Li Yundong met He Shao's stare head on. If this prick thought he could intimidate him by getting in his face, then the guy had another think coming. Guns Li Yundong had stared down. Bullets he had dodged. Threats of destruction from an obnoxious prick couldn't even hold a f*cking candle. If nothing else, He Shao's behavior amused Li Yundong.
Honestly, the guy was like a tin can—empty inside, but noisy as f*ck.
"You've crossed a line, He Shao," Zhou Qin said. "I'm warning you. Back off."
He Shao's breath tickled Li Yundong's face as he laughed. "So this is all you got, eh? Relying on Zhou Qin to get you out of trouble every time? You're a pathetic loser. A penniless gigolo."
Li Yundong smirked and shook his head. Say what you want about me. Bark like a dog for all I care.
He Shao turned to Zhou Qin. "And you, Zhou Qin. Tsk, tsk. I never thought you would stoop to such a level. I mean, becoming someone's sugar mama? Really?" He Shao snickered. "Are you that horny? You know... If you needed a good f*ck, you could've just called. I bet I can outperform this wimp without even trying."
"He Shao, you—" Zhou Qin gasped. "Don't touch me!"
"Oh? I can't touch my own fiancé?" He Shao laughed. "If you need... services, there are far better options than using that gigolo." He Shao snickered, then glanced pointedly at Li Yundong's waist. "Tsk. Tsk. Come on, Zhou Qin. Even the cheapest dildo in the market is better than that."
"Shut up, He Shao... Shut. Up." Zhou Qin's voice had lost its usual aloofness.
He Shao took a step towards Zhou Qin. "Or better yet. You can have me. I'm available to you anytime, babe. And you won't even have to pay a single cent."
Li Yundong's hand shot out and grabbed He Shao's arm before it could reach Zhou Qin's waist.
Li Yundong realized that for all his big-talk, He Shao was surprisingly lightweight. All it took was a light shove from him and He Shao was already staggering backwards. Li Yundong smirked. Who's the wimp now, dipshit?
Li Yundong stepped forward and shielded Su Chan and Zhou Qin with his body.
"Watch your mouth," Li Yundong said coldly. "That's my friend you just insulted."
He Shao straightened his suit jacket with an angry scowl, then got in Li Yundong's face. He Shao grabbed Li Yundong's collar.
"Touch me again," He Shao growled, "and I will destroy you."
Li Yundong pressed his thumb and index finger on He Shao's wrist, smirking at the grimace he saw on He Shao's face. Li Yundong pressed down harder until He Shao's grip loosened.
Instead of letting go, Li Yundong kept his thumb and index finger on He Shao's wrist, then twisted He Shao's arm behind his back. He Shao groaned, then stumbled away when Li Yundong shoved him on the back.
Li Yundong snorted. F*cking lightweight...
He Shao regained his footing and shot a vicious glare at Li Yundong. "You f*cker—"
"Enough!" Zhou Qin yelled. "Leave now—"
Li Yundong silenced her with a raise of his hand. He took a step towards he Shao. "Destroy me, you said?" Li Yundong said in a casual tone. "And how do you suppose you can do that when you couldn't even stand in front of me for more than five seconds without falling on your ass?"
He Shao threw his head back and laughed. "Oh, so you still haven't figured it out yet?" He Shao sneered. "I guess a clueless bum like you wouldn't know." He Shao's eyes was filled with scorn when he snorted. "Fine. I'll explain to you how I can tear you to pieces."
He Shao got in his face again. "There are only two things you need if you want to rule over the world. One, wealth!"
He Shao pointed at the limo. "I have all the money in the world," he said loudly. "And you! You're a penniless nobody who doesn't even have parents!"
Okay. That stung. That really f*cking stung. Li Yundong took a calming breath through his nose. Walk away... just walk away. Keep a low profile, and don't cause any trouble. Too much exposure would risk his life. It would risk Su Chan's life too. Focus on what's important here. Just let it go, Li Yundong. You're better than him. You're better than him...
Li Yundong exhaled through his nose slowly and turned around to face Su Chan and Zhou Qin. Su Chan was watching him carefully. Zhou Qin was glaring at He Shao.
"Come on," Li Yundong said, taking Su Chan's hand. "Time to go. Let's not let shallow people and their shallow thoughts get to us."
Li Yundong moved past He Shao, pulling Su Chan with him.
He Shao blocked his way. "Hey! Where are do you think you're going, huh? I'm not done talking to you yet."
Li Yundong kept walking, but stopped when he felt He Shao's palm on his sternum. It took every ounce of Li Yundong's will power not to grab that hand and break every single bone in it. Stay cool, Li Yundong. Stay cool.
The pressure on his sternum was gone.
He Shao held up two fingers. "Number two. Power."
Li Yundong could feel his own brows shooting up to his hairline at that arrogant declaration. He wondered why God hadn't sent a bolt of lightning from the sky and roast this piece of trash already.
He Shao snapped his fingers, then waved his hand a few times.
Liu Chuan clambered over towards He Shao like a f*cking lapdog.
Li Yundong shook his head in disgust. He wondered if Liu Chuan ever felt a bit too airy or ventilated down there. After all, even the smallest pair of boxers in the market would feel a little loose on a man with balls the size of peanuts. Scratch that. Liu Chuan should just shop for panties from now on.
"Yes? He Shao?" Liu Chuan asked.
Instead of answering, He Shao slapped Liu Chuan right across his cheek. Liu Chuan crashed to the ground and rolled a few times.
Li Yundong stared at He Shao with wide eyes.
Holy Mother of God... Who does this guy think he is?
Li Yundong could feel the flames of ire raging in his chest, begging to be unleashed. How could anyone be capable of such atrocious behavior? This had gone far beyond bullying; this was f*cking tyranny.
"The man I just slapped is the son of a famous businessman," He Shao roared. "But so f*cking what!"
Li Yundong shook his head.
He Shao gestured his arms wildly. "I can do whatever I want with him and walk still away with it! I'm untouchable!"
Li Yundong glanced at Zhou Qin, whose expression remained unreadable despite the circumstances.
And at that moment, the final piece of the puzzle clicked inside Li Yundong's head. Finally, he got it. Now he understood the reason behind Zhou Qin's distrust of men and people in general. Being forced to marry a lowlife like He Shao would disillusion just about anyone.
Then, another thought occurred to Li Yundong.
What if Zhou Qin didn't reject those men because she had anything against them or because she deemed them unworthy of her attention?
Okay, well, maybe she did find some of those men unworthy, but what if that wasn't her only reason for rejecting them?
What if she was trying to protect those guys from He Shao?
In hindsight, it made sense.
The moment Zhou Qin agreed to date a guy, she would literally be painting a huge target on his back.
The poor dude would end up on He Shao's shit list, and there was nothing Zhou Qin could do to protect him from He Shao because, apparently, even Zhou Qin's family was big on the whole arranged marriage idea. Hell, it was probably Zhou Qin's father's idea to begin with!
In other words, whomever Zhou Qin agreed to date was pretty much screwed.
Li Yundong cast a glance at He Shao.
Well, he certainly wouldn't put it past that son of a bitch to have a guy murdered just for expressing romantic interest in Zhou Qin.
What a f*cked up world to live in.
How? How did Zhou Qin endure this shit for so many years?
He Shao's laughter pulled Li Yundong out of his thoughts.
He Shao was now kicking at Liu Chuan, who was still sprawled on the ground. "You!" He Shao pointed down at Liu Chuan. "I just slapped you. Do you have problem with that?"
Li Yundong lowered his gaze to the ground. He studied Liu Chuan face, which was now flushed either due to shame or He Shao's strike. Probably both. Liu Chuan looked completely subdued and defeated. The guy didn't even dare raise his head.
Seconds later, Liu Chuan shook his head meekly.
He Shao sneered, and once again, Li Yundong found himself staring at He Shao's smug expression.
"You see that?" He Shao raised his brows. "Do you get it now?" He Shao threw his head back in laughter.
Whispers from the crowd drifted to Li Yundong's ears. Apparently, Liu Chuan's admirers—well, former admirers—were now mocking Liu Chuan's cowardice. Li Yundong also heard a couple of mentions about how the "Hero of Tiannan University" should step up and "teach that arrogant snob a lesson."
He Shao was now sauntering towards him like some pompous diva. "Money! Wealth! Status! Power!" He Shao punctuated those words with each step before finally stopping in front of him. "That is how I can destroy a nobody like you." He Shao's lips twisted into an ugly smirk. "Starting with your love life... when I make your woman mine." He Shao reached out with his filthy hands to touch Su Chan's face.
Something inside Li Yundong snapped. People could mock him all they wanted, but nobody touches his Su Chan. Nobody.
"You son of a bitch!!!!"
Li Yundong moved forward with a speed that he didn't even know he possessed. He grabbed He Shao by his throat, and then hoisted the bastard off the ground with a powerful jerk of his arm. He Shao released a series of gagging sound from his throat, but Li Yundong ignored them. He stared hard into He Shao's eyes. "Touch my girlfriend again, and I will end you."
Li Yundong had never felt this much anger before. And every ounce of that anger was now being channeled into the fingers curled around He Shao's throat. He tightened his fingers, slowly squeezing the life out of this piece of trash.
Li Yundong's ears rang. Through the ringing, he could hear voices—two voices—speaking to him. The voices were muddled and distinct, like a cacophony of overlapping echoes. He couldn't make out the words.
Suddenly, he felt a pricking sensation on his back, right between his shoulder blades, like someone had poked a needle there.
The ringing in his ears morphed into distinct words.
"...Li Yundong, calm down... He's not worth it."
"Beloved... beloved... Don't let him get to you. He'll never have me, okay? Never. I'm yours. Always. Let him go, beloved. Let him go. People are watching us…"
A strange wave of calmness washed over Li Yundong.
Zhou Qin and Su Chan were now standing on each side of him, pulling him back from God knows what he'd been about to do. A wheezing sound caught his ear, and he realized that he was still holding He Shao in the air in a choke hold. He Shao's face had turned an unhealthy shade of scarlet.
Another wave of anger swept through him at the sight of He Shao's face. How dare he try to touch Su Chan. How f*cking dare he! How dare he treat people like trash just because he was rich.
Li Yundong unleased a loud roar, pouring every ounce of frustration into his voice.
"Li Yundong!! Stop!! You're gonna kill him!" Zhou Qin's frantic voice sounded beside his ear. "He isn't worth it! Don't throw your life away because of him!"
"Beloved… Come on… Just let him go, okay?"
Li Yundong's roar diminished into a growl. Then, he hurled He Shao into the air.
He Shao flew across the pavement and crashed into the limo.
"Hey! My car! Watch the car..."
Liu Chuan's voice was quickly drowned out by a chorus of cheers.
"Yeahhh!!!! That's the way! Go, Hero of Tiannan University!"
"Hell yeah!!! Kick his ass! Show the bastard who is boss!"
Li Yundong felt another sharp prick on his back. It was the same spot, right between his shoulder blades. Another wave of calmness flooded him, but this time, it came with something else—mental clarity. Li Yundong could feel his breathing evening out and the pounding on his temples subsiding. The next thing he knew, he was staring right into Su Chan's beautiful eyes. Su Chan's were hands cupping his face.
"Shh… Shh... It's alright now, beloved. It's alright."
Li Yundong covered Su Chan's palm with his hand. "Did you do something? Why do I suddenly feel so..."
Li Yundong struggled to find the right words.
"Calm? Tranquil?" Su Chan said.
"Yeah. Something like that."
"I stimulated your Lingtai."
"Between my shoulder blades..." Li Yundong sighed, then nodded. "Right. Thanks."
That would explain the pricking sensations he felt earlier. She must've poked a needle into his back.
Zhou Qin's voice made him turn.
"Let's just get out of here," Zhou Qin said, though her gaze was focused on He Shao, who was already up on his feet.
"Mmm!" Su Chan bobbed her head a few times, then lowered her voice to a whisper. "We can't risk any more exposure. They might be watching."
Li Yundong had a pretty good idea which "they" Su Chan was referring to. Could that crazy Ruan Hongling girl be watching as well?
Li Yundong nodded. "Alright. Let's get out of here."
"Where do you think you're going! I'm not done with you yet!" He Shao yelled.
Seriously? After I just tossed you into a car?
"Just ignore him, Yundong..." Su Chan whispered beside him. "Don't risk your life because of a silly man like him..."
Zhou Qin was already walking away.
Li Yundong nodded, took Su Chan's hand, and turned around.
Then, out of nowhere, another voice sounded, a voice that Li Yundong had never heard before in his life.
"Children, children, children! What a bunch of annoying brats. Now get out of my way before I hurt your tiny asses."