Chapter 241: Invitation
Several minutes later, Lou Cheng jogged slowly through the front gate of Xiu Shan High school. Along the familiar path, he saw many future senior students who were still attending class. He found the dumpling cart and spoke to the owner with familiarity,
"Three white dumplings, two with spicy sauce and one with sugar."
"Ok!" The vendor was a middle-aged man whose right foot was a little lame. He gave Lou Cheng a very agreeable smile, and it seemed obvious that he didn't recognize Lou Cheng.
Lou Cheng used his phone to take some pictures to send to Yan Zheke, "I'm on it!"
"I'm looking forward to it!" Yan Zheke replied with a drooling sticker, "I'm waiting for you!" After reading her reply, the corner of Luo Cheng's mouth curled into a smile. He quickly paid the vendor and ran to the Back Water Lake with the dumplings in his hands, skipping taking a cab.
It happened to be rush hour in Xiushan and there would inevitably be a trafﬁc jam. This was because of the fast economic development over recent years. Many citizens had bought new cars, so the old municipal roads could not meet the demand of this sudden surge in trafﬁc. Like Qin Rui had said before, the views of Xiushan are changing every six months due to the high speed of the road construction, and urban development could be seen in many places within the city.
Given the time of day, Lou Cheng decided sprinting the distance would be faster than taking the No. 11 bus.
A combination of training and recreation!
Not even out of breath he arrived outside of the villa district where he stopped and sent a message to Yan Zheke. "Personal delivery!"
Even though she was dripping from her workout Yan Zheke was afraid that she would miss his message and keep him waiting, so she resisted the urge to take a shower and just waited for him instead. At the ﬁrst sign of a message notiﬁcation, she unlocked her phone immediately and looked at the screen.
Suddenly, smiling like a blooming ﬂower, she read what he wrote and replied,
She raised her head and looked at Liu Xiaolin, who was eating some hot porridge. Pursing her lips, Yan Zheke plucked up her courage and said with determination,
"Aunt Liu, Cheng brought me something here and I need to go out to pick it." Aunt Liu knows about my stuff, so I have to be honest with her!
——Yan Zheke's dad had been on duty last night, and he still hadn't arrived back home yet. Liu Xiaolin's husband went to work after having some breakfast, and her child was still snoozing on their bed, so it was just two of them in the big empty living room and dining room.
"Cheng?" Liu Xiaolin put down her hot porridge and replied with the question.
All of sudden Yan Zheke blushed, "Yes, it's Lou Cheng, my... my boyfriend."
It was the ﬁrst time that she had referred Lou Cheng as her boyfriend. At ﬁrst, she had a guilty conscience, but later she felt conﬁdent and joyful as she mentioned him more.
Liu Xiaolin slowly realized what Yan Zheke had just said and then ﬁxed her eyes on her for several seconds, discovering that she neither evaded nor ﬂinched from her watchful eyes. "I'll come with you." Liu Xiaolin nodded slightly and added, "It's just a few days."
Ke is very similar to junior master when he was younger. The only difference might be that one looks so stubborn on the outside and the other is an iron ﬁst in a velvet glove. Liu Xiaolin thought to herself.
However, at that time I was just a little kid and that lacked understanding. Now, I'm a mother and a wife, so I grasp a better understanding.
"Ok," Yan Zheke nodded in an obediently and said, "Thank you, Aunt Liu."
They walked outside of the gate to the neighborhood and crossed the street. Liu Xiaolin stopped a few steps back and didn't get any closer.
Under the gaze of the elder, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke both felt stressed and ill at ease. Lou Cheng restrained his desire to hug the girl and touched her hands instead. He passed the dumplings to her as he tried to ignore the presence of Liu Xiaolin, and said, "Little fairy, this is your delivery."
Fairy... Yan Zheke felt so guilty and she looked back at Liu Xiaolin. Her fair-complexion instantly turned a bright red.
How would Aunt Liu react if she heard this pet name? How would I ever talk to her again?
Liu Xiaolin stood there quietly and looked around, observing the surroundings with no response on her face.
Phew... Yan Zheke felt relieved. She took the dumplings from Lou Cheng and whispered, "That's so cheesy! What would we do if Aunt Liu heard this?!"
"Whatever, I don't care. I just spoke the truth!" Lou Cheng took this chance to be honey-mouthed. Yan Zheke rolled her eyes at him, and, all of sudden, she felt a swell of emotion and a strong attachment to him. "I should go back... Everything will be better in a few days."
A moment after she said that, she heard a low and deep thunder vibrating inside Lou Cheng's body.
"You can do shock force training, even like this?" Yan Zheke blurted out. She found Lou Cheng blushing and embarrassed.
Eh... She realized something and she sniggered abruptly, keeling over with laughter.
"Are you hungry?"
Hungry like a wolf! He thought.
"Yes," Lou Cheng replied. All I thought about was how I was going to give her the dumplings as quick as possible, but I forgot to buy some for myself...
Yan Zheke pursed her lips to hold back her laughter as she asked, "Why didn't you buy some for yourself when you bought me the dumplings?"
"I forgot... Empty brain." Lou Cheng laughed at himself.
"Forgot... " Yan Zheke repeated this word quietly to herself and looked at the dumplings that he had given her with a tender and soft sentiment rising up in her heart, and a twinkle in her eyes.
She looked back again and found that Aunt Liu was still observing her surroundings carefully. It appeared as if she wasn't paying any attention to her or Lou Cheng. Therefore she took out the disposable chopsticks and picked up a piece of dumpling. She dipped it in some sauce before bringing it to Lou Cheng's mouth, as she said, "Here is your reward!"
As he chewed, she turned her head away and looked at the trees lining the sidewalk.
Surprised and grateful, Lou Cheng gobbled it up in one gulp. "Yummy!" he said happily.
"Don't talk! Just eat!" Yan Zheke spoke as her face blushed.
She quickly kept feeding him.
Luckily Aunt Liu didn't look this way!
After neatly and quickly ﬁnishing, she pursed her lips and gave Lou Cheng a gentle look before walking back towards Liu Xiaolin.
Lou Cheng watched her walk back into the neighborhood as he held back his desire to ask her to stay. But, at that moment, Yan Zheke felt so guilty that she didn't dare to look Aunt Liu in the eyes as she babbled about something irrelevant.
How could I be so audacious just now! Feeding Cheng in broad daylight, with everyone looking! She thought with embarrassment.
Liu Xiaolin listened to her quietly with a smile and responded from time to time. It really seemed that she hadn't paid any attention to what they did.
Hmm... Aunt Liu probably respects people's privacy more so she ignored us deliberately... Yan Zheke felt relieved in secret and said, "Aunt Liu, I'm going to take a shower now!"
Liu Xiaolin nodded as she sat on the chair. Very confused, she asked,
"Since your dad and your mom are not here, why didn't you just invite him to come in the house? It wasn't appropriate to behave like that in public... " Behave like that... behave like that... Yan Zheke covered her face with her hands and she dashed into the bathroom.
I'm an ostrich! I'm an ostrich!
When Liu Xiaolin heard the sound of water running in the bathroom, she showed a faint smile on her face and whispered to herself,
"The youngsters these days... "
Around 8 pm, Lou Cheng chatted with Yan Zheke on the phone while browsing the forum. Suddenly he received a call from Director Xing. "Hello? Uncle Xing?" He was wondering what he could be calling about and an idea came to his mind.
Is this about the case of Wang Xu yesterday afternoon? Or about Zhan Xuming?
Director Xing, Xing Chengwu, sighed, and spoke directly, "Lou, I called you because I need your help."
"With what? I'll help you as much as I can." Lou Cheng always kept other people's matters in mind.
"Have you seen the arrest warrant?" Xing asked.
As expected, it's about Zhan Xuming... But, how can I help him with this? "I saw it. I also asked the others so I know what he did and what mistakes he made," Lou Cheng replied honestly. Knowing about the position of Lou Cheng's master, Director Xing felt no surprise, and he chuckled, "Someone called the police saying that they saw Zhan Xuming on Bar street. After being veriﬁed by our stuff, it turned out to be true. But, the stuff of high-ranked Dan Stage who is in charge of tracking him down and other team members can only arrive after midnight."
"Uncle Xing, do you mind if I am completely honest? I really want to help you but Zhan Xuming is of Seventh Pin. Me, I haven't even reached a Dan Stage... I couldn't help you even though I want to, and plus, I might drag down your work," Lou Cheng was very shocked.
Zhan Xuming is outside Xiushan now!
In the past, Lou Cheng had not known how to refuse people, but now with more experience and maturity, Lou Cheng was no longer that same person. Now he helped others as long as he could, however, when he knew there was nothing he could do, he was now brave enough to say it out loud. "Don't worry, Lou. How could I let you confront Zhan Xuming? If an accident occurred your master wouldn't forgive me."
"So, what do you mean then?" Lou Cheng calmed down.
"Zhan Xuming is mentally unstable right now and we believe that he is going to continue ﬁghting with the ﬁghters' families, becoming more and more violently. However, he is aware as well. The moment the task force arrived, he immediately escaped," said Director Xing seriously, "So, we now have a list of people needing protection, and I'm in charge of this personally. Lou, you know, a small place like this, there aren't many high-ranking experts. Even though the police system is a bit stronger than the one at the martial arts club, we still aren't strong enough. According to the list, I even invited two seniors, but the number of high-ranking experts is still not enough."
"You want me to join in as well? Help to protect them?" Lou Cheng asked with doubt. Xing Chengwu nodded and said, "You'll be divided into groups and protect these people in their homes. You would be responsible for one group. Don't worry. I will send you four shooting special Amateurs to coordinate with and approve the use of large diameter ﬁrearms and alerting equipment. At that moment, if you encounter Zhan Xuming, as long as you don't show him your weaknesses, he will certainly run away.
Besides, if you do engage with him, he wouldn't be at an advantage"
"I'll be responsible for the support group and we'll be waiting. If anything dangerous happens, I'll rush over to you immediately. Honestly, I can assure you that if the situation gets really dangerous, you don't have to protect anyone and you can just escape. Zhan XuMing will not waste time chasing you."
There were four policemen who were good at shooting Amateurs with large-caliber ﬁrearms. These were unfavorable to a professional Seventh Pin. But, of course, the point is a timely response... Lou Cheng thought about it for a moment before he asked, "Uncle Xing, why don't put the people together in order to provide better protection? They can live in the auditorium, and you take the lead. Placing the other masters on patrol Zhan Xuming simply would not have the opportunity then." This is the safest and most appropriate way.
"I've thought about it as well, but, the thing is, once it gets dark, I'm afraid that Zhan Xuming would take the advantage during the shift change and make a sneak attack on the halfway. Secondly, we don't want to look like we are afraid of him and useless. That would be disgraceful... and the social impact wouldn't be good. They're all important ﬁgures in our society," Secretary Xing Chang forced a smile.
Lou Cheng evaluated the degree of danger, took a breath, before speaking solemnly,
"I'm ok with that. Which family am I to protect?"
There is Aunt Liu on Ke's side, plus the support of the police. If Zhan Xuming is really going to attack there, they should send me there.
"You are going to Guo Min's. You'll be on duty tonight." Xing Chengwu had already made his plan, "Thank you very much in advance." Guo Min? Isn't he the head boss of my dad's factory? Lou Cheng was momentarily stunned.
Chapter 242: Professional Cheng
Lou Zhisheng and Qi Fang often complained about Guo Min taking advantage of the original factory going bankrupt and making a huge proﬁt out of it. They despised him for using his relatives to manage the factory for that group of people were completely inept. But the couple was still grateful that Guo Min trusted Lou Zhisheng enough to let him develop in the ﬁeld technology.
This allowed Lou Zhisheng to ﬁnally have a stable job with a fairly decent income after several years of wandering. Thus, the Lou family got out of a bad spot and into relative comfort.
"Well, where's his home?" he asked as the idea struck him.
Lou Zhisheng and Qi Fang would go to Guo Min's house for the festivities, but they always felt they should not bring their child along. This also suited Lou Cheng, seeing as he could stay comfortably at home instead of going to a stranger's house. So he had no idea where Guo's house was. Xing Chengwu said, "It's too troublesome to talk over the phone. I'll text you later. Lou, be very careful. Your safety comes ﬁrst!"
"Yes, Uncle Xing." After hanging up the phone, Lou Cheng thought for a moment before giving Yan Zheke a call.
He had no experience in security. Of course, he had to consult Ms. Know-It-All, Coach Yan!
The cheerful ringtone rang for a few seconds before the call was answered. Lou Cheng opened his mouth to ask his questions, but what came out was his unconscious concern. "Ke, have the police come to your home?"
"Yes." Yan Zheke's eyebrows knitted and she pressed her lips together. She kept her voice low. "Foolish Cheng, you really like being a worrywart. With Aunt Liu here, it makes no difference whether the police's around... "
Speaking of which, she asked, "How do you know this?"
Then she said,
"Did Uncle Xing tell you?"
"Did he want you to help? How can he ask you for help?
You're still a student. How can he do this?!"
Listening to the sharpness in her voice, Lou Cheng was surprised to see her keenness, but also keenly felt a gripping fear. "Relax. There are four policemen who are good at shooting. As long as I'm not killed with one shot, I'm still safe. Did you think I can't even take a hit from a Professional Seventh Pin?"
With her voice mufﬂed, Yan Zheke said, "Of course I believe in your strength. The difference between Seventh Pin and Eighth Pin isn't as big as the one between Eighth Pin and Ninth Pin. But it's still very dangerous! Run as soon as there's danger, okay? No, you can't run around. It's even more dangerous to show your back to the enemy... "
In the professional ranks, there was a gap between Ninth Pin and Eighth Pin. There was also a gap between Sixth Pin and Fifth Pin. But the gap in between Fourth Pin and Third Pin was called a gantry!
Listening as the girl rambled on, Lou Cheng's heart warmed. He smiled and said, "Silly Ke, I'm experienced. If he dare use continuous outbreaks to kill me, then I'll take the opportunity to kill him no matter the expense!"
He vowed that he would take care of himself for her sake.
"Okay then... " Yan Zheke sighed. "You're a ﬁghter. These situations are inevitable... Cheng, wait. I'll help ask what you need to pay attention to as a security detail. You don't have any experience!" "Wise Coach Yan, I called to ask for this." Lou Cheng complimented her with a smile.
"Hmm, at least you're smart enough to ask me." Yan Zheke bit her lips. "I have an uncle who does this. I'll text you later. Don't go over so soon, okay?"
"Yes! All under Coach Yan's command!" Lou Cheng then hung up the phone.
At this time, Chief Xing's text arrived. The message contained Guo Min's address and Niu Zhen's phone number. That was the contact person from the police team.
Lou Cheng took a few breaths, adjusting his mood. Then he put on his martial arts clothes and shoes, deciding to leave like that.
It was the most suitable clothes for ﬁghting. Better safe than sorry! Before leaving, he remembered his master and made a quick phone call. He had some concerns as it was the ﬁrst time he encountered such a thing.
"Go. You ought to experience such things." Geezer Shi yawned, apparently unconcerned. "A real ﬁghter can't rely on the Challenge Tournament to grow. It's impossible to understand some scenes and results unless you thoroughly experience them. That's true for my generation and for Warrior Sage Dragon King generation. Your generation is no exception."
Somewhat relieved, Lou Cheng joked, "Master, aren't you afraid that something will happen to me?"
"I'm not your father. There's no need for me to worry endlessly! This isn't a high-ranked Dan Stage or physically invulnerable ﬁghter. It's just a Seventh Pin who had escaped for a long time. And four gunmen will accompany you. If you still end up getting killed, I don't have an apprentice like you!" Geezer Shi laughed at him. "You won't be able to defeat him, but as your teacher, I believe you can still survive. That's all. I need to seize the time to drink." His daughter and daughter-in-law were returning soon!
Seize the time to drink... Drink... Lou Cheng felt that his importance was beneath that of a jar of wine.
He pushed his bedroom door open and went into the living room. He told Lou Zhisheng who was watching TV. "Dad, Qin Rui invited me to spar. I'm not coming home tonight."
He was unable to directly speak about this kind of thing. He could not say that he was going to work as a security detail for his dad's boss. That would frighten his dad!
"You're still practicing this late at night?" Lou Zhisheng asked, getting up with the remote control in hand.
"The provincial Youth Tournament is at the end of the month." Lou Cheng randomly found an excuse. Lou Zhisheng pondered and said, "Cheng, I heard that some of the ﬁghters are more, well, more self-indulgent. They become gangsters based on their little knowledge of kung fu. You have to keep a distance from them."
"Dad, relax. I won't even look at them at all," Lou Cheng answered with a smile.
In his head, he thought that what he was about to do was far more dangerous than those gangsters...
Lou Zhisheng was not Qi Fang, so he did not nag much. After giving his son advice, he merely watched Lou Cheng open the door and leave.
In the taxi to Guo Min's house, Lou Cheng received a text from Yan Zheke. She sent him a list of a pile of security precautions and lessons, before ending with the words. "Cheng, you must be very conﬁdent and calm. You've to look powerful and professional. In that kind of environment, everyone will be more perceptible. When you can conﬁdently make a decision and ﬁrmly implement it, they'll subconsciously listen to you. This will save you a lot of trouble... "
"Got it!" Lou Cheng replied.
Four police ofﬁcers had arrived; two men and two women. Plus Guo Min couple and their two children, together with his bodyguard and servants, the party made a total of nine.
Guo Min was originally a warrior. He began as a miner and then started a successful business. But traces of his previous hardship were all gone. He was now fair and fat, like a stereotypical rich man.
He still looked anxious despite having a lot of bodyguards of Professional Ninth Pin with him. He could not help asking the ofﬁcer Niu Zhen who stood in the front, "Captain Niu, Chief Xing mentioned that there would be a master. When will he come?"
As a former warrior, he knew better than his wife Wan Rongli and daughter Guo Huairou how terrifying a Seventh Pin was.
Niu Zhen was transferred from the army, so he still had the military habit of standing straight. He answered, "Mr. Guo, Chief Xing sent me a text saying the master will arrive very soon."
"That's good. That's good," Guo Min said repeatedly.
"Dad, it's all your fault. I already said the whole family should go to Gaofen for vacation yesterday," Guo Huairou chimed in, complaining.
Guo Huairou was 27 years old. She had a good shape and ordinary looks that she made up for with cosmetics. After her college graduation, she helped her father run his business. She wanted to turn their family business into a proper corporation and was so busy that she neglected any talks of marriage. Last year, her parents gave birth to a late child. They gave her a younger brother, making her angry and helpless.
Guo Min ﬂattened his hair and sighed, "I didn't expect Zhan Xuming will come to Xiushan."
Just as his voice faded, the doorbell rang.
Everyone became silent and was so scared that their heart speeded up. Guo Min was the ﬁrst to recover. "Captain Niu, is it the master?"
"Let me check ﬁrst." Niu Zhen turned and walked up to the door. Through the camera and visual screen, he saw a young man wearing a martial arts uniform outside.
Was he not too young? Niu Zhen called Lou Cheng using the phone number Chief Xing provided and opened the door after the conﬁrmation. When the door opened, he suddenly took a step back. He could feel the strong Qi in Lou Cheng's blood and his sharp temperament.
This was truly a master! He, who came from the army, had met a lot of top ﬁghters. With all his doubts expelled, he extended his hand with a smile. "Hello, I'm Niu Zhen. Chief Xing should have mentioned me."
"Yes. Tonight I'll have to trouble you to cooperate with me," replied Lou Cheng courteously.
Wan Rongli then shouted, "Is this who you call the expert?
How old is this kid? I want to give your Chief Xing a call!"
Next to her, Guo Huairou nodded enthusiastically. She too thought this master was too young and not dependable enough.
Guo Min may have given up martial arts, but he still possessed a sharp eyesight. He immediately stopped them. "Silence!" His face was ﬁlled with smiles and greeted Lou Cheng, who was in a black-and-white martial arts suit.
"How do I address you, my friend? Tonight I'll have to depend on you to make sure things go well!"
With his power, plus Xie Tong and four policemen with their large caliber pistols, it was just barely enough...
Lou Cheng did not give his name as it will ruin his plans. He nodded, taking it as his response. He then looked around the living room.
"Mr. Guo, since Chief Xing had entrusted me with this, I'll do my best to ensure your safety. I hope you can cooperate with me."
"Good... Good!" Guo Min was surprised for a moment, and then nodded. Lou Cheng's expression became serious. "Tonight, everyone will sleep in the living room. You can't leave the sight of the ofﬁcers without permission."
"How can you do that?" Guo Huairou blurted.
In her mind, she thought that the master was here to protect them, not to torture them!
Lou Cheng replied somberly, "Mr. Guo ought to be clear that it's very easy for a Dan stage master to climb a two-story building. Our strength is weak and we deﬁnitely can't protect everyone separately lest he broke through our security. If you meet Zhan Xuming on the second ﬂoor, and even if we can detect him in time, the time we take to rush there is enough for him to kill you several times."
Guo Huairuo's voice became meeker. "But we still have to take a bath, right?"
"One by one, on the ﬁrst ﬂoor. The ladies will go ﬁrst, with the two female ofﬁcers guarding inside. Then the male ofﬁcers will watch the men. That's to make sure you won't be left alone," Lou Cheng answered calmly. "I suggest not taking a bath. When you go up to get your quilts and other things, don't rush. Send a representative to go under the protection of the ofﬁcers and bodyguards... "
He gave out instructions one after another, making Guo Min and Guo Huairou trust him as a professional master. Unconsciously, they obeyed the calm and conﬁdent Luo Cheng without arguing or being arrogant.
When everything was done, everyone returned to the living room to settle down. Lou Cheng looked at the time and spoke to Niu Zhen, Yang Sha, and the other ofﬁcers.
"From now on, divided yourselves into two groups. Rotate every two hours so everyone gets enough rest. We're not dealing with an ordinary fugitive, so your physical and mental state are very important. We can't be careless."
"Okay." Niu Zhen nodded. Since Lou Cheng's arrival, he felt like they ﬁnally got a backbone and that everything had become orderly.
Even though they were all shooters, they had little conﬁdence facing a professional top Seventh Pin. If they don't have one or two masters who can ﬁght directly, they were afraid they simply cannot defeat him with just four guns.
After listening to Lou Cheng's, everyone looked at him, waiting to hear his responsibilities.
But he sat down in a chair, closed his eyes, and began to sleep.
Sleep... Guo Min and others opened their mouths, suddenly apprehensive.
This professional master did not look very reliable. After a while, they heard Lou Cheng's steady breathing as if he was in deep sleep. Inexplicably, their worries and tension dissipated a fair amount. It even felt like they were at peace.
That guy might not care about their lives, but he certainly would not joke around with his own. To dare sleep so openly meant he had absolute conﬁdence and certainty.
All seemed under his control!
Inﬂuenced by Lou Cheng's calmness, everyone no longer panicked secretly. Wan Rongli and Guo Huairou felt sleepy. Curled up on the sofa, they slept lightly.
With similar professional guidance, those in Yan's villa were also gathered in the living room as sleeping together was easier for protection. Since there were outsiders, Yan Zheke put on a martial arts suit instead of her usual night dress. She sat cross-legged, covered in a blanket. When she lay on the sofa, she was so worried about a fool who was not by her side that she could not sleep.
Logically, she was not afraid of death and she was also under the protection of Liu Xiaolin and four police ofﬁcers. She should feel same and fall asleep as if nothing was wrong.
But now, she grasped her phone, wanting her phone to ring yet afraid of it at the same time.
A little after two in the morning, everyone in Guo's living room was already asleep or about to fall asleep, except for Niu Zhen, Yang Sha, and Guo Min's bodyguard Xie Tong who were on shift duty. It was so quiet that one could hear the sound of insects. At that moment, a deep asleep Lou Cheng felt his heart quickened. He opened his eyes, having felt danger descending on them!
It was from that direction!
He stood up at once, adjusted his body muscles, and instantly was in the most suitable state for ﬁghting. He then looked at the left window of the living room, and spoke in a low voice.
He came? Niu Zhen and Yang Sha were shocked and instinctively pulled out their pistols. They jumped aside so they could cross-ﬁre.
He came? The two resting police ofﬁcers were suddenly awake. Although they were a little slower, they still got off the sofa and occupied one corner, aiming their ﬁrearms at the window. He came? Xie Tong was at a loss at ﬁrst, then posed cautiously.
He came! Guo Min turned pale. With his hands grasping the blanket, he subconsciously leaned towards Xie Tong.
He came! Wan Rongli, Guo Huairou, and the others were awakened by the noise. Too afraid to speak, they snuggled close to each other. They clutched their arms and shivered.
That crazy murder really came?
What to do? What to do?
Just as a shadow came near outside the window, it seemed to realize that the originally quiet target had become alive. The atmosphere instantly turned intense.
When he felt some pricking sensations on his body, he knew dangerous ﬁrearms were aimed at him. He was shocked and backed a few steps. He decided to quietly confront it.
A wave of power surged. After a few seconds, he realized the security inside was not at all loose. He suddenly understood the other side did not notice him by mistake.
The shadow hesitated for a moment. Realizing there were no chances for him to attack, he decisively and quietly retreated out of this area. At the same time, he whispered one word.
In Guo's living room, Lou Cheng's inexplicable surge of power gradually subsided, no longer under his control. But at the last moment, he noticed the source of malevolence leaving.
Closing his eyes and putting himself in the state of meditation, he tried to imitate a deep sleep so he could relive the sensor characteristics of Jindan. But with the existence of the spirit and thoughts, he could barely relive any, let alone making the long distance induction work in deep sleep. But no matter what, he was sure the malevolence had left.
Niu Zhen and the others stared at the window. The tension was so thick that if a mouse had jumped out, it would be shot dead at once by intensive ﬁre.
However, they were still unable to ﬁnd traces of Zhan Xuming.
Under this atmosphere, Lou Cheng casually spoke.
Gone? Guo Min, Niu Zhen, and the rest shared confused looks, nearly losing the strength to react.
Zhan Xuming had left before even making an appearance?
Was it true? Following this, an emotion called anger appeared in their minds.
Was this guy f*cking around?
He inexplicably disturbed everyone, making everyone aim at that window and be on alert for a long time. He then said that nothing happened? That the mad murderer had come but left without coming inside the house?
Could it be he made a misjudgment and made an exaggerated reaction?
If not for the fact that Lou Cheng was their backbone tonight, and the situation would be even more dangerous without him, Guo Huairou and the rest really wanted to scold him.
But they had to hold back. So they swallowed their dissatisfaction and returned to their original spots. Lou Cheng looked calm when he told Niu Zhen, "Give Chief Xing a call and tell him that Zhan Xuming came. Tell him to pay attention to the houses nearby."
"B-But we didn't ﬁnd anything," Niu Zhen could not help retorting.
Lou Cheng calmly looked at him and said, "If you report truthfully, he'll judge by himself. He doesn't need your help in making a decision."
Niu Zhen thought it was always wise to play safe, so he reported as such to Chief Xing. There was only a brief reply from him, "I see."
They watched as Lou Cheng sat on the ground, sent a few messages, and fell asleep again.
Asleep... Guo Min and others felt numb and even a little despair. ...
Yan Zheke turned on her side, ﬁnding it difﬁcult to sleep. The others thought she was too timid to sleep, so everyone tried to comfort her.
Her cell phone rang and her heart almost stopped beating.
She hurriedly picked up and found the text was from Lou Cheng.
"Zhan Xuming came, but we scared him away. It should be ﬁne now... "
Huh... Yan Zheke breathed a sigh of relief. Happy yet scared at the same time, she asked, "You're not injured, are you? Don't be careless; he may come back!"
"I'm not injured. He noticed our heavy protection and ran away... Please don't worry, I won't be careless. I'll be on alert and I've already informed Uncle Xing. Hey, why aren't you asleep?" Lou Cheng asked.
Yan Zheke said lightly,
"I didn't sleep too well. Whenever there are sounds, I'll wake up."
It was all because of him, this fool.
At ﬁve in the morning, Lou Cheng was awakened by his vibrating phone.
Taking a look at the screen, he saw the call was from Chief Xing. Once the call connected, he heard an unveiled happy voice. "Lou, we had a peaceful night. The crisis is over for the time being! The special task force has arrived and we've caught onto Zhan Xuming's tail. He has nowhere to run. You can go home and have a good rest. I'll see you in court this afternoon."
"Okay." Relieved, Lou Cheng instantly relayed the news to Yan Zheke.
Finally able to put her worries at ease, Yan Zheke's eyelids began drooping. She forced herself to reply, "Hmm, Cheng. I'm so sleepy. I'm going to take a nap and exercise in the afternoon."
"I slept well, so I'm going to continue. Good night, Ke. Oh no, it should be good morning!" Lou Cheng replied, smiling.
He then put away the phone, looked around the living room, and gave a slight smile.
"The danger has been dealt with. You're all free to do whatever." He then opened the door and left.
The silence in the living room stretched. Guo Huairou could not help complaining. "Sir Niu, what kind of master did you get us? He was completely useless!"
"Exactly! He even gave us a fright and tortured us the whole night. I'll talk to Chief Xing about this!" Wan Rongli chimed in, massaging her sprained neck.
Guo Min also smiled. "It's ﬁne, it's ﬁne. We don't have enough manpower anyway. I can understand. It's enough we survived this ordeal."
It was inconvenient for Niu Zhen to respond to their complaints. He had not received his next order, so he could only listen to the Guo family rambling with Yang Sha and the others.
After a few minutes, he received an order to open the window in the living room. "Open the window?" The unexpected order confused Niu Zhen.
When he opened the window, he saw a few unfamiliar men dressed in police uniforms checking something underneath the streetlamp.
"What's wrong?" Niu Zhen asked, puzzled. Guo Min, Guo Huairou, and the others also curiously squeezed into the frame of the window.
The leading policeman outside frowned.
"Zhan Xuming stayed here for at least a minute... "
Yet he did nothing!
Zhan Xuming stayed here for at least a minute? Zhan Xuming was really here! He even stayed for a minute! Niu Zhen's mouth opened little by little. He was stunned to see the faces of everyone were ﬁlled with bewilderment and fear as well.
Hiss! After a brief moment, successive sounds of breath inhalation were heard.
Chapter 243: Family Feast
At this moment, two images ﬂashed past the minds of Guo Min, Guo Huairou and the rest. A young man in a white martial arts suit with black trimmings looked towards the peaceful windows and shouted loudly but calmly, "He's here!" Then he announced again with the same calm tone, "He's gone!"
He came, he left... This was actually real!
The crowd gathered by the windows and subconsciously looked towards the door. Somehow the image of the young boy in the white martial arts suited with black trimmings and it seemed to appear and then disappear in front of their eyes.
"The real man never boasts... " After quite a while, Guo Min sighed.
On the other hand, Guo Huairou took a deep breath and from the bottom of her heart the words, "like a true expert" ﬂoated up. "Captain Niu, do you know who that was?" Guo Min asked curiously.
Niu Zhen shook his head with a blurred face, he said, "Director Xing only gave me a phone number... "
No one could catch the full of the mysterious dragon!
During morning training, Lou Cheng followed his regular regime of drinking the medicinal brew and practicing the ﬁner inner details. He polished his forces and at the end, used the Jindan to try and experience the feeling of "to keep". Again, he gained a different experience from yesterday.
Different everyday, refreshing everyday!
After breakfast, he reached the training center and soaked himself in the Strength Training Gymnasium for half an hour. Then, Lou Cheng saw Wu Ting entering the center, yawning and sporting dark eye rings.
"Coach Lou, I think I didn't get a good night's rest. You should know it, that matter. So, could you please reduce a little bit of the training later?" Wu Ting pleaded with him pitifully.
Lou Cheng looked at the other students and smiled. He said, "I'm aware. Today, your training will be reduced by two-thirds. When you're free, help me keep watch on the other students and correct their movements."
Both the student and teacher would beneﬁt from such a lesson.
"Great!" Wu Ting did not expect that her pleas would be heard so easily. Plus the surprising task of a "teaching assistant". She was happy and excited.
When training was about to start, she realized something and asked Lou Cheng curiously, "Coach Lou, you were also invited right? How could you still be so energetic and alert?" Protecting someone is deﬁnitely more tiring than being protected!
She did not have a good rest, but Coach Lou probably did not even get to rest!
"Yes, I was invited." Lou Cheng replied with a wide smile, "But, I also slept a whole night."
"Coach, you must be lying!" Wu Ting didn't believe his words and started to laugh.
Yao Ruiwei, Zhang Qiufan and the rest of the students looked at them, having no idea what they were talking about and thus deciding to ask Wu Ting during break time.
So what happened last night?
... 2 p.m. in the afternoon, after a round of pound training, Lou Cheng left Gushan Martial Arts School and made a turn to the cross road at the side, where he got into Xing Chengwu's SUV.
"Lou, yours." Xing Chengwu stretched out his hands and passed a thick envelope to Lou Cheng.
"Uncle Xing, what's this?" Lou Cheng asked, perplexed.
Xing Chengwu answered brightly, "The reward for last night. No need to reject, it's from the country, not from my pocket. Because it was somewhat dangerous, so they've given quite a lot."
Lou Cheng pinched to estimate the thickness of the envelope. It was about 8,000 to 10,000 yuan. For a top Professional Ninth Pin, just one night of being a bodyguard, this was a crazy amount. But then again, thinking about the fact that the enemy that he faced was someone with Seventh Pin Dan stage, the amount sounds reasonable again. This money was made in exchange for his life. Why should he be humble about it?
Lou Cheng opened the envelope and took out the red notes. He used his phone to take a photo of them and sent them to Yan Zheke who was taking an afternoon nap to recover from the night. He wrote with a snigger emoji.
"We're also earning money from the country!"
Although he could not talk as and when he wanted, but he always wanted to share what he had experienced with his girlfriend.
Director Xing, of course, could understand the photo taking habit of the young ones. He did not say anything else, and just started the car. They drove towards the courts in the east.
After driving for a while, without any other intention, he asked, "Lou, how did you guys managed to scare Zhan Xuming yesterday?" He looked out of the window for at least a minute before continuing his words, "Niu Zhen, that kid, was not clear at all with his explanation."
"Uncle Xing, do you know about the Ice Sect's Enemy Heart Freezing Move?" Lou Cheng was already rather matured in handling such questions, so he returned the question.
"Yes." Xing Chengwu somewhat understood what Lou Cheng was driving at. "You've ﬁnished the training its skill?"
Lou Cheng gave a dry smile and said, "I can't consider that as complete training because I can't use it at all during a ﬁght. Only when I'm in full meditation, I can somewhat make it work. Yesterday, thanks to it, we managed to detect Zhan Xuming getting closer. So we had time to prepare once we have informed everyone. This made Zhan Xuming feel that he had no chance so he just retreated. Uncle Xing, don't tell anyone, I still want to have the card hidden."
"Ok, understand! No wonder Niu Zhen that kid said that you were sleeping the whole time. Haha, really truly, generations to come are really to be feared!" Director Xing shook his head and exclaimed. He changed the topic. "Lou, you didn't tell Guo Min your name yesterday?"
Lou Cheng paused for a bit before he suddenly realized what Xing Chengwu was referring to. "Uncle Xing, you know?"
He knew that Guo Min was Lou Cheng's dad's boss, so the arrangements yesterday were intentional!
"Habit from the profession, habit." Director Xing laughed. "Your master told me to take care of you. If I don't even know your family background, how would I be able to do so? However, seems like you're unwilling to let Guo Min know who you are?"
"I just feel that it is not necessary for me to purposely mention so. It would only make it weird. Plus, if Mr. Guo knows about this layer of relationship, I would probably have problems commanding the operation yesterday." Lou Cheng responded honestly. "That's true," Xing Chengwu laughed. "Good thing I only called Niu Zhen and did not mention your position. I thought that you would mention if you're willing to."
Uh... Lou Cheng was surprised. It was only after he thought through the statement before he understood how cunning and sly Director Xing was. No matter he looked at the matter, Director Xing had everything planned out.
The true experienced master!
After ten over minutes, Xing Chengwu drove into the courts and stopped his car at the block at the back. There was no one around them.
He brought Lou Cheng directly into the building. They passed a VIP elevator. At level four, they went all the way up, without see anyone else random.
"Go in, there are no outsiders." Xing Chengwu pointed to a room right at the end of the hallway. For a moment, Lou Cheng recalled the fate of Wang Xu and his heart sank and subconsciously he exhaled deeply.
"Don't worry, to be honest, Wang Xu will not get too heavy a sentence." Xing Chengwu patted him on the shoulders.
Lou Cheng gave a small nod and knocked on the door. After waiting for a moment, he used some force to push the door open.
The process of giving his statement was about the same as he expected. There was no other person, only the required and relevant judges and legal personnel. Through questioning, Lou Cheng described the whole situation once.
Lou Cheng always kept this in mind — that — he rushed over because he was sent by Director Xing to stop the crime. As for any other matter, he did not hide anything else.
For what it seemed forever, he ﬁnally heard the announcement that he could leave the room. After leaving the room, what ﬁrst entered his eyes was the bright afternoon sun rays of July. It was completely different from the room.
He quietly followed Xing Chengwu back to the SUV. While doing so, Lou Cheng saw the parents of Wang Xu who was about to be heard in court. They seemed to have aged much as compared to half a year ago. They were about the same age as his parents, but now they looked almost 60.
"Hai... " Lou Cheng sighed and leaned back in the passenger seat next to the driver. He said earnestly, "Uncle Xing, could we stay here for a moment before we leave?"
"Sure." Xing Chengwu did not say anything further. He just picked up his phone and started to settle some work stuff.
With the A/C blowing a breeze, Lou Cheng's thoughts raged, and could not stop for quite some time.
The current Wang Xu was probably just one or two walls away from him, but their fates seemed to have been ﬁxed on two different occasions like the bright sunshine today and the gloomy day of the ﬁrst day of the Lunar New Year.
This is life.
As the clock ticked, Xing Chengwu picked up a call and turned to Lou Cheng. He smile and said,
"Court declared, sentenced ﬁve years."
"That's not too bad... " Lou Cheng heaved a sigh of relief.
"I'll get someone in the prison to take care of him. If he has good conduct, he could be put on parole in three years. At that time, he would only be 23, so much more time in front of him." Xing Chengwu started the engine. "Thank you Uncle Xing," Lou Cheng thanked him sincerely.
Xing Chengwu laughed heartily and said, "What are you thanking for? We are just in time for dinner. How about you come over to my place for dinner? I haven't had the chance to treat you to a good meal."
"Yes, alright." Lou Cheng did not reject the offer, neither did he raise the issue of Xing Jingjing. He only called his father to inform that he would return home after dinner.
He could not afford to mention the pot that doesn't boil; talk about one's weak point!
Xing Chengwu had already made the necessary arrangements. After the phone call, he just went straight for South Scholar Street. When he brought Lou Cheng through his home door, the dishes were already almost ready.
"Mum, they're back. We can have dinner." Xing Jingjing, standing tall with her hair pulled back into a ponytail turned towards the kitchen to make the announcement to her mum. Lou Cheng changed into home slippers and politely said, "Hi, Senior."
At the same time, Xing Chengwu put himself between the two young ones and used his greatest efforts to try to appease his daughter.
Xing Jingjing looked towards Lou Cheng with less irritancy and annoyance as compared to last time. She said coldly,
"Ke mentioned you once."
"That's good to know, that's good to know... " Lou Cheng did not know what he was talking about.
This was the treatment of a best friend's boyfriend?
Seeing that his daughter's reaction was not too big, Xing Chengwu secretly heaved a sigh of relief. He quickly asked her to go and help take out the dishes. It was not being he was being a male chauvinist and did not want to do so. He just felt that if he had left his daughter and Lou Cheng alone in the same room, the peaceful situation will probably turn into a war later.
Dinner started not long after. The missus of Director Xing, Aunt Ding, was rather passionate towards Lou Cheng, always asking about different things, praising him all the time, about everything.
Xing Jingjing quietly had her meal and in the midst of the lively atmosphere, she said blandly,
"He has a girlfriend... "
"... How did you know that?" Aunt Ding was shocked before she regained her composure and started to ask.
When did this girl get familiar with Lou? Lou Cheng was shocked. He was terriﬁed that this lady here would spill the beans about Ke and him if she was just slightly unhappy!
Xing Jingjing turned her face and said,
Lou Cheng's heart almost popped out, and then he heard Xing Jingjing add another line,
"I see... " Xing Chengwu and Aunt Ding somewhat felt relieved, but at the same time, they were disappointed.
Just at this moment, the doorbell rang and the tinkle of the doorbell echoed through the whole house. "Who would that be?" Xing Chengwu was already used to sudden visitors. He shook his head and walked to the door. Lou Cheng subconsciously turned to look at the door.
The door opened and he saw two familiar persons. They were his dad's childhood friend Zhao Zijun and his wife.
He was a deputy chief at the police station, so visiting Uncle Xing was a normal event. Lou Cheng turned back as these thoughts swirled in his head.
Zhao Zijun looked inside and he laughed, "Such a timing!
You're having a good dinner, Director?"
"What do you mean by that? It's a great timing! Come Zhao, together!" Director Xing warmly welcomed him to the table.
Zhao Zijun's eyes scanned the dining table. He was about to say something when he noticed someone else at the table. He quickly held his tongue. It was only when his wife, Huang Qun pulled him, then he snapped back. He smiled and said, "No need, no need. We had our dinner already. We were just thinking that we haven't seen our old leader so we decided to come visit. We'll leave soon."
"Haha, as long as you did not forget your old leader — I." Xing Chengwu wanted to bring them to the sofa to sit down, but seeing that Zhao Zijun had mentioned something else, his expression darkened. "Zhao, what do you mean by this?"
"I, I... " Director Xing was authoritative and for a moment Zhao Zijun could not say anything.
Xing Chengwu's face loosened a little. "Zhao, take these stuff back. I know about your matter, you are my old teammate, I will deﬁnitely help you."
"Yes, yes, Director Xing." Zhao Zijun and Huang Qun heard the message and did not dare to extend their stay. They bid their goodbyes and left.
Xing Chengwu did not try to make them stay. He sent them off and then went back to the dinner table. He gave a dry smile and said, "The station master of Fei Xia Road station has retired. So Zhao has some thoughts. Ay, that time when I was at the branch, he followed me for quite some years. He has some good abilities, of course I would think about him."
Lou Cheng just smiled without saying anything else.
After they stepped out of Director Xing's door, Huang Qun looked at what she was holding. Nervously, she said,
"Zhao, this is it?"
"Yup, Director has always been a man of his words. Since he has already spoken, he will deﬁnitely do something." Zhao Zijun's mind was still ﬁlled with the person that he just saw. He frowned and said, "Did you see that person that was having dinner with Director Xing and his family?" "I didn't dare to look too close... " Huang Qun shook her head.
Zhao Zijun took in a deep breath. "That should be the kid from Lou Zhisheng's family."
Why is he at Director Xing's home?
Plus such a feast!
Chapter 244: Entering the Home
"Him?" Huang Qun's eyes widened.
This was a relationship that was unattainable!
Zhao Zijun was still frowning, "Yup, I think I saw correctly. To be invited to such family feast, they must have a closer than normal relationship!"
Lou Zhisheng knows how to plant spies?
"Just hear what you just said. He was having a meal with a family of detectives. It doesn't mean that they're close. Didn't we also have such a meal? What if he was a schoolmate of Jingjing?" Huang Qun continued to guess.
"Hmm, true." Zhao Zijun stepped into the elevator and groaned. "But the more I think about it, the more I think that Lou Zhisheng's son looked very smart. He doesn't seem to be the same as the others. Tomorrow when we get to work, I'll go and check up on him." ...
At night, on the way home, the mysterious expert whom Boss Guo thought no one could capture was listening to classes obediently.
Qi Fang nagged, "Just see you. Only a couple of days and you're not coming home to sleep, not coming home for dinner... "
After listening for a good ﬁve minutes, Lou Cheng ﬁnally found the opportunity to interrupt. "Mum, it's like this. I asked our Martial Arts Club's coach to be my master right? He has a friend in Xiushan, who has been taking care of me. So, if someone senior invites me to a meal, I have to go, no?"
Since Geezer Shi had ofﬁcially acknowledged him as a disciple, he only sort of mentioned the matter to his parents. He left out the details of his master's abilities, only saying that he was a rather powerful person.
"Is that the truth?" Qi Fang's face was ﬁlled with suspicion. "Why would I lie to you? If not I could give you the number and you can call and check." Lou Cheng answered earnestly, while grumbling under his breath. If his mum really wanted to the number, he would just tell her to its one one zero — call the police and look for Director Xing!
"Ok, Cheng is now a big boy. It's only normal he has his own relations. Why do you ask so much?" Lou Zhisheng ﬁnally spoke to stop his wife from questioning any further.
Qi Fang shot him a venomous stare and said, "I am only asking and showing some concern for my son, is there anything wrong with that? Do I need you to teach me? Just look at yourself, you are not even concerned, you don't ask anything! All you know is to eat and to play chess!"
Seeing that the arrow was now turned towards his dad, Lou Cheng just raised his hands and gave a helpless look, before sneaking back to his room.
In the next two days, he went to Ningshui County to visit his grandparents for two days in the countryside. In the meantime, he boasted to Yan Zheke about the various fruit trees. When he got to work on Monday and started to coach Wu Ting, Zhang Qiufan and the other students, he promised the students that they would have some actual ﬁght time on Wednesday.
Tuesday morning, the day before the Empress Dowager returns from her work trip, and since Zhan Xuming had been struck dead at the side of the mountains; Lou Cheng had been waiting for the chance to train with his girlfriend.
They were in a secret place in the Back Water Lake. As usual, they were serious and focused. Time to time their eyes would meet and the atmosphere would be ﬁlled with warmth and honey like sweetness.
In such situations, Lou Cheng would always think about the beautiful future. The more he trained, the more he would get the hang of things and slowly, the force entered his body.
In front of Yan Zheke, he did not try to perform "Keep". All he had in mind was how he could make use of the Jindan to surprise the girl from time to time. Else, he would feel guilty, like he was lying and boasting to her. Soon, it was almost eight. Yan Zheke retracted her stance. Tired, she panted and smiled at Lou Cheng with her dimples showing. "Cheng, what should we have for breakfast?"
She asked enthusiastically, ﬁlled with expectations.
Lou Cheng had already made plans. He smiled gently and said, "Let's go to the wonton noodle shop that you mentioned before?"
"Sure, let your older sister bring you there!" Yan Zheke said with a laugh.
Lou Cheng grabbed the opportunity to ask, "Ke, your parents are all not around. There's no one at home right?"
"No, my mum doesn't really like strangers in our home. The auntie who cooks and cleans our place usually only comes at 11 or so, and then goes off before dinner." Yan Zheke looked up and then asked again, "Why do you ask?" What naughty thoughts do you have!
"You said that you'll show me photos of you when you were young! This is the chance! It's rare to come by!" Lou Cheng grinned and answered her.
Yan Zheke rolled her eyes and said, "Humph, you haven't shown me yours!"
"Mine? I have plenty of chances to do so! My parents have a regular schedule, not like the Empress Dowager... " Lou Cheng tried his best to tempt the girl.
Yan Zheke puffed her cheeked and gave her boyfriend a side glare.
"Alright then. We'll go to my place after we are done with wonton noodles." Actually, she really wants to share with Lou Cheng about her younger times. She wanted to hear him praise how she looked when she was younger!
Lou Cheng was really happy and started to share with her his plan. "So, then, I'll head home to take a shower ﬁrst, change my clothes... "
"That's so troublesome." Yan Zheke pursed her lips and started to think. "How about a shower at my place?"
"But I don't have a change of clothes... " Lou Cheng asked excitedly.
Yan Zheke laughed lightly. "Dumb! You can wear my dad's old pyjamas. I'll put your martial arts suit into the washing machine and it should be dry before noon!"
As for the video cameras at home, after Cheng was gone, she would delete whatever that had been recorded. "Great plan!" Lou Cheng had no intention to reject. He agreed to the suggestion immediately.
After they ﬁnished their discussion, a new idea popped up in his head. Half smiling, he said, "Ke, you have cold rice and eggs at home right?"
"I guess so, it's usually Auntie who would clear stuff in the afternoon... " Yan Zheke was unsure what he was hinting at.
Lou Cheng chuckled and said, "How about this? We don't go and have wonton noodles? I can make you fried rice with eggs at home!"
"You know how to cook?" Yan Zheke was half surprised, half suspicious.
He better not make any weird tasting food! "Of course. I only know how to make fried rice with eggs and cook noodles. Gone through years of training for them!" Lou Cheng ﬂexed his muscles to tease her.
Yan Zheke bit her lips and with glowing eyes she said, "Then we shall have some expectations... "
Hehe, Cheng's fried rice with eggs made with love!
They jogged back to the villa area. Lou Cheng check out the security and gates around the area. He observed the walls that surround them. He said seriously, "I'll look for a blind spot of the cameras to get in... "
If he would to enter the gates with Ke, his father-in-law would probably know about him by the evening.
Plus such wall was no challenge to him! Yan Zheke batted her long eyelashes and looked at him in astonishment, not being able to understand why he would make such a suggestion.
After a couple of seconds, the girl realized and she started to laugh so hard. In the midst of her giggles, she said, "Haha, Cheng, you're so funny! My tummy hurts from all these laughter! But, I actually want to see you skip the walls!"
"Is there anything wrong with what I said?" Lou Cheng was bafﬂed by her reaction.
Yan Zheke ﬁnally managed to stop laughing and then she gently scolded him,
After she said that, she pulled out a string of keys attached to her door card and passed it to Lou Cheng. "Here you go!" "Then, what about you?" Lou Cheng was still rather lost.
Yan Zheke answered seriously,
She made Lou Cheng wait on the opposite side of the road while she walked with light footsteps to the security counter. She said shyly, "Could you please help me open the door? I forgot my card."
The security ofﬁcer already had a deep impression of this pretty young girl. He knew that she was a resident of the estate, plus, with her beaming smile, any suspicion would have been expelled. He replied, "Sure, no problem! Opening immediately!"
"Thank you!" Yan Zheke smiled sweetly. She turned and made a face at Lou Cheng secretly. Dumb Cheng!
After she had entered, she sent him a message as a signal. Then holding on to the card, Lou Cheng walked calmly to the door and with a beep, he passed through the gates easily.
The security ofﬁcer did ﬁnd him somewhat unfamiliar, but it was rather common for the residents to have relatives or friends to come and stay for a while, so this was nothing strange.
Following her instructions, after making many turns, he arrived at the doorstep of a villa. The girl was sitting demurely on the swing in the little garden in front of the house. She was smiling at him.
"My dad made this when we ﬁrst moved in." Yan Zheke introduced the swing with pride.
Lou Cheng clicked his tongue and said, "Father-in-law knows carpentry?" "Of course! My dad's amazing!" Yan Zheke was already used to how Lou Cheng would brazenly refer to them as in-laws. So instead of feeling frustrated, there was a tinge of sweetness within her instead.
Lou Cheng looked around and with a hint of worry, he asked, "The security of your estate is so average, the guard was very loose."
It was so easy for him to just enter the estate!
Did not seem like a rich estate...
"My mum said that too, and always suggested people to hire the security company of my uncle. But you know, many people rather less trouble, and lazy to change. But since the Zhan Xuming incident, I think they'll probably soon take action, and by then, it will be hard for some dumbass to just enter!" Yan Zheke smirked.
Leading her boyfriend, they came to the front door and unlocked the door with her ﬁngerprint. She opened the door and looked for a pair of home slippers for Lou Cheng.
After changing into the home slippers, his heart did a little jump and then he picked up his martial arts shoes.
"Why are you holding on to them?" Yan Zheke asked as she shut the door.
Lou Cheng chuckled and said, "We'll put this in the room. If we were to put this here, if your parents suddenly come home, we'll be found out immediately!"
"Oh, that's true... " Yan Zheke nodded and was enlightened by his words. With an awkward smile, she turned to him and said, "Cheng, you sound experienced. Spill it! Did you go to other girls' home like that?"
"Not me, it's Talker! His past experience!" Lou Cheng quickly cleared the air. "After this, you would be considered someone with experience!" She raised her hand and declared the statement seriously.
As they passed the living room and reached the stairs, Lou Cheng's eyes took in every detail of Yan Zheke's home. He deeply felt that their families were so different. It would be difﬁcult to say if he did not have an inferior complex. Good thing was that he was at the peak of his skills. He felt that regardless of the difference, he could make up for it, so he did not fall into depression.
After they got to the second level, they enter the girl's room. The ﬁrst thing that entered his eyes was pink and white color scheme and the variety of dolls in the room. There were big ones, small ones, cute ones and weird looking ones.
Yan Zheke took a quick step forward and rushed towards the side of her bed. She blushed and in breath she grabbed and wrapped the random things like clothes together before stufﬁng them into a huge closet. Lou Cheng took in the familiar scent of Yan Zheke in the room. He gave a sneaky smile and said, "I thought it would be neat."
Of course, this was so much cleaner than his room!
"Pfft, who cleans up everyday!" Yan Zheke tilted her head and looked away.
At this moment, as the door closed, the atmosphere in the girl's room suddenly turned quiet. There was some unspoken romantic feeling in the air.
This was the true secret place without any disturbance.
The long black eyelashes of Yan Zheke ﬂuttered. Like a Little White Rabbit, she searched for a couple of albums on the shelf. She did not dare to look at Lou Cheng in the eye. "I, I'll go shower ﬁrst! You see the photos ﬁrst!" "Sure." He smiled and nodded. Lou Cheng tried his best to hold back his brashness.
After hearing his reply, Yan Zheke turned and looked into his eyes. Back to her clear and gentle eyes, she said,
"Besides my dad, you're the ﬁrst other male to enter my room. So, I, I am a little uncomfortable... Not that I don't trust you... "
"I get it." Lou Cheng smiled like a blooming ﬂower.
As long as he managed to enter her room, he had already achieved his goal!
Yan Zheke rummaged her cupboard for her clothes and then entered the bathroom in the room. Lou Cheng took several deep breaths and turned his focus to the albums. He was trying hard not to let his mind run wild. In this album, the girl was about three to seven years old. Her dressing was much more western than those of similar age. Slightly chubby with baby fat, she was beautiful and cute; at the same time, it was obvious that she did not look well. In many photos, she seemed quiet and depressed. At times where she was not tortured by her illness, she tried so hard to smile as bright as she could and to enjoy the life she had, as positively as possible.
Lou Cheng pulled out his phone. He started to take pictures of several photos that were so cute he could hardly hold back his smile. There was one with her in a princess skirt, another in braids. All with large, bright, and innocent looking eyes...
At this moment, Yan Zheke ﬁnished showering and she came out in a short sleeve nightgown. With some steam and the scent of soap, she said,
"Your turn... "
She spotted the ﬁre in Lou Cheng's eyes. He looked like he was about to pounce on her. She turned to one side and bashfully said in a scolding but light tone, "Go and shower ﬁrst! You're so dirty!"
First? Lou Cheng's heart did a tiny leap. He nodded vigorously before saying, "Yes!"
Yan Zheke did not realize the wrong choice of words. She continued. "Later, just wrap yourself in a towel ﬁrst, I'll go search for my dad's old pyjamas. He's a little taller than you but I think about the same actually."
"Yup yup." Lou Cheng walked into the bathroom.
After he was done with his shower, he put on his boxers and wrapped himself in a towel before walking out. At the same time, Yan Zheke walked into the room with a set of pyjamas.
Seeing his hairy legs and bare shoulders, plus the towel around his waist, she tried to hold back her laughter. She said, "Come, laugh for your master!"
Cheng looked like he was just "used" by me!
"Sure." Lou Cheng gave a sneaky laugh, pounced and grabbed her into a hug.
Yan Zheke raised her arms and turned her face aside,
"Let's, let's eat ﬁrst!"
First? Lou Cheng kissed her and with the greatest determination, tore himself away from her. He smiled and said,
"Yeap, it's time for you to taste the egg fried rice that has been passed down for generations in my family!" "Always boasting!" Yan Zheke touched where she had just been kissed. She blushed and tried to sound non-chalant.
She took both sets of martial arts suit out of the room. In the meantime, Lou Cheng quickly changed into the pyjamas and went down the stairs. He walked to the kitchen and started to rummage the refrigerator for cold rice and eggs.
After the washing machine started to churn, Yan Zheke walked over and looked at him intently. He was beating the eggs in a very familiar manner with a little glimmer in his eyes.
She did not stay where she was. Instead, she walked over and started to check out how to use the kitchen appliances. Enthusiastically, she said, "Cheng, how about I do a cold dish? I remember there were some ingredients left over from yesterday's dinner."
You cook, and I'll make something too!
"You know how to make a cold dish?" Lou Cheng was happy and surprised at the same time. Yan Zheke pursed her lips and nodded,
"No, I don't! "
"But, there are many recipes online right? I'm not stupid, I can just follow them?"
Uh... Lou Cheng braced himself and said, "Then, go ahead and try... "
"Alright!" Yan Zheke whipped out her phone and started to search for recipes. As she looked, she started to frown, "How are we supposed to determine if it's ﬁve grams, three grams?"
"Just estimate." Lou Cheng answered honestly.
"That won't do. Too unreliable... " Yan Zheke's pretty brows remained scrunched up. She started to think and then she suddenly exclaimed happily. "I'm so silly! I can use the measuring tools!" She turned and left the kitchen. She made her way upstairs.
Tools? Lou Cheng was slightly lost.
What tools? Kitchen measuring tools?
After about a minute, she came down with an object. She rushed to the kitchen. Lou Cheng looked at what she was carrying. It was a lab measuring scale for children!
"I really like chemistry related stuff when I was younger, so my dad bought me this." Yan Zheke's dimples danced as she smiled sweetly. She carefully wiped the scale, placed a spoon on it and started to measure carefully.
Lou Cheng paused for a bit. Then while he tried to hold back his laughter, he said,
"You take things so 'seriously'!" "Of course!" Yan Zheke replied unbashfully.
Not long later, the fragrance of fried rice with eggs start to spread in the kitchen. This made the girl's nose twitch a little.
She clapped and said, "I'm also done! Come, try it!"
Why, me? Lou Cheng cursed lightly under his breath. He turned off his ﬁre, plated two portions of the fried rice with eggs and then picked up the chopsticks to pick a little from her dish.
"... Not bad!" He tried his best to praise her dish.
Although it was kind of average, at least it was edible.
Yan Zheke smiled brightly and proudly brought the Three Kinds of Cold Mixed Vegetables dish to the dining table. Lou Cheng followed her and brought along the fried rice with eggs and chopsticks. The girl took a bite of fried rice with eggs and blissfully she said, "Ay, it's quite tasty... I acknowledge that you're quite an expert with Fried rice with eggs!"
Lou Cheng was about to take a bite before he heard the sound of a ﬁngerprint unlocking the main door!
Yan Zheke's back stiffened and she looked in the direction of the door with fear.
At this moment, a thousand and one thoughts ﬂew past Lou Cheng's mind. Scene after scene just swiped by.
Could it be father-in-law returning from work early today?
He took a second look at what he was wearing. Then he thought,
"If I said that I was only here to take a shower, have a bite, while waiting for my clothes to dry. Have not done anything naughty...
"Uncle Yan, would you believe me?"
Chapter 245: Regrets of Not Having Enough Powers
I think the majority wouldn't believe this...
This scene, this outﬁt, Lou Cheng was sure no father of a daughter would believe his explanation. As his thoughts churned, he had already lifted his chopsticks, and with a spring from his waist muscles, he smoothly left his seat and rushed into the kitchen.
Thankfully, thankfully, Ke's home's kitchen was not an open kitchen!
For Yan Zheke, although she was afraid, she also stood up immediately and walked towards the door. She wanted to help buy time through distraction so that Lou Cheng had sufﬁcient time to hide himself.
During this whole time, the two never exchanged any words or any form of communication, but yet they had so much chemistry in their actions. They were so similar, so calm in the face of "danger". They had the same decisiveness and they never gave in to fate!
With a little strength from her feet, with large steps she moved lightly but quickly towards the door. Within seconds she was already at the living room.
It was only at this time that the main door had swung open. A tall and bright looking middle-aged man walked into the house. He was carrying a bag of groceries. He warmly smiled at his daughter who was almost bouncing to welcome him. "Had your breakfast already? While I was doing some working just now, I passed by Qingyuan Street. I remembered that you loved the steamed buns from that old shop. So since it's on the way, I brought back some for you."
It was really by chance that he had returned!
Yan Zheke's heart was thumping hard. She did not dare to turn back to see how well had Lou Cheng managed to hide himself. She stepped forward to hook arms with her dad. She smiled as sweetly as she can. "Dad! You always surprise me! A model dad!" This time was a scare!
In the kitchen, Lou Cheng had hid in the corner next to the refrigerator. He leaned towards their direction to try to catch what they were talking about. He tried his best to control his heartbeat, carefully he turned his phone to silent mode.
It was really father-in-law!
He turned and looked at the knives in the kitchen. For a moment, he pictured them landing on him...
Yan Kai was 40 something years old. He had distinct eyebrows, high nose and could be considered a good looking man. Some bits of his younger days seemed to have remained on him, adding a tinge of scholarly elegance in him. Age did not destroy his look, instead it made him more charming.
Every time she sees her dad, Yan Zheke would always think that Empress Dowager was the real deal, the real deal in choosing looks! Good thing she had undergone "training" and "tests" with good looks of her father and cousins, so she was somewhat immune to looks. She did not think too much about looks, else she would have missed Lou Cheng, this silly boy.
Yan Kai pat his daughter's hands and chuckled, "You really don't grow up do you? Still whining so much... "
At this point, he sniffed and then said with curiosity, "Smells nice... Fried rice with eggs?"
Lou Cheng's back muscle tightened, and his heart skipped a beat.
Yan Zheke's mind went blank for a second before she looked up and quickly replied,
"Dad! I want to show you something!" She pulled her father towards the dining table. She was secretly happy that her father's martial arts level was only at the amateur level, and did not know the Listening Skill. Else, her racing heart would have given everything away!
Yan Kai grinned and let her daughter drag himself. They reached the dining table and he saw the bowl of Fried rice with eggs and Three Kinds of Cold Mixed Vegetables.
Just as he was happily guessing, Yan Zheke pointed to the table and with a quite turn of her mind, she proudly announced,
"I made these!"
Yes, of course, I made the Three Kinds of Cold Mixed Vegetables!
"You made these?" Yan Kai looked at his daughter with surprise. He could not imagine how his precious daughter who had never done chores to secretly pick up cooking! He smiled comfortingly and said, "You wanted to give us a surprise?"
"Hehe." Yan Zheke could only laugh. She did not dare to lie to her dad like that.
"It is the ﬁrst time in my life. My daughter's cooking, I must try it!" Yan Kai smiled as he walked towards the kitchen to grab a pair of chopsticks.
Upon hearing his footsteps coming close, Lou Cheng's brains exploded. He really could the image of his body being stabbed with knives!
He looked around and tried to look for a place to hide.
In the cupboard? I don't know the Retracting Bones Skill!
The ceiling? But I also don't know the Lizard Wall Climbing Skill... If I force it, I'll leave clear scratch marks! Suddenly Lou Cheng could feel that what he had learned was far from enough. Nothing he had on hand could be adapted to his current situation.
Yan Zheke was also taken aback by her dad's action, but she managed to keep her cool. She pulled her dad and said,
"Sit, dad! Just take a seat! I'll get it for you!"
"Good, good, good. I'll just enjoy this time." Yan Kai was very happy. He sat on the side of the dining table and his eyes followed his precious daughter as she walked into the kitchen.
This girl now knows how to take care of others!
With her back facing her dad, she glanced around and saw Lou Cheng squatting beside the refrigerator. His left hand was holding on to the bowl, his right hand was holding the chopsticks. He looked so hilarious. She pursed her lips, and tried her very best not to laugh, even though this was totally not the appropriate situation to ﬁnd anything funny. She gave her boyfriend a tiny nod and with a half squat she pulled out a drawer and took out a set of cutlery. She rinsed them quickly and then left the kitchen.
Lou Cheng did not even dare to breathe any louder. He just slightly relaxed and felt that he was like a thief who had been cornered by the owner. Yes, a thief who stole his precious daughter.
This sounded a little worse than what he was thinking earlier...
Yan Zheke returned to the dining table and took a portion of the Fried rice with eggs for her dad. She stared at him and before he could try rice, she said, "Try this cold dish ﬁrst, I put in a lot of effort into it!"
Yan Kai laughed out loud. He picked up his chopsticks and tried the cold dish. "It's ok. It'll probably be better after a few more tries. Doesn't seem like your ﬁrst try... " "Yes, it's my ﬁrst time... " If her father had praised her like that during the normal days, Yan Zheke would deﬁnitely smile brightly, but now, she was too nervous to think or feel anything else. She always had the one who was squatting in the kitchen in her mind. She wanted to smile, but all she could manage was a stiff one. Hence, she just turned and ran to the kitchen, and took the children measuring scale to her dad. Like a piece of treasure, she brought it in front of him and said, "I measured everything carefully!"
Yan Kai paused for a bit to absorb what his daughter just said.
He regained his senses, and with overﬂowing love he said,
"I believe it's your ﬁrst time to make this dish."
Such a precious daughter!
Yan Zheke gave a small smile and with arched eyes she said, "Wait till your birthday, I will deﬁnitely make it better than today!" Yan Kai felt so comforted. He could not stop smiling, and he had another mouth of the Fried rice with eggs.
After a short while, he softly exclaimed, "This is not bad at all. Really, really good. Also it's your ﬁrst time to make it? It's even better than your mum's... "
He stopped talking for a bit before saying, "Don't tell your mother that I said that huh."
"Don't worry, we are on the same side... " Yan Zheke smiled sweetly and then she admitted honestly. "No, it's not the ﬁrst time making this."
Truly it was not the ﬁrst time, it was the "zero-th" time.
Clever little Ke... Lou Cheng was a little stunned as he listened into their conversation. But my Fried rice with eggs has just been recognized by my father-in-law. Does this count as a successful step forward?
To be able to marry a girl, you must ﬁrst win over her father's stomach?
Before Yan Kai could make any more comments, Yan Zheke added, "I don't actually know how I did it today. Maybe it wouldn't be as good the next time. Dad, you must accept it regardless alright!"
She was telling the truth. She truly did not know how Lou Cheng did it, so she had to manage his expectations a bit, or rather lower them.
"Newbies are all like that. Your father, I was also like that." Yan Kai said in a satisﬁed manner. He took his time to enjoy that few bites of Fried rice with eggs and cold dish. Yan Zheke, on the other hand, just felt more and more nervous as she ate next to him. Everything was tasteless to her. Yan Kai put down his bowl and chopsticks. He looked at his watch and said, "I have to get back to the hospital. Tomorrow, your mum will return. Let's go for a short getaway nearby."
"Alright... " Yan Zheke did not know whether she was glad because they would be going on a trip as a family, or because her dad was ﬁnally going back to work.
She followed behind Yan Kai and walked him to the door before bidding him farewell.
After she shut the door, she could ﬁnally relax and her legs almost turned jelly.
It was not that she was afraid to introduce Lou Cheng to her dad. It was because she felt that the relationship was going well and sweet. She could see a future together, and precisely because it was going well, there was no need to have any extra situation or pressure right now. If there was, the pressure could easily cause changes that their relationship may not be able to take, for example the attitude of her father, the attitude of her grandparents. After walking back to the dining table, she was shocked to realize that her boyfriend had not come out of the kitchen yet. So she rushed into the kitchen. All she saw was him holding on to the refrigerator, covered in cold sweat.
He did not even sweat this much when he fought a round of the Challenge Tournament. It was just her dad and he was so scared... Yan Zheke was touched and felt sweetness in her heart. She smiled and said, "Why are you still here? Did you fall in love with the kitchen?"
"I'm just being safe. What if he does a back thrust and come back again?" Lou Cheng explained seriously. "I'll wait another ten minutes before coming out."
Yan Zheke's eyes were smiling so much they were like lines arching a dance on her face. "Is this also an experience account from Cai Zongming?"
"No, it's a habit of mine to be careful." Lou Cheng returned to how he was and made a self-deprecation joke. Good thing he brought his martial arts shoes to Ke's room. If not the father-in-law would have caught them both!
Little Ming, your death in the past was not for nothing!
Yan Zheke ﬁrst burst out laughing, and then her emotions welled up within her. Filled with emotions, she sighed and said,
"It feels bad to be secretive like this. Cheating my dad and mum, making you put up with it... "
This really made her feel guilty and feel uncomfortable.
Lou Cheng calmed down and promised her,
"Next time, I will walk in here with my head held high with no shame." Thinking about this, the basic thing he had to achieve was to enter the Dan stage!
It was not that he could not marry Ke if he did not enter the Dan stage. Just like his father-in-law, he was also an amateur. But as a man, he must ﬁrst try and use his all to try to overcome all challenges and not put the girl in a difﬁcult situation.
At this moment, his will was strong and he was determined
— towards martial arts, towards Dan stage.
"You can do it." Yan Zheke eyes sparkled and she said with clear eyes,
With a serious look, she nodded and said softly, "But now the most important is something else!"
"What?" Lou Cheng was a little blur. Yan Zheke's lips curved up slightly and with her dimples showing, she said,
"Teach me how to make egg fried rice!"
I want to give dad and Empress Dowager a surprise!
"Oh yea... " Lou Cheng understood what she was saying.
In the remaining time, the two persons relaxed and then sweetly had the Fried rice with eggs, cold dish and steamed bun together. Then, Lou Cheng made a new pot of rice and taught Yan Zheke step by step how to make the dish. Time after time they had close contact, ear to ear and temple to temple. With more and more body contact, they got closer and eventually ended up being entwined, kissing.
To be honest, Lou Cheng really wanted to go further in this private space, but considering that the girl just underwent the great pressure and shock of her dad being home, he held back his actions and thoughts. Without knowing, the time was almost 11 already. Yan Zheke was somewhat pleased with the new dish she had learned.
"Ay, I only saw a couple of your photos." Lou Cheng said with some regret.
The Housekeeping auntie was about to arrive, so he knew he should leave soon.
Yan Zheke was too focused about their earlier intimacy and failed fried rice attempts. She blushed and said, "It's not like you cannot come again in the future... "
Then, they could just hide in her room and not make food. So even if her dad and Empress Dowager came back suddenly, they would probably not be found out.
"I look forward to next time!" Lou Cheng imitated his girlfriend's tone. After they separated reluctantly, Lou Cheng looked at another building in the villa area. He looked towards the sun and took large steps towards it.
There was a tiny but urgent target set in his heart. He really wanted it badly:
To get into the Dan Stage!
Chapter 246: Guidance
Standing beside the window she watched as Lou Cheng disappeared at the end of the road, Yan Zheke lightly bit her lips and held back the impulse to follow him. Then she tore her eyes away from him and sniffed cutely, this helped her take in the scent of fried rice and eggs that permeated the room.
She picked up her phone and subconsciously her mouth curved into a smile. Her ﬁngers quickly moved across the keyboard to send a message to her boyfriend who had just left, "It's all your fault! Now, whenever I close my eyes, I'm going to think of fried rice with eggs!"
Because the leftover cold rice had been used by Lou Cheng to make two portions of breakfast for the both of them, they had to make freshly steamed rice to create the dish. This would deﬁnitely not allow them to recreate the dish with its crucial essence. Nonetheless, with the basic skills she had learned, they were sufﬁcient for her to make a decent dish.
In a minute, she received Lou Cheng's reply: "Hehe, whenever I close my eyes, I will think of the dishes of fried rice with eggs which we burnt."
Yan Zheke's cheeks suddenly blushed a bright pink and she pursed her lips. Then she typed on the keyboard, her eyes bright as she licked her lips,
"Pervert, pervert, you're a big pervert!"
She walked into the study room, her footsteps light, as she opened the computer to log onto the monitoring system. She then began to go through the videos, looking for any trace of Lou Cheng. She intended to edit them all and erase any trace of his visit.
It was very difﬁcult to defend against home thieves!
It wasn't a big deal that thieves came to steal Pak Choi from home. What mattered was that Pak Choi wanted to go with the thief! When Yan Zheke watched how Lou Cheng held his martial arts shoes and snuck upstairs with caution, Yan Zheke pursed her lips and smiled. As she held her chin with her free hand, while the other worked the mouse, she actually began to watch the video seriously. It was like she had forgotten her original purpose.
There wasn't a monitor in the bedroom, so the scene on the screen quickly switched to the kitchen. She watched as Lou Cheng, wearing pajamas, started the stove with familiarity. As he whisked some eggs and fried the rice, she found herself standing beside him, busy weighing mild spices. She slightly changed her posture and he held her cheeks with both of her hands. While she watched, her eyes became softer and softer, like gentle ripples on the surface of a lake. Her heart warmed and ﬁlled with love.
She watched how the two of them sat together and enjoyed their breakfast like newlyweds, Yan Zheke shyly mumbled to herself as she clicked the "stop" button. She then ran upstairs and to her room where she found her thumb drive.
I have to copy all of these videos with Cheng and keep them! She watched carefully as the ﬁles were copied, one by one. She couldn't help but laugh when she saw Lou Cheng squatting next to the refrigerator, balancing the bowls and chopsticks in his hands. She also blushed and was touched to tears as she watched herself and Lou Cheng kiss passionately while they forgot about their dish and burnt it.
Even though she looked through the videos very quickly, she managed to notice a lot of details which she hadn't earlier. For example, while they were kissing, Lou Cheng's hands were stroking her back. She could tell he had wanted to move them to her front, several times, but he had held them back.
"Pervert... " she cursed him with a word. Even though she was annoyed she was still happy.
He really wants me, and he also respects me...
But, why do boys always like that kind of thing?
As her mind was wondering and straying off topic, near the main door, there was the sound of the door being unlocked by a ﬁngerprint.
Yan Zheke sobered up instantly and she quickly copied the remaining surveillance videos to her own hard drive and then formatted the rest.
After ﬁnishing up, she turned off the computer and walked out of the study where she greeted her aunts with a smile,
"Aunt Huang, please prepare enough for three more people this afternoon. I have a few friends coming over, and one of them is a professional ﬁghter. They all love your steamed carp~"
Three of my best friends, Song Li, Gu Shuang, Xing Jingjing are coming by later so they can interrogate me about my secret love relationship.
"Well, okay. I'll go shopping now." Replied Aunt Huang with a smile. Yan Zheke contained her happiness, then she nonchalantly added,
"Also, there is a lot of fried rice and eggs in the kitchen. Just throw them away. They were just practice dishes."
The afternoon sunshine streamed into the living room through a window making it very hot. Zhao Zijun sat on the sofa, holding the air conditioning remote control in his hand. However, he hadn't turned it on and seemed to be thinking about something instead.
"Old Zhao?" Huang Qun walked in holding their dishes and said to him quizzically, "Didn't I ask you to turn on the air conditioner? What are you thinking about?"
Because their workplaces were close to their home and Huang Qun's work was leisurely, they both came back at noon to have lunch. Zhao Zijun sighed and smiled wryly, "I'm thinking about that kid from the Lou family... Although I can't ﬁnd any relationship between Commissioner Xing and him, I still think he has a bright future based off of his ability. As long as he doesn't have an accident, he's going to become rich someday!"
He had already checked out Lou Cheng's basic information.
Huang Qun hesitated and said, "So, do we want Qianqian to meet with Lou Yuanwei again? The boy seems to be a good person and the Lou family is going to be rich later... "
"No! Never consider that. I've been with the police for many years and I've caught lots of criminals. So I'm good at judging people." Zhao Zijun vetoed his wife's proposal immediately, "Lou Yuanwei is really good in other aspects, but he's too impatient, too proud, too unstable and will never be able to do things steadfastly. It's difﬁcult for people to change their temperament. So, even if his younger brother does well in the future, ultimately it's still hard for his brother to take care of his own life." "Well, then why do you think about Lou Cheng? He's still in college!" Huang Qun asked him grufﬂy.
Zhao Zijun stood up and walked over to the table as he pondered, "Even if we needn't ask him for help right now, it's still necessary for us to develop a good relationship with him. Better be safe than sorry, Lou Zhisheng and I have been friends since a young age. So, we should contact him more and more in the future and develop a better relationship with him and his family. That way, in the future, if we really need the help we can ask him directly instead of going through Lou Yuanwei!"
"You, ah, you have been considering these things for years." Huang Qun shook her head.
Zhao Zijun sat down at the table. He ridiculed himself and laughed, "I didn't understand these things before, so I have always struggled. It's only in recent years that I have begun to understand the importance of relationship management..."
... On a smaller practicing court of the Gushan Martial Arts School,
Lou Cheng held his arms and looked thoughtfully at Qin Rui's striking movement.
Still, stance was not a martial arts skill that people could master in one hour. After one hour of individual guidance, the ﬁghters should practice hard every day after. Occasionally, if Qin Rui had some doubts, Lou Cheng would assist casually so that Qin Rui would not waste too much money on this aspect.
The one hour of focused personal guidance had been on correcting his style.
Chu Weicai was a real Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghter and had mastered the ﬁghting style from several schools, like Huxing (tiger form tactic). So the playing style and martial arts he taught wasn't a problem. However, he was getting older and lacked energy and the opportunity and the number of students he could teach was limited. Which meant, most of the time, he still needed the help of Dai Linfeng. Under such a situation, Qin Rui's exerting skills, footwork and punches were fairly good. But, if he were to put his style into speciﬁc use linked with different movements, he would have some problems. He's over 6 feet 2 inches tall and has long arms and long legs. He would need to adjust a lot of styles correspondingly in order to link them more ﬂuently and more naturally. However, no one had ever pointed this out to him before.
"Well, you should adjust Downward Cut in Tiger-hug Posture like this so that you can ﬁt in the following changes." Lou Cheng nodded to express his approval.
Qin Rui smiled bitterly, "Playing like this makes me feel very uncomfortable."
"Making adjustments to habits can deﬁnitely be uncomfortable. You should practice more so that these adjustments eventually turn into habits." Lou Cheng answered with a smile.
One person taught while the other practiced and time passed by quickly. Qin Rui was starting to become familiar with the ﬁghting styles that had been adjusted. He was sincerely convinced by Lou Cheng's abilities.
"Hey, if I master these, maybe I can even surprise Brother Dai." Qin Rui said smugly.
Lou Cheng only laughed and did not comment further. People have to try something on their own so that they are able to understand the gap between themselves and the professionals.
Lou Cheng waited for Qin Rui to leave before he drank the remaining soup that he had brought and begun his own practice.
While he was thinking about the urgent and clear goal at noon, Lou Cheng felt a breath well in his chest which ﬁlled him with power. His mind was ﬁlled with thunderclouds, and something mufﬂed like a song in his abdomen. He then compressed his muscles and punched out a ﬁst and kicked creating a sound like wind and thunder. This time, the effect of his polished power was getting better and he actually gained twice the results for half the effort.
However, he still hadn't found his own martial arts will, to put it more accurately, how could he ﬁnd his martial arts will?
I don't lack the will or desire for victory, the will for persistence, or the will for holding my mind to enjoy life. But, still, what really is the martial arts will?
Because Lou Cheng was confused, he ﬁnished his tempering and decided to call his master for guidance.
"Hey, brat, what kind of problem did you encounter this time?" Geezer Shi coughed once.
Lou Cheng honestly replied, "Master, I would like to ask you about what the martial arts will really is."
"Ke, that is a good question." Geezer Shi laughed. He had been waiting for this kind of question from his apprentice for a long time!
To offer to teach this smelly boy is different from waiting to be consulted, the latter will be cooler, hahaha!
He paused, then he said leisurely, "To clarify, it's to practice your heart and mind. Only a person with a clear mind and strong will can control their body and control the subtle points. Only they can inﬂuence the Spirit, the qi, and blood in order to have the force to withdraw their power. This is similar to the feeling when you mastered meditation, just the latter can't be used in ﬁghting. That's why I told you that you will achieve the Dan stage much easier than other ﬁghters based on your meditation."
"As for how to have a clear mind and strong will and how to control the martial arts will, different ﬁghters in different factions have their own understanding and their own way. Also, they aren't exactly the same. As for me, because I have a close relationship with the military power, I have my own understanding related to them. To take them as an example, do you know what the biggest difference between the recent army and the modern army is?" "I don't know." Lou Cheng knew little about this area.
Geezer Shi answered seriously this time, "The recent army paralyzes their soldiers with fear through discipline and brutal punishment, making them fear punishment over death. However, the reason the modern army faces death directly is that they understand what they are ﬁghting for!"
"They realize how much they are willing to pay for this goal and the army that created several miracles can ﬁnish the great Long March. They have a will as hard as steel and they continue forward even after they have encountered so many troubles. They are not born to be great and they are not all monsters."
"A lot of people always want the spirit of the Long March and learn the will that can only be learned through the long march. Haha! Their understanding only stays on the surface instead of getting to know the deeper essence. They dare not or are unwilling to ask why it is that this army chooses to ﬁnish this great action while other armies do not. The source of their strength, spirit, and will is that they know what they are ﬁghting for!" Hearing his words, Lou Cheng was very shocked because he had not seen this matter from that point of view. He still murmured until his master hung up the phone,
"What am I ﬁghting for?"
Chapter 247: The Power from Memories
As Lou Cheng stood there, he asked himself the same question Master Shi had asked him.
What are you ﬁghting for? It is not something to be taken lightly or based on an impulse. It is also not a choice made under pressure or a choice made without being true to yourself.
According to what my master just said,
"Are you willing to shed your blood or sacriﬁce precious time? Are you willing to die for this? Are you willing to suffer decades for this?"
"Of course, I'm not asking you to master this right now. We are not Buddhist schools or Zen sects who believe in epiphany and immediate mastery. Just like the iron army, although at the beginning they know that they have to ﬁght, they cannot fully understand the cost. It's impossible for them to decide immediately that they're ready to sacriﬁce their own lives for it. Only through experience, undergoing practice and battles repeatedly, would they progress from knowing the principle to an absolute determination. This allows them to achieve increasingly unbelievable and extraordinary things. "
"This is why a lot of Dan stage ﬁghters never progress. They feel that they have discovered their martial arts will and source of power, therefore they have perfected their martial arts already. But in the end, they are become distracted and forget the original spirit of martial arts. Once this happens they will fail to achieve the level that I talked about previously. "
The long march at that time was a kind of ﬂeeing and a retreat. As the saying goes, just as generals who can lead to victory are hard to ﬁnd, generals who can keep the defeated troops disciplined and focused are also hard to ﬁnd.
"A defeated army often leads to collapse" is a truth proven by history over thousands and hundreds of years. If an army wins, morale can be maintained by hope, wealth, honor, military discipline and religious beliefs. However, when failure comes, all these things will seem to be useless because it is a natural instinct to escape, to hide and to stay away from danger. The generals who could maintain an orderly retreat of their defeated troops over a few hundred miles while they are being chased are extremely rare. However, that legendary army kept order and never scattered for more than seven thousand miles even when they were besieged from all directions and were in the terrible natural environment!
Not only that, they were united with a will as tough as iron. This was not something that could be attained from simple thoughts of a better life once they reached their destination. The only explanation would be that both the leaders and the soldiers were clear about why they fought and that they all had the same goal, including how far they were willing to go for that goal.
There must be a powerful spirit which can glow brilliantly in the world!
Then what am I ﬁghting for? For what do I confront this martial arts road which is full of troubles and difﬁculties? Lou Cheng was stuck in his deep thoughts.
Is it the thirst for victory? No, I'll be happy if I win and I will be sad if I lose. But it's impossible for me to sacriﬁce everything for this. I don't even want to get hurt or become disabled just for a match, much less die. The Challenge Tournaments are held again and again. So even if I fail once, I can still try again. I would not be in a ﬁght to the death. No one wants to die.
The pure love for martial arts? Or the yearning to achieve the peak of martial arts?
No, that's not true. I actually like martial arts, but I didn't think the martial arts would matter too much before picking up the Jindan. And after I picked up the Jindan, I only had a little more hope and dreams for the future, like becoming a Mighty One of physical invulnerability and to get a title. What I only have are some expectations and hopes.
To become wealthy and improve my social status?
No, these things are good, but they can only be enjoyed if people have a healthy body. So it's similar to the last point, I'm not even willing to be hurt or disable, much less die, because of this! "Then why did I begin martial arts?" Lou Cheng recalled the past and asked himself bewildered.
The answer was so simple that it made him want to laugh.
I began to learn martial arts simply because I wanted to be close to Yan Zheke and to catch this girl whom I have admired from a distance for a long time...
I'm such a vulgar person... Lou Cheng shook his head and laughed. He naturally remembered the anxious, nervous and shy mood at that time as he thought of her.
When he left the villa area, he felt a strong desire and desperation to walk into her home and be accepted. He treasured the sweetness he and Yan Zheke had when one of them fried the rice, while the other prepared the ingredients and then enjoyed the food side by side;
Even though the rain was pouring down, the power in his mind drove him to go to Zhengque County despite the challenges along the way; The ﬁrm hope that they had when they were dreaming of the future and planning their life together;
The chemistry they felt as they both thought of sending each other a ring and the solemn joy they shared when they promised that they would love each other for their lifetimes;
How they woke up in the hotel and Ke was beside him, gently asking for breakfast while savoring the warmth and peace which long time couples enjoyed;
The surprise kisses he got after he fell asleep during the massage due to the pain and exhaustion from the tremor force;
The thumping of his heart and the excitement he felt when they ﬁrst kissed under the street lights, beside the Weishui Lake;
The memory of how he forgot his directions because he was too surprised that Ke would offer to hold his hand; The tenderness and concern he felt when he was listening to Ke who looked so fragile talking about her fears and worries; The tension and uncertainty he had after he had confessed his love, followed by the ecstasy he felt after he saw her reply "just let me be happy for ﬁve minutes... ";
The joy that made him want to scream out loud when he received the phone wishes from Ke on his birthday;
The warmth he felt on New Year's Eve when they welcomed in the new year while listening and feeling each other's breaths;
The satisfaction he gained when he heard the ﬁrst cheer from his beloved girl in the small Sage Challenge Tournament, and the incredible power which erupted because of this.
Because now they were still in the honeymoon period of their relationship, they would look forward to new things every day. They had endless topics to talk about, endless joys to share. Although Lou Cheng liked to collect and to write down the experiences of the past, he had not had time to think and reminisce. Until right now, as he reﬂected, he realized that he had gone through so many things with Yan Zheke. So the feelings within his heart had also changed greatly.
This is what my master had said, the tempering and training of the martial arts will. In the beginning, I liked young ladies only because of I knew their beauty. I was infatuated with Ke because of her appearance. I had heard of her good character and so she was a perfect girl in my fantasy. Therefore, the ﬁrst time I confessed to her, I didn't dare to say, love. It seemed that I didn't have the right to say, so I only said "like", "like you very much".
However, now because his feelings had grown, it was part of his memories, his ﬂesh, and blood, his very life. Lou Cheng suddenly realized that he had really fallen in love with Yan Zheke, fallen in love with the girl who was always willing to share, who would be the sensible one, who looked very gentle but always resolute. The "Coach Yan" who was always shy but never weak.
At this moment, his chest was ﬁlled with emotions because of these memories. His mind was ﬁlled with all kinds of feelings. This was why he needed the power to challenge the whole world, just so that he could defend this beautiful love he had! He started to recount all the many touching memories in his mind:
From the white hair of my father who sacriﬁced his dignity to make a living;
His silent and great love;
My mother's ramblings, always full of concern;
The hardship she had to go through to set up a stall and run it;
How they lied about not liking meat;
How they gave me so much, so much love, time and time again! Suddenly, Lou Cheng's eyes were ﬁlled with tears. His heart was full of emotions and power emerged from his body spontaneously. Now he vaguely understood what he actually wanted and what he really wanted to do.
This is the life that I want to give my everything to protect!
To protect doesn't mean to shelter. It means that as I become better and stronger, the people I love would also become better and stronger. To keep them away from pain and danger!
Lou Cheng took out the phone and logged on the QQ. He then clicked the ﬁle storage column and selected the ﬁrst sound ﬁle he collected.
At that moment the soft and clear voice which was so familiar echoed in his ears, "Lou Cheng! Lou Cheng! Lou Cheng, come on!"
Lou Cheng, come on... he listened to this recording again and again and gradually smiled. At last, he looked at the ring on his left hand and stroked it gently before he closed his eyes silently and felt the surging "power" within his body.
I'm willing to confront any difﬁculties and never be afraid of any dangers for them!
I dare to challenge the world regardless of the risk to my life for them!
He put away the phone and went into a stance.
Bang, bang, bang. He lashed out his Seabed Tremor and Mountain Blast Punch. During this process, he felt that his heart was ﬁlled with feelings which moved him. This lead to the power he gained just now. It seemed like there were no distracting thoughts in his mind. His mind became clear and lucid completely. As long as he had a clear mind, his ideas would be right. It seemed that his spirit has ﬂowed through the body and could control every minute movement. With the inﬂuence of inner practice and the power from the medicine soup, these small movements were so full of force that they even made the bones and joints crackle.
This was very similar to the state people had when they mastered the meditation. But Lou Cheng had only experienced the feeling of this power in his heart for a few minutes.
Although he wanted to protect others and be a guardian based on the many touching moments, memories and emotions he felt, it still required practice to polish, temper and develop his martial arts so that he could achieve this goal in reality. It is only through experience that it could be improved and developed. Many people think that they love their parents and family, but there are only a few people who really could truly carry this out.
Lou Cheng had examined his own heart for the ﬁrst time. Finally, he found his own source of strength and understood his will to practice martial arts. I'm willing to ﬁght against anyone who dares to hurt the people I love or destroys my beauty!
He breathed a sigh of relief and felt happy. So he took out his phone and called his mother.
"Hello, Cheng, why do you suddenly call me? Is that because you can't come back home to eat again? Or because you can't come back home to sleep at night again?" Qi Fang's voice suddenly became high.
As he heard her words, Lou Cheng was moved to tears and said as if he didn't know whether to laugh or cry, "Mom, what you are thinking about! I just, just... "
He had intended to say, "I suddenly missed you and wanted to massage your back and shoulders." But he was sure that his mother would be shocked by these words, and instead would think that he was unwell or had had an accident, so he stopped himself just as the words were almost out his mouth. At last, he just put said casually, "I just suddenly wanted to eat stir fried eel." "Oh, my son, you should have said so earlier. At this point, ah, I'll go to the market to see whether it has eel or not!" Qi Fang answered grufﬂy but still agreed to cook it.
After he hung up, he called his father.
"Hello, Cheng, what's the matter?" Lou Zhisheng asked, puzzled.
Lou Cheng looked down and smiled, "Dad, I remember that you ﬁnished all of the Ningshui County's hard liquor original- proof spirits?"
"Yes, you've got a way to get more? Do not bother your friends too much, it will be totally okay if you can't get them." Lou Zhisheng answered with a smile.
He remembered that Lou Cheng got the original-proof spirits at New Year's day. Lou Cheng could feel his father's hesitation. He wanted to drink it but was unwilling to waste it on a favor from his son, so he laughed,
"Don't worry, this is an easy task!"
Based on my current circle of friends, it will be easy for me to get the Ningshui County's hard liquor original-proof spirits.
"Okay, then." Lou Zhisheng hung up the phone and could not help but hum a song.
My son is getting more and more ﬁlial!
After Lou Cheng had called his parents, his expression became gentler. He then rang Yan Zheke with a smile.
At that time, Yan Zheke was being interrogated by her best friend in her room. She suddenly heard the phone ringing, so she picked it up to have a look and she was so surprised to get it, "Cheng?"
"Ke, I have found my own martial arts will... " Lou Cheng did not hide his joy.
"Really?" Yan Zheke seemed to be happier than him. She said with rare excitement, "What is it?"
Her abnormal behavior attracted the attention of Gu Shuang and others. Apart from Xing Jingjing who was rather insensitive, the remaining two girls winked at each other and they believed that this phone call was from Lou Cheng.
"To protect." Lou Cheng answered concisely.
Yan Zheke looked up and thoughtfully asked,
"To protect?" Lou Cheng did not explain the speciﬁc meaning of protecting. He looked at the sunshine outside and called her name with his slightly red face,
"What?" Yan Zheke was perplexed.
Lou Cheng cleared his throat and laughed in a low voice,
"I love you."
Chapter 248: The Tournament is About to Begin
"Ah?" Caught off guard, Yan Zheke had a dumbfounded look.
She was not at all prepared for Lou Cheng's sudden confession, so she neither felt embarrassed nor glad. In fact, there was more confusion and shock.
Why did Cheng make an unexpected phone call to say he loved her?
Lou Cheng was excepting such response from the girl's response. With a thick face, he cheekily said, "I was suddenly inspired while practicing." His tone was cheeky, yet tender.
"Oh, okay... " Yan Zheke still found the confession bafﬂing.
When the atmosphere did not felt right, words that sounded like proposals would still be embarrassing even between couples. A little smile appeared on Lou Cheng's face, the image of the girl's silly expression emerging in his mind. He coughed twice and said, "I'm going to continue practicing. Have fun chatting with Song Li and the others."
"Okay." Yan Zheke put down her phone. She noticed the playfulness in her best friends' expressions.
Song Li was still touched and envious that Lou Cheng went out of his way to bring her best friend delicious Xiushan delicacies. She also thought that her own boyfriend, Du Liyu, was not up to par. Song Li teased, "That must be Cheng. You two didn't even separate that long, but he's already missing you enough to call you."
Yan Zheke wrinkled her nose and snorted.
"Can't it be that there's something he needs from me?"
Cheng actually found his own martial arts will for the ﬁrst time! Thinking of this, she was momentarily stunned and their brief conversation earlier began to echo in her ears.
"... I seem to have found my own martial arts will... "
"I love you."
"I got inspired while practicing martial arts."
In that instant, Yan Zheke's head rose and her eyes were wide open. After connecting the dots, she suddenly understood why Lou Cheng told her, "I love you." She also understood the deep meaning behind those words.
"I love you… "
"To protect... " Unfamiliar emotions seemed to explode in her heart. Involuntarily, she pressed the pillow closer to herself. She felt a strong urge to call Lou Cheng and tell him the feelings she kept a secret. She wanted nothing more than to immediately rush to Gushan Martial Arts School to feel his warmth.
Watching her expression, Song Li, Gu Shuang, and others felt there was no need to ask any more. The answer was very obvious.
After a minute, Xing Jingjing abruptly made an announcement.
"I'm joining the Youth Tournament at the end of this month."
"Ah?" Yan Zheke snapped back into focus. "Why, sister Jingjing?"
Xing Jingjing only nodded. "I need to check if he can protect you." Yan Zheke was momentarily speechless.
Jingjing not only developed a strong hatred for men after that incident, but she also awakened a fearful ability in her. She was now only a new Professional Ninth Pin, but she was obviously formidable enough to be respected in Huahai University, known for its strong martial arts students.
Peng, peng, peng. The air around Lou Cheng exploded constantly. The bones and joints in his body also crackled when they met each other.
He was only willing to end his afternoon practice when he had attempted the withdrawal driven by Jindan. He would have to improve his abilities step by step in the future to thoroughly master the subtle points of martial arts. He needed to make the force in his whole body was uniﬁed.
If he only talked about discipline, everything would only be virtual. Only when he put it into reality and practiced it his daily life, it would really become his source of strength.
This cannot depend on the sudden epiphany of a moment!
Lou Cheng picked up the towel he prepared and wiped the sweat off him. At the same time, he checked his phone and saw that there was a text from his girlfriend a long time ago.
Yan Zheke only sent one word, but she paired it with a shyly smiling emoji. He understood all the emotions in her words.
The corners of Lou Cheng's mouth lifted. There was warmth and sweetness in his heart.
This was what he wanted to protect. She was the source of his strength. He walked out of the practicing court. When he was walking towards the locker room, he saw a familiar disciple got in his way.
"Cheng, no, Bother Lou. Do you have time?" Xu Rongfei asked, smiling.
Lou Cheng did not answer directly, but asked with some surprise, "What's the matter?"
Xu Rongfei seemed to be full of reverence. "I want to ask if I could have two hours of one-on-one lesson from you. Earlier, I noticed Qin Rui seemed to have really improved in his practices."
"No problem. Tomorrow afternoon, then." Lou Cheng agreed without hesitation.
Tomorrow Empress Dowager will be back in Xiushan. Ke and her parents would be going sightseeing. Since he would be free anyway, he might as well. As for the one-on-one lesson fee, he naturally will not offer any discounts!
Having satisﬁed his ego as a teacher to have coached his disciple, Geezer Shi began drinking in a cheerful mood. He suddenly stopped, startled. He then mumbled to himself.
"Wasn't the brat trying to fuse Cultivation knowledge? Why is he asking about the martial arts will so soon?"
"Did he perhaps gave up and decided to take the simple path of combining supernatural ability with martial arts?"
Geezer Shi's heart was suddenly itching with curiosity. He wanted to know what situation his own apprentice was in at the moment and what progress had been made. But, as a master, where was the logic if he took the initiative to ask his disciple about it? He coughed twice and decided to wait for Lou Cheng reporting his good news or asking questions. But he ended up waiting for a long, long, long time...
After Yan Zheke had dinner with Yan Kai in the evening, they watched TV and chatted for a while. Yan Zheke ﬁnally felt relieved enough to put away her uneasiness.
Judging from his father's usual behavior, it seemed like he really did not notice the abnormal actions back time or Cheng who was in the kitchen!
She mentally exhaled a sigh of relief. She thought it was a really narrow escape and that she was going to ask him to stay only in her room.
She then anticipated Dirty Tong's reaction to her thoughts. That girl will deﬁnitely tell Yan Zheke her thinking was wrong because the logical conclusion ought to be not let Cheng come to her house secretly ever again...
After Yan Kai ﬁnished watching the news, he walked into his study. He came out when it was almost 10, and still he felt it was not enough. Habitually, he picked up his phone to call Ji Mingyu to tell her about his day.
In their conversation, he happily informed her, "Ke has grown up. She even knows how to surprise us by learning how to cook!"
Ji Mingyu was sliding her ﬁnger on the touchscreen of her computer when she heard this. She asked in surprise, "She's learning how to cook?"
She wondered why she had never seen that side of her daughter.
"Oh, I accidentally discovered it. This morning when I passed by Qingyuan Street, I remembered the bread made by old ﬂour Ke likes so I bought some. Then I saw her making egg fried rice and mixed vegetables. They're pretty nice, to be honest. The vegetables were so-so but the fried rice was very delicious... " Yan Kai explained, recalling the surprise he received this morning.
A startled Ji Mingyu replied, "You went back on the spur of the moment and accidentally came across this scene. The vegetables were so-so while the fried rice was quite delicious?"
"Yes. If not for today, I think I probably won't see this until my birthday, if we go by Ke's character," said Yan Kai, trying to console her.
Ji Mingyu covered her eyes with her hand, wanting to cry for her silly husband.
His little white cabbage was about to be stolen by others!
... Yan Zheke put her legs on the doll and played on her phone in a leisurely posture. She was chatting with Lou Cheng, so the corners of her mouth were permanently raised in a smile.
Her ringtone suddenly rang and the phone began vibrating.
She was surprised to receive a phone call.
"Empress Dowager... " She became very nervous.
She thought she had already called Empress Dowager before dinner.
Yan Zheke tried to calm herself and answered the call in a neutral voice. "Mom?"
"Ke, I heard from your dad that you tried to cook at home today, even making egg fried rice and cold mixed vegetables?" Ji Mingyu asked with a faint smile. Yan Zheke shivered. Hundreds of thoughts ﬂoated in her mind.
In the end, she chose to tell her mother the truth. Stammering, she explained, "Mom, t-that was made by Cheng, no, Lou Cheng. I was the one who cooked the vegetables. He didn't do anything other than cooking and showering... "
With Empress Dowager's wisdom and experience, coupled with the facts at her hand, she must have already noticed something was off!
Ji Mingyu felt much better after hearing her daughter's confession. She sighed, but added with a smile. "Your dad sounded so happy, it was as if he was in heaven thinking this was the surprise you prepared for him. You have to practice more and really cook for him in the future. You can't let him be happy in vain."
She felt sorry for her husband! "I practiced cooking the egg fried rice especially for him the whole afternoon!" Yan Zheke immediately made clear her stance.
She felt very guilty about her dad.
Ji Mingyu returned to the topic at hand. She smiled and asked, "Did Lou Cheng neglected my words and told you that we've already met?"
Otherwise, Ke would not have confessed so easily just now!
That kid seemed to be a guy who would fear his wife...
"Yes," replied Yan Zheke. She then argued for Lou Cheng. "This is the most basic honesty between couples."
"Huh. You're not even married to him but you're already arguing for him?" Ji Mingyu was annoyed, but also found her daughter ridiculous. "You said he stayed the whole morning. Did he do nothing else other than showering and cooking?"
"Mom!" Yan Zheke naturally understood what Empress Dowager was asking and blushed instantly. "He only taught me how to cook egg fried rice! We know the limits!"
"I won't say anymore. You're more stubborn than me and I believe you know the limits. But as for him, well, few men could restrict themselves from sex? If he keeps begging you and takes it step by step, will you stay strong and never compromise?" Ji Mingyu decided to openly talk to her daughter about this so she would not end up hurt by her ignorance.
Ji Mingyu was an atypical parent. She was more open and preferred honest communication. Yan Zheke was similar in this aspect.
Yan Zheke was embarrassed. "Mom, why do you keep talking about this? And Cheng isn't the kind of person you're talking about!" "Fine, ﬁne. I'll stop. I'm only reminding you to love yourself and think twice before doing anything," Ji Mingyu helplessly replied.
Going by what Yan Zheke said just now, she could tell that her daughter had fallen deeply in love with her boyfriend...
On the morning of July 22nd, Lou Cheng was tempering by the lake in People's Park. He had drawn power from past emotions and all kinds of beauties in his life, embodied the will, practiced Tremor Force within his body, and mastered the subtle points of martial arts with the help of drug soup in the past two weeks. With just a little effort, he would be able to unite all the forces in his body.
In that two weeks, Yan Zheke ﬁrst went on a four-day sightseeing trip with her parents. She then accompanied her grandparents who was in Xiushan for a week. And thanks to Empress Dowager's sporadic plans, she had only a little time to temper, date, or meet Lou Cheng. Their longing for each other were completely unfulﬁlled. When that feeling piled higher and higher, she was forced to ﬂy south. She was congenitally deﬁcient and her family was worried something might happen to her while practicing. So they made her follow her grandparents' home and practice with them to pass the initial difﬁcult stage.
This meant she would be gone for at least 10 days.
Lou Cheng had to work his longing into his attacks. He had to rely on QQ, phone calls, and video calls to resolve his longing. When he was free, he would surf the Internet, reading forums, or meet up with Jiang Fei, Qin Rui, Cheng Qili, Tao Xiaofei, and the others.
When it came to his teaching in the martial arts school, he had given one-on-one 12-hour lessons to ﬁve disciples, thanks to Qin Rui's success case. Students like Wu Ting had also become healthier and stronger, with more agile legs.
Now, the Youth Tournament was about to start!
Chapter 249: The Unreliable Cheering Team
The lakeside in People's Park.
Lou Cheng adjusted his posture and spat out an arrow-like breath. His body then made sizzling noises, like the sound of beans being fried. It spread all over his muscles, tissues, and bones.
Combined together, they were almost uniﬁed as one!
"Uh, still needs more effort... " Lou Cheng said, a little disappointed.
His martial arts gradually agglomerated and intensiﬁed. Thanks to his mastery of the meditation method and understanding of the "withdraw" method of Jindan, his tempering progress was just as what Geezer Shi said. He was far quicker than ordinary people. With just minimal effort in ten to twenty days, he had completely uniﬁed the forces in his body as one. Shaking his head, he put this thought in the back of his mind. He then stooped down and bent his waist.
With this movement, his will burst out of his body and integrated with his spirit. His mind clariﬁed, allowing him to be sensitive to every nuance.
His will to protect those that he loved gathered and sank into his Dantian. Suddenly restrained, his traction spirit began to show signs of rotation.
The Qi, blood, and force around Lou Cheng and even his sense of alive oddly started to shrink and condense in that instant. They rotated around each other, maintaining a balance.
The balance disintegrated, leaving a violent burst of inﬁnite power! Bang! Lou Cheng took a big step forward and punched a ﬁst. The air around him shook, causing strong wind to create weak but visible waves on the surface of the lake.
This attack was close to the outbreak of a Dan stage ﬁghter!
And if Lou Cheng dared to use "running of Jindan" as the fulcrum, he would have truly completed Force Concentration. The elements would not be left collected in a mass. When that happened, he would be regarded as a true ﬁghter of Dan stage.
Yet, he had mixed the comprehension of Cultivation. All his Qi, blood, force, and spirit revolved either around his will or Jindan to maintain a balance. This meant that he could not condense them into a point. Perhaps it was more precise to say, it was not possible at the moment. The most he could do was create a mini version of Jindan.
Lou Cheng even suspected there would be terrifying consequences when they collapsed and condensed into a point when rotating around. Without any information available, he can only try step by step!
After tempering for a few times, he was thoroughly exhausted. He ended his morning practice and jogged back home.
In this Youth Tournament, he planned not use Jindan and ﬁght using his strength to polish his will and temper his martial arts. More importantly, he wanted to know which rank he could achieve without cheating too much!
"Hehe. Ke still doesn't know that I've long understood the meaning of "withdraw" or that I've reached the ﬁrst stage of Force Concentration. This way I can surprise her when she's watching the live match." It put Lou Cheng in a happy mood.
The last VIP training class in July. With his hands clasped behind him, Lou Cheng walked around the students that he was very familiar with. He was teaching them how to best exert their force.
At the end of the class, he clapped his hands and smiled. "We'll meet again in August. Don't be lazy and maintain your thrice a week practice. Especially you, Yao Ruiwei. If you give up practicing, your weight will rebound. I'm not trying to scare you."
This fattie was more persistent than Luo Cheng expected. He even preserved to the end of the practice. He was now about ten pounds lighter and he had caught up to students as well.
Hearing Lou Cheng's teasing, Yao Ruiwei scratched the back of his head and laughed.
"Sir Lou, if my weight rebound even one pound, then you can take it as my loss!"
They were all half-grown kids. After they became familiar with Lou Cheng, they thought calling him Coach Lou was too strange. No one knew who was the ﬁrst to call him Sir Lou, but before long, everyone in the class started to use that new name.
And what Yao Ruiwei lost what not merely weight, but also his sense of inferiority. He gradually opened up and displayed the youth and vitality boys his age had.
Everyone laughed, hearing those words. After it ceased, Wu Ting happily asked Lou Cheng a question.
"Sir Lou, is it true you're participating in Youth Tournament this term?"
"Yes," Lou Cheng answered, not particularly concerned.
Wu Ting gave a whoop. "My dad will be taking me to the tournament. I'll cheer for you then!"
"I also want to go... " Zhang Qiufan looked envious. As she was not yet 13 years old and did not even have the civil capacity of conduct, she was unable to buy the tickets.
Wu Ting cared a lot about this young girl, so she immediately gave a suggestion. "Why don't I ask your parents if you can come play in Gao Fen with us for a few days?"
Look, look. Did she not already expose her true intentions? Was she going there to play or cheer for him… Lou Cheng shook his head, smiling.
The students in the VIP class were all well-off. When they heard what Wu Ting said, they began discussing about joining the fun.
Li Lei was the only one who walked toward Lou Cheng to talk to him, his admiring expression marred with confusion. "Sir Lou, these past few days I've been sparring with the students in the VIP class... "
"And you won them all?" Lou Cheng asked with a smile. "Yes, that's right! But you never teach us any powerful attacks. We keep practicing basic moves over and over again." Li Lei cannot understand why.
Lou Cheng chuckled. "If you master the basics, any powerful moves would be useless against you. You'll manage as long as you're not facing students who have joined the Summer School a few times."
Of course Li Lei will be able to manage. The other VIP classes emphasized on teaching cool attack moves to satisfy teen egos and had a lackadaisical attitude when it came to teaching basic skills. If those students were to ﬁght, they would ﬁnd that their powers were actually very weak!
"Emm." Li Lei nodded, looking thoughtful. He made up his mind to learn from Sir Lou even more diligently in August.
When Lou Cheng went home in the afternoon, he started packing while waiting for Jiang Fei's car. They were carpooling to Gao Fen.
Fatty Jiang, Old Cheng, and Tao Xiaofei had no other plans so they enthusiastically decided to catch the Youth Tournament live and cheer him on.
When he was done packing, Lou Cheng took a picture and sent it to Yan Zheke with a smiling emoji.
"I'm on the way!"
"I'm so annoyed, but still I have to smile to cheer you on... " Yan Zheke replied with an emoji that cried with holding a ﬁst. "I want to watch the tournament live!"
Lou Cheng chuckled and typed his reply on the keyboard. "Even if you're not going to the south, Empress Dowager will never allow you to go to Gao Fen to watch the tournament." "That's true... " Yan Zheke sent an emoji with both hands on its chin. "Then I'll try my best to grasp the inner practice of Meteor force and come back earlier. I'll say I'm looking for Sister Jingjing so I can go directly to Gao Fen. Don't be defeated too early!"
Lou Cheng sent an emoji with a red towel wrapped around its head, while holding a ﬁst.
"I'll hang on until you come back!"
That would be the last few matches...
"Oh, how cute. Then this older sister buy you candy." Yan Zheke sent him an emoji with a crooked ﬁnger.
"Uh huh. Oh, right. What's Sister Jingjing's supernatural ability? You forgot to mention," Lou Cheng asked.
Yan Zheke answered with a grim-looking emoji. "Call me Coach Yan!"
Pfft… A smile unconsciously appeared on Lou Cheng's face. "Yes. Coach Yan, please instruct me!"
"Sister Jingjing's supernatural ability is manipulating her surroundings to create visual and auditory illusions. In a ﬁght, every mistake you make will put you in danger... " Without any hesitation, Yan Zheke betrayed her best friend's secrets to Lou Cheng.
Their conversation continued for a while longer. Lou Cheng then heard someone opening the door. He looked out and saw that his parents had come home early. Behind them were the three girls, Qi Yunfei, Chen Xiaoxiao, and Ma Xi.
The ﬁrst thought that came to his mind was that he was going to have to sleep on the sofa again… Then he remembered he was leaving for Gao Fen anyway, so it did not matter if the girls would occupy his room.
"Dad, mom, why you are back so early?" he asked, confused. Qi Fang complained. "It's all thanks to your dad. A few days ago, he suddenly said that we should go watch the tournament live since it's a rare opportunity for you to participate in a match in our province. You and your dad are exactly the same. He doesn't tell me his plans in advance. I almost couldn't get anyone to take over my shifts!"
"The plan was spontaneous." Lou Zhisheng laughed.
Ah? Earlier it seemed like his parents were not concerned, but they actually made plans to support him in Gao Fen. Lou Cheng felt very warm and he asked with concern, "Have you already booked your hotel room? Are the girls coming as well?"
"Yep! Brother Lou Cheng, we have to watch your heroic performance live!" Qi Yunfei answered, pulling an exaggerated expression.
Qi Fang rambled, "Our rooms are booked. When your dad applied for annual leave from Fatty Guo, he was so happy because he'll also be going for a vacation in Gao Fen with his family. They'll also be watching the tournament. What a coincidence... Fatty Guo happened to have a contract with a ﬁve-star hotel. Your dad was supposed to get a bonus for completing a technical task in his factory, so the bonus went to two rooms in that hotel!"
When it came to Guo Min, she would typically call him Fatty Guo or Stinky Guo whenever there were no other people around.
"We still have to pay our accommodation when we go to Gao Fen. We'll regard the money saved as my bonus. It's also our ﬁrst time staying in a ﬁve-star hotel. It's a nice experience to have." A large-minded Lou Zhisheng tried to console her.
Qi Fang rolled her eyes at him. "Won't your back hurt to stay in a room that costs you a thousand yuan per night? Cheng, why don't you stay in our room instead?"
"No, no. I'm ﬁne. The hotel I picked is close to the arena. It's quiet and convenient." Lou Cheng turned down his mom's kindness, wanting this old couple to enjoy themselves.
His cell phone rang. The phone call was from Jiang Fei. "Cheng, we're outside your neighborhood. Are you done packing?" Fatty Jiang then lowered his voice and snickered. "Old Cheng knows you're participating in the tournament, so he persuaded our monitor and Cao Lele to play in Gao Fen."
"Wow! Old Cheng is so skilled now. Then I'll wait for Tao Xiaofei's car." Lou Cheng answered in surprise, before coming to a realization. "No, my parents are also going to Gao Fen. I'll take the bullet train with them."
"Are you worried that two cars won't be enough for all of us? Hurry up and refund your ticket. Don't waste money!" Jiang Fei proposed generously.
Lou Cheng counted the number of people and nodded. "Okay then. I'll go tell them now."
Qi Fang of course agreed happily since it was his son's friends who invited them for the free car ride. She told the girls to get their tickets refunded. Together they carried their luggage and waited at the gate of their neighborhood. "Dad, mom, you take Xiaofei's car." Lou Cheng greeted Tao Xiaofei and arranged for his parents, Qi Yunfei, and Chen Xiaoxiao to sit in the BMW.
He led Ma Xi to Chiang Fei's car and saw Cheng Qili riding shotgun. Qiu Hailin and Cao Lele sat at the back.
"Cheng, good luck!" the two girls cheered with a smile.
Fatty Jiang had described Lou Cheng as an invincible ﬁghter, making them doubt the truth of his words. Yet they did not have the curiosity to conﬁrm their doubts. They only came to have fun.
"Thank you!" Lou Cheng replied courteously. Then he turned to his cousin and said, "Xixi, you sit in this car."
After he getting everyone a place in the cars, he discovered a serious problem. Just now when he was counting people, he did not count himself! The seats were all full, but he was not yet in!
"Cheng, how are you going?" Jiang Fei looked at him with puzzlement.
He thought that he could not ask any of them to step out of the cars. And since they have to take the expressway, it was a bad idea to cram everyone in… Lou Cheng was momentarily stunned and hesitated to answer.
"I'll take the martial arts school bus... "
"Okay!" Without any hesitation, Jiang Fei waved and started his car, driving after Tao Xiaofei.
They were not at all worried about Lou Cheng! They left just like that? Watching his cheerleaders leave, the "protagonist" stood still in bewilderment, kissed by the hot sun and left in the dust.
Just who was the main character here?
After packing her luggage, Wu Ting followed her dad to pick up Wei Renjie and his secretary.
"Little girl, why are you so happy?" Wei Renjie asked with a big smile.
This time, he wanted to personally supervise the Xiushan Martial Arts School to select members for the special training based on their performances in the tournament.
The leading ﬁghter had already been decided. It was a recommendation from Headmaster Chu Weicai. Wu Ting replied happily, "Because my coach is also participating in the tournament!"
"Your coach? Lou Cheng? Not bad... " Wei Renjie said perfunctorily.
As someone with a high status, he was naturally unaware of how the Summer School in the Martial Arts School operated. He thought VIP classes were the same as postgraduate education under a well-known professor, where the teaching assistant will instruct the students most of the time.
When Wu Qinggui heard this, he felt a little puzzled. He opened his mouth and tried to say something, but in the end he kept his silence.
Luo Cheng ﬁrst called the school to tell them his plans and then he made a maniac dash to rush there. Finally, he saw the Gushan Martial Arts School rented bus. The moment he boarded the bus, Xu Rongfei and the other disciples stood up one by one and respectfully greeted him.
Everyone knew how effective his coaching was these days.
Lou Cheng had long gotten tired of correcting them, so he merely nodded in response. He then walked to the seat beside Qin Rui and smiled to Chu Weicai and Dai Linfeng who were in the seats behind. "Headmaster Chu, I'm sorry to trouble you."
"What trouble? To be precise, you're still a member of our school." Chu Weicai laughed.
Lou Cheng did not say much. He turned around and sat down. He leaned against his seat to stretch and the bus door closed at the same time. The bus started to move. Everyone had been waiting for very long, as if they were waiting for him alone.
Their goal: Youth Tournament!
Chapter 250: Qualiﬁcation
The scenery outside their windows passed in a blur. The afternoon sunlight was hot and piercing. The people of Gushan Martial Arts School astutely let down the curtains so the interior of the bus turned comfortably dark.
Lou Cheng was basking in the warmth reaching through the curtain and the cool air-conditioning above his head. He closed his eyes and recalled the events and emotions he experienced since beginning to learn martial arts.
It was only until recently that he understood the true meaning behind his master's ten words.
'Human body big Dan' referred to the state when all the force in his body became uniﬁed as a whole. 'Round lump' meant that all the force, Qi, blood, and spirit becoming mellow and transparent. 'Shining brightness' was understanding what one was ﬁghting for and putting it into practice. And then one should ensure the will was ﬁrm and the spirit clear step by step, so he can shine. Body reﬁning was a certain extreme level of physical tempering. Dan Stage, on the other hand, would involve the spirit and will to break one's threshold!
In the middle of his reminiscence, he overheard many disciples excitedly talking to each other.
"I hope that I won't meet too powerful ﬁghters early in the tournament so I can break into the third round!" Xu Rongfei said, turning to Qin Rui.
Qin Rui answered with both anticipation and nervousness, "Among the ﬁghters in the bus, I'm afraid only Senior Dai can advance into the third round with any certainty... "
"You don't want to advance?" Xu Rongfei snickered.
Qin Rui blurted, "Of course I want to! What an honor it would be! I also want to advance to the fourth round to get more attention!" Youth Tournament was established to encourage the teenagers in this province to work hard and move forward. It was a little different from the smaller Warrior Sage Challenge Tournament. In the ﬁrst three rounds of the tournament, the professional-level ﬁghters would not participate. This was so that amateur-level ﬁghters can use their skills and learn from one another.
For amateur ﬁghters, the result of this tournament was also a point of pride. One may say, for example, "What? You lost in the second round of the Youth Tournament? Oh, my luck is much better. I advanced to the fourth round and confronted a Professional Ninth Pin!"
When everyone shared the same rank, this was one of the few ways for them to differentiate their actual power and abilities!
Listening to these words and feeling that kind of desire, Lou Cheng smiled with his eyes closed.
Initially, his only purpose was the reward money. He did not have any other ideas. But now, as a ﬁghter who has opened the door to Dan stage, he can start thinking about some other goals.
In that instant, he also felt a little smug.
Chu Weicai also had his eyes closed, taking in the excitement and happiness of the disciples around him. A thought came to him.
"It's so nice to be young, one can be hopeful and lively... "
Lively... When he thought over this one word, he realized that he seemed to have neglected something important.
Ideas ﬂashing in his mind, Chu Weicai suddenly clenched his hands and opened his eyes to stare at Lou Cheng in front of him.
Perhaps because they were often in close contact, he did not even notice the changes in Lou Cheng's body. Lou Cheng's Qi and blood were originally vivacious to a boiling point. He gave off a sharp and strong aura that made him look like a powerful ﬁghter. But he now appeared calm and serene. All his Qi and blood had become incredibly ordinary!
Perhaps he... Chu Weicai's pupils shrank. He did not dare to believe his own suspicion.
But the changes in front of him were an obvious answer!
This was too unbelievable! He was both shocked and glad.
Tianshui Hotel, the hotel Gushan Martial Arts School booked, was not far from martial arts arena in Gao Fen. The environment was also quiet and cool. The price was not high either; it was about 400 yuan per night. Lou Cheng also chose this hotel. He booked a king-size room on the 12th ﬂoor.
He put down his luggage and stood beside the French window. Drawing the curtains, he overlooked the beetle- shaped arena. He felt inexplicable happiness at overlooking something from a high place.
Just after he took a photo and sent it to Yan Zheke, he received a call from Qin Rui.
"Hey, Cheng! Do you want to eat with us? My master wants to treat us to a feast today to give us a good start!" Qin Rui laughed.
Lou Cheng was still by the window, one hand in his pocket. He gave a small smile. "No thanks. My parents, Jiang Fei, and the rest are here. I have to eat with them."
"Look at my weak memory!" Qin Rui patted his forehead. "Then you all have a good time!" After ending the call, Lou Cheng immediately called Jiang Fei.
"Hey, Fatty Jiang! I'll treat you all to dinner later. Don't wander around!"
Fatty Jiang was also staying in a nice hotel because Tao Xiaofei, the rich kid, volunteered to pay for their accommodation. But they were not staying in the same hotel as his parents were.
Jiang Fei was somewhat surprised. "Cheng, since when have you become so polite and good at taking initiative? I thought you'll only agree to treat us after some begging!"
"Are you eating or not? If you don't want to eat, then the deal's off! Why do you speak so much nonsense!" Lou Cheng laughed grufﬂy.
Tao Xiaofei and Fatty Jiang drove his parents and cousins all the way to Gao Fen and also came to cheer him on. If he did not even treat them to a meal, he would feel very guilty about it. Of course, such acute social awareness was all thanks to the inﬂuence of Coach Yan!
Jiang Fei laughed heartily. "Of course we have to eat! We're still waiting for the meal you promised when we found out about your relationship with Yan Zheke!"
He was forgetful and had already forgotten the sour feelings and the sense of loss at that time.
"Fine. Ke and I will treat you later." Thinking that his girlfriend will be coming to Gao Fen, Lou Cheng agreed without hesitation.
Empress Dowager was so far from this city anyway!
Jiang Fei nodded with satisfaction. "Then we'll pick you up and go to the hotel your parents are staying in." "It's ﬁne. I'll go there myself. You guys adjust your timing and meet me there." Lou Cheng walked out of the door while he was still on the phone. He wore a white short-sleeved T-shirt, beige trousers, and a pair of brown vintage leather shoes. His style gave him a leisurely feeling.
On his way to Ming Qi International Hotel, he easily picked out a restaurant for dinner later: a Yunnan restaurant nearby the hotel. This was all thanks to Coach Yan's recommendations as she was a frequent visitor of Gao Fen.
He arrived at the ﬁve-star hotel quickly because there was no trafﬁc jam. He had to wait for a while because the hotel elevator required access cards. He then caught a ride with other hotel patrons before ﬁnally making it to the 17th ﬂoor. He knocked on his parents' door.
"What ﬁve-star hotel? Doesn't it feel the same as other hotels? The room's only a little bigger and newer... " Qi Fang was still upset over the use of the bonus as she complained to her son. Lou Cheng stepped on the soft carpet and went along with his mom's complaints. "That's right. Which hotel can't we stay in as long as it's clean? Dad, mom, prepare to leave. Fatty Jiang and Tao Xiaofei will come soon. I'm planning to buy them a meal."
Lou Zhisheng pushed his glasses and happily said, "You should treat them indeed. Cheng, you're really mature now."
After waiting for his three cousins to get ready, the six of them walked into the elevator to get to the ground ﬂoor.
When the elevator door opened on the ground ﬂoor, a few familiar faces appeared in front of them.
Guo Min was waiting for the elevator with his wife Wan Rongli, children Guo Huairou and Guo Huaien, as well as bodyguard Xie Tong. "Old Lou, all of your family are here today?" When Guo Min recognized Lou Zhisheng and Qi Fang, his eyes lightened up and he greeted them with a smile. Wan Rongli and Guo Huairou raised their chins in arrogance.
Just then, the gazes of their families froze when they saw a gently smiling Lou Cheng beside Lou Zhisheng.
Guo Huairou and others recalled the words: "He came", "He left", as well as the ﬁgure of this young man ﬂoating away.
Lou Cheng smiled and nodded as a way of greeting.
Guo Min and the others were surprised and apprehensive.
They subconsciously began to smile and also nodded.
It really was him!
Why was he here? Lou Zhisheng modestly laughed. "Manager Guo, I thought you'll arrive here tomorrow. This is my son, Lou Cheng. These are my nieces. All of you can call him Uncle Gou."
Lou Cheng stepped forward and smiled.
"Hello, Uncle Gou."
"Yes, yes... " Guo Min stared at a casually-dressed Lou Cheng with his gentle smile in bewilderment, ﬁnding it difﬁcult to answer.
Guo Huairou and the rest turned into clay ﬁgurines as they blankly responded to Lou Cheng's greeting.
"Manager Guo, we still have something to do. We'll go now." Lou Zhisheng was holding the elevator door for them. "Yes, yes... " Guo Min's reply was the same as before.
Lou Cheng said nothing. With two hands in the pocket, he walked behind his dad. He then leisurely strode to the side door as it was closest route to the Yunnan restaurant.
Guo Min inhaled sharply as he watched that family leave, feeling like he had just survived a bad incident.
When they arrived at the side door, Qi Yunfei, Chen Xiao Xiao and Ma Xi was shocked by the noisy and lively scene there.
Before the door, the ﬂoor was laid with red carpet extending all the way to the stairs. There were set spears and short cannon on both sides, as well as boys and girls carrying banners and slogans. "W-What are they doing?" Qi Yunfei whispered to herself in bewilderment.
Lou Cheng glanced at the scene, also perplexed. He then noticed a familiar ﬁgure coming in from the door. To be precise, Lou Cheng was familiar with that person, but that person did not know him.
That person was the ﬁrst seed of the Youth Tournament, the 27-year-old Dan stage Seventh Pin, Zhang Zhutong.
Genius ﬁghters like Peng Yueyun and Ren Li had yet to appear in this generation in Xing province, not even ﬁghters in the level below. Zhang Zhutong, as a ﬁghter who could reach the Dan stage Seventh Pin when he was 23, was close to master the Inhuman level. It was not completely hopeless for him to try and achieve physical invulnerability. He can be considered a key ﬁghter who had attracted the expectations and attention of the whole province.
Zhang Zhutong was as tall as Lou Cheng. When he wore the white martial arts suit, it made him look very handsome. His eyes were sharp and deep. He wore a smile and seemed pretty proud of himself.
With a beautiful lady as his companion, he walked on the red carpet and wore a casual expression when facing the ﬂash of the cameras.
A girl next to Qi Yunfei answered her questions excitedly.
"Dinner party! It's the dinner party for this Youth Tournament! Don't you guys know?"
"I don't know... " Qi Yunfei shook her head innocently.
The girl gave her a simple explanation. "The Youth Tournament is the day after tomorrow, isn't it? So the committee speciﬁcally organized a dinner party for the seed players. Many powerful ﬁghters and celebrities are coming!"
As she was talking, she raised the banner and screamed. "Zhang Zhutong!"
Qi Yunfei suddenly understood, then she turned to look at her cousin. She wanted to say something, but she felt embarrassed to say. However, Chen Xiaoxiao asked innocently.
"Brother Lou Cheng, why aren't you invited?"
Lou Cheng was watching Zhang Zhu Tong turn towards the stairs. He shook his head with a smile.
"Maybe I'm not qualiﬁed yet."