The partitions of the bathroom stall flew apart as though a force had pushed them out from the inside. Li Yundong's knees scraped the floor as soon as he tackled Zhang Guozheng to the ground. When their bodies skidded to a stop, Li Yundong scrambled to his feet and turned around to face the destroyed stall. "It's you," Li Yundong said coldly.
A series of loud, derisive laughter rang out as a solid hunk of a man kicked aside pieces of the broken stall partition.
"We meet again, Zhenren Li," said Lin Youfa, rolling his neck.
Li Yundong moved his Qi to his Shenting, causing the familiar buzzing to return to his ears.
"How did you know I'm here? Have you been following me?" Li Yundong said, rising to his feet.
Lin Youfa kicked more debris aside and shrugged. "I admit it's a little frustrating." Lin Youfa's face puckered in disgust. "I mean following you around. Ugh. Had to watch you and your girlfriend act all lovey-dovey with each other. But that's a small price to pay." Lin Youfa smirked. "Your badass girlfriend isn't here. So now we can fight without outside intervention."
Li Yundong sighed. It seemed like this fight was unavoidable after all. The problem was that Li Yundong wasn't sure he could beat Lin Youfa. Should he use the talisman Su Chan gave him? As soon as that thought occurred to him, Li Yundong wanted to laugh at how ridiculous it was. How was Li Yundong even supposed to summon lightning and thunder when from inside a frigging skyscraper? Incidentally, he realized that this was probably Lin Youfa's plan all along—to ambush him in an enclosed space. That way, Li Yundong would be forced to fight Lin Youfa in close quarters.
Li Yundong took a deep breath and mobilized his Yuanyang. In mere seconds, the Qis of his five Zangs were drawn out and channeled towards his upper Dantian.
Li Yundong glanced down at Zhang Guozheng. "Get out of here," he said coldly. "This guy is dangerous."
Zhang Guozheng stared up at him with trembling lips. "Y- You... Wh- What the hell? Y- Your head is g- glowing..."
Lin Youfa's laughter rang out. Li Yundong turned away from Zhang Guozheng and regarded Lin Youfa. That maniac sounded way too excited to his liking.
"The Convergence of Five Qis!" Lin Youfa said and started clapping. "Now you're finally getting serious! Bring it on, then!" Lin Youfa smashed his fist into a wall; pieces of concrete fell off.
Li Yundong got into a fighting stance, then exhaled as he guided each of his five Qis to various parts of his body: his Lung's Qi to his right arm; his Spleen's Qi to his left arm; his Liver's Qi to his right leg; his Kidney's Qi to his left leg; and his Heart's Qi to his torso.
Li Yundong might not be able to beat Lin Youfa when the bastard was all juiced up with a portion of Guan Yu's power, but he was damn well going to put up a fight. Su Chan mentioned something about there being a time limit to Shenda's magic. If Li Yundong could last through the time limit, who knows he might even stand a chance to beat Lin Youfa.
Lin Youfa cracked his knuckles. "Come on, then! Let us decide once and for all, which one among us is better, and which school is stronger. Your school, or my Divine Fist School!"
Lin Youfa charged forward with a roar. The first punch was aimed at Li Yundong's sternum. The punch slammed into a wall when Li Yundong leaped sideways.
"Good reflexes!" Lin Youfa yanked his fist out from the dent on the wall just as Li Yundong got into a boxing stance.
"Hyah!" Lin Youfa yelled.
Li Yundong ducked the punch aimed at his head and followed up with a straight punch to Lin Youfa's gut. Lin Youfa's body flew backwards and crashed into another stall. Lin Youfa ripped off a partition and hurled it at Li Yundong.
Li Yundong caught the flying debris with both hands, but realized seconds later that it was a mistake—his body flew backwards and then slammed against the wall behind him after Lin Youfa kicked the partition he was holding. Grunting, Li Yundong tossed the partition aside. Shit! He raised both arms just in time to block a punch to his chest; all the air left Li Yundong's chest in a loud gasp. Li Yundong's spine slammed into something solid, drawing another grunt from his lips. Yelling like a maniac, Lin Youfa punched Li Yundong's arms again and again. At one point, Li Yundong could actually feel the wall cracking behind his back.
Light exploded in Li Yundong's eyes when the back of his head slammed into the wall. There was a loud crack, and all of a sudden, the solid surface behind his back was gone. The ensuing shriek told Li Yundong that he'd just been punched through the wall of the men's room into the adjoining ladies' room.
Li Yundong stumbled backwards and crashed into an unoccupied stall. When he got back up, he saw Tan Fei staring at him from in front of the sink, her lipstick hovering in front of her lips.
Li Yundong looked towards the hole on the wall. Shit! Lin Youfa barreled into him and wrapped those bodybuilder arms around his waist. Don't let him do a takedown... Don't let him do a takedown... Li Yundong rammed his knee into Lin Youfa's groin as hard as he could. When Lin Youfa's arms dropped from his waist, Li Yundong knew his chance had come. He hoisted Lin Youfa into the air over his head, and then slammed Lin Youfa's body backwards with all his strength. Lin Youfa crashed into floor, demolishing an entire row of bathroom stalls in the process.
Li Yundong turned towards Tan Fei. "Move! Get outta here!"
Tan Fei, apparently, didn't need to be told twice. She scrambled towards the door. She even left her branded handbag behind.
A roar sounded. Li Yundong dodged a piece of ceramic—from a broken toilet bowl—that Lin Youfa had hurled at him. Behind him, the bathroom mirrors shattered when the ceramic piece smashed into them. Lin Youfa rose from the debris, laughing as he did. Water had begun to flood the floor. "That was actually the first time someone performed a suplex on me, Zhenren Li!" Lin Youfa spat onto the ground, then smirked. "You're full of little tricks, aren't you?"
Li Yundong lowered his stance and readied himself for Lin Youfa's next attack. What's next? Another takedown?
Li Yundong didn't have time to ponder the question further as Lin Youfa came charging at him like a bull. Dammit! Only then did Li Yundong realize that he didn't have enough room to dodge—the space was too confined. Li Yundong had no choice but to fight force with force. A loud crunch sounded the moment their bodies collided. Li Yundong grunted and pushed back against Lin Youfa with all his might. However, before Li Yundong could push Lin Youfa down to the floor, his legs were swept out from under him. The bathroom spun as he stumbled. Thick fingers wrapped themselves around his neck, choking him. Seconds later, his back slammed into something hard, which he immediately recognized as the opposite wall of the ladies room.
"Is that all you got, Zhenren Li!" Lin Youfa yelled.
Li Yundong grunted as punch after punch were delivered onto his stomach. F*cking piece of shit! A surge of anger coursed through Li Yundong. With a growl, he caught Lin Youfa's fist mid-punch and then twisted it into a sick joint lock.
"How about a taste of your own medicine!" Li Yundong twisted Lin Youfa's wrist again. This time, the amount of pain he had inflicted managed to bring Lin Youfa to his knees. Li Yundong grabbed Lin Youfa's neck in a choke hold, then hoisted him into the air. "What the f*ck did I ever do to you, huh?" Li Yundong squeezed Lin Youfa's neck. "Why won't you f*cking leave me alone!" Li Yundong pushed himself away from the wall, and then hurled Lin Youfa through the air. Pieces of marble fell to the floor when Lin Youfa crashed head-first into the bathroom's countertop. Lin Youfa leaned against the smashed countertop, seemingly dazed. Li Yundong charged while cocking his fist back. Lin Youfa dove away just in time to avoid Li Yundong's punch. CRASH! Li Yundong's fist smashed into the marble countertop where Lin Youfa's head had been leaning against seconds ago. The entire countertop collapsed to the floor, bringing the sinks and soap dispensers with it.
Li Yundong freed his fist from the debris and glared at Lin Youfa, who was slowly backing away from Li Yundong. Thanks to the Qis of his five Zangs, Li Yundong barely felt any pain in all the places where he took heavy hits. "Go!!!" Li Yundong roared, slashing his hand in the air. He pointed towards the exit. "Go now, and leave me alone! Don't ever bother me again!"
Lin Youfa sneered. "I haven't lost yet." Suddenly, Lin Youfa crouched down and pulled out something from his right shoe. Chills careened down Li Yundong's spine. His blood ran cold when he activated his telescopic vision and saw the object that Lin Youfa had pulled out from his shoe. It was a golden needle.
Su Chan's golden needle.
"Where did you get that?!" Li Yundong's roar shook the walls. Was Su Chan alright? Had Lin Youfa gotten to her? A ball of heat formed at Li Yundong's lower belly. "Answer me, you son of a bitch!! Where did you get it!"
Instead of answering, Lin Youfa smirked and jabbed the needle into a spot on the top of his head—the Baihui. Then, with his free hand, Lin Youfa performed some kind of strange hand sign. "Maoshan Jida Zhen Shengong. Bada Yuanshuai Xian Shentong! Hearken to me, O Heavenly Marshal of the North! Come to me! Lend me your power! I offer you my body as a vessel..."
Wait a minute... The Heavenly Marshal of the North? Isn't that...
Li Yundong honestly thought his ear drums were going to burst when Lin Youfa released a loud roar.
The next thing he knew, Lin Youfa's body was expanding. Red, bulging veins snaked around his arms and torso. Purple blotches covered Lin Youfa's skin, which appeared stretched thin under his expanding muscles. Li Yundong almost thought the man would suddenly burst like a balloon. In just seconds, Lin Youfa had transformed from a hunk into a hulking figure that was more than two meters tall.
Lin Youfa charged towards him with a speed that was too fast for his size. Li Yundong dodged sideways. CRACK! The floor caved slightly, and Li Yundong watched in horror as Lin Youfa pulled his fist out from the huge dent on the floor.
"Holy shit..." Li Yundong whispered.
"Hargh!" Lin Youfa's fist whizzed past Li Yundong's ear before smashing into the wall behind him.
Li Yundong burst into action, unleashing a flurry of punches—jab, cross, left hook. Lin Youfa stumbled back a slightly, but Li Yundong's strikes didn't appear to have done much damage—Lin Youfa was smirking at him. SWISH! SWISH! Li Yundong bobbed and weaved around two punches aimed at his head. When he saw an opening in Lin Youfa's defense, he delivered a quick jab to Lin Youfa's sternum, then followed up with a powerful right cross.
Lin Youfa grunted and absorbed the blow like it was nothing.
Out of sheer desperation, Li Yundong kicked Lin Youfa's groin again and again. To his horror, Lin Youfa didn't even budge.
CRACK! Li Yundong ducked another punch, then slipped behind Lin Youfa through the space between his legs.
"So we're back to this shit again, eh? Zhenren Li? Me attacking and you running? How boring."
Li Yundong kept backing away while keeping his eyes on Lin Youfa. Reaching into his pocket, he touched Su Chan's talisman. Gotta lead him to an open ground... Li Yundong scanned the bathroom for possible escape routes. The exit was right behind Lin Youfa, so that option was clearly out. He glanced to his left. The only option was the hole in the wall, which would lead into the men's room.
"Don't even think about it, Zhenren Li."
Li Yundong returned his gaze to Lin Youfa. Right now, Li Yundong had two options: one, outlast him until Shenda's magic wore off; two, lead him to an open and secluded area where he could—hopefully—summon lightning. Either way, he had to get the hell out of this bathroom.
But how? Lin Youfa could probably get to both exits before he did. Lin Youfa was fast, and his transformation had lengthened his limbs. Li Yundong would never be able to get past him.
"Prepare to run... I'll distract him..."
Li Yundong whipped his head around. That voice... Had he imagined it?
"Follow the mist..."
Su Chan? What the hell? Li Yundong looked towards Lin Youfa to see if he had heard Su Chan's whisper too. However, Lin Youfa appeared to be in a daze, his face half-obscured by a dense cloud of green mist.
More green mist wafted in through the hole in the wall.
"Go. Now!" Su Chan's whisper sounded harsh this time.
Li Yundong moved his legs and charged through the hole in the wall. When he reached the men's room, Li Yundong saw Zhang Guozheng sitting on the floor. He ran past the dazed actor and charged out of the bathroom, keeping an eye out for the green mist. Seconds later, he heard a loud roar.
"Zhenren Li!!! You coward!!!"
A loud smash shook the entire building.
Li Yundong emerged from the bathroom area and ran towards the booth President Cao was sitting in.
"President Cao. Get out of here. It's not safe," Li Yundong said as he ran past the booth.
Someone grabbed Li Yundong's wrist once he'd passed the hotel's revolving doors. "Come on! Over here!" Su Chan tugged him away from the door towards the curb. "We have to keep moving. His Shenda will probably wear off in another five minutes."
Li Yundong ran alongside Su Chan. "How did you... Why are you here?"
Su Chan stared up at him with huge eyes. "I was worried about you! So I followed you!"
Li Yundong wanted to ask her how on earth she managed to follow him, since President Cao had driven him all the way out here. Maybe she took a cab and followed President Cao's car?
"Are you hurt, Yundong?" Su Chan asked when they ran past Shengyuan Hotel's front gates.
"Nah. I'm okay. He landed a few hits, but I took the blow pretty well."
"Do you know which Shenxian he called upon this time?"
Li Yundong nodded. "Yeah. Zhu Bajie, right?"
Su Chan nodded. "He's even more powerful than Guan Yu."
A loud crash made Li Yundong turn around. There was a series of shouts. Then, the security booth stationed beside the gates crumbled. A moment later, the gate was sent flying, and Lin Youfa barreled through.
Li Yundong turned around and kept running. "Damn it. What the hell is the matter with that nutcase? I thought Cultivators are supposed to be low-key."
"We are, or at least we should. I don't know Lin Youfa is thinking, but he's clearly breaking a lot of rules." Su Chan shot a quick glance behind her shoulder. "Come on! We gotta move faster!"
Li Yundong picked up his pace. "Where are we going? Home?"
Su Chan was quiet for a few moments. "No. We gotta lose our tail first. Over here!" Su Chan made a sharp right. Li Yundong followed, hoping to dear God that Su Chan knew what she was doing.
"This is ridiculous!" Elder Sister Zi Yuan's sharp tone made Ruan Hongling turn sideways. There was a frown between Elder Sister Zi Yuan's brow as she stared at the scene below them. A series of screams drew Ruan Hongling's attention to the Shengyuan's Hotel's front gates. The security booth had just collapsed, and a huge man rammed his shoulder into the gates, which flew off their hinges. Ruan Hongling's face twisted in disgust.
"Outrageous!" Elder Sister Zi Yuan hissed. "I can't believe the Divine Fist School is capable of such atrocious displays!"
"Elder Sister Zi Yuan," Ruan Hongling said, "when are we going to make our move? Things are going to get worse if we don't intervene—"
"I've already told you, Hongling," Elder Sister Zi Yuan said in a warning tone. "Patience."
Patience? No. Ruan Hongling had had enough of waiting, not when that vile man was walking around with her damask! "Elder Sister Zi Yuan," she said. "I'm going after them."
Then, Ruan Hongling disappeared in a flash of green light without waiting for Elder Sister Zi Yuan to reply.
Lin Youfa came to a halt after he'd rounded a corner. He was now back to his original form; the magic of his Shenda had worn off a minute ago. He cursed, staring after the direction where he knew Li Yundong had run off to.
"You won't get away next time!" Lin Youfa growled.
The sound of footsteps made Lin Youfa turn around.
A teenage girl stood there, staring up at him. Dressed in a high school uniform with her hair pulled into an elegant ponytail, the girl looked pretty.
"What do you want, young lady?"
The girl performed a hand gesture which instantly made Lin Youfa realize that she was a fellow Cultivator. "Peace in the Tao, fellow Cultivator. May you be blessed with longevity and boundless happiness." said the girl. "I am Ruan Hongling, a 45th generation disciple of the venerable Zhenren Wang from the Linggong Sect of the Qingzong Zhengyi Taoist School."
Lin Youfa stared at Ruan Hongling in shock.
"So you're from the Zhengyi School..." Lin Youfa put his left fist to his right palm, then bowed. "My apologies for not recognizing you, Ma'am. I am Lin Youfa of the Divine Fist School."
Ruan Hongling held her hand in front of her chest—with her palm facing sideways and her thumb slightly bent. "It is an honor, Zhenren Lin. May I know what business you have here?"
Lin Youfa sighed and waved his hand a few times. "My disciple misbehaved a while back and put the name of my school to shame. He challenged someone out of his league and ended up losing the fight. I'm here to regain the honor of my school by defeating the man my disciple lost the fight to."
"This man you're seeking… Is he Li Yundong?"
Lin Youfa looked at Ruan Hongling in surprise. "How'd you know?"
Something flashed inside Ruan Hongling's eyes. "Was there a girl with him? A young, pretty girl."
Lin Youfa narrowed his eyes. "What are you up to?"
Ruan Hongling sneered. "I have a suggestion to make."
Lin Youfa eyed Ruan Hongling warily. After a while, Lin Youfa nodded. "I'm listening..."