Li Yundong glanced at Ruan Hongling, then looked towards the Audi again. "Hey, Zhou Qin," he said, giving Zhou Qin a hesitant wave. "I'm here for the assignment President Cao gave me this afternoon." Li Yundong forced out a smile. "I'm President Cao's bodyguard tonight."
A look of recognition formed on Zhou Qin's face. Seconds later, she killed the Audi's engine. Li Yundong cursed inwardly. He'd been hoping that Zhou Qin would go on her way after he'd given his explanation.
The Audi's door opened and Zhou Qin stepped out.
Li Yundong cleared his throat and forced out another smile.
"What about you? What are you doing here—" Li Yundong snapped his fingers. "Oh, wait. Where's Ding Nan? I thought I saw her with you just now."
Something flickered inside Zhou Qin's eyes, but it was gone all too soon. "Mmm, I met up with her to talk about a few things." Zhou Qin flashed a quick smile. "Anyway. Enough about me. Are these two your friends?"
"Friends?" Li Yundong laughed humorlessly. "If I'm looking to cut a few years off my life, then yeah."
"You insolent little—" Ruan Hongling stomped her foot, then turned towards Zi Yuan. "Is the prophecy really that important to you, Elder Sister Zi Yuan! How could you side with him? How could you! You're my mentor, Elder Sister Zi Yuan! And yet you picked the Jindan's Heir over me!"
Li Yundong shared a look with Su Chan. The Jindan's Heir? The prophecy? he mouthed the words to Su Chan. To his surprise, Su Chan looked as confused as he felt when she shook her head slightly.
It wasn't the first time Li Yundong had heard of this heir and this mysterious prophecy; Ruan Hongling had mentioned it the night she attacked them at their apartment.
"Li Yundong... I don't understand... What are they talking about?" Zhou Qin asked. "What heir?"
Li Yundong snapped out of his stupor and quickly pulled Zhou Qin aside.
"Listen to me, okay? You need to get out of here," he whispered. "Don't get involve—"
Zhou Qin raised her hand. "Cut the nonsense, Li Yundong." Zhou Qin shot Zi Yuan a glance. "Who are they, and what do they want?" Zhou Qin gave Li Yundong a pointed look. "Are you in trouble? Do you need my help—"
"Off you go, girl! Shoo!" Ruan Hongling shouted. "None of this concerns you, so piss off!"
Anger rose inside Li Yundong, and he whirled around. "Watch your foul mouth!" He pointed a finger at Ruan Hongling. "That's my friend you just insulted!"
Ruan Hongling opened her mouth to argue but was stopped by Zi Yuan's dangerous voice.
"Hongling... That's enough!"
Li Yundong shook his head and turned back to Zhou Qin.
"Look," he said with a sigh. "This is a very complicated matter. To be honest, I'm not even sure how to explain it—"
A loud scream sent frissons of dread through Li Yundong.
He turned around instinctively to make sure that Su Chan was okay.
Su Chan was looking at him too, her eyes wide and confused.
Then, there was a loud thud.
No. Not a thud. It sounded more like a... a splat.
From the corner of his eyes, Li Yundong saw Zi Yuan gazing at the upper floors of Shengyuan Hotel's building.
A horrifying thought crossed his mind.
Oh, God... No… Not again...
"Yundong!! Into the building! Hurry!"
Su Chan's voice made Li Yundong look up.
Su Chan was already half-jogging towards the hotel's gates. Zi Yuan and Ruan Hongling were nowhere to be seen, like they'd just vanished into thin air. Where the hell did those two go?
Su Chan came to a halt when she reached the gates. She turned around to face him, then waved at him desperately.
"Come on, Yundong!"
Li Yundong didn't have to be told twice. He sprinted towards the building. Su Chan ran past the gates the moment she saw him move.
Li Yundong caught up to Su Chan moments later.
"Someone fell off the building, didn't they?"
Su Chan was too busy scanning their surroundings to answer.
Suddenly, Su Chan came to a halt and pointed at something in front of them. Li Yundong stopped beside Su Chan and followed Su Chan's finger with his gaze. Zi Yuan and Ruan Hongling were already there, staring at something at their feet.
Li Yundong knees went weak. A sudden weightlessness coursed through him, like someone had suddenly yanked the ground out from under his feet. Footsteps sounded nearby. A second later, Zhou Qin stopped beside him.
"Gosh. Li Yundong, why did you take off like that?" Zhou Qin said, sounding completely out of breath. "What's going…? Oh my God..."
Li Yundong didn't answer, not when his own mind was reeling. He moved from Zhou Qin's side and trudged forward on wobbly legs. Su Chan had already run ahead to join Zi Yuan and Ruan Hongling and was now crouching down beside Ruan Hongling.
Amidst the ghastly blood splatter, lay the body of a young woman dressed in a beige dress—the standard uniform for Shengyuan Hotel's waiting staff. Then, when Ruan Hongling removed the dead woman's cap, Li Yundong's blood ran cold. He stopped walking. Waves of horror crashed into him as he stared at that familiar red headband.
The next thing he knew, he was sprinting towards the body.
"No... No... No... This can't be right..."
This has to be some kind of sick joke… It has to be.
Li Yundong pushed Ruan Hongling aside and crouched down.
"No!!!" Li Yundong yelled. "Deng Yu!!!"
Something inside Li Yundong's heart clenched the moment he saw the bloody face on the ground. Just a while ago, this young and carefree girl was alive and well, speaking to him. And now she lay dead in a pool of her own blood.
"Su Chan..." Li Yundong could barely recognize his own voice. "C- Can she be revived?"
Maybe there was a way. Su Chan's badass massage techniques could revive someone even after their heart had stopped beating. What was it again that Su Chan told him last time? Qi. Right. As long as there was still Qi...
A warm hand slid into Li Yundong's palm. Li Yundong looked to his left and saw Su Chan staring up at him, her eyes glistening with tears.
"She's gone, Yundong... I'm sorry..."
"We got here too late."
Li Yundong looked to his right and saw Zi Yuan looking at him too.
"She no longer has any Qi when we got here," Zi Yuan said.
Li Yundong shook his head stared down at Deng Yu's body. Deng Yu's lifeless eyes stared back at him. God, he felt sick. This whole thing was sick.
"What the hell happened...?" Li Yundong fisted his hair. "What the f*ck happened?"
Was it suicide? Had Deng Yu jumped off the building? But why? She seemed so happy and excited when they spoke earlier! Why would she suddenly decide to kill herself—
"Elder Sister Zi Yuan..." Ruan Hongling's grave tone pulled Li Yundong out of his thoughts. Something was wrong with Ruan Hongling's tone. Something was terribly wrong.
"Have you checked?" Zi Yuan asked.
Ruan Hongling nodded grimly. Li Yundong watched Ruan Hongling's face carefully and waited for the girl to continue. What did she check? What else did these two know?
"She had intercourse before the fall. And... And I don't think it was consensual."
"W- What? She was raped?" Li Yundong growled. "Who did this—"
Another shriek made everyone froze. Li Yundong's gaze snapped upwards as he scanned the side of the building.
A second body was tumbling off a balcony.
"Shit!" Li Yundong broke off into a sprint, his Qi reaching his Shenting in record time.
White light filled Li Yundong's eyes.
"No! Dammit! No!!!" Li Yundong screamed even though he knew it wouldn't change a f*cking thing; he couldn't do anything from the ground.
Another burst of white light brought Li Yundong out of clairvoyant mode.
She's gonna hit a lower balcony... F*ck!
Li Yundong ran to a spot at the bottom of the building where he knew Deng Jiao's body would fall. When he looked up, he watched in horror as everything he'd seen with Xianjue unfolded right in front of him: Deng Jiao's head smashing into a railing on a lower floor balcony before continuing its downward path.
Please don't die, please don't die... Don't die, dammit!
Deng Jiao's body felt straight into Li Yundong's waiting arms. Blood soaked the front of Li Yundong's suit jacket as he lowered the Deng Jiao to the ground.
"Su Chan!!" Li Yundong yelled at the top of his lungs. "Su Chan!!!"
"I'm here, beloved... I'm here..." Su Chan crouched down beside him and began pulling out a bunch of needles.
Li Yundong stepped aside to give Su Chan space to work. He stared down at his blood-soaked arms as whispered words rang in his ears. Someone touched his shoulder. He turned and noticed Zhou Qin's concerned expression. Then, he heard Ruan Hongling's rapid words: raped; head smashed in; very little hope.
Li Yundong felt his own legs moving. He was walking… somewhere.
"S- Su Chan...?"
Li Yundong crouched down beside his princess. God knew he needed it since his legs felt like jelly right then.
"Yundong..." Su Chan stared back at him, then wiped the back of her bloodied hand against her forehead.
"It's pointless, Su Chan," Zi Yuan said. "Not even I can save her at this point."
Li Yundong took in Deng Jiao's lifeless form on the ground.
Ruan Hongling was right; Deng Jiao's head was completely smashed in. Even with Xianjue, there wasn't anything Li Yundong could do to save her.
Someone tugged Li Yundong's hand. "Yundong... Yundong... Come on, breathe... Please... Beloved!"
Li Yundong didn't move. Images of Deng Jiao's ruined face filled his mind as everything else faded away.
More images came to him: memories of Deng Yu entertaining a bunch of kids in a MacDonald's mascot; the cheerful and carefree manner in which she spoke to everyone; the way her face lit up when he gave her that autograph; the way she teased her sister.
The twins were dead. Two innocent girls. Dead. Someone had raped them, and then probably murdered them by pushing them off the building.
The tugs on his hand grew more and more insistent.
"Yundong... Come on, beloved! Snap out of it!"
Again, Li Yundong didn't move. He refused to believe this. He refused to believe that the world could be that cruel.
Why? Why did the innocent have to die while the scumbags continued to reign over the world like gods? Was there no justice in this world? Were the Heavens blind?
No. Such atrocity should not be tolerated.
A ball of heat formed in Li Yundong's lower belly as he slowly rose to his feet. The heat surged, expanding outwards until it reached the surface of his skin.
"Who..." Li Yundong growled. "Who did this! Tell me who did this!"
Zi Yuan's voice rang out. "Get back here, Su Chan! It's too dangerous!"
"No!!! Yundong!!! Yundong!!!" Su Chan yelled. "Argh!! No!"
A struggle broke out.
"Let me go!!!" Su Chan screamed. "Help him! You gotta help him!!!"
Li Yundong craned his neck upwards and began to count the floor numbers. Eleven... Twelve... Thirteen... He paused at the fifteenth floor and activated his telescopic vision. Zooming in, he studied the balcony where he knew Deng Jiao had fallen off from.
A man was leaning against the railing.
The man was looking straight down, holding on to his bleeding forearm. When Li Yundong zoomed in further on the man's injured forearm, he noticed a deep bite mark. A blue headband lay beside the man's feet.
The heat inside Li Yundong's body flared, turning into a blazing inferno.
I'm going to kill you, you evil son of a bitch… I'm going to f*cking end you…
"I'm on it, Elder Sister Zi Yuan!!"
A strange noise—like the rustling of paper—sounded behind him, but he didn't care. That son of a bitch had eluded justice for far too long. It was time to put an end to that lowlife.
"No!!! Get back here, Su Chan!"
"No!! Yundong!!! No!!!"
"Restraint her, Hongling!!"
"Damn it!!! The other one as well! Restraint them both!"
The rustling grew louder and louder, but soon, he could no longer hear anything except for the strange roaring inside ears. Something was gushing out from the top of his head. Then, the roaring stopped.
A split second later, Li Yundong's world exploded in a bright flash of gold. And when he yelled, he couldn't even recognize his own voice.
"He Shao!!!! You're dead!!! You're f*cking dead!!!! I'm going to destroy you, you piece of shit!"