Darkness greeted Li Yundong the moment he stepped into the apartment . “Princess, I’m home,” he hollered, shutting the door behind him . He stood at the door, waiting for an answer . There was none, only the echoes of his own voice .
He moved away from the door and stopped beside the couch . The TV was turned off and the remote was lying on the couch . “Princess?”
Had she gone to bed already? Li Yundong frowned and padded into the kitchen . That made no sense; it wasn’t her bedtime yet . It was only 9 PM when President Yin dropped him off .
Li Yundong placed the bag of takeout boxes on the dining table, then walked over to the fridge . Most of the food in the fridge was gone, which meant that Su Chan most likely had her dinner already . He placed the two cups of ice-cream beside the Greek yogurt tub before shutting the fridge .
A slow smile spread across Li Yundong’s face . “Su Chan… You can come out now, you know . I know you’re trying to scare me . It won’t work . ” His smile grew wider when he remembered the last time she had tried to sneak up on him . They were still staying at their old apartment back then . She tried to scare him while he was cooking in the kitchen but got startled by him instead .
“Come on, Su Chan… Enough games . Come out and eat! I’ve bought supper!” he yelled, fully expecting to hear the pitter-patter of Su Chan’s footsteps as soon as those words left his mouth . Food always worked on Su Chan . Always .
Not this time, apparently .
Seconds turned into minutes . Still, there were no signs of his princess . A sinking sensation formed at the pit of his stomach . Where the hell is she? He left the kitchen and headed for her room . He knocked on her door a few times . When he didn’t get an answer, he tried the door knob and found that the door was unlocked . Su Chan’s scent assaulted his nostril the moment he pushed the door open . He walked in and came to a halt when his eyes landed on the empty bed . The sinking sensation grew .
“Come on, Su Chan… Quit messing around!” Li Yundong yanked open her wardrobe, half-expecting to see Su Chan pouncing on him or tackling him to the floor . However, instead of a beautiful girl with childlike innocence, he was greeted by the sight of dresses and blouses—an entire row of them, hung neatly on hangers .
If this was her idea of scaring him, it was working . It was f*cking working .
He slammed the wardrobe shut and glanced around frantically . He hurried towards the corner of the bedroom and drew the curtains apart . Light from the city trickled in, highlighting the evidence of Su Chan’s absence: the neatly-made bed; her pajamas hanging on the clothes rack .
He unlocked the sliding door, then poked his out . No signs of Su Chan on the balcony either . “F*ck… Where is she?” he muttered . He shut the sliding door, then leaned his back against it . Maybe she’s in the bathroom…
The thought had him scurrying out of the bedroom . Moments later, he stood outside the bathroom with his heart in his throat . She’d checked both bathrooms and came up empty .
What if she left the apartment to look for him? He ran back into the kitchen and then grabbed his phone from the kitchen counter . With shaky hands, he switched on his phone . The phone pinged with dozens of missed call notifications, thanks to his “fans . ” He ignored the notifications and dialed Su Chan’s number instead . Horror filled his chest when Su Chan’s ringtone drifted into the kitchen . He exited the kitchen, following the sound of the ringtone .
A soft glow lit up a corner of the living room near the curtains . No… No… F*ck… No… He bent down and picked up Su Chan’s phone from the floor . The back cover was a little loose, and there was a chip on the phone’s edge .
Something must have happened here . Was Su Chan attacked? He glanced around like a maniac, looking for any signs of a struggle or forced entry . But the living room was immaculate . Nothing seemed out of place . So why would she drop her phone here? And where the hell is she?
Li Yundong got to his feet and started pacing the living room . Alright man… Calm down and think… Suppose that Su Chan was indeed attacked . And right now, he couldn’t find her anywhere inside the apartment . What did that imply? Obviously, Su Chan was no longer inside the apartment, so either she had managed to escape from the apartment, or someone had kidnapped her . He prayed that it was the former . He prayed and prayed as he moved past the living room towards the front door . His throat constricted the moment he checked the shoe rack .
Su Chan’s shoe was still there, which meant she hadn’t escaped . She’d been taken . Someone came into the apartment and took her . The intruder must have knocked her out because there were no signs of a struggle . That must also be why Su Chan dropped her phone . A swish sounded above him, throwing Li Yundong into high alert . He’d heard that noise before, like someone waving a flag or a piece of cloth .
Who indeed? Lin Youfa? Those Zhengyi wackos?
Another swish . This time it came from the kitchen . Li Yundong eyed the door of the apartment . Should he make a run for it? Okay, say he managed to get out of the apartment . And then what? Go to the police and report Su Chan missing? That thought made him sick to the stomach .
Again, another swish . The bathroom! Without ado, Li Yundong charged towards the bathroom—the one beside Su Chan’s room—and slammed the door shut before locking the door from the outside .
Got you now, you son of a bitch…
“Where is she?” Li Yundong yelled from outside the bathroom . “Where the hell did you take her? I know you—”
Wait a minute… Wait a f*cking minute…
Li Yundong backed away from the bathroom and hurried back into the living room . If the intruder had succeeded in kidnapping Su Chan, why would they still be here lurking around in the apartment? Hope kindled inside Li Yundong . The intruder is still here . Which means… Su Chan might still be hiding inside the apartment . Li Yundong moved his Qi to his Shenting and walked to a spot in the living room where he knew would put him right at the center of the entire apartment .
When the familiar buzzing returned to his ears, Li Yundong began to sort through the ambient noise . The noises from the neighborhood were muffled since all the sliding doors were closed . If he heard anything at all, it would most like come from inside the apartment .
Clock ticking… the fridge’s humming… Come on, princess… make some noise… Water dripping… That goddamn swishing sound again… His own breathing… Come on…
Then he heard it . A whimper . He focused harder and isolated that noise from the rest . Oh God…
Li Yundong charged into his bedroom and yanked open the door of his wardrobe . Su Chan’s limp figure fell out and collapsed into his arms . Her face was pale and her forehead was covered in sweat . She was barely breathing .
Li Yundong’s mind was racing . Never in his life had he felt so terrified . His heart was beating so rapidly that it was like his chest could burst open any second . Cradling Su Chan in his arms, he ran out of his room and placed Su Chan on the couch . Hang on, princess . Please hang on… With all the haste he could muster, he opened the living room’s sliding door and hurried back to the couch .
Then, he picked up Su Chan’s limp form and placed her on the floor, where he got her into a meditative posture . Using his knees to keep her body upright, he pressed his fingers on Su Chan’s head and performed the Three-Pronged Flower Gathering technique . Barely a minute into the massage, Su Chan whimpered and slumped sideways to the floor . Li Yundong dropped to his knees and tried to help her into a sitting position again . Su Chan groaned .
“Shh… Hold still, I’m not done yet,” he whispered .
Su Chan pushed his hands away . “No…” she said weakly . “R- Run… Leave me…”
“Don’t be silly!” he growled . “I’m not f*cking leaving you . ”
There was that annoying swish again . What the f*ck? Li Yundong’s gaze snapped to the bathroom, whose door was still closed . “How the hell did it…”
Li Yundong’s body skidded along the floor after Su Chan shoved him away . The explosiveness and strength behind that shove took him by complete surprise . Before he could react, Su Chan’s body flew across the living room and crashed into the wall at the far end .
“No!” Li Yundong was up on his feet in an instant . When he reached the wall, Su Chan was coughing and struggling to sit up .
“Su Chan… Are you alright? Tell me where it hurts?”
Su Chan shook her head weakly . “E- Eyes… on… t- the… the enemy…”
Li Yundong rose to his feet, making sure to put his body in front of Su Chan . What the f*ck happened? Something had clearly struck Su Chan, but he didn’t see anything just now . It was like some kind of invisible force had rammed into Su Chan . And what the f*ck was causing that swishing noise? I thought I’d trapped it inside the bathroom… Could there be more than one intruder?
Get out . They had to get out of the apartment first .
Li Yundong crouched down and picked up Su Chan’s body from the floor, then made a dash towards the front door .
“You’re not going anywhere, you demon witch!”
All of a sudden, Su Chan’s body was ripped away from his arms . Next thing he knew, he was falling forward as though he had tripped over some kind of invisible object . Light exploded behind his eyes when the back of his head smashed into the wall .
By the time Li Yundong climbed back to his feet, Su Chan’s body was floating in midair, her arms dangling limply from her shoulders . Long strands of her dark tresses hung down vertically like a dark waterfall around her head .
A ball of heat formed inside Li Yundong’s lower belly . “Let . Her . Go!”
“Stay out of this, you filthy man! My business is with this demon witch, not you . And if you get in my way, I’ll destroy you too!”
Li Yundong growled . “Give her back!” Li Yundong jumped forward and activated Xianjue at the same time . Su Chan’s body drifted to his left, just like he’d predicted . He wrapped his arms around Su Chan’s waist and yanked her towards him with all his strength . A loud swish sounded and Su Chan was once again back in his arms .
He placed Su Chan down on the floor and jabbed his finger into her Renzhong . A moment later, Su Chan gasped and blinked her eyes open . The loud swish sounded in three rapid successions, like it was angry .
“You will regret this, you prurient fool!”
The curtains fluttered harshly .
“You have two options,” Li Yundong said coldly . “You either show yourself or you get the hell out of our home . ”
A strong gust of wind ripped through the living room . Then, he saw it . Something materialized in the air slightly below the ceiling . It was a piece of red cloth . No . Not just any cloth, it was a piece of damask, a three-foot-long damask which glowed in a greenish light .
A familiar voice came out from the red damask . “I’m going to say this one last time, demon witch . Hand over the Renyuan Jindan! Or suffer the full wrath of the Zhengyi School!”
“We don’t know any Renyuan Jindan,” Li Yundong said coldly . “Now get the hell out!”
A contemptuous laugh blared out from the damask . “Another lecherous fool that this demon slut had bewitched…”
Anger flared inside Li Yundong . “Watch your mouth…”
“And now you’re about to die for that demon witch . How pathetic . ”
There was a sudden flash of red light . The red damask whizzed forward like an arrow travelling at the speed of a bullet .