"Hey…" Li Yundong said, turning in his seat to face Cheng Cheng. "She knows what she's doing, right?"
To his surprise, Cheng Cheng was smirking confidently instead of bouncing around like a worry wart.
"Oh... don't worry." Cheng Cheng snickered. "She definitely knows what she's doing."
"Okay...?" Li Yundong turned back to the stage, where Feng Na was taking her place at podium. He wondered where Cheng Cheng's confidence was coming from.
Li Yundong watched Feng Na give the audience a wide grin. To Feng Na's credit, she didn't seem nervous at all. In fact, she seemed confident. Maybe she really knew what she was doing. Her dream was to work for a TV station after all.
News anchors and reporters had to be fantastic speakers, right?
Feng Na reached for the mic and then brought it to her lips.
"Before this event started," Feng Na began, "I had a brief conversation with the previous speaker, fellow student Yan Hua." She paused for a moment to smile at the audience. "And during our conversation, I mentioned an analogy. The wave analogy. Is everyone familiar with that?"
Whispers and mumbles washed over the audience.
Confusion shrouded Li Yundong's mind like a fog.
Where is she going with this?
Li Yundong frowned and looked sideways at Cheng Cheng.
If Cheng Cheng had seemed smug before, then she now looked positively vainglorious.
"You see… We were sharing our thoughts about each of our chances of becoming the next student council president." Feng Na's voice drew Li Yundong's eyes back to the stage. "That was when I brought up the wave analogy. I told him that the new currents always drive the old currents onto the shore." Feng Na chuckled. "Obviously, by new and old currents, I was referring to the younger and older generations respectively." Suddenly, Feng Na gave the audience a deadpan expression. "And then after that I said something else. I told him that when the old currents crash onto the shore, they usually wind up dead."
Chuckles and giggles washed over the audience.
Li Yundong still couldn't see where Feng Na was going with this, but at least she was making the audience laugh.
"In other words, I was asking Yan Hua to go easy on me," Feng Na went on. "But, as you can see, he clearly had different ideas. I mean, that speech he gave just now? That was..." Feng Na's widened her eyes dramatically. "Wow."
Li Yundong turned towards Cheng Cheng and raised his brows. "This, is her grand speech? Raising the white flag and admitting defeat in front of the whole crowd?"
"Shh!" Cheng Cheng waved her hand sharply. "Just watch. The good part's about to come."
Li Yundong shook his head and turned back to the stage.
"I've prepared a little speech of my own, of course." Feng Na raised a piece of paper and waved it above her head for everyone to see. "But mine probably looks like a dull brick compared to Yan Hua's jewel, so let's just forget about this thing."
Feng Na tossed the paper onto the podium.
Li Yundong groaned into his palm. "What the hell is she doing?"
"Shh… Just watch..." Cheng Cheng said confidently.
A series of noise made Li Yundong look up—Feng Na was removing the mic from the stand. After that, she walked around the podium with the mic and stood at the edge of the stage.
Whispers and hushed voices filled the room.
"So!" Feng Na grinned. "I'm going to make this really simple."
The whispers petered out. All eyes were once again on Feng Na.
The next thing Li Yundong knew, Feng Na was pointing her finger at him.
"Does everyone know that guy?" Feng Na asked in a cheery tone.
What the f—
Everyone turned around in their seats to stare at him.
A cacophony of shouts and screams filled the room.
"Of course we know him!"
"The Hero of Tiannan University!"
"Hero! Hero! Hero!"
"Legend! Legend! Legend!"
"The Living Legend!"
"Parkour Dude! Parkour Dude!"
"It's the King of Parkour, moron!"
"Cucumber Dude! Cucumber Dude!"
Understanding washed over Li Yundong like a tidal wave. So that's her plan… Holy shit…
No wonder she wanted him to give a performance during the freshmen's welcoming party. No wonder!
Li Yundong laughed and shook his head a few times. "Very clever, you girls. Very f*cking clever... You played me like a goddamn viola."
Cheng Cheng giggled. "Aww... You make it sound so horrible. It's just a performance."
"Shh… Guys... Guys... Settle down, settle down..." Feng Na said. "Listen to what I have to say first, okay?"
The cheers and wolf-whistles went away in seconds. However, several harsh whispers could still be heard once every few seconds—the teachers weren’t liking this.
"Here's the thing guys," Feng Na continued. "I've got a special performance arranged during the freshmen's welcoming dinner party." Feng Na smiled and paused for a few beats. "So I approached Li Yundong a few days ago and then asked him if he would like to participate in the performance."
The audience descended into an anticipatory silence.
"And he agreed."
Cheers erupted, but died down as soon as Feng Na raised her hand.
"On two conditions," Feng Na said. "One, I have to be elected as the next student council president. And two, the performance shouldn't involve a prank."
More whispers sounded.
"I've got the second condition covered, of course," Feng Na said. "I'll make sure that the performance doesn't involve a prank. But for the first condition..." Feng Na smiled. "As you can see, I need your help to fulfill the first condition."
"How do we know you're not just bluffing to win votes!" someone from the audience yelled.
"Yeah! You could be lying to all of us for all we know!"
"Why should we believe you!"
Feng Na smirked and raised her finger to silence the audience. "A reasonable concern," she said, nodding a few times. "But! I've got that covered as well."
Feng Na was reaching for something in her pocket.
"Holy shit…" Li Yundong nudged Cheng Cheng with his elbow. "Is that... Don't tell me you guys..."
Cheng Cheng burst into giggles.
On the stage, Feng Na was holding her phone close to the microphone.
Seconds later, a recording of Feng Na's voice blared out: "Why don't you give a performance during the event? I can secure a slot for you..."
Silence reigned, which lasted for only a few seconds.
"So you've agreed?" That was Feng Na's voice again.
"On two conditions..." Li Yundong groaned when he heard his own voice played out from the recording.
"One, I'll only do it if you get elected as the student council president."
"Done. And the second condition?"
"Two. No pranks like last time... Got it?"
"Looks like we have a deal."
A loud click signaled the end of the recording.
Those two devious little... ugh.
Li Yundong had no words for this. None.
"There you go, guys! There's the proof that the deal really took place," Feng Na said, pocketing her phone. "Now the question is... Do you guys wanna see Li Yundong put on a show again?!"
The audience erupted in cheers and whistles.
From the back row, Li Yundong saw Yan Hua leaping to his feet, swinging his fists in protest.
"This is absurd! What kind of lousy speech is this!" Yan Hua screamed. "This is a shameless tactic to bribe the students!"
"Guys... Guys..." Feng Na said, ignoring Yan Hua's protests. "Just let me say one last thing, okay?"
The crowd quieted down once again.
Feng Na took in a deep breath and exhaled. "Some of you guys might have doubts regarding my ability to lead the student council. So let me take this opportunity to point out some of the things I did during my previous years as a student here. Call it listing out my credentials, if you will." Feng Na cleared her throat. "Now. I'm sure y'all know that I was in charge of the performance night during the student's exchange visit last semester?"
A chorus of cheers followed suit.
Feng Na smiled. "And I'm sure all of you can remember what a spectacular night that was."
More cheers and cries rang out.
"As you can see, that event was a huge success," Feng Na continued. "I can't take all the credit, of course. I know I couldn't have done it without the help of my dedicated team. And, obviously, I have Li Yundong to thank for as well. That night wouldn't have ended on such a high note without his spectacular performance." Feng Na cleared her throat. "But the point is…"
Feng Na moved the mic around to untangle the wires.
"I am confident in my leadership and management abilities, and I sincerely hope that you guys can give me a chance." Feng Na's tone suddenly turned wistful. "As you know, I'm currently in my fourth year. This is my final year as a student of Tiannan University. And I'd really like to gain as much experience as I can before I graduate. With all that being said..." Feng Na paused to grin at the audience. "If you guys want to give me a chance… and if you guys want to see Li Yundong on stage again in a few days, please vote for me! Thank you!"
The entire room erupted in cheers when Feng Na bowed and walked down from the stage.
Li Yundong chuckled and shot Cheng Cheng a playful glare. "Well played, you two... Well played."
Cheng Cheng smirked. "It's call being resourceful. And it was Nana's idea, by the way. She came up with the whole thing. I just helped out in its execution."
The students were starting to chant his name now: "Li Yundong! Li Yundong! Li Yundong!"
Li Yundong followed Feng Na's movements with his eyes. She had just gotten off the stage. The students she had walked past by were all throwing questions at her. Amidst the chaos, Li Yundong could actually make out a few of those questions: "Hey! Senior! What's Li Yundong's performance gonna be about? Give us a hint! We want spoilers!"
Feng Na's answer to the questions was so cheeky that Li Yundong couldn't help but laugh: "Oh? You wanna know? Vote for me and I'll tell you!"
Some kind of commotion was happening near the front row, right below the stage.
Li Yundong looked over and saw Yan Hua kicking up a fuss.
"That's cheating!!" Yan Hua screamed as a teacher struggled to pull him back. "She just bribed the students! Disqualify her! I demand her disqualification!"
Li Yundong turned away from the scene when he heard Cheng Cheng's cheer.
Feng Na had just reached them.
"God, Nana! That worked really well!" Cheng Cheng squealed and embraced Feng Na tightly.
Feng Na pulled back from Cheng Cheng's embrace and struck a victory pose. "Told you I've got this."
"Feng Na..." Li Yundong chuckled. "I swear to God you're the most manipulative and calculating woman I've ever met."
Feng Na burst into laughter. "I'll take that as a compliment."
Li Yundong raised his brows. "I suggest you don't count your chickens before they hatch, though. The university council can still veto the poll results."
Feng Na smirked. "They won't."
"What makes you so sure?"
Feng Na's smirk widened. "Coz I've got another secret weapon."
"Wait, how come I don't know about this?" Cheng Cheng asked, sounding a little hurt.
Feng Na smiled at Cheng Cheng. "You'll know soon enough."
"Uh-huh… And what if I just tell everyone here that I changed my mind about the deal?" Li Yundong challenged.
Feng Na shrugged casually. "Too late. The polling has already begun."
Li Yundong glanced around the room.
A box was now being passed around and the students were all slipping their votes into the box.
"And don't think you can just decide to not show up on the day of the performance itself," Feng Na said. "The students will just keep bugging you if you do that. You can say goodbye to your peaceful campus life."
As if it was even peaceful to begin with.
"C'mon, pal. Just perform..." Cheng Cheng said encouragingly. "What's the harm anyway? The students love you."
Li Yundong raised his hands in defeat. "Damn. You really had everything planned out, didn't you?"
Feng Na answered with a laugh. "It's call being resourceful."
The polling took around fifteen minutes to complete. Another ten minutes were spent counting the votes before the results were displayed on the LCD screen in front of the media room: Yan Hua, 1 vote; Feng Na, 499 votes.
The other six candidates didn't even get a single vote.
Feng Na and Cheng Cheng jumped up in joy.
"Oh, my God! You did it, Nana!" Cheng Cheng squealed. "You really did it! God! You're such a genius! Not only have you gained publicity for your performance during the dinner party, but you've also managed to establish yourself as Li Yundong's ally! Now nobody in the university will doubt that you have Li Yundong's backing. You just killed three birds with one stone, Nana!"
Feng Na struck another victory pose.
Li Yundong watched their excitement with amusement. Now he would really like to see the look on their faces when the results got vetoed.
THUD! THUD! THUD! Li Yundong turned and saw Yan Hua kicking and pounding the edge of the stage while a teacher struggled to hold him back.
"I will not accept this result!" Yan Hua shouted. "This is unfair! The results shouldn't count!!!"
"Control your emotions, Mr. Yan Hua," the teacher on the stage spoke into the mic. "Calm yourself. Rest assured that the university council will evaluate the results of the poll and come up with a decision soon."
Yan Hua yanked himself free from the teacher who'd been restraining him. After that, he shot Feng Na a glare.
"Looks like you've made a new enemy now, Feng Na," Li Yundong mused.
Feng Na answered with a casual shrug.
The next fifteen minutes passed by in relative silence. On the stage, Chancellor Feng and his council members seemed to be engaged in an earnest discussion.
"Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Look at them. They're taking so long to come to a decision." Li Yundong gave Feng Na a sly grin. "Maybe they're gonna nullify the poll results after all."
Feng Na answered his taunt with a smirk. "Wanna bet?"
Li Yundong narrowed his eyes at Feng Na. He wondered what else Feng Na had up her sleeves. Surely the university council wouldn't approve of something this absurd? The university was probably going to become a laughing stock—not that it hadn't already—if this ever got out.
Yan Hua's angry footsteps ended his musings.
The guy stormed over furiously and stopped in front of Feng Na.
"This underhanded trick of yours will never work!" Yan Hua pointed his finger at Feng Na.
"It's called tactics and strategy," Cheng Cheng said smugly.
Feng Na smiled gracefully. "I believe the university council will make the right call."
Yan Hua sneered. "Of course. I'm sure the teachers haven't lost their minds unlike the students here!"
Cheng Cheng sniggered. "I guess we'll know about it soon enough." She pointed at the stage, where Chancellor Feng was approaching the podium. The chancellor picked up the mic and cleared his throat. "Good afternoon, fellow students."
The chatter in the room died down.
"As a show of respect to our students' wishes, the university council has decided to approve the poll results. Feng Na will be the new president of the student council. Effective immediately!"
"However…" Chancellor Feng smiled at the audience and waited for the cheers to die down once again. When the students fell silent, he brought the mic to his lips again. "We agree that the methods that Feng Na has employed are a bit... unconventional." Chancellor Feng shot a pointed look in Feng Na's direction. "We'll only allow it just this once. Make no mistake. If any future candidates pull something like this again, he or she will be disqualified from the race."
The audience's cheers drowned out Chancellor Feng's voice.
"All hail the teachers! All hail the university council!"
"Well said! Well said!"
Li Yundong shook his head in wry amusement. "Looks like your plan worked out, Feng Na."
"Of course," Feng Na said confidently. "I never had a doubt."
"Uh-oh... Incoming..." said Ruan Hongling, who had, until now, remained silent.
Li Yundong looked ahead and, to his horror, saw a huge mob of students rushing towards him.
"Boss! Give me your autograph!"
"Li Yundong!!! I love you!! Please go out with me!"
"Holy f*cking shit!" Li Yundong sprang to his feet. "Anyways! I gotta go, guys! Congratulations, Feng Na!"
With that, Li Yundong hightailed it out of there like his ass were on fire.
Feng Na followed Li Yundong's movements until his figure disappeared through the media room's exit. The group of students were still screaming and chasing after him, but she knew there was no way they could catch him.
In front of the room, she saw Yan Hua storming onto the stage.
"Are you guys nuts?!" Yan Hua screamed at the chancellor's face. "How can the university council approve of something this absurd?!"
"I suggest you watch your tongue, fellow student Yan Hua," Chancellor Feng said sternly, "if you wish to hold any position at all in the student council."
"The university council has come to a decision, young man," Chancellor Feng said. "You ought to respect that, as you ought to respect your teachers."
Feng Na turned away from the drama onstage when she felt her bestie nudging her side.
"How'd you do it, Nana?" Cheng Cheng whispered. "You were so confident that the council was gonna approve."
"It's actually very simple." Feng Na smiled at her bestie. "Why don't you take a guess?"
Cheng Cheng shook her head. "I mean I get the part about using Li Yundong's popularity to win votes, but... I don't get how you—" Cheng Cheng gave her a look of confusion. "Why weren't you worried at all about the university council's veto?"
Feng Na leaned closer to Cheng Cheng. "Do you remember what we saw that day when Li Yundong's expulsion was waived?"
Cheng Cheng drew back in surprise. "Y- You mean..." Recognition shone in her best friend's eyes. "The Director General of Education..."
"Mm-hmm..." Feng Na smirked. "And did you notice how the teachers treated Li Yundong after that incident? It's like they were all walking on eggshells around him!"
"Oh my God, Nana..." Cheng Cheng whispered. "You're absolutely right..."
"Of course I am," Feng Na said. "Chancellor Feng and the rest of the teachers must've assumed that Li Yundong has deep political ties inside the government. That's why he was able to get the Director General of Education's support."
"Okay, okay, I get it now." Cheng Cheng chuckled. "Damn... You're one cunning bitch, aren't you, Nana?"
Angry stomps sounded on her left. Feng Na turned.
"I refuse to accept this!" Yan Hua screamed. "You never would've beaten me in a fair competition!"
Feng Na gave the guy a look of pity. "It isn't me that you've lost to today, buddy."
Feng Na smiled. "You didn't lose to me. You lost to Li Yundong."
Yan Hua's eyes widened in surprise. Seconds later, those eyes were filled with confusion. "How could I have lost to him when he wasn't even a candidate!"
Feng Na sighed and shook her head. This idiot still doesn't get it.
So much for being a top student.
"How do you think I won the polls then?"
There was a pregnant pause.
When Yan Hua didn't answer, Feng Na chuckled darkly. "You think you're so clever just because you've got good grades." She shot him a mocking look. "And yet you can't even understand something this simple." Feng Na glared at the freshman. "I won today because, unlike you, I'm resourceful enough to use the influence Li Yundong has on the students to my advantage."
Yan Hua's eyes widened in shock.
"What do you think will happen if Li Yundong decided to take part in the election?" Feng Na sneered. "Yeah. That's right. None of us would stand a chance. Not you. Not me. Not anyone else! Get it now, genius?" Feng Na snorted. "You're blinded by your own arrogance, Yan Hua. And you wear your awards and certificates around like badges, using them to bully and slight others. Well guess what, freshman. Not everything in this world is about grades and academic achievement! So I suggest you rein in your self-conceit."
Feng Na turned around to walk away, but then stopped after a few steps.
"One last thing," Feng Na said. "If you're planning to cause trouble or pick a fight with Li Yundong, I suggest you drop it. He's a mountain that you'll never be able to climb. Not in a million years. Take that as you will."
With that, Feng Na and Cheng Cheng walked away, leaving behind a stunned Yan Hua.