"So... Do you wanna shower first?" Li Yundong asked.
"Hehehe... Why don't you go first?"
Li Yundong narrowed his eyes at her, then chuckled. "Fine, I'll go first," he said, tapping Su Chan's nose. When Su Chan slapped his hand away, he laughed and got out of bed.
Li Yundong paused at the bathroom door with his clothes and towel in hand. An evil grin formed on his face. "Hey, I'll leave the door open. So don't peek!"
Su Chan giggled, then stuck out her tongue. "Who would want to look at you. Eww, eww, eww. So gross. So hairy."
Li Yundong laughed and stepped into the bathroom.
Fifteen minutes later, when Li Yundong stepped out of the bathroom, his eyes bugged out at what he saw. Su Chan the adorable chipmunk was staring at the wall socket, giggling whenever she poked her finger into one of the socket's terminals. The TV was unplugged and shifted to the side.
Li Yundong rushed over, nearly tripping over the suitcase on the floor. "Su Chan!" he hissed. "What the hell are you doing! That's dangerous!"
Su Chan turned around and giggled. "Hehehehe... Brrrr…" Her shoulders moved up and down as she shuddered. "Yundong! That thing is sooooo fun!"
"Are you out of your—" Li Yundong huffed. "It's a goddamn wall socket!"
Su Chan gave him a puzzled look. "But it's fun! You get this weird tingling when you poke your finger in." Suddenly, her expression turned contemplative. "I wonder what kind of spell does that..."
Li Yundong did a face palm. Seconds later, he started to laugh. Su Chan shook his arm. "What? What's so funny?"
Li Yundong stopped laughing and patted her head. "Don't do that again, okay? It's dangerous."
Su Chan stared at the wall socket longingly. "Oh."
A slow smile formed on Li Yundong's face. "You know... If you crave a tingling sensation... You can always come to me..." He wiggled his eyebrows.
Su Chan blushed. "Hmph! Who needs you, you pervert! Hmph!"
Li Yundong chuckled and pulled her to the bed. "I was joking." He caught a glimpse of the red damask on the nightstand. He reached out and grabbed it. "You really don't want this thing?"
Su Chan stared at the damask for a moment, then shook her head. "No. You keep it. You'll probably need it in the future."
Li Yundong studied the cloth in his hand. A moment later, he smiled. "Give me your leg," he said, patting his lap.
Su Chan frowned. "Why?"
"Come on," he urged, patting his thigh again.
Su Chan slid her foot onto his lap. Li Yundong wrapped the damask around her ankle.
Su Chan gaped at him. "What are you doing?"
Li Yundong chuckled. "It's mine, right? So I'm using it as I please." He winked, then secured the damask around her ankle with a knot. "There," he said, leaning away to admire his work. "Beautiful."
Su Chan shook his head in amusement. "The Cultivators of the Zhengyi School would flip out if they ever find out how their precious magical artifact is used."
Li Yundong shrugged. "Who cares." A surge of anger coursed through him. "At least it wouldn't hurt others if I use it like this. Just look at how the Zhengyi School used it. They gave it to some juvenile girl and let her run amok with it." Li Yundong stared deeply into Su Chan's eyes. "She could've killed you, you know."
Su Chan lowered her gaze. "Not until they have the Jindan. They would've tortured me until I handed it over to them."
Silence spread between them. Once again, the mood had turned heavy. Li Yundong sighed. Everything was going to shit again. Now they were fugitives from some Taoist organization, which meant they might even have to terminate the lease of their apartment at New Hongsheng District.
Money had always been an issue. And now even accommodation had become an issue. Li Yundong did a quick calculation in his head. By his estimation, the money he had left would last them for about half a month or so. Well, at least he got a job now. That was a silver lining, right?
Li Yundong sighed and patted Su Chan's foot. "Go on and take a shower. After that let's head to bed. I have wake up early tomorrow to go to work."
"No!" Su Chan was shaking her head desperately. "You can't go to work tomorrow. You can't leave!"
Su Chan pounced and grabbed his arm. "The Zhengyi School has spies all over the place. Their influence goes beyond just the Cultivation world, Yundong. They have power in the mortal world as well."
"But what am I supposed to do? I've got the job..." Li Yundong sighed, then levelled a stare at Su Chan. "Besides, are we really going to hide from them forever? You know that's not gonna work…"
Su Chan deflated and let go of his arm. She stared thoughtfully at the sheets. "Two days. At least wait for two days." After that, she climbed out of bed without waiting for him to respond. She strode to the suitcase and bent down to take her clothes.
A moment later, the door of the bathroom slammed shut. Li Yundong lay down on the bed and stared at the ceiling. Technically, it shouldn't even matter. Ruan Hongling had already seen their faces. If it was really like Su Chan said, that the Zhengyi School had influence outside the Cultivation world, then it would be easy to track them down. It really didn't matter whether they hide or not. What were the chances that the Zhengyi School's influence extended to the higher-ups in Tiannan University? Or the police? The police had resources that would make tracking them down mere child's play. He'd checked his bank balance at an ATM near the motel just now, and the ATM had a security camera. What were the chances that the police already knew that he was here?
No. Hiding here wasn't the way to go. But he couldn't just leave Su Chan alone and go to work either. The best solution was to let Su Chan tag along with him to work. Li Yundong glanced towards the bathroom door. Now he just had to get Su Chan to agree.
"Please father... all you have to do is make a call," Zhou Qin pleaded into her phone. She listened to the voice on the phone for a few seconds.
"He doesn't deserve this, father! Look... We don't have time, okay? The meeting will be held today. The chancellor is already on his way to the university. Just give the chancellor a call. Please." Zhou Qin sighed. "One phone call from you and all of this will be over."
Zhou Qin suddenly perked up, an unbidden smile forming on her face. "You'll do it? Thank you—" Zhou Qin's smile vanished instantly. "What condition?"
Seconds later, Zhou Qin lowered the phone from her hand. She stared at the floor, her eyes swimming with tears. A moment later, Zhou Qin raised her hand and threw the phone on the floor. A loud smash sounded as the device hit the floor with pieces of it flying asunder.
Feng Na stared at her own reflection in the mirror. She didn't like what she saw. There were dark rims around her eyes, which were puffy from all the crying she'd done for the past few hours. Her face looked pale and a bit gaunt. Those were marks—the marks of guilt.
She should've said something to Director Qian. She should've spoken up instead of let Cheng Cheng drag her away from the scene. She should've taken part of the blame, but she didn't. Instead, she let a good man shoulder all the blame while she walked away blameless. The whole movie screening was her idea in the first place. And she should've checked the damned DVD before playing it on the big screen, but she didn't. This was her fault.
Feng Na exited the bathroom and returned to the dorms. Feng Na trudged to her bed and spotted Cheng Cheng sitting there with her back against the headboard. Cheng Cheng had her laptop with her, and was now staring fixatedly at the screen. Feng Na plopped down onto the mattress. A heavy sigh escaped her lips.
Cheng Cheng looked up from the screen. "Someone just posted on the forum. The chancellor has been spotted in the university compound." Cheng Cheng let out a dejected sigh. "Makes sense. The meeting is today. They are going to brief the chancellor about Li Yundong's expulsion. If the chancellor agrees to the expulsion, Li Yundong is gone for good."
Feng Na whimpered. "Oh God… Why didn't I say anything, Cheng Cheng." She tugged her hair. "I'm such a selfish bitch!"
Cheng Cheng put her laptop aside and patted Feng Na's back. "Hey... None of this is your fault, okay?"
Feng Na snorted. "What are you even talking about? Everything is my fault."
"No," Cheng Cheng said, her tone firm and unyielding. "It's Director Qian's fault. He expelled Li Yundong straightaway without even conducting an official investigation into the matter first! That's just unfair." Cheng Cheng snorted. "Everyone knows that he's been out to get Li Yundong for weeks. He was just looking for the right opportunity to expel him."
Feng Na groaned. "And I gave the slimeball the means to do just that. I literally placed the opportunity right into his hands!"
Cheng Cheng sighed. "Nana... Listen... You can't keep doing this to yourself. It's not your—"
"God damn it!" Feng Na sprang to her feet and stormed away from the bed. "Enough is enough. I'm going to fix this." Feng Na yanked open her wardrobe and pulled out a few hangers.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa... Hold on a second there..." Cheng Cheng slammed the wardrobe shut before Feng Na could grab another article of clothing from it. "What do you mean by fix this? You've already called Zhou Qin and asked her for help, right? You've done all you could."
Feng Na pushed Cheng Cheng aside and opened the wardrobe again. "That was a day ago. If Zhou Qin really did something about it, this meeting wouldn't even be taking place!"
"Okay, so not even Zhou Qin could help. Well, that's it, right? That's your trump card, and it didn't work. So what do you mean by fixing it?"
"You know what I mean. I'm going to tell them everything."
Feng Na stumbled when Cheng Cheng suddenly yanked her backwards. "Are you out of your damn mind, Nana?" Cheng Cheng hissed. "You're throwing away your future for nothing!"
"It won't be for nothing!" Feng Na seethed. "If I told the council I'm partially at fault, then Li Yundong—"
"They would find a way to make Li Yundong look bad anyway! Come on, Nana!" Cheng Cheng said in exasperation. "This is Director Qian we're talking about. Do you really think what you say is going to make a damn difference? Li Yundong was there on the scene that night. He's already involved, okay? Hell, it was his DVD, for God's sake. Do you really think Director Qian wouldn't try to find a way to pin everything on Li Yundong? That sick pervert would just twist everything around and turn Li Yundong into the culprit no matter what you say!"
Feng Na bit her bottom lip and pushed past Cheng Cheng. "The chancellor is back... He will... He will see to it that a fair investigation i- is conducted..."
"Nana!" Cheng Cheng slammed the wardrobe shut again.
Feng Na looked at her bestie, whose eyes were filled with tears. It was like Cheng Cheng was pleading with her eyes. "Please don't do this, Nana... If you do this, Li Yundong's efforts would go to waste."
Feng Na lowered her gaze.
Cheng Cheng sighed. "Don't you see? He did it to protect you, Nana. He knew that Director Qian would find a way to drag him into this. That's why he decided to take all the blame."
Feng Na raised her gaze and stared at Cheng Cheng intently. "Cheng Cheng, there are some things in life that you must do to avoid regretting it for the rest of your life. This, to me, is one of those things. If I don't do this, if I let Li Yundong take the fall without at least try to do something about it, the guilt will stay with me no matter how bright my future is, or how successful I become in the future. Do you understand that?"
They stared at each other for a while. Then, Cheng Cheng sighed and lowered her head. A moment later, Cheng Cheng met Feng Na's eyes with steely resolve. "Fine. But I'm coming with you."
Shock coursed through Feng Na. "What?"
"I'll be there when we explain to the council together," Cheng Cheng said.
"B- But... But what if you got dragged into this mess too a- and..."
Cheng Cheng smirked. "As if I'm going to let you steal all the glory!"
Tears stung Feng Na's eyes. "You..." Feng Na sniffed and opened her arms. "C'mere, you bitch."
Cheng Cheng chuckled and stepped into the hug. "I've got your back, bitch."
Feng Na chuckled. "Thanks, FCupCC."
"No problem, you flat-chested... Oww!"
The door flew open when Feng Na and Cheng Cheng was approaching the conference room on the third floor of the academic building. Director Qian stormed out with a dark scowl.
Cheng Cheng and Feng Na stopped beside the door and shared a glance with each other.
"The meeting's over already? But it's only been..." Feng Na looked down at her watch. "Five minutes..."
Cheng Cheng stared after Director Qian. "He doesn't look too happy. Maybe the meeting got postponed?"
Feng Na opened the door and peeked into the conference room. Cheng Cheng stopped behind her.
"Oh my God… Nana... isn't that..."
"Yeah..." Feng Na said.
"What the hell?" Cheng Cheng whispered.
What the hell indeed.