Chapter 61: Professional Ethics
“Here.” Lan Jue handed a strip of golden cloth to An Liu.
The silver woman tenderly opened the cloth to discover seven fingers and a check inside.
“Did you pay as well?” An Liu looked pointedly at Lan Jue.
“I can, but you’d have to pay me back,” he responded, beaming a smile at her.
“Fine.” An Liu grunted, her eyes softening somewhat.
Lan Jue went on. “Show these gentlemen out of Skyfire Avenue. Make sure they aren’t allowed back in.”
She nodded once again, straightening her posture before offering a formal bow. “I will be submitting a report concerning this dereliction of duty, and will await punishment.”
Lan Jue lifted his hand, wanting to pat her shoulder. But his hand stopped in the air when he saw her eyes. “It’s fine, don’t be so grave. Off you go, you’re busy.” He dropped his hand, turned, and made his way in to the jewelry store.
Ting ting ting!
“Welcome back boss,” Lin Guoguo greeted pleasantly.
“Clever Guoguo. Where’s Mika?” he asked.
“Mm,” Lin Guoguo grunted. “She’s over there sulking.”
Lan Jue chuckled and made his way behind the counter to spy Mika. He gave her a smile. “If you keep getting angry during working hours I’m going to have to dock your pay!”
Mika lifted her head to glare at Lan Jue. “When have you ever given us a paycheck?”
“Eh…” Lan Jue rubbed his nose defensively. “I actually don’t know how much the store makes… but what’s mine is yours!”
Mika’s eyes adopted a lascivious glint. “Is that true for people, too?”
“Certainly not!” Lan Jue straightened with feigned indignation. “I’m a man of high moral integrity!”
“Pfft!” The sound didn’t just come from Mika.
Lan Jue rubbed his face. “Right, don’t be mad. You know why I didn’t let you get involved.”
Mika frowned, her voice carrying distinct hints of a pout. “To bully me.”
Lan Jue gave her a wry smirk. “Your power is simply too dangerous. If you lose control think of what it’d do to the Avenue. Don’t you like it here?”
Mika shot to her feet. “What do you think. Here!” She threw a memory stick at Lan Jue.
“The location of the power stone deposit?”
“Mm.” Mika nodded her head.
“You two shouldn’t always be so secretive! I get jealous!” Lin Guoguo pressed closer, her pink lip jutting forth.
Mika giggled, throwing her arms around Lin Guoguo and pecking her on the mouth. Lin Guoguo’s face grew red, her eyes widening in surprise. She gave Mika a chastising look.
“I didn’t see anything. I’m leaving.” Lan Jue covered his eyes with one hand, and pinched his nose with the other for fear his nose would start bleeding*. He turned quickly and left.
“Coward,” Mika mumbled.
“Miikaaa!” Lin Guoguo’s furious voice rang through the store, causing Mika to jump.
“Fine, fine! I wont make you reciprocate.” She quickly dodged around the corner, out of Guoguo’s reach.
“You stole my first kiss!”
“Nonsense. Didn’t you take advantage of him while he slept, kissing him after saving you that one time?”
“How did you know!”
“I was only pretending to sleep!” Mika said around a devilish smile.
“Mika! I’ll kill you!”
Early in the morning, after washing her face and teeth, Zhou Qianlin began her morning run.
Most were still in the grip of dreams at this time of day. She loved her morning runs; they swept away the sleep from her body, got her blood circulating, so she had spirit for the rest of the day.
However, compared with her usual demeanor, her mind was racing faster than her body.
He was an electives teacher, so he needn’t come for class every day. She’d forgotten to ask yesterday what his schedule was.
She hadn’t thought the guy would so readily help her look after her elderly friends.
At the memory she couldn’t help her pretty face from adopting a small smile.
“What are you thinking about, that’s making you smile like a little fox.” The voice suddenly arose from behind her, making her jump. She turned her head and spotted someone set not far off, arms crossed over his chest.
“You, what are you doing here?” The mountain was home to many of the most rich and notable. The security was supposed to be impeccable.
Lan Jue spoke up. “You know, if this mountain is so hard to get on to, how am I supposed to protect you?” He swept his eyes over her figure as he spoke.
She wore a plain white jumpsuit, and a similarly pale handkerchief pulling her fine black hair in to a ponytail. She wore no make-up, allowing her natural beauty to shine forth.
Zhou Qianlin frowned. “You know this over-inflated ego of yours is terribly unattractive. You don’t think I’ll call security?”
Lan Jue looked shocked. “You wouldn’t. I’m taking you out to dinner tonight, I deserve some slack.”
“Hmph!” Zhou Qianlin was highly amused by his apparent trepidation. But she quickly recovered. “Go on. Why’d you come out here so early in the morning.”
Lan Jue chuckled. “I’m a bodyguard aren’t I? Of course I’m here to send you to school.”
Zhou Qianlin responded, “I find it hard to believe you.”
“It’s true,” he said. “I don’t have any classes, so I wont be going to the campus. I have something else to take care of. But I figured I’d come early to send you there. I’ll come back tonight to bring you out to dinner. We can take my bike like yesterday.”
Zhou Qianlin stared at him openmouthed. “Well look at you, being responsible!”
Lan Jue stuck his chin out proudly. “It’s called ‘professional ethics’!”
“Well then wait for a little while. Let me change then we’ll go.”
“No hurry. I imagine you haven’t eaten breakfast yet. Eat, then we’ll leave. I’ll wait for you here.” Lan Jue smiled at her.
“Alright,” she responded, then turned and ran back towards her home.
Bai Xiao watched her daughter bounce in to the room. It was strange, she thought. “What’s got you in such a good mood, Linlin?”
“Am I happy?” Zhou Qianlin replied.
“It’s been a while since I’ve seen that smile from my daughter, like a thousand lilies blooming,” came her response.
Her face grew red, and she stuck her tongue out at her mother. “Oh really?”
Bai Xiao nodded earnestly.
“Is breakfast ready, mom?” Zhou Qianlin quickly attempted to change the subject.
“Yup. You got back early this morning. Your father just got up.”
Zhou Qianlin giggled. “Alright, I’ll go eat firs then!”
“Sure. Qianlin, do you want the car to send you today?”
Zhou Qianlin gave her mother a helpless look. “Mom, why do you ask the same questions every day. Our house and car all belong to the Eastern Alliance. They aren’t ours for personal use! I’ll send myself to school.” She spoke over her shoulder as she made her way to the dining room.
Watching her daughter’s retreating figure Bai Xiao couldn’t help but smile. “Little minx, you’re so pretty! Your mother doesn’t feel safe! Although… never mind. So long as you’re happy. Maybe the breaking of that marriage contract was a good thing.”
*A common anime trope, seeing something sexy or exciting causes the viewing character to suffer explosive nose bleeds.