Li Yundong plopped down on the floor, then leaned his back against the side of the bed with a sigh. President Cao had just finished briefing him on his new assignment. And apparently, he was supposed to suit up for the dinner party tonight.
Tonight, as in six hours later. He didn't expect to be summoned for duty on such short notice. Granted, he had gone radio silence for two days straight, so there was that.
Silence permeated the motel room. The awkward air from earlier was gone. Right now, everyone just seemed weary and exhausted. Especially Su Chan, whom Li Yundong had caught nodding off while President Cao was giving him the briefing earlier. Su Chan had finished her conversation with Zhou Qin a while ago. Although Zhou Qin looked confused at first, Li Yundong did notice a tiny smile on Zhou Qin's face when the conversation ended. He wondered what those two had talked about.
Neither Feng Na nor Cheng Cheng had said much after he and Su Chan came out from the bathroom. His two seniors were now sitting beside Zhou Qin on the bed, staring at the floor. They both looked like they had something to say but were too reluctant to say it.
Seriously, what was the matter with everyone today?
More silence ensued. Li Yundong looked to his left, where President Cao stood. The woman seemed busy as hell, tapping vigorously on her phone's screen.
Someone's stomach rumbled.
Someone as in a certain chipmunk who probably hadn't had a bite in two days straight. Heads turned towards the source of the sound. Li Yundong had to stifle a laugh when he saw the blush on Su Chan's cheeks.
"S- S- Sorry..." Su Chan mumbled.
Li Yundong laughed out loud. "It's okay, princess."
Feng Na cleared her throat. "Well... It is lunch time now," she said, glancing at her watch. "Why don't we all have lunch together?"
"Agreed," President Cao said, putting her phone away. "How about this? I'll treat everyone to lunch today. How does that sound?"
Li Yundong clapped his hands together. "Wonderful!" He turned to Su Chan. "See, princess? I told you my boss is nice! Now she's taking care of our meals as well." Li Yundong winked at Su Chan. "Hey, princess. You have my permission to unleash the full power of your appetite later."
Su Chan jumped up so abruptly that her chair fell backwards. "Yayyyy!" she cheered, raising both fists in the air.
President Cao chuckled. "Sure, sure. You guys can eat all you want. I doubt one meal can cause me to go broke."
Li Yundong smirked. Famous last words... He glanced up to see Su Chan and Zhou Qin looking at each other, then at him. A moment later, all three of them burst into laughter.
"What?" Cheng Cheng asked in confusion.
"Yeah, what is it?" President Cao asked, looking equally confused. "Did we miss something? Or was that an inside joke?"
Zhou Qin covered her lips with her hand. "President Cao, when it comes to these two..." Zhou Qin paused to give Su Chan and Li Yundong pointed looks. "One meal really can lead to poverty."
President Cao chuckled in disbelief. "What? How?"
Zhou Qin cleared her throat, then schooled her features. "We went to a restaurant last time. The three of us. Someone took care of our bill, and guess how much the meal cost?"
Li Yundong laughed out loud. He couldn't forget the look on Liu Chuan's face the moment he saw the bill.
"What, like three figures?" President Cao said.
Zhou Qin smiled, then shook her head.
President Cao's eyes widened slightly. "Four figures?"
Zhou Qin laughed. "No. Six figures."
President Cao gasped. "S- Six figures! What on earth did you guys..."
Li Yundong and Su Chan burst into laughter again.
"Don't worry, boss," Li Yundong said once he'd recovered from his laughing fit. "If you can't afford it, then..." He winked at Zhou Qin. "You can always eliminate a few zeros from Zhou Qin's bank account."
The group left the motel after Su Chan's stomach growled loudly for a second time. On the way towards President Cao's Lamborghini, Li Yundong regaled President Cao with tales of Su Chan's culinary escapades: the Mount Everest she'd erected on her plate during Zhou Qin's party; their daily food wars; twenty bowls of rice... and, well, you know the drill.
President Cao was laughing and giggling all the way, which Li Yundong took as a win. At least his boss was no longer pissed off at him for the mess he'd left at Shengyuan Hotel the other day.
"Twenty bowls of rice?!" President Cao pressed the fob to unlock her Lamborghini. "Can anyone actually eat that much?"
Li Yundong chuckled, then dodged one of Su Chan's swipes. "It's true, boss."
President Cao opened the door, then paused at the door. "Hmm. We came here with two cars... But President Yin left already."
Li Yundong glanced at the Lamborghini. "It's alright. Su Chan and I can take a cab if there isn't enough room. Just tell us the place. We'll meet you guys there."
Yep. He still had enough cash to afford a cab ride. Maybe.
"Nonsense." President Cao waved her hand. "You can hold Su Chan and take the front seat. The other girls can take the back sea—"
"Hold it right there, you motherf*cker!!!"
Li Yundong turned around instantly and looked towards the corner of the street where the voice came from. What the hell?
"Stop running, you f*cker!!!"
"Yundong, Yundong… Look!" Su Chan tugged the hem of his shirt. "Isn't that...?"
Oh, hell yeah it was.
Apparently, Er Lu, the son of the vegetable stall owner, was in huge trouble.
"Why are so many people chasing him?" Su Chan asked quizzically.
Li Yundong shrugged. "Who knows..."
From afar, Li Yundong saw Er Lu falling flat on his stomach after he'd tripped over the raised surface of the curb. A bunch of gangsters quickly surrounded Er Lu's prostrated form. Each gangster was wielding a metal-pipe.
"Do you know him, Li Yundong?" Zhou Qin asked curiously.
"Yeah," Li Yundong answered without taking his eyes off Er Lu, whose body was now being pummeled repeatedly by the gangster's metal pipes. Er Lu rolled around on the ground, screaming and howling in pain.
"You think you can run from us forever, huh?!" one of the gangsters, a bald man with thick arms, yelled. He struck Er Lu's back with the pipe. "Where's my money! Pay me now, or I'll kill you!"
Er Lu shielded his face with his arms. "P- Please! Give me a few more days! J- Just a few more days! I swear!"
The gangsters continued to strike Er Lu with their pipes. Er Lu curled up on the ground like a shrimp.
"A few more days! I've given you months, you f*cker! I want the money now, or I'll break every f*cking bone in your body!"
"Argh!" Er Lu scrambled to his feet and tried to run. A metal pipe struck the back of his knees, causing him to stumble to the floor again. More gangsters surrounded Er Lu.
"Pay!" the bald gangster, who Li Yundong assumed to be the leader of the gang, yelled. "Pay! Me! The! Money!" The pipe slammed into Er Lu's ribs again and again.
"Noooo!" A new voice sounded.
A middle-aged woman emerged from the bend of the street. Li Yundong frowned. He recognized that woman. It was the owner of the vegetable stall. "Stop!! Stop beating my son!!! You're going to kill him!!" The woman pushed herself through the group of gangsters, then kneeled down to shield Er Lu's prostrated body with her own.
The bald gangster pointed his metal pipe at Er Lu's mother. "Out of the way, you old bitch! Your son owes us money but refuses to pay up!"
The woman flinched and glanced down at Er Lu with a loud gasp. "Again? You owe people money again?! How could—Why didn't you listen to me, you foolish child! You promised me you'd stop gambling!"
Er Lu whimpered. "I... I'm sorry Ma... I couldn't resist." Suddenly, Er Lu grabbed his mother's hands and gave her a pleading look. "Please help me pay back the money, Ma. I won't ever gamble again after this! I swear to God!"
Li Yundong shook his head in disgust.
Er Lu's mother started bawling like a child. "All the valuables in our home has been sold off to pay your previous debts, you foolish child! The only possessions we have left are the few pieces of land from our ancestors!"
The bald gangster laughed derisively. "A few pieces of land, huh? Fine then! This dunce owes us 180,000 yuan! Hah! Now you can get the money to pay me by mortgaging those lands." The gangster tapped the metal pipe against the pavement a few times. "Hurry up! Bring me the land certificates! Now!"
The vegetable stall owner sprang to her feet. "My God, you people are ruthless, aren't you? Those lands belong to our ancestors! We'll never hand them over to you! Never!"
"Die, you bitch!" The bald man swung his metal pipe.
There was a loud crack as the pipe struck the woman's ribs. "Arrgh!" The woman crashed to the ground.
"Nooo!!!! Ma!!!! No!!!!!" Er Lu screamed.
"Those bastards...." Li Yundong growled, his nails digging into his palms. Why? Why were humans capable of such cruelty? Of such injustice? Why, goddammit, why!
A ball of heat formed at the pit of Li Yundong's stomach. Should he do something? Maybe he should just call the police and let them handle it... But those two were going to be beaten to death by the time the police arrived.
A blood-curdling shriek sounded. Li Yundong looked up sharply. What he saw made his stomach drop. The bald man was pulling Er Lu's mother off the ground by her hair.
"Don't touch her, you bastards! Don't touch her! Take me instead! Leave my mom alone! Stop—" One of the gangsters smashed his metal pipe onto Er Lu's back, silencing him.
Er Lu's mother screamed and screamed until her voice cracked.
Li Yundong glanced sideways.
Su Chan was staring back at him. A moment later, he received a subtle nod from Su Chan.
Li Yundong started to move away from the Lamborghini towards the gangsters.
After a few steps, he halted and turned around. "Call the police," he said to the others.
"Already did!" President Cao yelled, sticking her head out through the Lamborghini's window.
Then, Su Chan ran towards him and grabbed his arm. "Stick to hand-to-hand combat," she whispered. "And be careful."
Li Yundong nodded. "Watch out for the others." Li Yundong nodded towards Zhou Qin, Feng Na, and Cheng Cheng.
"Mmm!" Su Chan nodded.
Li Yundong patted Su Chan's head and stormed towards the rampant gangsters. Time to put an end to this injustice.
"Leave her alone!" Li Yundong's yell sounded from across the street. The bald gangster's metal pipe stilled in the air. All the gangsters turned their heads towards Li Yundong.
Li Yundong moved across the street under the gangsters' scrutiny, not once slowing down his steps.
"Who the hell are you?" the bald gangster said.
Li Yundong stopped in front of the group of gangsters. "Someone who is about to put an end to your bullshit."
The bald gangster burst into laughter.
"You? Alone? Against all of us? You're f*cking nuts. I'll have you on screaming the floor in no—"
Li Yundong burst forward with lightning speed. He grabbed the bald bastard's wrist before giving it sharp twist—one of Lin Youfa's signature Chin Na moves. The bald guy screamed and fell to his knees.
Li Yundong ripped the steel pipe out of his grip, then crouched down to give the guy a cold stare. "You were saying?"
Footsteps sounded around Li Yundong.
"Boss, are you alright?!"
"You're gonna pay for that, you punk!"
Li Yundong released the bald man's wrist and then stood up.
"I'm gonna pay?" Li Yundong sneered. "Oh... We'll see"—He bent the steel pipe—"about that!"
The steep pipe curved until its two ends touched to form a ring-shaped object. Loud gasps sounded around him followed by hurried footsteps as the gangsters backed away from him.
That's right, you bastards. Know the meaning of fear…
Li Yundong slammed the steel ring into the pavement. Sparks flew from the metal as cracks spread out from the spot where the steel ring was lodged into the concrete pavement. A few gangsters whimpered. The bald man was now staring back at Li Yundong with trembling lips.
Li Yundong moved towards the bald man.
"W- What a- are you doing! D- Do you know w- w- who has my back!"
"I. Don't. Care." Li Yundong growled, then yanked the man from the floor by his collar. "You're still gonna rot in jail! But not before I teach you a f*cking lesson!"
"H- H- He Shao!" the bald man yelled. "If you touch me, He Shao will ruin you!"
"He Shao?" Li Yundong sneered. "That's perfect! I've got a score to settle with that son of a bitch anyway! You've just made it easier for me to find him!"
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