It was 8:30 AM by the time Li Yundong arrived at the campus. Upon entering the compound, he made a beeline towards the main academic building. He had barely taken a few steps when he noticed a bespectacled girl wearing thick, black-rimmed glasses standing near the building. She was hugging a stack of books to her chest and glancing around frantically. One would think that she was expecting someone to suddenly jump out and steal her precious books.
Well, it turned out that he had been right before about another storm brewing; the girl stormed towards him the moment she saw him.
"Li Yundong!" she snarled. "Do you have any idea what you've done! While you were AWOL for three days, someone from the State Education Commission came to our class and conducted an inspection! And you! You and your self-imposed sabbatical cost our class valuable honor points!"
The girl went on and on at him like a machine gun, which wasn't that far from the truth since he felt as if his ear was about to be blasted off at the moment. With every cadence of her voice, Li Yundong found himself wincing.
Class honor points? he thought. What is this, high school?
Words kept pouring out of the girl's mouth, and as her passion escalated, so did Li Yundong's urge to roll his eyes.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Sun Li, the Einstein of Tiannan University's Department of Chinese Language and Literature. And no, he wasn't really kidding about the Einstein part. At the end of her first year, this egghead actually received the country's top scholarship. By then, she was already famous enough to shake hands with the mayor.
Yep, she was just that good.
Li Yundong did hear some vague rumors in the past about Sun Li. Apparently, she was consistently in the top three students from Tiannan City throughout her high school years, but then she "flunked" her National College Entrance Examination, only receiving second-tier marks.
It actually shouldn't have mattered since there was a first-tier university that was willing to make an exception and admit her into their program. But she balked at the offer, claiming adamantly that she wouldn't accept handouts. Then, with all the spunk and resolve she could muster, she graced the halls of Tiannan University with her presence.
Sun Li was one helluva tough girl. She was bold, fearless even. She was the type of girl with actual backbone and, in a non-anatomical sense, cojones. She was the classic "chili pepper" or "jalapeno" type of girl with a fiery personality; bite her, and your mouth would be on fire before you could even say the word "hot."
Her face was round above her cheekbones, though it tapered gradually along her jawline, like an egg or a melon seed. Her features were basically flawless. Well, if there was a single flaw in her appearance, it would be those godawful glasses that she wore all day long. Those Bibi Zhou glasses didn't suit her at all. And, if that wasn't bad enough, she wore a headband which looked so out of fashion and démodé that one would think she had time-traveled from the past.
Li Yundong suddenly began to wonder what this girl would look like the moment she removed the glasses and headband.
Well. No matter what she looks like, she still wouldn't be as pretty as that girl I saw at home this morning, that's for sure.
The moment Li Yundong thought of that mysterious girl at his home, it was like some kind of valve had opened in his mind, allowing endless streams of thoughts to gush into his head: Who on earth is that girl? How the heck did she end up in the apartment? Wait a minute... Shit! I just left her alone at home without any supervision! She wouldn't steal anything, right?
Err... Nah. Such a beautiful doll can't possibly be capable of theft... right?
Argh! Screw it! If a pretty girl like that steals from me, then I- I'll just suck it up and embrace my shitty luck!
From there, Li Yundong's mind began wandering off towards the other end of the universe: Who is she? What's her background? Did I lose my V-card to her when I was drunk? God, I sure hope not. Or do I?
Imagine a pot of boiling porridge. That's what Li Yundong's mind was like at this moment, muddled and messy.
Sun Li had been giving Li Yundong a roasting for quite a while now. At one point, she noticed Li Yundong spacing out right in front of her.
Has he been listening to anything I said? Sun Li thought.
Just like that, Sun Li's anger was taken up a notch. She removed one book from her stack of books and shouted, "Hey!" as she slammed the book against Li Yundong's chest.
Well, she really shouldn't have done that.
Enhanced by the Jindan's curative power, the Qi inside Li Yundong's body was like an automatic defense mechanism, which was activated at the exact moment the book hit. That kind of Qi could generate a force capable of propelling a human-sized object like the little fox/girl a meter away, let alone a book.
It was instantaneous retaliation, and the book never stood a chance; it spun in the air like a shuriken and fell to the ground. Poor Sun Li didn't fare much better either. She had been holding on to the book when it struck Li Yundong, so some of the Qi's propulsion force was transferred to her body as well.
"Ah!" Sun Li's body lurched backwards slightly while the rest of her books fell out of her hands and tumbled to the ground.
Sun Li immediately crouched down and began to gather her fallen books. She didn't even bother to curse at Li Yundong. That alone proved just where her priorities lay.
When the books fell, Li Yundong had chalked it up to Sun Li's own clumsiness. Not that anyone could blame him for having such an assumption. He was, after all, unaware of his own bodily changes. Watching Sun Li on the ground, scrambling to pick up her books, Li Yundong sneered inwardly. What is it that they always say? Karma's a bitch? I wonder who'd even want to marry her with that kind of bitchy attitude.
Despite the nasty thoughts coursing through his mind, Li Yundong kneeled down to help Sun Li with the fallen books.
Li Yundong grabbed two Psychology textbooks before rising to his feet, then handed the books to Sun Li.
Sun Li, of course, had her own ideas about what happened just now. She thought Li Yundong had deliberately pushed back against her book, so she glared at him and said, "Why are you such an asshole?"
Something inside Li Yundong snapped.
"What! How am I an asshole!” Li Yundong yelled. “Would I have helped you pick up your books if I was an asshole? Yeah, that's right. No! I wouldn't have! Oh, and you want to know what an asshole would've done? Huh? Want me to tell you what I would've done if I was an asshole? I'll tell you! I would've stomped all over your books, that's what!"
Sun Li's brows rose to her hairline. "F*ck you and your ancestor's tablet! I dare you to try it!"
Wow, even her native accent was coming out now. (T/N: It is common in the Sichuan dialect to mention the coffin/tablet of someone's ancestors as a form of insult)
Li Yundong's eyes flared in anger and a stifling tightness tugged at his chest. He glared at Sun Li, huffing and panting as the redness on his face spread all the way down to his neck.
Sun Li noted the state of Li Yundong's eyes, which were red with threads of blood vessels that looked like they could burst any second. She'd be lying if she said that Li Yundong didn't look intimidating right now. Still, she tightened her neck muscles and met Li Yundong's gaze with firm defiance.
Some time in the middle of their staring contest, a voice sounded beside them.
"Yo, look who's here? If it isn't the King of Love Confessions."
Li Yundong's head snapped to the side and he saw two women standing there, looking back at him mockingly.
The redness on Li Yundong's face turned several shades darker. One of the girls was Zhou Qin, a f*cking bombshell of a girl who was also the most beautiful girl in Tiannan University. Oh, and did he mention that she was the girl whom he had confessed to three days ago?
With her willowy figure and her smooth alabaster skin, Zhou Qin's beauty was undoubtedly one in a million. The fabric of her pale yellow shirt flowed loosely around her body, billowing in the morning zephyr. "Fashionable" and "youthful" were the two words that best described her current appearance. Zhou Qin's eyes were bland and aloof as she studied Li Yundong, as though she hadn't just shoved a nice-guy speech down Li Yundong's throat three days ago. However, hidden within the depths of her eyes, amidst layer upon layer of aloofness and indifference, was an iota of disdain and contempt.
The other girl, the one who taunted him just now, was Ding Nan.
Li Yundong's lack of a comeback reduced Ding Nan to hoots of laughter. "Hey, are you deaf? I'm talking to you," Ding Nan said after her laughter had subsided. "You're now famous, you know? And guess what? That video of your confession has the highest click count on the university forums!"
In an instant, a supernova of emotions exploded in Li Yundong's chest in the form of anger, humiliation, embarrassment, and shock.
"What did you just say? Who recorded it!" Li Yundong screamed at Ding Nan.
By the time his gaze landed on Zhou Qin, his eyes were already filled to the brim with rage.
"I can't believe you would do something like that,” he said. “So despicable."
Zhou Qin remained unperturbed by the accusation, as evident from her unchanging expression. Her eyes scanned over Li Yundong's body from head to toe. She didn't even try to explain herself or deny the accusation. Perhaps this proved just how little she thought of him; it was as if the act of explaining herself to him was beneath her.
"Hey, watch your tone," Ding Nan said. "You think you're so great? Fine, take it up with He Shao then! He was the one who recorded the video. What are you going to do about it, huh?" Ding Nan snorted. "You have the balls to confess but not the balls to let your confession be seen? What a pathetic loser. You should take a good look at yourself in the mirror, loser. Who do you think you are anyway? Actually, no, don't answer that. I already know who you are. You're a stupid toad trying to have a taste of swan meat. Hah! Let me tell you something. With your looks? No girl would want you even if you pay them to be with you! So don't ever bother Zhou Qin again, you hear me?"
Everyone has a temper. Even a monk who spent years meditating in a cave would get mad if sufficiently provoked let alone a normal guy like Li Yundong. The fact that Li Yundong's Qi had been enhanced to mind-blowing levels by the Renyuan Jindan was nothing but an accelerant to the flames of his anger.
An overabundance of vitality tends to make a person quick-tempered. Needless to say, quick-tempered people are ticking time bombs who aren't above picking fights over inconsequential matters, so something as humiliating as what Li Yundong was currently experiencing would most certainly lead to a fight.
He felt it first in his lower abdomen, then a ball of intense heat surged up to his chest a split second later. It was as if a firestorm was raging inside his ribcage, roiling and torching everything inside. Then, two things occurred in tandem: he heard a popping sound (like bubbles in a pot of boiling water) in his ear; he felt the opening of a gate of some kind inside his sternum, causing the firestorm in his chest to rise to the top his head!
Qi gushed out from the top of his skull, causing the strands of his hair to stand erect as if they were being held up by some kind of invisible force.
His eyes were opened so wide that his skin might actually tear across the bridge of his nose in a horizontal line, and the capillaries in his eyeballs bulged as blood pumped through them. The Qi inside his chest tumbled out of his mouth like a raging thunderstorm: "Say that again! I f*cking dare you!"
No amount of Ding Nan's arrogance and Zhou Qin's composure could bear up against an outburst of such caliber; they were both girls after all. Especially since the Jindan's enhancements had taken Li Yundong's anger to a whole new level: eyes that were like lightning, seeming to be capable of bringing instantaneous death to anyone who looked upon them; a wild and feral demeanor that put a tiger to shame. Even a strong man would cower in fear in the face of such a menacing presence let alone two delicate girls.
Terrified, both Ding Nan and Zhou Qin backed away from Li Yundong. Terror filled their eyes, though Zhou Qin's held an extra tinge of surprise. The surprise in her eyes, however, quickly changed into mortification and anger.
Zhou Qin squeezed Ding Nan's palm furtively. Ding Nan's head turned to the side, then she gave Zhou Qin a look of understanding.
Ding Nan started yelling at the top of her lungs.
"Hey! What do you think you're doing! We're at school! Help! Help! Somebody help! Someone's trying to kill us!"
Morning classes were about to start, and a lot of students were on the compound, making their way to their respective classes. Needless to say, Ding Nan's shout drew everyone's attention, so it only took an instant for a crowd to gather around the four of them.
Emboldened by the crowd, Ding Nan laughed tauntingly, arms akimbo. "Come on then! Weren't you acting like a brute just now? Ooh, look at you, squeezing your fists, huh? You want to hit me, don't you? Come on! Hit me" — Ding Nan showed off one side of her face and poked her cheek with her finger — "right here! Hit me if you're a man! Hah! Just look at your pathetic face. I bet you'd get rejected even if you confessed your love to every woman in the world!"
Driven by fury, Li Yundong took a large step forward and cocked his fist backwards.
Ding Nan screamed, flinching in fear; she took a step back, dragging Zhou Qin with her.
Like Zhou Qin, Ding Nan was a beautiful woman with legions of knights in shining armors at her command.
It was just a matter of time before someone among the men who held torches for these two women stepped forward.
"Hey! What do you think you're doing, you bum?"
Wu Hui, a tall and muscular man, stood in front of Li Yundong. This champ wasn't just anybody; he was the department rep of Tiannan University's Department of Physical Education. The guy's face resembled Nicky Wu, so his fangirls gave him a nickname: Little Nicky. (T/N: Nicky Wu is a famous Taiwanese singer)
It just so happened that Wu Hui was one of Zhou Qin's relentless pursuers. Given such an opportunity to shine, why wouldn't he step up?
However, as soon as Wu Hui stopped speaking, Li Yundong's hand shot out and seized his collar. Before he knew it, he had been lifted off the ground by a guy who was at least half a head shorter than him.
"What am I doing? I'm f*cking you up is what I'm doing!" Li Yundong's wrath stunned every student in the compound. None of the bystanders could comprehend the terrifying amount of arm strength that Li Yundong must possess in order to lift a six-foot-tall guy off the ground.
Some guy nearby gasped in fear.
"Holy shit! Is he Schwarzenegger?"
Wu Hui gasped for air, with his face turning purple as he squeezed out the words, "L- Let go!"
Li Yundong's feral grin transformed his slightly chubby and gentle face into that of a blood-thirsty beast. "You want me to let go? Fine!"
Li Yundong was moments away from flinging Wu Hui into the air when he suddenly heard a feminine voice that was laced with joy and surprise.
"Oh, there you are!"
That voice was as clear and distinct as a lark soaring across an empty valley. At the same time, it was sonorous and melodic, like the chime of a silver bell in the wind. No words could fully describe the true extent of the voice's beauty. It was like a spell, spurring the human instinct to respond to it and to wonder: Who could be the owner of such a beautiful voice?
Li Yundong turned his head, and his eyes widened at what he saw. Almost instantly, his hair went limp and slowly sagged down from its upright position.
Hey… Isn't she the same girl I saw when I woke up just now?
The girl was dressed in a traditional Chinese-style red dress, like something out of a costume drama. Most women would look ugly in such a dress. But on this girl, it was like she was the beau idéal of traditional beauty, the description of which transcended the power of words; it was as though the work of a master painter had come to life.
God must love melon seeds very much to create a face this beautiful based on their geometry. Every feature of that face was flawless. Those eyes, shaped like peach blossoms, were made to mesmerize. Her dark pupils were like twin black holes of tenderness and affection, sucking everything in with their irresistible pull. And when her red, water chestnut lips curved into a smile, a row of perfect white teeth was revealed. It was like some kind of sorcery, one that robbed the guys in the surrounding area of their ability to hold their saliva in their mouths.