Zhao Yunlan & Shen Wei: Untold Stories - Prologue "The Wolf"
Seven days. As fate would have it, today would be the last until the deadline.
Who would have thought it would take six days to locate the supposedly uncatchable man. The Wolf of Dragon City was in custody. Charges ranged from battery, trespassing, hacking, and blackmailing. The list was endless, a generous gift for any prosecutors who may pick and chose the most severe crime to serve their case. What’s surprising was how this man was finally caught. Arrested from a fight over a prostitute! Professor Shen didn’t know if he should thank his lucky stars or curse his misfortune.
It was after visiting hours, but no one would deny a request from Head of SID. As soon as he revealed his badge behind his coat, the Guard asked no further questions. After he was lead to the right cell, he was not surprised it was solitary confinement. Away from the general public, either because he was deemed too dangerous to mingle with others, or the prisoner had endangered himself.
Surprisingly, despite the incarceration, his condition was better than most. With disarrayed hair, cut lips, and bruised knuckles, the prisoner still retained his powerful aura. The relaxed man sat on his single size bed with his back against the wall. There didn’t seem to be anything that could faze him. In fact, his presence alone captured all those within his range. It did not escape the Professor’s notice that the guard next to him took an unconscious step back when the man in the cell lifted his head. Friends or foes, the Wolf of Dragon City left a memorable impression wherever he went.
“Who are you?” the prisoner from behind the cell door asked, although there shouldn’t be a need for an introduction. Today was not the first time they had crossed paths. He would never forget the eyes of the Wolf, who still lingered on his person, even when he was not looking.
“Professor Shen, Head of Special Investigation Department,” Shen Wei answered tonelessly,
“I’m here to bail you out.”
“Ha! Is this some ploy?” the prisoner laughed. “The royal picking up a stray?”
“Trust me, if I had a choice, I would choose a better breed,” Shen Wei retorted darkly. If only he had the choice.
“Ouch!” the Prisoner forged a painful expression before he changed his tone. With a velvet touch, his voice softened. “If I didn’t know any better, I would think you have a sweet side underneath.”
The Professor gestured for the guard to open the door and hurriedly escaped after Shen dismissed him. They were alone now, with Shen Wei still standing by the cell door, daring the prisoner to make his first move to freedom. Silence persisted, both awaiting the other to speak first. Of course, it didn’t take long for the Wolf to growl.
“Why are you hesitating? You want something from me, don’t you?” he snarled impatiently. “No one offers to pay such a high priced bail if you don’t need something unsavory done. What dirty work do you want me to do for his Highness?”
“Do not insult my motives,” Shen replied sternly. “There’s nothing unsavory about my request.”
“My apologies, from my experience, appearances rarely match one’s character. Most of my clients are well-known across the city, the most prestigious kind, without a smear to their name. And…,” he paused long enough to sneer, “I never thought there would come a day someone as clean cut as Professor Shen would associate himself with the likes of me.”
“Interesting.” The corner of his mouth pulled slightly. Shen mused darkly, “Before, you didn’t know who I was.”
“I never forget a handsome face, especially one such as yours,” the Wolf winked. With a smile that did not reach his eyes, he continued, “That being said, what are your conditions for my bail?”
“Join SID, and we’ll clean all your records. You’ll be a free man.”
“What an enticing offer, the most prestigious department in Dragon City, no less.” The prisoner chuckled with a short laugh that resonated through the cell halls. His head tilted as though he was regarding the offer seriously. “Free man? Give me a break. There are shackles involved, I presume?” he asked with obvious distaste. “Sorry, I don’t work under anyone. Even a beauty as tempting as you.”
Ignoring his jibe, Professor Shen laid out his cards. “I spoke to the prosecutor. You’ll be in jail for quite some time. For someone who has many enemies like you, you won’t survive behind bars for much longer. It’s been several days since the brawl that landed you here. Those are new injuries. It would be illogical to decline my offer.”
“As expected, Professor Shen has already done thorough research on me. But I would rather die a free wolf than a kept dog.”
Shen’s eyes widened at the response. Despite his initial reservations, Shen Wei now regarded the stubborn man with renewed respect, even as nefarious as he was. The stories were true. This Wolf had never allowed anyone to put a claim on him. No wealth could buy his loyalty. No beauty could hold his heart. He was always his own person. Untamed, untouchable. With a soul as dark as coal.
Was this the reason why he could manipulate and seduce the people around him to his will? Could there be anyone who could break his allure? The entrapment he set for his wayward victims. Shen had been curious before, but now, he had to know. What makes this man so fascinating?
“What are your conditions for you to join SID?” Professor Shen finally asked before he could hold himself back. A tactical error because the one who bargains first will lose.
“You don’t gamble much do you?” The other man continued to regard him with skepticism. “You don’t even have a poker face.”
Shen Wei gave him a reproachful look. “Spit it out,” he demanded impatiently.
His dark lashes lifted, the lust in his eyes was undeniable. “I want you.”
“The records are right,” Shen Wei said between gritted teeth. “You are depraved.”
The Wolf got up from his bed. In the dark cell, with only shadows as their company, his posture was clearly that of a predator. Prowling with each step the room began to shrink, as he made his way to Shen’s side. “Excuse me. I am not the kind who forces others to do anything against their will.” Shortening their distances, the Wolf’s voice deepened, “I’ll have you eventually when the time comes. Willingly, in fact.”
The provocation was too much for even the cool-headed Professor Shen to handle. Grabbing hold of his shirt front, he shook the perv for his deplorable suggestion. “Don’t flatter yourself,” Shen growled, his grip tightening. “Stop playing games, and tell me what you really want.”
Unshaken and unyielding, he chuckled. “What I want? Do you want to know? You must need me after all.” Licking his lips suggestively, his eyes narrowed. The Wolf’s gaze lowered to his lips. Shen swallowed when he caught the moment his irises glowed vibrantly. “I want a kiss from his Highness.”
Flushing between a mixture of rage and embarrassment, Shen pushed him away. “How dare you?!”
Still unruffled, the prisoner straightened his clothes, as though he had become accustomed to such treatment. “Don't I? Not just a kiss,” he said absently with a casual shrug, yet, with each measured syllable, the words were solid. “A kiss per day, as long as I remain in your service. That’s my deal.”
“I thought you said you don’t force others,” Professor Shen reminded him.
“I don’t.” He glanced back at his attacker with an amused grin, yet there was no quip in his voice. “But all gamblers prefer to have the better hand. Professor Shen rarely runs his own errands. So the moment you arrived, you already lost the game. You need me in your service no matter the price. Given your distaste for my work, I doubt it was your decision, but more likely from the one who holds your reins. Am I correct with my deduction, Professor Shen?”
His silence was answer enough. It was Shen’s fault for underestimating this prisoner. Infuriated by his impatience, Shen had allowed this man the upper hand.
Immediately, his mind tried to come up with other available options that were more fitting than the demeaning request, but the Wolf of Dragon City wasn’t the kind who would be easily swayed. That was one of the reasons why he was well sought by his Clients. Once a job was selected, he would not stop until he completed his mission. His target never saw it coming, nor was prepared.
This may all be a game to him, Shen realized. The Professor had miscalculated his moves, as he did not take consideration of the Wolf’s debauched history. No predator wanted to be chained, no matter how tempting the golden cage may seem. The only recourse for a man such as he, was to shackle himself to his Master. So neither could be free.
“A daily kiss is not too much to ask for when I have to throw away my freedom.” The prisoner interrupted Shen from his unfinished thoughts. “For a wild Wolf like me, it’s as much as imprisonment. You’re my compensation.”
Without fear, the Wolf made his approach again, but Professor Shen stood his ground. Face to face, there was no difference with their height. Gaze locked, challenging and demanding, yet there was something eerily familiar Shen Wei couldn’t place. Although this man continued to antagonize him, Shen couldn’t hold his anger for long. Was this one of his many unknown powers? Able to put others at ease before his attack? Rumor has it that he may have Dixing genes, but there was never any proof.
The Professor’s inaction must have made him bolder. Taking the unspoken cue as an open invitation, his head leaned to Shen’s side, mere inches from his ear, but not too close, calculative as he was. His hot breaths still escaped. The sweet scent was so tantalizing, Shen had to suppressed the urge to quiver, despite his hammering heart.
Zhao Yunlan, the Devil’s Wolf whispered the lure, “Pray tell, do we have a deal?”