Chapter 111: Gobi Entertainment
“We had a teacher who commanded thunderbolts. Why have another who called the rain?”
-Memoires of the Metal Fox, Army General Tang Xiao
“More cruel than beating someone half to death, is curing them afterward and beating them again. A fist for hello and a fist for goodbye, over and over again.”
-Memoirs of the Frenzied Lion Mastiff, Army General Jin Tao
Lan Jue and Hua Li idly strode along the wide avenue cutting through the campus’ yard. The smile on Lan Jue’s face was a sinister one, and the expression in Hua Li’s eyes was one of joy and contentment.
“It was indeed a good time for me to come. I don’t even know how long it’s been since I’ve felt like this. Remember when I used to bully the kids back in school?”
“Pretty cruel,” Lan Jue said. “How can you beat them so badly, heal them up then beat them again like that?”
Hua Li straightened and spoke as though delivering a line. “Nonsense, clearly it was you who wished it so. A teacher like you, beating his students? At any rate I was trying to give them more time to practice their combat skills, and fixed them right up before leaving. Nothing more than a little mental stimulation. A little rest and they’re right as rain!”
Lan Jue humphed. “We’re taking a shortcut. At their age and ability, if we don’t how are they ever going to improve? Now that they call me teacher, the are my responsibility!”
“Tsk. Stop with your crap. Who believes your malarkey anyway.”
“Qianlin! Qianlin!” Tang Mi excitedly bounded to her friend’s side.
“What’s all this about?” Qianlin gave her friend a curious look. Tang Mi’s face was flushed, making her appear vibrant and cute. Her large eyes were wide and excited, even a little watery.
“Qianlin! Today I went to attend that etiquette class we talked about. Really very interesting! You have to come with me next time.” Tang Mi artfully cooed at her friend in attempts at manipulation.
Zhou Qianlin slightly dropped her eyes. “Not interested.”
“Oh but that Professor Lan is so handsome!” Tang Mi continued unfazed. “Oh right, I heard he had a run in with that.. what was it, goddess of violence? She dragged him to the teaching affairs office. Is that true?”
“Yup,” she responded, short and concise.
Tang Mi sighed. “He’s just so good in other areas, only a little weak. But it’s fine, behind every strong woman there’s a weak man.”
Zhou Qianlin looked at her like she was an alien. “What is this? Are you smitten?”
Tang Mi scowled at the accusation. “Never. Don’t you know me by now? I’m just talking, besides in my heart there’s already a Prince Charming.”
“And who’s that,” Qianlin inquired.
“Zeus! The Great and Powerful Zeus, of course!” Tang Mi’s eyes twinkled dreamily.
Zhou Qianlin snorted her criticisms. “Hmph. What sort of friend is this? He was the one that kidnapped me!”
“But that has nothing to do with you,” she replied. “If he wanted to kidnap me that’d be the best!”
“Wait wait ok, I’m wrong, don’t go. I’ll treat you to some delicious food. How about some sweetened calabash?”
The Soulcaller gem grew warm.
Do you need me to send you home this evening?
No. Tang Mi will accompany me. If you aren’t interested in her, you shouldn’t lead her on.
When did I lead her on?
Now that class had concluded there was nothing to do. With Zhou Qianlin refusing his company, he simply took Hua Li back to Skyfire Avenue on the back of his bicycle.
“You’re heavy! Next time I’m going by myself. You’ve had your biking experience,” Lan Jue muttered sourly.
“Don’t you have any humanity? I’m here to protect you.” Hua Li didn’t seem to be bothered.
“Then you definitely shouldn’t have me wasting all my strength!”
“Pfft… what’s next anyway? Is that guy from yesterday gunna make us some more awesome food?”
“You wish. The Gourmet’s culinary talents are only surpassed by his laziness. Keep bothering me and you’ll soon find yourself blacklisted. We’ll hang out at the shop. Ah right, I also told the ladies we’d be drilling them on combat skills, what do you think,” Lan Jue asked his buddy.
“Like the two young gentlemen from this afternoon,” he asked.
Lan Jue shook his head. “Press them a little. Shouldn’t take long, then we’ll head over to the Wine Master’s. Ask about the Castle and Tower matter.”
As they made their plans, they were already coming upon Skyfire Avenue. They went directly back to Zeus’ Jewelry Shop.
“Boss, you’re back.” Xiuxiu looked towards Lan Jue, and immediately met him with a sweet smile. Only then did she notice the man who’d entered with him.
Hua Li removed his mask and shot her a winning smile. “Xiuxiu. It’s been a long time.”
“You are…?” Xiuxiu knit her brows and narrowed her eyes as she examined him.
He answered by lifting a hand and removing his wig.
“Poseidon!” Xiuxiu almost jumped in surprise, and stumbled back a few steps.
Hua Li matched her retreat with an advance, spreading open his arms as though to give her a hug. “I bet after so long you must miss me, huh?”
Lan Jue grabbed his friend’s arm and yanked him back. “Stop messing around. Coming in here messing things up. We aren’t that familiar.”
“All man but no humanity. Always the same!”
Xiuxiu had by this time recovered, and bowed towards him in greeting. “It’s nice to see you, Poseidon,” she said with a smile.
Lan Jue turned to her then. “Xiuxiu, go let Mika and Guoguo know we’ll be heading down in a little while to spar. Ke’er, if you would please go invite the Wine Master to join us at the arena.”
“Yes, boss.” Ke’er – stepping forward from behind the counter – and Xiuxiu replied in Tandem.
Lan Jue left then to his apartments to change clothes, Hua Li in tow.
“Hey sis, who was that handsome guy with the boss?” Ke’er watched them leave in curiosity.
Xiuxiu looked at her co-worker in surprise. “You don’t recognize him?”
Ke’er shrugged. “Should I?”
“That’s no normal guy,” Xiuxiu replied. “His name is Hua Li – his nickname is Poseidon.”
“Poseidon… it does sound a little familiar.”
“You’re something else. The Four Divine Monarchs? You still don’t know?”
Realization suddenly dawned on her. “He’s that Poseidon?”
Xiuxiu nodded. “The Four Divine Monarchs are as follows; The God of Wisdom, Prometheus. King of Hell, Hades. Lord of Thunder, Zeus. And King of the Seas, Poseidon. Our boss is Zeus, obviously. Just now, that was Poseidon. With the boss injured he’s probably here to help look after him. Prometheus, who came the other day, is the boss’ brother, but these two have a much different relationship. Back before, when they were fighting shoulder to shoulder, he apparently took a serious injury for the boss to keep him safe.”
“I see. I had no idea that was Poseidon! He really is so good looking! But I still think our boss is better. More manly!” Ke’er nodded resolutely.
Xiuxiu covered her mouth and stifled a giggle. “Is this supposed to be a compliment? You don’t call him handsome, just ‘manly.’ I doubt the boss would applaud the choice.”
“I-I’m off to speak with the Wine Master,” Ke’er stuttered, leaving in a hurry.
As Ke’er left, Xiuxiu’s smile faltered and slipped away. A strange look filled her eyes. “Poseidon,” she murmured.
Lan Jue set about changing clothes while Hua Li settled on the sofa. He intermittently popped some dried fruit in his mouth as he watched T.V.
“We interrupt your program for an urgent news bulletin. Gobi Entertainment would like to announce the new Poseidon special release! Poseidon: Sounds of Nature, to be released first in the Eastern Alliance’s own Planet Skyfire! This product of Gobi Entertainment, two years in the making, was personally supervised by Poseidon every step of the way – and who’d have thought they’d choose Skyfire for their debut! The only thing left to answer is; are you ready?!”
“Damnit!” Hua Li nearly leapt from the sofa, like someone lit a fire under him. Filled with indignation, he began to shout at the television screen. “I run all the way out here to Skyfire and they STILL stalk my every move! It must have been that female officer from the other day. Mo Xiao, you’re ruthless!”
Lan Jue grinned, gloating at his friend’s misfortune. “You deserve it. Such are the trials of the rich and famous!”
Hua Li howled piteously to the ceiling. “Why is being handsome such a sin!”
By this point Lan Jue had changed his clothes. “With narcissism as pervasive as yours I wonder if you’ll ever have need to marry. You should be afraid you’ll be the only one to love you.”
Hua Li fixed his friend with a penetrating stare. “No. I also have your love.”
“Garbage!” Lan Jue shot a foot out at Hua Li, but his saucy friend deftly slithered out of the way. He stood just out of reach in a victorious pose.
“Let’s go,” Lan Jue muttered darkly.
The took the elevator directly to Skyfire Underground’s version of the Jewelry Shop. Mika and Lin Guoguo were already waiting as per Xiuxiu’s instructions.
“Oh, you’re Poseidon? You really are handsome!” Lin Guoguo batted her eyes at him, infatuation clear in her eyes.
Hua Li shot a proud gaze to Lan Jue. It’s message was clear; you see? All women like what I got.
However in the next moment that beamish smile froze – no, it would be more accurate to say it was squeezed.
Literally, as Lin Guoguo pinched his face between her fingers. “Poseidon, what plastic surgeon did you use? Even flawless complexion! I’ve been wanting to ask you forever. I heard a journalist interviewed a whole slew of cosmetic surgery operations. So far eighteen have admitted to working on you. So which one was it, really?”
Hua Li’s figure vanished in a flash, free from Lin Guoguo’s evil clutches. He hissed at her, teeth grinding. “I’m all natural! Everything else you hear is slander!”
Lin Guoguo only blinked. “But… that’s what everyone says.”