"Where are we going?" Li Yundong turned away from the window beside the passenger seat and shot President Cao a curious glance . "This isn't the way to Dongsheng Realtors . "
Li Yundong found out during his job interview that Dongsheng Realtors had rented out an entire floor to Huasheng Studios, the entertainment company ran by President Cao .
President Cao laughed . "Oh, no . We're not going to my office . Nobody in the city knows about Zhang Guozheng and Tan Fei's arrival . "
"Zhang Guozheng and Tan Fei?" Li Yundong couldn't keep the surprise out of his voice .
President Cao smiled . "Yeah . They're the co-stars of the new TV series that my company is producing . The filming schedule is still being planned, but they wanted to explore the city before filming starts . " President Cao sighed . "As the head of my Huasheng Studios, I'm also in charge of their travel arrangements and security while they are in the city . "
Li Yundong studied President Cao's profile for a moment . "Okay . . . But what does that have to do with me?" Li Yundong asked with a raised brow . "You have a team of professional bodyguards who are trained for the job . "
President Cao sighed . "That's the thing . They think my security team is incompetent," she said in a grim tone . "And I don't blame them, what with all the stuff that's been going on in my company . . . "
"There were a bunch of riots and protests a few months back . And more recently, Wang Yong's stunt . "
"And you're worried that they might terminate the contract with your firm?" Li Yundong paused in thought . "They signed a deal with you, right? That TV series?"
President Cao shook her head . "I don't think they'd go that far . But still, those two are VIPs that I can't afford to piss off if I want to survive in this line of work . If anything happens to them during the filming, or while they're in the city, I'll lose credibility . My career will be over . "
Li Yundong stared out the windshield . "I see . "
They drove in silence for the rest of the journey, which lasted about fifteen minutes .
"Shengyuan Hotel . . . " Li Yundong said once the Lamborghini pulled to a stop in front of a building . This was the same hotel where Zhou Qin's birthday party was held the other night .
"Yeah," President Cao said, killing the engine . "Come on . Let's go meet the movie stars . "
Li Yundong exited the Lamborghini and followed President Cao into the lobby . To his surprise, they didn't stop at the concierge's counter . Instead, President Cao led him towards a cafe at the lobby . He glanced around a few times and immediately understood why President Cao had brought him to that cafe— privacy . The cafe was located near the end of the huge lobby, away from prying eyes . The choice made sense considering the fact that the movie stars had arrived at the city in secret .
Inside the cafe, President Cao stopped in front of the counter and exchanged a few words with a waiter . The waiter nodded and led them to a secluded booth at the back of the cafe . President Cao pulled out her phone once they slid into the booth .
"Do you want to order anything?" President Cao asked without looking away from her phone's screen .
Well, he hadn't had lunch yet, so he could eat . However, after a moment of thought, Li Yundong declined the offer . He didn't want to be eating on the job because of, you know, professionalism .
President Cao began to make some calls . "Hey, Xiao Zhang . It's me . I'm already here at the cafe . Can you give me Zhang Guozheng and Tan Fei's ETA?" President Cao stopped talking and listened to the voice on the phone .
"Sure," President Cao went on, "and tell Da Liu that I won't be needing his services anymore . Yes, Da Liu, the one in charge of security . " There was another pause . "Just tell him that the situation has changed . He'll understand . Yes . I've recruited someone else for the job . " President Cao suddenly looked at Li Yundong and smiled . "Of course he's qualified . Yeah . It's a last minute thing though . " A crease formed between President Cao's brows . "What do you mean you don't know how to tell him?" President Cao rolled her eyes . "What, are you saying you want me to tell him myself? What am I paying you for, anyway? Fine . Be on standby . Wait for further instructions . "
President Cao hung up the phone with a snort . "Young girls these days . . . " she grumbled . Then, President Cao looked up as though sensing Li Yundong's eyes on her . She smiled, then shrugged . "My assistant . "
Li Yundong smiled back . "Problems?"
President Cao opened her mouth to speak, but closed it again when her phone vibrated against the table . She took one glance at the screen and sighed . She gave Li Yundong an apologetic look and slid out of the booth "Sorry . I have to take this . "
"Go ahead, don't worry about me . "
President Cao left the booth in a hurry . Li Yundong sat back and studied the cafe's interior . Ten minutes later, when President Cao still didn't return, he was starting to feel bored . He reached into his pocket and took out the talisman that Su Chan had given him before they parted ways at the campus gates .
The more he studied the talisman though, the more peculiar he found it . The first thing he found strange was the texture of the paper . On the surface, it looked thin, like it would tear if he applied the slightest bit of force onto it . However, when he tried to pull it apart with his fingers, the paper felt sturdy . It wouldn't even bend . It was as though the talisman was made from an ultrthin piece of concrete rather than paper . And here was the weirdest part—the talisman released a burst of green light and vibrated in his hand the moment he tried to pull it apart . Next thing he knew, his hand was repelled from the talisman .
Li Yundong took a deep breath to calm his hammering heart . He glanced around the booth to see if anyone had seen that flash of green light . He really didn't want to run into any more trouble . Thankfully, nobody noticed anything strange because of how hidden the booth was .
The talisman fluttered in the air for a moment, then lay motionless on the table . A sense of wonderment filled his heart as he stared at the piece of paper which, according to Su Chan, could summon lightning and cause instantaneous weather changes .
It was President Cao's voice that brought him out of his trance-like state a while later . He raised his gaze and saw President Cao approaching the booth with her phone still pressed to her ear . Li Yundong quickly placed his palm over the talisman and removed it from the table . By the time President Cao slid back into the booth, the talisman was safely stored inside his pocket .
President Cao put her phone away and gave him an apologetic smile . "Sorry about that . They're both late . " She sighed . "Well, you know how it is with hotshots like them . "
Li Yundong shrugged and got comfortable in his seat . "Guess we'll just have to wait . "
"They're here . Finally," President Cao growled .
Li Yundong turned around in the booth and saw a man and a woman heading over towards them .
"About damn time," President Cao said, rising to her feet . Despite the irritation he'd detected in her tone, President Cao was smiling . Li Yundong followed President Cao's lead and rose from his seat as well . President Cao was already moving away from their booth towards the two movie stars .
Li Yundong glanced at the clock and realized that he and President Cao had spent over two hours waiting for the movie stars to show up . From the booth, Li Yundong saw President Cao shaking hands with the celebrities, both of whom were wearing sunglasses . The man, Zhang Guozheng, was tall—probably around 180 cm . He had a square face, a chiseled jaw, and looked to be in his early thirties . In a green, Polynesian dress and also a pair of high-heels with white straps, Tan Fei looked like a diva straight out of a fashion magazine .
When President Cao and the two movie stars arrived at the booth, Li Yundong stepped aside to make way .
"How come it's just you two?" President Cao asked as they all took their seats again . "Where are your agents?
Zhang Guozheng removed his sunglasses . "They're dealing with our luggage . We've decided to come see you first . " Zhang Guozheng's eyes found Li Yundong . "And . . . Is this your younger brother, President Cao?"
President Cao laughed . "No, he's not . He's Li Yundong, the man who will be keeping you safe throughout your visit . "
Silence passed as Zhang Guozheng regarded Li Yundong with skeptical eyes .
"He looks young, right?" President Cao went on . "But don't let his youth fool you . I assure you, he's a total badass . "
More silence .
A while later, Li Yundong decided to break the silence . He nodded politely and said, "Hello, Mr . Zhang . "
Zhang Guozheng merely smiled at Li Yundong and said nothing .
Someone giggled .
"A badass?" Tan Fei said snidely . "Is this some kind of joke, President Cao?" Tan Fei stopped talking to give Li Yundong a onceover . "When you mentioned on the phone about a badass who single-handedly took out a suicide bomber, I imagined a tough military guy, not some kid who looks like he's barely passed puberty . "
Silence spread in the booth .
President Cao suddenly laughed, though Li Yundong could tell that it was forced . "Well, we shouldn't judge a book by its cover, Miss Tan . "
"Don't judge a book by its cover?" All of a sudden, Tan Fei removed her sunglasses, then leaned forward to take a closer look at Li Yundong . "Tsk, tsk, tsk . . . Not bad, President Cao . You really know how to pick the good-looking ones . Although . . . " Tan Fei glanced sideways at President Cao . "Running security isn't the only thing he does for you, is it?"
What the hell? Li Yundong clenched his jaw and balled his fists under the table .
"Miss Tan," President Cao seethed, leaning forward as well . "This young man is an expert we have hired to ensure your safety . So I'd appreciate it if you treat me and my employee with respect . "
Tan Fei laughed . "Relax, President Cao . I was only joking . " Then, Tan Fei batted her lashes at Li Yundong . "Well… If you're really that good, why don't you show me a few moves and prove me wrong . "
Li Yundong sneered inwardly . So this was the real Tan Fei, the so-called "elegant beauty . " Three minutes with the woman and Li Yundong couldn't detect a single ounce of elegance in her . Clearly, her public persona was as fake as her lashes .
Li Yundong smirked and rose to his feet . "Well . I must say that this has been a complete waste of my time . " He chuckled . "Miss Tan . . . You clearly don't think I'm qualified to be put in charge of your safety . So I'm gonna get out of your hair now . " He smiled . "Good luck defending yourself against a gun or a knife without me . Oh, and I'd watch my six if I were you . You don't exactly have a winning personality . " The smug look on Tan Fei's face morphed into a scowl, but Li Yundong ignored her and nodded at President Cao instead . "Have a good day, President Cao . I'll head back to the university . Let me know when you have another assignment for me . "
"You—" One of Tan Fei's arms swept across the table when she tried to stand up, knocking a half-filled coffee cup off the edge of the table . Li Yundong's hand shot out quickly and held the cup upright near the edge of the table . Hot coffee sloshed against the rim of the cup when Li Yundong set the cup back onto the table .
Li Yundong smirked . "Might wanna be careful there, Miss Tan . " He glanced down at Tan Fei's feet . "Don't wanna ruin those fancy shoes . "
Which, he was sure, cost more than his month rent .
Li Yundong left the booth with a smile on his face .
The bright side? He got exempted from the exams without having to do anything at all . How cool was that?