"Okay! I think that's enough baijiu, President Cao." Li Yundong pried the bottle out of President Cao's hand. Somewhere between her first and second bottle, President Cao had ditched the glass and begun drinking straight out of the bottle. And God that woman could drink.
"Shuddup!" President Cao pointed her finger at him threateningly, though with her loopy expression, the woman look about as menacing as Hello Kitty. She giggled, then snatched another bottle from the table and guzzled down more baijiu.
Li Yundong groaned inwardly. Apparently, this was his job for the night—chaperoning his inebriated boss. What the f*ck was wrong with this woman? Seriously? Getting her pretty ass drunk in a red light district while in the company of a stranger? Had she no common sense at all? Or did the heart attack mess up her brain? And she was supposed to be the driver, for f*ck's sake! How was she supposed to drive them back in her current state? Li Yundong blew out a breath. Great. Now he needed a drink. Li Yundong poured some baijiu into his glass and took a swig.
Truth be told, Li Yundong could've ditched President Cao and went on his way a long time ago. But then he couldn't bring himself to do it. He might have a temper and might be a bit impatient at times, but he was never cruel—he didn't have the heart to leave a completely defenseless President Cao to fend for herself in this dreadful place; he might as well just throw her to a pack of hungry wolves if he did. Case in point: President Cao had been receiving countless lecherous looks ever since they got out of the Lamborghini.
The waiter appeared beside their table with a bag of takeout boxes. Li Yundong had ordered some of the things that he thought Su Chan might enjoy for supper. And to be honest, he felt a little guilty for leaving his princess alone at home for so long. He figured he could make it up to her with food. Maybe he should stop by McDonald's on the way home and grab a few ice-cream cones too.
President Cao slammed the bottle down on the table. "Hey… you!" she slurred, pointing at the waiter. "Another… boddle of… of… fffff…."
"Another bottle of baijiu, miss?"
"Yes!! Shoo! Shoo! Shoo!" She waved at the waiter, then slumped onto the table, knocking over an empty glass with her forehead.
Li Yundong righted the glass with one hand and grabbed the waiter's arm with the other. He gave the waiter a headshake. "She's had enough," he whispered. "Can I have the check please?"
"It's already been taken care of, sir," the waiter answered politely. "Miss Cao told us to charge everything to her credit card."
Li Yundong sighed inwardly. Good. Because the only thing he could afford at this point was a couple of cab rides. God, he couldn't wait for the day he got his first paycheck. The waiter left their table after Li Yundong thanked him. Li Yundong stood up and grabbed President Cao's handbag from her seat. He took out her phone, unlocked it, and then scrolled through her contact list.
He tapped "Yin Mengfan" on the screen and placed the phone to his ear. Come on, come on… pick up… The call went to voice mail. Li Yundong lowered the phone and sighed. A moment later, he tried again.
While the call rang, Li Yundong began to wonder who he should call if President Yin didn't pick up. Should he call Zhou Qin again? Damn. This sucks…
"What's up, my favorite bitch? Your heart isn't acting up again, is it?" President Yin's voice drifted into his ear. Li Yundong sighed in relief.
"Hello, President Yin, this is Li Yundong."
"Li Yundong?! What the hell? Why do you have President Cao's phone? Did something happen?"
"Well… It's a long story. But President Cao is drunk right now. Can you come pick us up?"
There was some kind of background noise—papers being shuffled. President Yin was probably packing up her stuff.
"At this restaurant called Spicy Memory…"
There was a brief pause. Everything was silent on President Yin's end. Even the background noise had stopped.
"Wait a minute… Isn't that…" President Yin muttered a curse. "God, that idiot! What the hell is she doing in Su An street?! And after she'd just recovered from a heart attack? Geez. What the hell was she thinking?"
Li Yundong chuckled wryly. Beats the shit out of me too, Ma'am…
"Wait…" President Yin drew out the word, her tone laced with suspicion. "Why on earth are you with her? Are you two alone?"
Li Yundong sighed. "Like I said, it's a long story. But she's totally conked out right now. How fast can you get here?"
"Fifteen… maybe twenty minutes?"
"Alright then. I'll stay and keep an eye on her."
"And for God's sake keep the bottle away from her," President Yin said sternly. "She's an alcoholic."
Right. Now that made a shit ton sense.
"Alright then," Li Yundong said. "I think I'll let her sleep for now. She wouldn't be tempted to drink again if she's asleep. Can you send a text to her phone when you're almost here? I'll wake her up then."
"Sure…." There was a pause. "And Li Yundong… Thank you."
The call ended with a click. Li Yundong lowered the phone from his ear and stared at the screen.
Yeah. His first paycheck really couldn't come soon enough.
Li Yundong lifted the President Cao's phone when he heard the ping. He tapped on the notification banner to read the text.
Almost there. Five mins.
"About damn time," Li Yundong muttered. He stood up and placed the phone back into President Cao's handbag, then scanned the table and seats to make sure that President Cao didn't have other items lying around.
"President Cao…" Li Yundong shook her a few times. "Wake up, President Cao. Time to go home."
President Cao slapped his hand away. "Shuddup…"
Li Yundong shook her harder. He didn't even get a reaction this time. "I thought adults are supposed to be responsible…" he muttered.
Li Yundong turned President Cao's face towards him, then jabbed his index finger on her Renzhong—an acupoint between the upper lip and the nose. When she didn't react after a few seconds, he increased the pressure of his finger. A few more seconds passed, and President Cao suddenly sat bolt upright.
"W- Wha- What? Who…?" She turned her head around in confusion, stopping when her eyes landed on Li Yundong. "Oh. It's you…" President Cao smiled brightly. "My savior…"
Li Yundong pushed away President Cao's attempt to hug him. "Okay… President Cao. You're drunk. President Yin is coming to take you home, okay? Do you want some water?"
"Ugh… I don't want water…"
Li Yundong stood up and returned to his seat. "Then rest up for a while, okay? President Yin will be here soon."
And so is your massive hangover, he added silently.
"Tell me…" President Cao said, placing her elbows on the table and her chin in her palms. She was staring back at him with glassy eyes.
"Tell you what?"
"Tell me how you saved life…"
Li Yundong blushed and rubbed the back of his neck. "Err… It's kinda hard to explain…"
"Tell me how you made me come with your fingers."
Li Yundong choked on his on spit. Someone started coughing a few tables away. Li Yundong took his glass and took a huge gulp of baijiu.
"Would you please keep it down," Li Yundong hissed after putting his glass down.
President Cao giggled. "Why? Don't tell me you're shy… Didn't think you'd be that shy after what you did to me…"
Why? Why me?
Li Yundong sighed. "Alright, enough. You've had too much to drink…"
"Yo… Look who's here… If it isn't President Cao of Huasheng Studios… What a coincidence."
Li Yundong turned around at the voice. Two men were standing behind him, both of whom were dressed in business suits. The only difference between them was that one of them had a bald patch while the other had a full head of hair.
President Cao sat up straighter. Wariness crept into her eyes. "P- President Zhao? What are you doing here?"
The man with the full head of hair flicked a glance at Li Yundong, then flashed a smile at President Cao. "I have some business to attend to," he said. "Ah, right. Allow me introduce you to President Xie of Jiahe Timber."
The man with the bald patch stepped forward and took President Cao's hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, President Cao. I've heard a lot of great things about you."
Li Yundong did not miss the way both men had given President Cao's body a thorough once over. It wouldn't take a lot of imagination to figure out what sort of "great things" President Xie had heard about President Cao. Uh-oh… These two men smelled like trouble.
Suddenly, President Zhao's eyes were on Li Yundong. "And this is…?"
President Cao chuckled. "Oh. He's one of President Yin's employees that I borrowed."
President Zhao nodded. "And you're here as…?"
"Bodyguard." Li Yundong's answer took President Cao by surprise.
President Zhao's brows drew together. He looked a little confused. Seconds later, he turned to President Cao with a raised brow.
"O- Oh, yeah! That's right! Well! You know about the riots and protesters right? President Yin thought having a bodyguard is better for my personal safety. So…"
President Zhao regarded Li Yundong for a few seconds, then extended his hand. "Zhao Yougen. President of Guotai Electonics."
Li Yundong shook the man's hand. "I'm Li Yundong."
The handshake ended as quickly as it began. Zhao Yougen's attention was once again on President Cao. "So, President Cao. How about we have a couple of drinks together?"
Uh-oh… Li Yundong rose from his seat. "I don't think that's a good idea, sir. President Cao has had a lot to drink already."
Zhao Yougen frowned at him. "I asked the lady, not you."
Li Yundong smirked. "But it is my duty to protect her, sir." From perverts like you.
Zhao Yougen didn't look impressed. "Are you serious?" He turned to President Cao. "Is he serious?"
President Cao seemed too stunned—and, to be honest, too inebriated—to speak.
Li Yundong stepped forward. "Yes, sir. I'm dead serious. Now if you'll excuse me. I have a job to do."
Zhao Yougen opened his mouth to say something, but he was cut off by another voice.
"Kefei!" President Yin appeared beside their table, then sighed in relief. "Oh, thank God…"
"What? Mengfan?" President Cao squinted her eyes in confusion. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm here to pick you up," President Yin said sternly, then turned to give each of the two men a smile.
"President Zhao. President Xie. Fancy seeing you both here."
The two men nodded. "President Yin."
Zhao Yougen smiled at President Yin. "We were just asking President Cao to join us for drinks. Would you like to join us too President Yin?" Zhao Yougen's eyes darted to Li Yundong briefly. "The bodyguard can join too, of course."
If President Yin was surprised that Zhao Yougen had referred to Li Yundong as President Cao's bodyguard, she didn't show it.
Instead, a cold look formed in President Yin's eyes. For some reason, those eyes reminded him of Zhou Qin.
"Thank you for your offer, President Zhao," she said. "But President Cao has had enough to drink for one night, so we'll pass." Then, without waiting for the two men to reply, President Yin turned to Li Yundong. "Carry her to my car. I'll grab her stuff."
"Hey! I can walk…" President Cao argued weakly.
President Yin rolled her eyes. "Ignore her. It's much quicker if you carry her."
Li Yundong suppressed a smirk. "Yes, Ma'am."
Maybe there was more to President Yin Mengfan than meets the eye.
"Thank God you were there, Li Yundong," President Yin said after she had started her car. "Zhao Yougen has been pursuing Kefei for ages now. The man doesn't know how to take a damn hint even after the countless times Kefei has rejected him."
Li Yundong turned away from the backseat, where President Cao lay fast asleep.
President Yin held Li Yundong's gaze intently. "That man would've taken advantage of Kefei tonight if you hadn't been there. So, thank you."
Li Yundong nodded. "You're welcome." Then, he smiled. "I kinda saw it as my job already, you know?"
President Yin returned his smile. "I know. You introduced yourself as Kefei's bodyguard, right?"
Li Yundong chuckled sheepishly. "Yeah. It was the first thing that came to mind."
They pulled away from the restaurant and drove along Su An street.
"So you and President Cao are pretty tight, huh?" Li Yundong remarked. It was probably weird to make small-talk with his superior—even more so considering how terrible he was at making small-talk—but he couldn't stand the silence anymore.
President Yin sighed. "Yeah. We're like sisters." She gave Li Yundong a wry smile. "But I think you figured that out already."
Li Yundong nodded. "You pretty much freaked out earlier when she was dying."
They stopped at a set of traffic lights. "Kefei… Usually, she likes to flirt around and act promiscuous. But deep down, she's a good woman."
President Yin turned her head and regarded Li Yundong seriously. "People say that she sleeps around, but that couldn't be further from the truth. She rejected a lot of men who came on to her. And trust me, there were a lot of those."
The lights turned green, and they drove off once again.
"We're about to leave Su An street," President Yin said. "Where to?"
Li Yundong laughed. "As if you don't know my address already."
President Yin just smirked.
"Are you sure you don't want to take President Cao home first?"
President Yin snorted. "What difference does it make? Just look at her. She's pretty much dead to the world already."
Li Yundong chuckled. "Good point. Hey, wait. What about President Cao's car? It's still parked outside the restaurant."
"I'll just ask a couple of my security guys to pick it up for her tomorrow."
"Oh. Okay." It was a Lamborghini though. He wondered if it would still be there tomorrow.
"So? Where to? Do you want me to take you to New Hongsheng District straightaway?"
Li Yundong thought for a moment. A slow smile formed on his lips. "I'd like to make a stop first, if you don't mind."
These soap shows were a lot more fun to watch when Yundong was around. At the moment, two women were arguing on-screen about something. Usually, Su Chan would be all over the place trying to figure out what they were arguing about, or what an "alimony" means. Tonight, she just wasn't in the mood.
Su Chan grabbed the remote from the coffee table and pressed a button on its top-left corner. The colors disappeared from the TV's surface, leaving only darkness. The apartment felt empty and quiet. Without Yundong, Su Chan's life felt empty.
The remote bounced a little when Su Chan dropped it onto the couch. She stood up and grabbed her phone from the table. Like the TV, the phone's surface was black. It didn't glow brightly or played the weird, shamanistic music whenever someone was calling. She hadn't gotten any calls from Yundong since the last one they shared. Was Yundong's boss working him hard already? Was Yundong so busy that he didn't have time to call her? Or maybe he did call and the phone was just too rude to let her know that he had called.
Should she leave the apartment and go look for him? Maybe fly around the city for a bit? Oh don't be silly Chan'er… The Zhengyi School was still on the hunt for her. She had exposed herself enough already during that fight with Lin Youfa. If the Zhengyi School got wind of where she was, if they found her, it wasn't just her life that would be in danger. Yundong's life would be put at risk as well. So, no. No flying.
What if she walked? But the city was so big. Where should she even begin the search? Yundong didn't tell her the location of his new job, so she was pretty much in the dark. Maybe I should call Elder Sister Zhou Qin and ask her about it…
There was a soft rustle. Su Chan turned around and looked towards the living room's sliding door. Must be the curtains... She should close the sliding door. With her phone in hand, Su Chan padded towards the sliding door and closed it. The curtains stopped moving instantly.
Actually, there was a good way for her to do away with this constant fretting. She could have Cultivated while waiting for Yundong to come home. But then she didn't want to miss his return because she was in a meditative state.
A soft swish sounded behind her.
Su Chan swiveled around with a frown. That didn't sound like the curtain at all. Did she forget to close the sliding door in her room? Just when she was about head to her room to check, she heard another swish above her. But when she glanced up, she saw nothing.
A sharp pain on her back caused her to scream. Something clattered to the floor, and the living room began to spin. A second later, her head smashed into something solid. The coolness pressed against her right cheek made her open her eyes. Blinking a few times, she saw her phone lying beside her face on the floor.
Her head pounded, and she couldn't breathe. Something was inside her, squeezing the life out of her, disrupting the flow of her Qi. Divine aura. She had just been exposed to divine aura.
Have to… get my needles… Have to stay awake… Have to hide…
She let out a strangled gasp. "Yun…dong…"
Everything went dark.