Poor Director Qian had just received a massive groin kick from Su Chan. The fact was that Su Chan had already shown him some mercy by not kicking him with her full strength. Otherwise, Director Qian would no doubt be spending the rest of his days as a eunuch.
Li Yundong glanced down at Director Qian again, who was still writhing and twitching on the floor like a maggot. Oh, hell... I'm done for... Li Yundong thought.
Meanwhile, the other students were still kicking up a fuss and making noise. Some were laughing out loud, while others were making snide remarks. Then, one of the guys yelled at the top of his lungs, "Yo!! I think shit just got real!"
Li Yundong turned and glared at the guy. Eventually, the commotion drew the attention of the teachers, who were now forming their own crowd outside Director Qian's office. Most of the teachers were shocked when they saw Director Qian on the ground.
"My God. Which student did this?" whispered a female professor. "Hitting a teacher? This is no joking matter."
Li Yundong knew that he was on the verge of expulsion. He had to figure out a way to fix this, and quick. All of a sudden, an idea struck him. He quickly feigned a look of anger and turned to Su Chan as though he was about to scold a naughty child. "Are you nuts? How could you hit a teacher?"
Li Yundong's sudden outburst surprised Su Chan.
But you asked me to kick him! she thought, pouting. She was just about to start throwing a hissy fit when she suddenly noticed the eye signal that Li Yundong was desperately giving her.
Well, Su Chan wasn't an idiot. She vaguely understood that Li Yundong wanted her to play along, so she did. Su Chan snorted, then turned away with her chin raised high.
Phew... Okay... At least she got the message, Li Yundong thought.
Crouching down beside Director Qian, he said, "Director Qian, I think there's been some kind of misunderstanding. I don't think she would hit you on purpose... don't you think so, sir?"
Hatred filled Director Qian's heart. Admittedly, he never saw this coming at all. He'd never expected such an innocent-looking girl to suddenly kick him in the groin. Now he was down on the ground, twitching around like some kind of parasite. Oh, the humiliation! In front of so many students and teachers no less! The hatred inside Director Qian's heart intensified at that thought. Then again, Director Qian knew that there was nothing he could do at this point. If Su Chan started spilling her guts about the things that he'd just told her back in his office...
None of the people gathered here were idiots. They'd know immediately that he'd tried to hit on an underage girl! His career at the university would be over!
Director Qian gritted his teeth and glared at Li Yundong, conveying every ounce of the hatred he was feeling through his eyes.
"Y- yes..." Director Qian gasped. "It's... a mis- misunderstanding..."
Li Yundong sighed inwardly, then turned to Su Chan.
"Su Chan!" Li Yundong yelled. "Apologize to the director! Now!"
Apologize? How about when hell freezes over?
Su Chan stuck out her tongue and made a face at Li Yundong and Director Qian. Then she ran off without so much as a backward glance.
Oh shit... Li Yundong thought, cringing. Then, he glanced down and gave Director Qian a sheepish smile. "Um...Director Qian," he said. "Shall I accompany you to the hospital?"
"No need! Just... just g- get out of m- my sight!" Director Qian said through gritted teeth.
Li Yundong didn't need to be told twice. He hightailed it out of there, leaving gasps and flabbergasted looks in his wake.
Li Yundong caught up to Su Chan at the campus gates, grabbing her hand. Much to his dismay, she began struggling with all her might to free her hand from his grip. Li Yundong held on tight, refusing to let go. Damn, this girl is strong... Li Yundong thought, feeling as though his frigging arm was about to be yanked out of his shoulder joint. After a few more tugs, Su Chan stopped struggling — thank f*ck.
She suddenly turned around and yelled, "He's clearly the one in the wrong! Why should I apologize to him!"
Li Yundong released her hand and sighed. "Yes, of course it's his fault," he said, pausing for a moment.
Su Chan stared at him expectantly, waiting for him to continue.
Li Yundong growled and said, "Dirty old man. How dare he try to ruin my love life! Argh! I feel like cutting off his nutsack and then feeding his balls to the dogs!"
Su Chan's anger turned into joy. "Great idea!" she piped up, then hesitated suddenly. "But... If that's what you really think, then why did you ask me to apologize?"
Li Yundong reached out again, but this time to pinch Su Chan's cheek.
Su Chan yelped and smacked his hand away.
"Damn, missy. You really don't get it do you," Li Yundong said, shaking his head.
"What?" Su Chan asked.
"Listen," Li Yundong said. "If I get expelled, I'll be broke! Where the heck am I supposed to get the money to feed you and your huge appetite?"
Su Chan gave him a serious look.
"We still have our hands and feet! We can do anything we want! So what if we run out of money? Worse comes to worst, I'll just go out on the streets with you and beg for food—"
Su Chan stopped talking and gave Li Yundong a strange look when he suddenly burst into laughter.
"What's so funny?" Su Chan asked, her face scrunched up in confusion.
I can't believe this sh*t... Li Yundong thought, laughing heartily.
Beautiful women nowadays practically worship gold. There isn't a single one of them who isn't covered in rubies and diamonds. Hell, they probably say Gucci and Prada more times than you breathe in a day. Oh, if you don't own a mansion or drive a sports car, they would be out your door so fast that you would be left wondering why they even need a sports car. Yet here she was, Su Chan, a woman of unparalleled beauty, looking at a loser like him right in the eye while saying: "Hey, we're broke. What say we beg for food on the streets?"
Still, Li Yundong was deeply touched by the gesture.
"You're speaking as though we're broke right now," Li Yundong said, pinching her cheek again. "You know, if we really end up as beggars, then... I'll be Mr. Beggar, and you'll be Mrs. Beggar. How about that, huh? It's got a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Hah! We'll take the streets by storm and become the greatest moochers in history!"
Su Chan giggled as she twisted her body to the side to avoid Li Yundong's hand. "Shameless," she said in between giggles. "Who would want to be paired up with you? Mister and missus? In your pathetic dreams!" Su Chan stuck out her tongue and made a face at him.
"Oh, so you're making fun of me now, huh? Is this really how you want to play this?" Li Yundong said, feigning anger. Su Chan made another face at him, and it took him everything to suppress the smile threatening to form at the corner of his lips.
"Very well!" Li Yundong said. "You asked for it!" He raised his hands and curved his fingers as though he had claws. "Take this!"
Li Yundong made a swipe at Su Chan.
"Ah!" Su Chan twisted her body around and dodged Li Yundong's playful swipe. She took a step away from him, then stuck out her tongue at him once again, this time adding a cross-eyed stare and a playful head-tilt. Then, she broke off into a sprint, the sounds of her melodious giggles echoing behind her.
"Why you little—"
Li Yundong took off after her, swinging his "claws" and growling playfully.
Just like that, the two of them ran along the streets, cavorting and frolicking on concrete and asphalt. The sounds of their mirth drew the attention of everyone they passed by, though neither of them cared. They were both in a world of their own, a world where only fun and happiness existed. At that moment, all the schemes she had in store for Li Yundong slipped away from her mind. In the same way, Li Yundong barely remembered the threats of expulsions he'd received earlier.
It was the early summer of May, and Tiannan City basked in the warmth of the sun. Shafts of sunlight cascaded down from the cloudless sky like a clear waterfall, a shower of warmth and radiance. Two figures frolicked along the streets, moving past buildings and trees, dancing amidst the mosaic of tree shades. What a pair they were, one stunning the cosmos with her striking beauty while the other sustained her beauty with boundless warmth and adoration.
What a pair indeed.
This catch-the-fox game of theirs lasted until Li Yundong suddenly came to a halt in front of the supermarket near his apartment. "Su Chan!" he yelled, then pointed his thumb towards the supermarket when Su Chan turned around. He waited in front of the supermarket until Su Chan came over. "Hey, enough, okay?" he said. "Let's grab some groceries, then head home." Su Chan nodded and followed him inside.
Li Yundong walked into his apartment with a few bags of groceries. "Go take a break or something," Li Yundong said, removing his shoes. "I'm going to make dinner."
Su Chan nodded and moved past him towards the living room, then sat cross-legged on the carpet.
Su Chan spent the next fifteen minutes or so glancing around the place, taking in the various knick-knacks of Li Yundong's home. Her curious eyes sparkled as they darted around in their sockets. The clanking noise from the kitchen interrupted Su Chan's perusal of the apartment, and she was instantly reminded of the last time she tasted the product of Li Yundong's culinary skills. She distinctly remembered how plate-lickingly good the meal was and also the fact that it was the best meal she'd had in her entire life. Her stomach growled at that memory. She looked towards the kitchen and relished the pleasant aroma which had already begun wafting out. Until the guilt started trickling in. I've been eating his food, staying at his place, and wearing his clothes. Yet in the end, I'm still going to devour his Qi...
After a moment of thought, Su Chan decided to check on Li Yundong in the kitchen.
She got up from the carpet and crept towards the kitchen on her tiptoes. At the entryway, she poked her head around the edge and peeked into the kitchen. Li Yundong was facing away from her and appeared to be slicing meat. He was wearing some kind of strange garment too, one that was worn over his clothes and tied at the back. The garment covered the front of his body from the neck down.
Su Chan bit her lip and smiled to herself. Slowly, she stepped around the edge of the entryway and crossed the threshold into the kitchen.
"Let's see how well you can take a little scare—"
Su Chan gasped when Li Yundong suddenly turned around to face her, waving the kitchen knife in his hand.
Su Chan's heart nearly leaped past her throat at the sound of Li Yundong's voice. She screamed, then punched Li Yundong's stomach with all her might.
Luckily for Li Yundong, his body had been reformed by the Jindan, so Su Chan's punch merely tickled him. Otherwise, he would have to spend weeks in ICU.
Su Chan felt utterly mortified when she saw Li Yundong holding his stomach and laughing his head off. She blushed, then smacked Li Yundong's arm. "How did you know I was behind you?"
Li Yundong stopped laughing and cleared his throat. "You have a unique kind of scent," he explained. "I can smell you the moment you're standing behind me."
Fox spirits were endowed with a certain type of beguiling scent from the moment of their birth. Usually, only the people around them who could detect that scent, not they themselves.
Puzzled, Su Chan blinked at him a few times, then sniffed her forearm. "I don't smell anything," she said.
Li Yundong smirked. "I was born in the year of the dog! Which means I have a keen sense of smell. See? You tried to scare me just now. But you failed!"
Su Chan raised her chin indignantly.
"Who's trying to scare you?" she snapped. "I was just checking in on you since I know you're working so hard. You're the one who tried to scared me, you ingrate! I'm ignoring you!"
Su Chan crossed her arms in front of her chest, turned around, then strutted out of the kitchen. If she didn't keep turning her head back once every few steps, Li Yundong might actually believe that she was genuine about leaving. With the way she was acting right now, she might as well be wearing a neon sign saying: Please ask me to stay.
Amused, Li Yundong turned around and went back to slicing meat.
Su Chan strutted slowly towards the kitchen's entryway.
Say something! Ask me to stay, you idiot!
Eventually, she reached the threshold of the entryway, and Li Yundong had yet to say a word. She turned around and saw that Li Yundong was quietly slicing meat as though he'd forgotten all about her.
You dense, obtuse little... Su Chan thought, gritting her teeth.
In a fit of anger, she made a face at Li Yundong, then swung her fists around as though she was trying to punch him.
However, she realized moments later that all her fist swinging was pretty much useless, since Li Yundong couldn't see a damn thing! Deflated, Su Chan left the entryway while muttering under her breath, something about ingrateful oafs and obtuse ingrates. She had barely taken two steps out of the kitchen when an idea struck her. She walked back towards the entryway with a mischievous sparkle in her eyes. Peeking in, she saw that Li Yundong was still slicing meat.
"Payback time..." she thought.
Li Yundong was about to slice another piece of meat when he heard a long, horrifying scream. If anyone heard it from the outside, they would've no doubt called the cops and reported a gang rape.
The knife fell to the floor, and Li Yundong was out of the kitchen within seconds. He saw Su Chan immediately after he passed the entryway. She was standing two feet away from the entryway with her head hung low. He pounced and grabbed her shoulders.
"Hey, hey, what's the matter?" he asked anxiously.
Li Yundong saw her smug expression the moment she raised her head. Next thing he knew, she was laughing her head off while pointing a finger at his face.
"Hah! I got you now! I gave you a fright—"
Su Chan gasped, her eyes growing wide.
"Ah! You're bleeding!" she yelled.
Li Yundong glanced down and saw that his index finger was indeed bleeding. He put his wounded finger into his mouth and sucked while reaching out with his other hand to ruffle Su Chan's hair.
Then, he smiled at Su Chan and said, "Nah. It's fine. Guess I cut it accidentally when I heard your scream. Jeez. You sure gave me a fright though. I really thought something happened to you."
The concern in Li Yundong's voice filled Su Chan's heart with guilt. She bit her lip, then grabbed Li Yundong's hand, raising it until his wounded finger was level with her lips.
The next thing Su Chan did nearly drove Li Yundong out of his goddamn mind. The girl was blowing on his wounded finger. Correction: The most beautiful woman he'd ever seen in his pathetic life was blowing on his finger while he was trying his best not to imagine other ways in which she could use that oh-so-sexy mouth of hers.
God, she's beautiful...
How anyone could come this close to perfection was beyond anything he could fathom. Pretty much everything about her was perfect: Her dark, silky hair which fell past her shoulders; the way her luscious lips were pursed together as though she was trying to kiss his finger rather than blow it; the gentle caress of her breath on his finger; as well as her unique scent. Every facet of her existence aroused him, fanning the flames of desire in his heart. He moved purely on instinct, lowering his head to bring their lips closer.
Su Chan sensed rather than saw the shift in Li Yundong's body. Thinking that she might've hurt him, she raised her head abruptly and—
They both yelped the moment Su Chan's forehead crashed into Li Yundong's jaw. They both crouched down, with Li Yundong holding the left side of his jaw and Su Chan her forehead.
Li Yundong's heart was beating a mile a minute and he was looking at anywhere other than Su Chan. Although their "head-on collision" moments ago had broken the spell, he wasn't sure what he'd do if he looked at her again. Su Chan wasn't faring any better herself either. She had realized by then that Li Yundong was trying to kiss her just now. At that thought, Su Chan's heart began to wreak havoc inside her chest, beating out rhythms of joy, excitement, thrill, and lust. She bit her lip and quickly looked away from Li Yundong, trying her best not to think about what would happen if they had actually kissed.
Li Yundong rose to his feet, pretending to be calm. He then glanced down at Su Chan who was still on her knees, staring awkwardly at the floor as though it was the most fascinating thing in the universe. He tore his gaze away.
"I'll just..." Li Yundong cleared his throat harshly. "Dinner. I'll start making dinner now. Why don't you wait in the living room?"
Li Yundong strode to the living room and picked up the TV remote from the coffee table. "You can watch TV if you're bored," he said, switching on the TV.
The introductory music of some kind of war documentary filled the living room. Li Yundong set the remote back down on the coffee table. He turned around and saw Su Chan standing near the edge of the carpet with her chin touching her shoulders and hands clutching the fabric of her dress.
Awkwardness filled the air, and the tension in the air was so thick one could take a blade and slice through it. Li Yundong sighed and ran his hand through his hair. "I'll go make our dinner," he said, then went into the kitchen.
Su Chan lowered herself to the carpet and sat in seiza. Only when Li Yundong's figure disappeared into the kitchen could she finally breathe normally. She took a deep breath in, then exhaled.
Why was it so hard to breathe around him just now...
Argh! This is bad! Bad! He's already trying to mate with me... But if we have sex in his current state... then the Renyuan Jindan isn't the only thing that will go to waste, his life will as well! Oh, no... what should I do? What in the name of the Tao should I do?
In the end, there was only one solution she could think of, which she then repeated to herself like a mantra: I have to keep my distance...