Xia Wennan was reading a book in his bedroom.
He sat in a rather slovenly manner, lifting one foot up onto the chair as his body tilted to the side, propping his head up with an elbow atop his desk.
His other hand was used to turn the page and scrawl words, although he’d occasionally tap on his phone screen to check the time.
It was almost 10 p.m., and Ming Luchuan had yet to return. Ming Luchuan was not one to stay out late unless he had a social obligation.
He and Xia Wennan had a mutual non-interfering attitude, and they’d never asked each other whether the other had any social engagements ahead of time.
Today, however, Xia Wennan had been waiting for Ming Luchuan all evening.
By 10.30 p.m., Xia Wennan had gotten too drowsy to focus on his book, so he flipped the textbook shut and reached for his phone, eventually deciding to give Ming Luchuan a call.
When he heard the ringing tone of his outgoing call, Xia Wennan became a little restless and softly rapped his fingers against the desktop.
When the call finally went through, the first thing he heard was deafening static, with no audible response from Ming Luchuan.
With that being the case, Xia Wennan cautiously sounded out, “Hello?”
Ming Luchuan’s voice immediately rang out, “Xia Wennan?”
His deep timbre sounded raspy and slurred at the same time, as if something hot had rolled across his throat.
From the chaotic background noise around him, Xia Wennan quickly surmised, “Have you been drinking?”
Ming Luchuan didn’t answer.
It seemed as if someone at his side was talking to him, but he didn’t respond either.
After more than a dozen seconds, Ming Luchuan said, “…come pick me up?”
Xia Wennan froze up.
“Are you talking to me?”
Ming Luchuan let out a drawn out ‘Mm’, as if to respond to Xia Wennan, but also as if the alcohol was giving him a difficult time.
It was right then that Xia Wennan suddenly heard someone on the other end shout: “Duan Ning!” The voice was barely audible, and he really only felt that it sounded like these two words, but the soft hairs on his nape pricked up, and he thought to himself: Good for you, Ming Luchuan! You claim that he isn’t a white moonlight, but you go out drinking with him behind my back! How dare you ask me to pick you up!
“Where are you?” Xia Wennan’s tone was rather unpleasant.
“Where’s your driver?”
Ming Luchuan, however, didn’t answer.
Xia Wennan heard nothing save for chaotic background noise, and after half a minute or so went by, the call was cut off.
Xia Wennan was a little pissed.
He put his phone on his desk, took a deep breath, then got to his feet, intending to empty his bladder and go to bed.
In the bathroom, the steam from his earlier bath had yet to fully dissipate, and it was hot and stuffy inside.
He pressed down on the flush button a little harder and washed his hands with less patience.
Normally, he would always wipe the steam from the mirror, but he was too lazy to clean it today.
Stepping out of the bathroom, Xia Wennan opened his wardrobe and changed into a long-sleeved T-shirt and a pair of jeans.
He then grabbed his phone and wallet and walked outside.
When he reached the front door, he switched his slippers for a pair of shoes while calling Xu Feng to inquire where Ming Luchuan was dining tonight.
As he reached the entrance of the community, Xia Wennan faintly regretted not wearing a jacket.
Summer was drawing to a close, and the remaining bit of daytime heat was like a drop in the sea at night.
The night breeze was starting to carry the autumnal chill, slipping under people’s collars and hems.
Xia Wennan pulled at the hem of his sleeves and suddenly realised that his T-shirt was quite short.
It wasn’t only short, but also loose, and a gust of wind was all it took to reveal a sliver of waist.
He took a taxi to the place Ming Luchuan was eating at tonight, a restaurant named “Qin Palace”.
The trip there took more or less twenty minutes, and when he arrived at his destination and made to enter the premises, he was barred by a waiter at the entrance.
Puzzled, Xia Wennan asked, “Why can’t I go inside?”
“Pardon sir, are you a beta?” the waiter inquired in an extremely polite manner.
“I am,” said Xia Wennan.
“What’s wrong with betas?”
The waiter smiled and said, “Apologies sir.
Qin Palace is a members-only club.
We only receive alpha members and omega patrons.”
Xia Wennan listened to him explain with mild confusion.
“What do you mean by alpha members and omega patrons?”
The waiter patiently explained, “There’s a membership system implemented for alphas.
Omega patrons may enter without a membership.”
“What about betas then?”
“We’re utterly sorry sir, we don’t receive beta patrons,” said the waiter.
Xia Wennan froze for a beat.
Although he was well aware that betas were at the lowest rung of society’s gender hierarchy, the superficial appearance of fairness still had to be maintained.
This was the first time he’d encountered something so blatantly sexist against betas.
“Aren’t you also a beta?” Xia Wennan said to the waiter, not particularly pleased.
The waiter’s smile didn’t diminish in the least.
“I’m just a service staff, of course I’m a beta.”
“Excuse me,” someone behind Xia Wennan suddenly extended a hand and inserted himself between them, handing the waiter a business card.
Xia Wennan turned his head and saw that it was Ming Luchuan’s driver.
The driver nodded to Xia Wennan in greeting, “Mr.
Xia.” Afterwards, he addressed the waiter, who had gotten a good look at the business card by then, “This is President Ming’s partner.”
The waiter began to bow repeatedly.
Xia Wennan waved a hand; he didn’t have time to bother with him.
“How did you know I was here?” he asked the driver.
The driver pointed to the side, and with his half-smoked cigarette sandwiched between his fingers, he said, “I was waiting for President Ming over there.
I came over after Assistant Xu called.”
“Oh, thank you,” said Xia Wennan.
The driver said, “Please give me a call when President Ming is finished here.”
Xia Wennan made an OK gesture with his fingers.
The waiter was waiting for him with a bow.
“Please come in, sir.”
Xia Wennan followed him inside.
The club dubbed as Qin Palace’s façade and interior were designed in light tones and surrounded by grandeur.
The long corridor was lined with bamboo partitions, the floor a vast stretch of fine, pale yellow carpeting; the tread of leather shoes made not the faintest sound.
Xia Wennan looked at the waiter in front of him and couldn’t help but say, “Weren’t you firmly against receiving betas?”
The waiter turned back with a smile.
“Apologies sir, for making you misunderstand.
Qin Palace does not receive beta patrons who come alone.
If they come along as friends or partners of alpha members of the club, we would naturally receive them.”
It felt as if Xia Wennan’s breath was suddenly stuck in his throat.
He asked, “If it were a big-time boss, or a superstar, or scientists, or world champions—if these people were all betas and wanted to sign up as a member, would your club refuse them too?”
The waiter bowed.
These are the boss’s rules.” Afterwards, he continued to maintain a polite smile as he led the way.
Xia Wennan didn’t ask any more questions.
The person in front of him was only a waiter anyway, and he was also part of the same beta group that was discriminated against.
There was no point in making things difficult for him.
The waiter came to a halt in front of a wooden sliding door in the midst of the bamboo wall, saying, “This is the private room Mr.
Ming and his friends are dining in.”
Xia Wennan immediately remembered hearing someone cry out “Duan Ning,” and the flurry of rage he’d previously suppressed erupted.
He envisioned himself kicking open the sliding door before him and bellowing, “Way to go, Ming Luchuan! And you still won’t admit that you have a white moonlight?!”
In reality, he merely stood soundlessly in front of the door, watching as the waiter knocked, then gently pulled open the door to the private room for him.
There were seven to eight people in the private room.
Only two or three of them were omegas, with the remainder being alphas.
At this very moment, all of them were looking Xia Wennan’s way.
However, the crux of the matter was that Ming Luchuan and Duan Ning were not inside, and what was even stranger was the fact that He Yufeng was actually present.
The man got up from the cushion he was sitting on, and uttered with slight surprise, “Little junior?”
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