Someone was sobbing . Sniveling, really, like the person was too afraid to cry loudly even though she was clearly distraught . His eyelids felt heavy, which was strange because just moments ago, he felt as though he had all the power in the world . Darkness greeted him when he opened his eyes . He blinked a few times and wondered what time it was . Light from the city streamed in through the open sliding doors and windows . The light was faint, just enough to cast shadows on the walls and floor .
Gentle sobs drew his attention to his 2 o'clock . He blinked his eyes rapidly, then squinted through the semi-darkness . He saw Su Chan's prostrated form a few feet away . She was kneeling with both arms on the floor and her face buried in them . Her shoulders trembled as she sobbed into her arms .
"S- Su Chan?"
The sobbing stopped and Su Chan's head shot up . Her eyes were wide and they seemed a bit puffy on the edges . Clearly, she had been crying for quite some time . Her cheeks, and nose were red, and her hair was a mess . She was beautiful .
"Y- Yundong? Is that really you?"
What? Of course it was him . Did she expect someone else to be here? "Yeah, of course . Why are you cry—"
His back crashed into the floor, and Su Chan was suddenly on top of him, straddling him . The whole thing would've been erotic if she wasn't sobbing into his chest . Li Yundong's hands rose to pat her back . "Tell me what's wrong?"
"Idiot, idiot, idiot!" Su Chan emphasized how much of an "idiot" he was by pounding his chest with each mention of the word . "I thought I lost you!"
What? Lost him? But he was just meditating, wasn't he? She got out a few more garbled words after that before she dissolved into sobs .
What the heck was going on here? Shouldn't she be happy that he passed the test? Li Yundong stroked her hair gently . "You didn't lose me . See? I'm here now . "
Su Chan didn't answer, though her sobs seemed to have quietened . He wondered what she'd seen to make her cry like this . Did he do something while he was meditating? Did he look like he was dying? He kept comforting her until the sobbing subsided, which took quite a while . Eventually, Li Yundong patted her shoulder a few times and tried to sit up . This time, Su Chan let him . Li Yundong sat up and extended his arms above his head in a long stretch . After that, he looked towards Su Chan, who was drying her tears with her hands . He patted her head . "Ready to tell me what's wrong?"
Su Chan stared at her lap . "I- I thought you were about to fail the test . . . "
Chuckling, he tickled Su Chan's neck . "Tsk, tsk, tsk . So little faith in me . I think you've hurt my feelings . . . "
Su Chan pushed his hand away and looked him in the eye . "Your face . . . It changed completely . It didn't even look like you were in a meditative state anymore . You didn't look peaceful . You looked… You looked like . . . like some kind of maniac with an addiction . I thought . . . I thought your Spirit gave in to the god's control . "
Li Yundong rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly . "Uh . . . well . . . "
"What happened?" Su Chan asked earnestly .
Li Yundong sighed . "The god appeared and then . . . " He shook his head . The whole experience honestly felt so weird that he couldn't even find the words to describe it . "I think the god went inside me? Or was it the other way round . . . I don't know . All I know is that I'm controlling the god's body . And I felt powerful . "
Su Chan inched closer . "And then?"
"I did a lot of things . Flew around in the god's body, and I felt so free, you know? Like I can control everything . Like everything answers to only me, and I get to do whatever I want . "
Su Chan sighed . "That's just an illusion, the illusion of ultimate power . The moment you believe that it's real, it's all over for you . The god would've gained control over your Spirit and you'll be trapped inside that illusion forever . "
Li Yundong didn't know what to say . When she put it that way, it sounded like a really close call . When he was flying around inside his Spirit Space, it did feel real . So real, in fact, that he had entertained thoughts about staying there forever .
"How did you get out?" Su Chan was staring at him intently . "If you're back, then something must have convinced you that it wasn't real . "
Li Yundong recalled the exact moment he realized that something didn't quite add up .
"There was a voice calling me . " Li Yundong paused and then looked up at Su Chan . "Was it you?"
Su Chan shook her head . "I didn't dare make a sound . You were in a deep meditative state . There's a good chance you would go into Zouhuo Rumo state if I disturbed you… " Su Chan studied him curiously for a moment . "That voice… What did it say to you?"
Li Yundong shook his head . "It kept calling my name but that's it . It didn't say anything else . I kept trying to locate the source of the voice, but I just couldn't find it . It was like the voice came from everywhere and nowhere at the same time . That's when I realized that the experience wasn't real . I knew right away that I wasn't omnipotent, that it was all just an illusion . I mean, if I was truly omnipotent, then why couldn't I find the source of the voice?"
Su Chan sighed in relief . "Then after that you came back?"
Li Yundong nodded . "Yeah . The moment I started to doubt the reality of the experience, everything inside my Spirit Space became darker and darker . The god's form dimmed out as well . A while later, I woke up and heard you crying . "
"Thank God . . . " Su Chan said, patting her chest . Then she stopped and suddenly looked up at him . "Yundong . . . What did the god look like?"
Li Yundong studied her face for a brief moment, then smirked . "You tell me yours, and I'll tell you mine . "
Su Chan made a face at him . "I asked you first!"
Li Yundong chuckled and raised his palms in surrender . "Alright, alright . "
"So? What did it look like?"
"It was some strange creature with three heads and six arms . " Li Yundong glanced at Su Chan . "It had my face though . Well, three versions of my face to be exact . Each with a different emotion . "
Suddenly, Su Chan leaped up and grabbed his shoulders . Her eyes were wide . "Three heads and six arms?" she said breathlessly .
Li Yundong frowned . "Uh . . . Yeah? Something wrong with that?"
"Tell me everything . Everything you can recall . "
Li Yundong told her about the strange faces and the object each arm was carrying . When he was done talking, Su Chan sat down limply on the floor . She looked like she'd just seen a ghost .
Minutes later, when Su Chan didn't snap out of her daze, Li Yundong nudged her . "What's the matter?"
Why was she looking at him like he was some kind weird creature?
The vacant expression remained on Su Chan's face . Li Yundong waved his hand in front of her face and nudged her again . "Hello? What's the matter?"
Su Chan gasped, then shook her head . "N- nothing!"
Nope . Not buying it for a second . Li Yundong narrowed his eyes . "You were looking at me strangely . I don't think that's nothing . "
Su Chan clung to his arm . "Hehehe . . . I was just relieved that you made it, beloved . "
Li Yundong pulled back slightly and stared at her . "Really? You were relieved? That's all?"
Su Chan bobbed her head up and down . "Mmm! You've passed the Ningshen phase! I'm so happy!"
Li Yundong smiled . "Which means I'm now ready for the Zhuji phase . Alright then, what are we waiting for? Let's begin! Chop, chop!"
Su Chan giggled . "Such a pervert . You're doing it for the wrong reason!"
"I am not!" He totally was .
"Liar, liar, liar . " Su Chan poked his cheek, then made a face at him .
Li Yundong caught her hand and trapped it against his cheek . "Do not doubt my reasons, princess," he said with a straight face . "I want to become stronger . That's my reason . " Just not the only reason .
Su Chan gave him a sidelong glance, a smirk playing on her beautiful lips . It was a little hard to believe that this was the same girl who had been devastated by his supposed failure just minutes ago .
"You cannot pass the Zhuji phase yet," she said out of nowhere .
Su Chan looked at him as though he had a single-digit IQ . "Because you have to go to school in a few hours?" She pointed at the clock behind him .
"What the—" Li Yundong turned around to look at the clock . "4 . 15AM??" His gaze snapped back to hers . "It took me that long?" Then, something else occurred to him . "Shit… You watched over me for the whole night, didn't you… Are you tired?"
Su Chan yawned as if on cue . "Of course I'm tired! Ugh . . . I just want to sleep . . . "
Li Yundong pulled Su Chan into his lap, then tapped her nose playfully . Su Chan snuggled against his chest .
"Why don't you stay home today? I'll attend class on my own . "
The front of Li Yundong's shirt bunched up when Su Chan fisted it . "No, no, no . . . Don't abandon me . . . You promised!"
Seriously? This again? Li Yundong chuckled . How many times did he have to tell her that he would never abandon her? "Fine," he said . "Why don't you take a short nap first? I'll wake you up when it's time to leave for class . "
Su Chan nodded . "Okay . . . "
Li Yundong smiled and hoisted her up . He carried her into her bedroom, then lay her down on the bed .
"Stay with me?" she said after he had pulled the blanket over her .
Li Yundong's eyes went wide . "What?"
"Stay . Until I fall asleep . "
Li Yundong stared at her in disbelief . She has no idea the effect she has on me, does she? Li Yundong dropped his head with a sigh . Dear God . "Okay . . . Fine . . . " He sat down on the floor beside the bed and watched her .
Seconds later, Su Chan still hadn't closed her eyes . She was staring at him . "What is it? Go to sleep now," he said .
Su Chan adjusted her head on the pillow, then patted the space beside her . Oh c'mon… Surely you're joking, princess… Li Yundong's throat went dry . He gulped . "Uhh . . . I don't think that's a good idea, princess . . . "
"Mmmm . . . " Su Chan whined, then gave him a pleading look . "Please?"
Li Yundong suppressed a groan . Good God, woman . . . "Alright, alright . . . " He climbed up the bed and got settled beside her . Su Chan's scent assaulted his nostrils . The air . The sheets . The pillow . Everything smelled like her . God give me strength . . .
Su Chan snuggled against his side, then rubbed her face against his arm . "Hehehe . . . Much better . "
Li Yundong chuckled and patted her head . "Alright . Go to sleep now . "
Li Yundong lay there for God knows how long . When going through basketball stats didn't work, he began picturing Director Qian and his ever-present comb-over .
A while later, when he noticed that Su Chan's breathing had evened out, he tried to slowly free his arm from her grasp . He needed to get the hell out of the room before his sanity abandoned him for good . However . . .
"Mmmm… Why are you leaving?" Su Chan's watery eyes were on him before he could free his arm . "I'm not asleep yet . "
Li Yundong raised his hands in resignation, then sighed . "Sorry . I thought you were asleep . I won't leave . "
Li Yundong smiled and stroked her hair . "Promise . "
Su Chan held out her pinkie and stared at him . Li Yundong laughed . So she still remembers . . . He hooked his own pinkie to hers, then pressed their thumbs together . "There," he said . "Now go to sleep . "
An hour later, Li Yundong was still there, watching her sleep, entranced by her beauty .
Li Yundong shook her gently nearly three hours later . "Wake up, princess . Time to go to class . "
Su Chan rolled away from him . "Mmm . . . So shleebee . . . " she mumbled .
"Look . Just stay at home and sleep, okay?" Li Yundong said in a gentle tone . "I'll go to class on my own . You don't have to come with me . I'll be home as soon as class finishes . "
Su Chan sat bolt upright, her arms flailing until they snaked around his waist . "No . . . You promeeeshht . " Her eyes weren't even open .
Li Yundong didn't know whether to laugh or cry . "How can you go anywhere in this state?"
Su Chan rubbed her eyes . "Piggy, piggy . . . "
Li Yundong laughed . "What?"
"Piggy, piggy!" she grumbled, sounding totally annoyed .
Li Yundong smiled . "You want me to give you a piggyback ride?"
Su Chan nodded, still rubbing her eyes .
Li Yundong's brows rose to his hairline . "All the way to campus?"
"Yessshhh . . . "
Li Yundong stared up at the ceiling . What had he gotten himself into this time?
All eyes were on them the moment Li Yundong stepped into the lecture hall . He ignored the stares and kept walking down the aisle towards the last row . Nothing to see here, folks . Just a guy treating his girl right . Maybe those dudes could take a page out of his book .
Li Yundong lowered Su Chan onto the seat, which she promptly used as a bed by curling herself like a shrimp and going back to sleep . Li Yundong sat down beside her and began stroking her hair .
"Yo, yo, yo . . . Would you look at that . . . PDA bright and early in the morning?"
Li Yundong turned his head and saw Feng Na and Cheng Cheng approaching him from the opposite end of the last row . Li Yundong smiled at his two seniors . "Morning . "
The two girls stopped beside him, but neither of them sat down . Feng Na was just stared at him strangely whereas Cheng Cheng greeted him with a quick wave . Suddenly, Feng Na pointed at Su Chan . "Why's she so tired?" Feng Na smirked . "Tsk, tsk, tsk . What have you two been up to last night, hmm?"
Li Yundong's face flamed . "Nothing . What are you two doing here anyway? Ah . Don't tell me you failed some of your papers and have to redo your second year?"
"Nonsense!" Feng Na yelled .
Su Chan stirred slightly and rolled over . "Noisshh . . . "
Feng Na had the decency to look embarrassed . She lowered her voice . "I need to discuss something with you . "
"What is it?" Li Yundong whispered .
Feng Na stared at him for a moment .
Li Yundong raised his brows . "Well?"
Feng Na cleared her throat, then sighed . "We need a new president for the Taekwondo Club . "
Li Yundong stared at her blankly until the implication of her words hit him . Li Yundong snorted . "No thanks . I won't take over as the club's president . "
Feng Na's expression shifted from hopeful to panic . "Why not? Zhao Yujian's gone, and you have the teachers' and students' support . You're the perfect choice . "
"First of all, I've indirectly caused Zhao Yujian's death—"
Feng Na opened her mouth to protest, but Li Yundong silenced her with a raise of his hand . "I'm the one who put him in the hospital in the first place," he said . "He wouldn't have planned the assault if he had the chance to perform and show off his skills during the student exchange event . So having me, the person who's partially responsible for his death, replace him as the club's president will be inappropriate, don't you think? Secondly, I'm not a Taekwondo practitioner . I wasn't even formally trained in Taekwondo . Heck, I don't even have belts . I'm not qualified to lead the club . "
Feng Na shook her head . "That's inconsequential . The belts aren't a big issue . You just have to take the exams to get them . "
Li Yundong took a deep breath, then exhaled . "And thirdly . . . " He gave Feng Na a pointed look . "I'm just not interested in running the club . "
Feng Na's face flushed instantly . "Not interested? Then why'd you enroll in the first place?" she challenged .
Li Yundong sighed . "Well I was interested before . " He held Feng Na's gaze . "But not anymore . "
Feng Na frowned . "Why not? You're so good at it!"
Li Yundong looked away briefly before returning his gaze to Feng Na . "Too many bad memories, I guess? Besides, I'm too busy these days . "
Feng Na rolled her eyes and snorted . "Yeah . Too busy making babies with your beautiful girlfriend, I bet . "
Li Yundong gaped at Feng Na .
Redness crept up Feng Na's neck into her cheeks . She raised her chin defiantly . "What? You're going to deny it?"
"Of course I'm denying it . Su Chan and I . . . We haven't . . . " Li Yundong cleared his throat, then shrugged .
Feng Na and Cheng Cheng exchanged a few glances .
Then, Feng Na chuckled . "Yeah, right . "
Li Yundong frowned .
Feng Na gave him a funny look . "No offense, buddy . But you don't seem like the sex-before-marriage type . "
Li Yundong buried his head in his palms . Could this day get any worse?