Li Yundong slowly opened his eyes. A jet of white gas shot out from his mouth when he exhaled, vanishing in a poof the moment it collided with the living room's wall. The sun was already up, which could only mean one thing. Well, two things to be exact: one, he had spent the entire night in a meditative state practicing Qi control; and two, he had to attend the job interview at Dongsheng Realtors in a couple of hours.
That job interview was the reason he ended up practicing Qi control for the whole night instead of lying in bed asleep. Not that he was antsy or getting cold feet about the interview or anything. He just couldn't stop wondering how he would fare in the interview. His ceaseless rumination had then led to a bout of tossing and turning in bed where he couldn't get himself to fall asleep. In the end, he gave up on sleep altogether and went into the living room to practice Qi control.
Now that he was awake, those pessimistic thoughts returned to his mind in full force. What if he didn't get the job? What possible skillset could he even offer to a real-estate firm? He wasn't well-versed in accounting or finance. Nor was he familiar with property deals or sales. Plus, he didn't have a way with words. Nor was he an eloquent speaker. Unless he wanted to go down in history as the world's most inept real-estate agent, this all sounded like a terrible idea.
Should he offer himself to become the firm's security guard instead? But what if the people who ran the firm were snobs and ended up giving him the brush-off because he was some penniless university dropout? At some point, he began to wonder why he even care.
Who was he even kidding. He cared because he was broke.
Zhou Qin had literally thrown him a lifeline when she told him about the job interview. And he knew immediately that it was in his—and Su Chan's—best interest not to screw it up. The pay was high, according to Zhou Qin. So he'd be a fool if he didn't at least give it his best shot. Guess I'll just have to find a way to avoid screwing up then. Li Yundong stood up from the floor and did a quick stretch. Despite not having slept a wink, Li Yundong felt complete refreshed. Being a Cultivator was awesome.
Li Yundong lowered his arms and glanced towards Su Chan's door, which was still closed. He wasn't surprised that she was still asleep even though she was usually up by this hour. She'd spent the whole night watching over him when he passed the Ningshen phase. Plus, last night had been an emotional night for her, so she must've been exhausted.
He padded to the kitchen and opened the fridge. Leftovers were never a thing in la casa de Yundong, not when it housed a girl with an healthy appetite. Good thing he had some extra snacks stocked up then. There were a few apples and berries, a tub of Greek yogurt, some ice-cream, and a sandwich. Well, that takes care of Su Chan's breakfast...
Satisfied, Li Yundong shut the fridge door and padded into the bathroom. He took a quick shower and brushed his teeth, then went to his room to get changed. From his wardrobe, he pulled out the same dark suit he'd worn to Zhou Qin's party. He was pulling out all stops today. Go big or go home, he thought as he put on the suit.
Minutes later, he stood in front of the mirror and studied his own reflection. Some days he was still a little taken aback by how much his physical appearance had changed. And now with the suit, he couldn't deny that he looked great. Alright, Li Yundong! You can do this! Go break a leg! Figuratively speaking, of course. He turned away from the mirror and crept towards his bedroom door, making as little noise as possible as he walked. He didn't want to wake Su Chan up. Truth be told, he wanted to avoid having to deal with Su Chan's tantrums once she found out that he wasn't going to let her tag along to the interview. He planned to leave a note outside her door(Be home soon. Breakfast in the fridge. Love Yundong) and then sneak out of the apartment while she was still asleep.
Which, of course, was far too much to ask for.
They practically ran into each other outside Li Yundong's bedroom—she was about to step in when he was stepping out. A split second after their bodies collided, Li Yundong hands shot out to steady her. Su Chan rubbed her eyes sleepily and then did a double take when she noticed his attire.
Su Chan stomped her foot and grabbed his arm. "Mmmm..." she whined, tugging his arm from side to side. "You were going to sneak out without me, weren't you!"
Oh, shit... Li Yundong chuckled and rubbed the back of his neck. "Well... I have a job interview, so..."
"Oh." Su Chan seemed contemplative all of a sudden. Li Yundong wondered what was going on inside that adorable head of hers.
"Um... What kind of job will it be Yundong?"
Hell if I know. Li Yundong cracked a smile. "I don't know yet. They didn't say. Like I said, it's just an interview."
Su Chan pressed her index finger against her chin. "Washing dishes? Milking cows? Ooh! Counting coins?"
Li Yundong burst into laughter. Where the heck did she get all these weird ideas from anyway? Geez. He ruffled her hair, then pinched her cheeks. "I don't know, princess. I have to pass the interview first."
Su Chan clung to his arm and stared up at him with her puppy dog eyes. "Take me with you. Please? Pretty please, please?"
Su Chan's stomach growled.
Li Yundong laughed. "Looks like somebody is hungry." He stopped laughing. "C'mon. Be a good girl and wait for me at home, okay? There's food in the fridge."
Su Chan's pout was so huge that it almost gave her those ridiculous chipmunk pouches again. "Meanie, meanie, meanie! You promised me you wouldn't leave me."
Li Yundong chuckled. "I'm not leaving you, okay? I'm just going to attend the job interview and then be home as soon as I'm done."
Li Yundong cracked a smile. "Yes, of course! I've got my best girl waiting for me at home. Where else would I go?"
Su Chan blushed. "Oh. T- Then... I'll wait for you a-at home."
Li Yundong patted her head. "Good girl. I'll be back as soon as I can." He glanced towards the kitchen. "There's food inside the fridge. Should be enough to last you until dinner time."
They parted ways at the door, but not before sharing a long and warm embrace which turned his insides to mush. He wondered if this was what it felt like to be happily married.
When he stepped out of the apartment building, Li Yundong stopped beside the street and glanced up at the 20th floor. To his surprise, he saw Su Chan's tiny figure waving at him from their balcony. Li Yundong mobilized a portion of his Qi towards his Shenting, and zoomed in with his telescopic vision. Su Chan was looking at him longingly as she waved, and she seemed to be holding back tears. Her lips were moving as well. Li Yundong sorted through the buzzing in his ears until he could hear her voice. "Come back soon, beloved..."
Li Yundong smiled and waved back at her. "I will," he whispered, knowing that Su Chan could hear her too.
Yeah. Being a Cultivator rocked.
Li Yundong strode into Dongsheng Realtors' main building with a confidence he didn't know he possessed, smiling at the receptionist the moment he reached the front desk.
"Good morning, I'm here to see President Yin," Li Yundong said politely. "I have an appointment."
The receptionist was a young—possibly in her early twenties—woman who was texting on her phone when he walked in. She returned his smile and lowered her phone. "Good morning, sir," she said, reaching for the keyboard. "You said you have an appointment?"
Li Yundong nodded. "Yes. I'm here for a job interview."
"Alright. Please give me a moment to check."
Li Yundong smiled. "Will do."
The receptionist turned to her computer screen and tapped on the keyboard.
"So are you... Mr. Li?" she asked a few seconds later.
The receptionist smiled. "President Yin is waiting for you, sir. This way, please."
The receptionist led Li Yundong through a hallway. At the end of the hallway, they made a right turn which led them to an elevator lobby. When they stopped in front of the elevator, the receptionist pressed the elevator call button.
"Thank you for your help," Li Yundong said warmly. So far, he'd been treated politely and with respect. Returning the courtesy was the least he could do.
The receptionist smiled. "You're welcome, sir. President Yin's office is on the 19th floor. Make a right turn after you exit the elevator and you'll see it."
Li Yundong nodded. "Alright. Thanks again."
Li Yundong adjusted his tie using the reflective surface of the elevator's metallic wall as a mirror. After that, he smoothed his palms down his pants and watched the changing numbers on the elevator's position indicator. He blew out a breath and began shifting his weight from foot to foot. Damn, he'd never been this nervous since... ever? How could he stare at the muzzle of a gun and remain unfazed yet be reduced to a nervous wreck by something as innocuous as a job interview? Admittedly, a huge part of his calmness during the gunfight was due to Qi control. But still, internal battles were almost always harder than external ones. The battle against the self is always the toughest to win. He reminded himself to move his Qi to his Lingtai later before he entered President Yin's office.
The floor numbers continued to change. Li Yundong forced himself to stand still and stop fidgeting. On the elevator wall, his own reflection stared back at him, reminding him of how posh this entire building was—yes, even the elevators walls were that shiny. This entire building exuded a stylish and opulent air. Even the receptionist seemed very well dressed. But at least she didn't seem snobbish. That was a good sign, right?
A loud ding made Li Yundong jump. He exhaled shakily. Geez Louise, he really needed to chillax. He was here for a job interview, not a cage fight. What's the big deal? The doors slid open in a painfully slow manner. A whiff of feminine perfume assaulted his nostrils. He raised his head and saw a tall—around 170cm—woman standing outside the elevator, waiting for him to step out. The woman was professionally dressed. Her dark business suit—pencil skirt, white blouse, and dark blazer—hugged her figure like a second skin. Li Yundong pushed away from the elevator wall and stepped out of the elevator, giving the woman a polite nod when their eyes met. The woman returned his nod and stared at him curiously for a moment. F*ck. Please don't tell me I have something on my teeth...
Li Yundong hurried away from the elevator and took a right turn like the receptionist had told him earlier. Apparently, President Yin's office occupied an entire section on the 19th floor's massive floor plan; shortly after he'd made the right turn, he stood in front of a huge section separated from the rest of the floor by tall glass panels. An automatic sliding door slid open the moment he stepped closer.
A silence fell upon the entire section the moment he passed the automatic door. He strolled past desks where white-collar women were giving him curious stares. He fought down the blush threatening to bloom on his cheeks and kept walking.
He hurried past the desk until he reached a short hallway, where he made a left turn. The words "President" and "Yin Mengfan" carved onto the nameplate beside the door told him that he was at the right place.
Li Yundong approached the door and knocked.
The answer came almost instantly. "Come in!"
Here goes... Li Yundong closed his eyes and moved his Qi from his lower Dantian to his Lingtai. Calmness suffused him when he opened his eyes. He exhaled and pushed the door open.