Hearing Su Yi Mo’s icy tone that was tinged with a sense of guilt, Ran Feng Ge could now confirm it; he was safe and so, he was finally able to shut his eyes in peace.
In a haze of confusion, Ran Feng Ge was unable to think any deeper with regards to Su Yi Mo’s appearance – why did Su Yi Mo come and rescue him? Wasn’t he supposed to go with the flow of the plan?
The air outside was good. Ran Feng Ge inhaled two deep breaths when he heard two very familiar voices call out to him.
“Ran Feng Ge!”
Ran Feng Ge was unable to register the meaning of those voices for a moment – did they not belong to Xi Ran and Mi Le? Ran Feng Ge thought to himself and wondered if asphyxiation had somehow muddled his brain up somehow. It must be some kind of hallucination because why would Su Yi Mo come and save him? And why would Xi Ran and Mi Le even appear here?
Ah, damn it. The lack of oxygen in his brain must have done some serious damage because the images before him now seemed so real…
“Be quiet! He needs to rest!” Su Yi Mo’s icy tone was more than enough to silence the other two as he lowered Ran Feng Ge’s body to allow him to recover a little faster.
The lovers that had been pushed aside looked at each other and seemed to be communicating with only their eyes.
Chen Xi Ran raised a single eyebrow and pouted his lips a little – Looks like the crazy idiot’s new job was to imitate Jing Qiu Han! That embroidered pillow!
[TN: Embroidered pillow – an embroidered pillow may be beautiful on the outside but be filled with straw on the inside, basically the looks are deceiving]
Mi Le shrugged her shoulders, agreeing with Xi Ran – Tch, what a waste of talent! Look at how handsome our Ran Feng Ge is, why did he have to accept such a mission? Moreover, that Jing Qiu Han isn’t some pure, innocent little bird. Even in the shows he has been in, it is obvious what a scheming little creature he is! And there was that investigation before, how Jing Qiu Han and the leader of Chasing Hawk are connected; such a troublesome connection. If he were to be pulled into that mess, it’s going to be so annoying!
Chen Xi Ran nodded his head in agreement as he looked at Ran Feng Ge. He prodded Mi Le with his elbow slightly – Le Le, this crazy idiot will be fine, right?
Chewing on her bottom lip, Mi Le shook her head – I don’t know, let’s go over and take a look?
Chen Xi Ran also felt that Mi Le was right – Precisely! Why should we leave Ran Feng Ge in the hands of a stranger?
As the two of them made their way forward, they watched as Ran Feng Ge’s eyebrows scrunched up a little as he forced his eyes open.
Having breathed fresh air into his system, Ran Feng Ge felt a lot better. However, the voices around him were still muffled and there was a ringing in his ears. Forcing his eyes open, all he could see was darkness and it felt as though he had an enormous weight upon his chest. Ran Feng Ge kept himself calm, he slowly closing his eyes and allowed himself to breathe gently before he reopened his eyes again. This time, he was not met with darkness and instead, a blinding light invaded his sight before colors started to appear and take shape. Ran Feng Ge closed his eyes once more before opening them again, this time making out human shaped silhouettes.
The person who was cradling him in their arms was indeed the stoic-looking Su Yi Mo. However, instead of the usual coldness, a flicker of worry was embedded in his features – although it was very slight and difficult to detect, Ran Feng Ge was still able to see it all.
A tinge of regret was forming within Ran Feng Ge’s heart. He wondered what sort of troubles he had caused Su Yi Mo with his ‘go with the flow’ plan resulting with his capture by Lan Kuang. He was just about to say a word of thanks when shadows moving at his peripherals made him turn instinctively, only to see Chen Xi Ran and Mi Le looking towards him with worry and a tinge of fury.
Stunned, Ran Feng Ge immediately recalled hearing their voices when he was on the edge of consciousness. These two actually came to save him! It wasn’t just a hallucination!
The feeling of gratefulness towards Su Yi Mo vanished immediately and was replaced with anger.
Ran Feng Ge ignored his two best friends and turned towards Su Yi Mo angrily. “Who gave you the right to involve them?! I was the one who signed your bloody contract! They have nothing to do with you or your service!” Glaring at Su Yi Mo, Ran Feng Ge snarled, “You will really use any means available!”
As soon as these words were said, the other three people were stunned.
Chen Xi Ran and Mi Le looked at each other, both thinking the same thing – Oh shit. This lunatic has really gone insane.
To be honest, Ran Feng Ge as a person, barely has any flaws. If one had to really pick out a flaw, it would be that he was too loyal! Too damned protective.
In this instance, Su Yi Mo seemingly, without a care in the world, chose to involve his two best friends. If this did not anger Ran Feng Ge, then he was not the normal Ran Feng Ge at all.
With the sudden outburst, Su Yi Mo’s handsome and worried features shifted back to his normal icy demeanor.
What did he say? I came to rescue him out of my goodwill and he still dared to say I was unscrupulous in my methods?!
This was a rare occasion where this iceberg of a man was actually willing to do something for someone else and instead of being thanked, he was reprimanded. It was no surprise then, when Su Yi Mo exploded as well “Yes! I was unscrupulous! But if I was not, how do you think I would have found out where you were? Has it ever crossed your mind that if I had found you any later, you would have suffocated to death in that room?!”
“Then, why couldn’t you have just used your resources? Why did you have to involve my friends?!” Ran Feng Ge replied as he continued glaring at him.
“That’s because—as your friends, they would know the trackers on your body! Going through them was the fastest way; the quickest way!” Su Yi Mo said.
“… Whatever it was, you shouldn’t have pulled them in!” Ran Feng Ge replied angrily as he tried to struggle out of Su Yi Mo’s embrace, using his own hands to prop himself up.
This was the very first time Su Yi Mo was faced with such a stubborn Ran Feng Ge. He was being pushed to his limits and was getting very frustrated, in addition to having his support pushed aside by Ran Feng Ge. Another foreign emotion was building up in Su Yi Mo’s chest, making it seem as though he could not release the breath he had in his lungs.
Before he could stop himself, Su Yi Mo icily retorted, “Since you are so tough, and you don’t need the help of your friends, why did you even allow yourself to be trapped in a place like that for so long, to the extent of nearly suffocating?” making people worry for you?! However, this last bit of the sentence was not something Su Yi Mo would ever say out loud. As soon as he finished talking, Su Yi Mo turned away from Ran Feng Ge, forcing himself to calm down and not get any angrier.
Actually, since he was young ‘til now, Su Yi Mo had never lost his temper this way before. He had always been able to maintain his composure. However, this all changed once he got to know the man named Ran Feng Ge. With him around, his control was constantly being pushed to the limits.
The purpose of hiring a body double was to give himself peace of mind. Who knew that he would be even more busy instead?
“So… So, you are blaming me in-instead?” Ran Feng Ge panted, his features scrunched up in pain – having been locked up for such a long time, his body was already very weak. In addition to waves of dizziness and episodes of blurred vision, his face quickly lost color as soon as he heard Su Yi Mo’s accusations.
Proofreaders: Charlotte Grey, Lyrick
Tang Feng quickly realized Lu Tian Chen and Charles had worked together to trap him. In this case, he would not be able to last until the end of filming if he were to follow the other two’s rate of consumption.
Yes, he liked to make money and was equally happy to spend it, but that didn’t mean he liked being bankrupt or watching others squander away his hard-earned money. But this was Tang Feng’s idea at the start, he couldn’t just go back on his word like that.
However, he wasn’t someone who would just sit and wait to be shot to death. Since those two wanted to plot against him, then don’t blame him for not being polite.
Whoever pays is the boss. Tang Feng started communications with the hotel at the fastest speed. He not only cancelled the luxury suite, but also directly downgraded the room to a double room. The excess room fees could be used to offset the upgrading fees.
Additional services such as private spa massages, etc.? Cancelled!
Overly extravagant food delivery service? All cancelled!
After doing all this, Tang Feng went to work. As for how Charles and Lu Tian Chen would react when faced with what he did when they came back, that would have nothing to do with him.
Today, he and Gino were going to shoot a scene at a European ball. Strictly speaking, they were not exactly dancing a duet at the ball in the open, but rather, they were two runaway monks following the vaguely audible music in the garden, swaying in a dance that belonged only to them.
After that, there was a full-length, large-scale, fiery, and passionate scene. The whole scene was expected to take more than a week to finish.
In an old building in Los Angeles, the staff was busy preparing for the final scene. As early as a week ago, the production company had already invited a professional team to arrange the shooting location.
The film would take place in 19th-century Europe where the two monks came to the not so distant Britain. The British of this time had just experienced the baptism of the industrial revolution – although people still had religious beliefs, most of them trusted science more. This generation was full of confidence and hope for the future.
And this was exactly where Chris had traveled to over the past three years, and had decided that it was a good place to settle down.
The development of various techniques revolutionized the Victorian era, enriching the building architecture, and introducing new building materials. Most of the furniture here exhibited beautiful curves, protruding decorations, and complex carved frames.
The decorations inside the ballroom followed the gorgeous and intricate details of the Victorian era. The central ceiling had gypsum roses and the circular walls were covered with floral wallpaper. The lower edges of the wallpaper were covered with Greek cornices that hid the joint between the wall and the floor. To create a more satisfactory composition, the floor was inlaid with decorative colored tiles in various geometric patterns.
Tang Feng and Gino couldn’t help but marvel at the director’s attention to details when they arrived at the site. As they stepped into the ballroom, it really seemed as though they had returned to the 19th-century Britain.
These near-perfect decorations not only added color to the film, but also allowed the actors to shift into their characters faster.
Chris and Tang ran all the way to Britain where they discarded their black monk robes. Chris took Tang to a tailor’s shop to get his body measurements and ordered a set of clothes for him. In the last few years, he had managed to set aside some savings, so he should spend the money on Tang who was worth spending on.
At this moment, Tang Feng and Gino were in the dressing room putting on the costumes and makeup. The Victorian era clothes caused Gino, who normally comes off as a playboy, to turn into a proud aristocrat in the blink of an eye. After this rascal wore the costume properly, he even paraded a few rounds in front of Tang Feng, as if to say, ‘Look at how handsome I am!’.
But Gino meekly shut his mouth after Tang Feng was dressed accordingly.
“I think you’re the most handsome Oriental man in formal Victorian attire.” Gino didn’t hold back his words of admiration for the other man.
If Gino looked like a 19th century aristocrat who walked out of an oil painting, then Tang Feng was the classic Chinese beauty. After wearing the Western formal clothing, not only did the image not feel inappropriate, but there was more of a mysterious suppression of oneself, which was precisely the feeling that Director Li Wei wanted to bring to the audience.
The first time Tang Feng met Director Li Wei, he had already danced the tango with Lu Tian Chen, and he had further improved during the True Star training sessions. Now, he had no issues dancing the tango or any other society dances, but he encountered a problem not long after the start of the filming session.
The tango between Tang Feng and Gino didn’t manage to express the feelings that Director Li Wei wanted. This was another instance of the actors’ performance failing to rise to the occasion, adding to the time when the Director had continuously called ‘cut’ when it came to the couple’s intimate scenes.
There was a common situation appearing in movies where the two leads were obviously reputed, with the handsome male and the beautifully glamorous female, but every time they interact, it would only cause people to feel uninterested. This was the so-called no connection, no chemistry, which was the problem Tang Feng and Gino were facing.
This was not a small matter that can be simply resolved by the two practicing their dance.
As such, the Director prepared to modify the lines to deepen the communication and interactions between the two leads in the movie, as well as to increase the chemistry between the two, thereby resonating with the audience.
It can be said that until now, Tang Feng basically relied on his facial and eye expressions, and the voice-over narration to express his character’s emotions, but in the latter half of the movie, he would need to use lines to deepen his character’s image. An actor’s excellent line foundation can engage the audience even more. Conversely, if an actor’s lines were too disastrous, it could cause the audience to leave in a blink of an eye.
Actually, Gino’s line foundations weren’t bad, but now that they were suddenly pitted against Tang Feng’s line foundations, they suddenly weakened.
When both people were concurrently acting under the director’s guidance, Director Li Wei discovered why there used to be, what could still be considered, a harmonious air, yet they suddenly couldn’t match properly now. Basically, the reason is that in the past, Tang Feng essentially had no lines other than the short one or two words, but now, Tang Feng had to exchange lengthy conversations with Gino. When compared under the same lens, as Tang Feng starts speaking, the whole atmosphere of friendship becomes richer, but once Gino follows up with the reply, the rich atmosphere of the movie becomes rather bland immediately.
Due to Tang Feng’s performance during the final act of True Star’s training class being kept a secret, Director Li Wei only knew that Tang Feng’s English was very good. He completely didn’t expect this man’s grasp of language and line foundations to reach the level of integrating with the movie. This kind of deep foundation, which had always taken an actor 5 to even 10 years of specializing in movies to hone their craft, had actually shown up in a first-year newbie actor, completely out of Director Li Wei’s expectations.
“Director, is it still a no-go? It’s so strange. Tang Feng and I have always been compatible before, why did the chemistry suddenly disappear? What if we try kissing to increase the chemistry?” Gino still didn’t know the Director’s thoughts and didn’t know where the problem was, so he continued to crack jokes like before in order to ease the tense atmosphere.
On the other hand, Tang Feng has already discovered what Director Li Wei just realized. In the end, he is an experienced veteran actor. Although Gino’s line foundations weren’t considered bad among his peers, Gino normally only acted in commercialized, mainstream movies. Mainstream movie directors usually don’t have very strict requirements, the film also doesn’t require the actor to be able to express deep emotions one moment and sorrow the next.
Some characters’ feelings were expressed through their lines, and what Gino lacked was the character’s emotions.
Currently, the set and supporting actors were already in place. Director Li Wei decided first to let the Executive Director and Deputy Director film the scene with the supporting actors, while he called Tang Feng and Gino into the waiting room in private, to tell Gino the truth without any of the others present.
“My line foundation isn’t good enough?” Gino was very surprised by this sudden problem. What he was surprised with wasn’t this, but that Tang Feng – an Asian whose first language wasn’t English – had stronger line foundations than him.
“Tang Feng, you go out first. I need to talk with Gino.” The Director sent Tang Feng out of the room, then turned around and closed the door.
Tang Feng waited outside the door for about half an hour before Gino came out. He was a little worried about this big star, but Gino didn’t look as though anything was wrong. He waved when he saw Tang Feng, and then he ran over.
“I already discussed with the Director. My lines won’t be recorded on scene but will be recorded on a later date.” Gino smiled while explaining, as though he had easily accepted Director Li Wei’s proposal.
“A sound decision.”
Gino squinted at Tang Feng, smiling with hidden intentions, “I didn’t expect your line foundations to be so good. I even got suppressed by you. No wonder. I, Gino, surely have a great eye for people. Other than agreeing with the request of the director, I also asked his opinion.”
“Opinion on what?”
“So long as I have time, I will go find you and let you, the line expert, give me some instruction. As compensation, I’ll treat you to a meal or something occasionally. Or, if you want my body as payment, it’s fine as well.” This Gino said with a non-serious appearance.
But this actually gave Tang Feng peace of mind. He was afraid the big star’s self-esteem would be hurt and hence, ruin their friendship, but now it looked like Gino did indeed have what is needed to be a big star – a positive mentality and a heart geared for continuous learning.
Sure enough, Director Li Wei soon called for Tang Feng to go over, saying a bunch of flowery words that just meant that he wanted Tang Feng to help his partner practice more, and that Gino was not a bad person. Li Wei hoped that Tang Feng could cultivate a good relationship with Gino through this movie, becoming the first step on his road to Hollywood.
Good people were oftentimes right.
Not caring about the fact that they would have to spend more time together, but based solely on the fact that Gino was his movie partner, Tang Feng agreed to Li Wei’s request.
It was just that, on that day, after arranging with Gino to meet at the hotel in the morning, Tang Feng suddenly remembered that he was currently staying in a standard room, and there were two other people staying in it.
By the time he called Gino again, the other had already turned off his phone.
Proofreaders: Charlotte Grey, Lyrick
Movie: Satan’s Alley
Scene One: outdoor shoot, evening, beach outside the church, field clear
He didn’t expect Chris to be gone for three years once he left. Three years, not three days nor three months, but he left for a whole three years.
This morning, the monk was copying scriptures as per usual. It had already been four years since he came to this church by the beach. Similarly, it has already been four years since he last spoke.
He sat in the dim light with his head bent, quietly copying scriptures in the small room. Suddenly, there was a commotion outside the house.
“Chris! Chris came back!”
The pen fell from the monk’s grasp. He almost immediately left his chair and rushed out with the others. Standing within the crowd, he saw the golden-haired youth he had not seen for three years.
Chris had a face full of wild hair, his whole body full of tiredness and dust, showing that he rushed back.
They said Chris returned from studying in a distant place. They also said Chris would go to a church in the big city to work in the future and Chris would become a prestigious person in the future.
The monk was squeezed outside of the crowd, unable to touch Chris. He could not do anything but stand to the side and watch. At this time, the Chris who was surrounded by people glanced towards him. Their gazes meeting in the air felt like fire burning away the distance of the last three years. Everything seemed to return to that last moment at the beach; all the intimate touches, the kisses, and caresses became clear in an instant.
That night, after the monk blew out the candles in the church, he went to the beach alone. He walked very far, yet he could still see that conspicuous golden colour in the distance that shone even in the dark of the night. “I went to France, England, and faraway China.” The first sentence Chris said to the monk, he listed the places he went to these past three years.
Upon hearing the last location, the monk’s eyes widened.
“Are you asking why I went to China?” Chris stepped forward, his face had been shaven clean without a single sign of stubble. Three years have passed, and time only left the marks of maturity in this young man now.
“I went looking for your hometown, searching for any stories related to you. I followed the road you took that year, travelling from the east and walked it from the start. This way, our life paths would have intersected.”
The night ocean breeze always brought the cold sting of the deep ocean. The monk stared at the young man in front of him, his mind endlessly repeating every single word the other said. Every time he understood a word, his body warmed by a degree.
“I know your story.” Chris brought his arms around the monk, hugging him tightly, unwilling to let go.
The monk faced the slightly salty sea breeze, his thoughts travelling across the ocean back to four years ago. That time, the Old Priest was bedridden with illness so he went out to pray for him. When he was travelling, his pouch was stolen by a thief. He gave chase while shouting for help, but the passers-by only blankly stared at him, and gave the thief an escape route.
Only one young man helped him to apprehend the thief. That man was Li Feng, the young master of the city’s biggest family. That was how Tang met Li Feng.
Li Feng frequently came over to help him look after the Old Priest. As time went on, they gradually developed a more intimate relationship. But paper cannot hold fire (the truth cannot be hidden for long). During one of the times they stayed together, someone saw everything through the window.
Very quickly, the Li Family’s people dragged Li Feng away. He still remembered that young man shouting as he struggled against them, “Everything is my fault, it had nothing to do with Tang! I forced him!” Li Feng attempted to pin all the blame on himself.
How could that man say things like that?
I was willing; no one forced me. I love him, I love the man named Li Feng.
In that backwater place, they were supposed to be punished. Luckily, the Li Family had status and power, so no one dared to touch Li Feng, and the terminally ill Old Priest had requested for Tang to send his ashes back to his hometown.
Afterwards, the monk never saw Li Feng again. They told him Li Feng had settled down, married a woman, and became the proper heir of a distinguished family.
And so, Tang took the Old Priest’s remains and left that oppressive and backward society.
This was his secret; an untold secret that had been deeply hidden in his heart for four years.
“Tang, are you still unwilling to speak? Do you not want to know … Li Feng’s current situation?” The words Chris said were enticing.
After four years, the monk once again opened his mouth to speak. “Is…he alright?” The voice was hoarse due to years of not using it, but Chris had no problem understanding Tang’s words.
“You don’t hate him getting married to someone else?”
Tang shook his head vigorously. He doesn’t hate. In those circumstances, they were nothing more than two ants under the mercy of fate; powerless against everything. He will remember how well Li Feng treated him, remember how beautiful and fortunate the moments they had together were.
“I found him. He told me because his father was seriously ill at that time, he could only listen to his parents to settle down and produce an heir. He said, after he has a son, he will come out to find you. But I told him, you are currently happily together with me. Tang, do you hate me?” Chris asked.
“No.” The man shook his head vigorously again. Li Feng should stay at home, that was where he had his family and businesses.
Chris grabbed the monk’s hand, “Run away with me. Let’s leave this place!”
The ocean breeze blew softly, as though trying to blow them towards a faraway place.
Tang Feng didn’t tell Gino the things Harvey told him that day when he dropped by, as based on Gino’s personality, he would definitely kick up a huge argument with his family. Tang Feng knew Gino’s family. He was even acquainted with Gino’s older brother, that slightly inflexible and overly serious workaholic. Even though those two were brothers, their personalities were like night and day.
Additionally, Gino’s brother, Jack, cherished his younger brother deeply. This was a well-known fact.
So, there was a very high chance Jack instigated Harvey to come find him for a talk. It seems it was not a good thing to be so overprotective of his younger brother.
With regards to other people’s family affairs, Tang Feng has no say in them.
The film shooting was already more than halfway done. The rest of the scenes were basically following the life of Gino and Tang Feng together. The production company has also arranged to start scheduling media appearances to build up momentum for the movie.
The two main actors both agreed to do an interview with a TV station. Tang Feng was long accustomed to similar kinds of interviews and could always find suitable answers for the interviewer’s questions.
As an actor, other than acting well in films, one must also put in effort to promote the movie propaganda. During the interview, Tang Feng and Gino would occasionally say a few complimentary words to the other; most of them are honest words with few perfunctory words, and those straightforward words would occasionally reveal ambiguity, leading people to form their own fantasies.
The movie’s theme is related to homosexuality, which means this topic would be used to hype up promotions for the movie.
Tang Feng has long heard that it is popular to sell rot in the entertainment world nowadays.
Previously, most of the TV series starred a man and a woman. Now, it has become popular to star two male leads engaging in vague and ambiguous situations to abuse the audience, earning high ratings for the show and making both sides happy.
Starting from next week, the filming site will shift to Los Angeles. Tang Feng will have to follow the move. This time, because they will not stay in Los Angeles for long, they chose to stay in a hotel. The hotel’s accommodation fee is covered by the film producers. Extra service expenses incurred would have to be paid by the actors themselves.
The previous apartment in North Carolina was paid for by Charles, while the daily expenses were paid by Lu Tian Chen. Tang Feng didn’t want to keep using the money of these two people. This time, for the hotel’s miscellaneous fees, he said he wanted to pay for it himself.
“You are my employee. Your expenses during working hours should be reimbursed by the company.” Lu Tian Chen rested his legs on the hotel room sofa. The company is his. He is willing to cover Tang Feng’s expenses.
“I say baby, you see you have to work so hard to make a movie. Not only were you kissed but also pushed down, only to earn a measly 500,000 US dollars. And you still must give 20 percent to Lu Tian Chen, the director of your evil agency. As a result, your take home salary is only 100,000 USD. Dear, you just need to kiss me, I will give you this hotel right away!” Charles arrogantly boasted. He could throw away thousands to win over his beloved.
Tang Feng squinted at Charles, “That’s great! So, if I kiss you a few more times, you’ll give me a few hotels?”
“It looks like you’ve been spoilt rotten.” Charles would only go bankrupt. At that time, it would become the wealthy Tang Feng pushing down the poor Charles.
Tang Feng looked at Lu Tian Chen again: “I don’t think the contract I signed stated that all my expenses must be paid by the company, such as the hotel massage, gym, and room service.”
He doesn’t have much money right now, but he doesn’t need to save everything.
Charles and Lu Tian Chen couldn’t change his mind, so they went along with his opinion. Just that, not even two days later, Tang Feng realized a terrible thing. They would be in Los Angeles until they finished shooting the movie. There was still one month remaining, which means the three of them must stay at the hotel for a month.
In the first three days, even excluding the room fees paid by the film company, the hotel bills already accumulated up to the point where Tang Feng was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Charles requested for a suite, on the grounds that he didn’t like to crowd in the elevator with others, but waiting for the luxury suite with a private elevator meant that the extra room rate had to be paid by themselves.
Lu Tian Chen agreed, so they now have a suite with three bedrooms, equipped with bulletproof glass, their own private elevator, private spas, and beautiful private garden balconies.
Adding in other expenses, in not even a week, Tang Feng will be forced to go bankrupt and become a debtor.
Proofreaders: Charlotte Grey, Lyrick
Su Yi Mo’s hearing did not fail him. There was indeed a fight on the second floor.
As for the guilty parties. . . who could it be other than Chen Xi Ran and Mi Le?
In the past, the three of them – Chen Xi Ran, Mi Le, and Ran Feng Ge – were used to always getting their way. The moment they got wind of Ran Feng Ge’s situation, there were no second thoughts or plan of action—heck to anything and everything, and just rushed head in.
As the saying goes, people of talent are bold and daring. The two of them were able to fight well, think on their feet, and in addition to the bulletproof outfits that were personally developed by Chen Xi Ran, these two fought as if they had nothing to fear.
Due to their sudden appearance, and the fact that the first floor offered no resistance, Chen Xi Ran and Mi Le were able to quickly make their way up to the second floor.
However, the second floor was a little more difficult to handle.
Everyone on this level were skilled in fighting; it did not actually matter if they were professionals, because every one of them were able to put up a decent fight.
The two intruders charged in as though they were heroes in a book, fighting side by side without a single lapse. One was dressed in a tight black jumpsuit, enhancing the curves so obviously that any men that looked at her would suffer a nosebleed immediately. The other had on a silver leather jacket which looked like a piece of armor. It made the man look as though he had hopped right out of a novel: a suave and princely gentleman – who just loved showing off whenever he had a chance.
As it was, the two newcomers struck everyone on the second floor with a sense of utter arrogance that made them all want a hand in beating them off their high horses.
When enemies meet, their eyes will be filled with hatred, or so the saying goes.
Both sides were silent for a moment before all hell broke loose.
As the gymnasium was situated within Lan Kuang’s territory, 80% of the people on the second floor were naturally made up of his men.
Chen Xi Ran and Mi Le were unfazed by the sudden onslaught of assailants. It had been a while since they had a proper work out and fighting it out like this just made them excited. It didn’t help that they were competing on the number of people they defeated and the time it took to bring an enemy down.
Very quickly, the people who came here to genuinely train were also pulled into the mess.
The commotion on the second floor naturally attracted the attention of the people on the third floor.
The man in charge of the third floor asked his lieutenant “What is going on down there?”
“I am not too sure! A man and woman decked out in bodysuits and leather jackets appeared out of nowhere and started attacking our men. Fuck! And they are good. Our men won’t be able to hold on any longer if we do not send reinforcements!”
“A couple? In bodysuits and leather jackets? The fuck, you think this is some movie?! You guys can’t even handle two people?”
Su Yi Mo’s hearing was quite good and as soon as he heard the words ‘man and woman’ he realized who they had to be talking about.
With a smirk forming on his lips, he knew in his heart that the two people downstairs had to be Chen Xi Ran and the lady he had heard over the phone. They were quite fast, and to think that they would immediately start fighting the moment they came – isn’t that a little too direct?
But when all was said and done, it was precisely because of their extravagant entrance that all the attention was now focused on them. This made his search for Ran Feng Ge a lot easier.
With this thought in mind, Su Yi Mo pretended to be attracted by the commotion on the second floor and made his way to the staircase. Before anyone could set their sights on him, he disappeared into a room situated right next to the stairs.
A portion of the men situated on the third floor loudly made their way past the room and down the flight of stairs. Soon, the third floor was silent.
Su Yi Mo scanned the room he had entered and his gaze fell upon the billiard balls.
He grabbed two balls and placed them in each of his palms before he turned and exited the room.
With an icy glare, Su Yi Mo stared at the remaining men and asked “Where is he?”
“Who. . .ah!” The man groaned loudly before collapsing on to the floor after the ball that was held in Su Yi Mo’s hand was thrown directly to his face.
Su Yi Mo picked up another ball and twirled it in the palm of his hand along with the other ball from before, his eyes glued onto another of the remaining men. “Where is he?”
“Cannot be disclo- ah!” and with a swift hit of the ball another fell unconscious.
It was a wonder because all these men were able to see the trajectory of the billiard balls and yet they were unable to move or dodge!
Su Yi Mo was getting annoyed and his gaze became dangerous as he spoke, “I will not repeat myself a third time.”
The men who remained refused to give in. One of them picked up a cue stick and with a roar of confidence, ran towards Su Yi Mo with the intention of making him pay.
Su Yi Mo did not even register the noise. He adjusted his clothes slightly and positioned himself in a battle stance.
Su Yi Mo figured that this Taekwondo uniform shouldn’t be allowed to go to waste and it had been a long time since he had to fight his battles on his own. The people before him would be the perfect target practice.
When the men on the third floor were settled, Su Yi Mo started to search each of the rooms one by one, but no matter how hard he searched, there was nothing that could be found.
Thinking back, Su Yi Mo decided that the fastest way would be to go down to the second floor to have a chat with Ran Feng Ge’s “friends”. Perhaps they had given him the wrong information because there was no sign of Ran Feng Ge here at all!
As he turned around to make his way to the stairs, Su Yi Mo accidentally knocked into one of the cue sticks lying atop one of the tables causing a couple of billiard balls to roll off the table onto the floor. The hollow sound they made hitting the ground caused Su Yi Mo to stop. His eyes traveled to the floor as a single thought floated into his head: Don’t tell me there’s something underneath?
Su Yi Mo knelt down and pulled the rug that had been covering the floor away to reveal a trap door with a recessed handle. It was perfectly flat to the floor; it was no wonder Su Yi Mo had been unable to detect it.
With a pull of his hand, a hidden stairwell appeared underneath. Without any hesitation, Su Yi Mo descended into the depths, taking two steps at a time.
Below, there was limited lighting but Su Yi Mo was able to identify the place as an underground casino.
Humph! No wonder… no wonder Lan Kuang decided to hold Ran Feng Ge here.
Who knew that Lan Kuang had a place like this?
Su Yi Mo was able to perceive that the casino was still incomplete, so no one was gambling yet, but there were several guards.
Su Yi Mo stretched the muscles in his shoulders a little, looks like he had to work out again.
It was a good thing that the men here had little to no skills. Su Yi Mo was able to defeat them in a matter of minutes. He made his way to the very end of the casino and with just a kick, Su Yi Mo managed to take down the non-descript door.
Lan Kuang would only have himself to blame for the ease with which Su Yi Mo got through the guards. He never expected Su Yi Mo to be able to discover the exact location of ‘Jing Qiu Han’ and because he only saw ‘Jing Qiu Han’ as an obedient little dog that could be punished with a look there weren’t many guards and those assigned were weak.
Lan Kuang definitely never expected Su Yi Mo to rush in on his own to rescue his man! And not knowing who ‘Jing Qiu Han’ really was he could never have taken into account how well-connected Ran Feng Ge truly was.
If Chen Xi Ran and Mi Le were not around, Su Yi Mo would never have found Ran Feng Ge so quickly. And if Ran Feng Ge had not been found now then it would have been too late.
As soon as the door was kicked open, Su Yi Mo felt the blood in him freeze.
The air in the room was thin, and other than the door he had just knocked down, all the walls had been sealed shut without a single beam of light. This was obviously a room of torture.
With the aid of light that streamed through the newly-created opening, Su Yi Mo was able to spot the unmoving figure against the opposite wall.
Su Yi Mo was hit with the foreign emotion of his heart tightening and his breath taken from him because he was unsure if the person opposite him was still alive. He took large strides, hastily making his way across the room to reach the semi-conscious Ran Feng Ge. Su Yi Mo quickly pulled Ran Feng Ge into his arms and only felt his breath return when he noticed the shallow ones coming from Ran Feng Ge.
Gingerly, he positioned Ran Feng Ge into his arms and carried the unconscious man out of the secret room, making his way as quickly as he could up the hidden stairs. Ran Feng Ge stirred slightly in his arms, his eyes fluttering as he tried to open them. However, his pupils were fully dilated and unfocused; Ran Feng Ge was only conscious due to his unbending willpower.
Su Yi Mo could not name the feeling that was welling up inside him. He could only identify a sense of heartache and some guilt. He slowed his steps as he made his way up the hidden stairs to the third floor, his voice gentle as he said “It’s okay now, don’t you worry. Just rest…”
Proofreaders: Charlotte Grey, Lyrick
Su Yi Mo’s car was akin to a plane on land as he kept stepping on the accelerator.
In his defense, he had considered whether or not he should have informed Ran Feng Ge’s friends about his current situation. He knew that once they found out, they would undoubtedly be worried, and they might even drop everything to come to his rescue. However, Su Yi Mo was confident that he would be able to rescue Ran Feng Ge before anyone else.
As someone who was used to being on top and delegating out orders, it had never occurred to Su Yi Mo that he should have explained to the others that he was going to give his all to rescue Ran Feng Ge. Therefore, he did not know that his guess of them dropping everything to save Ran Feng Ge would be so accurate – Chen Xi Ran and Mi Le were now also rushing towards the southwestern gymnasium.
As expected, Su Yi Mo was the first to reach the gymnasium as he parked his car on the side of Lin Ying Road. However, Su Yi Mo did not get out immediately, instead, he sat quietly in his car, scanning the surroundings and formulating a plan. It was a good thing that today was a weekday, and the gymnasium was relatively empty. It would be easy to get rid of the men Lan Kuang had situated in there.
Su Yi Mo took off his blazer and threw it onto the backseat, his other hand reaching to pull off his necktie. He removed the cuff links from his sleeves and pulled out a pair of shades from the glove box to put on. After which, Su Yi Mo threw a piece of gum into his mouth, chewing on it a little haphazardly to let himself seem as though he were a college student who decided to skip all his classes today. Getting out of his car, Su Yi Mo quickly allowed himself to blend in with the crowd.
With every step he took, Su Yi Mo scanned his surroundings from behind the protection of the tinted sunglasses. He had to figure out a way to get to the third floor, the billiards room, unnoticed.
Just outside the gymnasium, the ping-pong arena was directly opposite him. There were sixteen tables scattered across the entire floor to allow adequate room between each table. On the left side, was the soccer field covered with fake grass and there were three people slowly jogging on the circumference of the field. Two goal posts were situated at either ends of the field with white lines painted onto the fake grass denoting the different areas. At one end of the field there were at least seven or eight people chasing after the soccer ball. On the right side was a badminton court, with its polished floors and pristine looking nets, empty of people at the moment.
Su Yi Mo glanced towards the ping-pong arena, the ceiling was high and there wasn’t an area big enough to hold a person captive nor was there any way to get to the third floor. Therefore, there must be a contraption hidden somewhere else.
Su Yi Mo quickly got into step behind a group wearing Taekwondo uniforms in an attempt to blend in.
Within the group was a petite-sized girl who was carrying many Taekwondo uniforms in her arms. Because of the sheer number of uniforms she was carrying, it looked as though she was going to drown in them.
Seeing this, Su Yi Mo ‘accidentally’ bumped into her, causing at least half of the uniforms to tumble out from her grasp.
“Ah!” The girl gave a little yelp of surprise, before turning her head to look at Su Yi Mo. At that instant, she finally knew what it meant to have her jaw drop in surprise. Seeing the look on her face, Su Yi Mo could almost hear her screaming TOO HANDSOME! in her head.
Giving her a gentle smile, Su Yi Mo said, “I am so sorry,” as he bent down to gather up the fallen uniforms into his arms. “Let me help you. Are you heading to the dojo? So am I.”
“Yes! Yes! Thank you so much!” The girl nodded her head thinking to herself, I am so lucky to have such a good-looking guy help me out!
Because of this, Su Yi Mo managed to disguise himself as one of them even though he was not dressed like one. Anyone who looked at him would think that he was just going to the dojo to change into his uniform. The dojo had its own changing room and so it was not too strange if people decided to change there instead.
Once inside, the indoor basketball court spanned across the entirety of the first floor. There were eight different courts.
At the moment, there were only two courts that were being used. The sounds of dribbling and the squeaking of the shoes on the polished wooden floor echoed loudly in the enclosed gymnasium. As Su Yi Mo and the Taekwondo group entered, a couple of the people playing basketball turned and eyed them for a bit before returning their focus to their own game.
Su Yi Mo memorized their faces and numbers before following the Taekwondo group up to the second floor.
On the second floor, there were more people around, almost every dojo was in the midst of training.
To avoid attention, Su Yi Mo proceeded straight into a changing room to change into one of the uniforms. When he was sure no one was paying him any attention, Su Yi Mo quickly made his way to the staircase leading up, taking big strides up the steps towards the third floor.
Up the third floor was indeed the billiards room. In small groups of twos and threes, people were huddled around the various tables playing pool.
Due to his attire and sudden appearance, everyone’s attention was automatically drawn towards Su Yi Mo. However, because he was dressed in a martial artists’ uniform, no one thought too much about it and just said, “Student, the martial arts dojos are all on the second floor. You shouldn’t be up here.”
Without saying anything, Su Yi Mo glanced across the entire third floor, taking in the layout and design of the whole place. Unlike the first floor where there was a large area arranged for both the basketball and badminton courts, the third floor was segregated into smaller private rooms in addition to the common area.
Cutting across the common area towards the deeper rooms, Su Yi Mo could not find any irregularities in the layout where they could have possibly kept a captive person.
If not here, then…where is Ran Feng Ge being held at?
“Oi! Kid! The Taekwondo dojo is on the second floor!” The two people who had been smoking nearby quickly stood up to stop Su Yi Mo from advancing any further. “Do you not understand my words?! The dojo is downstairs!”
“I am looking for someone,” Su Yi Mo replied.
“Looking for someone? Who?”
“A friend of mine. He said he was going to be in the billiards room, and he called me to come up and have a game with him. I did not have time to change out of my uniform.” Su Yi Mo explained effortlessly with the lie he had thought up on the spot. It was so infallible that no one would have been able to tell that he just made it up.
“Your friend isn’t here. Go somewhere else to look for him!” The two men shared a look between themselves, quickly trying to get rid of Su Yi Mo.
Seeing this, Su Yi Mo knew immediately that if they were so adamant to stop him from looking around, it meant that this was where he was supposed to be.
Just as he was about to strike at the two men before him, a large commotion pulled all their attention towards the direction of the stairs.
Slowly releasing the tension in his fists, Su Yi Mo listened carefully to the noise, wondering if there was an ongoing fight on the second floor.
Proofreaders: Charlotte Grey, Lyrick