Raising a Fox Spirit in My Home-Chapter 76
Su Chan had always assumed that Li Yundong was the living personification of dumb luck. Now, she was starting to think that she’d gotten it all wrong. This couldn’t have been dumb luck. This had to be fate. They were meant to find each other that fateful night, perhaps by the design of some higher power.
All of a sudden, everything was starting to come together. Details of their meeting that night flashed in her mind: her successful theft of the Renyuan Jindan; Master’s willingness to aid in her escape; the fact that she ended up inside his apartment building of all places in the city, outside his door no less; her decision to hide the Jindan in his mouth; even the fact that there was soup in that bowl of half-eaten noodles.
Coincidence? No sir, I think not.
Nine lotus thrones.
The first time she tried, she only managed one lotus throne before it blew apart and she woke up from her meditative state.
Only a genius could pull that off.
Li Yundong, her beloved, was a genius. A legend in the making. Holy wow.
Su Chan felt a gentle shake on her shoulder. Li Yundong was now looking at her with concern.
Su Chan nodded feebly. Nine…
“Look, I’m not lying just to impress you,” Li Yundong said. He sounded desperate. “Did you really think so little of me?”
Great, now she had hurt his feelings. Way to go, Chan’er.
“I believe you…” Su Chan whispered.
“Y- you do?”
Su Chan nodded.
“But you seemed so shock just now…” Li Yundong narrowed his eyes at her. “Then all of a sudden, you had this loopy smile on your face, and you were looking at me like I was a celebrity or something.”
In a few more years, you will be.
Su Chan gave herself a mental shake. “N- no, it’s fine. I was just surprised, that’s all,” she said.
“The good kind?”
The hopeful tone in his voice nearly made her laugh. Good? More like legendary.
“Yep,” she said.
“Phew… I thought I screwed up when the thing blew apart. It was weird as shit though,” he said. “I was actually aiming for more, but then everything went kaboom the moment I finished the ninth.” Li Yundong raised both palms. “I know, I know, that sounded like an excuse for being lazy or a quitter, but that’s not it, you see. I tried to keep practicing after the explosion, I swear. But there were these lotus seeds flying out when the throne exploded. And shit, those things packed a wallop! I mean they flew towards me and hit my body like a bunch of meteorites! The next thing I knew, I was awake. Argh, shit. I screwed up didn’t I. Look, why don’t I just try again—”
“Yundong, stop talking,” Su Chan said. “You passed.”
Silence stretched between them. The curtains billowed in the night wind.
“I- I did?”
“Yes, you did. The throne blew up because you reached your limit, not because you screwed up,” Su Chan clarified.
“Oh, wow… I passed,” Li Yundong said. “So… what, I’m about to enter a new phase of training?”
“Will I be able to breathe fire?”
There was a moment of silence. Then, Su Chan burst into giggles. Boy, it felt good to laugh after all that tension.
“No, dummy. Haha. You’re now ready to enter the third phase. The Ningshen phase.”
Li Yundong’s face lit up in a way that turned Su Chan’s insides gooey.
“Hah. I got a smile out of you. Finally.” Li Yundong’s smile faded. “You had me worried there, you know. One moment you were in shock, then you were smiling. After that, you went back to being in shock again. I thought I did something wrong.”
Su Chan gave him her best smile. “No, beloved. You did really well.”
Li Yundong grinned. “All thanks to my best girl.”
How on earth did she get so lucky?
“So shall I continue training?” Li Yundong asked.
Good question. Should he continue? No. He should rest for the night. He had clearly reached his limit. Visualizing nine lotus thrones during Guanxiang was bound to be taxing.
Su Chan shook her head. “No, we should call it a night.”
Yes, they should. He needed to rest, while she needed some time to process everything.
Her beloved was a genius. Wow.
The warmth of the morning sun teased Li Yundong awake. He sat up, swung his legs over the edge of the bed, then released a long sigh. A white beam shot out of his mouth like an arrow. The curtains rustled noisily and were flung apart as the white streak hurtled past the sliding door — he left it open when he went to bed last night— towards the balcony.
What in the…
Li Yundong scrambled to his feet and ran after the white beam. He reached the edge of the balcony in record time, hands grasping the railing, eyes staring out into the cityscape. The beam whizzed through the morning air, past neighboring balconies, before slowing into a gentle glide and disintegrating into a poof of white gas.
For some strange reason, he kept hearing this constant buzz in his ear. He glanced around the balcony, half-expecting some kind of remote-controlled drone to appear. But no, there was no drone. The buzzing seemed to be coming from within his ear. Was something wrong with his ear? God, he sure hoped not. Was this some kind of divine punishment? Because he tried to visualize the Buddha last night? Alright, calm down, Li Yundong. Calm down. Just chill, and think. He spent the next few moments collecting himself. Then, he closed his eyes and focused on the buzzing in his ears. Seconds later, he realized that the buzzing wasn’t a single noise, but a combination of overlapping noises. When he focused hard and tried to isolate the noises, he heard… the sound of a baby’s wailing?
Maybe a neighbor’s child?
He opened his eyes and glanced around a few times. All he saw were empty balconies. He didn’t see any crying babies.
Wait… why do I get the feeling that…
Something told him that the baby’s voice came from his left. He whipped his head to his left. But there was nothing on his left, nothing but empty air. Unless…
He glanced down until his eyes landed on the compound of his apartment building.
Holy mother of God…
There was a stroller downstairs by the streetlamp. A young woman was bent over the stroller, presumably trying to calm the crying baby. Li Yundong tore his eyes away and looked up at the sky instead. Don’t be stupid, Li Yundong. You’re f*cking twenty floors up. The baby’s wailing diminished into a buzz. Unable to help himself, he tried to isolate the baby’s voice again. This time, he heard another voice alongside the baby’s wailing. It was a woman’s voice.
“Yes, Ma’am. Did you feed him this morning?” A pause. “He wouldn’t stop crying… Okay… Yes, Ma’am. I understand. I’ll call you again to give you some updates. Bye.”
Shit… It can’t be…
Li Yundong glanced down again towards the streetlamp. The stroller was still there, but the woman was no longer bent over it. Instead, she was standing beside it, staring down at the baby. Li Yundong leaned himself over the railing. Then, he focused his eyes on the woman and squinted. Before he could chastise himself for being ridiculous (squinting would give you a clearer view of an object twenty floors down? Really, Li Yundong?), his view of the woman magnified in his mind; it was as though he had a pair of internal binoculars fitted inside his eye sockets. Then, before he could start questioning his sanity, he noticed the smartphone clutched tightly in the woman’s right hand.
“Arrgghh!” Li Yundong flinched back and scrambled away from the railing, losing his footing in the process. His butt hit the balcony’s floor, though he barely felt the impact. What the hell…? Had he gone nuts? He shook his head hard, then smacked his ears a couple of times. The buzzing in his ears was still there. Without ado, he clambered to his feet and approached the balcony. That was when he noticed the difference. Everything in his surroundings seemed clearer, brighter even. Li Yundong raised his palms and studied them as though they held the secrets to his bizarre experience. At first glance, his palms seemed normal. Brighter and clearer, of course, but normal. He hadn’t turned green or anything, thank f*ck. Then, he remembered what he did earlier when he tried to focus his vision on the woman beside the stroller. He took a deep breath and tried the same thing on his palms. Oh my God… The moment he thought about taking a closer look at his palm, his vision responded by zooming in and sharpening the image of his palm. Heck, he could even see the pieces of dirt lodged between the folds of his skin! It was like he’d just turned into the Terminator or something. No. Not the Terminator. This felt more like Peter Parker when he first woke up after being bitten by the spider.
Li Yundong lowered his hands and clutched the railing. He closed his eyes. F*ck. I think I need to sit down. The buzzing droned on inside his ears. Suddenly, he wondered if the zooming and focusing applied to his hearing as well. Maybe that was how he managed to isolate the sound of the baby crying earlier. He took a breath and concentrated his mind on the buzzing sound. He focused on one sound, blocking out the rest with his mind. It worked. Now, he could hear the sizzling of a pan, the sound of plates being placed on a wooden table, then the loud click of a toaster. But where did it come from? Where was the source? Focus, Li Yundong. He heard another loud click, this one sounded like a stove being turned off, then the sound of a chair being pulled out. Li Yundong’s eyes snapped open, and he glanced towards his two o’clock. Through the balcony of the apartment four floors below his, he saw a couple having breakfast at the dining table. The balcony’s sliding door was open, and the couple appeared to be just starting their breakfast. He strained his ears again. The sound instantly became clearer: the scraping of cutleries against plates; the crunching of toast; I have a conference today, honey; oh, okay, good luck; yeah, I’ll definitely need luck on my side… this is my chance to impress the boss…
This was really happening. He had just woken up with super hearing and telescopic vision…
No. He needed more proof.
Li Yundong tore his gaze away from the couple eating breakfast. Immediately, the couple’s voices diminished into a low buzz. Huh. Li Yundong filed that information away: hearing works like vision; responds instantly to thoughts, intent, and mental focus. Next, he turned his head in the direction of the supermarket, which he knew was at least a few hundred meters away from the apartment building. He willed his mind to focus. Sure enough, his telescopic vision responded by zooming in and giving him a magnified plus sharpened image of the supermarket’s facade. He could even make out the Chinese characters printed across the supermarket’s signage. Then, he felt a sudden urge to test out the limits of his senses. It certainly helped that he was standing on the 20th floor of a tall building. He raised his head and looked out of the balcony towards the cityscape. He zoomed, zoomed, and zoomed until he saw something that made his knees go weak.
It was a street sign that he was familiar with, except that it was more than ten miles away.
Ruan Hongling pushed her hands off the floor of her balcony then landed on her feet, completing a perfect handspring. Her loose, white T-shirt fluttered in the morning breeze as she bent down to grab the water bottle she had placed near the railing before she began her morning gymnastics drills. She uncapped the bottle and took a sip, then leaned her hip against the railing to appreciate the view. One thing she loved about staying at New Hongshen District was the view it provided, especially during the mornings. Facing her own block was another apartment building. The two blocks were so close that she was provided a full view of the balconies—
Ruan Hongling gasped and staggered backwards with both hands clutching her chest. Beside her feet, the bottle rolled around, spilling water everywhere. Ruan Hongling averted her gaze almost instantly. She felt like she would die if she held his gaze for more than two seconds. She breathed in deep, then patted her chest a few times. It’s him… The guy I saw the other day from the gazebo! She had no doubt that it was the same guy because she felt as though she’d been run over by a high-speed truck the moment their eyes met. The exact same thing had happened when she saw him from the gazebo.
Ruan Hongling crouched down and righted the water bottle. Hey, wait a minute… Isn’t that where—
Ruan Hongling sprang to her feet and glanced towards the opposite building again. The guy was already gone, but it didn’t matter. She recognized that area of the building. When she tried to trace the source of the eleven-minute roar with her red damask the other day, she’d narrowed down her search to precisely that area!
Then, it all clicked.
Oh, my God… They are the same person…
That must be why the hit-by-a-truck effect was strong enough to stagger her when their eyes met earlier. The guy must’ve raised his CQ since the day she saw him from the gazebo. The eleven-minute roar she heard that night must have occurred right after he made progress in Cultivation.
Can’t believe that was just days ago… How could anyone raise their CQ in just days? Not to mention how young he was! Yet he could manage a roar that surpassed even that of Wang Yangming? Eleven minutes straight! What a prodigy!
Which Cultivation school was he affiliated to? Could he be from her own school? No. That wasn’t possible. She would’ve heard of him ages ago if he was from her school…
Ruan Hongling pushed away from the railing, shaking her head. She was going nowhere with these wild speculations and guesses. The only way to find out for sure was to pay the man a visit.
What the heck was that about? Li Yundong thought as he stared holes at the ceiling. He’d been lying on his bed for the past ten minutes, trying to figure out that weird feeling he had when he met the eyes of the girl from the building across from him. At this point, he only knew two things for certain: A) she was the same girl he’d seen a few days ago, the one with the piercing eyes; B) there was something else different about him other than his super hearing and telescopic vision.
That girl’s reaction baffled him.
The moment their eyes met, she practically jumped backwards like she was terrified of him.
But I didn’t even do anything…
Li Yundong released a sigh and ran his hand through his hair. After seeing the girl’s reaction, he’d actually run into the bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror just to make sure that he hadn’t grown horns or fangs. Well, it turned out that he wasn’t sporting any pointy objects on his face. Yet that strange girl’s reaction just now was as though she was looking at a zombie.
Whatever. Who cares… maybe she has a phobia related to men…
Indeed, as baffling as it was, that girl’s reaction wasn’t even the thing that bothered him the most. What bothered him the most was the feeling he had before their eyes even met. It was like he knew that—
Shit. Just thinking about it made him feel like a lunatic, a complete cuckoo. Nah. He must’ve been mistaken. He couldn’t possibly have known. He should probably just chalk it up to some weird deja vu shit.
He shoved those thoughts to the back of his mind, then stood up.
About time he got his ass out of bed and started preparing breakfast. After all, no amount of super hearing or telescopic vision could feed his girlfriend who also happened to have a super appetite.
Something was wrong. Something was very, very wrong. Su Chan knew because Li Yundong didn’t even react when she stole a good half of his fried eggs from his plate. He seemed pensive and somber, like he was ruminating on something. When she woke up this morning, she expected Li Yundong to be his cheerful self. After all, what was there not to be happy about? He’d risen three dans in a single night, for Tao’s sake!
Su Chan reached across the dining table and touched Li Yundong’s hand. “Yundong…”
“What’s the matter? Why… Why don’t you look happy?”
He sighed. “I just… Well, I’ve… I’ve had a strange morning.”
Su Chan tensed up. Had something gone wrong with his training last night?
“Strange how?” she asked carefully, laying down her fork.
“Well, I can hear and see better now,” Li Yundong said with a tiny smile. “Much better.”
A surge of joy coursed through Su Chan. Hooray, hooray!!! Which means he’s already passed the first two dans of the Ningshen phase! But wait… Why isn’t he happy?
“Isn’t that a good thing?” Su Chan asked.
“That’s great and all, but right after that, I experienced something… totally weird,” Li Yundong said with another sigh. “And to be honest, it kinda creeped me out a little. I thought I could forget all about it, but right now I just can’t stop thinking about it.”
“What is it? Tell me,” Su Chan said, shifting forward in her chair.
Silence filled the space between them.
Li Yundong seemed to be having a hard time finding his words.
“Don’t worry,” Su Chan said gently. “Just tell me exactly what you felt. I promise I won’t make fun of you.”
Li Yundong huffed out a breath. “This is gonna sound crazy, but have you ever felt like… like you knew something would happen seconds before it actually happened?”
Understanding dawned on Su Chan. Oh, my… Could it be that he…
“Go on,” Su Chan said anticipatorily.
“Alright, here’s the thing. Earlier, when I was outside my bedroom, on the balcony, I suddenly felt… no, more like I knew, that someone would watch me. It wasn’t just a vague feeling either. It was like I was one hundred percent sure of that knowledge. And right after I had that feeling…” Li Yundong shook his head as though he was in awe. “There were these images in my head… It’s like I was having a vision. And the images came so fast, like in flashes. Even so, I could see them clearly if I focused my mind on them. In the first vision, I saw this girl in a white T-shirt, doing some kind of gymnastics flip on her balcony. That balcony looked familiar at first. I quickly realized that it belonged to the building opposite ours. After that, I saw the girl turn towards me, then jump back in shock. It was like I scared the shit out of her. All the images were gone after that. My head was spinning a little by then because those images were so vivid you know. It was like I was really experiencing them… When it was over, I got kinda curious, so I turned and looked towards the opposite building. And f*ck… you’re not gonna believe this. I mean, there she was, the exact same girl. She was there on her balcony, doing flips, but then she suddenly looked towards me. When our eyes met, she jumped back in fear, exactly like what I saw in those visions!” Li Yundong carded his hands through his hair and sighed. “God, I sound like one of those woo-woo folks, don’t I? You know what? This is stupid. Just forget I said anything. I must’ve imagined it. Maybe there was no girl on that balcony. I must’ve flashed back to those images inside my head when I was looking at the balcony. That’s gotta be it, right?”
Li Yundong was now looking at her as though he was begging her to reassure him that he hadn’t gone mad.
Su Chan burst into giggles.
“H-hey, why are you laughing,” Li Yundong said. “You’re creeping me out. Oh God… There is something wrong with me, isn’t there? No, no, no… I’m too young to end up in an asylum…”
“Pfft… Hahaha… No. Just… pfft! Hahahahaha! Give me a moment… Just give me a… a moment…Pfft… Hahaha… Oh my, oh my, pfft! Ahem!” Su Chan schooled her features. “No, beloved. You haven’t gone mad.”
The relief on his face nearly made Su Chan laugh again.
“You did so much better than I thought. I mean, during last night’s training session,” she said.
“Well, it was either that, or you made progress on your own after our training session ended.”
“What! You mean I was training in my sleep?!”
Su Chan grinned at him. “It’s not an uncommon thing among Cultivators,” she said cryptically. In fact, that was the most likely scenario considering that he was a genius.
“Oh wow… Holy shit…” There was a brief pause. Then Li Yundong’s eyes snapped to hers. “So this is the Ningshen phase? The super hearing as well?”
Su Chan bobbed her up and down. “The first three dans of the Ningshen phase, yes,” she said.
“Wait a minute…Three dans?? How the heck did I do that in my sleep?”
Oh… if only you knew how talented you are, beloved. If only you knew…
At this point, it didn’t seem like he had realized the significance of him visualizing nine lotus thrones in a row during Guanxiang. Which was a good thing, since she had no plans of telling him about his talents just yet. Not that she liked keeping secrets from him. This really was for his own good. For one, he might get cocky and start bragging to others if she told him. His life would be in grave danger if word about his talents reached the ears of other Cultivators hidden in the mortal world. They would either try to kill him or force him to join their ranks, neither of which were ideal. Also, cockiness would hinder his progress. Right now, the top priority was to raise his CQ as quickly as possible so that he was strong enough to defend himself when necessary.
Su Chan cleared her throat. “You’ve probably noticed that you can now see objects from a large distance?”
Li Yundong’s eyes gleamed. “Oh, yeah… That part was pretty awesome. I mean I can zoom in and sharpen images and stuff. I feel like I’m Peter Parker or something.”
Beetle der Barker what? She literally had no idea what he just said, but okay.
“Yes, that’s Mingmu, the ability you get once you pass the first dan of the Ningshen phase.”
“Cool. Oh, and there’s this constant buzzing in my ears. But when I isolate the noise, I noticed that it’s actually—”
“Ambient noise. You can now hear from a much greater distance than you used to,” Su Chan cut in. “That’s Eryue, the ability that comes with passing the second dan of the Ningshen phase. And once you’ve passed the third dan, you’ll be capable of something called Xianjue. It makes you… clairvoyant.”
“Holy shit! You mean I’m a psychic?!”
“Well… under certain conditions, yes,” Su Chan said. “For example, if you’re face to face with another person with a Cultivation Quotient lower than yours—”
“You lost me there. Cultivation Quotient?”
“Oh, that’s just a measure of a person’s current level in Cultivation.”
“Oh… kinda like IQ, right?”
“Mm-hmm… Anyway, if that person’s Cultivation Quotient is lower than yours, you’ll always be able to perceive, see, and feel the effects of their actions a few seconds ahead of time.”
Li Yundong slapped his thigh. “Oh! So that’s what happened on the balcony when I saw the girl!”
“Yep!” Su Chan said.
“Wait, won’t I go nuts if I’m constantly having these flashes and hearing noises? Even now, I can still hear this buzzing in my ears…”
“Oh, it’s just a matter of Qi control,” Su Chan said, then poked at her Shenting at the center of her hairline. “Mingmu, Eryue, and Xianjue are only activated when a portion of your Qi is gathered at your Shenting. Just release your Qi from your Shenting and it’ll go away.”
Li Yundong closed his eyes for a second or two, then re-opened them. “It works!” Suddenly, he was looking at her in a way that made her cheeks grow warm. “The depths of your knowledge amazes me, my princess.”
Li Yundong smiled.
“Well, come on then. Let’s finish up breakfast and— Hey! Where did my eggs go??! Holy shit… Did you just… You little— You stole my eggs!!!”
And all was right in the world.
Geez, is she going to make way or not?
Li Yundong stared at Sun Li, who had been looking at him blankly for the past minute or so. She could stare at him all she wanted—what with the world being free and all—but that wasn’t the point; the point was that she was blocking the damn door.
Sun Li’s hand was already on the door handle when he and Su Chan arrived outside the lecture hall a minute ago. But when he greeted her, this hot Sichuan chick turned around, froze, and had been staring at him ever since. I wonder what’s wrong with her today…
“Yo! Class rep!” Li Yundong snapped his fingers and waved his hand in front of Sun Li’s face. “What’s the matter? Can’t recognize me anymore?”
Sun Li nodded weakly, much to Li Yundong’s amusement. “Um… yeah… a little, I guess?” she said. “Something about you feels different today. It’s like you’ve changed into a new person!”
First the weird chick this morning, and now the class rep? What a weird day.
Li Yundong chuckled, then turned to the side to look at Su Chan. “What do you think? Have I changed into a new person?”
Su Chan did her signature giggle, which was adorable as hell.
“Nope!” she said. “But it won’t matter. You’re still my beloved no matter how much you’ve changed!”
Li Yundong laughed, then turned back to Sun Li. “See? I’m still me. Take it from the Li Yundong expert over here,” he said, jerking his thumb in Su Chan’s direction.
Sun Li shook her head and laughed. “God, you two really are insufferable.”
Li Yundong laughed, then gestured at the door.
“After you, class rep,” he said.
As usual, Li Yundong led Su Chan to the back of the lecture hall and took their seats. After a while, the chatter in the lecture hall quieted down. Li Yundong raised his head curiously and saw Ding Nan and Zhou Qin moving past the lectern. At the first row, Zhou Qin suddenly stopped. Then, she began glancing around until her eyes settled on him. Li Yundong gave her a little nod, which was ignored as Zhou Qin’s eyes drifted towards Su Chan. Back to being the Ice Queen again, huh? I told her she should smile more… Well. Her loss, then. Li Yundong turned away and went back to frolicking with Su Chan. The little minx stole his eggs this morning!
Some time later, the chatter in the lecture hall quieted down again. However, it felt different this time, like something in the air had shifted.
Li Yundong glanced towards the entrance and saw Zhao Yujian standing there with a huge bouquet of flowers in his right hand and a cane in his left. Tingles careened down Li Yundong’s spine, and he suddenly felt his muscles tense up.
Something about Zhao Yujian’s presence made him cagey. Maybe it was because the bastard had once tried to kick his head off his shoulders. Then again, what could the guy do with a cane and leg cast?
Suddenly, Li Yundong remembered what Su Chan had told him over breakfast. The Shenting… Maybe he could see what the bastard was up to with his badass psychic abilities?
Li Yundong closed his eyes. A ball of heat formed in his lower Dantian. He guided the heat upwards until it reached his Shenting, then held it there. (T/N: The Shenting is an acupoint just above the forehead, right at the center of a person’s hairline). The buzzing in his ear returned almost immediately. With his eyes still closed, Li Yundong focused his mind on the sound in the classroom. All of a sudden, every single one of his classmates’ whispers became loud and clear.
“Why is he here?”
“How come he’s been discharged so soon?”
“Isn’t he a third-year senior? Why is he here in our class?”
“Psh! You have to ask? To look for Zhou Qin, of course. Didn’t you see the huge bouquet he was carrying?”
Good. It works… Li Yundong opened his eyes and focused his gaze at Zhao Yujian, then willed his eyes to zoom in on his face. Well, just enough to give him a clear view of Zhao Yujian’s face and torso, not so much that he could see the guy’s nose hair or anything. He had no plans on regurgitating his breakfast, thank you very much.
Zhao Yujian was limping away from the door, heading towards Zhou Qin. Zhao Yujian was clearly in pain as he limped forward. Even so, Li Yundong could see the passion in Zhao Yujian’s eyes, eyes that were fixated on Zhou Qin. Damn, this guy really has the hots for Zhou Qin. Well, Zhou Qin might have given him a chance if he wasn’t such an asshole. Too bad.
Zhao Yujian stopped in front of the first row, where Zhou Qin and Ding Nan were sitting together. Li Yundong zoomed out a little so that he could see all three of them. Ding Nan, beautiful as always, was eyeing Zhao Yujian with nothing but disdain whereas Zhou Qin was looking at the guy with pity.
For God’s sake, dude, take a hint. She isn’t interested. Take it from a guy who’s been rejected 21 times…
Then, he heard a loud sigh. Loud for him, anyway.
That sigh came from Zhou Qin.
“Zhao Yujian… why are you so persistent?” said Zhou Qin. “I’ve already told you that a relationship between us is impossible.”
Instead of taking the damn hint, Zhao Yujian held out the huge bouquet. Li Yundong groaned inwardly. Oh, for f*ck’s sake, man…
“Here you go, Zhou Qin,” Zhao Yujian said. “I got this from a florist this morning. It has 99 roses in there! And they’re all fresh.”
Li Yundong focused his telescopic vision on the bouquet instead of Zhao Yujian’s face; he couldn’t even look at the guy at this point.
Another sigh from Zhou Qin.
“Stop this, please!” Zhou Qin said. “Your actions will benefit neither of us.”
Li Yundong could hear the strain in Zhou Qin’s voice.
It was then that he felt it, that weird sensation he had on the balcony this morning, except that it was far more intense this time. It began with a burst of white light in his mind’s eye, which morphed into myriad of bright colors. Grunting, he slid down on his seat and gripped two fistful of his hair. Only when he’d closed his eyes did he realize that those weren’t just colors; they were like pixels of an image.
He felt several tugs on his arm, then he heard Su Chan’s melodious voice. “Yundong? What’s the matter? Yundong… Yun…”
Her voice turned into a distant echo. His mind felt too overwhelmed to process anything.
Focus, Li Yundong! Dammit, focus!
The vision. He had to focus on the vision.
There was another flash. This time, however, Li Yundong was able to piece the pixels together into a continuous series of images, like a video. Zhao Yujian was gesturing the bouquet at Zhou Qin. Zhou Qin answered with a head shake. Then, Ding Nan was saying something: “Hey! Are you done? Don’t you know when to call it quits, you cripple?”
The image flashed again. This time, it showed a blown-up view of the bouquet, which was shaking violently in Zhao Yujian’s grasp. Zhao Yujian gave the bouquet a quick jerk, and one by one, the roses fell off the wrapping to reveal a slick, metallic object. Li Yundong’s head pounded as the image shifted again. The next thing he saw made his blood run cold; Zhao Yujian was pointing a gun at Ding Nan’s head. The image shifted again, this time it showed the door of the lecture hall opening. Li Yundong couldn’t sit around and watch anymore. He had to do something to stop this. He had to warn her. As though responding to his conscious will, the image disappeared in a burst of white light, and Li Yundong’s eyes shot open.
“… call it quits, you cripple?”
Li Yundong sprang to his feet when he caught the last part of Ding Nan’s sentence. Ding Nan had said the exact same thing during in the vision. Oh, my God… This is happening… This is really happening…
Li Yundong flicked a glance towards the first row and saw Ding Nan reaching for the bouquet. He knew then what was about to happen.
“Ding Nan!!! Get away from there! He’s got a gun!”