Chapter 11 Truth and Lies
From the rooftop, Li Yundong saw the thugs stomp off in anger. He sighed in relief and finally put Su Chan back down.
"You should've let me beat those guys up," Su Chan snarled.
"God, woman. Have you been watching too many episodes of 'My Sassy Girl?'" Li Yundong said, teetering between tears and laughter. "You think it's appropriate for a lady like you to go around throwing punches and kicking people in the nuts?"
Girl's got a point though. We can't run around like this forever... Gotta fight back at some point, Li Yundong thought. Dammit, I've really gotta learn a few self-defense moves.
When the adrenaline rush finally subsided, Li Yundong's mind began to process everything that happened from the start of the chase until now. The more he thought about it though, the more he couldn't wrap his head around everything. First of all, he realized he'd just sprinted for miles on end while carrying a girl in his arms, yet he wasn't even tired! Heck, he even pulled off some crazy ninja moves and climbed up a four-story building using just two walls! How the f*ck did he do all that?
Could this be one of those hysterical strength cases? Li Yundong thought, remembering a story he once heard about a frail woman who managed to lift a car during a life-and-death situation.
Have I gone through the same thing as well?
In the end, Li Yundong decided that that had to be it. There were no other plausible explanations for what he just did.
Being fully aware of the Renyuan Jindan's effects on Li Yundong's body, Su Chan didn't think any of his "feats" just now were surprising at all. In fact, she was still pissed off and grumbling inwardly about the fact that Li Yundong had stopped her from beating up those thugs.
While Li Yundong was busy processing his thoughts, Su Chan was sulking beside him with both cheeks puffed out. A while later, Su Chan yelled, "Oh, no! The money!"
Her voice pulled Li Yundong out of his thoughts. He glanced at Su Chan and noticed the timid look that she was giving him. "I... um... I lost all the money you gave me," Su Chan said, showing him her empty palms.
Li Yundong felt as though someone had put a stake through his heart. One f*cking thousand yuan... Gone...
Still, he feigned nonchalance and said, "How did you lose it?"
"I can't remember," Su Chan said, staring back at him apprehensively. A moment passed where neither of them spoke. Suddenly, Su Chan grasped the hem of Li Yundong's shirt and gave it several tugs. "You're not mad, are you?"
Li Yundong had been receiving "living expenses" from his parents since junior high. Well, that, plus the fact that he'd never been much of a spender, meant that he had saved up a lot of money over the years.
To him, a thousand yuan wasn't a huge loss, but it wasn't one that he could just shrug off either. Then again, he supposed the loss wouldn't affect him that much. After all, it wasn't like he had to work his ass off to earn that money or anything. He got it all for nothing.
At this moment, Li Yundong couldn't get mad even if he wanted to. Su Chan's contrite expression and puppy dog eyes pretty much took that possibility away. He sighed and gave Su Chan a tiny smile. Reaching out, he patted Su Chan's head a few times as though all was right in the world. "Guess you must've dropped it while we were being chased, huh?" he said. "Meh. Forget about it. The most important thing is that you're safe and unharmed."
"Oh," Su Chan said. The notion of money was completely alien to her, and she didn't understand money's value, so she saw no reason to be upset about it if Li Yundong himself had shrugged it off.
Meanwhile, it was pretty much a hullabaloo below the men's dorms. A lot of students were gathered there with their phones out to snap photos of Li Yundong and Su Chan on the rooftop. "Hey! Hey! Come on, man! Jump! Jump back down!" Clearly, some of the students hadn't had enough of the show just now.
F*cking assholes! While I was running for my life, those little f*ckers were having the time of their lives!
Among the students gathered there were several of Li Yundong's ex-roommates. Apparently, one of them thought it was a great idea to bask in Li Yundong's reflected glory. His face was practically glowing with pride when he grabbed the arm of a beautiful girl beside him and said, "Hey, that's my roommate."
The girl snorted and gave him a look of distaste. "Yeah, right. And I'm his girlfriend!"
Another guy, who'd been listening to the exchange, burst into laughter. "You? Hah! I call bullsh*t! Look at that girl beside him! She’s worth more than a hundred of you!"
Well, it was pretty clear to anyone who heard the guy that he had ridiculously low IQ and EQ levels. Sure enough, his words raised the girl's hackles. "What's that supposed to mean, you crazy asshole? Did you forget to take your meds this morning? If so, go home and take it instead of spouting nonsense here like a lunatic!"
The guy flinched at the girl's angry outburst, his earlier bravado gone in an instant. "I was just telling the truth," he muttered under his breath. "Yelling at me won't change anything."
"What did you just say?" the girl snapped.
A voice from afar prevented a fight from breaking out. "Hey! What's going on over there! What happened!" Everyone turned and saw one of the university's staff and a security guard rushing towards the men's dorm.
Wu Hui stepped forward and planted himself in front of the crowd. "Director Qian, you came just in time. Things would've gotten out of hand if you didn't come sooner," Wu Hui said, pouring fuel on the fire.
Mr. Qian was the director of the university's Office of Academic Affairs. He was middle-aged and, apparently, had the art of looking like a cold-hearted SOB down pat. Seriously, the guy's face looked as though he didn't have much capacity for kindness at all. And it didn't seem like he had much hair either, though he covered it up pretty well with that miserable patch he called a comb-over. Like a bunch of windblown grass, the "comb-over" curved from the right side of his head to the left. One didn't have to be an Einstein to figure out which side he was balding on.
"Ah, Xiao Wu..." Director Qian's expression softened considerably the moment he saw Wu Hui. "What happened here?" Director Qian asked, running his fingers through his "comb-over" as if he was in the middle of a photoshoot for a Playboy magazine.
"It's like this, sir. Just now Li Yundong and a bunch of gangsters were having a brawl on campus grounds," Wu Hui said. "There were even knives involved, which"—Wu Hui glanced around at the other students—"I'm sure all students gathered here can attest to." Wu Hui had been holding a grudge against Li Yundong ever since the humiliation he suffered at the hands of the latter. Wu Hui knew that Director Qian was a friend of his father's, so he figured he could use today's events as an opportunity to settle his personal score with Li Yundong.
Everyone understood the gravity of Wu Hui's statement and his obvious intent to backstab Li Yundong. That statement was, in fact, a serious accusation, not just one of those petty misdemeanors, but an actual felony.
If Li Yundong was convicted, being expelled would be the least of his worries, since he might also be arrested and placed in criminal detention.
Sun Li had rushed over from the gates earlier and was now among the students gathered in front of the men's dorms. Her brows shot to her hairline when she heard Wu Hui's accusation. "Wu Hui, that's nonsense! It was the gangsters who were chasing Li Yundong around with knives, and they kept chasing him even after he ran into the school compound! What do you mean by 'having a brawl?' How come I never saw anything fitting that description?"
A chorus of "Yeah! Neither did I!" broke out among the other students.
Wu Hui's expression changed instantly. He walked over towards Sun Li and whispered to her harshly, "Sun Li, you're joking with me, right? Don't you hate that guy's guts? I suggest you read the situation properly before you speak. Trust me, you don't want to pick the wrong side."
Sun Li thought Wu Hui's tone sounded a bit odd near the end of his statement. Odd? Scratch that. She knew exactly what it was. It was a threat.
Sun Li conveyed every ounce of the disdain she felt for Wu Hui through her sneer. She then took a huge step back from Wu Hui as though he was some kind of infectious disease. "It's true that I dislike the guy," Sun Li said. "But what I hate even more are those corrupt people who would masquerade personal revenge as legitimate business."
Wu Hui's face contorted in anger. "Corrupt? Sun Li! Who are you accusing of being corrupt?"
"You know damn well whom I was referring to," Sun Li said icily.
All of a sudden, the look on Wu Hui's face became outright murderous. However, Director Qian's impatient tone interrupted them before things could escalate. "Xiao Wu, you just got here, so you couldn't have known all the details about what happened. This isn't your fault. But if things really happened as Xiao Wu said, Tiannan University would show zero tolerance to the offenders involved!"
Director Qian, being the cunning old bastard that he was, managed to extricate Wu Hui from the potential disgrace. He even went a step further by hinting at the other students just whose side he was on.
Ding Nan, who had been watching the whole thing coldly from the sidelines, suddenly had an idea. She brought her lips closer to Zhou Qin and whispered, "Zhou Qin, that bastard has been acting so full of himself ever since that slut started following him around, so why don't you... You know."
Zhou Qin stared at Ding Nan blandly. After a moment of thought, Zhou Qin shook her head slowly. "Forget it," she said. "We must learn to forgive and forget. Besides, it's not like he wronged me or anything." Zhou Qin paused, giving Ding Nan a strange look. "You, on the other hand, seem to dislike him very much. Did something happen between you two in the past?"
I only dislike him because of you! Ding Nan thought angrily.
Instead of letting her anger show, Ding Nan smiled at Zhou Qin sheepishly and said, "Well, you're the one with the big heart, right? Guess I'm no match in that regard."
Zhou Qin smiled at Ding Nan before heading over towards Director Qian.
Ding Nan stared after Zhou Qin, her eyes dark and gloomy with hatred. You evil, conniving bitch! How dare you pretend to be all virtuous and chaste in front of others! You avoid all the bad things like the plague, leaving me to deal with them. It's always you who gets all the good things, and I don't get a single one! Hmph! I hate you, Zhou Qin!
Unaware of the murderous look that Ding Nan was giving her, Zhou Qin stopped beside Director Qian. "Director Qian, I know a bit about what happened," she said softly.
Director Qian turned his head to the side when he heard Zhou Qin's voice. When he did, he was surprised to see that Zhou Qin was already standing beside him. In an instant, he went from looking like a mean SOB to an obsequious, tail-wagging dog who'd just been praised by his master.
"Aha! Finally, someone with sharp eyes! Zhou Qin, you came just in time. Please, do tell us what really happened here!" Director Qian's attitude towards Zhou Qin was far more amicable and courteous than towards Wu Hui. The reason? Well, let's just say that Zhou Qin had bigger guns backing her than Wu Hui did. If Wu Hui's support was an AK-47, hers was a f*cking tank.
The faint smile on Zhou Qin's face made her look like some kind of well-bred, multi-talented, virtuous woman whose existence pretty much revolved around quiet sophistication. But in reality, that smile was merely a tool to erect a thick wall of aloofness to keep people at arm's length. Zhou Qin's elegant lips began to move as the truth spilled from them. "Director Qian, everything happened exactly as Sun Li mentioned. I saw everything. I believe the others here can verify that as well."
"Right?" Zhou Qin said, raising her head, glancing around a few times.
"Right!" shouted all the guys in unison. These guys had been under Zhou Qin's spell from the moment she walked up to Director Qian.
"Ah, I see. So that's what happened. Alright then, I understand. Er, where's Li Yundong?"
Li Yundong already knew that there was a flight of stairs that connected the dorm's rooftop and the ground floor. But what surprised Li Yundong greatly was the fact that the door at the bottom of the stairs was actually unlocked. Finally some luck, Li Yundong thought as he opened the door.
A huge crowd had gathered in front of the door while Li Yundong and Su Chan were making their way down the staircase. Director Qian had to squeeze his way through the bodies of students just to get to the front, and was already sweating profusely by the time he did.
The crowd grew quiet the very instant Li Yundong and Su Chan stepped through the door. Everyone there, including Director Qian, was utterly captivated by the sight of Su Chan.
Zhou Qin stood beside Director Qian with a slight frown. "Director Qian, this is Li Yundong," Zhou Qin said softly. "You can ask him to give you a full account of what happened today."
Zhou Qin's voice brought Director Qian out of his trance. With uncertain and confused eyes, he glanced at Su Chan who was standing meekly beside Li Yundong. After a brief moment of gawking, he tore his eyes away from Su Chan to look at Li Yundong. From there, everything pretty much involved Director Qian grilling Li Yundong about today's incident. At the end of his questioning, he ordered Li Yundong to submit a full report to the Office of Academic Affairs tomorrow.
Before leaving, Director Qian gave Li Yundong one last glance, then walked away with a subtle shake of his head. I don't get it. What's so great about this guy that a girl that pretty would be with him?
Li Yundong walked up to Sun Li with a smile after Director Qian left. "Thanks, class rep. It was you who did the right thing at the crucial moment."
"You heard that?" Sun Li said in mild surprise. "But you were so far away, how could you possibly..."
Li Yundong's smile widened. "Of course I heard it! The voice of justice is loud and resounding," Li Yundong said. "It's pretty hard not to hear!"
Sun Li's lips curved upwards slightly as she fought back a smile, but she quickly returned to her neutral expression. "Like you said, I was just trying to do the right thing. You know, you've been leaving classes early for several days straight. Say, are you trying to throw away your credits or what? If you still want them, I suggest you get your act together, because at this rate nobody even has to try anything to kick you out. You're going flunk out on your own!"
So what? Li Yundong thought. There are a f*ckton of postgrads and degree holders these days, so it's not like having a degree from this crappy university is going to be of any help. I bet there are hundreds of university graduates fighting for a job as a honeywagon operator! University graduate? Right. Big deal.
Heck, if it weren't for this so-called "arrangement" made by his good-for-nothing, child-abandoning parents, he wouldn't even have bothered attending this shitty university!
Not that Li Yundong would actually voice out his thoughts, unless he was a masochist who was looking for another fight after he came this close to becoming minced meat a while ago. Li Yundong flashed Sun Li a polite smile and said, "I knew it, class rep. I knew you actually care about me. Listen, you really saved my ass today. What say we have dinner together? My treat."
Sun Li's cheeks colored slightly. She stole a glance at Zhou Qin, who was now walking away from the crowd with Ding Nan. "Care about you? What kind of nonsense is that! I don't give a damn what happens to you. You could go kill yourself for all I care! But this!" Sun Li gestured at the space between them. "How could you be flirting with others when there's a beauty right beside you? You're despicable!"
Li Yundong gave Su Chan an awkward look. Oops, he thought. To be fair, it wasn't that he wanted to tease Sun Li or anything. Sure, this Sichuan chick had a great figure and all that, but Li Yundong only had eyes for Su Chan at this moment.
Alas, Li Yundong had a bad habit of acting flirty around the women he interacted with. In particular, he had a thing for making a woman blush with just his words alone.
If he were a handsome man, his flirting would definitely lead to blushes and racing hearts. Sadly, he wasn't a handsome man, so all the Don Juan stunts he pulled so far were met with eye rolls. Heck, he was honestly surprised that none of those women had called the cops on him, or kicked him in the nuts.
Much to Li Yundong's relief, Su Chan didn't seem to have heard Sun Li's comment about flirting. In fact, he doubted that she had been paying attention to his conversation with Sun Li at all. At this moment, Su Chan was staring at something nearby with a curious glint in her eyes. Li Yundong followed her gaze and realized that she was staring at Zhou Qin. Phew, guess she didn't hear it then.
However, Li Yundong's relief was short-lived because he started berating himself a moment later. What the f*ck was I doing! Ugh! Idiot! Why did I have to say those things to Sun Li! Should've said it to Su Chan!
"Look, if there's anyone you have to thank, it's Zhou Qin," Sun Li said, looking over at Zhou Qin as well. "She's the one who managed to convince the director about what really happened. If she didn't? I don't need to tell you the kind of trouble you'd be in right now."
Li Yundong was taken aback by that revelation. "Zhou Qin? The Zhou Qin?"
Sun Li arched an eyebrow. "Is there another Zhou Qin that you know of?"
Li Yundong stared at Zhou Qin's retreating figure for a while. Then, he nodded and returned his gaze to Sun Li. "Well I'll be damned," he said in awe. "You mean the ice queen actually said something fair for once?"
Sun Li snorted. "And now you are the one who isn't being fair," Sun Li said in distaste. "She defended you, yet you're speaking ill of her behind her back. Get over there and thank her properly! Now!"
Li Yundong grinned at Sun Li. "Yes, Ma'am!" Li Yundong saluted. "You know what you should do after you graduate, class rep? Teach young kids! It'd be a waste of your talent if you don't!"
"Why are you still standing around here talking about me? Go thank Zhou Qin!" Sun Li snapped. "She just rejected your confession, yet she's still helping you?" Sun Li snorted. "Who knows, you might actually get a second chance."
Li Yundong laughed out loud.
I never confessed to you. So why did you help me? Li Yundong nearly blurted out those words. Nearly. He managed to hold his tongue at the last minute when he realized just how flirty they sounded.
Sun Li rolled her eyes at Li Yundong as though she had read his mind. "Li Yundong!" Sun Li said in a surly tone. "Let me give you a word of advice, pal. It's best if you don't behave so frivolously in front of your girlfriend next time."
Sun Li turned around with a flick of her dark, silky hair and then walked away.
Stunned, Li Yundong stood there, watching the sway of Sun Li's hips as her shapely figure approached the academic building. I'm frivolous? he thought. Nah, that can't be right, can it?
He turned his gaze towards Su Chan, only to find that she was still staring at Zhou Qin. Holy shit, was that passion in her eyes?
Perplexed, Li Yundong looked towards Zhou Qin again. What's the matter with this girl? Why is she looking at Zhou Qin like that? And what's with the hungry look in her eyes? All of a sudden, a horrifying thought occurred to him. Shit, she's not a lesbian, is she?
Li Yundong stared at Zhou Qin relentlessly, his eyes filled with doubt. When Zhou Qin reached the entrance to the women's dorm, she suddenly turned around, and their eyes met.
Li Yundong gave Zhou Qin a nod of gratitude but got only a look of indifference in return. Clearly, the ice queen was back again. This time, however, there wasn't as much contempt in her eyes when she looked at Li Yundong. Some of it had been replaced with curiosity.
Little did Li Yundong know that while he was busy looking at Zhou Qin, another pair of eyes was glaring at him. After a while, Wu Hui stormed off with an angry huff.