After exiting Ming Luchuan’s office, Xia Wennan went to the R&D department.

The lab’s R&D staff were all elated to see him back, and everyone gathered around to chat for a while.
Xia Wennan didn’t tell them about his amnesia and only mentioned that he still hadn’t fully recovered from his injuries yet, directly sidestepping their many questions.

When everyone returned to their stations and resumed their work, Xia Wennan was left to walk around the lab alone.
The laboratory contained numerous reagents and equipment that Xia Wennan didn’t dare to casually tamper with.
Although he had majored in biochemistry, his memories were limited to his second year of university, and while he knew the uses of some of these lab equipment, there were a great many more that he was unfamiliar with.

The lab also had an entire wall dedicated to perfumes, all of which were natural perfumes with the purest fragrances.
Because Xia Wennan was extremely sensitive to smells, standing in front of that wall made him feel as if every single scent in the entire world was assaulting his senses.

At the innermost part of the laboratory was a sealed room enclosed in glass walls that served as Xia Wennan’s private testing station.
As Xia Wennan was about to open the door and enter the room, a young female beta employee stopped him and reminded him to change his shoes and put on a hairnet.

Xia Wennan had already changed into a set of work clothes as he entered the lab earlier, so he was taken aback and asked, “The requirements are that strict?”

The female employee’s name was Dong Liqian.
She was dressed similarly in a lab coat, and she was also wearing a hairnet.
Her features were pretty and delicate.
“Wasn’t it you who set them?” she asked.

Xia Wennan didn’t refute her.
He immediately changed his shoes and put on a hairnet.

The instant he entered the glass room, Xia Wennan felt as if he’d been isolated from all the scents in the outside world, because in here it smelled like nothing.
Or perhaps—saying that it smelled like nothing wasn’t entirely accurate, but it was true that Xia Wennan couldn’t detect anything that could irritate his sense of smell.
His lab table was free from contaminants, and it only housed a few small-scale instruments and a laptop.
The glass test tubes on the rack were filled with liquids, and their mouths were all sealed.  

A large blackboard that hung next to the lab table had several words scrawled over its surface.
The handwriting was sloppy and illegible, but it was easily identifiable as Xia Wennan’s.
Among the words on the board, there was a particularly eye-catching set of words that were larger in size than the rest: Xishui Hall.

Xia Wennan took a test tube from the lab table, unstoppered it, and dipped a scent strip in to determine its smell.
The liquid’s scent had a watery note; it smelled of a quiet elegance, beauty and seclusion, but it was far from mature as a perfume.
It was most likely only half-finished.

The fragrance on the scent strip quickly evaporated, and the smells in the room were soon dispersed by the ventilation system. 

Xia Wennan capped the test tube, returned it to its rack, and looked at the words Xishui Hall.
His mind was a vast blank expanse.

When he got off work that afternoon, Xia Wennan didn’t contact Ming Luchuan and took the subway home on his own. 

He had dinner at a small restaurant near his apartment.
The food tasted neither good nor bad, and the restaurant was neither packed nor empty.
Occupying a table all by himself, he couldn’t suppress a sigh as he ate.

Today could be considered the first time he was truly exposed to his former job since waking up from the coma ensuing his car accident.
Whether it was the interview he read on the internet or what Ming Luchuan had said about him, they both mentioned how he was a skilled and talented person; he also believed that if he left Ming Luchuan immediately, he’d be able to live comfortably because he had savings and a job.
However, the moment he sat down at his lab table, his mind went completely blank.
He had no idea what had gone on inside that genius beta perfumer’s head in the past, and he lacked even the most basic expertise.

Xia Wennan felt a little dismayed. 

After dinner, he went to the nearby minimarket, bought a dozen cans of beer, and carried them in his hands as he hobbled home. 

He unlocked the door with his fingerprint.
It was pitch-dark and quiet inside the apartment; Ming Luchuan had yet to return.
He was probably still angry about what had happened this afternoon, so he didn’t go home nor contact Xia Wennan.

Xia Wennan couldn’t be bothered with the lights.
Walking over to the living room’s floor-to-ceiling windows, he plopped down and sat cross-legged facing the window as he opened a can of beer.

The beers had been stored in a cooler, so it retained its original temperature.
Downing a mouthful made that coolness spread from his stomach to his entire body. 

Xia Wennan leaned back, his hands at his sides propping his body up in a lethargic posture.
The neighbourhood they lived in was in the city centre; there were no large parks nearby, but he had a clear view of the city’s most prosperous scene.
Dusk had just settled, yet the high-rise buildings were already lit, their dazzling lights illuminating the twilight sky.
Off in the distance, the moon had appeared at some point, sheer and luminous, and even the brightest lights couldn’t compete with its radiance. 

On his sixth can of beer, Xia Wennan had already shaken off his dejection.

Since he was a child, he’d never been one to linger in a bad mood for long.
His and his grandpa’s lives had been far from easy, but his grandpa always assured him that there were no trenches you couldn’t cross so long as you raised your legs high enough.
If you’ve reached your limit and can’t get them any higher, then throw in a chair and leap over that. 

So why be dejected? If you have the time for dejection, then just go grab yourself a chair. 

Xia Wennan got to his feet and tossed the empty beer can to the ground.
It landed on the glossy floor tiles, bounced off another beer can, then bounced once more before rolling away. 

At that moment, bursting with loftiness, Xia Wennan opened the remaining six cans of beer.
He took one can, knelt down, knocked it against another beer can on the floor, then exclaimed “Bottoms up!” before draining the remaining six beer cans dry.

Ming Luchuan returned at around 10 pm.
When he opened the door, not a single light in the apartment was on.
The living room was quiet and there was no sign of anyone in sight, and yet the air was thick with the smell of alcohol. 

When he switched on the lights, the instant the room lit up, he saw Xia Wennan standing behind the door, eyes wide, staring straight at him.

Ming Luchuan froze.
In a flash, his pupils dilated slightly as he angrily rebuked, “Are you insane?!”

He didn’t know how long Xia Wennan had been standing behind the door.
Not a sound escaped his lips, and his whole body reeked of alcohol.
All of a sudden, he reached out to grab Ming Luchuan’s lapels, leaning forward as he pulled Ming Luchuan’s tall body towards him.
“Ming Luchuan!”

Ming Luchuan gave him a cold look. 

“I’ll work really hard!” Xia Wennan exclaimed.

Ming Luchuan frowned.
“How much have you had to drink?” 

Xia Wennan’s voice boomed out loudly as if he were responding to an instructor during military training.
“Twelve cans of beer!”

“And what’s the reason for you getting blind drunk?” 

“Every can represents my sincerity to the company!”

“……”

“Twelve! For the twelve astrological signs! And the twelve Chinese zodiacs!”

“……”

“The unity of twelve ethnic groups! To form Great Ming Yan’s perfume dynasty!”

“Which twelve ethnic groups?”

“Hydrogen, helium, lithium, beryllium, boron…”

“Get out!” Ming Luchuan could no longer take it.
He grabbed Xia Wennan’s hand and shoved it away from him.

Unbeknownst to anyone, Xia Wennan was too tipsy to stay steady on his feet, when he tipped backwards from Ming Luchuan’s motions, the latter hurriedly extended a hand to support his back, drawing Xia Wennan into his arms. 

Xia Wennan’s face was pressed to Ming Luchuan’s chest.
“Ah?” He pressed his ear harder.
“President Ming, why is your heart beating so fast?”

Without another word, Ming Luchuan caught his arm and dragged him to his room.

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