"Li Yundong, wait . . . "
Zhou Qin's voice sounded from behind Li Yundong .
"You should've stayed with the others, Zhou Qin," Li Yundong said without taking his eyes off the bald gangster's frightened expression . "These punks are dangerous . "
"Not as dangerous as I am . . . " Zhou Qin's fingers curled around Li Yundong's wrist . "Let him go . Let me handle this . "
Li Yundong turned and raised his brow at Zhou Qin . "You sure?"
Zhou Qin smirked . "Of course . Besides . . . " She looked towards the bald gangster . "I know how hard you can punch . You could probably kill this weakling with a finger . "
"Well maybe I should . " Li Yundong tightened his grip on the gangster's collar .
The bald man whimpered .
"But what would that accomplish?" Zhou Qin said . "With you ending up in jail? What about Su Chan?"
Li Yundong released the gangster's collar . The bald man stumbled and fell flat on his butt .
Li Yundong glared down at the bald man . "If this goes south, if this douchebag tries anything funny, then I'm taking over . "
The bald man slid backwards on his butt .
Li Yundong looked towards Zhou Qin . "Well . I guess you're calling the shots now . "
Zhou Qin nodded and stepped forward . "You people work for He Shao?" she asked loudly, though the question was clearly directed at the gang leader .
None of the gangsters answered .
Zhou Qin smirked . "Then do you know who I am?"
The gangsters looked at each other . None of them spoke . No doubt these punks were terrified by the poise and calmness that Zhou Qin exuded in spade .
"Yes," the bald leader finally said . "He Shao is our boss . And you are?"
Zhou Qin smirked . "I see . " She took another step forward . "Then you should call him right now and tell him that Zhou Qin wishes to speak to him . "
The bald gang leader looked towards his underlings, then back at Zhou Qin again .
When the gang leader didn't move after a while, Zhou Qin's expression turned stone cold . "Didn't you hear what I said?" Zhou Qin arched a brow . "I said call He Shao . Now . "
The bald gang leader shot Zhou Qin a skeptical look .
Li Yundong had reached the limit of his patience .
"Do as she said!" Li Yundong roared loudly . "Now!!!"
The gang leader visibly flinched . A few seconds later, the bastard pulled out his phone and started dialing .
"Hello . . . Yes, He Shao, it's me . . . " The gang leader flinched and pulled the phone away from his ear as though he'd just been yelled at . "Well… There's a woman here who wishes to speak with you . Says her name is Zhou Qin . "
A few seconds later, the gang leader lowered the phone from his ear and switched it to loudspeaker .
Sounds of heavy panting could be heard . The panting lasted for quite a while before it was replaced by He Shao's voice .
"Well, well, well, Zhou Qin . . . Is this your way of telling me that you miss me?"
Zhou Qin released a snort of contempt . "So you're associating yourself with the gangsters now? Just how low will you stoop, He Shao?" Zhou Qin paused for a moment . "Then again . . . Now that this has come to my attention . . . " Zhou Qin's voice suddenly turned cold . "I suggest you call off your minions unless you want to face dire consequences . " Zhou Qin smirked . "You know how incriminating it can be for people like us to have ties with the mafia . "
The panting in the phone became heavier and heavier, which eventually turned into a loud, angry roar .
"Do as she says!" He Shao growled .
There was a loud click, and the line was cut off .
The gang leader glanced up at Zhou Qin with reverence . However, when his gaze landed on Li Yundong, the look of reverence changed into fear .
He quickly averted his gaze and climbed back to his feet . He slipped his phone into his pocket, then walked over to Er Lu and his mother, who was still down on the ground .
"Consider yourselves lucky! You better pray that you don't run into me next time!"
The gang leader spat a mouthful of saliva at the woman on the ground .
The woman tried to shield her face by raising her hands, but she was too late—her face was already covered in the man's saliva .
Something inside Li Yundong snapped . A powerful surge of Qi rushed from his navel to the top of his head .
"You son of a bitch!!!!!!"
Li Yundong's roar blasted through the entire street . Seconds later, his voice dissipated into echoes, leaving the sound of car alarms in its wake .
None of the gangsters moved an inch; they all seemed too transfixed too scared to move .
"Apologize . . . " Li Yundong's voice came out in a low, menacing growl .
Li Yundong snarled and slowly advanced towards the bald gangster .
" Argh! Argh!" The bald gangster tried to back away from Li Yundong but ended up tripping over something on the ground and falling flat on his ass once more .
Li Yundong balled his fists and released an angry snarl . "I'm not going to ask again…"
A few other gangsters scrambled towards their leader to help him up . Li Yundong stopped his advance and glared at the thugs . "Apologize to the lady!" He pointed towards the floor where Er Lu's mother was lying . "And wipe your filthy spit off her face!"
The bald gangster flinched . "O- O- Okay! Okay! I'll apologize!"
"Then what the f*ck are you waiting for!" Li Yundong gestured at Er Lu's mother . "Do it now!"
The bald gangster pushed his henchmen away and crawled towards the fallen woman .
"M- Ma'am, I'm sorry . . . " He pulled out a napkin and patted the woman's face with it .
Seconds later, the bald gangster stood up and shot a fearful glance at Li Yundong as though seeking his approval .
"Now get out of my sight!"
The gangsters didn't need to be told twice . Metal pipes clattered against the concrete pavement as the thugs fled the scene and ran for dear life . Li Yundong's eyes followed the gangsters until they reached the bend of the street .
Once the gangsters were gone, Li Yundong turned and looked towards the Lamborghini . Clearly, he had given everyone quite a fright . President Cao had a hand pressed against her chest while Su Chan gave her a head massage . Feng Na and Cheng Cheng were staring slack-jawed at him as though they couldn't believe what they'd just witnessed .
When Li Yundong turned sideways, he saw Zhou Qin staring at him as well .
"What?" Li Yundong asked warily .
"You're glowing . . . " Zhou Qin pointed out . Even though her tone was neutral, Li Yundong could detect the tremors in her voice .
Li Yundong raised his forearms . Unsurprisingly, his arms and body were radiating a golden radiance . He'd experience the same thing when he tried to stop Ruan Hongling from hurting Su Chan . Back then, he just ignored the glow and it disappeared on its own . Maybe this time it would too .
"Let's head back to the others . " Li Yundong began to move, but then stopped after a few steps . He turned and saw Er Lu crawling his way towards his mother . The vegetable stall owner was struggling to get up . Li Yundong walked over towards the lady and hoisted her up in a fireman's carry . Then, he walked towards Er Lu and offered the guy his hand . When Er Lu took Li Yundong's hand, Li Yundong pulled the man to his feet . Er Lu stumbled slightly, but Zhou Qin was there to support him . Together, they all headed back towards the Lamborghini .
Li Yundong lowered the vegetable stall owner to the ground, then leaned her against the side of the Lamborghini . His movements drew Su Chan's attention away from the head massage she was giving President Cao . Su Chan's eyes widened the moment their gazes met . The next thing he knew, Su Chan was pulling him away from the Lamborghini .
"Sit down," she whispered urgently . "Quickly . "
Li Yundong lowered himself to the ground and got into a meditative posture . Su Chan moved around so that she was standing behind him .
"My God . . . This is the Jindan's aura . . . "
"This isn't the first time…" Li Yundong said .
"I know," Su Chan answered .
"The last time it happened, it disappeared on its own after I left it for a while—" Li Yundong felt a sharp prick on his spine between his two shoulder blades . "Hey . . . "
"Hold still . . . "
Minutes later, the pricking sensation was gone . "Alight, we're done . "
Li Yundong rose to his feet again and patted Su Chan's head . "Thanks princess . "
Li Yundong took Su Chan's hand and led her back to the others .
"I'm sorry you girls had to see that . . . " Li Yundong said, stopping in front of Feng Na .
"Y- Your whole body was glowing just now . . . " Feng Na said, pointing at Li Yundong's face . "And now you're back to normal . . . "
Li Yundong rubbed the back of his neck . How the f*ck was he supposed to explain any of this shit? "Well—"
"But oh my gawd!" Feng Na gave him a thumbs up . "That was so badass!"
Clearly, Feng Na was stepping into her role as the president of the Li Yundong Fan Club .
"I thought you'd be terrified of me now," Li Yundong said wryly .
"Oh, I was! But that was only because you look like you were about to tear that bastard into pieces—"
Li Yundong turned around .
Cheng Cheng was standing across the street, trying to yank the metal ring out from the cracked pavement . When the metal ring didn't budge after several tries, Cheng Cheng let go of the metal and started gaping at them like a fish . The look on the poor girl's face was so hilarious that Li Yundong burst into guffaws .
"Hey! Mom! What are you doing— Owww!"
"Come with me you good-for-nothing child!"
Li Yundong turned his head back to the Lamborghini . The vegetable stall owner was heading over towards him . And apparently, it wasn't just her; she was dragging his son over towards him .
The woman kneeled when she was a few feet away from Li Yundong .
Li Yundong's eyes widened in shock . "Hey— Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! What are you doing!" Li Yundong bent down to help the woman up .
The woman pushed Li Yundong's hands away and then slapped herself across the cheek, hard .
"Oh, what a blind fool I've been!" The woman started sobbing violently . "Oh, I can't believe this! Y- You . . . " The woman sobbed harder . "You came to our rescue even after I swindled a hundred yuan from you back then . . . Thank you, thank you, thank you! And my son . . . Oh, my good-for-nothing son . . . You saved his life as well . . . Oh, how am I ever going to repay you!"
"Li Yundong stepped forward again . "Ma'am—"
"I have nothing valuable to give you . So please accept my kowtow as a gesture of my gratitude!"
The woman prostrated herself until her forehead touched a spot on the ground near Li Yundong's feet .
Li Yundong sighed, then pulled the woman to her feet . "Just forget about the 100 yuan, okay? That's already in the past . " He put a hand on the woman's shoulder . "Are you hurt anywhere?"'
The woman shook her head .
"Then you should take your son home and sort out the mess he's caused . " Li Yundong turned towards Er Lu . "And you!" He glared at the man . "You should be ashamed of yourself! How can you allow your own mother to take a beating by a bunch of thugs . And in broad daylight no less!"
Something tugged inside Li Yundong's chest, and he softened his tone . "Can't you see how much your mother loves you?" Li Yundong glanced at the vegetable stall owner again . "She was willing to take a beating for you . " Some of us doesn't even have parents . . . Or at least parents who give a f*ck . Li Yundong shook his head and pointed a finger at Er Lu's face . "You better get your shit together and start treating your mother right from now on!"
Er Lu broke apart right then and there . He threw his arms around his mother and started bawling like a child, not caring at all that he was in public . "I'm sorry, Ma! I'll never gamble again!"
Er Lu's mother sniffed, then patted her son's back . "Okay, okay . . . Let's live a good and honest life for now on, okay?" The pair hugged each other and kept crying and crying without any signs of stopping .
At one point, Li Yundong felt the sting of his own tears in his eyes . He struggled not to let them fall . He wondered if his own mother even knew how he was doing right now, or if she even care whether Li Yundong was alive or dead .
Something warm slid into Li Yundong's palm . He looked down and saw Su Chan lacing their fingers together .
"I'm here, Yundong . I'm here . " Su Chan stared deeply into his eyes . "You have me . "
Li Yundong sniffed and patted Su Chan's head . After that, he stepped forward and cleared his throat harshly .
Er Lu and his mother stepped out of each other's arms and shot Li Yundong grateful looks .
"It's alright, now," Li Yundong said . "You guys should get out of here before those guys change their minds and return with more people . "
After that, Li Yundong returned to Su Chan's side and wrapped his arm around her shoulders . Standing side by side, they watched the gradually diminishing figures of Er Lu and his mother .
"I'm proud of you, Yundong," Su Chan whispered . "So proud . . . "
Li Yundong smiled and gave Su Chan an affectionate look . "That's good enough for me . Because your opinion is the only thing that matters to me . "
Su Chan wasn't looking at him though . Instead, she was staring straight ahead . Suddenly, Su Chan patted his arm, then pointed at something in front . "Yundong, Yundong, look!"
Li Yundong raised his gaze and saw Er Lu running back towards them . When Er Lu was about three feet away, he kneeled down in front of Li Yundong and gave Li Yundong three full kowtows . This time, Li Yundong was too stunned to stop him . When Er Lu raised his head, his forehead was covered in blood . "I, Er Lu, apologize for all my wrongdoings in the past, especially for all the troubles I've caused you, my savior!"
Li Yundong shared a glance with Su Chan, who seemed just as surprised as he was .
"I never should have tried to pick on a good man like you! But I am turning over a new leaf starting today! I will follow your example and be a good, kind, and responsible man! And from today onwards, you have my full loyalty, my brother! Rest assured that if there is anything you need, big brother, just say the word and I will be there in an instant!"
"Listen, dude . . . " Li Yundong said .
Er Lu lifted his fist, then uncurled his pinky . "I swear to you on this pinky!"
Zhou Qin and the other girls shrieked when Er Lu bent his pinky until it snapped into a grotesque angle .
"Hey!" Li Yundong and Su Chan moved forward . Su Chan already had a needle in one hand, ready to help fix Er Lu's broken finger .
"It's okay, big brother . " Er Lu stood up and smiled through his pain . "This broken finger is a token of my loyalty to you . I swear to you on my life that you have my allegiance forever!"
Er Lu ran back towards his mother .
When Er Lu and his mother vanished around the bend of the street, Li Yundong turned back to face everyone .
"Well!" he said, clapping his hands together . "Who's hungry?"
Awkward silence pervaded . And then…
Su Chan was the one who answered .
Why was he not surprised?