"So you know Boss Zheng, huh?"
The security guard appeared to be leading them towards an office building up ahead.
"Not really," Li Yundong said casually. "I only met him yesterday."
And I'd rather I hadn't.
The security guard gave him a strange look, but didn't say anything else. Thank God. He wasn't interested in having an awkward conversation which involved explaining to the security guard that he wasn't Zheng Youming's bastard son coming back to ask for money. Nope. No thanks.
Moments later, Li Yundong heard Lili's high-pitched voice from the gates. "The Hanging Gardens of Babylon? That's fabulous! Now I definitely have to check it out!"
Li Yundong turned and saw Lili heading in their direction. Behind her, Zheng Youming struggled to keep up. Zheng Youming's face looked pale and, in all honesty, like he was about to lose his sh*t.
Their drama never ends... Li Yundong thought, then hurried to catch up with Su Chan and the security guard.
Then again, the drama proved impossible to ignore when Lili entered the sales office.
Seconds later, Zheng Youming burst into the office. "Oh, come on, Lili! Why are you doing this! Can't you see that I'm busy?" Zheng Youming said, completely out of breath. Might want to cut back on those cigars, asshole, Li Yundong thought.
"Huh. Did I ask you to follow me around?" Lili sneered. "Nope. I don't think so. Well, go ahead! You're busy, right?"
Zheng Youming's face was red with anger. However, all the color left his face a second later. He was staring out through the window of the sales office, looking utterly spooked.
Li Yundong followed Zheng Youming's gaze. Well, well, well... Trouble in paradise. A beautiful woman burst into the sales office seconds later, her heels clicking with every step. The scent of perfume wafted into Li Yundong's nose and, when he saw the woman's outfit, he nearly expected a red carpet to appear out of thin air and start unrolling at her feet.
Click! Click! Click! The beautiful woman stopped in front of Zheng Youming with one perfectly manicured hand on her hip. "Who is she!!"
Li Yundong winced at that shrill voice. Then, he heard a few chuckles, which were quickly masked as coughs, coming from a desk nearby. He turned and saw a few sales agents turning away with their hands over their mouths.
Lili gave the woman a sidelong glance. "And who the hell are you?"
"I'm his girlfriend!!!"
Li Yundong winced again. The woman looked like she was about to go berserk.
Lili snickered, then raised a brow. "Oh? Is that so?" Lili smirked. "I thought you were the wife."
"Who do you think you are, you shameless slut! You have no right to be here!"
Li Yundong saw Lili flinch. Their eyes met when Lili suddenly looked in his direction, but then she frowned and averted her gaze.
"Sure, I'm a shameless slut," Lili said, chuckling bitterly. "And what are you? A virtuous slut?"
Gasps filled the sales office.
Li Yundong smirked. Well, that was a pretty badass comeback, he'd give her that.
"Yundong... What's the matter with those two? Why did they start screaming the moment they saw each other?"
Li Yundong turned and saw Su Chan staring back at him with innocent eyes.
Li Yundong lowered his voice into a whisper. "Well, this is what happens when the third woman meets the fourth." Li Yundong rubbed his chin, then flashed her an evil grin. "Then again, it's debatable which one of them is the third."
Su Chan blinked at him a few times. "The third woman? And the fourth? What do you mean?"
I thought only buildings are numbered? Are women numbered too? Su Chan thought.
Li Yundong sighed. "I swear, there isn't another woman out there who's as innocent as you are," he said, ruffling Su Chan's hair. "You're like a national treasure."
"Mmmmmm...." Su Chan whined, shaking Li Yundong's arm. "Tell me what it meeeeaaans!"
Someone dropped their pen. Li Yundong turned to his left and saw a male sales agent staring at Su Chan. Poor guy might need to clean his keyboard after this if he didn't want his fingers to smell like his own drool.
Li Yundong smiled at Su Chan, then leaned over to whisper into her ear: "It's like the meeting between the third and fourth concubine."
"Oh," Su Chan replied. A second later, her face scrunched up in confusion. But concubines get along just fine! she thought, tugging Li Yundong's arm again. "Yundong, I still don't get it. Why are they fighting?"
Li Yundong ruffled Su Chan's hair again. "Tsk! Stop asking questions. Let's just enjoy the show!"
Su Chan smacked his hand away, then covered her head with both hands. "Meanie!"
Li Yundong laughed and returned his attention to the drama unfolding before their eyes, which, if he read things correctly, was about to turn into a catfight.
After a while, it appeared that Lili had gained the upper hand, and the fourth concubine was looking towards Zheng Youming for help. "Youming!" said the fourth woman, with both hands on her hips now. "I demand an explanation from you, right now! Who is she!"
Li Yundong sneered when he saw Zheng Youming suddenly glancing towards Su Chan. The SOB was clearly trying to save face in front of Su Chan. He's still letting his dick make his decisions for him even when he's in deep sh*t, Li Yundong thought. No, it did not escape Li Yundong that Zheng Youming Jr. was the thing that had gotten Zheng Youming into deep sh*t in the first place.
"Oh, come on, Mingming! She's Li Congli! I mentioned her to you before!"
Li Congli laughed mockingly. "Now I can finally see you for who you are, Zheng Youming." Li Congli gave Mingming a look of wry amusement. "Do you know what he calls me when we were being affectionate? Xiao Lili," Li Congli said, her tone dripping with acid.
Li Congli turned towards Zheng Youming. This time, however, her eyes were filled with contempt, as though she was looking at someone who was utterly beneath her. "I'll tell you what you are, Zheng Youming. You're pathetic, and you disgust me," she said. "There isn't a single shred of honor in you. None!" Li Congli chuckled darkly, then pointed a finger at Zheng Youming's face. "From now on, I don't want anything to do with you. Sleep with all the women in the city and contract STDs for all I care, you won't hear from me again. However..." Li Congli paused, then jabbed her finger into Zheng Youming's chest. "You better give me what you owe me. Not a single cent less! Or else, I will ruin what little reputation you have left!"
"Hah! You think you're so great, bitch?" Mingming said, feeling emboldened now that Li Congli had announced her decision to back away. "How many abortions have you gotten because of Zheng Youming? Maybe two? I've gotten four! Isn't that right, Youming?" Mingming leaned sideways, placing her chin against Zheng Youming's shoulder, then glanced up at him flirtatiously.
"F*cking animal," Li Yundong muttered under his breath. It appalled him how those two women could defile their bodies like that. Four abortions. Four murders.
Zheng Youming pushed Mingming off his shoulder and glanced at Li Yundong, then at Su Chan, who was looking back at him with distaste. "Xiao Bai!" he yelled at the female sales agent in front of Li Yundong. "What are you still standing around for? Take them to the suite!"
Xiao Bai jumped slightly and quickly turned to Li Yundong. "Please follow me, sir."
As if Li Yundong still had the mood to check out the suite. He couldn't even stand being in the same building with a lowlife like Zheng Youming let alone staying in a property he owned. Li Yundong took Su Chan's hand and led her to the exit.
He'd barely taken two steps when a hand grabbed his arm. "Sir, please don't go?"
He turned around and saw Xiao Bai looking at him with pleading eyes. He raised a brow.
"Boss Zheng will deduct my salary if you leave..." Xiao Bai explained, dropping her voice to a whisper.
And what's that got to do with me? Li Yundong grumbled inwardly. He had a right to come and go as he pleased, dammit! But then the poor sales agent... Ugh! Fine. He nodded at Xiao Bai, keeping his expression neutral.
Li Yundong and Su Chan followed Xiao Bai out of the sales office. Zheng Youming's loud roar sounded the moment they stepped through the exit: "Shut your trap, woman! I've had it with your bitchy attitude!"
Then, they heard Mingming's incredulous shriek: "Are you yelling at me?"
"No sh*t! And I'm gonna hit you as well!"
Li Yundong clenched his jaw. "Is this how your boss treats women?" he asked Xiao Bai.
Xiao Bai curled her lips, then snorted. "This? This is nothing," she said. "I've seen worse. Two months ago, there were three of them screaming at each other. Talk about the end of the world! But yeah, the boss is a pig. A pervert is what he is. Even our staff, the good-looking ones of course, had to suffer his constant harassment!"
Righteous anger burned inside Li Yundong. "Can't anyone just... I don't know, sue him?"
"Sue him?" Xiao Bai snorted. "Well, you can try. But all he has to do is take out his check book and he'd be out of there like a boss."
"What! That is bullsh*t! Where's the justice in that!" Li Yundong said angrily, then turned to look at Xiao Bai. "Why didn't you resign? What's so nice about a company like this?"
Xiao Bai looked Li Yundong over from head to toe, then looked at Su Chan. Her gaze lingered on Su Chan for a second longer as she admired Su Chan's beauty. "You're still a student, I presume?"
Li Yundong nodded, then looked at Xiao Bai strangely. "How do you figure, Sister Xiao Bai?"
"Sister Xiao Bai?" Xiao Bai laughed. "Do me a favor and don't call me that. My name's Bai Xiaoyang, so just call me Xiaoyang, or Sister Xiaoyang, whichever. As for your question, I know because only a student with no working experience would say something naive like that."
Bai Xiaoyang snorted. "You think it's easy to get a job these days? Think again, pal! Before I can find a new job, I have no choice but to endure my boss' shenanigans."
Frustration brewed inside Li Yundong's heart, stifling him. It was as though there was a ball of anger trapped in his chest with no way of getting out. Just how many women has this lowlife hurt? he thought. A second later, Li Yundong decided he didn't want to know the answer lest he be tempted to charge back into the sales office and rip off the man's balls.
They walked in silence until they reached a mini electric car parked some distance away from the sales office. Bai Xiaoyang climbed into the driver's seat while Li Yundong and Su Chan got into the backseat. Li Yundong was still scowling.
He didn't see any point in this tour since he had already made up his mind. He wouldn't stay here even if that lowlife allowed them to stay for free. The thought of being associated with that lowlife made him sick. He only agreed to this tour as a favor to Bai Xiaoyang. Plus, he didn't want to put a damper on Su Chan's enthusiasm. The girl seemed to have taken a liking to this place. Speaking of which, he still had to find a way to break his decision to Su Chan without hurting her feelings...
They took the elevator up to the 25th floor. Bai Xiaoyang unlocked the door of the luxury suite, then ushered them in.
Su Chan headed straight to the bedroom the moment they entered the suite. Li Yundong, however, stood at the doorway with Bai Xiaoyang, watching Su Chan's enthusiasm with amusement.
"Let me give you guys a tour," Bai Xiaoyang said.
Li Yundong smiled at the agent politely. "It's okay. We'll check out the place on our own, thank you."
"Suit yourself," Bai Xiaoyang said. "Feel free to look around. I'll wait for you guys in the living room."
Li Yundong smiled and nodded at Bai Xiaoyang, then walked towards the master bedroom where he'd seen Su Chan enter earlier. Along the way, he checked out the living room. As much as Zheng Youming revolted him, Li Yundong had to admit that the place looked pretty nice. It was fully-furnished and had a modern, Western design.
Upon entering the master bedroom, Li Yundong nearly laughed when he saw Su Chan sniffing at one of the walls. He walked over and dropped his voice to a whisper. "Hey, Su Chan, are you serious about staying at this place?"
Su Chan pulled back from the wall that she'd been sniffing and frowned. "There's a weird smell here," she said, her nose scrunched up adorably.
Li Yundong brought his face closer to the wall and sniffed a few times. "Huh? I don't smell anything weird."
Su Chan shook her head, her expression serious. "No. There's a strong smell here!"
Su Chan poked at the wall with her index finger.
Li Yundong's eyes nearly popped out of his sockets when Su Chan's finger ripped through the wallpaper.
"Holy sh*t! What the hell was that? The Vajra finger?" Li Yundong gaped at the hole in the wall.
Su Chan turned around and scowled at Li Yundong. "What Vajra finger! Come take a look!" Su Chan waved at Li Yundong.
Su Chan turned back to the wall, then prodded the wall a few more times.
Li Yundong leaned in and studied the hole. He didn't see anything out of the ordinary, but there was a weird smell. Li Yundong brought his index finger into the hole, then pushed in tentatively. What the— The inside of the wall wasn't even solid! It was complete goop, like some kind of sludge, or wet mud.
"What the heck is this?" Li Yundong said, pulling his finger out. "I've seen tofu-dreg projects better than this sh*t!" (T/N: In Chinese culture, Tofu-dreg projects basically means jerry-built constructions)
"I can bring down the whole building with one punch," Su Chan sneered. "This place isn't liveable."
"Oh my God! What are you guys doing?!" Bai Xiaoyang rushed over.
Li Yundong turned around and glared at Bai Xiaoyang. "What are we doing?" he asked, then snorted. "What are you doing? You're selling poorly-constructed apartments to the public! Look at this!" Li Yundong pointed at the hole on the wall. "This was done using only a finger!"
Bai Xiaoyang groaned and covered her face. "You're going to cost me my job!"
"Your job!!!" Li Yundong roared. "People's lives are at stake here, and you're worried about your f*cking job!! Do you even have a conscience!"
Bai Xiaoyang gasped and flinched at Li Yundong's outburst.
A constellation of emotions flickered inside Bai Xiaoyang's eyes as she battled with her thoughts. A moment later, she took a deep breath and said, "I guess there's no point in hiding it anymore." She exhaled. "All the properties in Xin An Garden were constructed this way. To tell you the truth, this is even worse than jerry-building. At least they still use rebar in jerry-building." Bai Xiaoyang released a contemptuous laugh. "You're not gonna believe what they used here. Cardbord, rocks, and sand."
"What! How the heck did they even manage to construct a building with just those materials! This doesn't even make sense!" Li Yundong yelled. "What about quality control? Weren't there civil engineers supervising the constructions? What about the safety of the future tenants!"
"Safety?" Bai Xiaoyang laughed humorlessly, then shook her head. "The bastard doesn't even care. All he cares about is making sales!"
Li Yundong clenched his jaw. "That son of a bitch!" he growled. "I can't believe he's capable of something like this. This is evil!"
"The heavens should punish him!" Su Chan growled.
Bai Xiaoyang snorted. "The cops would run out of jobs if the heavens cared enough to deliver poetic justice." Bai Xiaoyang glanced at Li Yundong, then sighed. "Never mind. Just get out of here. I'll hand in my resignation immediately. I guess I should thank you." Bai Xiaoyang looked into Li Yundong's eyes. "Your words today made me realize that I shouldn't work here anymore. It's just... wrong. And if you're looking for a place to stay, I can recommend you to a good place. It's an apartment building in New Hongshen District. It's right around here actually."
"Anyway," Bai Xiaoyang went on, "The apartment is pretty good. It's a high-end apartment with a good environment and high-quality construction."
"Thank you," Li Yundong said. "I'll check it out."
The three of them left the building. "Are you guys hopping on?" Bai Xiaoyang asked after she had climbed into the electric car.
Li Yundong shook his head. "Nah. I'll walk," he said. "Need to clear my head."
Bai Xiaoyang glanced at him, then sighed. "I'll be off then."
After Bai Xiaoyang left, Li Yundong glanced around the building. Once he was certain that they were alone, he brought Su Chan to the back of the building. He had to test it. He had to know for sure. He located a convex corner where two walls met, then stormed over and rammed his right foot into the corner. A big piece of cement coating fell off the spot he'd kicked. Li Yundong bent down and examined the substance underneath the coating.
Cardboard. Sand. Pieces of crushed pebbles. Plaster.
"Son of a bitch!!!" Li Yundong smashed his fist into the wall. "He's gonna pay for this!!!"
All of a sudden, he felt a tug on his arm.
"Yundong! Yundong! Look! Look!" Su Chan said in awe, pointing her finger at the spot on the wall where his fist had smashed into earlier.
Oh, sh*t... Li Yundong thought, his jaw going slack.
Cracks had begun to spread out from the dent his fist had made. Long, wide, and fast-spreading cracks.
Li Yundong and Su Chan looked at each other in horror.
"I- is this building gonna collapse?" Li Yundong spluttered. "B-but how! How can a building collapse just because I punched it? This is insane!"
Li Yundong glanced down at his fist, half-expecting his whole body to start turning green and emitting gamma rays.
Then again, this was no ordinary building. In fact, it was debatable that it even qualified as a building.
Whatever. Now wasn't the time for him to linger around.
Li Yundong grabbed Su Chan's hand. "Come on! Let's get outta here!"