Everything was perfect until Su Chan started sobbing into his chest again . Just like that, Li Yundong went from mushy, heart-and-flowers romantic mode to a full-blown panic mode .
"Hey, hey . What's wrong, princess?"
Su Chan shook her head . "I'm just so happy and . . . " Suddenly, Su Chan looked up at him tentatively . "Aren't you afraid of me?"
Li Yundong sighed inwardly, then smiled . Looks like it's gonna take a long, long time to convince her that I don't really care . "Nope . I'm not afraid . And I don't get scared that easily . "
"But I'm a fox spirit . People see my kind as demons . "
Li Yundong shrugged . "So?"
"So—" Su Chan gaped, looking adorably baffled . "You do know what a demon means, right? Oh, you know, those vile and evil creatures that—"
"But you don't kill people at random," Li Yundong said in a firm tone . "In fact, it's the opposite . You even helped save lives . Look, let me make something clear . Labels don't mean shit . " Li Yundong shook his head lightly . "I assure you that there are some who are labelled as humans but are pure evil . "
People like He Shao, he added silently .
"Labels don't mean anything, Su Chan . Only your thoughts and actions count…"
"But most people hate me!"
"Well I'm not most people," Li Yundong said pointedly . "And I happen to love you, so . . . "
Su Chan's lips trembled slightly, after which she let out another sob .
Li Yundong patted her head . "Come on, stop crying already . It's gonna be alright, I promise . "
Su Chan bobbed her head . "Mmm!"
Suddenly, Li Yundong lips curved into a smile . "Hey . . . I also have a secret to tell you . "
Su Chan raised her gaze and blinked those huge, watery eyes at him . "Hmm?"
Li Yundong's heart might have just melted a little . He cleared his throat . "Come closer and I'll tell you . "
Su Chan brought her face closer like an obedient little girl .
"You have snot all over your face . . . " he whispered into her ear .
"Kya!! Really? Oh my god!"
The next thing that happened took him by complete surprise . Su Chan yanked the front of his shirt and then used it as some kind of face towel . Li Yundong struggled not to laugh . A moment later, Su Chan released his shirt and started patting her face violently .
"Is it still there . . . " She glanced around frantically as though she was looking for something .
"Umm… You've actually made it worse . . . " Li Yundong said with a straight face .
However, when Li Yundong saw the horrified look on Su Chan's face, he couldn't hold back his laughter anymore . "I was messing with you, geez!"
Su Chan gaped at him for a moment . "Meanie, meanie, meanie!" She slapped his chest . "I thought I looked ugly and terrible and—"
Li Yundong trapped her hand against his chest and smiled . "You don't look ugly, princess . You look perfect . "
Su Chan blushed and tried to look away, but Li Yundong held her chin and prevented her from turning away . "Now I've got some questions . "
Suddenly, Su Chan's eyes turned wary . "W- What?"
Li Yundong gave her a reassuring smile . "There's nothing for you to worry about, okay? I won't abandon you . . . Ever . "
Su Chan sighed . "Okay . . . "
"What happened back at the motel?"
Su Chan hesitated for a few seconds, then said, "I'll tell you everything . But not here . Let's head back to the motel first . "
Li Yundong slapped his forehead . "Oh, shit . . . "
Li Yundong ran a hand through his hair . "I didn't tell the driver to wait for me after I paid the cab fare . The guy left already . It's pretty hard to find a cab here . " Li Yundong paused in thought . "We'll have to walk out to the main road, and who knows we might get lucky and see one driving by . "
"No . We don't have to do that, silly," Su Chan smiled brightly . "I can fly . "
Li Yundong looked up sharply . "But you'll be carrying me and I'm kinda heavy . . . Um . . . Will that be a problem?"
"Nope! Hehehe . . . "
Wow . Okay . He was going to fly . Not by mechanical means, but by magical means . Holy frigging wow .
"Come on," Su Chan said, tugging Li Yundong's arms .
Li Yundong frowned in confusion . "Where are we going? I thought we're flying . "
Su Chan led him away from the Space Shuttle towards the amusement park's gates . "It's too open here . People might see us . "
Li Yundong glanced around . The place was pretty much empty at the moment, but Su Chan was right to practice precaution . They'd had too many close calls lately .
Su Chan led him into a dark alley beside the park .
"Put your arms around me," Su Chan ordered once they were standing in the alley . "Hug me from behind . "
Li Yundong quickly did as he was told . A moment later, Su Chan turned her head around to look at him .
"Whatever you do, don't let go of me," she said . "I don't know what I'd do if you fall off . . . "
Li Yundong chuckled . "Of course I won't let go . I'm not that stupid, you know . . . "
Su Chan pouted and turned away from him . "Okay . . . Ready?"
"Here we go . . . "
Li Yundong gasped and closed his eyes instinctively when a burst of green light exploded around them . The wind howled beside his ear, blustering against his face . When he opened his eyes slowly a few seconds later, he saw nothing but darkness in front of him . But then when he glanced lower, he saw tiny dots of light flying past them . Holy shit . . . They were God knows how many feet above the city .
"Hang on! We're almost there!" Su Chan voice sounded amidst the wind . A second later, he felt a sharp dip, like they were taking a deep plunge . Li Yundong hugged Su Chan's body tighter . Green light blinded his vision . A moment later, the wind stopped blowing . When he opened his eyes, they were hovering above the balcony of their motel room .
"We're here," Su Chan said .
Slowly, they descended onto the balcony until their feet touch the floor .
Li Yundong unwrapped his arms around Su Chan's waist and stared at Su Chan for several seconds . "You have got to teach me that . "
"So . Ready to tell me what happened?" Li Yundong asked once they got settled on the bed .
"I had to remove my Vital Orb from my body," Su Chan said .
"Vital Orb? Wait, is that the thing that caused the room to glow?"
Su Chan nodded . "I had no choice . That was the quickest way to remove the Divine Aura from my body . I knew I wouldn't survive if the Divine Aura stayed in my body for too long . "
Li Yundong sighed and drew her into a hug . "I'm glad you're okay . " He went quiet for a few seconds, pondering his next question . "Is that why you changed into…" He cleared his throat . "I mean is that why your tail came out?"
"It takes a lot of magical power to maintain my human form . And the Vital Orb is like a reservoir inside the body that stores magical powers . So if I take it out…"
"Your body will eventually run out of magical powers?"
Su Chan nodded . "I tried to work as quickly as possible before my magical powers are depleted . But I was too late . I couldn't . . . " Su Chan stole a tentative glance at him . "I couldn't maintain my . . . my human form . "
Li Yundong rubbed her back gently . "For what it's worth, it wasn't so bad . I mean, other than your fluffy tail—which looked super cute by the way—you looked pretty much the same . "
Su Chan suddenly withdrew from their hug . She slid away to the edge of the bed, then hugged her knees . She looked like a frightened child .
"Hey . . . What's—"
"That wasn't my true form . . . Not even close . "
"Okay . . . So you're saying you can actually transform into a fox?"
Su Chan hugged her knees tighter and nodded weakly . "D- Do you feel disgusted now?"
Li Yundong yanked Su Chan back into his arms . "No, silly . I told you already that I don't care about that . And besides . . . " Li Yundong caressed her shapely butt . "I kinda like your human form . "
Su Chan moaned at his touch . "No . . . Stop touching me there, Yundong . . . " she said breathily . "I- I can't . . . " She moaned again .
Li Yundong jerked his hand away . "S- Sorry . . . " He cleared his throat . "You forgot again . "
Su Chan looked thoroughly puzzled . "About what?"
"I told you to . . . you know . . . kick me in the nuts if I try to touch you again . "
There was a moment of silence . Then, Su Chan burst into giggles .
Li Yundong pinched her nose . "Stop laughing," he growled playfully . "You have no idea how hard it is not to touch you . "
Su Chan removed his hand from her nose, then laced their fingers together . "I really don't mind giving myself to you, beloved . But not until you've passed the Zhuji phase . "
Li Yundong smiled and lifted their joined hands . "I know," he said, dropping a light kiss onto the back of her hand .
Su Chan sighed and snuggled into his chest, causing their thighs to rub against each other .
Dang . This no-touching policy was a lot harder than he thought .
Li Yundong cleared his throat harshly .
"So… Um… Where's your tail now?"
"After I flew off, I hid myself away . " Su Chan scratched the fabric of his shirt . "Once I recovered enough of my magical powers, I transformed into my human form again . "
"I see . . . " There was a pause, then a curious thought hit him . "Is that why you ran? Because I saw your tail?"
"Even after I reabsorbed my Vital Orb, I didn't have enough magical powers to maintain my human form . My tail appeared and… and I didn't know what else might appear, so . . . so I left . . . "
Li Yundong sighed . "Don't do that again, okay? I was trying to tell you that I didn't mind . But then you just flew off . . . "
"S- Sorry . . . I panicked . "
Li Yundong smiled . "It's okay . Just know that I really don't mind . "
The relief on Su Chan's face was palpable . She nodded . "Mmm . . . "
Li Yundong chuckled . "Seriously though . . . " He gave Su Chan a sidelong glance . "I do find your tail cute . It's so fluffy and bushy . . . "
Li Yundong laughed out loud when he saw the look on Su Chan's face, which was as red as a tomato .
"S- Shut up . . . " Su Chan mumbled . "And . . . And . . . "
Li Yundong laughed again . "What?"
"It isn't . . . It isn't my only tail!"
Li Yundong nearly fell off the bed . "What? You mean you have more than one tail?!"
Su Chan's tentative expression made her look like a frightened puppy . She nodded slowly .
Li Yundong glanced down at her curvaceous booty . "Um . . . How many?"
Su Chan held up three fingers .
"Three tails . . . " Li Yundong leaned back and tried to picture it in his head . Nope . He couldn't come up with a good picture . "Wait . . . How many tails do fox spirits have?"
"Well . . . In our strongest physical form, we have nine tails . . . "
"You mean the stronger you are, the more tails you have?"
Su Chan nodded . "In humans, having large muscles is a sign of physical strength . But in fox spirits, physical strength depends on the number of tails we have . Nine is the most number of tails we can get . "
Another thought occurred to Li Yundong . "So if you consumed the Renyuan Jindan . . . You would get nine tails?"
Su Chan shook her head . "Six . But it's also possible to enhance our physical form through Cultivation . . . "
A pang of guilt speared through Li Yundong . "I'm sorry, Su Chan . " He sighed . "If I didn't end up with the Jindan, you would've been a six-tailed fox spirit by now . . . "
Su Chan snuggled up to him . "Yundong . . . I don't care about that anymore . Even though I'm a lowly three-tailed fox spirit, I know I can be happy . "
Li Yundong frowned . "Are you sure?"
"Mmm!" Su Chan nodded enthusiastically .
"But how can you be sure? I mean you went through so much trouble to steal it . You even told me you nearly died in the process—"
"Because I have you . "
Li Yundong stopped talking and stared at her .
Certainty filled Su Chan's eyes when she nodded . "I'm sure because I know you'll always be there by my side . Power doesn't make me happy, Yundong . You do . "
Something wet slid down Li Yundong's cheek . It took him a second to realize that it was his own tears . Su Chan's face became a blur, and he had to bit his lip to stop himself from sobbing . He drew Su Chan tightly against him, pressing his chin on the top of her head . More tears fell, but he forced himself to speak anyways . "Thank you, Su Chan . You're the best thing that happened to me . Never forget that . "
" And . . . I'll w- work hard to become stronger . " Li Yundong's voice cracked a little . "W- We can help make each other stronger . You can help me become a Cultivator while I help you become a nine-tailed fox . How about that, huh?" Li Yundong cleared his throat .
There was a moment of silence .
"S- Su Chan?"
"I heard you . . . " Su Chan sighed . "I don't think it's possible for me to reach a nine-tailed fox form through Cultivation alone . I don't think I have the talent . . . "
Li Yundong sniffed loudly . "What? That's ridiculous! Have you seen the stuff you did? You're a total badass! I mean just look at the way you—"
"There are only two known fox spirits who had achieved the nine-tailed fox form . The founder of the Fox Zen School, and also the Mystical Silver Fox . "
"So what? You'll get there one there . " Li Yundong wiped his cheeks with his sleeve .
"I doubt it, Yundong . " The dejection he heard in Su Chan's voice brought a sharp pang to his chest . Then, her tone turned cheery again . "But it's okay, hehehe! Nobody will dare bully me once they know that I'm the great Li Yundong's lover!"
Li Yundong chuckled a few times before his expression turned somber . He patted Su Chan's shoulder and turned her around so that they were looking into each other's eyes . "I promise you I'll work hard, Su Chan . And then we can become stronger together," Li Yundong stated firmly . "Nobody's leaving anybody behind, okay? We're both in this together . Am I clear?"
Su Chan smiled, then bobbed her head up and down . "Mmm!"
"I think it's time, Su Chan" Li Yundong took a deep breath and looked straight into her eyes . "Help me pass the Zhuji phase . "