Li Yundong swiveled around to identify the owner of that voice. He did the quick scan of the area, but he didn't see anyone other than the crowd, He Shao, and Liu Chuan.
Liu Chuan was now standing beside He Shao, apparently to help keep He Shao upright.
The voice sounded again.
"I said out of my way, you punks!"
All of a sudden, a commotion broke out among the crowd. The students were now screaming in fear. Seconds later, the crowd was forced apart when someone barreled through it and leaped onto the hood of the limo.
It was an old man dressed in a dark, Wong Fei-hung style robe. The man had a strange beard, which looked like a mouse's whiskers. Li Yundong glanced at Zhou Qin, who was staring at the scene with a frown.
"You know him?" Li Yundong asked.
Zhou Qin shook his head.
The old man leaped down from the limo. "Out of my way, punks!" The old man pushed He Shao and Liu Chuan away. The guy seemed pretty strong for an old man, since He Shao and Liu Chuan nearly fell over after that shove.
He Shao recovered first. "Hey! Watch it, old man! Which mental institute did you escape from, huh? Do you know who I am?"
The old man tilted his head to one side and studied He Shao for a moment. "No idea who you are. And I don't care."
"Don't know who I am…" He Shao started laughing like he'd just been told the funniest joke ever. "You have a death wish old man."
The old man sneered and stroked his whisker-like beard. "Tsk, tsk, tsk. Children these days... No respect for their elders at all." The old man released a derisive chuckle. "Not even the Chief Executive of Hong Kong has the guts to speak to me with that kind of tone, let alone a nameless punk like you. Get out of my sight. Seeing your face puts me in a bad mood."
Whispers broke out among the crowd again.
"Come on. Let's just go," Li Yundong said, turning around to leave.
"Hey! You there! The guy with the two pretty chicks!"
Li Yundong froze, then slowly turned back around. He gave Su Chan's hand a reassuring squeeze when he felt it tense inside his grip. Li Yundong lifted his gaze and stared ahead. The old man was looking right at him.
"Yes?" Li Yundong said.
The old man chuckled. "Well—"
"Hey! I wasn't done talking to you, old man!" He Shao reached for the old man's shoulder, but the old man grabbed He Shao's hand instead and twisted it into a gruesome joint lock. He Shao's knees hit the ground as he screamed.
"Chin Na..." Su Chan whispered.
Li Yundong glanced at Su Chan, who was now watching the old man intently. She seemed to really know what she was looking at, which, of course, didn't come as a surprise to Li Yundong anymore.
Li Yundong himself had seen Chin Na in action through a video featuring a demo during the International Martial Arts Festival. From what he remembered, the martial art focuses exclusively on joint lock techniques.
In another video, he saw a teenage girl bring a massive—as big as Dave Bautista—bodybuilder to his knees with just a twist of the poor guy's thumb.
So yeah. Pretty badass stuff.
He Shao's screams filled the area. Admittedly, hearing that bastard scream felt somewhat satisfying.
The old man bend down and patted He Shao's cheeks a few times.
"Didn't your parents teach you to respect your elders? Tsk, tsk, tsk…" said the old man. "Or do I have to do their job for them."
"Aaarrrrggghhhh!!!" He Shao's hand was twisted in the opposite direction.
Li Yundong cringed. Shit… That has got to hurt like a bitch.
"Argh, what a bother. Just get out of my sight, you pest." The old man eased the pressure on He Shao's hand. "I have business with that man"—he pointed at Li Yundong—"over there. And you're wasting my precious time."
Li Yundong tensed up.
Business with me? But I don’t even know you.
"Oh! So that's how you wanna play it, old man! You'll regret touching me, you old fool! You're dead man walking I'm telling you!" He Shao yelled. "You're dead meat!"
The old man glanced down at He Shao. "Oh... you annoying little pest."
The old man's strange robe billowed as though a breeze had blown around it. Li Yundong's scalp tingled. Something wasn't right with that picture. There was no breeze; the surrounding air was completely still.
Then, it happened.
The old man gave the sleeves of his dark robe a quick and powerful flick. Air currents, strong and powerful ones, swirled around the old man like a mini cyclone. Li Yundong's instincts took over. He burst forward and shielded Su Chan and Zhou Qin with his body. Screams of terror blended together with the strange howling of the wind, enveloping them like a blanket.
Several seconds later, it was over.
Liu Chuan and He Shao dropped to the ground at least five meters away from where they had been, both trembling in fear.
The old bastard had just thrown two grown men into the air with just a flick of his robe.
Great. More X-men shit to deal with. Just f*cking great.
Li Yundong surveyed the area. The students were all down on the ground with hands covering their heads. None of them were seriously hurt. He turned around. Su Chan was hiding behind his body, but her eyes showed no fear at all. Instead, she was eyeing the old man intently. Zhou Qin seemed terrified but composed.
"Is he one of the people after us?" Li Yundong whispered to Su Chan. After what? The drug in his body? Su Chan?
Su Chan kept her eyes on the old man. "I don't know. But it doesn't matter. We've gotta get out of here."
He agreed. This old man was dangerous. He'd never seen a move like that before.
The old man was now smoothing down his robe and saying something to He Shao, but Li Yundong didn't care. He and Su Chan were already beside Zhou Qin, helping her to her feet.
"Are you alright?" Li Yundong asked Zhou Qin.
Zhou Qin nodded shakily.
"Where's your car? We've gotta go. Now."
"I parked in front of a restaurant near campus."
"Is it far?"
Zhou Qin shook her head, but steadily this time. "Just a five-minute walk from here. Come on, follow me."
The three of them broke off into a sprint, heading in the opposite direction, away from the scene.
Li Yundong had barely taken two steps when the old man's voice sounded behind him. "Hey... I didn't say you could leave, young man! We still have some unfinished business, you and I!"
Li Yundong turned his head around but kept running. The old man was staring at them, but he wasn't chasing them.
Li Yundong looked to the front again.
"Don't stop," Li Yundong said firmly. "Just keep running."
"Stop! Or I'll kill this girl!"
Li Yundong stopped short, then turned around slowly. Shit… The old man had a female student in a choke hold.
Dammit to hell...
Su Chan and Zhou Qin had stopped running as well.
"Come back here," the old man said. "Like I said, you and I have unfinished business."
Li Yundong took a deep breath and mobilized his Qi to his Shenting. Eryue came to life in the form of the buzzing in his ears.
"Zhou Qin," Li Yundong said. "Take Su Chan to your car and get out of here. Call the cops once you're inside your car."
"No! I'm not leaving you!" Su Chan protested.
"Don't argue with me, princess." Li Yundong started walking back towards the old man. "Go. Now."
Li Yundong kept walking without looking back, though he knew from the sound footsteps behind him that the girls had complied with his request. Then, the old man yelled again. "Now, now! I didn't say the two girls could leave!"
Li Yundong stopped walking and cursed under his breath. He turned around. Su Chan and Zhou Qin had stopped running as well.
"Your business is with me, not with them," Li Yundong said loudly.
The old man chortled. "You think I'm an idiot? They'll just call the police once they're out of here." Then the old man turned to address the crowd. "You hear me, kids? None of you leave till I say you can!"
Li Yundong muttered another curse, then shared a look with Su Chan. Su Chan gave him a slight nod.
"Hey! Stop dallying and come over here! All three of you!"
Li Yundong sorted through the buzzing in his ear for the sounds near the old man. He heard a whimper from the girl and the old man's breathing. Using his telescopic vision, he zoomed in, focusing on the old man's fingers around the girl's throat, where dark bruises had already formed. Li Yundong zoomed out. "Let the girl go first!"
"No. You get over here first, or I'll crush her windpipe!"
The girl whimpered again. Li Yundong clenched his jaw.
"Zhou Qin... Whatever happens, I want you to stick close to Su Chan, okay?"
"Okay..." Zhou Qin's reply was firm and steady.
"Come on, girls. Let's head over there before shit happens," Li Yundong said.
Right. Who was he even kidding. Shit had already happened.
Li Yundong walked towards the old man, making sure to keep Su Chan and Zhou Qin behind him. When he was three feet away from the old man, he stopped and stared into the old man's eyes.
"We're here," Li Yundong said. "Now let her go."
The old man uncurled his fingers around the girl's neck. The girl stumbled away and broke into a coughing fit. A few of her friends rushed over to support her.
The old man smirked. "It's an honor to finally meet you, Li Yundong."
What the f*ck? The hair on the back of Li Yundong's neck stood on end. Clearly, someone had put the old man up to this. Was it Xie Fei again? Did Zhao Yujian's parents blame Li Yundong for their son's demise? Did they hire this guy to avenge Zhao Yujian?
Li Yundong mobilized his Qi to his leg and arm muscles. Like it or not, he had to prepare for the worst. This guy was clearly dangerous. And that strange robe of his. Li Yundong still hadn't figured out how it worked.
"Who are you? And what do you want from me?" Li Yundong asked.
The old man chuckled. "Now we're getting somewhere."
The old man stepped forward and performed a Bao Quan Li (T/N: A hand gesture used by Chinese martial artists when they greet each other; right fist pressed against left palm).
"A pleasure to meet you, Li Yundong. I'm Lin Youfa from Foshan."
First Mount Longhu. Now Foshan. It was like he was running a f*cking travel agency around here.
"What do you want from me?"
Lin Youfa smirked. "You don't have to know what I want. You're going give it to me anyway."
Li Yundong tensed up. What's that supposed to mean? Is he after the drug?
"Pardon me for doing this..." Lin Youfa said.
Do what? What the hell was this guy's problem—
Lin Youfa's fist came flying to his face at the same time Zhou Qin screamed.
Instincts took over. Li Yundong caught Lin Youfa's fist with his hand, but Lin Youfa managed to wrench his fist free before Li Yundong could follow up with a counterattack.
Lin Youfa laughed and began circling around him. "Nice reflexes. Not many people can catch a punch like you just did."
Li Yundong glanced to his side. Su Chan was about six feet to his right, crouching in front of Zhou Qin. She must have reacted and pulled Zhou Qin away the moment she noticed Lin Youfa moving.
Li Yundong wanted to smack himself for his own carelessness. He would've been able to anticipate the punch before it was thrown if he had used Xianjue earlier. And of all the things he could've done to stop the punch, he had chosen to catch it, which was a stupid thing to do since Lin Youfa was clearly a Chin Na master. One wrong move and Li Yundong would end up trapped in some deadly joint lock. Well, that won't happen again.
Lin Youfa kept circling him as though he was looking for an opening to launch his next strike. Li Yundong began to take slow steps away from the crowd. From the looks of it, things could get ugly, so it would be best to lead Lin Youfa away from the crowd lest an innocent bystander got caught up in the fight. It didn't seem like Lin Youfa had noticed his plan yet; he was still walking around Li Yundong in circles while Li Yundong gradually led them away from the crowd.
"Why are you doing this?" Li Yundong said, making sure that his Qi was still at his Shenting. "There's no reason for us to fight."
"That's for me to decide," Lin Youfa said.
"I don't want to fight you," Li Yundong said in a warning tone.
Lin Youfa laughed. "I'm afraid you don't have a choice, boy."
So be it then.
Li Yundong's Xianjue responded to his will and came alive in a burst of white light. A strange sensation washed over his body, and he knew instantly that he was in clairvoyant mode. He fast-forwarded the vision in his head and he saw through Lin Youfa's next three attacks.
So that's the robe's purpose... I see…
Lin Youfa was still circling him when Li Yundong turned off Xianjue's clairvoyant mode. Li Yundong stopped moving; he was already far enough from the crowd.
"Last chance to back out," Li Yundong warned. "I don't want to hurt you..."
Lin Youfa sneered. "Oh, it's still too early to tell who's gonna get hurt."
Lin Youfa charged forward and, just as Li Yundong anticipated, Lin Youfa's dark robed billowed around his body, causing the air to pick up speed. The purpose of the robe was to distract Lin Youfa's opponent with the air currents and also to conceal the direction of his kicks. A pretty decent trick, but it wouldn't matter; Li Yundong already knew which direction Lin Youfa's kick would come from thanks to Xianjue.
"Shadowless kick!!" Lin Youfa yelled.
Li Yundong leaped to his left side.
The front kick missed his groin.
Then, Li Yundong parried the follow-up punch with his left hand.
Now he's gonna try to use Chin Na on me...
Li Yundong ripped his arm away before Lin Youfa's fingers could close around his forearm, and then jumped backwards to put some distance between them.
Silence reigned over the crowd as Lin Youfa stared at him in disbelief.
"You've lost," Li Yundong said coldly. "Now get lost."
Lin Youfa roared, then charged at him again. Li Yundong didn't even have to use Xianjue to parry and avoid the flurry of attacks that Lin Youfa launched at him. Those attacks were frenzied and uncalculated, which made them predictable.
Li Yundong kept parrying and dodging Lin Youfa's frenzied strikes. At one point, he realized that Lin Youfa had forced him back towards the crowd. Shit. Was he planning to take a hostage now that he knew he was on the losing end? But what's the point? I literally gave him the chance to walk away just now.
Li Yundong dodged another kick. The kick left an opening in Lin Youfa's defense, which Li Yundong decided to capitalize on.
Li Yundong delivered his first punch of the fight.
Much to Li Yundong's surprise, Lin Youfa blocked the punch with his forearms instead of dodging it. The force of the punch pushed Lin Youfa back a few feet.
Lin Youfa's back crashed into the limo.
"Hey! Watch the car!" Liu Chuan yelled from God knows where.
Lin Youfa pushed away from the limo and pounced on Li Yundong again. Lin Youfa threw another punch, which Li Yundong parried with ease.
Okay. Time to end this stupid fight.
First, he had to disarm that robe. That tornado move earlier seemed pretty deadly if it could send two grown men into the air. Best if he didn't give Lin Youfa a chance to pull that shit again. But how? How do I disarm the robe?
Suddenly, Li Yundong had an idea. He relaxed his stance and held out his hands in front of him in a gesture of peace.
"Come on, sir," Li Yundong said, making his voice as soothing as possible. "Why do we have to fight when we have no quarrels with each other? I don't even know you."
Li Yundong slowly approached Lin Youfa, keeping his hands out in front of him the whole time. That's it, old man. Use your Chin Na. Grab my hand...
"Even if I did wrong you in some way," Li Yundong went on, "isn't it better if we talk things out and come to a peaceful resolution?"
Li Yundong inched closer again.
"Come on... What say we stop this violence, eh? We can go have a cup of tea. Or grab some beer. Whichever you prefer. My treat."
Li Yundong stopped walking, then reached out as if to offer Lin Youfa a handshake.
Li Yundong focused his hearing on the sounds from Lin Youfa's feet. The moment Lin Youfa's feet moved, Li Yundong would be ready to act.
That's it... that's it... Use your Chin Na...
Lin Youfa's hand shot out.
But Li Yundong flipped his palm over and grabbed the sleeve of Lin Youfa's robe moments before Lin Youfa could wrap his fingers around his wrist.
Hah! Got you now, old man!
Li Youfa stared back at him with wide, fearful eyes.
Li Yundong yanked the fabric backwards with all his might, but Lin Youfa twisted his torso and leaped backwards at the same time. The sleeve was ripped off, but the robe was still on Lin Youfa.
The plan had failed.
Li Yundong cursed and tossed the torn sleeve aside.
The robe billowed again.
A strong gust of wind hit Li Yundong right in the face. Li Yundong hissed when he felt the stinging sensation in his eyes. Li Yundong covered his eyes with his hand and tried to get his Xianjue to work, but it was no use. The pain in his eyes was too distracting. He couldn't focus.
Footsteps sounded in front of him. Li Yundong blinked his eyes desperately, but his vision remained a blur. Shit, shit, shit... Lin Youfa was probably going to attack and he couldn't see a f*cking thing.
"Yundong!!!!" Su Chan's scream speared through his heart, throwing him into panic. Should I retreat? No. The old man would just keep coming.
Argh! To hell with keeping a low profile!
Li Yundong made a split second decision. He mobilized his Qi as fast as he could, using it to connect his three Dantians together—the Bridging of the Three Gates.
Please work... Please work...
Li Yundong cocked his fist back and punched the air in front of him with all his strength.