Once Tony had walked out of the room, the scene in front of Wang Xiaoming’s eyes changed again. The elevator door opened slowly and, after a while, he saw Tony walking toward him.
“Xiaoming?” Tony was surprised when he recognized Wang Xiaoming and quickly walked over. “Why are you here?”
“Say you miss him!” Baal’s bossy voice sounded from behind him.
Wang Xiaoming immediately felt like he had swallowed a hundred cockroaches.
“Is it because of work?” Tony walked into the elevator and slowly pressed the button to go down. “I already told you. The Human Resources Department doesn’t have any openings for right now. Our hotel’s budget is pretty tight right now, so it’ll be hard to hire people.”
They had heard for themselves how tight the hotel budget was.
Wang Xiaoming thought awkwardly and then suddenly felt Baal’s hands on his shoulder. He didn’t doubt that if he didn’t do what Baal wanted, his shoulders would get dislocated. Out of fear, he blurted out, “I miss you!”
“Ah?” Tony turned around to look at him in surprise.
Tony’s shocked expression drew Wang Xiaoming back to the moment at hand and he chuckled dryly, “What I mean is… uh, you left so hurriedly yesterday that I didn’t get a chance to be a good host. So I thought about you for a night and felt like I should come to apologize no matter what.”
“What’s there to apologize for?” Tony laughed. “I couldn’t help you with what you needed; I should be the one apologizing.”
The elevator door opened as they were talking. Tony walked out first and turned back to see Wang Xiaoming cowering in the elevator by himself for no apparent reason. He asked, “Is everything okay?”
“Ah, it’s nothing.” Wang Xiaoming quickly fled the elevator and caught up to him.
Behind him, Baal reminded in a cold voice, “The next time you say something extra, don’t blame me if I do something drastic.”
Wang Xiaoming’s back stiffened.
“Now, go confess to him immediately!” Baal continued giving him directions, “Tell him you’ve loved him for a long time. Say that without him you’ll die!”
Wang Xiaoming lowered his head and refused to say anything.
Baal raised his leg and kicked Wang Xiaoming’s butt.
Caught by surprise, Wang Xiaoming stumbled forward a few steps, just managing to wrap his arms around Tony.
Tony jumped in fright. “What are you doing?”
“I, I…” Wang Xiaoming was about to let go but Baal hugged him tightly from behind and pressed down on Wang Xiaoming’s arms so they couldn’t move.
“What’s up with you?” Tony felt Wang Xiaoming’s arms tightening slowly as if gradually enfolding him into an embrace.
Wang Xiaoming didn’t know how to explain his predicament.
If anyone could see Baal right now, they would see them as a Borromean ring.
Wang Xiaoming held Tony and Baal held him.
“Say it!” Baal pressured him.
“I—” Wang Xiaoming bit down and said, “—I found a job! I’m so happy, cousin!”
Tony turned around in a daze to look at the head rubbing against his back. He then looked up at the stunned guests walking by and asked in frustration, “Couldn’t you pick a better time and place to act up?”
Wang Xiaoming didn’t dare look up. He would have loved to act up in a different time and place!
If a second lasted as long as a year, then a little more than a decade later, Wang Xiaoming found himself flying through the air.
Then, amidst Tony’s yells of surprise, he fell into the water fountain, made a huge commotion, and landed with a two-meter-tall splash.
Baal stood by the fountain with his arms crossed. The cold smile on his face seemed to say “this is what you get for not listening to me.”
Wang Xiaoming wiped his face and let out a series of dry chuckles at a shocked Tony. “I got too excited, so I needed to calm down.”
“…” Tony looked at the crowd gathering and bit out in anger, “Get out of there.”
Wang Xiaoming looked at Baal and carefully walked toward the edge of the fountain but, no matter what direction he walked in, Baal would block his path. He kept changing directions and Baal kept blocking. What this looked like to Tony and the bystanders was Wang Xiaoming casually strolling around in the fountain.
“Wang Xiaoming!” Tony was about to reach the limit of his patience.
Wang Xiaoming looked at him with a pitiful expression. Who would believe that he was the victim?
Tony looked back and told two security guards, who were watching the scene unfold, “Drag him up here.”
The security guards looked at the water and then at their clothes. Their expression clearly conveyed their unwillingness.
Tony demanded, “Do you not listen to me anymore? Do I need to get your supervisor?”
Since the front hall manager had said so, the security guards jumped in resignedly, but they cursed Wang Xiaoming several hundred times in their hearts.
Wang Xiaoming couldn’t wait to have someone get him out, so he cooperated fully by standing still.
The two security guards stood in front of him and, without hesitation, they each spat a couple of times into their palm; with one on each side, they attempted to lift him out of the fountain.
Wang Xiaoming looked on in horror as Baal stood in front of him, but the unknowing guards kept marching forward.
Baal’s black suit became larger and larger in his pupils, big enough that he could almost see the stripes on the suit buttons. He only just found out that Baal’s suit buttons had stripes…
It was as if his nose slammed into a wall and he fell back into the water because of the rebound.
To the onlookers, this scene looked like Wang Xiaoming intentionally struggling free from the guards and then jumping back in.
Tony saw the situation become messier and, in his frustration, he personally jumped into the water and hauled Wang Xiaoming up.
Wang Xiaoming looked on in surprise when Baal simply stood aside with his arms crossed over his chest and made no attempt to stop Tony.
Tony pulled him directly into the office. He grabbed a towel from the office desk drawer and tossed it onto Wang Xiaoming’s face. “Wipe.”
A weird combination of the scents of sweat and anti-cockroach pill lingered on the towel and assaulted Wang Xiaoming’s nose. He held his breath and began the arduous task of wiping himself.
The atmosphere was tense.
Tony sat behind the desk and thought long and hard before dialing a number.
It was clearly Wu Zhenjian, whom he had just left, because the first thing he said was, “Boss Wu.”
Tony passed the incident off as his younger cousin accidentally falling into the water when he came to visit. He promised several times that there were no damages before hanging up.
Someone knocked on the door and the pretty lady from before walked in, her face turning ashen when she caught sight of Wang Xiaoming.
Tony asked, “What is it?”
The pretty lady’s eyes looked in shock at Wang Xiaoming, then she took several steps back until she was outside the door, and then she closed it.
Tony stared in confusion toward the direction in which she disappeared and murmured, “So what did she come for?”
Wang Xiaoming wiped his face and hair and looked cautiously at Baal lounging on the sofa.
Baal directed his gaze toward Tony.
Wang Xiaoming’s throat made a strangled sound and then he swallowed a couple of times.
“So what happened?” Tony’s attention was drawn back.
“Nothing.” Something flashed across Wang Xiaoming’s eyes and he handed the towel back to Tony.
Tony took it and then stuffed it back into the drawer without a second glance. “Nevermind. Didn’t you say that you found a job? What is it?”
Wang Xiaoming briefly talked about the management training company, some of its benefits, and its job responsibilities.
Tony said, “I’ve heard about the company. I heard that it’s doing well in other cities but didn’t expect them to have expanded to our city. Do this first and if there’s something better later, you can reconsider.”
Wang Xiaoming murmured an agreement.
“If there’s nothing else, go home first.” Tony pressed his fingers wearily against his temple.
Just based on Tony’s call to Wu Zhenjian, Wang Xiaoming knew he had caused trouble today. He didn’t dare say anything and got ready to leave.
“Stop it,” Baal commanded ruthlessly. “Did I say you could leave?”
Wang Xiaoming stopped in his tracks. His wet clothes reminded him of how he had suffered in the fountain. Since the scar hadn’t faded, he hadn’t forgotten the pain. So he cooperated.
Baal asked languidly, “Don’t like your cousin?”
Wang Xiaoming nodded his head eagerly.
Baal lowered his eyes and tapped lightly on his knees with his finger, as if contemplating something.
Wang Xiaoming’s nerves moved in sync with the motion of Baal’s fingers, up and down, so nervous that his heart almost leapt out of his throat.
“Was there anything else?” Tony had to ask when he saw Wang Xiaoming hadn’t moved from the spot.
Wang Xiaoming scratched his head. “I, I just think that… uh, I rarely get to visit so I want to stand for a bit longer. This painting looks so good.”
“That’s the shift schedule.”
“…” Wang Xiaoming turned to look at the table. “This flower…”
Tony tilted the flower towards him.
“Ah, it’s a paper recycle bin.” Wang Xiaoming touched the back of his neck.
Tony let go, frowned, and asked, “What exactly is going on?”
Wang Xiaoming glanced towards Baal.
“Since you don’t like him, then…” Baal’s lips curved into an emotionless smile. “Ask him what his relationship with Shi Feixia is.”
Wang Xiaoming thought about the game disk and secretly drew a cross for Tony. “Do you know Shi Feixia?”
Tony’s brows furrowed and then unfurrowed. “Yes. Why?”
“Nothing. The game you gave me last time was fun. I wanted to ask if he made others.”
“Was it fun?” Tony shrugged. “I don’t know very much. His phone’s been out of service for a long time now. I just ran into him on the street the last time.”
Baal asked with a steady voice, “Ask him if there were others there except for Shi Feixia.”
Wang Xiaoming relayed the message.
Tony’s face pinched and he said drily, “And some of his friends. Why?”
Baal put down his crossed leg and leaned forward. “Ask him what kind of people.”
Wang Xiaoming continued being the messenger.
“Nothing special, just your regular old NPCs.” Tony paused and then asked confusedly, “Why are you asking about this?”
“Ask him where Shi Feixia is.” Baal stood up and his eyes were filled with a dangerous light.
So Wang Xiaoming had to ask, “Do you know where Shi Feixia is?”
“No idea. I heard that he’s moved out of his apartment…” Tony barely finished saying the sentence before Baal cast a ward and trapped him on the wall like a sconce.
“Baal,” Wang Xiaoming called out in shock.
But Tony was more shocked than Wang Xiaoming was and blurted out, “An Unseen?”