Outside the academic building, Li Yundong saw the same girl whose suitcases he had helped move yesterday. Li Yundong's first instinct was to avoid the girl, but it was already too late. The girl had already spotted him and was now heading straight towards them.
"Senior Feng Na!! Hi!!" The girl waved at them. "Can't believe I ran into you here! What a coincidence!"
Seconds later, the girl turned to Li Yundong and feigned a look of surprise as though she hadn't been ogling him while she was walking towards them.
"Oh, hi there, handsome! You're here as well?"
No, I'm not here at all. The person you're staring at is just a figment of your imagination.
Li Yundong forced out a smile and greeted the girl with a nod while the word "fake" echoed inside his mind. He wondered what else about the girl was fake.
Feng Na opened her mouth to speak. "Here, let me introduce you. This is—"
The girl, whose name Li Yundong wasn't even interested in knowing, interrupted Feng Na rudely with a loud squeal. "Oh, Senior Feng Na! Why did you leave so soon yesterday! I had so many questions for you!"
And so began a long spiel that mostly involved complaints, questions about schedules and various campus facilities, and... well, more complaints. It was all Li Yundong could do to stop himself from walking away right then and there. Li Yundong stole a glance at Cheng Cheng. Like him, Cheng Cheng had an impatient look on her face.
Feng Na seemed to be the only one who showed interest in the girl's constant yapping.
When the girl was—finally—done, Feng Na chuckled. "Well, you look so pretty. I'm sure a lot of guys will gladly help you out if you ever run into problems."
Li Yundong rolled his eyes inwardly. Such a diplomat…
"Well… I suppose that's true... But..." The girl's eyes darted towards Li Yundong's face. The movement was quick and subtle, but Li Yundong had caught it. "But most of them just like to act cool, you know? They usually just walk away without saying anything after helping out. That's just so impolite and ungentlemanly, don't you think?"
Feng Na laughed, though her laugh sounded a little mocking to Li Yundong's ears. "What, you mean he should stay and ask you to repay him with your body? How's that for chivalry?"
Oh, yeah. Feng Na was definitely mocking the peabrain.
Miss Pea-Brained giggled into her hand. "Aw... You're so funny, Senior Feng Na. Ooh, by the way, I heard something back at the dorms last night. They told me there's this super legend in Tiannan University. Ah! Li Yundong! That's his name. Right?"
Li Yundong stole a glance at Feng Na, who was also looking at him through the corner of her eyes.
"I mean is he really as great as everyone claimed?" the girl continued. "Like, the girls kept telling me how handsome Li Yundong is, or how strong he is. Oh! They even told me about all that stuff he did! But… To be honest, it all sounded like stuff from the movies…"
Li Yundong felt a nudge on his side. When he turned, he saw the funny look Feng Na was giving him. She also looked like she was struggling to hold back her laughter.
"Hey, pal! What do you think, huh?" Feng Na nudged him again. "Do you think this legendary Li Yundong is as handsome and strong as everyone claimed?"
Li Yundong did a double take to make sure that Feng Na was really talking to him.
Cheng Cheng was somewhere behind him, trying but failing to hide her grin.
What the heck was he supposed to say to that? And more importantly, could they all go for lunch already?
Li Yundong cleared his throat. "Um... He's okay, I guess?"
"He's okay?" said the girl.
Li Yundong didn't like her tone at all; it sounded way too derisive.
"Can you send a grown man flying with a punch from several meters away? Can you dodge a bullet fired from point-blank range seven times in a row? Can you support the weight of a woman who has fallen off the top of a building? Can you move a limo with a punch?"
Li Yundong shot a helpless glance at Feng Na, then at Cheng Cheng.
Surely, something this ridiculous couldn't be happening.
"Well? Can you?" the girl taunted again. She was smirking now.
Maybe he should just tell this silly girl his name and end this stupid conversation. Nothing in this conversation made sense anyway. You'd think there would be photos of him circulating around the forums if people were really claiming how handsome he was.
The girl sneered at Li Yundong. "I bet you're the type who likes to act cool and doesn't appreciate the greatness of others."
Wow. This is what I get for helping her out? Li Yundong stared at the girl in disbelief. Act cool? Did she think he was vying for her attention? How anyone could be this vain baffled him to no end.
Whatever. I'm outta here.
He had no time for this bullshit. He had more important things to do, like going through a bunch of ancient texts and worrying about how to survive being struck by 81 successive bolts of lightning without getting fried in the process.
Alas, just when he was about to bid Feng Na and Cheng Cheng farewell (lunch be damned), that girl jumped forward and grabbed Feng Na's arm.
"What do you think, Senior Feng Na? Was I right about him?"
Li Yundong stood there and studied Feng Na's expression. He wanted to hear her answer before he go.
Feng Na burst into laughter. "You know what? You're spot on!" Feng Na gave Li Yundong a playful look. "This guy acts cool all the time!"
Bullshit. Months ago, the only thing "cool" about him was the fact that he could still walk around despite his potbelly. Or the fact that he had the willpower to go through 21 rejections in a row.
Cheng Cheng, who was holding her stomach with one hand and massaging her cheek with the other, suddenly stopped laughing and patted the freshman's shoulder. "Hey, junior! You're pretty sharp, huh?" Cheng Cheng snapped her fingers. "You saw through all his pretense and all it took you was one glance! Not bad at all!"
That was when Li Yundong saw the pointed look Cheng Cheng was giving him. There was a devious glint in her eyes too, like she was telling him to stay and watch everything unfold.
Then it hit him. This was a prank. Feng Na and Cheng Cheng were pulling a prank on that pea-brained chick.
Li Yundong crossed his arms and leaned back to enjoy the show.
Jiang Xiuxiu still didn't notice anything wrong with the situation despite the fact that both Feng Na and Cheng Cheng's laughter sounded a bit strange.
"I'm not surprised that I got it right," Jiang Xiuxiu said in a smug tone. "People always say that I have discerning eyes."
Feng Na wiped a stray tear off the corner of her eyes and said, "So, it's safe to say that you're Li Yundong's fan, then?"
"Of course I am!" Jiang Xiuxiu nodded enthusiastically and feigned an infatuated look to make Li Yundong jealous. "In fact, I'm his die-hard fan!"
Cheng Cheng laughed and patted Feng Na's shoulder. "I guess congratulations are in order, Nana. Your Li Yundong Fan Club, it seems, has just gained a new member."
Jiang Xiuxiu's eyes widened. "Wait, are you guys members of his fan club too?"
"Of course we are." Feng Na's eyes darted briefly to Li Yundong's face, though she kept her own expression neutral. "He became my idol the moment I saw him. Oh, and I'm the president of the Li Yundong Fan Club by the way."
"I see, I see." Jiang Xiuxiu giggled. "Well, then I want to be the vice president!"
"No way!" Cheng Cheng protested. "The club already has a vice president." Cheng Cheng pointed at herself. "Me!"
Jiang Xiuxiu wanted to argue further, but she was afraid to piss off Feng Na and Cheng Cheng—they were her seniors. In the end, she went with a more diplomatic suggestion: "Then... How about I become the club's secretary?"
"The secretary?" Cheng Cheng said, then shared a glance with Feng Na.
An awkward silence spread between them.
A few students approached, so Li Yundong stepped aside to let them walk past.
As the awkward silence stretched out, Jiang Xiuxiu's face began to pale; she thought she had said something to offend her seniors.
"Um... I'm sorry," said Jiang Xiuxiu. "I was just saying, that's all. I don't have to be the secretary if it's an inconvenience."
Feng Na smiled. "Nah, it's alright. Then from now on, you shall be the Li Yundong Fan Club's secretary. Although..." Feng Na hid her smile behind her hand. "I must remind you that the secretary ranks pretty low among other committee members of the club."
Jiang Xiuxiu grinned. "Oh, that doesn't matter! I'm just glad to be a part of the committee." She sidled up to Feng Na and looped her arm through Feng Na's elbow. "Senior Feng Na, I'm part of your gang starting from today. Please you take good care of me once you become the student council president!"
Jiang Xiuxiu's words made Feng Na stiffen. She hadn't mentioned to Jiang Xiuxiu that she was a member of the student council, nor had she mentioned anything about her being a candidate in the running for the next student council president. She didn't even tell Jiang Xiuxiu that the current president was planning to step down.
From that alone, Feng Na could tell that Jiang Xiuxiu wasn't as simple as she looked: she was the type with agendas, the type who devises schemes to get what she wants. She'd just moved into the dorms yesterday, yet she'd already managed to ferret out this kind of information. And from the way she was hanging on to Feng Na's arm, the girl clearly knew a thing or two about currying favors with people and had no scruples about using her body to do just that.
Feng Na smiled. "Sure. I hope you support my campaign."
Joy coursed through Jiang Xiuxiu; she construed Feng Na's lack of denial as a form of acceptance. Thinking that she had finally won Feng Na's favor, Jiang Xiuxiu turned towards Li Yundong and raised her chin haughtily. "You see that? This is what I call class. Get it? Class."
Li Yundong ignored Jiang Xiuxiu and turned towards Feng Na. "So. The student council president, huh?"
Feng Na nodded and released a soft sigh. "Yeah... It's my fourth and final year this year." Feng Na shrugged. "Figured I'd end my university life with a bang, you know? Besides, I can put this onto my resume."
Li Yundong chuckled. "I think that's great! You have my full support!"
Feng Na laughed. "Is that so? Thanks!" Feng Na's eyes widened as though she'd just thought of something. "Oh, and speaking of support... I could really use your help with something."
Li Yundong feigned a look of horror. "You know what, I was just joking earlier." He rolled his eyes dramatically. "Hah. As if I would show my support to someone who pranked me in front of hundreds of students."
Feng Na chuckled. "Very funny."
"Of course it's funny." Li Yundong smirked. "That's how jokes work."
Feng Na's face fell. "Hey, I'm serious about this. Please. Will you help me out?"
Li Yundong stared at Feng Na for a few seconds, then laughed. "Of course I will. What can I do?"
"Well, as you know, the welcoming party for the freshmen will be held in a few days..."
Li Yundong narrowed his eyes. "Uh-huh... So?"
"So!" Feng Na grinned and clapped her hands together. "Why don't you give a performance during the event? I can secure a slot for you."
Li Yundong laughed out loud. "Now who's the one being funny?"
Li Yundong stopped laughing when he saw that Feng Na wasn't laughing along with him.
Feng Na nodded.
"But aren't these performances usually reserved for clubs? I'm not part of any clubs." Li Yundong raised a palm. "And no. Don't give me that Taekwondo Club BS again."
Feng Na hid a laugh behind her hand. "Didn't you say that I have your full support? Now you're backing down? Geez."
Li Yundong smirked. "I said I'll support your campaign to become the student council president. I didn't say anything about performing in some random dinner party."
"Ugh! What is the matter with you?" Jiang Xiuxiu cut in. "Why is it so hard to ask a favor from you? Like yesterday, I literally had to run all the way from the gates just to get you to help me move my bags. And when I ask for your name, you wouldn't even tell me! Right now the future student council president is asking you for help, and you're not even gracious enough to lend a hand?" Jiang Xiuxiu snorted derisively. "Hey, on second thought…" Jiang Xiuxiu looked towards Feng Na. "I don't think it’s a good idea to ask him to do the performance, Senior Feng Na. The way I see it? He's just all brawn and no brains. What can he perform, I wonder? Smashing concrete? Kicking sticks? Or maybe one of those ancient rock-smashing rituals. I'm sure that's right up his alley."
Li Yundong, Feng Na, and Cheng Cheng stared at each other at that final remark.
"Oh, come on," Jiang Xiuxiu said. "Surely you guys know what I'm talking about? Don't you guys watch documentaries at all? Like, they'd have one person lie down on their back and then place a large concrete slab over their chest. Then a second person would grab a huge mallet and then—"
Jiang Xiuxiu didn't get to finish her sentence because Li Yundong, Feng Na, and Cheng Cheng suddenly burst into guffaws.
Jiang Xiuxiu stared at the laughing trio quizzically, wondering what on God's green earth was so funny about her comment.
When Feng Na stopped laughing, she patted Jiang Xiuxiu's shoulder. "You see? Even our young freshman here is trying so hard to change your mind." Feng Na smiled and blinked her eyes at Li Yundong. "Won't you reconsider?"
Li Yundong raised his hands in surrender. "Fine…" He sighed. "You win. Geez."
Feng Na's face lit up. "So you've agreed?"
"On two conditions," Li Yundong said.
Feng Na smiled. "Name them."
"One. I'll only do it if you get elected as the student council president."
Feng Na smirked. "Done. And the second condition?"
"Two. No pranks like last time." Li Yundong gave Feng Na a stern look. "Got it?"
Feng Na's smirk grew wider. "Looks like we have a deal."