Chapter 23 Say That Again, I Dare You!
Feng Na and Cheng Cheng had been asking around for Li Yundong's whereabouts after they left the lecture hall. By the time they arrived at the campus gates, it was already recess and the whole place was bustling with activity. Hungry students scurried past the gates towards the convenience store nearby to buy snacks, drinks, or whatever might catch their fancy. In the academic building directly facing the gates, students could be seen hanging around the corridors outside the lecture halls. Some were chatting with their friends while others were swiping at their phones. Such was the modern definition of "getting some air," in the world of academia, at least.
Feng Na felt a prod on her ribs. She turned and saw Cheng Cheng pointing her finger at something.
"Hey, look who that is," Cheng Cheng said.
Feng Na followed Cheng Cheng's gaze and saw Zhou Qin and Ding Nan walking out of the campus gates, each carrying an umbrella.
Those two women were a sight to behold. One of them clearly knew her way around the fashion world and, apparently, the way into a man's pants, considering how openly she was dressed. Every piece of fabric (or lack thereof) screamed sex appeal. The other woman, on the other hand, was dressed simply but elegantly. Her clothes accentuated her youth and physical beauty, which, of course, she had in spades.
Although Feng Na was aware of her own beauty, she was also aware of its limitations. She knew that her own level of attractiveness was a far cry from Zhou Qin's.
"Why are we even looking at her?" Feng Na grumbled.
So she was jealous.
"Don't you find it weird at all?" Cheng Cheng asked.
Feng Na looked at her best friend strangely.
"What’s weird?" she asked.
"Don't beautiful women usually choose plain-looking women to be their companions? I mean, it would make them seem prettier in comparison, right? But why is Zhou Qin hanging around someone as beautiful as Ding Nan?"
"A woman like Zhou Qin doesn't need to resort to those kinds of lowly tactics. Why would she even bother? She's beautiful enough as she is, and she knows it!" Feng Na said, then sighed. "Only a wilted flower like me would need to hang around a girl like you to bring out my good looks..."
Then, Feng Na feigned a piteous look, causing Cheng Cheng to burst into laughter.
However, a sudden commotion outside the gates stopped their chatter.
Cheng Cheng glanced towards the source of the commotion, then jumped at what she saw.
"Hey, that's Li Yundong!" Cheng Cheng half-shouted.
Feng Na followed Cheng Cheng's gaze. When she did, what she saw made her jump in fright. A large group of gangsters, each wielding either a spanner or a metal pipe, were charging straight at Li Yundong.
"Li Yundong!!! Run!!! Get out of—"
Feng Na never quite finished her sentence. She couldn't, not when she'd just witnessed the frontmost gangster taken out by one of the most impressive kicks in Chinese martial arts: the tornado kick!
One of the most fundamental principles of Sanshou is: defend with the arms and attack with the leg at the same time! (T/N: Sanshou, also known as Sanda, is a Chinese fighting system)
The legs are longer than the arms!
Li Yundong's foot slammed into the gangster's body, causing the poor guy to fly away like an oversized rugby ball before the metal pipe could even touch Li Yundong.
But Li Yundong didn't stop there. He repeated the same move over and over again, his entire body spinning around like an actual tornado, unleashing a powerful kick with every revolution. Not only were the kicks powerful, but they possessed deadly accuracy as well. Each time a kick was delivered, a guy would be sent flying.
The students at the gates were utterly transfixed by what appeared to be a human tornado wreaking complete havoc amidst a large group of gangsters. Their hair stood on end at the sound of each kick, and they could hear everything, from the swishing of the leg as it cleaved through the air to the loud crunch of breaking bones when it landed. The most terrifying thing was that if they were to close their eyes and just listen to the sound of the kicks, the only image they could conjure in their minds was this: Hercules himself swinging a battle axe around!
A sharp tug on her arm brought Feng Na out of her stupor.
"Hey, are you sure they aren't filming an action movie over there?" Cheng Cheng asked in awe.
Xie Fei and his gangster friends had been trying to track down Li Yundong ever since the day Li Yundong escaped from right under their noses. Knowing that Li Yundong was a student at Tiannan University, they'd been staking out the campus' vicinity, biding their time until he showed up. When he walked out of the gates with that chick today, they knew that their opportunity to finally settle their score with him had come.
But once again, Li Yundong blew all of their minds with even more crazy stunts! The f*cker was fighting back like some kind of beast on super steroids! And those deadly tornado kicks! The gangsters froze on the spot after seeing their buddies flung away like ragdolls by Li Yundong's kicks. Although they had Li Yundong surrounded on all sides, they dared not make a single move. Instead, they looked at their fallen buddies who were moaning and writhing on the floor.
F*cking hell! We should've brought knives!
Xie Fei stomped his foot angrily when he saw all his goons staring at the enemy like a bunch of idiots.
"What are you f*ckers still standing there for! Go get that son of a bitch! F*cking cowards! Why are you afraid of him when there are so many of us!"
Naturally, that prompted the gangsters to take action. They charged at Li Yundong from all sides, yelling while swinging their metal pipes.
Big mistake, assholes, Li Yundong thought with a sneer, eyeing the nearest gangster in front of him. You first, he thought, charging towards the guy. When he was about five feet away from the guy, Li Yundong twisted his body to the left, then thrust his right leg upwards until his foot was level with the gangster's head. In the next instant, two things happened at once: the gangster raised his arm to protect himself; Li Yundong bent his right leg at the knee in a snapping motion.
"Oh my... that's... that's the hook kick!" Feng Na said.
The gangster tumbled forward and smashed face-first into the ground the moment Li Yundong's heel contacted with his forearm.
Li Yundong made a quick turn and began bouncing on his feet, weaving and dancing his way around the other gangsters who were trying to surround him. Li Yundong moved around his assailants with unbelievable dexterity, his legs crossing each other repeatedly and his body swaying from left to right.
BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM!
A flurry of kicks were unleashed, causing the gangsters surrounding Li Yundong to fall like bowling pins. Those kicks were so fast that not a single one of the many onlookers was able to see their execution.
When it was over, Li Yundong stood there amidst the moans and groans of the fallen gangsters, his sharp eyes staring right at Er Lu and Xie Fei.
"My God... d- did you see that...?" Cheng Cheng said in a breathless tone. "The way his feet were moving... the crossing and bouncing.... wasn't that the butterfly step? But that's Zhao Yujian's... how did he even..."
Feng Na looked like she was about to murder someone.
"That son of a bitch!" Feng Na growled. "He lied to me! He lied! Right to my face! He told me he didn't know a thing about Taekwondo!"
Near the gates, Zhou Qin and Ding Nan stared at the scene in front of them. Neither of them could believe their eyes. Li Yundong was standing about twenty feet away from them, tall and strong, with a bunch of gangsters lying at his feet!
"S- s- so strong!" Ding Nan stammered.
Zhou Qin didn't comment, but the look of shock in her eyes was unmistakable.
Zhou Qin was there when Li Yundong fought Zhao Yujian at the dojo. At the time, she actually thought Li Yundong was clumsy and unskilled since he couldn't dodge any of Zhao Yujian's attacks. Even at the end of that fight, Zhou Qin thought that Li Yundong hadn't won by skill, but by pure strength.
But what she saw today proved just how wrong she'd been. The way Li Yundong fought just now was anything but clumsy; he was fast and decisive in his kicks. Not once did he hesitate when he attacked, and his movements were so natural that it was as though he'd been practicing those kicks for years!
How can this be? Zhou Qin thought, utterly shaken deep down. Just yesterday it didn't even seem like he knew any Taekwondo at all!
Zhou Qin agreed with Su Chan's assessment regarding Taekwondo's weaknesses and combat applicability. It was indeed hard to win fights with just Taekwondo alone, especially in armed combat. Even so, Zhou Qin thought it was still a useful skill to learn to defend oneself against bullies and gangsters.
As a martial art, Taekwondo does have the 'art' part down pat with its fancy and flowery kicks. That was also one of the reasons Zhou Qin had decided to join the Taekwondo club.
Although she had rarely shown up for the club's activities, Zhou Qin had a few opportunities to see Zhao Yujian in action. And, based on what she'd seen so far, she would agree that Zhao Yujian was a very good fighter. But now that Zhou Qin had seen Li Yundong in action, she couldn't help but wonder if Zhao Yujian could even last one minute if Li Yundong fought him now...
Xie Fei stared at his fallen cronies in shock, then looked back at Li Yundong fearfully. I refuse! I refuse to believe this! I won't f*cking believe that this is the same guy who was so scared that he'd climb up walls just to avoid us! There's no way that p*ssy could be this strong!
Xie Fei pointed a shaky finger at Li Yundong.
"Y- y- you... Wh- who the hell are you! State your name!"
Actually, what Xie Fei really wanted to do right now was haul his skinny ass out of there. But what kind of badass gangster would he be if he didn't at least get a few last words in?
Li Yundong laughed mockingly.
"My name? My name is none of your f*cking business."
Xie Fei kept at the tough guy act.
"H- h- hah! You wanna d- die?" Xie Fei yelled shakily.
I've already taken care of so many of you punks... I guess one more wouldn't hurt, Li Yundong thought with a smirk.
A harsh voice prevented Li Yundong from moving in to kick the crap out of Xie Fei. "Don't move! I'll f*cking break her neck if you so much as move an inch!"
Li Yundong turned around abruptly and saw Er Lu standing behind Su Chan with his thick arms wrapped around her neck in a rear naked choke. All of a sudden, there was an audible pop, which came from somewhere inside Li Yundong's chest. A powerful surge of heat rose from his chest straight to his brain, causing his hair to stand erect above his scalp.
"You touch her and I’ll f*cking rip you to shreds!!!" Li Yundong roared, his eyes glinting menacingly.
The students were terrified. To them, Li Yundong was no longer a man. He was a beast, a tiger who was seconds away from devouring its prey!
Er Lu's heart stilled the moment he saw the look in Li Yundong's eyes. Never in his life had he seen eyes that terrifying before. It was like looking at the eyes of the Devil himself, which held the promise of death. The first thought that crossed Er Lu's mind was to flee. But then he changed his mind when he realized that he was actually in a position of advantage — he had a hostage. His courage returned, and he slowly calmed down. Seconds later, he smirked at Li Yundong.
"Oh, I'm gonna touch her alright. What are you going to do about it, you p*ssy?" Er Lu taunted.
Seeing that the tables had turned, Xie Fei began to laugh.
"Hey, Er Lu, you sly dog!" Xie Fei said. "What say we take this chick after this and let our brothers have some fun with her?"
Li Yundong released a low growl.
You're dead! You're all f*cking dead!!! Li Yundong thought, charging at Er Lu. However, he'd barely taken two steps when he saw Su Chan elbowing Er Lu in the sternum. When Er Lu bent over in pain, Su Chan's right leg swung upwards in a 180-degree arc until her toes smashed into Er Lu's forehead. Er Lu's head snapped back, then he fell flat on his back.
The crowd went into an uproar.
"Holy shit!!! That was such a badass move!"
"Have they trained in the Shaolin temple before? F*ck! One sick move after the other?! What's next? Is one of them gonna fly?"
"Man! This is some Bruce Lee shit! Wait a minute, is this a movie set? Do you see cameras anywhere? Where's the director?"
Ignoring the ruckus, Li Yundong hurried towards Su Chan. He didn't give a f*ck about anything else. He just wanted Su Chan to be okay.
"Hey... are you hurt?" he asked anxiously when he reached her.
Su Chan gave him a sweet smile.
"I'm fine!" she said, then turned around to give Er Lu's spreadeagled form two more harsh kicks. "You dare put your filthy hands on me?" Su Chan raised her right foot about two feet above the ground. "You're dead!" She brought her foot down and stomped on Er Lu's crotch.
The male onlookers squeezed their legs together.
Goodbye, sex life. Hello, life as a eunuch.
Meanwhile, Zhou Yu felt as though he had just dodged a bullet. When Su Chan suddenly looked towards him, he quickly averted his gaze. If he'd tried taking on that girl earlier... Shit… Just thinking about it made his balls hurt.
Li Yundong quickly yanked Su Chan back before she could make yet another attempt to reduce the male gene pool.
"Alright, alright, that's enough," Li Yundong chastised. "I'm the one who's going to have to pay for his medical fees if you turn his nutsack to mush."
When Li Yundong turned his head, he immediately saw Xie Fei trying to quietly sneak away.
Anger rose inside Li Yundong when he remembered the disrespectful remark Xie Fei had made about Su Chan.
Oh no you don't, you piece of shit...
Li Yundong charged at the blonde guy. When he caught up to Xie Fei, Li Yundong yanked him back by the collar.
"What did you say just now!" Li Yundong growled with one hand gripping the front of Xie Fei's shirt.
Xie Fei knew that he couldn't possibly escape from Li Yundong's grip — it was too strong. Still, he refused to yield.
"You dare touch me? Do you know I am?" Xie Fei shouted into Li Yundong's face.
Li Yundong chuckled a few times before a menacing look replaced the smile on his face.
One of Xie Fei's teeth fell from his mouth and rolled on the ground, leaving a bloody trail.
"I don't give a f*ck who you are! I want you to repeat what you said earlier! I f*cking dare you!"
"You hit me?!" Xie Fei roared, his bloody spit flying everywhere. "You just hit me! Hah! You're a dead man walking, I'm telling ya! You're dead!"
Two blood splatters formed on the ground, one on each side of Xie Fei. Amidst the crimson mess on the floor, lay several broken teeth. Xie Fei swayed on his feet, then slumped forward, his lips bloody and battered.
Li Yundong grabbed Xie Fei by the collar and lifted him off the ground.
"What. Did. You. Say. Earlier," Li Yundong growled. "Repeat it! I dare you!"
"G- Gr- Great..." Xie Fei said, his voice unclear due to his blood in his mouth and his newly-acquired dental problems. "Great hit! Go ahead and beat me to death! If you let me walk away alive, then I swear this won't be the last time you'll hear from me!"
That taunt had finally tipped Li Yundong's anger over the edge. He reached over, grabbed a fistful of Xie Fei's blonde hair. When Li Yundong finally met Xie Fei's eyes, he was smiling, and it was the kind of smile that would make even the most battle-hardened soldier wet his pants.
"You wanna die that badly, is it?" Li Yundong said in a murderous tone. "Then today's your lucky day!"
With that, Li Yundong began to apply pressure on one side of Xie Fei's head with his palm.
He was trying to snap the guy's neck.
Xie Fei fought back against the pressure with everything he got, but he knew it was pointless. There was no way his neck muscles could match the strength of Li Yundong's arm.
Then, Xie Fei looked into Li Yundong's eyes. That was when he knew he was truly done for, because he knew that look far too well. He'd seen it over and over again in men with the intent to kill.
Xie Fei was scared. He was honest-to-God scared. For the first time in his life, he truly knew what fear was. He had gotten in way over his head this time, and there was nothing he could even do to save himself except maybe to beg for his life like a wimp. Even if he had ties to the mafia, none of it would matter if he couldn't walk away from here alive.
Xie Fei could feel the increasing pressure of Li Yundong's palm on the side of his head. It was as though Li Yundong's palm was pushing him closer and closer towards the Grim Reaper.
Xie Fei could feel the warm wetness in his crotch, though he didn't care.
"No! Please!" Xie Fei yelled at the top of his lungs. "Don't kill me! Please! I was wrong! I was wrong! I'm sorry! Spare me! Please! Please....!"
Li Yundong removed his hand from Xie Fei's head.
"So you admit that you're wrong?" Li Yundong said, staring sternly at Xie Fei.
Xie Fei risked a glance at Li Yundong. The ferocity in Li Yundong's eyes once again reduced him to a shuddering mass.
Xie Fei lowered his head.
"Yes... I was wrong. Spare me this once. I'll never give you trouble again."
The thing to know about Li Yundong's anger is that it comes as quickly as it goes. In other words, Li Yundong wasn't a merciless person. Upon Xie Fei's show of remorse, Li Yundong released his grip from Xie Fei's shirt, but not before giving him a final kick.
"Take these punks with you and get out of my sight!"
Xie Fei didn't make the mistake of looking into Li Yundong's eyes again. He'd already wet himself; he didn't want to shit himself too.
Keeping his eyes on the ground, Xie Fei bend down and helped up one of his fallen goons. Then, he walked away with one hand covering his face. Though, if he was honest with himself, there wasn't much point in that since his dignity was already beyond saving.
Li Yundong's voice made Xie Fei shudder.
Xie Fei stopped and turned back around.
"Wh- wh- what is it?" Xie Fei asked, staring anywhere other than Li Yundong's eyes.
A wad of cash landed beside Xie Fei's feet.
"There's about five hundred yuan there," Li Yundong said, causing Xie Fei to look up. "Take those guys to the hospital."
Xie Fei glanced back down at the wad of cash beside his feet. He gritted his teeth and bent down to pick it up.
"Thanks," he mumbled.
Just like that, the show was over with Xie Fei and his gang limping away.