The alarming sight of Li Yundong swallowing the Jindan had the little fox's blood running cold. She was floored, quite literally, since she was seconds away from having to pick her jaw up from the floor. On the surface, she seemed nonplussed and tongue-tied. In her mind, however, her inner voice was bouncing around like a wrecking ball.
Oh, you just had to pick now of all times to swallow your stupid spit! Goddamit! Why didn't you just choke to death, you jerk!
No matter how much she wanted to act, to do at least something to prevent her hard work from going up in flames, she forced herself to stay completely still. Two renowned members of the Cultivation world were standing right outside. She'd be screwed if they discovered that she was here.
The soup had worked wonders for Li Yundong's throat, as evident from the contented smile adorning his face. Like an oaf, he lay back down onto the carpet and went back to sleep with a piece of noodle hanging limply from the corner of his lips, as if he hadn't just swallowed one of the most powerful pills in the history of pills.
The two women on the balcony froze when they heard noises coming from inside the apartment.
"Forget it," the woman with the cold voice said after a while. "It doesn't seem like she's here. We'll head back first. That fox spirit would never be able to outrun us anyway."
The other woman sighed. "Guess we don't have a choice then. What a bummer!"
The two women morphed into two jets of green light and vanished from the balcony.
Despite being on the verge of losing her mind, the little fox forced herself to lie still in Li Yundong's arms.
No. This isn't over, she thought. Not yet.
Indeed, the two jets of green light returned to the balcony ten minutes later.
After a while, the woman with the cold voice sighed.
"Looks like she really isn't here..." she said, disappointment coloring her voice. "Let's go."
Two bursts of green lit up the balcony, then the two women were gone.
The little fox leapt out from Li Yundong's arms shortly after. With a quick spin, she reverted to her human form. Then, she pounced on Li Yundong like a wild beast that had gone berserk.
"You jerk!" she yelled hysterically. "Give me back my Renyuan Jindan!"
The little fox sat astride Li Yundong's body, gnashing her teeth, wrapping her hands around his neck.
I'll kill him! I'll kill him and then rip his stomach open!
However, she didn't get the chance because she was sent flying to the side the moment her fingers began to squeeze his neck. Her body crashed to the floor and then rolled a few times.
Through teary eyes, she observed Li Yundong from her spot on the floor. At first, there was nothing. Then, his body began to glow in a rainbow of colors. At that moment, she could feel nothing in her heart other than pain and sorrow.
She knew the signs. Li Yundong's body had already begun its absorption of the Renyuan Jindan. The pill's curative power had already been activated and was now coursing through Li Yundong's veins, causing changes to his meridians, flesh, and blood (T/N: Meridians are pathways in the human body that Qi flows through; acupoints are points on the meridians).
This was so not what she had in mind when she was busting her ass to steal the Renyuan Jindan. Her plan was to use the Jindan to transform herself from a three-tailed fox spirit into a six-tailed fox spirit. Suffice it to say that her plan had blown up in her face. The most appalling thing of all was that this witless douche was reaping all the benefits of her hard work for free!
Li Yundong's skin continued to glow. It was a strange sight to behold, as if some kind of glowing liquid had coated the surface of his skin. The pout on the little fox's lips grew larger and larger as she watched her efforts go up in flames. Tears swirled inside her eyes. This is so unfair! she thought. I'm the one who's been running around and hiding with the pill! That stupid cat and mouse game left me so exhausted that I didn't even have the strength to activate the pill's curative power! And now look at this! This oaf is gobbling up the fruits of my hard work!
The more she thought about it, the more miserable she felt. Until finally, at one point, a wretched sob escaped her lips. The floodgates opened and she started bawling her heart out. It never even crossed her mind that her crying fit might draw the attention of those two Cultivators who were still out there hunting her.
The little fox's sobs were loud, but the reinforced concrete walls of the apartment rendered it pretty much soundproof. She could cry as hard as she wanted and nobody would hear a single sound from outside. The two scary Cultivators who had been hunting her never appeared.
Her crying fit lasted for a while before her sobs dwindled. In the end, it was the loud growling of her stomach that put an end to her relentless sniveling.
She was hungry.
It made sense. She'd been pursued for days and nights on end, with barely enough time to sleep let alone eat.
How do you get an empty rice sack to stand upright on its own? Fill it with rice. Ergo, even legendary creatures have to eat!
The thought of food intensified the little fox's resentment towards Li Yundong. She glared daggers at the man who had unknowingly screwed up her plans. If this guy didn't have the Renyuan Jindan's power coursing through his veins, she would've devoured him right then!
She swiped her tears away and sniffed. Her eyes, now red and puffy, darted around the apartment in search of food.
Eventually, her eyes landed on the bowl of instant noodles on the coffee table. She picked up the bowl and peeked inside. Li Yundong had drained all the soup, but several soggy pieces of onion still lay at the bottom of the bowl. She'd rather starve to death than eat those.
Anger surged inside her; she hurled the bowl at Li Yundong. Qi gushed out from Li Yundong's body, forming what appeared to be an invisible wall, which the bowl bounced off of before hitting the floor and rolling to a stop.
From what she had just seen, she knew that the Jindan's curative power had already been fully assimilated by Li Yundong's body. The Qi inside his body was now at the height of vigor. For the little fox, however, the only sign of vigor in her body was the lump in her throat, which had grown to a point where it became impossible to swallow. Her shoulders shook heavily as sobs wracked her body.
She kept crying until her hunger became too intense to ignore. She sniffed and once again begun searching around the apartment for food.
"Master was right about humanity," she mumbled. "Humans are evil, every single one of them. Look at what the first human I met did to me? He swallowed my Jindan!"
Most people know dogs have a good sense of smell. A fox's sense of smell is right up there in the same league.
Case in point: In her quest for food, the little fox's nose had successfully led her towards the kitchen, despite the fact that the refrigerator door was sealed shut.
She was born and raised inside the mountains and had spent pretty much her entire life training with the Fox Zen School. Her knowledge of the mortal world was limited at best, so she had no idea what a refrigerator was or what it does.
She spent a moment prodding and poking at every available surface on the fridge before she opened its door warily. The interior of the fridge lit up, revealing all kinds of food inside.
She couldn't quite figure out the kind of magic involved that would allow the inside of a box to light up when opened, but she didn't plan to dwell on it any further. She didn't even have the energy to feel sad, not when she was this hungry and food was right in front of her. With one final sniff, she reached into the fridge and began to feast.
The Jindan's power had been running amok inside Li Yundong's body ever since he swallowed it. From his veins and arteries, it spread out to his flesh, skin, and bones, enhancing his cells and restructuring his tissues. In other words, Li Yundong was undergoing some kind of internal metamorphosis. He was about to be reborn.
It was like a sage monk from one of those Wuxia novels was performing the sacred techniques from the Marrow-Cleansing and Tendon-Altering Sutras on himself.
The little fox ate and ate until she was stuffed with food. Then, she sat down cross-legged beside Li Yundong and stared at him with resentful eyes.
Li Yundong had been living alone since his second year of high school. His lifestyle of idleness and his lackadaisical personality had made him somewhat chubby. Then again, to say that the Renyuan Jindan had triggered an internal metamorphosis inside Li Yundong's body was no understatement at all; as the Jindan's power circulated inside his body, the little fox could discern the violent and rapid contractions of Li Yundong's muscles, even through layers of subcutaneous fat.
That wasn't even the most eye-catching part of the process, believe it or not. The veins directly under his skin were bulging and contracting rhythmically, as if numerous tiny rodents were crawling through them. Ripples spread over his skin as his veins pushed out against it.
The little fox knew that the curative power of the Jindan had reached its maximum potential by this point. Such a power was capable of not only cleansing one's body and enhancing one's physical strength, but also replacing any types of missing Qi that were fundamental to one's vitality.
At the moment, Li Yundong's Qi was flourishing. With the Jindan's power acting as a catalyst, the Adolescent Yang Qi in his body was slowly drawn out from his Huiyin, the result of which was the slow hardening of a certain body part that is unique to the male anatomy. Soon, a tent had been erected (pun intended) between his legs.
Unlike Li Yundong, the little fox was not having a good time at all. Deep down, she resented her own carelessness. Not a single fiber of her being wasn't filled with regret. Then, she caught a glimpse of the towering, tent-like monolith between Li Yundong's legs. She froze for a moment. Then, it was a like a million light bulbs had lit up inside her head.
Wait a minute... she thought. This guy swallowed my Renyuan Jindan, right? So why don't I just wait for his body to fully absorb the Jindan's power, and then slowly guide him into the art of Cultivation? Then, after he reaches the Zhuji phase, I'll seduce him and when we have sex, I can absorb the Jindan's power through Yang feeding! Literally sucking him dry!
Ooh, isn't this method even better than consuming the Renyuan Jindan myself?
At the thought, the little fox's face lit up and her tail started wagging.
After that epiphany, the little fox decided to cast a protective spell on Li Yundong. She worked as quickly as possible since there was no time to lose. The assimilation process inside Li Yundong's body had already reached its most crucial stage.
Little did she know that the whole process would take three whole days to complete!
The long wait (dozens of hours and counting) soon became too unbearable for the little fox. The added stress and anxiety she'd experienced during the past few days only made matters worse. At one point, she finally couldn't stay awake anymore. She keeled over and fell asleep right on top of Li Yundong.
While the little fox was still in slumberland, the colorful glow on Li Yundong's body slowly waned. He sat up, completely disorientated.
God, my head is killing me, he thought, rubbing his head, which felt as if it could detonate any second. With his other hand, he reached to the side to touch the floor.
All of a sudden, he froze.
Huh? When the heck did my carpet become so soft? It shouldn't feel so round and... what the—
It was like a nuclear bomb had gone off inside his head the moment he turned his head to the side and glanced down.
There on the floor, lying right beside him, was a beautiful girl. Her dark, silky hair was pulled into a double braid. From where he sat, her face looked outright angelic, like it had been extracted from a page of a master painter's canvas. And boy, he thought he'd never seen a pair of lips that pretty. Her lashes, long and thick, fluttered slightly in her sleep. Her eyes were shut tightly and her body was curled up like a cooked shrimp. From the looks of it, she was probably having a nightmare. Still, she was a sight for sore eyes, and he would bet his V-card on it.
Of course, it didn't escape Li Yundong's notice that his frigging hand was resting (cupping) right on top of her breast. Still, the girl didn't rouse from his touch. Instead, she brought her arms up to her chest and hugged herself. Great, now his hand was trapped against her breast. He couldn't decide whether that was a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe it was both. Then, the girl's lips started to move.
"Master… Chan'er is wrong," she mumbled. "I shouldn't have run off on my own. Please... Please don't punish me..."
"What the f*ck!"
"Wh- what the heck is going on?"
That nuclear detonation in his mind just now must've really done its job, because Li Yundong's mind was now completely blank. It was like everything in his mind had been wiped out. There he sat, petrified, unable to move a single muscle. It was like he had just been turned into a lifeless stone gargoyle. Was it raining? No? It sure as hell felt like it was, considering how hard he was sweating.
How the hell did I end up with a girl so pretty sleeping beside me?
Li Yundong wracked his brain and tried to remember the things that had happened before he conked out. He remembered his failed confession to a beautiful girl from university. After that, he went to a roadside stall and got himself piss drunk. Other than those few things, he remembered nothing. Thanks a lot, alcohol.
Heck, he couldn't even remember how he got home!
So, what, did this pretty chick carry my drunken ass home? Is that what happened?
Once again, Li Yundong found his gaze drifting towards the girl beside him; he couldn't help himself.
The girl was wearing a long, traditional Chinese-styled dress. What's it made of? Silk? Li Yundong thought. Upon a closer look, he thought it looked a lot like satin too. Not that it mattered, since the fabric couldn't hold a candle to the smooth, snowy white skin under it. Because of her shrimp-like posture, Li Yundong was unable to guess her body height. Not that he needed to know her height to figure out just how well-endowed this girl was. The softness under his palm said it all.
"When did I ever get so lucky with women?" Li Yundong's mind was in turmoil. His male instincts prevented him from yanking his hand away from her body. In fact, it was telling him to explore other parts of her. He jumped at the sudden ringing of his phone, then retracted his hand guiltily.
When Li Yundong answered his phone, he nearly had his ear blasted off his head by a voice.
"Li Yundong! Do you know that you've already skipped class three days in a row! Do you still want your credits for this semester? Do you still want to graduate?"
Li Yundong spent the next few moments in a daze.
The voice on the phone suddenly went up several decibels. "You don't say! Who else could I be!"
Li Yundong couldn't seem to find his way out of the fog inside his head.
Did I get drunk and sleep for three days straight?
He chuckled awkwardly. "Um, class rep, what's today's date?" he asked tentatively.
"It's the 23rd of May, you moron! Did you hit your head or something?" The voice in the phone sounded calmer this time, but Li Yundong wasn't fooled. It was the calm before the storm, and another storm was brewing.
Li Yundong glanced at the clock on the wall beside the TV. He learned, much to his surprise, that he had, in fact, slept for three days straight!
"Alright, alright, I'll come to uni right away!" he shouted before hanging up.
He scrambled into the bathroom and hurried through his morning routine. Then, he quickly took off his shirt, which reeked of alcohol. After that, he put on a blue T-shirt and rushed out the door.
Endless streams of thoughts coursed through Li Yundong's mind as he rushed to the university: Who's that chick in my house? How did she end up in my house? Did I somehow get laid without knowing it? Oh, sh*t, I hope the cops don't come to arrest me for rape later.
Some time after Li Yundong had left the apartment, the slumbering little fox rolled to her side. A moment later, her eyes shot open.
She blinked and realized, much to her horror, that the room was empty!
All the color drained from her beautiful face. Don't tell me he's made a run for it?
Her palms and feet went ice-cold when this thought crossed her mind. All that planning would've been for naught if he escaped from her!
She reached down and ran her palm over the carpet. Still warm, she thought, which means he hasn't been gone for too long. She calmed down a little at the thought. Then, her nose twitched a few times. His scent still remains in the air!
The little fox rose to her feet and began following Li Yundong's scent.