Li Yundong watched in horror as the blonde woman started performing CPR on John. With both palms placed over the center of John's chest and her elbows locked out, the blonde woman pressed down using the entire weight of her upper body, her lips moving as she did a count. At the count of thirty, she paused, then palmed John's forehead and gently tilted his head back. With her other hand, she lowered John's jaw, then breathed into John's mouth twice. Panicked whispers and frantic footsteps engulfed them as the students in the backstage gathered in the left side wing and formed a circle around them.
About a minute later, the blonde woman had repeated the compressing-airway-breathing cycle two times already, yet John wasn't breathing at all. That was when Li Yundong began to panic.
Suddenly, Li Yundong felt a warm palm sliding into his right hand.
"Yundong... The Three-Pronged Flower Gathering. Hurry up. Go!" Su Chan whispered into his ear.
Su Chan was like a vessel of equanimity and their joined hands like two interconnecting pipes through which calmness was pumped from Su Chan straight into Li Yundong's body. Somehow, he felt as though he could conquer anything as long as Su Chan was by his side.
Li Yundong turned away from John and slouched slightly to whisper into Su Chan's ear: "Will it work?"
"Yes," Su Chan said, nodding confidently. "Just do it! I'll be watching from the side. Don't worry."
Li Yundong breathed in deep, then exhaled lengthily, wallowing in the calmness resulting from Su Chan's words of encouragement. He released Su Chan's hand and approached the blonde woman who was still desperately trying to resuscitate John. The poor girl was panicking and sweating all over.
"Allow me," Li Yundong said in a deep voice.
The blonde woman's head snapped up.
"What else do you want to do, you murderer!" she yelled back in mandarin.
"Listen to me! I can save him!" Li Yundong said, pointing at John.
"He's already stopped breathing!" the blonde woman yelled. "What else can you do to save him other than what I just did!"
Li Yundong looked steadily into the blonde woman's eyes.
"I know what I'm doing!" Li Yundong stated firmly. "Now step aside before it's too late!"
The blonde woman hesitated for a moment or two, then moved away.
Li Yundong crouched down and positioned John in a meditative posture.
Then, he turned to the blonde woman.
"Support his weight. Keep his body upright," he ordered.
The blonde complied.
While the blonde held up John's body from the front, Li Yundong stepped around so that he was standing behind John's back. After that, he placed his fingers onto John's Baihui, Shenting, and Taiyang.
Su Chan had taught him the Three-Pronged Flower Gathering technique once, so he more or less knew what to do. Once his fingers were in position, Li Yundong closed his eyes and began putting all those Qi-control training sessions into practice. He mobilized his Qi and channeled it to his fingertips via his meridians.
Come on, man. Wake up!
One of the dancers pointed at Li Yundong when she noticed the steam rising from the top of Li Yundong's head. Before she could scream, however, one of her friends cover her mouth with his palm, then shook his head slightly. "Shh, let him work first. Don't disturb him," the guy whispered.
Kris was too busy watching for any signs of life in John to notice anything weird about Li Yundong. She was kneeling in front of John, holding both his shoulders to keep him upright like Li Yundong had asked her to.
The shockwave produced by Li Yundong's punch could generate enough force to cause severe damage to Huang Yifei's arms even when a portion of that force was absorbed by Huang Yifei's iron bracelets. But for John's case, the shockwave impacted his chest directly over his heart since he had left his torso exposed when he was executing the flying knee. The force of the impact instantly caused John to go into cardiac arrest.
In Western medicine, death declarations are made based on a person's pulmonary, heart, and brain activities. As such, there are two kinds of deaths defined in Western medicine: cardiopulmonary death, in which the afflicted experiences an irreversible cessation of breathing and heartbeat; and brain death, in which there is a permanent loss in the afflicted's brain functions.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, however, as long as the afflicted's physical body is whole and undamaged, death declarations are made based upon the presence of Qi inside the body. The key is that, once sufficiently mobilized, Qi can essentially "perform" the heart's duty — getting blood to flow. In fact, if the mobilized Qi is powerful enough, it can even generate enough blood pressure to jump-start a heart that has already stopped beating; the rush of blood into the heart will cause the heart to expand and then contract once the blood leaves via the aorta.
By performing the Three-Pronged Flower Gathering technique on John, Li Yundong was essentially mobilizing John's Qi.
John's eyes shot open. He breathed in deep, then broke into a coughing fit.
The backstage erupted in cheers and sighs.
"Oh, thank God!"
Relief washed over Su Chan's countenance as she patted her chest.
As for Feng Na, she wiped the sweat off her forehead and glanced at Li Yundong in admiration.
Kris sighed in relief and released John's shoulders. Then, she did the sign of the cross and muttered a quick prayer under her breath.
"Ugh! What is wrong with you, you idiot!" Kris yelled, smacking John's shoulder. Seeing that John was still coughing, Kris began patting his back and said, "How are you feeling?"
John clutched the spot on his chest where the shockwave hit him earlier. "Ugh... Kris... What happened?" he asked in a strained voice.
"You were punched off the floor, you dumbass," Kris said incredulously. "Jesus, your heart stopped." Then, Kris pointed at Li Yundong. "But this guy brought you back..."
For a while, John just stared at Li Yundong in confusion.
Then, he turned back to Kris and shook his head vehemently. "That's bullshit! I wasn't even in his striking range! How is it possible that he punched me away!"
Kris didn't answer John right away. She stole a glance at Li Yundong instead, her heart filled with awe. "He took you out after you jumped into the air," Kris said, dropping her voice into a whisper. "What I mean is... his punch never actually connected. Heck, you never even got close. You were in the midair... I'd say about a meter from him, when he blasted you away."
John's eyes widened in fear.
"But how!" John said, shaking his head. "How is that even f*cking possible?"
"My grandmother used to say that there are a lot of amazing people in China," Kris said, then glared at John. "Oh, for Christ's sake. Stop being stubborn and just accept what happened! Everyone here saw it! Unless you want to go another round with him?"
John winced and immediately shook his head. He knew it would be foolish to go up against a man who could cause him to go into cardiac arrest without even touching him. Even though John was still unclear on the mechanics of what happened, he had to accept the reality that it did happen.
For a long while, John sat on the floor in a stupor, his mind racing as he replayed all the Wuxia films he'd watched as a kid. All of a sudden, his eyes widened and he crawled on his knees towards Li Yundong.
"Sheep poo!" John yelled, grasping the leg of Li Yundong's Taekwondo uniform.
Li Yundong looked at Kris like a deer in headlights.
Kris chuckled and explained, "I think he meant sifu. He wants you to teach him!"
Li Yundong's jaw dropped open, then he stared down at John in incredulity.
A moment later, Li Yundong waved his hands and tried to pull his leg free.
"Hell no. Come on, man! That's just ridiculous. I'm too young to be anyone's master! Also, it's si-fu, not sheep-poo." Li Yundong stopped talking, then gave John a look of amusement. "How about you learn how to speak proper Mandarin first, then we'll talk!"
Although, he didn't have a clue what Li Yundong was telling him, John's eyes practically lit up in joy when he heard Li Yundong mention the word "sifu."
John let go of Li Yundong's pants and threw his arms around Li Yundong's legs instead. "Cheap poo! Cheap poo!" he yelled, nodding enthusiastically.
Roars of laughter filled the stage.
"What's going on! Is he alright?" A voice interrupted the laughter.
Vice-chancellor Ke stood below the stage with a scowl that was clearly meant for Li Yundong. However, before he could start giving Li Yundong a piece of his mind, Kris turned around and smiled at him. "John's alright, sir. He just wants your student to take him as a disciple."
Vice-chancellor Ke sighed in relief. That was close... he thought. I thought we were in big trouble for sure. Thank God no one got hurt... Suddenly, he gave Li Yundong a look of approval. This brat though... Can't believe he's done such a good job! He has made the university look good!
One would think he had multiple personality disorder for him to change his attitude that fast.
"Why is your friend still on his knees then?" Vice-chancellor Ke asked Kris.
"Oh," Kris said. "That's because your student hasn't agreed yet."
The corner of Vice-chancellor Ke's eyes twitched slightly.
"Say, kid," Vice-chancellor Ke said, looking at Li Yundong. "Why not just take the American as your disciple? I'm sure that will make Tiannan University a major talking point."
"Yeah, that's right!"
"Come on, kid. Just agree!"
"Yeah! What's the harm? It's just like getting to know a new friend, right?"
Clearly, most of the professors agreed with the vice-chancellor.
Meanwhile, Li Yundong looked as though he'd just been forced to choose between keeping his left or right testicle. Taking John as a disciple would be a terrible idea mainly because the curriculum of this so-called discipleship would comprise of... well, nothing. What was he even supposed to teach the guy? How to get rejected by girls 21 times in a row? Even if he had mastered Qi-control thanks to Su Chan, he had no idea how to teach it to someone else!
But still, these professors were incredibly hard to say no to...
"Yundong... don't do it," Su Chan suddenly whispered into Li Yundong's ear.
"Why not?" Li Yundong asked, keeping his voice low.
Su Chan looked at him sternly. "Are you joking? He tried to hurt you just now! That's like handing over your best weapon to your enemy!"
Li Yundong pondered Su Chan's words for a moment. His mastery of Qi control was the only reason he could beat John earlier. What if he taught it to John, and John decided to use it against him later on for revenge? Yep, he would be totally screwed. A trained martial artist who also knew Qi control was definitely too much for him to handle.
Li Yundong decided that he needed to decline John's request with tact. A lot of tact, considering the hopeful looks that the professors were all giving him from below the stage. Li Yundong cleared his throat and looked towards the vice-chancellor. "Well, sir, I'm afraid I can't just take a disciple on a whim. That would be a major disrespect to my own master."
"Who's your master then?" Vice-chancellor Ke asked.
Li Yundong feigned a conflicted look that said: I'm not allowed to tell you...
A look of understanding formed on Vice-chancellor Ke expression and he decided not to push Li Yundong further. Turning to Kris, he said, "Well, you heard the man. I certainly agree with my student that this is a highly sensitive matter. There are indeed certain codes and rules within our traditional martial art systems that their practitioners must obey. For a student to take on his or her own disciple is no joking matter."
Kris nodded, then began helping John to his feet. "Come on, pal," she said to John in English. "Just forget it, okay? He doesn't want you as a disciple because your Mandarin sucks!"
"What!" John sprang to his feet. "Is that it? Well, that's not gonna be a problem! I can learn Mandarin! I'll work really hard!" All of a sudden, John turned around to face Li Yundong. "Sheep poo! No, no, no! Sheep foo! Hah! How about that?"
Unfortunately, the only answer John received was laughter from everyone.
Admittedly, Li Yundong had changed his opinion of this John guy. At first, he thought John was just some arrogant prick who had a thing against the Chinese, or Asians in general, for that matter. However, now it became clear to Li Yundong that John was just a straight-shooter; the guy often opened his mouth without thinking.
Li Yundong chuckled.
"Well, I'll accept you once you're fluent in Mandarin," Li Yundong said, giving John a dismissive wave.
That should be enough to discourage him, Li Yundong thought. As if anyone would be willing to spend hours and hours learning the pronunciation for thousands of Chinese characters just so they could have him, Li Yundong, as a master. Why would anyone go through that much for a no-name like him?
Suddenly, Li Yundong detected movement beside him. He turned and saw the blonde woman, Kris, winking at him.
"Well, I can speak Mandarin," Kris said. "Does that mean you'll accept me as your disciple?"
Li Yundong winced slightly. Crap, he thought. He had just dug himself into a hole, and this blonde chick knew it!
"That's what you said earlier," Kris continued in a flippant tone. "You said you'll accept as long as the person is fluent in Mandarin. And my Mandarin is pretty fluent, don't you think?" Kris gave Li Yundong a smug look. "Sifu?"
Li Yundong studied Kris's face for a moment. She's isn't even sincere, he thought. This is all just a joke to her.
Although Li Yundong wasn't into martial arts in the past, he knew his own culture very well. In Chinese culture, acknowledging another person as one's master is a major life decision. At least John was sincere when he said he wanted Li Yundong as a master. Kris, on the other hand, was acting as though she was trying to hire some random tutor!
Kris flippant attitude annoyed Li Yundong to no end. "Well, that's because I haven't told you all my rules yet," Li Yundong said. "I only accept male disciples."
An angry flush crept up Kris' neck onto her face. "B- but that's sexist!"