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“……Mingzhou, are you listening to me?” A well-dressed lady sitting opposite him frowns faintly, displeasure over being neglected clear in her voice even as she retains her graceful, courteous attitude.
“Of course, I am listening,” Liu Mingzhou flicks a glance up to her and replies politely, but very soon, his gaze is once again drawn towards the snow-white Samoyed sprawled lazily on the ground next to his feet. The affection and care brimming in his eyes incite a sense of annoyance in the woman.
“Mingzhou,” The lady raps a knuckle on the table, tone hardening. “I feel that we need to have a proper talk – can you look at me and not bother with your dog for a moment?!”
Truth be told, the lady sincerely liked this obedient, clever and beautiful Samoyed when she saw it for the first time. However, is there a woman in this world who can put up with the man they like being more concerned about his pet than her? Thus, this Samoyed gradually changed from a loveable pet to a thorn in her side, making her feel irritated, unhappy – even envious.
Sensing the woman’s dislike of Sui Yuan in her voice, Liu Mingzhou’s eyes darken, a sliver of displeasure surfacing. Still, he adheres to her request, turning his full attention to her. “What do you want?”
“Is it possible for only you and me to be present from the next date onwards?” The lady asks slowly, suppressing her temper with great effort. “By that, I mean leaving your dog at home. Is it possible? I always feel like the third wheel in an established relationship whenever your dog is here. Instead of a date between us, it’s more like you are dating that Samoyed.”
“You think too much,” Liu Mingzhou replies apathetically. Nonetheless, the woman is able to pick out the dismissive undertone, as though he is saying “so long as you understand your situation”, causing her anger to rise.
“I don’t think I am being oversensitive,” she states frostily.
Lifting a hand, he rubs his temple a little impatiently. “Do you still remember what I said when we first met? I don’t plan to marry, and don’t want a girlfriend. The blind date was arranged by my family, and I was pressured into attending against my will. You told me you were forced into it as well, and that we can use each other as shields in order to avoid our respective families disturbing our private lives, isn’t that so?”
The lady chokes, deflating immediately. “So, you’ve always considered me as a shield all these time?”
“That was your proposal during our initial meeting,” Liu Mingzhou responses calmly.
She closes her eyes for a while, originally assertive temperament revealing a vaguely lost disposition. “So…from then until now, you don’t have the slightest affection for me, right?”
“You are a very close friend.” Liu Mingzhou tactfully plays the ‘good guy card’.
“I understand.” Her laughter is a little strained. “Indeed, I am overthinking, and had too much confidence in myself… I’m sorry, I think we should terminate our agreement here as I am beginning to have feelings for you while you do not. As this circumstance wouldn’t benefit either of us, we should stop now… I suppose you don’t wish for this to become complicated, do you?”
“…If that’s what you want.” Liu Mingzhou nods, calm and courteous as always. Like a cup of warm water, he doesn’t give the impression of being too aloof or too enthusiastic. “I thank you for your co-operation this entire time.”
This indifferent answer shatters the final thread of hope the lady has. Although she truly developed some regard towards Liu Mingzhou during this period of time, it is not to the degree of being willing to sacrifice her dignity. Besides, as he pointed out, the one who proposed the idea of using each other as a shield is her, and he has never displayed the slightest bit of interest. Everything was merely her imagining that her regard was reciprocated.
Even though she lost a bit of face, the facts are laid out before her. Being a practical woman, she doesn’t plan to let this error continue and grow.
Very quickly, she plasters on a cordial expression, an easy smile curving her lips. “The matter of ‘breaking up’, shall I leave mentioning it to Aunt in your hands, or shall I do it?”
“…If it’s not too inconvenient, please put in a good word or two on my behalf.” A trace of awkwardness appears on Liu Mingzhou’s face.
“I understand.” She laughs in spite of herself. “I will tell her I’m too busy with work, so the times I am free to meet up with you decreased drastically. Moreover, our personalities do not match. How about it?”
Swiftly arranging their reason for ‘breaking up’, the woman politely bids farewell and stands, walking away on her high-heeled shoes with a prideful air still clinging to her. Remaining in his seat, Liu Mingzhou lowers his head just in time to meet Sui Yuan’s eyes. Stooping over slightly, he rubs the top of the dog’s head soothingly.
Feeling a tad unhappy, Sui Yuan shakes his head and gets to his feet, turning to watch the woman’s departing figure.
Yao Fang – the woman who was acting as Liu Mingzhou’s girlfriend – ought to be an important supporting female lead in this world. In the original text, Liu Mingzhou and Wang Yican cannot make their relationship known to the masses due to them being teacher and student. While all this is going on, his family begins to urge him to find a girlfriend, get married and start a family. Yao Fang is the daughter of Mother Liu’s close friend and is someone she is greatly anticipating to have as her ‘future daughter-in-law’.
Although Wang Yican and Sun Jie are a couple now, Liu Mingzhou is still single. Therefore, Yao Fang will naturally continue acting as his girlfriend, and comes clean with her feelings at the appropriate time. Only, it’s a pity that in the original plot, Liu Mingzhou has Wang Yican, and in this messed-up storyline, he has…a Samoyed dog. Hence, when Yao Fang confesses, she is firmly rejected by Liu Mingzhou. While she is important, she barely appears in the story any more afterwards.
Of course, the role of the supporting female lead is also to cause some drama. In the script, Wang Yican caught sight of Liu Mingzhou on a ‘date’ with Yao Fang once and misunderstood, causing her to become jealous. Thus, the main leads’ relationship enters a crisis. Unfortunately, this portion of the story is completely thrown out now…
Chugging down the last of his coffee, Liu Mingzhou places a sum of money down on the table and leaves the café, stooping over slightly to ask Sui Yuan where they should go next.
Sui Yuan absently wags his tail a few times, lazily following behind the man. In any case, he can only bark, so trying to give a verbal reply is no use.
Strolling around the neighbourhood for a while, they finally return home only to find an unexpected guest.
Yao Fang certainly doesn’t waste time in announcing their ‘break up’, immediately contacting Mother Liu to report this situation as soon as she left the café. Having received this news, Mother Liu, who attaches importance to this matter, quickly rushes over to Liu Mingzhou’s house, intending on lecturing her stupid son for letting her ‘future daughter-in-law’ slip through his fingers.
As he has prepared for this possibility earlier, Liu Mingzhou retains his cool-headedness when he catches sight of Mother Liu. Greeting her warmly, he begins to busy himself with Sui Yuan, meticulously brushing his fur, feeding him and so on. Seeing her son serve his pet dog so seriously, Mother Liu’s frustration mounts, making her feel extremely stifled and anxious.
“Dog! Dog! Dog! All day long you only care about your dog! You might as well spend your whole life with it!” Mother Liu berates her unrepentant son harshly, spitting in anger.
Liu Mingzhou movement pauses, then lifts his head to meet the furious eyes of his seething mother, smiling faintly. “That doesn’t sound too bad ah.”
“Not bad?! The hell do you mean not bad?!” Faced with the stubborn Liu Mingzhou, Mother Liu is at a loss for words. “If you spend your entire lifetime with a dog, then where will I have a grandson to hold?”
“Don’t I have a younger brother?” Liu Mingzhou shrugs carelessly. “Isn’t he getting married soon?”
“Your younger brother is already getting married, so why are you still dallying?! Besides, your younger brother’s child is his, not yours!” Although she is angry at the innocent Samoyed that managed to occupy her son’s heart, Mother Liu is also aware some of the fault lies with her for not intervening sooner.
Falling silent for a moment, Liu Mingzhou eventually laughs helplessly. “I’m sorry, mum.”
Mother Liu’s indignant expression softens and she sighs heavily. “You really make me worry too much. No need to apologise, just find yourself a girlfriend and give me a grandchild soon! Since Little Yao and your personality do not match, then forget it, I will not press the issue. But you must be more thoughtful about this matter from now on!”
Liu Mingzhou doesn’t speak, smile firmly in place as though silently consenting but seemingly rebelling at the same time.
Mother Liu never imagined that Liu Mingzhou’s one line of “I’m sorry” is not apologising over breaking up with Yao Fang, and never did she entertain the thought that her flustered curse in a moment of anger would come true.
Nonetheless, her heart feels something is not quite right after this exchange today. But she steadfastly ignores it, not daring to believe her prideful eldest son would renounce everything for a dog.
In everyone’s eyes, this behaviour is abnormal. Depraved. Mother Liu doesn’t dare say more no matter how she wishes she is able to bring him back on the right path. But despite her best efforts, she cannot overcome Liu Mingzhou’s determination to defend what he labels ‘his’ to the death, causing her to be more discouraged day after day.
After graduating from senior high school, Wang Yican and Sun Jie enrolled in the same university. During the three years there, their relationship was sealed, and they married immediately after. A cute baby boy was born two years into their marriage. As Liu Mingzhou was invited as an important guest to their wedding, Sui Yuan naturally comes along to serve as a mascot. During the entire ceremony, Sui Yuan was treated to an unending scene of the female lead being very harmonious with the supporting male lead.
As for Liu Mingzhou, he remains single still.
No matter how the long-winded Mother Liu reprimands him – even falling into hysteria – or how Father Liu’s patient advices turn to strict compelling, how his younger siblings heap heartfelt words and gentle prompts, Liu Mingzhou obstinately clings to his decision. Ultimately, this silent cold war with his family results in a falling out and ends in the severing of familial relationships. Because the Liu family cannot afford to have an ‘abnormal’ person within.
Being a dog in this world, taken in and carefully sheltered by Liu Mingzhou, Sui Yuan lives comfortably for the next ten-plus years.
“…Rare is it that I am able to die of old age ah…” Lying snugly on the large bed, Sui Yuan’s eyelids are at half-mast, his entire body limp and devoid of the slightest amount of strength.
“…It’s been hard on you,” Leaning against the furry flank, 5237 says solemnly. “Who asked the author to write that the Samoyed peacefully passed away under the care of the main leads? You can’t possibly not walk this path to its end, after all.”
“But it actually feels pretty good? Just feels like a waste of time.” With a considerable amount of effort, Sui Yuan shifts his body so he is leaning on his side. Lying on his stomach makes breathing a little difficult.
Feeling that Sui Yuan doesn’t require his consolidation, it rolls to the end of the bed sullenly. At this moment, the bedroom’s door opens.
At forty-over years of age, Liu Mingzhou is still in the prime of his life. As time passed, his introverted nature makes him shine all the more brilliantly, exuding a mature, refined and aloof air. Currently barefooted, his footsteps are noiseless thanks to the soft carpet laid out over the tiles. Slowly, he approaches the bed and settles himself down next to Sui Yuan.
“I have already sent Ah Li and Ah Yan away ahead of us, so don’t worry.” Liu Mingzhou’s action is still as gentle as ever as he strokes the white fur that has long lost its youthful lustre. “How do you feel right now? Is it uncomfortable?”
Sui Yuan expends a great deal of effort to lift his head and glance at the man, whimpering a soft reply.
“This world is the most boring one I have ever experienced. Can you tell 5237 that no matter what it does, please don’t choose something like this ever again,” Liu Mingzhou complains a little childishly, then flips his body over so he is lying next to Sui Yuan. Then, he cautiously scoops him up and manoeuvres the limp dog into his embrace, keeping an eye on Sui Yuan’s expression as though afraid he might accidentally make him suffer.
Well accustomed to being moved back and forth by Liu Mingzhou, Sui Yuan merely relaxes his muscles and snuggles as best he can, gaze dropping down to the sulking 5237 hovering at the foot of the bed.
The system naturally heard Liu Mingzhou’s complain and lets out a disdainful, “Hmph” in reply. Nonetheless, it keeps to its promise and doesn’t say a single bad word about the man.
The bedroom is now extremely quiet, sunlight shining through the French windows, making Sui Yuan feel extremely warm and cosy all over. Liu Mingzhou doesn’t stop stroking his fur, murmuring lowly about random things in his accented voice. At long last, Sui Yuan gives a final wag of his tail and closes his eyes.
– Being able to die of old age in their owner’s embrace is perhaps the best ending any dog can hope for, right?
The author has something to say: This arc really sapped by imagination ah. No matter how I write, I couldn’t get it out the way I envisioned. Finally…I can only produce this… OTL
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