Chapter 35: Accepting a Challenge in Public
By this time, everyone could tell that Feng Nuo was making fun of Li Yundong. Even though they did not know what had happened between the two of them, but they had to admit, the farce just now was very comedic and delightful. It made everyone laugh until they were low on air.
Some of the teachers who disapproved of Li Yundong’s behaviour also could not help but wipe away their tears even as they laughed and said, “Alright. Alright. Whatever you guys were going to perform, perform it normally, don’t mess around. Messing around like this will not be tolerated at the exchange meeting.”
Feng Nuo also knew to quit while she was ahead. She turned to the teachers and let out a silly laugh, “I was just joking with my junior!”
Li Yundong did not know whether to laugh or cry. “You call this joking?’
Feng Nuo pulled a mischievous face at him. “Whose fault is it that you offended me?”
Li Yundong felt helpless. He could only put his palms together and say, “Benefactor, this one has eyes, but could not see. The great you should just forgive the lowly me!”
Feng Nuo also returned his greeting in a dead earnest tone, “May the lord Buddha preserve us! Buddha once said, ‘the sea of bitterness has no bounds, turn your head to see the shore.’ That you have decided to turn your head, we must really thank Heaven and Earth. All the gods and Buddhas above are likely shedding tears of emotion!”
The two of them exchanged words before looking each other in the eye. Then they both broke down laughing.
Even though Li Yundong had made a fool of himself and lowered his head onstage due to this farce, a lot of the girls in the auditorium gazed upon Li Yundong with even brighter eyes.
Who does not like a handsome man with a sunny disposition, who also happened to be funny?
Some girls secretly whispered to each other.
“Sigh. If only I had such an amusing boyfriend!”
“Dream on. Didn’t you say you didn’t like game addicts?”
“For a game addict as amusing as this, then I would still consider it!”
“Tch. You’re a bitch who likes to judge people by their appearance. You’re just saying that because he’s pretty handsome!”
“Sigh. Handsomeness suits my desire true, yet charm also suits my desire too!”
“Ptooey! Did you not look at the beauty that is with the guy? Look at her! Aren’t you worried about feeling inferior?”
How could Li Yundong know that these girls were privately discussing him? He looked at Feng Nuo and said, “Hey, let’s be serious here. Is there anything else that you need me to perform? If there is nothing else, I’ll be leaving first!”
Feng Nuo saw that Li Yundong was turning around and preparing to leave. She hurriedly grabbed onto him and said, “Hey, hey! You still need to perform chopping roof tiles and kicking wood planks!”
Li Yundong let out a sigh. “If it’s good fortune then you don’t need to run. If it’s misfortune then you can’t get away anyways! What else do you need? Hurry up and tell me in one go. I won’t reject it, alright?”
Feng Nuo smiled and said, “There’s no more. It’s just this. Did you think you needed to challenge the Shaolin 18 brassmen gauntlet?”*1
Li Yundong laughed it off, “18 brassmen? You really know how to joke. Don’t tell me you’ll go to the Shaolin temple and invite someone over? Even if you want to, can you really get them to come?”
Feng Nuo smiled faintly and said, “Oh? You’re serious then? You really want to challenge the 18 brassmen?”
Li Yundong saw the foreboding look in her eyes. He thought, ‘If these crazy girls actually managed to invite 18 bronzemen like the ones in the movie ‘God of Cookery’, and they indiscriminately smashed him with folding chairs and mops, he wouldn’t be able to take it either!’*2
Li Yundong hurriedly said, “Okay. Okay. You win, alright? I’m afraid of you already!”
Feng Nuo was immensely proud of herself, “It’s good that you’re aware.”
Soon after, Cheng Cheng led a bunch of people carrying tiles from the backstage. They piled up the tiles one piece at time on the stage.
Everyone could clearly hear the sound of tiles colliding against each other. They secretly whispered to each other, “These tiles seem real. Will this be fine?”
Li Yundong had never chopped through roof tiles before. He was somewhat apprehensive on the inside as well. He subconsciously walked to the edge of the stage. Kneeling down, he asked Su Chan who was by the stage, “Sigh. Will I be fine?”
Su Chan waved her hand unconcerned, “No problem. This is just a trifle!”
In truth, Li Yundong was just asking casually, but when he heard Su Chan’s response, his heart was filled to the brim, as if he had grown a bit stronger.
He stood up and took a deep breath. His body also seemed to grow a bit bigger. He walked to the front of the stack of roof piles and practiced a couple swings of his fist.
On the side, Feng Nuo knew this matter was no joke. She appeared nervous and could not resist asking, “Sigh. Will you be fine? If you can’t do it, I can find someone else. It’s not a problem. Don’t overdo it and hurt yourself.”
Li Yundong turned around and smiled at her. “It’s fine. No worries!”
Li Yundong thought, ‘When I suffered qi deviation, I even shattered the incredibly tough marble sink. There’s no reason for me to fail in breaking a couple roof tiles, right?’
Feng Nuo was still a bit worried. She spoke up once more, “Remember, when punching, you have to keep your fist straight. You need to be resolute and unfaltering!”
Li Yundong did not speak again. He gathered his concentration and just as he was about to smash his fist down, a voice interrupted from the side, “What kind of skill does breaking roof tiles demonstrate? Something like that won’t excite the audience. Why don’t you spar with me instead?”
Li Yundong turned his head, only to see two people standing there—Zhou Yu, the guy who was trying to pick a fight with him at the school gate, and another young man of medium build, dressed in a navy blue short sleeved Tang suit and a pair of tough soled cloth shoes.*3
Feng Nuo knit her brows, “Zhou Yu, what are you doing?”
Zhou Yu gave her a glance and waved his hand, “Nuo Nuo, this is none of your business. Get out of the way.”
Li Yundong noticed both of newcomers had their eyes on him. Clearly, he was their target. He frowned to himself and got out of his stance. With a grave expression, he asked, “What do you guys want?”
Zhou Yu pointed to the young man by his side and said, “This is my senior brother, the fifth generation heir of the Guangdong Lin family Iron Wire Fist, Lin Fei!”
Lin Fei was not particularly tall. He was only around 170 cm. His skin was dark and he possessed the characteristic appearance of Cantonese people. However, his arms were very thick, especially his forearms, which were not covered by the fabric of his sleeves. The muscles of his arms were like a bunch of steel bars, intimidating to look at.
From the moment this young man saw Li Yundong, his gaze unwaveringly locked on without blinking even once, like a wild beast that had locked onto its prey.
Lin Fei’s gaze was almost like a physical force. In response to that stare, Li Yundong’s hairs almost stood on end. Subconsciously, all of Li Yundong’s pores opened and Gold Pill internal qi started to rapidly circulate, automatically protecting his body.
Once his qi started to circulate, Li Yundong’s entire ambiance instantly changed!
A while ago, everyone in the auditorium on and off the stage felt that Li Yundong’s body radiated a mighty aura, but this aura only felt masculine and cheerful, not at all overbearing.
However, the current Li Yundong who stood before them had his brows tightly knit. When his electric gaze met with that of Lin Fei, the air around him seemed to ignite, blazing with unseen pressure.
This was the purest primordial yang qi in this world!
In the audience, Su Chan could not help but praise Li Yundong in her heart. ‘Perhaps Li Yundong has exceptionally good fortune on the path of cultivation, his luck was astonishing. His personality was soft on the outside and firm on the inside. When dealing with others, he was mild like flowing water, but he has his own conviction defining Heaven and Earth. If he meets a powerful enemy, he would neither be discouraged nor show cowardice, instead he would step forth and face his enemy!
With this kind of personality, in addition to his pure primordial yang qi, his path of cultivation would naturally be half the work for twice the effect, successful in every endeavor.
Feng Nuo could keenly detect the scent of conflict in the air. She sneered and said, “Zhou Yu, you’re really capable, aren’t you? How come I never noticed before? After you found you couldn’t defeat Li Yundong, you actually invited your senior brother to help out!”
Zhou Yu sneered, “Me? Can’t beat him?”
Having seen Li Yundong achieve victory against many opponents by himself at the school gate, Zhou Yu had been intimidated by Li Yundong’s imposing presence back then, so he did not dare to start a fight. Afterward, he found himself feeling more sullen whenever he thought about it. He ended up telling his senior brother about this matter, and his senior brother Lin Fei immediately pointed out, “You must defeat this person. Otherwise your mental state will break because of him and your martial arts will never be able to improve again!”
Zhou Yu was flabbergasted. Due to this, he came up with the idea of defeating Li Yundong in public. He also wanted to take this chance to ruthlessly humiliate Li Yundong. He and his senior brother Lin Fei secretly deliberated and exchanged pointers taking Li Yundong’s unnaturally big strength into account. Only because they managed to create a strategy for dealing with Li Yundong, did they decide to challenge Li Yundong at the dress rehearsal.
Zhou Yu pointed to Lin Fei and said, “I only invited my senior brother to act as the witness.”
The vice-chancellor, who had always been offstage, serving as a member of the judging panel for the rehearsal, suddenly interrupted angry and appalled, “What are you doing? Do you think the school is a martial arts dojo? If you want to fight, then fight elsewhere. This is a school!”
Zhou Yu turned around and spoke to the vice-chancellor frankly with assurance, “Chancellor Ke, since our exchange with the Bincifaneya University is for promoting our nation’s culture, and promoting Tiannan University’s culture, then why is the Taekwondo Society allowed to perform and not us?”
Chancellor Ke stomped his foot in anger. “Nonsense. Preposterous. Do you think the exchange meeting is for fun and games! The Taekwondo Society is an official club registered at the school. Are you an official club?”
On the side, Director Qian who had acted as a detached bystander suddenly had an idea. He leaned closer and said, “Chancellor Ke, our school really does have a Wushu Society.”
Chancellor Ke’s expression stiffened as if someone had slapped him in the face. He turned his head around with gazed upon Director Qian unkindly. “Oh? How come I don’t know?”
Even though Director Qian was only the disciplinary director, he was not afraid of the school’s deputy leader. He simply smiled and said, “That Wushu Society was established by the students and could be considered an unofficial club. A year ago, it was registered officially with the school, but due to bad management, it was later disbanded.”
Cancellor Ke turned his head back and said, “It is still not allowed. A friendly exchange between two universities should remain within the guidelines of a friendly exchange. Fighting back and forth is inappropriate. What if someone gets injured? Who will take responsibility?”
Zhou Yu hurriedly said, “Chancellor Ke, our actions can be considered meeting friends through martial arts. We can control our attacks. There definitely won’t be a problem! If there is a problem, I am willing to withdraw from the school of my own accord!”
What Zhou Yu originally wanted was to prove himself stronger than the recently popular Li Yundong in front of a crowd. That was why he had no intention of hurting or crippling Li Yundong. He simply wanted to win in an ostentatious manner.
Chancellor Ke completely enraged planned on refusing. On the side, Director Qian heard Zhou Yu’s words and his eyes lit up. A very devious plan appeared in his head. He spoke advocating Zhou Yu’s plan. “Chancellor Ke, what student Zhou Yu said does have some reason. Think about it. A sparring competition between Taekwondo and Wushu, if we announced that, it would sound much more interesting. Furthermore, they’re all grown up and practitioners of martial arts. I’m sure both of them will take care to hold back appropriately.”
Chancellor Ke fixed his gaze on Director Qian. “It sounds nice, but if there’s a problem. Will it be your responsibility or will it be my responsibility?”
Director Qian faintly smiled, and said like a wily old fox, “What are you worrying about? Isn’t deputy mayor Zhou coming on that day? He’s been put in charge of education. So long as he’s there, what would you need to take responsibility for? Even if the sky falls, aren’t there taller people to pick up the burden? Moreover, I don’t think there will be any problem. On the other hand, if the higher-ups appreciate our performance, you could also receive some benefit, no?”
Chancellor Ke thought of something. He looked toward Director Qian with a profound and meaningful gaze.
Then he turned around and looked back at Zhou Yu, “Can you give me your word?”
Zhou Yu was overjoyed when he saw that Chancellor Ke seemed close to agreeing. According to his plan, if the chancellor did not agree to his plan, he was prepared to exchange blows with Li Yundong here and now. However, if the chancellor agreed, then that was better. He wanted to make Li Yundong lose face in front of the entire school.
Zhou Yu smiled like a petty man who had just achieved his plan. “Of course I can give my word, Chancellor Ke!” He turned around and looked toward Li Yundong, “I believe my junior and I are simply meeting friends through martial arts. Isn’t that right, Li Yundong?”
Li Yundong’s gaze was solely fixed on Lin Fei, without even glancing at Zhou Yu who had been doing this and that, he calmly said, “Let your senior brother challenge me, you are not my opponent. Since we are meeting friends through martial arts in front of our foreign friends, we should at least have two evenly matched competitors to make the show interesting. If the spar is finished in two or three blow, wouldn’t we be making fools of ourselves in front of our foreign friends?”
These words were tantamount to a slap, which landed heavily on Zhou Yu’s face.
“Ha!” laughed Feng Nuo from the side, who had been really annoyed up until now.
*1 18 Brassmen of Shaolin – they are from Jin Yong’s novels. You challenge them for training.
*2 18 Brassmen of Shaolin – slightly different from the challenge, they are 18 brass looking monks in the movie God of Cookery, which is a cringy corny HK film with the silliest plot and special effects https://youtu.be/l8_Mk3-sZsQ?t=4473
*3 Tang suit – a style of traditional Chinese clothing from Tang.