Mayor Luo's smile froze. The only movement on his face was the uncontrollable twitching at the corners of his eyes. The university leaders and other members of the mayor's entourage managed to keep their expressions neutral and dignified. Then again, one might think that they were all having epileptic seizures considering how hard their facial muscles were spasming around their lips.
John glanced around the stage when he heard the giggles and muffled chortles of the students onstage.
"What is it? Did I pronounce it wrongly?" John cleared his throat. "Nee-hao, da-sha-bi!"
More laughter and giggles ensued.
Mayor Luo was the first among the white-collars to recover. He shook John's hand a few times, then turned to Vice-chancellor Ke.
"See? This is why they say that the bad words and phrases are the easiest to pick up when learning a new language," Mayor Luo said, patting John's shoulder a few times. "Not bad, young man! Not bad at all!"
Then, Mayor Luo burst into laughter.
He should consider going into acting if he ever got tired of politics.
The mayor's answer brought instant relief to the vice-chancellor and the other university leaders, who soon joined the mayor in laughter.
The event concluded after the leaders left. When Li Yundong was about to leave the grand hall, he saw Kris storming towards him while dragging John by the arm.
Li Yundong took Su Chan's hand and said, "Come on, we gotta run! The Americans are coming!"
Su Chan, who was still laughing at John's epic greeting, straightened herself.
"Oh," she said, wiping her tears.
Together, Li Yundong and Su Chan made a beeline towards the hall's exit. Once they made it outside, Li Yundong took Su Chan's hand and broke off into a sprint.
Kris's voice rang out from behind them: "Hold it right there! Li Yundong! You and I are going to have a few words!"
Li Yundong turned his head around but kept running. He laughed and said, "No... You hold it right there! Whatever you have to say to me can wait until tomorrow!"
"Dammit!" Kris yelled, then turned around towards John. "Move it already, John. We gotta catch up to them!"
Poor John seemed nothing but confused.
"Why? Why are we going after them?"
"Ugh! You idiot! Haven't you realized by now that Li Yundong pranked you earlier?"
"What? What prank?"
"Arggh! You—" Kris kicked John's butt harshly. "The phrase he taught you wasn't even a polite phrase! 'Sha-bi' is used to insult people, you dumbass!"
"Oh, no… Which means..." John whispered, then groaned loudly and pulled his hair. "Oh God... I just insulted the mayor... Shit, will I end up in jail?"
Kris stared at John, her jaw dropping in incredulity.
"Good Lord..." Kris said in a half-amused tone. "You really are all brawn and no brains..." Kris smacked John upside his head. "Hurry up! We need to catch up to him, then force him to apologize to the mayor!"
John nodded with zest.
However, a few seconds later, his face fell.
"What's the point?" John said dejectedly. "How are we supposed to force him anyway. It's not like I could threaten to beat him up if he doesn't agree..."
"Is settling everything with your knuckles all you know?" Kris rolled her eyes. "What era do you think we're in? The Middle Ages?"
"You know what? If you don't wanna come along, suit yourself," Kris said, then ran after Li Yundong.
John sighed dejectedly and hurried after Kris.
When Li Yundong and Su Chan made it past the campus gates, they stopped to catch their breath. Their shortness of breath had nothing to do with physical exertion, but everything to do with the fact that they had been laughing their heads off as they ran.
"Where to now?" Su Chan asked once she had stopped laughing.
Li Yundong glanced around the street they were on. It was already late, so the street was pretty quiet and the pedestrians were scarce. Some guy in a hoodie and with both hands in his pockets was hurrying in their direction. Other than that, there were no signs of activity on the street.
Li Yundong pointed towards the main road. "Over ther—"
Hoodie guy removed his hands from his pockets and flung some kind of powdery substance at Li Yundong's face.
"Argh!!!" Li Yundong screamed and quickly closed his eyes, but it was too late. He could already feel the sting in his eyes. Son of a bitch! he thought, pressing the heel of his palm into his eyes. This is a f*cking ambush!
Oh, no! Su Chan! Li Yundong began groping around with his free hand to feel where Su Chan was.
A moment later, his hand found her, and he shoved her away from him.
"Su Chan! Run! Now! Leave me!"
Run? Not a chance in hell!
Su Chan glanced at Li Yundong who was now on his knees, covering his eyes with both hands.
He was completely vulnerable.
"Move in, boys!!" yelled the guy who threw the powder.
Then, Su Chan saw the guy pulling out a knife before charging towards Li Yundong.
Over my dead body! Su Chan moved with lightning speed and cut off the guy's path before he could reach Li Yundong. The guy's eyes widened in surprise and he swung his knife at Su Chan instinctively.
Su Chan delivered a palm strike to the guy's chest, causing him to fall limply to the ground, where he lay twitching and convulsing.
There was a scuffing sound up ahead.
Footsteps, Su Chan thought, raising her head.
A bunch of knife-wielding men were charging towards them. It was clear from the looks in their eyes that these guys were out for blood.
Without further ado, Su Chan turned around and ran back to Li Yundong and went on her knees. She could take out all those thugs on her own, but she didn't want to risk any of them landing a lucky shot on Li Yundong. Besides, these thugs were clearly targetting Li Yundong.
Su Chan pried Li Yundong's hands away from his eyes.
"Wha— Who? Su Chan? Is that you? Shit! What are you still doing here! I told you to leave me!"
Su Chan stumbled a few steps after Li Yundong shoved her away again.
Damned Jindan's super strength.
"Shh..." Su Chan scurried back towards Li Yundong and kneeled beside him. "There's not enough time now. Just don't move."
Then, Su Chan muttered an incantation for a spell. She was pretty sure the powder was a mixture of sand and ground-up pebbles. A simple extraction spell should do the trick.
As soon as the incantation was completed, Su Chan's right palm glowed with a mild green light.
"Don't move, okay?" Su Chan said, bringing her right palm over his eyes. Then, with her left hand, she pushed Li Yundong's eyelids open.
Li Yundong's eyes stung like hell the moment Su Chan pried his eyelids opened with her fingers. Other than some kind of blinding light, he couldn't see a thing.
"S- Su Chan, what's going on?" he asked.
"Shh... Almost done now," Su Chan said.
Was this another one of her medical skills? What was it? Some kind of super potion? Whatever it was, it was definitely working. The stinging sensation was starting to ease.
All of a sudden, the pressure on his eyelids disappeared; his vision became dark again.
"Okay! You can open your eyes now!" Su Chan said.
"Harrgghhh!!! You're dead meat, bastard!!!!" some guy yelled, throwing Li Yundong into a panic.
However, he heard a loud crunch a second later followed by a blood-curdling scream.
"Su Chan! What the hell’s going on! Are you alright?!" Li Yundong yelled, blinking his eyes open.
There was no answer.
His vision was still a blur, so he kept blinking and blinking to clear his vision. More screams of pain sounded followed by loud clanging sounds. It was as though a bunch of metallic objects had fallen to the ground.
Knives... Li Yundong thought, the hair on the back of his neck raising on end.
Su Chan was fighting a bunch of knife-wielding guys.
Li Yundong sprang to his feet despite his blurry vision. He took a few steps forward and nearly fell over when his leg got caught up in some soft object. He kicked the object a few times and realized that it was a person's body. A convulsing and quivering body.
Li Yundong raised his hands and rubbed his eyes harshly. "Dammit! Why am I so f*cking useless when I'm needed the most!"
"Jesus Christ..." John whispered in awe.
Beside him, Kris said nothing. Mouth agape, Kris watched in awe as Li Yundong's young girlfriend deliver a groin kick to a guy who was just about to swing a knife at her.
When they saw the girl perform a move akin to a Judo hip throw on a guy who was more than twice her size, John couldn't take it anymore.
"Holy mother of God! Did you see that!" John exclaimed. "Th- this chick is f*cking badass!"
Still, Kris didn't say anything.
She was too stunned to speak.
"Look at the way she moves!" John went on. "So fluid... This is exactly what Bruce Lee means when he said continuity of motion! It was like those guys are fighting a phantom! She's untouchable!"
John knew that this fight wasn't staged at all. Those knives seemed pretty damn real, and judging from the fact that Li Yundong was rubbing his eyes as though he couldn't see, this was an ambush. These guys had clearly done something to blind Li Yundong first before they launched their attack on him. For a moment there, John was considering if he should go over there and help the chick out, but then it seemed like his help wasn't even necessary. The chick could clearly handle herself. Those thugs knew it too, as they were all slowly backing away from her.
John turned towards Kris.
"Hey, Kris, you alright?"
Kris stared back at him with wide eyes, then nodded slightly.
It was like she hadn't fully processed what she'd just seen.
Yeah... join the club, John thought, returning his eyes to the fight.
When he finally regained his vision, Li Yundong saw Su Chan standing tall and strong about ten feet away with six thugs lying at her feet. The rest of the thugs were backing away from her fearfully.
She was amazing.
Before he could shout at Su Chan, Li Yundong detected movement behind him; he whirled around to his four o'clock and caught the blade of the knife between his fingers. Then, out of nowhere, Li Yundong heard a loud curse in English. He did a quick scan with his eyes and caught a glimpse of Kris and John gaping at them from twenty, or maybe thirty, meters away.
The blade trembled slightly between Li Yundong's fingers.
He flicked his eyes back towards the thug, who was trying in vain to yank the knife away.
Li Yundong growled and pinched the blade hard.
The blade broke into two halves.
"A- a- arrggghh!!! Arrgghh!!! Waahhhh!!! D- d- don’t! Don’t!!" The thug scrambled backwards in fear.
Li Yundong burst forward and caught the thug by his front collar.
"Who sent you!!!" Li Yundong roared, hoisting the thug up with one arm.
The thug began kicking out his legs in fear. "X- Xi- Xie F- Fei!"
Li Yundong released a loud and menacing sneer.
"Oh! So he still wants revenge, is that it!" Li Yundong tightened his grip on the thug's shirt and yanked the thug forward so that their faces were less than an inch apart. "Listen to me well, you f*cker. You're gonna go back to him and then tell him that if he wants an all-out war with me, then he f*cking got one! Tell him that if he ever shows his face in Tiannan University again, I'll throw him off the academic building!" Li Yundong bared his teeth. "I'm a man of my word!"
Li Yundong cocked his left hand back.
A blood splatter formed on the asphalt. Two broken teeth rolled amidst the crimson mess until they stopped a few feet away.
Li Yundong tossed the thug through the air. The thug crashed into the ground with a loud thud, then scrambled to his feet and ran for his life.
Li Yundong turned back to Su Chan and saw that she had already taken care of the rest of the thugs. He rushed towards her, then grabbed her shoulders, turning her around to face him.
"Are you okay?" Li Yundong asked, looking Su Chan over from head to toe.
"Hehe..." Su Chan smiled and waved at the litter of fallen thugs, who were wailing and moaning on the ground.
"Holy shit... What the heck did you do to them?" Li Yundong whispered breathlessly.
"Oh, nothing too impressive..." Su Chan waved her hand casually. "Just some basic soft techniques to damage their internal organs. They'll start showing symptoms of internal injuries in a year or so. They won't be able to bully others ever again."
"Damn..." Li Yundong said, looking at Su Chan in awe. She looked totally fine too. Not even a single hair out of place. F*ck!
"Hehehe... See? I told you I'm good!" Su Chan said with pride.
Li Yundong chuckled and shook his head. All of a sudden, he stopped laughing and wore a stern expression.
"Don't ever get into fights again. You hear me?" Li Yundong said unyieldingly.
"Hmph!" Su Chan pouted. "You won't even praise me a little! Meanie!"
Li Yundong pinched Su Chan's beautiful nose.
"Listen..." he said. "It doesn't matter if you can go up against a hundred guys and still kick ass, okay? I'll always worry." Li Yundong took Su Chan's hand and placed it over his heart. "It hurts in here, and I can't help it. So don't get into fights unless you have no choice, okay? Leave the fighting to me..."
Li Yundong let Su Chan's hand drop and stared into her eyes. Her pout became smaller as a rosy tint crept onto her cheeks. Moments later, her face broke into a wide grin.
All of a sudden, Su Chan reached up and swipe her fingers over his eyelids. "Hehe! Now you're a panda!" she said.
Li Yundong wiped his face with his sleeve and noticed the dark smudges it left on his shirt.
"Those f*ckers!" he said, then looked at Su Chan warmly. "You saved my life... I would've ended up as dice meat if you weren't here with me tonight."
All of a sudden, Li Yundong froze as though he just remembered something.
Then, he turned around.
"Hey! You two!"
Both Kris and John jumped when they heard Li Yundong calling out to them. They look at each other briefly, their minds wondering the same thing: How did he know we're here?
"You two saw everything right?" Li Yundong went on. "We were ambushed! These thugs attacked us first! Su Chan and I acted purely in self-defense!"
Still very much in a stupor, Kris and John nodded blankly.
John shook out of his stupor when Li Yundong and Su Chan drove off in a cab.
"I've made my decision!" John exclaimed, his eyes glinting in excitement. "I must become his disciple! Damn! Did you notice his reflexes just now? He caught the fast-moving blade between his fingers! Christ!"
Kris glared at John in annoyance.
"That lying bastard!" she said, stomping her foot in anger. "Didn't he say that he only takes men as his disciples? In that case, why is that girl so good at fighting?"
Little did they know that it wasn't Li Yundong who'd taught Su Chan how to fight, but the other way around. Nor did they know that had it not been the commandment in the Cultivation world which prohibited Cultivators from killing mortals with their magic, Kris and John wouldn't be witnessing a streetfight that night, but a massacre instead.