At first, Li Yundong didn't see anything wrong with Su Chan. She had stopped screaming at him and was now sobbing quietly into her hands. Li Yundong reached out with his hand, wanting to pat her head. "What's the matter—"
His hand stilled when he saw it. Spread across the mattress, under Su Chan's folded legs, was a thick and bushy fox tail. "Oh my God..." Li Yundong whispered.
Ruan Hongling's words came rushing into his mind. The girl had mentioned something about Su Chan being a fox spirit earlier, but Li Yundong thought she was just trying to mess with his head back then.
So it's true...
Su Chan was a fox spirit. Wow.
Li Yundong reached out to touch Su Chan. She resisted him and tried to lean back, but Li Yundong managed to pry her hands away from her face after several attempts.
Li Yundong cupped his hand under Su Chan's chin. "Listen, there's nothing to be—"
A green flash blinded Li Yundong's eyes. The next thing he knew, he was stumbling backwards and falling off the bed. There was a sharp click followed by a loud thud.
Li Yundong's eyes went wide as realization hit him. The sliding door…
He sprang to his feet and looked towards the balcony.
What he saw through the open sliding door filled his heart with horror.
"Su Chan! No! Don't!!"
Li Yundong charged towards the balcony, but he was too late; Su Chan had leaped off the railing before Li Yundong could reach her.
Li Yundong's clutched the top of the railing with his fingers and peered out into the night. Su Chan's tail fluttered in the night air as she floated away from the motel with great speed.
"God damn it!"
The railing trembled when Li Yundong slapped it with his palm.
Li Yundong pushed away from the railing and ran towards front door, grabbing his phone, keys, and wallet on the way out.
While waiting for the elevator, Ruan Hongling's words kept replaying inside his mind: "She's manipulating you... She'll drain your Yang Qi and leave you to die..."
"Shut up, you bitch... Shut the hell up!" Li Yundong growled, shaking his head harshly. "I'm not going to listen to you..."
Su Chan was a good person. A kind person. That would never change no matter what everyone else told him. He'd seen Su Chan's goodness with his own eyes, damn it! Ruan Hongling and the Zhengyi School could go to hell.
A loud ding signaled the elevator's arrival. Li Yundong entered the elevator car and pressed the button for the ground floor, then began slapping the elevator close button repeatedly.
Once the doors slid shut, the elevator descended the building in a painfully slow manner. Li Yundong used the time to compose himself and go through a list of possible places that Su Chan might go.
Su Chan's piggy bank was still in the motel room, so she likely didn't have any money with her. Which means she can't take a cab...
Li Yundong banged his head against the back of the elevator and huffed out in frustration. So what? Why would she need to take a cab when she could frigging fly?
But at least she can't check into another motel without cash...
Damn it, how the heck was he supposed to find her? The city was so big. She could be anywhere by now. Hell, she could've gone back into the mountains for all he knew.
Should he lodge a missing persons report? F*ck!
A loud ding jolted him out of his frantic thoughts. He rushed out of the elevator the moment the doors slid open. Outside the motel, he came to a halt. A moment later, he gripped his hair with his hands and started pacing in front of the motel's entrance—he had no idea where to even start the search.
"Calm down, Li Yundong... Calm down..." he muttered. "Where would she go... Think!"
Li Yundong took a deep breath and went over the facts. Su Chan didn't know the city very well, so wherever she was heading towards had to be some place she knew. Maybe it was a place that they'd both been to before? The campus? McDonalds? Their old apartment? Li Yundong huffed out a breath and released his hair. But what if she didn't even have a destination in mind? What if she was just flying around aimlessly? How the f*ck was he supposed to find her then?
To hell with it. So what if he didn't have a clue where she was going. He'd search the entire city if he had to. He owed it so Su Chan to at least try. He ran to the roadside and hailed a cab. "Tiannan University!" he shouted at the cabbie the moment he got in. "Step on it!"
"Wait here! I'll be back!" Li Yundong yelled at the cabbie before he got out of the cab and ran towards the campus gates. He went to the academic building first, where he checked every classroom and every lecture hall inside. Then, he went to the library and study lounges, which were packed with students doing their last minute cramming—the finals were still going on. He didn't find Su Chan in any of those places. He left the academic building and then headed towards the copse of trees on the right. He moved past the copse and came to a halt in front of the gazebo, which was empty except for the pieces of rubble left behind after he had smashed the stone table.
"Damn it!" Li Yundong muttered, then turned around and headed back towards the gates.
Where are you, Su Chan?
Li Yundong slid back into the cab. "New Hongsheng District!"
The cabbie, bless the man, seemed to have sensed the urgency in Li Yundong's voice. He pulled away from the curb and drove off quickly. Hell, the guy even broke the speed limit.
They arrived at New Hongsheng District in record time. Li Yundong thanked the cabbie and told the guy to wait for him in front of the gates—just in case Su Chan wasn't in their apartment.
Li Yundong unlocked the door of apartment 20A with trembling hands. Darkness greeted him inside. Halfway along the doorway, he stopped, too afraid to keep moving, too afraid to face the possibility that Su Chan might not be here after all.
"Su Chan?!" he yelled.
His voice echoed in the doorway, taunting him with its emptiness. Images flashed across his mind, and at that moment, he remembered. He remembered every moment they had shared: the moments of laughter and joy; the moments of tears and arguments; even normal and routine stuff like bumping into each other in hallways during the mornings, or fighting for food across the dining table.
He missed his princess. He missed Su Chan.
He wanted his little chipmunk back.
Li Yundong's feet moved on his own. As he walked, shards of broken glass crunched beneath his shoes. Ten minutes later, he slumped to the floor in the middle of the living room, utterly vanquished.
Tears spilled from his eyes.
"Where are you, you idiot... Where the hell are you... Why did you run? Why?"
The truth was that it really didn't f*cking matter that Su Chan was a fox spirit. He'd witnessed her kindness, her inherent goodness, her sincerity, and her selflessness. None of those things could be faked. Hell, she'd been so damned loyal to him. She had faith in him. Him, a pathetic and penniless loser with no real achievements to speak of. She could literally have any man she wanted, yet she picked him.
Regret filled his chest, drowning him. This was all his fault. He should've made his feelings clearer, should've tried harder to convince her that he really didn't care what other people called her. In hindsight, the signs of her insecurity were all there. How many times had she expressed her fear of him abandoning her? How many times had she cried when she thought he was leaving her? It was all there. He'd just been too blind to see it, too much of an idiot.
Now she was gone, and he was sitting here crying like a loser.
Li Yundong wiped his tears. There had to be something he was missing, some place he hadn't looked. Alright... think... Li Yundong exhaled. Where could she be? Where was the last time they had the most fun toge—
"Holy shit…" Li Yundong whispered into the empty room.
Seconds later, he was up on his feet and out the front door.
She had to be there. She must be.