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”So, why are you here?” Li Yiming wiped his mouth and asked after reaching the end of the awkward meal.
“I used to attend university here. After graduating, I’ve been living in the area.” Shao Xian said without looking back at Li Yiming.
“You live around here?”
“Yeah, I’m renting a place not too far away from that intersection.” Shao Xian pointed at a residential area nearby.
“You live alone?” Li Yiming asked. After filling his stomach, he found himself able to think more clearly.
“Yeah. I’ve always been living alone.” Shao Xian said rather bitterly.
“Hey, can I live with you for a while?” Li Yiming asked without thinking. His mind was fully engrossed with thoughts about Mr. Kong, Aunt Wu, and the need to find a place to hide from Eyeglasses and the other groups of guardians hunting him down. With his mind so preoccupied with such concerns, he carelessly asked the question, not taking Shao Xian’s reaction into consideration.
“I don’t have a place to live right now,” Li Yiming said. In addition to the fact that only a couple of people knew about their connection, Shao Xian was also a local resident, so living with her would greatly reduce the chance of being exposed.
“How… how about we go to a hotel?” Shao Xian’s heart raced when she stared at Li Yiming, unable to find the courage to refuse.
“We can’t. Can I just stay at your place for a bit? It won’t be very long.” Li Yiming dismissed the idea instantly, knowing that the police would surely track him down at whatever hotel he decides to stay at.
“But…” Shao Xian’s face reddened as her thoughts wandered.
“If it’s too much of an inconvenience…” Li Yiming finally caught onto Shao Xian’s hesitance.
“Oh no, it’s not. I’m just wondering if it’ll be too small for you.” Shao Xian almost panicked at Li Yiming’s change of mind.
“Are you sure?” Li Yiming asked.
“Yes.” Shao Xian closed her eyes, too shy to look back at him.
Li Yiming and Shao Xian left the street food vendor’s shop in a hurry. Both of them failed to see the taxi parked on the bridge above. On the passenger’s seat sat Sai Gao, who tapped the shoulder rest as he stared at the sky.
“Li Yiming… So you are involved in all of this…” Sai Gao licked his middle finger, and the cab driver’s mind was instantly filled with lustful desires.
The driver had been trying to guess Sai Gao’s sex the moment the latter boarded his cab. Furthermore, Sai Gao had requested to have a look at the city on top of the bridge, which the cab driver found to be a rather strange request.
“Alright, just drive around.” Sai Gao said after taking a deep breath. The taxi soon drove onto the road and disappeared into the traffic.
Li Yiming walked side by side with Shao Xian, while maintaining a distance that suggested a courteous friendship between the two.
“I have a favor I’d like to ask,” Li Yiming suddenly said.
“What?” The sudden request made Shao Xian quite nervous.
“Could you lend me some money?” Li Yiming decided to speak honestly.
“Money?” The favor was not one that Shao Xian was expecting.
“Something… happened. I lost all my money.” Li Yiming found it embarrassing to broach the subject, but was less worried about confessing to Shao Xian than to a total stranger.
“How much do you need?” Shao Xian asked. She knew how wealthy people usually treated money as nothing more than just a number, so she already expected Li Yiming to ask for a sum which was beyond her financial capacity.
“One hundred fifty thousand…” Li Yiming said.
“One hundred fifty? Alright, let me make the transfer.” Shao Xian was relieved at hearing a number that was just a fraction of the sum Li Yiming had given her earlier.
“I need it in cash.” Li Yiming looked at the ATM across the street.
“Cash? Sure.” Shao Xian followed Li Yiming’s glance.
“Let’s go together.” Li Yiming held the plastic bag Shao Xian gave him and followed behind.
Shao Xian quickly returned with a stack of banknotes. One-hundred-fifty thousand in bank notes, even in the biggest denomination, resulted in quite a thick pile.
“Thanks, you can put it inside.” Li Yiming took a handful from the pile and held the plastic bag so Shao Xian could put the rest of the bank notes in.
“Could you do me another favor?” Li Yiming asked hesitantly.
“Could you deliver this to that place?” Li Yiming looked at the small alley from which he came out of earlier.
“That place?” Shao Xian’s countenance finally shifted as she was forcefully reminded of where Li Yiming came out earlier, which was something she would rather forget about.
“Yes. There’s a woman there. Could you give the money to her?” Li Yiming was a man who kept his promises.
“I owe her.” Li Yiming said with a serious voice as he reached out for the hundred yuan bill in his pants’ pocket.
“You owe her?” Shao Xian looked at the entrance to the alleyway, and then at Li Yiming again. She could see him putting a hand around his crotch. ‘He… What? How did he even manage to spend one-hundred-thousand in a place like that? How many times…? I don’t understand…’
However, as Li Yiming looked at her supplicatingly, Shao Xian did not find the courage to refuse him. Li Yiming would have done the deed himself, but he found it too tremendous of a task to face the woman in the sauna center again.
Just as Li Yiming stared at Shao Xian’s back as she entered the sauna center, someone else was watching Li Yiming from the distance. Despite his heightened senses, Li Yiming failed to notice the woman’s presence.
“Impressive, he’s managed to find her this quickly?” Aunt Wu took an apple out of her shopping bag and took a big bite. She then left for an intersection nearby.
“I’ve given her the money, she said…” Shao Xian returned as quickly as she could.
“Alright then, let’s go.” Li Yiming interrupted Shao Xian and turned around.
The sight of Li Yiming walking out of a sauna center and devouring his meal at a street vendor was such a stark contrast with the Li Yiming with long silver hair dancing elegantly and fighting with the sword that it caused great confusion to Shao Xian. She followed Li Yiming behind as she thought about how he requested rather forcefully to go home with her.
“It’s here.” Shao Xian pushed open the door slowly and turned back toward Li Yiming.
“Okay.” Li Yiming walked into the apartment. He was busy remembering his conversation with Pan Junwei in the hopes of finding a clue about the latter’s strength and talent.
“You can pass me the groceries. I’ll tidy this place up right away.” Shao Xian took the plastic bags from Li Yiming and put them down in a corner.
“Alright.” Li Yiming acquiesced. He sat down on the sofa absentmindedly and put his arm on the hand rest, only to pick up a small piece of fabric laying around.
‘What is this… Laced underwear!?’ Li Yiming was instantly pulled back into reality. He looked around and realized that just as Shao Xian said, her home was quite small. It consisted of nothing more than a single room with a sofa, a bed, and a computer desk. The closet doors were half-open, and, although the room was relatively clean, it was very disordered.
Shao Xian had been living alone for a while, and so she did not have the habit of always keeping everything neat and tidy. Li Yiming found several pieces of underwear and stockings, all of the sensual kind, lying around. It was a mess which would take a while for Shao Xian to put away.
“Make yourself at home. I’ll… I’ll go take a shower…” Shao Xian dove into the bathroom with a flushed face upon noticing Li Yiming’s staring around.
‘Did I… make a mistake in coming here?’ Li Yiming unconsciously tightened his grip on the fabric of the underwear he held.
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