on that

u sure it's not a wrong address

the box has your name on it i CAN read you know

well. had. it's confetti now

no sender name

maybe someone from forensics finally got sick of being ordered around by a skinny stick of a human

and decided to take direct action

anyway

if we find out who this is i'm gonna write back with a request for a cat food cookbook

it's only fair

what so u can cook it as a cat? we both know what happened the last time u tried

DO NOT SET THE KITCHEN ON FIRE AGAIN DA QING I'M WARNING YOU






But of course, Zhao Yunlan is in the profession of being suspicious at everything in the name of the city's safety (as opposed to the Inspectorate, who's mostly concerned with the generation of paperwork in the name of everyone's headaches as far as he's concerned). If he investigated every single thing that made him go huh even off work, it'd rob him of all his free time and also put him firmly in the auntie-level busybody category. Which is why he's not doing that.

…oh, who is he even kidding.






DRAGON CITY
SPECIAL INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT

INVESTIGATIVE REPORT

CASE ID: N/A
SUBMITTED BY: Chu Shuzhi, Agent


FINDINGS:

As directed, this agent investigated all the post offices in the city, starting from the branches closest to Dragon City University and moving outwards. Upon enquiring after a customer matching the target's description, a hit was found at the branch at the corner of Daxue Road and Xixue Avenue. The staff confirmed that someone matching that description did obtain counter assistance to send a small package after failing to use the self-service stamp and labels machine. Following this, an intern (later identified as a DCU engineering undergraduate) further confirmed that said customer was indeed Professor Shen, and enquired with concern whether he was in trouble.

This agent informed said intern that the only one in trouble here was this agent's boss.

Subsequently, enquiries were also requested for and performed starting with the bookstores nearest to DCU. This yielded considerably more mixed results, as the target appears to patronise many of these shops with considerable regularity, to the apparent adoration of the various booksellers. Nevertheless, relevant responses were obtained at the sixth shop, who confirmed that a customer of that description (again positively ID'd as Professor Shen) had purchased a recipe book from their store, after extensive queries on which of their collection the staff would consider a "simple book for someone without cooking experience to follow" (direct quote).

This agent expressed great agreement with this clearly bleak assessment of this agent's boss' survival skills, and concluded the investigation.


ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:

Full list of stores visited and transport fare claims in attached. Approve them all, or else.






Anyway. Stubborn and nosy is really just another way to say determined and inquisitive, and those are both virtues, right?







Zhu Hong

My most well-informed Hong-jie

I have a question

seeing you use actual punctuation outside an email is mildly disturbing

what

so, about yashou, right

since you're carnivores

(well mostly i guess)

does that mean you're instinctively able to tell when your would-be prey is off?

off??

less than optimal

rancid

unhealthy

probably better off not-eaten

ok ok i get it

and yes, obviously

but that's the same for everyone, isn't it? survival 101

you wouldn't buy something rotten at the supermarket either

………

well

every now and then i have to wonder about how you even survived to adulthood

but anyway, yes

it's why most butchers who know anything refuse to sell to us

any snake tribe member worth their hide can spot bad meat from miles away

ah

and for live prey?

we don't hunt that much anymore, but same principle

why do you ask

nothing!! no reason

have a good evening bye

wait

ZHAO YUNLAN YOU GET BACK HERE






Also, why does everyone always seem so disturbed about his skillset? Some people can cook. Zhao Yunlan can take a target out with one shot even with Da Qing doing his level best to make a cat tower of his head, and takeout hasn't killed him yet. Nobody's perfect.

…except possibly one Professor Shen, pending the outcome of this investigation. Which is why it's crucial that he conducts said inquiry, obviously.






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Chief Zhao,

As requested, here are all the books with either references to vampires and/or similar species, or photographs of people in Dragon City sorted by approximate decade.

Sang Zan would like to add that he has not told anyone about your request (aside from what was necessary for me to write this note), though he is rather confused as to why you felt the need to empty half the library.

– Wang Zheng







Da Qing

LAO ZHAO

what!!?

another delivery

oh

dammit i thought it was an emergency

yeah well clearly your mysterious cookbook sender disagrees

?

found dinner outside the door

apparently they got tired of waiting for you to get a move on with the cooking

and just skipped straight to doing it themselves

…should i feel insulted or flattered

SHUT UP OMG I JUST NOTICED

THERE'S A SPECIAL PORTION JUST FOR ME

whoever this is we're DEFINITELY keeping them






Professor Shen Official Fanclub Weibo
Verified Account · Dragon City

An eagle-eyed contributor spotted Prof Shen leaving the campus this evening with what was unmistakably a thermal carrier bag!

This isn't the first time, of course, but it's usually a more common sight during lunch hours, as our favourite professor is known for taking quite literal and delicious action on grad student welfare. (Heads up to anyone considering further studies! 10/10 worth it, would suffer through qualification exams again for this - Mod J)

Either way, we hope whoever he's going to meet has an enjoyable dinner!

#DailyDCU# #NoFilter# #WhyIChoseSTEM#







"So, were you going to tell me about being a vampire before or after having me over for dinner?"

Shen Wei had already put down his chopsticks much earlier after eating just a (unsuspiciously) small amount, but now he splutters on a cough. Which would be funny, if Zhao Yunlan were a terrible person.

…unfortunately, he is at least a bit that kind of terrible person, so he can't help a snicker. Just the tiniest one.

Shen Wei's eyes are very round behind his glasses. "Where did you even get that idea?"

"Your reaction just now, for starters. Also, the whole – " Zhao Yunlan waves a vaguely but comprehensively illustrative hand at the entire spectrum from inhumanly good looks to excessive interest in his physical wellbeing " – everything. Not the fashion sense, though, I guess you don't wear much black. Or own much of it, even."

"Should I be concerned at your apparent familiarity with my wardrobe?" Shen Wei asks, sounding not very concerned at all.

But of course, what did a vampire have to fear from a puny stick of a brittle human like him? Not even getting into the – y'know, invulnerable immortality and all.

"Also, I don't know how you came to that conclusion, but I'm not a vampire."

Zhao Yunlan contemplates the incompatibility of the food remaining on his dining table (which he's never seen so full since buying this place) and the space left in his stomach. "Well, are you not not a vampire?"

Perfect silence.

…punctuated by Da Qing's snoring. Should've left the damn cat at the office.

Of course, this would theoretically be the point when he could've pointed out the actual evidence he has for this, thanks to the team's unwitting-or-otherwise contributions. Not least of which there's Sang Zan's assiduously compiled photos.

Which is kinda circumstantial as far as evidence goes, admittedly, especially given the quality (or lack thereof) in some of those photos, but as far as he's concerned there's no mistaking those cheekbones no matter the era.

Anyway. Zhao Yunlan's current aesthetic appreciation of said cheekbones is temporarily interrupted by their owner's sigh. "I suppose certain… qualities of my existence bear resemblance to what Haixing folklore calls vampires. Heightened senses, for one."

Zhao Yunlan does not do what he calls a victory dance, because he is being the immensely sensible one here. "Figures."

Shen Wei raises an eyebrow in implied question.

"In any other situation, I would've seriously considered the possibility of my medical and residential info getting hacked, but given that you're – well, you…" Zhao Yunlan shrugs. "So you could drink blood? In theory."

Shen Wei wrinkles his nose. "It's hardly what I'd call nutritionally balanced."

Zhao Yunlan clearly chose the wrong moment to inhale, because he spends the next minute or so choking on hysterical laughter; of course that would be Shen Wei's objection to the whole vampire shtick. Eldritch physics-breaking powers? Sure. Heavy metal diets?

Pass, no thank you very much.

He should have seen this coming, really, but either way it means that they can share meals without him feeling guilty about depriving Shen Wei of some other preferred diet. That's the most important thing, if being well-fed is gonna end up on the agenda anyway.

Well. One of the important things.

("So, do you sparkle in the sun too? Because you'd think I would've noticed by n–"

"Zhao Yunlan!")