Li Yundong gave Su Chan a bitter smile.

"There goes our dat—" He stopped himself just in time, then cleared his throat. "Looks like we won't be going out today."

Su Chan's face fell.

"Oh, shucks!"

Li Yundong smiled and reached out to pinch Su Chan's cheek.

"You're such a cutie-pie..."

Su Chan smiled and dodged Li Yundong's hand.

"And you're such a smooth talker!"

Li Yundong laughed.

"Come on, let's get going. I'm already late."

 

***

 

"Zhou Qin..." Feng Na whispered. "Will you please do me a favor? I'm asking your help as a senior..."

The students were now gathered inside Tiannan University's grand hall for the rehearsals. Moments ago, Feng Na spotted Zhou Qin and Ding Nan watching the dance club's rehearsal, so she decided to approach them.

Zhou Qin turned away from her conversation with Ding Nan when she heard Feng Na's voice. As usual, her expression was cold and aloof.

"Of course," Zhou Qin said. "How can I help you, senior?"

Although Zhou Qin's tone was polite and courteous, Feng Na couldn't detect any cordiality in her expression at all. Zhou Qin's expression was like ice, which rubbed Feng Na the wrong way somehow.

So this is the infamous ice queen, huh? Feng Na thought, clenching her teeth. Whatever. Gotta do what I've gotta do...

Without further ado, Feng Na gave Zhou Qin a brief rundown on Li Yundong's situation. When she was done talking, she feigned a pitiable look. Heck, she'd even crossed her fingers together as though she was praying.

"I'm so stressed out about this that I think I'm greying!" Feng Na said. "If Li Yundong got expelled, the Taekwondo Club would be screwed. You're one of our club members too. You don't want that, right?"

Feng Na waited expectantly for Zhou Qin to respond. Seconds passed, yet silence was all she got.

Huh... Is something wrong with her today? Feng Na thought, studying Zhou Qin's features. She seemed a little out of it just now when I mentioned Li Yundong... I wonder why...

When Zhou Qin still didn't respond to her request about a minute later, Feng Na's dignity couldn't take it anymore. She put on a fake smile and said, "I guess you can't help then. Well. Sorry for bothering you. I'm gonna go now."

"Wait," Zhou Qin said, causing Feng Na to turn back around. "Li Yundong... Is he really going to be expelled?"

Feng Na sighed. "Yeah..." she said. "He got on Director Qian's bad side. You... didn't know?"

Zhou Qin regained her composure and nodded respectfully at Feng Na.

"Understood, senior. I'll go talk to Director Qian now," Zhou Qin said.

Feng Na never thought Zhou Qin would agree that easily.

"Wow! That's great! Thank you so much!" Feng Na said.

Zhou Qin smiled blandly before she began glancing around in search of Director Qian.

Sensing that the conversation was over, Feng Na left the pair and headed over towards another corner of the hall. Halfway there, Cheng Cheng walked up to her.

"Hey, how did it go, Nana?"

Feng Na gave her bestie a V sign. "Done! See? I told you there's nothing I can't handle!"

Cheng Cheng gave her a teasing smile.

"Yeah? By 'handling it' you mean begging other people for help?"

"Shut up!" Feng Na nudged Cheng Cheng's side with her elbow. "Hey... this might sound a bit strange, but I don't think Zhou Qin is as cold as everyone thinks she is. When I told her about it, she agreed straight away. Do you think she only appears to be cold but is actually warm on the inside?"

Cheng Cheng laughed.

"I don't know, maybe she's taken a special liking to Li Yundong?"

Feng Na felt a twinge of jealousy inside her chest when she heard Cheng Cheng's comment. However, a voice interrupted her before she could speak.

"My, my, Feng Na. Everyone's been waiting for so long already. Why hasn't your precious Li Yundong shown up yet? Even the MC is here already. Hey, can we move our performance before yours if he doesn't show?"

Oh, it's that bitch again... Feng Na gritted her teeth and turned around to face a skimpily dressed girl in heavy make-up. And, apparently, the make-up wasn't heavy enough, since she was currently adding another layer of face powder onto her left cheek.

Feng Na laughed mockingly.

"Well, it isn't my call," Feng Na said. "The organizers value your performance. What is it that they always say? Save the best for last? So. Why don't you guys just wait?"

The other woman was Zhuang Hui, Feng Na's classmate and, unfortunately, nemesis. Those two butt heads everywhere they went and in whatever they did, including performances for the exchange visit.

Zhuang Hui was extremely gifted in the performing arts even from a young age. Although she wasn't enrolled in the university's Art department, she had taken Tiannan University by storm with the peacock dance she'd performed in the university's talent show during her first year. Ever since that talent show, she'd been involved with every dance performance at the university.

Feng Na and Zhuang Hui had been fighting tooth and nail with each other over the "final slot." Each of them wanted their club's performance to be the grand finale for the performance night on the day of the exchange visit. In the end, the slot was given to Zhuang Hui's club. But that didn't mean Zhuang Hui wouldn't try to rub it in Feng Na's face every time they saw each other.

"What's so great about that Li Yundong anyway?" Zhuang Hui taunted while outlining her eyebrows. "I mean, you were practically like a puppy when you looked at him that time. But what to do? The guy isn't even interested in you. Ah, well... Feng Na. You really should've picked a better guy. I've seen that Li Yundong dude before. He's a bit of a loser, if you ask me. No great physique to speak of. His face is pretty mediocre too. You've really got weird tastes!"

Feng Na's cheeks had long since turned scarlet.

"Haven't you heard that you should never judge a book by its cover?" Feng Na said.

Zhuang Hui put away her eyebrow pencil, applied some lip balm on her lips, then turned to face the mirror and pressed her lips together.

"Of course," Zhuang Hui said without looking at Feng Na. "We shouldn't judge a person by their appearance, that's true. But what does that guy even have to show for anyway? Can he sing? Dance? Does he have a good sense of humor? Well, I supposed he's good at fighting, but that's so barbaric. It might have been fun during the Stone Age, but not so much today. Hey, come to think of it, doesn't your entire performance involve kicking, punching, and all those primitive acts? Tsk, tsk. No wonder you guys didn't get the closing performance. They probably didn't want to have a bunch of Neanderthals jumping around on stage... Well, I suppose Zhao Yujian is pretty cool, but I heard he was nearly crippled... "

Zhuang Hui paused and turned away from the mirror to look at her handsome dance partner. "Hey, isn't Li Yundong the one who injured Zhao Yujian?" she asked.

With his cheeks covered in makeup and rouge, the guy almost seemed girlish when he smiled. "Yeah I think so," said the guy in an effeminate tone.

Zhuang Hui threw her head back in laughter.

"My, my, Feng Na. I really have to hand it to you," Zhuang Hui said. "You're actually letting the guy who injured Zhao Yujian replace him? HAHAHA! Why didn't anyone think of that genius idea before? Poor Zhao Yujian... I bet he'll be totally pissed after he finds out what you did. But are you sure it's gonna work? I mean, Zhao Yujian is the most handsome guy in the university after all. And Li Yundong is... well, you know what he is. It's like replacing all the flowers in a bouquet with weeds."

Zhuang Hui laughed at her own joke.

Feng Na trembled with anger. She stepped forward, wanting to slap that smug smile off Zhuang Hui's face.

Before she could take another step, Cheng Cheng pulled her back.

"Nana, calm down, okay?" Cheng Cheng said. "She isn't worth it."

Now that she was done with her makeup, Zhuang Hui arched her brow and looked at Feng Na tauntingly.

"What? You wanna hit me?" Zhuang Hui smirked. "Come on then! So you know a few fancy kicks. So what? You wanna know what's more powerful than your kicks in today's society? The law." Zhuang Hui snickered. "Well, I don't expect a Neanderthal like you to understand that hitting someone is illegal."

Zhuang Hui pushed out her chest to reveal her cleavage, then turned around to look at her girlish dance partner. "Let's go," she said. "We should go ahead and start our rehearsal. From the looks of it, some people won't be doing theirs today since their star hasn't shown up."

"That despicable bitch!" Feng Na growled.

Cheng Cheng glared at the departing Zhuang Hui. "Yeah, that bitch. I hope she falls down on her chest later and squashes her fake boobs."

Feng Na gave Cheng Cheng a sidelong glance. "How d'ya know they're fake?"

Cheng Cheng snorted. "She had B-cup last year, and this year she showed up as an E? What do you think human breasts are anyway? Fermented dough? Going from a B to an E? Please. Not even the world's greatest yeast infection can have that effect."

Feng Na recovered from her shock. "She was a B before? How come I never noticed?"

"I guess that's just how it is with flat-chested women. They think that every other women is flat-chested like them." Cheng Cheng sighed wistfully. "Oh well. Can't blame you girls I guess. You've never experienced the sense of superiority that comes with having melon-sized boobs." Cheng Cheng proudly pushed out her F-cup rack without noticing that Feng Na was already glaring at them menacingly.

Feng Na growled, then pounced, causing Cheng Cheng to twist away with a shriek.

"Come here you bitch!" Feng Na said. "I'm going to turn you from big boobs to no boobs!"

Their boob war was interrupted by the melody of dance music coming from the stage. A group of female dancers dressed in long, red, short-sleeved tassel dresses sashayed onto the stage and began their performance.

Despite her poisonous tongue, Zhuang Hui was an exceptional dancer; even the dance majors acknowledged her talent by choosing her to be their lead dancer for their performance this time. What Zhuang Hui had was more than just an aptitude for dancing. She had the physical attributes for it too. Her tall and lissom figure would bring out the best of any dance routine, and her expressive eyes were capable of captivating her audience.

Zhuang Hui flitted about onstage with graceful flamboyance, taking everyone's breath away. The girl was made for dancing and everyone in the hall knew it: the students who were now watching the stage in awe; a few professors who had gone beyond their usual uptightness by nodding away at the rhythm of Zhuang Hui's movements; even Feng Na who hated Zhuang Hui's guts.

Zhuang Hui's performance during the exchange visit was actually a musical. The plot revolved around a merchant's daughter who encountered the prince from the Kingdom of Deserts while she was traveling along the Silk Road with her father. The girl and the prince then began a torrid love affair.

Onstage, Zhuang Hui's performance was nearing its climax. The background dancers had all moved to the edge of the stage, leaving only Zhuang Hui and her dance partner at the center of the stage.

Suddenly, the door of the hall flew open, and a girl walked in.

The girl strutted past the rows of seats and moved towards the stage, turning heads along the way. This girl was none other than Su Chan.

 

***

 

Su Chan stopped in front of the stage. The spotlights were currently focused on the center of the stage, where Zhuang Hui and her effeminate dance partner were.

Su Chan turned around and cupped her hands around her mouth.

"Hurry up!" she hollered. "You're such a slowpoke!"

The dancers onstage and the teachers below stage frowned when they heard Su Chan's voice, which was loud enough to block out the music playing in the background.

In fact, it was loud enough to distract Zhuang Hui, making her temporarily forget her carefully choreographed dance moves. Her dance partner quickly picked up the slack by taking over the stage until Zhuang Hui recovered. Not that he had to, since everyone's attention was on Su Chan, and nobody noticed Zhuang Hui's slip-up.

Zhuang Hui sighed inwardly when she managed to get back into her rhythm. When she did, she stole a glance at Su Chan, who was standing at the front edge of the stage. So pretty... Zhuang Hui thought. She'd never seen a girl this beautiful before. The only girl in Tiannan City who even came close to that level of beauty was Zhou Qin.

Another voice sounded from the door.

"Fine, fine! I'm coming already! Geez! Can't you at least show me a little bit of gratitude? I was only slow because I had to make a stop to buy milk tea for you."

The door flew open once again.

SWISH.

The crowd turned in their seats and saw a man walking in. They didn't notice anything special about the man at first, just that he had really sharp and intense eyes, so much so that they were noticeable even from thirty meters away.

However, when the man got close enough, everyone was stunned by how good-looking he was: thick brows; large eyes; chiseled face with a strong jawline that exuded masculinity in spades; and, of course, his eyes which were spirited and sharp, like two glowing embers.

The girls couldn't take their eyes off him.

"Oh my gawd, he's so handsome!" one of the girls said to her friend. "Who is he? How come I've never seen him before?"

"Yeah... I don't think I've seen a guy so good-looking before. He's so manly!"

"Hey... wait a minute... I think he's Li Yundong!"

"Li Yundong?? You mean the King of Love Confessions, aka the King of Parkour? No way! Don't scare me like that! I've seen Li Yundong's photo! He's chubby!"

"Yeah. Yeah. You're right. Pfft. What was I even thinking? This can't be Li Yundong. Unless... unless he had plastic surgery! But that doesn't make sense... I saw Li Yundong just three days ago. Nobody can recover from plastic surgery that fast!"

"Then who is he?"