The life drained out of Thomas and Cheng Lan's faces.
"Assault!" someone on the dancefloor shouted, but with the deafening music in the background, only those nearby could hear it.
And the first reaction of people who heard this was disbelief. Assault? Here? Who dares? Don't they know the consequences of creating trouble in Space? Or perhaps the assailant is drunk?
No matter whether a person was sober or drunk, as long as they created trouble here, they would not be able to leave peacefully.
People who were alcohol intolerant would not come here, and if they came, they did not dare to drink much, as they were afraid of the cruel retaliation at "Space." The staff here, from servers to security, might seem polite and well mannered, but if anyone broke the rules, knives would be drawn.
Whenever there were fights, the people closest would be the first to suffer. Therefore, the moment those people nearby heard it, they immediately dispersed and left the danger zone. There were some inebriated people who saw everyone around leaving and became puzzled while still swaying their arms. They were probably lost in their own world and had to be forcibly pulled away by their friends as they mumbled to themselves.
After that, there were more shouts as more and more people realized what had gone on here.
"Let me out, let me out!" People nearby tried to get out and leave this possibly dangerous spot.
"Let me in, let me in!" Certain people from other parts of the dancefloor wanted to squeeze in and had turned on their video recording mode. I heard there is a fight! It's rare for a fight to happen at Space. How could I miss it?
"That's him, the one who beat someone up! Everyone catch him!"
There were people in the crowd trying to personify justice and urging the crowd to catch him.
One person trying to mount a sneak attack from the side had just gotten close when he was sent flying with a lightning-quick kick. It felt as if a thick iron rod had swept him aside, and the contents of his dinner nearly spewed out.
Thomas and Cheng Lan's friends also noticed the commotion, and they squeezed over and asked Thomas, "That is your senior? Why does he have such a fiery temper? Just some dancing and he can send people flying?"
"No, no, no, it's definitely a mistake. Senior isn't that sort of impulsive person," Cheng Lan hurriedly explained.
Crash! Yet another person was sent flying.
Under the flashing lights, the person sent flying was like a fish that had leapt out from the waves, flying through the dance floor in an arc before finally smashing into the ground, struggling a few times but unable to get up.
Cheng Lan was speechless.
A chair came swinging toward Fang Zhao, but he caught it and smashed it into the nearest person, and the retro wooden chair fell to pieces.
A few hot-blooded people in the crowd want to step over to subdue Fang Zhao, but seeing the scene, they stopped in their tracks. The security team would be arriving shortly, so they just stayed there watching the commotion.
Thomas and Cheng Lan's friend said, "I'm not saying anything bad about your senior, but the way he fights is... so skillful. One look and I know he is an old hand. Did he come from a black street?"
The music in the dance floor abruptly stopped and a voice blared out through the sound system. "Everyone stop right there."
"The security team is here!" someone in the crowd exclaimed.
"What do we do?" Cheng Lan was on the verge of tears. They were regulars at Space and knew that nobody who had caused a disturbance could walk away safely. Even if they had a background, there was no telling whether an accident might befall them in the following days where not a trace of evidence could be found.
And the reason why so many people liked visiting Space was the lack of troublemakers, which created a safe and enjoyable environment. Fang Zhao's actions now were undoubtedly destroying Space's image. Under the flashing lights, the ashen faces of the security team could be seen. If not for the light effects, the expressions on their faces would surely scare everyone.
When he saw the security chief leading his team, Thomas hurriedly went over to try and explain.
"Senior did did did did not do it on purpose..."
Thomas had not finished speaking when there was a cracking sound and another person was sent flying, his arm twisted in a weird angle. When he landed, there was no movement—he had probably fainted.
Thomas felt like crying too. Brother! I had just established a mutual understanding with the security team!!
Fang Zhao finally stopped—not because he had seen the security team arrive but because there was no longer anyone around other than Thomas, Cheng Lan, their group of friends, and the security team.
The security chief counted the people lying on the ground: six. They had already reacted promptly. The moment the commotion had been spotted on the surveillance cam, they had immediately rushed over. Had it even been a minute? And in such a short time, Fang Zhao had downed six people. Six people had been immobilized. Their injuries were not life-threatening, but they were not light either.
He raised his hand and signaled his team to first send the people lying on the floor for treatment.
When the security team had found out that it was Fang Zhao that was creating trouble, it had given them a headache. Why is it him?
Since when did artists have such fiery tempers?
But even if the governor's own children were creating trouble, they still had to catch the perpetrator!
All the sound equipment had been completely shut off, and the lights were no longer flashing. The entire dance floor was silent.
"This is your first time here, Mr. Fang, so perhaps you do not know the rules here? Nobody told you what to take note of?" The words were the same, but the tone was different from when they had addressed him back in the private room, with not a hint of respect inside.
The surrounding security team were flexing their arms and cracking their knuckles, and their faces displayed killing intent.
Towards people who smashed up their place, they did not have the normally friendly look. This was them showing off their truly dangerous side.
"I hope the few of you can give a proper explanation." There was no longer a smile on the security chief's face as he glared daggers at Fang Zhao, Thomas, and the few of them.
"They attacked first." There was not a trace of panic on Fang Zhao face as he shifted to the side and stood in front of Thomas and Cheng Lan, blocking them from the security chief's gaze. He continued, "They attacked me first, all six of them. You can check their possessions and you should be able to find something surprising. I also wish to know who ordered them to attack me."
"We will investigate, but first, please head to a quieter spot with us and explain the situation that happened just now—"
As he was about to say something else, a member of the security team ran over and whispered something in the chief's ear. His expression changed. The anger on his face dissipated and was replaced with fear and respect, but that was not toward anyone here. He looked up at Fang Zhao's group, his eyes filled with sympathy.
"Our boss said to invite his junior over for some tea," the security chief said.
"Is it... Mr. Natiwuzi?" Thomas stammered.
"Yes." The security chief moved sideways and raised his hand. "Please."
At the same time, members of the security team surrounded Fang Zhao from both sides. This position meant that, if Fang Zhao did not go, they would use force to make him comply.
As Thomas and Cheng Lan had not participated, the boss had not called for them. Hence, the security chief did not ask them to come along.
Before Fang Zhao left, he told Thomas and Cheng Lan. "Don't worry. I am going over to have a chat with Mr. Natiwuzi. You guys head back first."
With that Fang Zhao headed in the direction the security chief had pointed out.
Thomas and Cheng Lan did not listen to Fang Zhao's words and instead chose to wait here, letting their other friends leave. They waited in the private room Fang Zhao had booked.
The two felt like their blood had frozen and were reproaching themselves for asking Fang Zhao to head to the dance floor.
As they were mulling, Thomas received a call from a dormmate.
"Thomas, our faculty's beauty, the one you have been crushing on, just posted on the school forums thanking you! Thanking you on behalf of the faculty and for contributing to our fellow schoolmates who need knowledge on ancient instruments. She even asked if there was any way she could contact you. Are you suprised? Unexpected? Are you happy?"
If this was under normal circumstances, Thomas would have been over the moon, but now, Thomas was in no mood for anything. He even felt like crying.
"Brother, help me do something." Thomas briefly recounted what had happened.
On the other end of the call, sharp exhaling could be heard.
"Are you sure you are talking about Senior Fang Zhao? He didn't drink, right?" The other party was finding it hard to imagine.
"He did, but not a lot. He still seemed quite sober and said that the other people raised their hands first."
"That... you have to know, some people get drunk after just a sip of alcohol but still seem sober, but that is just an image! Maybe Senior Fang Zhao was so drunk he could not think straight! But you said he beat six people?"
"That's not the point. The problem is he fought in Space! And was taken away! Brother, hurry up and think of some ideas. See if there is anyone who can help!"
Cheng Lan was also busy contacting people. However it was already in the wee hours of the morning, and many people were already in bed. School teachers, the deans of their faculty, or others might have been able to talk to Natiwuzi, but they were all asleep.
At the other side, Fang Zhao had followed the security chief and left the dance hall through another exit and was taking the elevator upstairs.
On the way up, Fang Zhao tried recalling any information he had regarding Natiwuzi.
Natiwuzi was also known as "Yanzhou's Shadowless Hands." He'd gotten this name because of his strumming speed when played the guitar, which made people think it was beyond the limits of a normal human. He was also among the three fastest guitar players in the world and was a genuine ancient-guitar master.
Natiwuzi was probably around 80 years old, which was considered middle-aged in the New Era. Although he no longer publicly performed and had been maintaining a low profile, stories about him still circulated.
When Thomas and his friends had mentioned Natiwuzi, their deepest impression about him other than his impressive guitar skills was only one other thing: Natiwuzi spoke very little, and he spoke slowly, the complete opposite of the intense feeling he gave off when he strummed the guitar. At least, that was the impression he'd given when attending an anniversary of the school's founding.
After they exited the elevator, the security chief led Fang Zhao through a long corridor and stopped in front of a room. There were quite a number of security personnel stationed outside.
"Is the boss inside?" the chief asked one of them.
"He's waiting." The person who replied swept his gaze across Fang Zhao and gave a groan, as if he had seen a person tired of living.
Fang Zhao did not notice; his attention was elsewhere. There seemed to be music in the air.
The door was opened, and the sound of a guitar being strummed wafted out. An astonished look appeared in Fang Zhao's eyes, and he stepped in to take a look.
Other than a few bodyguards, there was only one other person present, sitting on a 1.5-meter-wide sofa.
This person was none other than "Yanzhou's Shadowless Hands," Nayiwuzi. His hair was streaked with grey and it looked like he was 20 years older than he was, totally different from his image in videos online. Fang Zhao had no idea whether it was his original look or he had styled his image this way.
Natiwuzi was dressed casually, and his wavy shoulder-length hair seemed messy. He was sitting in a relaxed position, holding onto a guitar, his fingers strumming it as his eyes stared somewhere into the distance, as if he had not noticed the people entering. His every gesture seemed so random, as if he had separated himself from his surroundings and was in a world of his own.
The security chief and the bodyguards inside were already used to Natiwuzi's manner. No matter the time, as long as it was not urgent, they would have to wait for him to finish strumming a tune before he spoke. Every tune was an improvised composition and was never repeated. The length varied; nobody knew how long he was going to strum this time.
At the start, the chords were slow and unhurried, as if they had left the bustle of a city and arrived at a peaceful little garden. The warm glow of the sun carried a pleasurable sense of freedom and content, capable of soothing even the most jittery hearts.
But gradually, the tune started becoming hurried, as if the sun had been blocked out by a thick layer of clouds. The clouds were gathering as they covered the sky, and the wind picked up as the faint rumble of thunder could be heard.
The security chief was standing there quietly like a statue when he heard Fang Zhao ask, "Is there another guitar?"
What? The security chief thought he had heard wrongly as he stared at Fang Zhao as if the man were a freak. Guitar? Instead of trying to salvage the situation or thinking about how to explain himself, he actually wants to strum a guitar? Did he soak his brains in alcohol?
"Is there?" Fang Zhao asked again.
The security chief did not reply. He did not talk to lunatics. He felt that this youngster was surely drunk and was not thinking straight.
Fang Zhao continued, "Your boss is interrogating me right now. I have to answer him."
The security chief looked up, and the look he gave seemed to ask, "Do you take me for a fool?" When did the boss do any interrogating? Since they entered, he has not said a word! Your father is not deaf!
"I need a guitar to explain my actions just now," Fang Zhao continued.
The security chief continued acting like a statue. Explain with a guitar? Making stuff up, continue making stuff up!
Seeing the security chief still rooted to the spot, Fang Zhao urged, "Hurry, if he gets excited in a bit, I won't be able to interrupt."
Tsk, interrupt indeed. The security chief wanted to say, "Continue making up more stuff," but hesitated as he remembered Fang Zhao's profession. Wasn't it rumored that people that dabbled in the arts could hear or see things that others could not?
Could it be that their boss had used some sort of secret method to produce a sound they could not hear? Thinking of this possibility, the chief shivered and wanted to rub away the goosebumps that had appeared on his neck.
He mulled it over for two seconds then muttered, "Wait here."
After that, the chief made a gesture at someone else and, getting a reaction, turned and exited the room.
The people outside asked their chief as they saw him coming out, "Chief, was that young fellow scared shitless?"
The security chief looked as though he had encountered a trick question. Casting a glance at the asker, he replied, "The boss hasn't finished his tune yet."
"Oh, then I reckon we still have to wait awhile. However, after the boss is done, that kid is going to get it. To think he dared to make a ruckus in our territory!" the guy said.
"But Chief, what are you doing outside at this time?" someone else asked.
"Finding a guitar," the chief replied.
"Finding a... guitar?"
"Yeah. The troublemaking fellow said he needs a guitar to explain to the boss." The security chief did not continue, instead hastily leaving to search for a guitar.
As their chief left, those standing outside the room all had the same puzzled look on their faces.
Explaining and guitars, what did they even have to do with each other?