Chapter 431: The Daughter of the Empress Dowager
Ahh... Lou Cheng, ﬁlled with sweetness and happiness, couldn't process what Yan Zheke had just said. A moment of confusion was followed by a sudden realization. He instantly felt lost and beaten, as if his heart was grabbed by an invisible hand, empty and short of breath.
A year earlier? So two more months... Or maybe only one month... Ke is going abroad!
Just after their ﬁrst night together, Lou Cheng just wanted to spend every single second with his little fairy right now. Thinking about her spending days with her grandparents and parting with him, he already felt lost and distracted. He couldn't bear the thought of her being away on the other side of the ocean.
At that moment, tons of emotions ﬂooded in Lou Cheng's heart, intense and violent. He was so close to bursting out, "Give it up. Stay so there's no tragic parting." Gazing at her confusion and hesitation and her pitiful, struggling eyes, he restrained himself and thought more about it.
He wasn't taken by surprise. Actually, he was prepared for this, though it had come one year earlier all of a sudden...
Ke didn't come up with this after their relationship started. She was determined about her dream and had made her plans before they even met.
She had talked about it with him the last March and earned his consent...
Since she was born with a deﬁciency, however hard she tried, she could never reach the Dan stage. Her dream had shifted to this during the past ﬁve or six years.
She had been brought up in the thick of things. She wouldn't need to worry about her life quality even if she didn't work. She wanted to study abroad because it was a rare opportunity to learn from top scholars of the ﬁeld from the entire world and wander in her favorite things besides a degree.
The Ji family was very inﬂuential in the country. However, it might not work that well in another place. Once she missed this opportunity, there might never be another one...
When they ﬁrst began to go out, Empress Dowager also demanded this. Two people together must make some sacriﬁces for each other to bond, but she didn't want to see Ke give up her dream for him...
Yan Zheke gazed at Lou Cheng with her clear eyes in a very nervous manner. She felt more hesitant, painful, and conﬂicted because of his silence.
"If Cheng wants me to stay, what should I say? I... I will..." After the mad idea last night to take the very small chance and leave everything for God to decide, she felt she once again lowered her baseline. In her heart was a mixed feeling of sweetness and bitterness. "Love has always been the toughest thing since forever."
Lou Cheng forced a smile on his face and put on a very gentle, casual tone.
"One year earlier... That's good. So you can come back one year earlier. I was worried because I will have to attend professional tournaments in the ﬁnal year. This would mean I could only ﬂy over to spend a few days with you every two or even three months. Now it's perfect. All I need to do in my third year is lead them and temper myself without ﬁghting in many competitions. In terms of studies, the Dean has promised me he will do his best to secure my degree and make me a signboard for the school. I can skip as many classes and exams as I want...
"All it takes is a visa, a ten-hour ﬂight, and some travel. Isn't it easy? Hmm... I guess Empress Dowager will stay with you for some time at the beginning, and then it will be my turn. I'll ﬂy over every month and stay for one to two weeks. When you are off, we can go watch the northern lights. It is actually more convenient from there. And we can visit all those unique places together..." Yan Zheke was stunned by his long speech. She had tears in her beautiful eyes veiled by a faint layer of fog.
"And my master told me more experiences before the physical invulnerability stage will be a big help for my future progress. During my time with you in the States, I can experience the American ﬁghting styles. They are the heart of the western world with very different martial arts characteristics and advantages..." Before Lou Cheng could ﬁnish, Yan Zheke suddenly sat up and hugged him tightly, burying her face in his muscular chest. She sobbed.
"Cheng, I don't want to go. I... I don't want to part with you...
Her cries reminded Lou Cheng of their ﬁrst time having sex, melting his heart thoroughly. He laid down on his back with the girl resting on his chest and stroked her slightly messy, sweaty hair. He put on a gentle smile.
"Silly. Are you sure you don't want to go?" The sadder, the stronger. Yan Zhek raised her head and ceased her tears, her rosy lips moving but no words coming out.
That master was really old, and his health was declining. After this opportunity, there possibly wouldn't be another one, not to mention it was unknown if he would live much longer. After his passing, his outstanding disciples would begin to establish their own kingdoms due to their differences in their scholarship. A sacred place with this many top scholars gathering together just wouldn't exist anymore...
"You should go. I want you to become better with me together not sacriﬁce yourself. In return, I'll do my best to become a better me so you can't throw me off," said Lou Cheng with a soft smile while gently caressing her.
"But... But... You'll have to give up so much this way!" Yan Zheke bit her lower lip with her white, tidy teeth, and the hesitation in her voice remained.
"How did the roles change? How come I am here convincing Ke to go abroad?" Lou Cheng let out a bitter laugh before answering seriously, "We are going to spend our entire lives together. How can we count who is giving more? Besides, you must give as well. Every time you have a holiday, you must come back to spend time with me. Every day you must say a few sweet words to me. When you feel fragile in front of difﬁculties, you must be honest with me and I'll ﬂy over immediately."
After learning Yan Zheke was planning to study abroad, he had been reading similar posts, learning from others' losses and gains, which was why he said those words.
"Yes! I promise! I swear!" Yan Zheke heaved a sigh, relieved from her burden with the answer. She pursed her lips, nodded, and gave out three ﬁngers, looking extremely adorable.
Lou Cheng stroked her lovely nose and smiled.
"Look. I'm capable and available to ﬂy over and stay with you for a dozen days every month. He-heh... A small parting will bring us even closer. If it's not very safe over there, I'll pay to hire a female Dan stage master from the Shushan Study or the Ice God Sect to protect and accompany you. Every year you can come back at least twice. This way, the challenges of time and distance will be lowered to the minimum...
"I read a book before, and one line from it has stayed with me. All fears of long-distance relationships come from our hatred towards our own incapabilities."
He smiled and his eyes became ﬁrm.
"This might sound arrogant. I'm training my ass off to advance and make progress because of my personal interest, my desire to challenge my idol, and my determination to make the difﬁculties between us no longer hard and reduce the impact left on us by all those challenges.
"This is the true meaning of guarding.
"If one's girlfriend is abroad and the boy has money and time but is unwilling to put in some effort to make their relationship work, he is all talk, not to mention selﬁsh." As soon as Lou Cheng ﬁnished, Yan Zheke, appearing drunk in his words, climbed up, lowered her head, and placed her lips on Lou Cheng's mouth for an intense french kiss.
During the kiss, her beautiful body without underwear was revealed in front of Lou Cheng's eyes, igniting his passion and boiling his blood.
Yan Zheke suddenly stopped and punched Lou Cheng, blushing.
"You pervert! I was so touched... How could you... How could you..."
She was too embarrassed to ﬁnish. Lou Cheng responded with a dry chuckle.
"Can't help it..." Phew! Yan Zheke burst into a laugh and the gloominess completely vanished. She pushed her body up and locked her tempting eyes on Lou Cheng, suggesting in a quiet but determined tone,
"Cheng, let's get married..."
"Ahh..." Lou Cheng was startled and asked confusedly, "Are you asking me to marry you?"
"Yes!" Yan Zheke nodded like a chick picking grains.
Lou Cheng suddenly got a hold of himself and looked at Yan Zheke earnestly.
"This is not a joke? Not a maneuver?" "Yes!" said Yan Zheke while counting her ﬁngers. Her eyes were ﬁlled with tenderness, and her smile bore a mixed tinge of resolution and impulse. "First, we are both 18, adults, ready for a legal marriage."
The country didn't have the idea of late marriage and late childbirth.
"Second, our household registries are both in school. We can totally take them out before the holiday begins," continued Yan Zheke with a pair of deep dimples in her cheeks. Lou Cheng was feeling drunk in her words.
She took a deep breath silently and looked at Lou Cheng, blushful but ﬁrm.
"Third, I'm not forcing you to wait. I'm making a promise. I can keep myself until the end. I want you to know I want you. I do...
"My future half is you and only you. I want to marry you. I want to be your wife!" "I do too!" Before Yan Zheke even asked, Lou Cheng's answer jumped out already with a tinge of emotion. "Let's go back to school now and make up an excuse to borrow the household registry. Then we go buy a ring. How can we get married without a ring?"
"Yes!" Yan Zheke's vision was foggy again as she nodded gently.
"This is the wedding of Cheng and Ke with no guests!
"Every youth is accompanied by impulse and insanity!"
Chapter 432: June 26
As they reached the decision, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke's hearts were ﬁlled with joy for their reciprocal love and excitement for their coming marriage life. She attempted to throw back the covers and get out of bed but immediately covered her body once she saw the marks and stains on her fair skin from last night's passionate actions. Blushful, she gave Lou Cheng a gentle kick with her left foot.
"Bring my nightie over!"
Completely taken over by her great sexual desire, she didn't have time to change last night at all!
Lou Cheng chuckled as he affectionately squeezed her foot and got up, stepping to her suitcase completely naked with beautiful muscles and lines. He found a slash neck nightdress under her secret glances. In the meantime, she quickly put on her underwear under the quilt, recalling their ﬁrst night together. With two feet on the carpet, she suddenly frowned with a pained look before she could stand up.
"Are you OK?" Lou Cheng approached at once and held her, very concerned.
"It's your fault!" Yan Zheke lifted her right foot and stamped him with little force before continuing, "Again and again..."
Her voice lowered and the redness quickly spread from her face to her neck.
"But you started the second round..." Lou Cheng defended his innocence.
"My fault then?" Yan Zheke threw him a glare and the pure yet tempting expression in her eyes turned Lou Cheng on. He wanted to stay in the room with her forever.
Lou Cheng put on his mature voice and a loving smile. "It's all my fault! 100%!"
He happily took the blame.
Except for the second time, he did take the initiative in every round, longing for more and more after the ﬁrst taste of it. At times he did act very rough, forgetting how delicate Ke was until she called for a truce. Then they hugged and talked deeply, their bodies and souls both connected.
Yan Zheke stared at him as she made her way to the bathroom.
Listening to the sound of her shower, Lou Cheng was aroused and very tempted to jump in to join her.
He didn't think he could resist the desire in the shower, and in that case, Ke probably wouldn't be able to leave the room today. He cooled himself down with a bottle of water and got dressed to search for required documents and general procedure for getting married. When he ﬁgured out everything, Yan Zheke came out, her face very red either from the hot water or the reﬂection of all the marks and stains on her body.
Under a white towel were her wet hair, side fringe, and pure, glittering eyes.
Lou Cheng just couldn't have enough of her beauty. He stared so much that Yan Zheke had to turn her head away, her mouth pouting and eyelashes ﬂapping.
"Quit gazing me like an idiot! Come and help me dry my hair!"
"Sure!" Lou Cheng used two towels to absorb most of the water and then began to blowdry her hair carefully with a hotel hair dryer, his eyes tender and hands gentle as if caressing a precious treasure.
During the blowdry, Lou Cheng once again felt how hard it must be for a long-haired girl. "We must cherish these long-haired girls who wash thier hair for you..."
Yan Zheke sat still on the bed, enjoying the warm wind and her boyfriend's delicate moves, her eyes lowered and mouth curved upward.
"This is the pleasure of married life."
"Done. Your turn to shower." Yan Zheke felt her hair with her hand and urged Lou Cheng to go to the bathroom. Then she went through her suitcase, looking for suitable clothes for the weather.
The curtain was open and the sunshine came in, giving the room a golden shine. His little fairy in a light color chiffon top, a pair of jean shorts, and the same pair of skating shoes from yesterday. Her bare, tender legs against the window were almost too beautiful to be real.
He stood there, watching Yan Zheke pile up the stained sheets and covers beside the bed. She turned to Lou Cheng, gentling biting her bottom lip, blushful.
"What shall we do when the cleaner sees this later? Should we just burn it?"
"It will be more than the cleaner if we burn it..." Lou Cheng chuckled at Ke's innocence and poked fun at her. "What about we sneak it home as a souvenir?"
"Sick!" Yan Zheke groaned before leaving this matter behind. She bent down to make the bed and discovered her skin-toned stockings under the cover with stains from last night.
Her face ﬂushed, thinking about how everything had started, and threw the stocking at Lou Cheng.
Lou Cheng responded with a silly grin. …
After taking a slice of the fresh cream cake, Lou Cheng booked a car to pick them up from the hotel to save Yan Zheke some walking.
The ride was surprisingly smooth, and they made it to the university cafeteria for lunch before visiting the Household Registration Department under the Students' Affairs Department at 2 PM.
"Teacher, good afternoon. We'd love to borrow our household registration pages. How can we apply?" Lou Cheng stepped in ﬁrst and spoke to a middle-aged woman politely.
The teacher at the Household Registration Department looked up at them and blurted out,
"Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke!" No one in Songcheng University didn't know them!
A bright smile climbed on her face upon seeing these two celebrities of the school. "Why do you need the household pages?"
"Teacher, you know we are dating, right?" answered Lou Cheng self-conﬁdently. Yan Zheke subconsciously lowered her head and pinched him in his waist.
Lou Cheng smiled at the sweet pinch and continued, "We want to make a trip abroad this summer before going back home. We need it for visas."
They had come up with this excuse together earlier. Telling the teacher they were getting married would be courting trouble, since a terriﬁed teacher would lead to the dean, the president, and the parents.
"You young people know how to enjoy life." If it was another student couple, the teacher would say "no" right in their faces. But these two were known by all and she had no reason to be difﬁcult when the school management seemed to have no problem with their relationship.
She might not have the courage to give them any problem, considering their martial arts skills...
Rumor had it that many guys were very fond of Yan Zheke, but they didn't have the conﬁdence to approach this famous ﬁghter.
"Enjoy life? You have no idea..." Lou Cheng whispered silently to himself and put on an even bigger smile. "Teacher, please. How can we get it?"
"Usually, you need to get a paper from your department, ﬁll in this form, and get it signed by your counselor and stamped by the responsible deputy president before coming to me," said the teacher with a friendly smile. "However, for you two, we don't need it to be that complicated. The president spoke so highly of you and everybody knows you. We can do it through the Martial Arts Club. Fill in the form and get a stamp from the Security Department. That's all." "Got it. Thank you so much, Teacher!" said Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke happily.
The Martial Arts Club on the upswing had been on good terms with the Security Department. Lou Cheng was pretty conﬁdent he could get it done easily.
After merely ten minutes, he came back with two stamped forms to rejoin Yan Zheke outside. They successfully got their household registration pages that could prove their identities.
The toughest step had been completed and everything else should be easy. They exchanged gazes and smiled lovingly at each other, content and expectant.
In a mall, Lou Cheng dragged Yan Zheke straight to the area for custom diamond rings. "Everything is expensive here. We better pick a special one in a jewelry shop." She attempted to stop him and continued with a sweet smile, "You need to save money so you can visit me more often. That's more important than a diamond ring. Give me a better one on our wedding."
Lou Cheng thought about it and happily nodded with warmth in his heart. "Fine. I'll listen to Coach Yan!"
They went to a well-known jewelry shop and eventually paid over 60,000 for a pair of rings. The diamonds shone so brightly, and they could barely tell if they were in a dream.
In a residential quarter, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke followed the map to a photo studio specialized in wedding photography.
"We have traditional, exotic, modern, and student-style clothing available. Pick any three." The receptionist did a double take at Yan Zheke's perfect skin. "Yeah." Yan Zheke nodded excitedly and began to browse albums. After seeking advice from Lou Cheng, she decided on a traditional chinese dress, a student uniform, and a casual suit.
After a quick makeup application, Lou Cheng changed into a loosely ﬁtted black traditional Chinese robe with red patterns. A while later, Yan Zheke walked out of the ﬁtting room in a matching dress, elegant and decorous. Her hair was beautifully braided to match her dress. She looked more charming than ever.
As she made her way towards Lou Cheng step by step, the wedding march was played in his head. He couldn't help stepping forward to receive her.
His romantic imagination didn't last long. Soon, the photographer began to give commands.
"Put your heads against each other!" "Don't touch..."
Lou Cheng noticed Yan Zheke constantly moving to his back.
He asked in a low voice, "Ke, what's the matter?"
Yan Zheke cast a glance at him and smiled,
"I want to stand a little bit away from the camera so my face looks smaller!"
"The wedding photos are for life!"
"..." Lou Cheng didn't say anything, but the happiness in his eyes was obvious.
… The photos were ready very quickly. They took a cab and arrived at the marriage registration ofﬁce in the Civil Affairs Bureau just after 4:30 PM.
They read the posted requirements carefully. Yan Zheke stayed in the ofﬁce to ﬁll in forms and Lou Cheng took everything to get copies.
Everything was done by 4:36. They managed to take a number before the staff got off work.
It was just an average Thursday, June 26. Not many couples were waiting ahead of them. After ten minutes, it was their turn.
They each took a seat and handed over their papers. Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke looked at each other, seeing the same excitement, expectation, joy, and nervousness.
A lady in her 50s browsed their papers carefully and double checked everything in their database. She blurted out, "You are students?" Before they could say anything, she saw "Professional Eighth Pin, Dan stage" on her screen and began to process their marriage certiﬁcates without a word.
A few minutes later, she put photos on the certiﬁcates and handed them to Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke.
"Don't forget to update your marital status on your household registration pages in the police station."
"Update?" Lou Cheng shared a puzzled glance with Yan Zheke.
"We are married now?"
"We are legally married?"
The procedure was too simple to give them any time to adjust. After the lady kicked them out of the room, they began to feel the change in their status. Yan Zheke opened the marriage certiﬁcate of Lou Cheng and looked at their photo in traditional Chinese clothing and the date "26 June" under it, smiling and showing her dimples. She took out the male one of the pair of rings with a diamond in a decorative design.
Her eyes announced her feelings out loud. She grabbed Lou Cheng's left hand, put the marriage certiﬁcate in his hand, and slowly put the dazzling ring on his ring ﬁnger.
As the ring slid on tighter and tighter, Yan Zheke's eyes became watery and emotions ﬂooded into her head.
"The boy who ran until he was out of breath to chat with me, the youth who used to be so helpless whenever in front of me, the classmate who did everything to make me happy, the man who traveled far and waited all night in the rain just to see me, the boyfriend who never complained about his weariness, the silly Cheng who cherished me in his hands as if I were a piece of treasure, and the determined Lou Cheng who became a martial artist because of me is now my husband. He is my husband now! "As husband and wife, we are to grow grey together..."
The atmosphere suddenly became solemn. Lou Cheng took out the female one, much bigger and with a more elaborate design.
He held her tender hand, gave her the other marriage certiﬁcate, and put the ring on her ring ﬁnger.
In the beautiful sunshine, everything was brilliant. Yan Zheke looked at him, shy but determined, her lips pursed and her head still.
As the ring slid on her ﬁnger, Lou Cheng was suddenly overwhelmed by a mixture of feelings. Yan Zheke's ﬁgure from the past ﬂashed in his head.
"The classmate from next door I went by just to have one glance at, the goddess I couldn't resist locking my eyes on, the beautiful girl in a white and red suit of traditional Chinese robe in front of the Martial Arts Club entrance, the gorgeous ﬁgure I could only dream of, the well-cultured lady way more lively and more interesting than my expectations, and the stubborn maid who would never cry for sorrow...
"The cute Ke who accepted my love confession and wanted ﬁve minutes to just laugh, the little elder sister who is always so good at throwing a tantrum, the straightforward Yan Zheke who loves to communicate, and the little fairy who has occupied all my beautiful memories about girls, is now my wife. She will be my wife starting today!"
The change of status gradually caught up with them. Yan Zheke unrolled her eyebrows and smiled at Lou Cheng so beautifully.
"Mr. Yan, nice to mee you!"
A huge deal of joy began to roll in his heart. He responded gently,
"Mrs. Lou, nice to meet you!" He couldn't help giving Yan Zheke a big, tight hug, and he whispered to her ear,
"Wife, wife, wife..."
Yan Zheke felt drunk in his voice and replied in a very quiet voice, blushful,
The bright sunshine seemed to last forever.
They walked out of the building hand-in-hand and got in the back seat of a cab to their dinner destination.
As the car took off, a song came on the radio.
"How deep and intense love is enough for two people to promise each other the rest of their life?"
Chapter 433: Protecting You From Harm And Suffering
"What deep and intense love is enough for two people to promise each other the rest of their lives?"
The slow melody lingered in their ears. Regardless of the overall style, Lou Cheng was already feeling warm and fuzzy inside after hearing that line. It sounded so pure, giving him a sense of serenity and blissfulness.
He could not help but turn back to look at Yan Zheke, only to see her also turn towards him with clear, bright eyes. Their eyes met and they both smiled.
Yan Zheke snuggled against Lou Cheng and reached out to hold his hand. Their ﬁngers crossed and the wedding rings knocked against each other with a tinkle. Their hands were on their laps, holding down the little red book (Note to readers: In China, at birth everyone has to register their identity under a "household account". The records are kept in a little red book. When a couple gets married, together with the marriage certiﬁcate, they would also register their names under the same household, the same little red book. ) With heavenly beams shining upon them, she leaned over and put her forehead on her newly-registered husband's shoulder.
Feeling that weight, Lou Cheng had an unexplainable feeling that he never had before. Suddenly, there was the sense of a heavy responsibility. Together with it was a never-ending joy.
This girl's life journey, happiness, and suffering will now be my responsibility...
I want her to smile purely and without worries for life...
The car continued to roll on as the music echoed, as though they were driving the path to eternity.
During the dinner, amidst the shopping and ﬂowers, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke would get excited talking from time to time, and then quieten down from time to time. They would look at each other lovingly. It was like they only needed to exchange looks. Without any words, the connection between them beat the connection of countless people. Slowly walking through the "clouds", the pair ﬁnally returned to the hotel, back in the warm, cozy room that had been cleaned and tidied.
"Ke, ever since we got our marriage certiﬁcate, you became like a newlywed wife. Wait, no, you're a newlywed! " Lou Cheng put down the cake and things that they had bought earlier. He teased his girlfriend. Wait, no, his wife!
Yan Zheke pretended to glare at him, and said with a joking tone,
"We haven't been married long and you want the couch already? With such a huge matter, such a sacred matter, can't I just be silent for a moment? Hmph, aren't you the same? Like a lost goose, can't even remember how to talk. All you know is to look at me and smile silly! "
As he heard her words, he could not help but smile.
Yan Zheke put down the luring roses and glanced at the little red book in her bag. Suddenly, she got emotional again. "It's so magical, Cheng. Did we just get married like that?
We're now husband and wife?"
Lou Cheng looked into her eyes and answered with a chuckle,
"Yes, yes. The little fairy from the heaven is ﬁnally my wife."
Yan Zheke's eyes glimmered and her dimples danced. She smile softly and said,
"Coach Yan will also be your advisor for life..."
After saying that, the two of them laughed.
"Cheng... " This time, the term of endearment was no longer as each other's girlfriend or boyfriend. They were now man and wife, starting on a new journey in their lives.
In the midst of the soft mumblings, Yan Zheke's eyes glittered. Lou Cheng's body and heart tingled. The two of them got closer and slowly closed their eyes. They leaned towards each other and their lips touched.
A soft thud. Yan Zheke's bag dropped onto the ﬂoor.
Piece by piece, their clothes fell on to the ground. This time, the lovebirds were soft and passionate. It was no longer as vigorous as yesterday. Their eyes were open, looking at each other, looking deep into each other's eyes. Besides kissing, there was almost no distance between them. Yan Zheke hung around Lou Cheng's neck and looked at him lovingly. She panted slightly, feeling every gentle thrust going straight into her heart. Lou Cheng felt warm, wrapped, and embraced by the girl. They were melting together. Heart and mind, soul and body.
Without any sense of time passing, there were soft groans, and they stopped for a bit, enjoying every moment, every bit of being with the person they loved so much. They hugged.
"So this is our ﬁrst night as man and wife, my beloved wife?" Lou Cheng kissed the girl's ear lightly and chuckled.
Yan Zheke snuggled up to him and looked at him alluringly. "Can you at least say something decent?!"
She laughed and reached out to caress Lou Cheng's face. Her slender ﬁngers traced the lines of his face. Teasingly, she mimicked the speech of the olden days. "Yes, this is our wedding night, my beloved husband... I had intended to follow the traditions - to cut our hair and tie together. But sadly, you have no more than an inch of hair. It's impossible to tie them..." "Oh, yes, this is a problem then... " Lou Cheng laughed lightly. He humorously said, "Didn't you say I have a pair of trousers made of hair on me? We can use that."
Yan Zheke's pink lips opened and closed twice. Half annoyed and half tickled, she said,
"How does that count as being tied together?!"
A "ﬂipping the table" emoji appeared in her heart.
This Cheng, how dare he!
"Then, how about this... We cut up all the hair into bits and mix them up. There's me in you and you in me." Lou Cheng's ﬁngers ran down her back that was glistening in a thin layer of sweat. He was no longer joking; he was seriously suggesting.
"... sounds plausible!" Yan Zheke happily put on her lingerie and started to look for a pair of scissors. But once she made too big a movement, her body stopped involuntarily. She winced in pain.
"Don't rush! There's nowhere to keep the hair even if we cut them now. Let's go and buy two fragrance pouches tomorrow and we can have them by our sides all the time. " Lou Cheng quickly hugged Yan Zheke and pulled her towards him. Feeling a little regretful for what he had done, he put his forehead on hers and said, "I wanted to hold back today and not do anything so that you could rest and recover, but in the end..."
With her current physique of a top Professional Ninth Pin, she should have recovered quickly. But yesterday night he did not control himself well. It was too vigorous, too passionate, almost a little rough.
"It's ﬁne. Without this, the marriage that only belonged to the two of us would not have been complete. I... I didn't stop you either... " Yan Zheke said dreamily.
She didn't stop him. Instead, she was enjoying every moment of it. With that kind of atmosphere and surge of emotions earlier, no girl could have resisted.
"Oh, alright, so do you prefer today's style or yesterday's?" The newbie, Lou Cheng, was curious, so he asked, trying to accumulate some experience.
Yan Zheke's pouty mouth opened for a bit. Her already ﬂushed face turned even more red. She turned to look toward the side and pretended to be annoyed.
"Seems like I've to try harder!" Lou Cheng played along and nodded as if he was in deep thought.
According to his Listening Skill, Ke should have enjoyed both very much... Yan Zheke's mouth opened slightly like she wanted to say something. In the end, it seemed like she was too embarrassed to say it, so she did not. Instead, she hit Lou Cheng with "anger".
In the midst of the longlasting ambiance, the pair fell silent for a while. With gentle eyes and smiles, they looked at each other.
After a couple of minutes, Lou Cheng recalled something.
"Tomorrow, Friday, we should hurry to change our marital status in the household registry records..."
Before he could ﬁnish his sentence, he and Yan Zheke looked at each other and together they said,
"Maybe later..." After a short pause, Ya Zheke stretched her hand out and started to draw imaginary circles on Lou Cheng's chest. She said, "If we do change our marital status, the school will ﬁnd out. My mom and family will know too. It's not that I don't want them to know, but I'm afraid that they would think that you led me astray; always leading me along to do crazy things. Then they may develop a bad impression of you. I think we could just wait a little, till before our wedding ceremony, before we go change it. Or... maybe wait till someone chases us..."
As he heard her speak, he felt his heart warm up. Gently, he said,
"I also have the same thoughts. If my parents knew about how I just got married like that, they'd probably think that I never considered them. My mom would probably think that I've forgotten about her after having a wife. She might not think well of you. Such unhappiness may accumulate. Ke, let's just follow what you say. We won't change it for now. Wait till they chase. If they don't, then we wait till we have our ceremony. If my parents ﬁnd out, I'll just say that it's my fault. It was me who got afraid, it was me who didn't have the conﬁdence, so I asked you to marry me in secret." "Yes, yes. Same for me. If my parents ﬁnd out, I will also say the same thing. I'll say that I was worried that I'll miss you and so I was selﬁsh for once and pulled you to get married. " Yan Zheke's brows relaxed and she smiled at him warmly.
In front of their parents, they would put all blame on themselves, and protect the image and relations of their partner and parents.
The two talked a lot. They reminisced a lot, talked about the future a lot. It was only at half past 10 that Yan Zheke suddenly remembered that she wanted to take a shower quite some time back.
In such summer heat, after running around the whole day, even a fairy would sweat. She had intended to shower clean before spending the ﬁrst night with Lou Cheng. But in the midst of passion, she forgot about it. Now, she was even more untidy.
"How dirty!" Upset, she hit Lou Cheng lightly before putting on her lingerie and ﬂipping out from the quilt. She walked to the sofa nearby and put on her nightgown. Looking at her feminine curves and smooth, white skin, Lou Cheng quickly chanted the Forwarding Formula in his heart, trying to suppress his stirring feelings, afraid that he would not be able to hold back and pounce towards her once again.
The night was beautiful. Unable to hold himself back from Yan Zheke's unintentional seduction, he did not manage to clear his mind and heart. He did not manage to sleep on time. Of course, considering that he had to wake up earlier tomorrow, plus her body was almost at its limits, the girl drifted off to sleep after having another exciting round.
Next morning, Lou Cheng woke up on time. Unlike the usual days, he did not only have thoughts of training in his mind. Instead, he turned one side, leaning on a raised arm, he looked at his wife endearingly, his little fairy.
Yan Zheke was sleeping soundly. Her lips were in a cute pout. Her nose had a little arch up, sharp and cute at the same time. Lou Cheng could not help but to kiss her once again.
He took a deep breath and forced himself to get up. He did not dare to turn back, afraid that he would not be able to resist the temptation to stay. He quickly washed up, put on his clothes, and left the room quietly. He headed to where he trained yesterday morning.
This time, his shoulders, his chest, and his heart were just a little more stable than the past. Somehow, he felt an urge to level up and do even better in martial arts. It was like all the hurdles were no longer hurdles.
Bam, bam, bam! Pam, pam, pam! Punch after punch, kick after kick, every move was as swift as the wind. His heart and mind were clear and serene. With the Root Pulp that he was already so familiar with, he was calm and steady, ﬁlled with a positive atmosphere.
He felt Root Pulp was the ﬁrst step towards the Inhuman stage. He was waiting till he could borrow some determination, spirit, and some internal training method to slowly lead it to change. Then he would be another step closer to opening the doors to the Inhuman stage.
Lou Cheng was at the ﬁrst step. He had gone through what many would have taken ages to cross. He was at a stage of precipitation; he was strengthening his foundation.
With a target in mind, he now had a new strength to practice hard. After a tough training, he felt like he had received a lot. His mood got brighter, and he almost wished that he had wings to ﬂy back to the hotel to be with his wife, Ke, to share with her his progress.
He ran back. When he entered the room, he found that Yan Zheke was already awake. The pair celebrated his breakthrough for quite some time.
Just as Lou Cheng was contemplating to go out to buy a fragrance pouch, Yan Zheke suggested,
"Cheng, let's head back to school and return the household account book. At the same time, we could treat Dirty Tong and the rest to a meal. "
In the past two days, her mind and heart were ﬁlled with Lou Cheng. She completely forgot to bid her roommates farewell. If they went back any later, Li Liantong and the other girls would have returned home and there would be no chance to gather again before she leaves the country.
"Sure." Lou Cheng knew that his wife was rather close with her roommates. Since they would not know when they could meet again, it was only logical that they meet now.
Chapter 434: Returning Home
After eating the cake and pastries they'd bought the night before, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke left the hotel holding hands. They took a bus and headed back to the old campus, ﬁrst buying a few different kinds of spice bags from a store just outside and then leisurely walking to the bus stop, swaying and recalling the four semesters they'd had at Songcheng University's new campus.
At the Weishui Lake school building, there was a long bridge, a lakeside veranda, and other kinds of scenery. As the scenery reﬂected in Yan Zheke's eyes, a sadness rose in her heart that was hard to explain. She leaned closer to her previous boyfriend who had now become her husband, holding him tighter.
With a kind of special connection, Lou Cheng could sense the sorrow that Ke was feeling at their imminent parting. His right hand looped around and grasped her shoulder, nestling her closer to his chest and comforting her spirit with his warmth.
In the quiet but not oppressive atmosphere, the two lovers got off the bus, swaying their hands as they tightly held them together. They strolled towards the administrative building, hurrying to hand in her residence permit to the branch manager before they got off work.
The excuse that they were going to use was an indisputable fact: because the joint exchange program that Yan Zheke was participating in had been moved up a year, the school needed to help handle all of the procedures. The two of them didn't have time to get a visa to go abroad, so all they could do was turn in their residence permits in advance.
As for Lou Cheng obtaining an American visa, he didn't plan on doing so himself. He would prepare it through the Ice God Sect, which was more dependable and convenient. If he went himself, a dangerous guy like him approaching the Inhuman stage would certainly be examined thoroughly.
After everything had been handled, it was approaching noon. They went to the Academy Cafeteria, and as they pushed open the doors to the room they'd scheduled in advance, they saw Li Liantong, Shi Xiangyang, and Zong Yanru. From the ﬁrst time since inviting them out to eat, Lou Cheng and his previous girlfriend's (now wife) roommates had often bumped into each other. For example, during their dormitory communal meals, if they were outside campus, they would all wrangle him into being their bodyguard. If they were on campus, once they were ﬁnished, he would also come and meet Yan Zheke, walk off the meal they'd just eaten, and arrange another meeting. After obtaining the National Competition Championship, the two lovers had gone out to eat with them three times, so they weren't strangers to Lou Cheng. Simultaneously, they all smiled and one after the other greeted them with,
"Hello, big martial arts family!"
Lou Cheng was already used to being poked fun at in this way, and he raised his hand and waved it in response.
Hehe.... the girls all broke into laughter as they waited for them to saunter over. They took their seats, and also took the menu, tossing it towards Lou Cheng, putting him in charge of the selection. They then looked towards Yan Zheke, and all at once discussed her going abroad to study.
"How can it be this sudden?" Li Liantong said, maintaining her silent and composed manner.
"Ke, how many years are you going to go for?" Zong Yanru asked with concern. She had somehow known this would happen before.
"Boo hoo hoo, I can't stand to see my sweet, bright, and soft Ke go! Even though I've already got a boyfriend, it's you who I love the most!" the tall Shi Xiangyang exclaimed, her eyes seeming lost and confused. She was half joking and half truly heartbroken as she spoke.
She was the second of Yan Zheke's roommates to say goodbye to the single life. After two semesters of seeing others have boyfriends and girlfriends while she remained single, she'd had enough. Following these words from Shi Xiangyang, the mood became downcast. It made the tender and sensitive girls all recall every detail of the two years that they had known each other, and the edges of their eyes reddened.
Yan Zheke kept her composure and said with a smile, "Going a year earlier is much better, this means I can come back a year earlier. Dirty Tong, Pak Choi, maybe you'll both still be studying and have not graduated yet."
Li Liantong and Shi Xiangyang were on a seven-year medical program, so they still had a long way to go.
"You may have a baby and we'll still not have graduated!" Ever since becoming familiar with Lou Cheng, Li Liantong had adopted her facade less and less, and from time to time would say a sentence like this that would startle you. After joking, she suddenly sighed and said, "What are we doing to do? It feels like we're breaking up. Ke, you can't be teased by me everyday now, I can't watch you become more experienced in the area of love, can't, can't..." As she spoke, her voice gradually faded, and she unexpectedly began choking back tears.
This immediately made Zong Yanru and Shi Xiangyang's eyes moist. By bringing up this topic, the atmosphere became more and more melancholy, making Lou Cheng also feel unhappy.
He'd told himself before that it was best to have faith and not let his emotions towards her get in the way of his decisions and make him lose his head. It wasn't like he would be looking back on their parting that was coming in just over a month with great sentimentality, so just concealing it was best. His attitude had become quite regimented as he didn't want to inﬂuence his fairy's mood.
He blew out a breath of air, then stood up and said,
"I'm going to order the food and go to the restroom while I'm at it."
It didn't feel right to call in the waiter in this kind of situation. "OK," Yan Zheke said as she struggled to maintain her composure.
Waiting for Lou Chen to exit, Li Liantong grabbed a tissue and wiped the corners of her eyes. She decided to change the topic and liven up the atmosphere.
The corner of her mouth rose, and she looked at Yan Zheke.
With a mischevious smile she said,
"Ke, I remember two days ago you just packed your luggage and left! Ru Ru had also just ﬁnished taking her exams, so she should have told you then."
"So..." Zong Yanru asked with slight bewilderment.
Not waiting for Yan Zheke to open her mouth, Li Liantong snickered, "After being gone for two days, how is it that you so suddenly come back to school and invite us out to eat? Have you been 'close' these past two days? What have you been doing? In these kinds of times, when a couple is about to separate, it can be hard to control one's emotions, and you can't help but break through the previous boundaries that existed..."
"How do you have such dirty thoughts!?" Hearing these words, Yan Zheke's sadness dispersed and was replaced with shyness surging forth. As was her usual habit, she interrupted the other person, wanting to change the topic.
"Don't explain. If you explain, you'll just gloss over it. If you don't believe me, you can just ask Pak Choi and Ru Ru. They also don't believe that you could control yourself during a time like this." Li Liantong pointed to Shi Xiangyang and Zong Yanru, whose faces showed that they suddenly understood what Li Liantong was getting at.
Seeing that Yan Zheke was still shy, she blinked, and in a low voice said, "I don't want to ask you about the speciﬁc details, I'm just curious. You know, school girls are always writing about romantic and erotic love, more so than boys. Inevitably, there will be some odd positions, no, divergences. I've seen that there are quite a few impressive ﬁghters that have been written about. I ﬁgured that with all of their abilities, how is it that they could put them to good use. To shatter through and ascend to new realms... I just wanted to ask you, is it like this, for example..."
"You can't ask that!" Yan Zheke immediately interrupted Dirty Tong once she understood the question. Her face became ﬂushed and red, which gave her an indescribable beauty.
Lightning ﬂashed in her mind, and all she could feel was hot steam was rising from her cheeks.
Seeing her state, Li Liantong laughed.
"See, I'm right. If Ke and he hadn't done anything, she wouldn't have said 'You can't ask that' just now. Rather, she would have said, 'How do you know'. Gah, us three beautiful, young women have been cast aside for some guy from the outside."
"You tricked me..." Yan Zheke blurted out, both bewildered and intensely shy. She had to admit, she'd unexpectedly been tricked by Dirty Tong!
"The main thing is that you've been caught red-handed!" Li Liantong covered her mouth as she laughed.
As she saw the state of Shi Xiangyang and Zong Yanru, who were also unable to contain themselves, it suddenly came to her. They leaned against the table, lowered their heads, and laughed as the atmosphere became more warm and welcoming.
Yan Zheke was affected by them and gradually smiled as well, feeling that she hadn't done anything that bad. When Cheng was with her, he would help cover it up.
Just then, Lou Cheng came back from the restroom. Pushing open the door and entering, he asked in astonishment,
"What are you all laughing at?" Shi Xiangyang, Zong Yanru, and the others all glanced at each other. They remembered the example Li Liantong had given just previously and burst into even greater laughter after a moment, nearly slapping the table and pounding the wooden benches. Yan Zheke was again both shy and happy, unable to say anything.
"..." Lou Cheng watched with bewilderment, feeling at a total loss.
These four ladies were so heartbroken and full of sorrow a moment ago; how could they get so excited and laugh so happily after just a little while?
Girls really were complicated!
While eating, the mood from time to time would shift from melancholy to blissful, but everything had to come to an end. With all of the cups and dishes scattered everywhere, Lou Cheng called for the waiter to pay the bill and used his phone to pay. Heading out of the restaurant, they stood at the entrance.
Zong Yanru, with tears in her eyes, said,
"Ke, you need to look after yourself over there. When you come back for vacation, remember to get in touch with us."
"Okay." Yan Zheke was trying with great difﬁculty to keep from crying, so she could only give a simple response and nod her head.
Shi Xiangyang opened her mouth to say something, but found that nothing came out. She breathed in and again said, "Ke, if you have time, keep in touch. Now, now, it's the internet age, everybody can talk to each other all the time... You and Cheng be good. We'll wait for the two of you to get married and we'll give you a big wedding gift!"
"Exactly, I shall give my best wishes to you two and you will get married one day!" Taking a cue from Yan Zheke Li Liantong spoke lightly and briskly, but the red corners of her eyes and misty pupils betrayed her true feelings. With some sadness, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke bade them farewell. They looked in each other's eyes and again pulled each other's hands close.
"If Dirty Tong knew she could just send us a wedding gift now, she'd jump ten feet high," Yan Zheke said, her mood complicated.
"More than that, I think she'd jump so high her glasses would fall off and shatter!" Lou Cheng exclaimed with a smile.
Afterwards, the newly-formed couple retraced their steps to the places that contained so many memories for them. From the springtime lakeside bursting with vitality to the vast and desolate western area, from the long bridge where they would often run into each other to the school building where they would go to class every day...
After two and a half days, they went out less. Other than going out to eat or for training, they burrowed themselves inside their hotel room, even to the point where they ordered take out twice. Their two bodies became one and their Qi and Blood ﬂourished. As their emotions burst forth, they did everything they could to please the other, basking in their unconstrained youth and enjoying the excitement of it, wishing that they could become forever joined together.
On Monday, July 30th, Yan Zheke took the materials that Yan Kai and Ji Mingyu had posted and handed them to the university ofﬁce. Then, together with Lou Cheng, they took the steps back towards Xiushan, their home.
When she was needed here again, she'd come back, only the person accompanying her at that time would be Empress Dowager and not Lou Cheng.
On July 30th, 5:40 PM, the high speed rail took off, quickly reaching the Xiushan stop.
Lou Cheng did not play with his phone, but tilted his head, looking at his tired-to-the-bone fairy. As he thought back on the craziness of the past few days, his heart was ﬁlled with tenderness. He thought about how could it be possible his wife was this beautiful and how he liked everything about her. At ﬁrst he put his arm around Yan Zheke's shoulder, but he felt that this wasn't enough, so slid his arm down towards her waist. Afterwards, he still felt that this wasn't enough, so he slid closer and completely enveloped her against his chest, breathing in the scent of her perfume.
After a moment, Yan Zheke's eyelashes ﬂuttered and she woke up from the dream that she had been in. She raised her head, and seeing the familiar face of Lou Cheng, the disappointment from her nightmare immediately dissipated.
She reached out with her arm, wrapping it around her husband's waist.
Silently holding one another for a moment, the two of their phones then went off simultaneously, each coming from each other's mother.
"Hello, Mom, what's up?" Lou Cheng answered with surprise in a low voice. Beside him, Yan Zheke said something similar.
Qi Fang answered at great length, "Are you almost here? We originally decided that you'd eat dinner at home, but your grandpa said we should come over because Erzi has invited us to dinner when he heard that you are back home."
Chapter 435: Dear Mother
"They are too hospitable to even postpone it for one day. My mouth is drooling at the thought of the food you make," Lou Cheng blurted out as he ﬂattered her.
Qi Fang smiled, proud of herself. "Is that so? I've bought all of the ingredients. Don't say it now, wait until you come home and then you can say it again. Wait for your father, and both of you can come back."
"Okay, okay." Lou Cheng hung up the phone and turned his head to look at his wife, no, his leader, and laughed. "My mom."
"How coincidental, me too!" Yan Zheke bent her eyebrows as she shook her phone. "Empress Dowager is standing over there in front of the plaza."
Thoughts swirled in Lou Cheng's head, and he snickered. "There's no need for me to avoid them now. Now I can take you directly to them. Ke, what do you think, should I change it and call them 'Mom and Dad?'" Yan Zheke's mouth abruptly half-opened. She pursed her lips inward and good-naturedly looked Lou Cheng in the eyes as she lifted her chin up and said, "If that's your idea of being on good terms with them, I don't care!"
As the two of them bantered ﬂirtatiously, the high speed rail came to a stop. Lou Cheng rose up and used one hand to take down Yan Zheke's luggage as if it were a light children's toy.
Carrying a backpack, lugging a suitcase, and also leading his wife along, Lou Cheng whisked out of the train in high spirits, entering the arrivals lobby.
After being away, seeing the bursting sun and bright and beautiful sky upon their return along with the rising summer heat, he and Yan Zheke subconsciously looked at each other. In their hearts and their minds, they both seemed to sigh.
These couple of days, which had passed like some kind of crazy dream, were coming to an end... As fragments and moments of that time ﬂashed through their minds, the two of them became silent, but they gripped each other tighter and leaned closer to one another.
Exiting the lobby and turning to the road, it was suddenly bright and spacious before Lou Cheng's eyes. The ﬁnal splendid golden red hues of the setting sun covered the square. The scholarly and reﬁned Yan Kai and the mature and beautiful Ji Mingyu were waiting a few steps ahead, holding hands in the same way and also holding parasols.
"Your mom and dad seem so happy!" Lou Cheng broke the silence, complimenting them sincerely.
And this was after being together for more than twenty years!
Yan Zheke raised her head with pride and said with a smile, "You best work hard, young man' this is the model example you need to achieve!" "All goals are meant to be surpassed," Lou Cheng responded with a chuckle.
While talking, the two of them had entered within earshot of Yan Kai and the beaming Ji Mingyu. Lou Cheng, somewhat lacking in conﬁdence, said loudly, "Uncle, Auntie."
"Mom, Dad," Yan Zheke said, not releasing Lou Cheng's hand as she coquettishly announced these two words.
Ji Mingyu was about to speak as her eyes glanced over her daughter, but her mind suddenly came to a halt.
Even though there was some exhaustion hidden in Ke's expression, her entire being radiated with beauty. She was positively glowing, and it was enough to make any mother a feel a bit afraid...
Putting the pieces together, with her going abroad very soon and the imminent fact that she would then have to part with her boyfriend, Ji Mingyu, with her experience, could guess what had happened. However, she did not blame Lou Cheng in any way. As he had entered the Dan Stage and became the Youth Tournament Champion, she had thought that these two young people would taste the forbidden fruit soon enough. In light of this, she has subtly hinted to her daughter to take the necessary precautions. She hadn't expected this boy to be able to restrain himself for long.
Recalling once again how her daughter had not given up on her dream because of this, and how it was obvious that her boyfriend was being understanding and supportive of her, Ji Mingyu viewed Lou Cheng in a higher light, and she was pleased.
"So now that you've got a boyfriend, you can't give your mother a kiss?" she joked as she glanced at her daughter, lifting her left arm.
Yan Zheke's face blushed. She released Lou Cheng's palm, took half a step forward, and gave Empress Dowager an intimate embrace, saying delicately, "Of course not!" Due to her own private lifelong matters, she still felt ashamed in the face of her mother and father.
Ji Mingyu turned and looked towards Lou Cheng, laughing warmly as she said, "Where is the Lou family's home? Let's go, we can drop you off on the way. Getting another car is too much of a pain."
"Okay. Thank you, Auntie." As his mother-in-law had extended an olive branch, Lou Cheng didn't conceal anything.
After talking, he silently mouthed towards Yan Zheke, expressing that he what wanted to say was "Thank you, Mom." This caused her to wrinkle her nose and stare at him softly.
The Yans' car was parked outside of the square. Along the way, Ji Mingyu and Yan Zheke propped their parasols. Yan Kai and Lou Cheng walked alongside each other, listening to the mother and daughter chat, occasionally chiming in with a few sentences. After putting the luggage in the SUV, Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke sat in the back row, fastening their seat belts together.
After starting the vehicle, Yan Kai turned his head to look at his daughter and laughed. "Ke, your grandma and grandpa have invited you to go to Zhengque County for a while to keep them company. They're afraid that after you go abroad, it'll be hard to see you again until you come back after a year."
"How's that possible? Of course I'll come back for the National Holiday, it's basically the same as it is now!" Yan Zheke subconsciously explained herself.
"Your grandma and grandpa's thinking is that calling on the phone isn't very convenient." Yan Kai smiled warmly.
Yan Zheke looked up as she said, "Then we can video call online! That way they can see me directly. That's right, this time I need to teach Grandma and Grandpa how to use that!"
Listening to their conversation, Lou Cheng suddenly felt a kind of loss. Ke was gonna go to live with her grandparents for a few days, which meant that they would have to be apart for a while. Their time together before she went abroad was quickly becoming shorter and shorter...
Just then, Yan Zheke turned her eyes and glanced at him.
With her face blushing, she said ﬁrmly,
"Dad, wouldn't Grandma and Grandpa like to meet Cheng?
When it's time, I will go together with Cheng."
Ha... Ji Mingyu, who was driving, laughed despite herself, half out of disdain and half out of pride.
She didn't know if her daughter coming into her own was a good thing or bad thing...
Yan Kai was silent for a moment and laughed with mixed emotions. "That's ﬁne." Upon hearing this pleasant surprise, Lou Cheng's melancholy disappeared and he was unable to help himself from pulling his little fairy's hand towards his side.
As they looked and smiled at one another, Yan Kai was already asking, "Then when are you going to go?"
"We'll wait a few days. I need... I need to take a trip to Cheng's family...." Yan Zheke glanced around nervously, and the more she spoke, the lower her voice became.
The disgraceful daughter-in-law must meet her in-laws...
Also, she'd gone from a theoretical daughter-in-law to becoming an actual daughter-in-law....
Even though Yan Kai had prepared himself, he still felt a particular kind of melancholy. In his mind, his daughter was still young. How could time ﬂy so fast that his daughter was already going to see her in-laws? "Then you'll need to prepare well. I remember I didn't quite understand all of it in those years, and there was no one to teach me, so I made a bit of a fool of myself on the ﬁrst visit," Ji Mingyu said "angrily", full of remembrance of those times.
Yan Kai mumbled, "Send my greetings to Lou's parents."
In Xiushan, unless it was a blind date of two youths, the parents of both parties should not meet with each other when it was time for the younger generation to meet the elders. They had to wait until the younger couples solidiﬁed their relationship and were prepared to discuss marriage. Only then could they professionally arrange a few set times to meet in order to determine the wedding date and other details.
"Thank you, Uncle Yan." Lou Cheng hurriedly sent a greeting in the place of his mom and dad.
After a short while, according to his directions, Ji Mingyu parked the car on the opposite end of the street. The real-life daughter-in-law, mother-in-law, and father-in- law all waved goodbye as Lou Cheng entered the familiar yet somehow unfamiliar neighborhood.
The overall layout of the area and the arrangement of the buildings had not changed. Ten years had passed as if it'd been one day, like being frozen in time. The passersbys coming and going were the same as well. They were just a bit more mottled, had more grey hairs, and there were more fresh newly-born faces.
The new Lou family home that they'd purchased at the end of April was ﬁnished with its renovations, but they still had to wait for a while. According to Qi Fang, they had to wait until October and then could choose a day to move in.
As Lou Cheng walked down the road, some people called out, some sent their greetings, and others asked their children to take him as example, causing him to smile endlessly.
He briskly stepped up the stairs, took out his keys, and opened the door. He still hadn't entered when he saw his mom come over and welcome him, laughing as she said, "So fast!" "Uncle Yan and them gave me a ride," Lou Cheng answered calmly. Looking at the living room, he asked, "Where's Dad?"
"Him?" Qi Fang responded grufﬂy, "Ever since he became the factory director, he's been busier than before. He insists on saying he can't let down others' trust in him, and every day when it's 6:30, he's still not home!"
"Don't mention your father." She turned and said with a smile, "When is Zheke coming over? You need to remind your mother so I can be well prepared!"
Her daughter-in-law was on on the verge of paying a visit, so she had taken the initiative by taking Yan Zheke and omitting it to become Zheke.
"Ke can come anytime over the next few days, it depends on you both!" Lou Cheng responded hastily.
"How about tomorrow? No, no, if I prepare some food for you, I don't know what she does and doesn't like. I still have to do a big sweeping and get everything in order around the house again. Can't see my daughter-in-law with the house in such a state..." Qi Fang said to herself, "Also, I need to give your aunt a call and make her bring over some of the vegetables from her garden. The Yan family's very well off, so they're probably sick of eating expensive things. They need to try something new..."
Listening to his mother prattle on, he could feel the importance she attached to her daughter-in-law, and Lou Cheng's heart warmed. He was unable to keep himself from laughing.
"What are you laughing at?" Qi Fang had just grabbed the phone but hadn't had time to dial.
"I'm happy for Ke," Lou Cheng answered humorously.
Qi Fang beamed. "I asked around; Zheke is a good girl. Reﬁned and beautiful. Certainly better than you were before. Didn't you yourself tell me how great she was before?"
In the middle of bringing this up, she suddenly sighed. "Cheng! When you were in high school, I was so worried that you still hadn't found a girlfriend..."
Gah.... Wasn't I tight-lipped and introverted in high school? Lou Cheng didn't know whether to laugh or cry, and he was speechless.
A doubly violent attack coming from his mother!
Once Qi Fang had communicated with Qi Yan and settled on two days from now, Lou Cheng hurriedly took out his phone and sent a message to Yan Zheke, whom he'd already made a note to change into "Dear Wife".
"My mom says two days from now. She really thinks highly of you. She was especially asking me what you like to eat; she's going to go back to the market to buy some things and she's making our aunt bring some vegetables over from her garden. She has also made a plan on sweeping the entire house, going to get her hair done..." For the sake of harmony between the two families, he wasn't the slightest bit stingy when it came to telling the other party what the other had said.
Yan Zheke blushed and laughed. "Auntie's a good person."
"You need to call her 'Mom!'" Lou Cheng snickered.
"Get out of here, I don't have a husband like you!" Yan Zheke said, sending an emoji that was blowing a whistle and holding up a red card. She nervously and timidly said, "I'm still not used to calling people out like this. When I was just typing, my face was burning hot. How shameful!"
"But you've already called me out once or twice over these few days," Lou Cheng responded, sending an emoji smiling wickedly and raising its eyebrows.
"That's when I was only half-conscious..." After sending this message, Yan Zheke abruptly came to her senses. Her face became red and hot as ﬁre, and her face was full of regret as she replied, "I don't understand you!" After a moment, Lou Zhisheng called, asking Qi Fang and Lou Cheng to directly come down, saying that Erzi had driven over speciﬁcally to pick them up.
"Not bad!" Qi Fang said, tugging her son along as they went out the door and down the stairs, arriving at the entrance of the neighborhood.
This time, Erzi was driving a Mercedes. He was outside smoking and chatting with Lou's father, Lou Zhisheng. Seeing Lou Cheng come over, he immediately put on a smile and came up to welcome him.
"Cheng, ﬁnally I can see you. You're the pride of the Lou family!"
The day was getting slightly dark. Lou Cheng glanced at him, and found that he closely resembled their cousin Lou Yuanwei. He smiled modestly and said,
"No, no, Brother Erzi, you're also quite impressive." Why call him "Brother Erzi?" Because up until now, I'm still not sure what his real name is...
Chapter 436: Group Photo
"Haha, I've just worked hard to earn money. Come on, let's get in the car. Grandpa Si is going to be ready over there in a minute, we can't make him wait too long." After seeing Lou Cheng, Erzi put out the remaining half of the cigarette in his hand without any hesitation, startling the still-smoking Lou Zhisheng beside them for a few seconds.
Lou Cheng shook his head. "You've worked hard for your money, then have you also shed sweat, blood, and tears to earn money?"
Money earned through true blood, sweat and tears!
At that moment, Lou Zhisheng followed suit by putting out the cigarette in his hand, throwing it in the trash can and sitting along with Qi Fang in the back row.
Erzi waited for Lou Cheng to fasten his seat belt and then started the car, driving towards Lou Debang's house. Laughing as he drove, he said, "I watched the National Competition from start to ﬁnish. Awesome! In every guy's heart, there's the hidden dream of becoming a master, and now you're already a master..."
Along the way, he didn't talk about anything else, so Lou Cheng complied and chatted with him about all things related to martial arts. Now and then, Mother and Father Lou would ﬁercely compliment Lou Cheng with a few sentences, making the atmosphere friendly and relaxed the entire time.
In his eyes, it was just that he'd been around in the business for a few years... Lou Cheng had this assessment in his heart, but kept the story from coming out of his mouth, maintaining his manners.
Arriving at Grandpa's house, Lou Cheng had just ﬁnished answering everyone when he was pulled in by his cousin Ma Xi. Her eyes sparkled as she pointed at a pile of magazines and notebooks.
"Brother, you promised me that you'd give my classmates your signature!" After saying this, she then spoke with both a sense of pride and worship. "You're the idol of at least half of our class!"
"Well, if they say I'm their idol, then I'll have to kneel down and sign all of these." Lou Cheng was in a fantastic mood as he good-naturedly mocked himself. He took a picture of the large pile of magazines and notebooks and sent it to his dear wife, using an emoji hanging its head as he remarked, "The hardships of being famous!"
"Yeesh, it's just your handwriting." Yan Zheke said, "Get to it, don't be so full of yourself."
Seeing the smile on her cousin's face, Ma Xi curiously asked from beside him, "My sister-in-law?"
Every person who had seen the ﬁnals had been impressed by that ﬁnal embrace between Yan Zheke and Lou Cheng.
"Yeah, she's discouraging me." Lou Cheng nodded with a smile. He took a pen and began to write out his last name, his wrist steady and using moderate strength. The more he traced, the worse it became...
"Finished!" he proclaimed at last, ﬁnishing this activity that had shattered his conﬁdence in his calligraphy abilities.
Of course, if he was writing the characters for "before", "attainment," and others, he could visualize and match them together, and he could see them in his consciousness.
"Thank you, Brother. You're the best!" Ma Xi excitedly gathered up the magazines and notebooks.
Once their brothers and sisters came out into the room, they put the two tables together, and delicious meat and vegetable dishes came out one after the other. Their fragrances lingered, different from the previous ones.
"These are the wild animals that my uncle-in-law and I caught in the village. Have a try, it's good." Erzi grinned as he gave Lou Cheng an introduction and complimented Lou Zhiqiang, "It's also because Uncle's craftsmanship is so good; an ordinary person would be able to prepare these."
Slightly pleased with himself, Lou Zhiqiang smiled. "The ﬂavor of these wild animals is just like what the cook would make when I was in the army back in the day..."
He unknowingly went on about those years, completely missing the glare on Erzi's face.
The ﬂavor of these wild animals was just like those...
Lou Cheng, who was to the side listening, wanted to laugh at this man who proved himself capable of offending others merely by opening his mouth. By the time he'd gotten to his seat, he'd already tried a few different ﬂavors, and his heart immediately shot up.
This really wasn't bad... he'd have to let Ke give it a try... Right, he had been worrying that he didn't know what gifts to bring for Ke's grandparents...
Uncle Yue in the village told me to go and ﬁnd him if I want to eat wild animal meat... Hehe, I am considered the person who saved his son's life...
As his thoughts were swirling, he wasn't ashamed to ask for help from those who knew better than him, and he immediately asked around as to what these delicious dishes were, ﬁrmly remembering responses from Erzi and the others.
During this meal, Lou Debang ate quite excitedly, and also made an exception by drinking two glasses of alcohol. He complimented Lou Cheng and again urged Lou Yuanwei to follow Erzi, as he couldn't fail to live up to the family's training.
Arriving at this point, Lou Cheng then discovered that his cousin Lou Yuanwei seemed to be putting on airs, and as a result he asked with concern, "Brother, what are you doing now with Erzi?" He had the intent to ask his cousin this when his mother mentioned it before. But he was too obsessed with Yan Zheke's heading abroad a year earlier, so he didn't pay attention to the current situation of his cousin.
Lou Yuanwei didn't have time to respond when Erzi just laughed and said,
"You've obtained the National Tournament Championship and become the favored ﬁghter of the age. You have glory throughout all of Xiushan city! The martial arts atmosphere has ﬂourished, and on top of that, your city organization's performance preliminaries weren't bad. It just wasn't quite good enough to make it to the second stage. There are quite a few supporters, so your city plans to construct a new martial arts arena to form a place for exercise, relaxation, and entertainment all in one.
"When I ﬁrst came here, my appetite wasn't that big. I just wanted one piece of the pie, but my manpower wasn't sufﬁcient, and I wasn't skilled enough, so I pulled in Yuanwei to help me out." Talking to this point, he looked at Lou Debang and said, "Grandpa Si, you can relax, Yuanwei has been great so far in the time he's been with me."
While it seemed like Lou Cheng had heard everything, he hadn't discovered anything. In contrast, the elder members of the family all sighed one after the other at the fact that he had made a name for himself. He was considered a household name in Xiushan, like a celebrity ﬁgure. Not only had he directly helped bring out a new fad, but he'd helped change the planning of the city.
A celebrity? Erzi snickered and lightly nodded his head.
Grandpa Si and the other family members were less in touch with the martial arts circle and didn't have any kind of actual experience. They only knew that Cheng was highly regarded and extraordinary, but as for what speciﬁcally was highly regarded and extraordinary and what meaning this had in actual society, they didn't have the slightest idea. They only thought that he resembled a celebrity. As a matter of fact, from the viewpoint of himself as the half- insider of the martial arts circle, Cheng would one day become a powerful man in the upper class with reputation and inﬂuence.
He didn't say any of this and changed the topic, speaking brieﬂy about the head of the household in Qingfu county.
As the lively evening meal came to a close, the vindicated Lou Yuanwei winked at Lou Cheng, conveying that he wanted to tell him something.
"I'll go to the fridge and get some fruit." Lou Yuanwei was the ﬁrst to take action as he stood up and headed towards the kitchen, causing his mother, Wang Lili, to feel an urge to wipe away tears.
Lou Cheng made the excuse of having to go to the restroom and then wound through the kitchen. He saw Lou Yuanwei just taking out his phone, unable to keep from smiling as he started to talk with someone. "My... my girlfriend," he said with a slight embarrassment to his cousin.
"Oh? Brother, when did you get a girlfriend?" Lou Cheng was shocked.
Hadn't his cousin not succeeded after a few arranged dates?
"Just a little while ago." Lou Yuanwei laughed, not looking at him in the eyes. "We knew each other before through a game, but back then, I failed after trying to make a move several times. I didn't have an ounce of conﬁdence in my entire being, and didn't have to nerve to pursue her. Recently, now that I've been running the business with Brother Erzi, I've managed to ﬁnd a bit of self-conﬁdence and also make some money."
As he talked and talked, his voice gradually lowered, and he suddenly blew out a breath of hair. Full of hesitation, he said, "Cheng, it's like I'm in a dream now and I'm not grounded. What do you think? If Brother Erzi's business doesn't succeed or if I carelessly offend him, then wouldn't everything go back to the way it was before?" Lou Cheng could see that he was worried about his personal gains and losses. As he considered it, he thought back to how he and Ke would only exchange a word or two every once in a while when they were classmates. Putting his own knowledge and personal experience together, he said,
"Brother, you don't have to be so worried. The important thing from here on out is what you can learn from this experience. You see, one aspect of business is funding, the second is connections, and the third is vision. If you follow Brother Erzi, you'll surely come into contact with lots of business people and have good dealings with them. Is this not accumulating your contacts?
"Afterwards, you can get a lot of rewards from this project and obtain vision. Even if in the future this doesn't succeed or you fall out with him, you'll become a better Lou Yuanwei and you'll be able to ﬁnd a way out."
Lou Yuanwei listened with concentration and his expression gradually relaxed, as if the myriad of issues on his mind were solved. After a period of silence, he laughed at himself. "Cheng, how is it that I feel you're much more mature than I am? It's like you're the one that's the older brother. Just then, I was about to call you older brother."
Lou Cheng pointed at himself and snickered. "Come on, go on then!"
"Smartass!" Lou Yuanwei smiled and turned, taking some fruit from the fridge and starting to rinse and cut them.
After dinner, Erzi suggested that they should take a family photo since everyone was ﬁnally gathered together, and he could ﬁnd a place with a digital printer.
Lou Cheng didn't feel one way or the other, so he stood to the side of Grandpa, completing the group photo.
After taking the family photo, Erzi again pulled Lou Cheng towards him, saying that he wanted a photo with the favored ﬁghter of the age. Since it was such a trivial thing, Lou Cheng couldn't refuse. Taking a cue from his fairy, he pulled back a step and looked into the lens with a slight smile.
After chatting idly for some time and taking the three Lou family members back home, Erzi drove at high speed to Qingfu county. Entering his company, he turned on a computer and printed off the photos.
Taking the photo of the entire family as well as the one with him and Lou Cheng and examining them carefully for a moment, the smile on his face deepened. He rummaged up two photo frames and stuffed them inside. Then he put them on his desk, facing any guests that would come in.
Just then, his cellphone rang. There was a call coming in.
"Hello, Brother He, you're looking for me this late?"
"I'm at the company, come over. We can talk face to face." "OK, OK, OK, I'll wait for you."
As he put down his cell phone, the corner of Erzi's mouth rose and he directed his gaze to the window, staring towards the chaotic environment below.
After a half hour, there was the clamoring of footsteps. A mature, thirty-something-looking man in a western suit pushed opened the doors to Erzi's ofﬁce. He saw him sitting behind the desk, slowly twirling a pen with both hands.
"President Lou, so reﬁned," the man in the suit said with an aloof smile.
At that moment, his gaze swept to the photo frames on top of the desk, seeing the two photos inside.
"Lou... President Lou, you haven't shown your true colors!" The man in the suit ﬁrst was startled, then the color slowly came back to his face. His aloof smile brightened. The corner of Erzi's, or Lou Yuanchang's, mouth curled more distinctly.
In the Lou house, after his father, Lou Zhisheng, went to take a shower, Lou Cheng once again spoke with his mother, Qi Fang, about which foods Yan Zheke liked to eat.
While idly chatting, he suddenly remembered something and interrupted,
"Mom, do you know Erzi's real name? It seems you've never told me."
I also never thought about asking before...
Qi Fang was blank for a moment, then responded, "Lou Yuan... Lou Yuan what? Agh, I don't remember very clearly."
Talking to this point, the mother and son looked at each other and smiled, casting this thought from their minds.
It didn't matter what his name was!
Chapter 437: A Small Thing
After skimming over the topic of Erzi, Qi Fang returned to the main topic. Both perturbed and full of curiosity, she asked,
"Cheng, when you go visit Zheke's house, how much money in the red envelope did you receive from her parents?"
I need to go to the bank tomorrow and get this prepared!
Hearing this, Cheng smiled and said, "10,001 yuan."
That time when it was the unofﬁcial visit with his mother and father-in-law, he didn't bring any corresponding gifts. He was waiting until they went to Jiangnan and then he could go for a "leisurely stroll" with the elder member of the Ji family (no, he should call him "Grandpa"), and then he could give them a large sum of money.
Actually, in regards to the Ji and Yan Families, 10,001 yuan really wasn't that much. Only when you considered the Lou family's situation as well as the fact that Lou Cheng was still studying did it carry a signiﬁcant meaning in actuality.
"10,001... that's good, good." Qi Fang sighed with relief, her smile coming back again.
Two months ago, she would have been worried about the issue of giving presents to her future daughter-in-law, because she had spent almost all her savings on buying a new house and its refurbishing. But now things were getting better. Lou Cheng's father, Lou Zhisheng, had gotten promoted with some shares and a corresponding bonus. Thus the families ﬁnances slowly but surely became enough for them to manage, so that they could take out 10,000 yuan without any issues.
As for the two young ones to be married, it was still early! They still had at least three years. When the time came, the family would certainly be well off!
Lou Cheng could sense his mother relaxing, and he couldn't help but grin. "Mom, there's no need for you to go to the bank tomorrow, I've got nearly 10,000 in cash right here. You can just scrape up a little bit and that will be enough."
"The gift for your wife... " Qi Fang made a slip of the tongue, then laughed and said, "It's the homecoming gift for your girlfriend, how can I use your money?"
Lou Cheng calmly and gently said, "But if I give my own parents money due to ﬁlial piety, is that not the proper thing to do?"
Mom, you're not wrong. She is my wife, I've got the certiﬁcate...
"Absolutely not. This is a gift from your father and I for Zheke." Qi Fang waved her hands as she refused. "At this point, our family can handle this. Keep your cash for yourself to spend, don't make her feel wronged."
"Okay, okay, okay." Lou Cheng didn't persist. Anyway, in two days, he'd ﬁnd another opportunity to give his mother the money.
At this moment, Lou Zhisheng came out of the shower, and the three family members talked at length about Yan Zheke's visit and meeting the in-laws as a television program played in the background. At last, Qi Fang clapped her hands together, deciding that tomorrow after she was done with the housekeeping, she would escort her husband to go buy a few nice items of clothing in order to avoid embarrassing her son.
The stars were sparse and the moon was bright. As the night gradually became darker, Lou Cheng ﬁnished washing up and lied on his bed, sharing with Yan Zheke all of the topics they had discussed, along with other amusing anecdotes, perfectly acting out the role of an enemy within his own family.
After talking about this, he could feel the isolation and silence all around him. He sighed and smiled as he pressed the keyboard and said,
"This night is endless. I can't sleep alone!" Yan Zheke snickered in response. "That's too bad. I have Empress Dowager accompanying me, and we have talked with each other throughout the night, so I don't understand what this 'loneliness' you're talking about is."
After talking, she sent an emoji symbolizing "You think I'll sympathize with you? I can barely keep from laughing".
Afterwards, she added, "Alright, alright, Big Sister will dote on you tomorrow. Be a good boy and go to sleep."
Knowing from experience his dear wife's subtle ﬂuctuations and changes in mood, the corner of Lou Cheng's mouth rose, and he said with a wicked smile, "How will you dote on me?"
"How will I dote on you? In broad daylight, in a crowded public place right in front of everyone. What kind of doting would you like?!" Yan Zheke said with fake anger.
"I just wanted you to take me to eat breakfast. Where do you want to go? Classmate Ke, you've got a bit of a dirty mind lately!" Lou Cheng replied mischievously. "I..." Yan Zheke face became red. She gritted her teeth for a moment and then sent an emoji slapping someone's head and said, "It's because you're so perverted, it makes me think dirty things! I blame you for everything! Quick, say 'I'm wrong'!"
"Yes, yes, yes, Coach Yan, I'm wrong." Lou Cheng held in a laugh as he typed, and at the same time felt a strange sense of longing.
Seeing his response, Yan Zheke was quiet for a few seconds and then said,
"What?" Lou Cheng replied suspiciously.
"I miss you a little..." Yan Zheke took her phone and lied down, and her eyes softened.
Even though they'd only been apart for four hours... "Me too." Seeing these words, Lou Cheng's mood settled and his heart became tranquil like the moonlit scenery outside the window.
This was the opposite of ﬁery passion, and he felt it was another kind of beauty.
Early the next morning, Lou Cheng got out of bed early and washed quickly. After doing some warm-ups before his physical training, he put on the navy blue Longhu Club martial arts suit and ran towards the villa estate at Back Water Lake.
Upon arriving at the entrance of the neighborhood, he sent a message. He didn't have to wait long before he saw Yan Zheke running out, her raven black hair tied up. Her whole body was white as silk, and she looked both smart and beautiful.
"What a coincidence!" Lou Cheng laughed as he opened his mouth. Classmate Ke was wearing a women's Longhu Club martial arts suit. Along with him, it really seemed as if they were wearing coordinating couple's outﬁts, and they hadn't even discussed it beforehand!
"Very coincidental!" Yan Zheke's dimples appeared as she smiled sweetly.
Girls always liked it when coincidences like this happened, as it made them feel like both sides' hearts and minds were interconnected.
Without many words, the two of them stared deeply into each other's eyes, and with a smile on their faces, they headed towards the path of Back Water Lake.
Daybreak came early in summer, so those who exercised in the morning also had to adapt themselves and do so earlier. Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke went through three places and then found a relatively hidden and remote place to practice. After a tender-hearted kiss, the two of them separated. Lou Cheng adopted his stance and loosened his joints, causing cracks and pops to emit from inside his body.
After doing this, he couldn't help but lean his head and looked towards his wife. All he could see was Yan Zheke's rosy cheeks as she prepared to practice her still stance.
"You, practice your stance. What you are looking at!?" Sensing Lou Cheng's gaze, she playfully protested with a ﬂuid glance, ﬂowing with charm.
"I'm looking at the power of your training style," Lou Cheng responded playfully as he began training, his posture ﬁerce as a tiger.
They then concentrated on their own training, every once in a while looking at one another. The two of them felt that the time passed very quickly, and in the blink of eye, the early morning exercises came to an end. "Ke, what plans do you have today?" Lou Cheng asked with a smile as they slowly jogged back to eat breakfast.
Yan Zheke turned her eyes and said, "I shall chat with my mom and dad and help them cook dishes. There is one more thing: I have to buy a gift for your family And you?"
"If you'd have said you didn't have any plans, we would have just fooled around." Lou Cheng laughed mischievously.
"Fool around with yourself!" Yan Zheke said angrily, but laughing as she glared at him.
What kind of phrasing was this?!
Lou Cheng laughed, turned, and said, "Now that you're going to spend the day in domestic bliss with Father-in-law and Empress Dowager, I'll go back home and help my mom do a big clean-up." At the moment, he still wasn't overly familiar with his in- laws, so if he went and inserted himself into their daily affairs, it would be quite awkward and might destroy both the atmosphere and feeling.
"After doing the big clean-up, I'll go to the Gushan Martial Arts School and borrow their Strength Training Gymnasium to train for another two hours so that I can try and attain the Inhuman stage earlier. Then I'll look for Qin Rui and Fatty Jiang and get together with them..." He described his plans.
"Alright." Yan Zheke nodded her head up and down.
As they jogged, the two of them slowed their pace, grabbed each other's hands, and then resumed their quicker pace.
After they had eaten rice dumpling outside of their former middle school and he'd escorted his fairy to the neighborhood entrance, Lou Cheng went through the day according to his plan.
... The afternoon was intense. The scorching sun hung in an empty sky, and it was as if steam was rising up from the ground like heatwaves.
Lou Cheng, Jiang Fei, and Qin Rui hid in a row underneath the shade of a tree and sat on top of a railing. They leisurely looked at the entrance of the middle school, at the growing young boys and girls entering together.
"Cheng, if you weren't wearing glasses, a huge group would surely come and surround you," Fatty Jiang said as he turned around and looked at his pal's glasses.
"Yeah, Cheng's a big celebrity now in Xiushan. For all of the new recruits in the martial arts schools, there's no need to say much. All you have to do is mention that he did some part-time work here as a coach, and the number of people who sign up explodes." Qin Rui followed up with a laugh.
After he'd achieved meditation, his strength had increased quickly. After he had received the physical training of the preliminaries, he was nearly at the level of a Ninth Pin, and he had quickly overtaken Dai Linfeng. Lou Cheng laughed lowly and said, "But I got here by ﬁghting tooth and nail, so the both of you aren't jealous. Right, how is it that Old Cheng hasn't come again? Usually, when I try and ﬁnd him on QQ to talk, he takes a long time to respond."
He reckoned he hadn't seen Cheng Qili in nearly a year.
"It's the same when I look for him. Gah, maybe it's that he's made a lot of new friends in university and he's busy with other things. Doesn't have time to meet up with his old classmates." Jiang Fei sighed. "I always thought that as time went on, the amount of classmates we would keep in touch with would drecrease, but the three of us and our friendship would be preserved for a long time. Agh, the next time that Old Cheng will think of us will probably be when he sends his wedding invitations..."
I don't know whether I will or won't send him my own wedding invitation... Lou Cheng silently judged him, and was quite disappointed. When it came to friendship, if one person dropped contact, then they would quickly become like strangers. "There's not many other classmates who behave like this," Qin Rui joked.
"I'm just making an analogy, merely wallowing in my anguish at Old Cheng losing touch." Jiang Fei pointed at the entrance of the middle school. "I miss those years. Me, Cheng, and Old Cheng would sit over there from time to time and stare at the entrance to see which pretty girls were worth appreciating. When it was almost time to get to class, we'd go inside. There was one time when we saw Yan Zheke, her long hair ﬂowing..."
Talking till now, he remembered that goddess' ﬁnal destination, and grievously looked at Lou Cheng as he said, "Forget it, I won't say anything. This really is a tragic story."
"Haha." Lou Cheng laughed with his whole body.
Qin Rui followed him by laughing. "I've heard that they've recently switched educational directors, and they've demanded that girls shall not keep their hair long... " "Damn, what a pervert!" Jiang Fei cursed in agitation.
While talking and laughing while telling stories about school, Qin Rui smugly said, "Cheng, what do you think the chance is of me entering a Professional Ninth Pin Ranking Event?"
He had looked for Lou Cheng in the morning to ask for advice.
"If you bear down and train hard for three months, the chances are high for the October Ranking Event," Lou Cheng answered without ﬂattering or disparaging him.
"Alright!" Qin Rui clasped the railing, his smile difﬁcult to conceal.
Jiang Fei heard all of this and then let out a sigh. "I feel like the two of you and I are in different worlds. I've just enrolled in school and still want to become a successful person. My dream is just to study for two years, follow the straight and narrow, and ﬁnd a job where I won't be working hard until I'm old after graduating." "After two more years, your requirements will be even lower," Lou Cheng teased, "Just having a job will be enough!"
"Maybe... no, I need to pull myself together!" Jiang Fei seemed as if he'd gotten a shot of adrenaline.
He had once wanted to lose weight and persist in training, but after winter break, he didn't have many results, and eventually it became once a week. Usually, he'd just goof off, and he kept his original body shape. As a result, as before, he didn't have a girlfriend.
While Jiang Fei was muttering to himself, Lou Cheng's cell phone went off. He had a call coming in.
"Hello, Master?" He saw that it was comrade Shi Jianguo and quickly accepted the call.
"Hey, you little brat, your visa to America is under handling." Geezer Shi coughed. "Are you busy today?" Lou Cheng responded in confusion, "No, I've got nothing going on."
Why is Master asking about this?
"Good. I've got that small thing for you to do. At most it'll be half a day of work." Geezer Shi snickered.
A small thing? Lou Cheng said to himself in shock.
Chapter 438: Linbian
"What is it?" For some reason, Lou Cheng's heart was beating nervously.
Sometimes Master isn't very reliable!
Geezer Shi snickered. "The Ice God Sect has a disciple called Li Zhenhua in Linbian who's run into some trouble. You're pretty close; go over there and take care of it."
Taking the high speed rail to Linbian would take an hour and a half, so it really was only half a day worth of effort... Lou Cheng nodded and asked for more details. "Master, what trouble?"
"It'd take a long time to tell you, brat. You don't appreciate this old fogey at all!" Geezer Shi scolded, "Remember this phone number. Wait a minute and then call it, she'll tell you everything from the beginning, XXXXXXXXXXX." "Okay..." Lou Cheng repeated it back twice, hinting at the adjacent Jiang Fei to help him remember. He turned and said, "Master, I'm not doing any part-time work at the sect. If I take on this assignment, will there be any kind of reward?"
"Heh, when did you become so money-grubbing?" Geezer Shi laughed in astonishment.
Lou Cheng laughed with embarrassment. "Isn't Ke going to study abroad in America? I need to collect money for the fare."
With regards to his inﬂuence, connections, and business partnerships with others, for the moment he still hadn't crossed this threshold in his mind.
"Not bad. You realize that you need to have money for this, quite the sense of responsibility! There'll deﬁnitely be a reward. How could the sect possibly mistreat you? If they do you wrong, they'll have to face me!" Geezer Shi then warned with some urgency, "When you get to Linbian, if there's any kind of accident, remember to give your master a call." "Okay." Lou Cheng didn't say much, and after the phone call was over, he quickly dialed the number that his master had given him.
A cheerful ringtone hadn't gone on for three seconds when the other side had already picked up and a female voice said with exhaustion and worry,
"Hello, who is this?"
"I'm Lou Cheng from the Ice God Sect." Lou Cheng lowered his voice and spoke concisely.
The girl's voice suddenly lifted. "Hello Senior, I'm Li Zhenhua's girlfriend, Zhang Xiaozi."
Senior? Lou Cheng was dumbstruck at being called this, but he was unable to correct her and instead got straight to the point. "What's happened with Li Zhenhua?" His girlfriend was answering the phone!
"They haven't told you? Zhenhua, he's disappeared... Senior, this whole thing is complicated. I can't explain it very clearly like this. Wait until you arrive and then I can tell you all of the details face to face."
As expected, Master isn't very reliable... Lou Cheng silently judged him, then thought about how he had to go and have a look, so he agreed and said, "Alright, when I reserve a ticket I'll let you know. We can meet at the railway station."
"OK, OK, OK, I'll wait for you, Senior." Zhang Xiaozi obviously was relieved, as if she'd found someone to depend on.
Senior...does my voice sound that old? Lou Cheng snorted in ridicule. He opened an app and purchased a ticket for 2:25 heading to Linbian. For now, he didn't bother with a return trip. "Fatty Jiang, take me to the high speed rail station. The sect has something for me to handle." Lou Cheng and Jiang Fei had never been one for niceties when it came to speaking with one another.
"Hey, Cheng, you've really got the essence of the business elite!" Jiang Fei had ﬁnished watching a workplace TV drama the night before.
Lou Cheng was about to mock himself, but he suddenly had a change of heart. "Wait, wait, Fatty Jiang, take me home ﬁrst, and then go to the high speed rail station."
Linbian was not a part of Xing Province and was strategically located on the border. Although its distance from the border was still somewhat far, it was a transport hub, so a large number of people came and went. The public security situation wasn't the best, to the point where you could say it was somewhat in a state of disorder. Even in Xiushan, everyone occasionally would hear about a big case that had happened over there. On top of that, it was an area with many different ethnic groups, and the atmosphere was fairly tense. So even though he didn't plan on getting in a ﬁght, it'd be best for him to get well-prepared. As the car went along, Lou Cheng took out his phone and sent a message to Yan Zheke along with an emoji covering its face and sighing.
"The better you are, the more work you get. I've been told by my master to go to Linbian and handle a younger disciple who's stirred up trouble..."
I'm the martial uncle of the disciple. If it were someone who had the same rank as me, that would be out of my reach...
Yan Zheke responded quickly with a doge emoji.
"So... so sudden... Linbian is really unstable. Cheng, you need to be careful! Go and get your martial arts suit, and if you run into any kind of situation, don't hold back and make your well being priority... "
She'd said so much in so little time, and at the end added, like a clever child sitting up straight, "I'm waiting for you to come back!" "When my dear wife speaks like this, I feel like nothing can stop me and I can come back successfully!" Lou Cheng sent an excited emoji with a towel wrapped around its head. "I'm going to get my martial arts suit now."
Upon arriving home, he picked out his other navy blue Longhu Club martial arts suit and changed into some exercise shoes that Wu Qinggui's company had custom made for him. He tightened the cuffs, grabbed his phone and wallet, and walked out of the entrance with large strides.
He was dropped off by Jiang Fei at the high speed rail station.
Lou Cheng passed through security and got on the train.
2:25 The train left on time, roaring towards the south.
The train stopped at Linbian station. Lou Cheng sent Yan Zheke a message and then followed everyone else out of the carriage.
His thick navy blue suit was steady as he strode like the wind towards the arrivals hall and found a statue of a white horse in the square in front of the station.
This was the place he and Zhang Xiaozi had arranged to meet at!
"Sen... Senior?" a 20-something girl with long, straight, ﬂowing hair asked with uncertainty. Wearing T-shirt, short pants, and running shoes, she looked thin and comely in appearance.
"Zhang Xiaozi?" Lou Cheng asked rhetorically.
"Yes, yes, yes, you're Senior Lou Cheng? Didn't they say an old master would be coming?" Zhang Xiaozi asked half in astonishment and half in doubt.
Due to this assumption, she had directly addressed him as "Senior."
"I can see that you're clearly not a disciple of the Ice God Sect and don't follow University Martial Arts meetings or any other similar topics..." As this thought swirled in his head, Lou Cheng calmly nodded.
"I started late, so my seniority is high." Not waiting for Zhang Xiaozi to ask any more questions, he looked towards the spot to queue up for taxis. Tidying up his martial arts suit cuffs, he said,
"Let's walk and talk, I don't want to waste time."
Someone had disappeared, every second counted!
"Yes, Senior." Zhang Xiaozi quickened her step. As she walked beside Lou Cheng, she recounted everything with great speed. "Linbian has a rich and powerful person called Si Jianting. He's colluded with a warlord from the wartorn southern area. He's opened quite a few casinos in that area and takes advantage of lots of people who go there for fun. People go there and lose to the point where they lose their entire family fortunes. Zhenhua's father was one of those people, and he killed himself right there inside the casino when Zhenhua was 13. Ever since, his family has been destitute."
"So he's gone to get revenge? Is there any proof?" Lou Cheng asked as he didn't stop walking, getting to the heart of the matter. If there were no clues to support this kind of revenge, the sect normally wouldn't handle it.
"Yes." Zhang Xiaozi quickened her pace to a small run. "He's been watching Si Jianting for two or three years. He said he'd found conclusive evidence, so he quickly came back to Linbian. He brought me along for fear that something might happen. If I saw anything that wasn't right, I was to notify the sect immediately."
"Then how did he disappear?" Lou Cheng slowed down for a moment, as he wasn't eager to quickly approach the point to line up for taxis.
There were a lot of ears around. Who knew whether any taxi driver knew people over there?
Zhang Xiaozi panted and said,
"Last night... last night, Zhenhua said he'd go explore Si Jianting's Linfu Building to ﬁnd that conclusive evidence. I saw him go in, but for the entire night, I didn't see him come out. I saw something that wasn't right, so according to what he'd told me, I immediately called the senior brother from the sect."
"Before I spoke to the sect, I applied some pressure to the provincial ofﬁces and made the local police department handle it, but none of them cared. They looked through once and didn't ﬁnd anything. They looked at the surveillance footage and there weren't any images of Zhenhua entering. I... I clearly saw him go inside!
"I urged them again and again, but there was nothing. So I had to report to the sect, and they've sent you here."
Even though Lou Cheng expected that he was quite a bit younger than her, under the circumstances, she was desperately grasping at straws and she didn't dare have the slightest change in her demeanor.
Lou Cheng again quickened his pace and, lowering his voice, said, "First, let's go to the Linfu Building to have a look. You try and remember carefully, think about if you've missed out any important details. We'll talk again when we get out of the car."
"Yes, Senior." Zhang Xiaozi huffed and puffed as she walked.
At 4:21, the car stopped at the Linfu Building on the opposite side of the street.
Dressed in the navy blue martial arts suit, Lou Cheng pushed open the doors and got out, surveying the 19 story building. Amongst the universally ﬂat and old-fashioned Linbian, this was a landmark that had a real feeling of modernization to it.
"For the past few years, Si Jianting has always been tipping his toes in anything he can ﬁnd, and he's started to get involved in real estate. This was developed by him and a few other joint partners..." Zhang Xiaozi gave an introduction.
Her speech hadn't lagged when her eyes suddenly widened.
She pointed across from them and said, "Si Jianting!"
Lou Cheng raised his eyes and glanced. All he could see was the silhouette of a hook-nosed half-century old geezer with seven or eight bodyguards under his control crowded around him. He was walking towards the entrance of the Linfu Building. As he glanced around, the expression in his eyes was sharp and ice-cold.
So this was Si Jianting... In the car, Lou Cheng had seen pictures that Zhang Xiaozi had taken of him, but they hadn't said anything.
Compared to Si Jianting, Lou Cheng cared more about two of the bodyguards who were leaning closely next to him. One was tanned and his face had the characteristics of that southern war-torn area. The other's muscles bulged out from his t-shirt, and his every step was taken with exact precision, neither too short or too long, as if he'd taken a ruler and measured each of his steps.
They were both Dan stage ﬁghters. As for what speciﬁc Pin they were, it was hard to tell simply from their appearances. "The two of them are quite strong. If they weren't there, Si Jianting wouldn't have lived up until now. The dark-skinned one is Vincent, he was an assassin for hire in the war-torn areas. After he got injured, he was taken in by Si Jianting and became his conﬁdante. When he was at his peak, it's said he was close to the power of a Sixth Pin. That muscular one is Huang Chengda. He's actually not quite as good as Vincent, but
he's also a ﬁghter who's seen a lot of bloodshed in the war-torn areas." Zhang Xiaozi repeated the information that Li Zhenhua had gathered. "Senior, don't be careless. They've surely got guns on them, large-caliber ones..."
As she spoke, she nervously said to herself, "Where are they going? Back home?"
"Ask the local police department," Lou Cheng calmly instructed her.
"Okay." Zhang Xiaozi anxiously took out her phone and sent a few questions. Her face suddenly became sallow.
She turned her head and hurriedly said to Lou Cheng, "Si Jianting will go to the south to discuss business The policeman said that there's no proof and no clues, so they can't stop him.... Senior, he...he wants to run away!"
The south was the border area!
And with Si Jianting gone, Li Zhenhua would most likely be missing forever...
"But there's no evidence!" Lou Cheng saw two black limousines driving towards the doorway of the building. Vincent quickly ran ahead to pulled open the second door from the back. Huang Chengda drew close to Si Jianting to protect him.
He thought and thought. He dialed his master's number and quickly and concisely repeated the current situation.
"You decide," Geezer Shi said, seemingly with a feeling of schadenfreude. "Where's the line?" Lou Cheng replied with a question.
Geezer Shi mumbled for a few seconds, coughed twice, and said,
"Don't take anyone's life."
Chapter 439: Superb Skill Engenders Bravery
Don't take anyone's life.... The corner of Lou Cheng's mouth twitched. He silently hung up the phone and then looked at the terrain around him. He then set out towards the entrance of the Linfu Building.
"Senior, they're going to get in the car..." Zhang Xiaozi followed, hurriedly reminding him as she ran.
Lou Cheng didn't look at her and calmly pressed down with his right hand, indicating that he didn't want to talk.
Meanwhile, he dialed another number, Yan Zheke's number.
After a brief ringtone, she quickly picked up as if she'd always been waiting, full of concern.
"Hey, Ke, my master is quite unreliable. The small thing he told me to take care of is actually big trouble." Lou Cheng laughed bitterly.
Before, when he was en route, he had fully trusted his master. He'd regarded the trouble with Li Zhenhua and his disappearance at Linbian as an issue that was pressing but not dangerous. Even though he'd prepared his ﬁghting equipment, it was just in case of the unexpected, a nonessential precaution. Therefore, he had spoken to Ke carefreely and happily.
After he had arrived, when Zhang Xiaozi had made everything clear and given him the whole story, he felt that his assignment was mainly to try and discover more clues and to pressure the local police department to do another search, which in a way suited his Dan Stage acuteness. Even if there may be a ﬁght, he would be at most a subsidiary ﬁgure, and he'd just be getting in on some of the action in a nice and easy way.
Until the indication that Si Jianting was ﬂeeing and his master had stated the line, he started to feel that the whole situation was becoming somewhat thorny and a bit dangerous, so he had to explain it to his girl. The master is defrauding his disciple!
Putting her phone to her head, Yan Zheke's breathing was made more serious by the clear and crisp sound of the phone signal. After a moment of silence, she said, "Can you please not do it?"
Lou Cheng smiled. "It's about the life or death of a martial nephew. Ke, relax, I won't ﬁght if I'm not absolutely certain. Honestly speaking, I'm not his dad, his mother, or his master. I don't have to put myself at risk for him."
This sentence made Zhang Xiaozi's face turn white and her legs nearly buckled.
He wouldn't go all in unless he had absolute belief. Did that mean the situation would be hopeless?
Confronting two fearsome ﬁghters, the ﬁve or six bodyguards with guns, and Si Jianting, who had been at the Ninth Pin level in his prime, and the at least Inhuman stage Senior still wanted absolute certainty. This was truly at a higher level!
"Exactly, he can't compare with me!" Yan Zheke relaxed slightly, then full of concern randomly added, "Promise!"
"I promise." Lou Cheng deeply and solemnly gave her this guarantee.
If Si Jianting didn't get in the car and didn't have a group of men under his control, and he confronted the two probably Seventh Pin Dan Stage Fighters and quite a few bodyguards with large caliber ﬁrearms on their person, then while he could seize a chance, it wasn't worth taking the risk for some martial nephew that he didn't know. After all, in case he got entangled with a master and their powers became intertwined, he wouldn't be able to endure it.
It was like the time when he had gone to protect the Guo household. A Seventh Pin fugitive facing him, who at the time was at best a weak Eighth Pin, along with four armed guards. Upon ﬁnding out the truth then, he had wanted to back out and didn't want to take a risk. However, now that they'd gotten in the car, this was simple, as this was equivalent to a ﬁghter entering an iron cofﬁn. It was a restricted and narrow space and there was no way to move around. You wouldn't be able to use even 50% of your full abilities, and furthermore, the gunmen were in the ﬁrst car.
According to other masters who had not yet arrived at the Inhuman stage, you may not be able to seize this kind of opportunity. However, as someone with a supernatural ability, and also possibly a disciple able to release a formidable power earlier than expected, in his own eyes, they were just living targets.
"Okay." Yan Zheke was reasonable and knew that she shouldn't say much more, but she still couldn't help adding a few words, pretending to be at ease as she said, "Give me a call in a while, I'll be waiting."
"No problem." Lou Cheng grinned as he hung up the phone. He handed his phone and wallet to Zhang Xiaozi and said, "You, get further away." It was in his mind that the cell phone should be kept from being broken, for fear that he couldn't give Yan Zheke a call if anything happened. His wallet even more so couldn't receive any injuries, as it was a gift from his wife.
"Ok, ok, ok, be careful Senior." Zhang Xiaozi's heart was pleased as she took the items and set off quickly.
At 4:26, Si Jianting's motorcade set off and drove towards the exit of the Linfu Building. Most of the bodyguards were in the ﬁrst car, while he himself was in the second car. To his left and right were Vincent and Huang Chengda. The man sitting next to the driver was another bodyguard.
As the ﬁrst car was turning into the wide and spacious main avenue, and the second was changing directions, Lou Cheng, who was quietly lying in wait on the opposite side, suddenly strode over in a burst of energy. He was like a roaring northern wind and made a few pedestrians' hearts tremble. They instinctively ﬂed to a distant place, wanting to keep far away from this place.
Bang! Lou Cheng stomped and his body arched down. His ﬁsts stretched forward with a shake, throwing out two scarlet-red blazes.
The two blazes ﬂickered brilliantly, hiding their true brutality as they surged forth, leaving a scorched trail in their wake. They separated and charged towards the two cars, each one aimed at the oil tanks!
Ear-piercing friction sharply rang out, dragging on for a long time. The front and back cars both frantically swung the steering wheels, attempting to avoid those terrible-looking ﬂames.
Boom! The ﬁreball that had been aimed at the front car with the bodyguards erupted. A wave of ﬂames soared between it and the car behind, creating a partition between their lines of sight. Bang! Lou Cheng's muscles bulged and the cement cracked beneath his feet. He quickly seized his invulnerability and pounced towards Si Jianting in the black limousine!
Leaning on the peak physical qualities of his Sixth Pin status, he forced his footwork to push into a different level, coming to Ascension to Heaven's Stars!
Of course, while this was equivalent to Qiu Lin's level, it couldn't compare with Peng Leyun and more so with Ren Li.
"Don't stop!" the experienced and dark-skinned Vincent shouted as the "ﬁreball" attacked, using the unfamiliar-to-him Chinese language.
However, he was unable to prevent human instinct, and the driver had already braked and turned the car, creating a screeching sound as the tires changed their trajectory.
At this moment, Vincent felt a stab of pain in his side, and his hair stood on end as he felt danger approaching. Without thinking, he immediately drew in his strength and threw out his elbow with all of his might, hitting the car door.
Bang! Both connecting sides of the car door momentarily split open and changed into a kind of steel shield, ﬂying towards the outside.
From Vincent's point of view, this could give his opponent a hard time and also help him separate himself from the car at this critical moment. If he was stiﬂed in this narrow space, it'd be very difﬁcult to use his boxing skills fully!
However, Lou Cheng's reaction speed was faster than his, surpassing what he had imagined. As the car door's connections had split open, he'd already leaned in close. His waist lowered and shook, his Qi and Blood contracted and released, and his left arm momentarily enlarged as his palm pressed down on top of the door.
Bang! On the eve of ﬂying forward, the car door was rigidly pressed down and caved in as it twisted in shape, exposing the wires, components, and other parts inside. It smashed in the opposite direction and into Vincent's body, causing sharp pain and vertigo.
At that moment, Si Jianting, who had experienced these kinds of situations many times before, had keenly shrunk back to give himself space. He had already pulled the gun from Huang Chengda's hand and shot towards the deformed car door.
Bang! As soon as he had attempted to pull the trigger, Lou Cheng had perceived it. He straightened his back and moved his legs backward, promptly freeing himself and landing on the roof in a ﬂash. He dodged the bullets that had been ﬁred. Additionally, the car had still not stopped and the bodyguards had not gotten out. Their line of sight was also obscured by the wave of ﬁre. The passing trafﬁc noticed that something was wrong, and they had promptly responded accordingly.
Due to the location that Lou Cheng had chosen, they weren't too disturbed, to the point where some people wanted to stop their cars and enjoy the bustling scene. Bang! Lou Cheng's wrist trembled again and the scarlet red ﬁreballs changed shape, hurtling towards the roof at Huang Chengda's position, provoking a reaction from him. The ﬁreball hurtled towards the sky like a bird, and it exploded with a bang.
Seizing this opportunity, just as the bodyguard next to the driver reacted and began to come over, Lou Cheng pulled back and once again fell to the ground. Without delay, his left hand sent out a sparkling snow-white ray of freezing light, landing right in the middle of the confused and disoriented Vincent's head, who didn't have time to react or dodge.
With a gasp, the outside of Vincent's head became congealed with a layer of ice crystals and thick frost, temporarily losing all feeling.
Staggering his feet, Lou Cheng scrambled towards the back of the car, avoiding the gunﬁre from Huang Chengda and the bodyguards from the front seat. His body straightened, his hands interlocked, and his muscles bulged out in the wake of the power of his Dan. Crack! Lou Cheng's eyes opened furiously, and his feet extended out like spiders webs. His arms lifted and rocked, and with an unrivaled power like moving a mountain, he ﬂipped the black limousine on its side!
Bang! Crash! As Huang Chengda and the bodyguards in the front seat twisted and turned, they were unable to aim at their target, and their bullets landed in the ﬂower terrace beside them.
While they were somewhat panicked and lacking the ability to shift places, Lou Cheng shook like a demon, arriving at Huang Chengda's car door. He kept away from directly facing the door, and by using both of his hands, shattered the deformed cracks. He gravely opened his mouth and said,
As the vehicle twisted, Huang Chengda was aware of the danger, and he prepared to ﬁre indiscriminately to the left and right, forcing the enemy to retreat. Afterwards, he took Si Jianting and removed him from the car, drawing him closer to the other bodyguards. However, his mind was still buzzing and humming, as if he was in a nightmare from his childhood. For a moment, he unexpectedly shivered in fear, unable to have any other kind of response.
Just then, the snow-white ray of freezing light ﬂew in through the crack, smashed into his face, and similarly congealed into a thick frost, making him lose all feeling.
The effect of Ice Burning to the head was not much more than a Severe Warning, but it still packed enough of a punch to make one dizzy!
Bang! Lou Cheng used his force, pulling off the door, but he didn't go inside.
Bang! With a sinister look on his face, Si Jianting opened ﬁre, but the bullets hit empty air.
Over by the other car, the bodyguards charged out. Some carried guns and others had knives. Bang, bang, bang! At the sound of Si Jianting's gunﬁre, Lou Cheng used his invulnerability and landed by Vincent's car door with one jump. Both of his hands shook, and he threw an Ice Burning cold light towards the bodyguards from the front seat, who were dismayed and attempting to ﬁre, as well as the unaware Si Jianting.
With two gasps, just the two Ninth Pins were covered in white frost, temporarily becoming ice sculptures.
Lou Cheng stooped his body and ﬁrst set out for Vincent. Regarding him as a weapon, he threw him at the other tightly packed bodyguards, making them either dodge or become bowling pins.
Immediately afterward, he grasped once again, pulling out Si Jianting and displaying him all around for a moment.
Suddenly, the bodyguards ceased their efforts and didn't dare make a move again. Lou Cheng pressed his hand towards Si Jianting, who was still shivering with cold and had not fully regained consciousness. With a peaceful and calm tone of voice, he said to the bodyguards, "Are all of you are still here? You've all got weapons on you and just had a ﬁreﬁght in the middle of the street. The police are going to be here any moment."
These words made all of the bodyguards come back to their senses. Seeing that their boss had already been captured, they had no way to reverse the situation. They all stared at each other and immediately scattered like birds, making their getaway. All that remained were Vincent, Huang Chengda, and the bodyguards from the front seat who had still not recovered.
Recalling the image he had in his mind of the classic villains, Lou Cheng reached out his hand and helped the gradually- coming-his-senses Si Jianting by patting away the frost on his neckline. He said with a smile,
"Boss Si, can you have a nice chat with our Ice God Sect right now?" On the opposite side of the street, Zhang Xiaozi looked at the time on her cellphone in bewilderment.
Chapter 440: Returning
Looking at the young man clad in deep navy blue before him, Si Jianting's face was full of malevolence. While his frozen jaw made a sound, no words came out, as if he wasn't willing to reveal anything.
Lou Cheng knew that the saving operation was urgent, so he didn't delay. His expression immediately became serious, and in his mind he visualized the sharp and frigid Army Formula.
He did not complete the formula, and also didn't pronounce the ancient words. He only melded this battleﬁeld vigor with his own terrifying energy and conformed all of this into his words, constricting Si Jianting's spirit.
"Where is Li Zhenhua?!" Lou Cheng shouted gravely.
Si Jianting shivered mysteriously. His entire body shivered, but many years of experience dealing with blood and carnage in the wartorn areas had made him stronger and unwilling to admit defeat.
Lou Cheng narrowed his eyes, and he repeated it.
"Where is Li Zhenhua!?"
"Where is Li Zhenhua!?"
The two sentences poured into his ears like thunder, and it was hard for Si Jianting to keep his fear from showing. It was if he'd gone back to the days of his youth when he'd been kept in the water prison of the warlord.
"Where is Li Zhenhua?!" Lou Cheng exploded with energy, and it was as if the surroundings were effused with the stench of blood and a cold, blowing gale.
"I'll, I'll talk..." Si Jianting was unable to take it. His spirit was thoroughly defeated, as if he'd seen death and judgement day themselves.
A spot of suspicious moisture appeared in the crotch of his pants. With a running nose and ﬂowing tears, he bawled,
"I'll talk, I'll say everything. He's not dead, not dead. He, he, he's in my ofﬁce on the 19th ﬂoor, in a secret room..."
As Si Jianting spilled his guts and made his stammering confession, Lou Cheng could roughly make sense of the course of events.
After Li Zhenhua had inﬁltrated the building the night before based on the tip he'd been given by a traitor within the ranks that he'd bribed, he found the accounts book for one of Si Jianting's casinos and discovered that he'd smuggled illegal materials from the wartorn areas. This was his deﬁnitive proof, but upon successfully collecting the book and preparing to leave, he was discovered by Vincent, who had been patrolling the area. He was violently sneak attacked and taken away without any trouble. Afterwards, suspicious about how his enemy had slipped up, Si Jianting secretly rushed over under the protection of Huang Chengda and had severely beaten Li Zhenhua. As a result, he discovered that he was a disciple of the Ice God Sect. His mind suddenly burst open; he could almost imagine the pressure he'd be under after daybreak.
At this point, they couldn't possibly let Li Zhenhua leave, as he already knew quite a few things, and he also had a profound hatred of him. They had to handle that night's security footage and afterward look for a way to stall time and trace back their steps to erase any evidence of their guilt.
After dealing with arisen problems, Si Jianting didn't dare to take chances, and he immediately made arrangements to ﬂee. He planned to go to the warlord's place in the wartorn areas to stay away from trouble. As for Li Zhenhua, he wanted to directly have him eliminated, but he didn't dare do so. Under the circumstances, with all of the suspicion and ﬁngers being pointed him, if he killed an Ice God Sect Disciple or made him truly go missing, then he'd be waking a sleeping giant. Perhaps they'd send an Inhuman or even Physical Invulnerability stage Mighty One to come and chase him down. Fleeing to a collaborator that wasn't that strong would make the opposition start to have fewer misgivings. Therefore, this time Si Jianting intended to temporarily forgive Li Zhenhua. In any case, he'd already arranged to leave, destroyed what should be destroyed, and taken care of his property. Afterwards, he'd ﬁnd another opportunity and create an "accident," something that wouldn't make people suspect that it was a premeditated affair to wipe out this enemy that hated him so. Then he could ﬁnally rest easy, return to his hometown, and take back his property.
Why did criminals dealing in shady business all like to record their accounts Lou Cheng recalled all of the television shows
and novels that he'd seen and silently retorted. Afterwards, he lifted up Si Jianting, who had collapsed and become soft as mud, and spun around over to face Huang Chengda. He lifted his knee up and with the tip of his foot kicked under his ears, causing the Dan Stage ﬁghter to go into a thorough state of dizziness.
With his other hand, he pulled Huang Chengda and lifted him up. He slowly and deliberately took him, Vincent, and the driver that had been beside the car and tied them all together, almost as if they were one person. As he did this, he didn't at all prevent the driver from escaping. The reason he was going to such trouble was that he felt he had to cleanly and neatly wrap up the situation. What if Vincent and Huang Chengda were lunatics? What if they wanted to retaliate against any other Ice God Sect members after they escaped?
The other bodyguards didn't have this kind of power, but they did!
Since this was the case, he'd simply give the police two for one and deliver them both to the local police department, then the sect could apply some more pressure and determine a harsh sentence for them.
The bodyguard beside the driver wouldn't receive such treatment, as he'd directly been ﬂung into the ﬂower terrace after being attacked by Lou Cheng. If he were able to regain consciousness before the police arrived, then he'd be considered lucky.
As Lou Cheng piled together Vincent and Huang Chengda, and then used one hand to drag them along, Zhang Xiaozi ran over, both startled and overjoyed as she crossed the street where almost all the cars had already made a detour past.
"Senior, Zhen, is Zhenhua okay?" She panted with anxiety and nervousness.
"It's not too bad." Without seeing his condition with his own eyes, Lou Cheng could only answer vaguely.
Zhang Xiaozi had already come to believe him from the bottom of her heart, and a brilliant smile emerged after she heard what had been said. "Thank you, thank you, Senior..."
She had not yet ﬁnished speaking when her phone suddenly rang. She took it out to look and her expression changed.
"The police department..." She frantically looked at Lou Cheng, asking him what to do. This was obviously because after someone had called the police, they'd guessed that the Ice God Sect was making a move and immediately contacted Zhang Xiaozi, who was responsible for communicating with them.
Lou Cheng thought for two seconds, then composed himself and with a leisurely smile said,
"Just tell them these ﬁve words, 'There have been no fatalities.'"
"Yes, Senior!" Zhang Xiaozi immediately regained her own sense of judgment and hurriedly answered the call.
She hummed a few times, and then, emulating the tone of voice that Lou Cheng had just used, she steadily and calmly stated,
"Rest assured, there have been no fatalities." She spoke no more words into the phone.
Lou Cheng could see that Li Zhenhua was in no immediate danger, but he was afraid that his fairy had been worrying for too long. He temporarily stopped dragging Vincent and Huang Chengda as he entered the Linfu Building and took his phone and wallet back from Zhang Xiaozi, then he dialed that key number.
He held Si Jianting up with one hand, and stuck one foot atop Vincent and Huang Chengda, his thick, navy blue suit unrufﬂed as he stood. Afterwards, he watched the distant cars making their detours as he waited for his wife to pick up.
As the call connected, Lou Cheng was afraid that Yan Zheke would misunderstand, so he rushed to talk ﬁrst and said,
"Hey, Ke." Yan Zheke clearly released a sigh of relief, and with joy in her voice asked,
"Did you abandon the plan?"
"No, it's already solved." Lou Cheng laughed lowly, listening to the dumbfounded Zhang Xiaozi beside him.
The "professionally serious" senior was suddenly also capable of producing this kind of laughter...
"Sorted? It's, it's only been a few minutes.... You, didn't you say that this small thing had become a real pain?" Yan Zheke was both startled and bewildered. Her body and mind both relaxed, and she was so happy she felt like she'd explode.
Hearing his fairy's clearly ﬂabbergasted voice, Lou Cheng was unable to keep himself from boasting. He said with a slight smile, "I made a few errors in my judgment. Before, when I was talking to you, I really did think it would be a big pain, but now, mmm, it's just a small thing."
"You're boasting!" Yan Zheke said with happiness and excitement as she laughed.
How could it be possible that Cheng would have made the mistake of neither knowing himself nor his enemy!?
"Yes, yes, I'm boasting. Coach Yan knows me so well..." Lou Cheng's face blushed as he calmly admitted, "The main thing was that their positioning wasn't very good. The situation also wasn't very complicated. I'll give you all the details later."
"Okay." Yan Zheke's voice lightly emitted.
Lou Cheng thought for a moment, then laughed and said, "I have a goal that I want to achieve within four months. I want to make this current trouble truly become a small thing."
"I'll give you a reminder!" Yan Zheke responded with a smile on her face. She was silent for a few seconds, and then said softly, "Cheng, hus...husband, if there's something like this again in the future, remember to ask yourself clearly if you want to go or not."
"Yes!" Lou Cheng's heart ached with tenderness as he solemnly swore.
However, things were always changing and developing. It was hard to say if he asked himself clearly from the very beginning that there would be no problems. He would most likely still have to depend on going in person to make a judgment and see whether he should back out or not.
After hanging up the phone, Lou Cheng lifted up Si Jianting with one hand and dragged Vincent and Huang Chengda with the other. In the Linfu Building, a group of people stood with fear and panic in their eyes as he calmly and quietly stepped into the special elevator, arriving at the 19th ﬂoor. According to Si Jianting's confession, he had Zhang Xiaozi open the secret room. They saw a young man covered in bruises and cuts curled up on the ground, unconscious.
"Zhenhua!" Zhang Xiaozi threw herself to the ground.
Lou Cheng again tied Si Jianting, Vincent, and Huang Chengda together and threw them to the side of the sofa used for receiving customers. He then proceeded to step into the secret room, inspecting Li Zhenhua's injuries.
"There's nothing life-threatening," he determined, and instructed Zhang Xiaozi, "Give the police department a call. Make them bring an ambulance with them."
"Okay, Senior." Zhang Xiaozi sighed with relief, her heart settling as she began to dial the number.
Lou Cheng then gave his master a report, allowing the sect to deal with the follow-up. 4:37.
The sounds of police cars and ambulance sirens arose simultaneously.
Outside of Si Jianting's ofﬁce, the sound of footsteps rang out, and a group of police ofﬁcers charged in. They saw a young man sitting on the sofa in a navy blue martial arts suit, his head down as he played with his phone with a calm demeanor and casual posture.
Next to his feet, Vincent, Huang Chengda, and Si Jianting all lied chaotically superimposed amongst each other, every one of them unconscious. That famous Linbian bigshot's body was even still shaking slightly, and there was the faint smell of urine coming from him.
At the other end, Zhang Xiaozi stood quietly, wearing short sleeves, shorts, and running shoes, as if she was some kind of maiden. From time to time, her expression would ﬂoat towards the other person on the sofa, Li Zhenhua.
Lou Cheng lifted his head and with a smile looked at the head police ofﬁcer. Calmly and unhurriedly, he asked a question.
"Can we go now?
"..." The head police ofﬁcer was silent. He looked at the unconscious Li Zhenhua, nodded his head seriously, and said, "Yes."
"Good." Lou Cheng slowly got up and, under the gazes of both the police ofﬁcers and Zhang Xiaozi, slowly and steadily headed outside.
In the quietness of the ofﬁce afterward, everyone could hear his voice in the elevator talking on the phone.
"Hi, Mom, I may be a half hour late back home for dinner." A half hour late back home for dinner.... The police ofﬁcers and Zhang Xiaozi looked at each other in disbelief.
After exiting the Linfu Building, Lou Cheng hailed a taxi and sat in the back seat.
"Go to the Four Joys Shop," he calmly instructed, showing on his cellphone the results on the main page for "Linbian specialties", having switched modes on the app that he'd used to book tickets on.
The driver started to drive, and gossiped,
"Hey, wasn't there just a gunﬁght over here in Linfu? I heard it was pretty intense?"
Lou Cheng smiled and replied, "I didn't watch, so I have no idea about it."
"Fine, it'll most likely be on the news later," the driver said, not adding anything further.
At the Four Joys Shop, Lou Cheng earnestly selected two boxes of fragrant pies and two jars of matsutake sauce. He then went next door and bought a few mangosteens and other local fruits.
5:19. He arrived at the high speed rail station, and again got a call from Geezer Shi.
"You did alright handling this today," Shi Jianguo complimented, and in the end stated, "Remember, you can't always necessarily proceed according to what your expectations are. Today was to teach you to hone your ability to respond to unexpected changes. As these and other aspects improve, when you run into any unexpected changes afterward, you won't get ﬂustered, and you won't fall into danger."
"True!" Lou Cheng suddenly realized, feeling that he'd misunderstood his master, and he'd been unreasonable in silently judging him.
As he hung up the phone, he suddenly had doubts, and whispered,
"Could it be that that speech just now was merely Master concealing the fact that he'd been unreliable, and he was just making an excuse after the fact for his defrauding me? "This, this seems like his style..."
The high-speed train set off. Lou Cheng leaned back in his chair comfortably, playing on his phone.
At 7:25 in the Linbian hospital, Li Zhenhua regained consciousness.
After seeing Zhang Xiaozi next to him, he anxiously asked,
"Have they caught Si Jianting?" "They've caught him. A young senior from your teacher's school came and handled it," Zhang Xiaozi answered honestly.
Li Zhenhua immediately let out a sigh of relief, and his expression was absent-minded for a moment.
After a few seconds, he recuperated, and then whispered the two words, "Young senior...
"And where's Senior?" he asked.
"Gone, he left in the afternoon," Zhang Xiaozi explained in detail.
"Mmm... when did Senior come?" Li Zhenhua asked without thinking.
Zhang Xiaozi's tone suddenly became quite strange. "Also in the afternoon..."
7:29, the path of Back Water Lake, at the entrance of the neighborhood villa.
Wearing short sleeves and a long skirt, Yan Zheke skipped over. She turned her head to look at Lou Cheng, and both happily and suspiciously asked,
"Have you not gone back to eat yet? What are you up to coming and looking for me ﬁrst?"
Lou Cheng lifted up the fragrant pies, matsutake sauce, and southern fruits that were in his hands, and with a mischevious smile said,
"To give you some Linbian specialties."