Having sent Jie off, Wang Xiaoming was about to close the door when he spotted Chu Zhao striding toward him.
Out of politeness, he still offered a greeting.
“I heard you were sweeping floors tonight?” Chu Zhao took out his keys and remarked offhandedly.
Wang Xiaoming nodded. “I hoped to do something concrete.”
This wasn’t some kind of election, talking about doing something concrete. How fake!
Chu Zhao mumbled, “Sweeping floors is fine, but that’s a broom that hasn’t been cleaned in a hundred years. Who knows if that would make the floor dirtier rather than cleaner?”
“Ah?” Wang Xiaoming didn’t catch that and stretched his neck further.
Chu Zhao’s hand jerked and his key missed the keyhole. “Sharky will have the right tools for you tomorrow.” The key was inserted into the keyhole and he calmly twisted it, walked in, and then shut the door.
Wang Xiaoming blinked and then happily turned around to look at Baal and say, “Does that mean Director Chu agreed for me to go sweep floors?”
If anyone dared ask him to go sweep floors, he’d sweep that person off to the ninth level of Hell.
Baal, who absolutely couldn’t understand why Wang Xiaoming was so excited, turned his head away indifferently.
Though Baal didn’t understand him, Wang Xiaoming was still very happy. He was about to joyfully close the door when he heard the sound of rapid footsteps running—Tao Le ran over as if crazed and then slammed a hand against Jie’s door. Bang, bang, bang—like the sound of a bell being struck.
Wang Xiaoming cracked his door open and asked worriedly, “He won’t do anything to Jie, right? Should we call President Xiang?”
Baal twitched his lips and demanded unhappily, “What good would he be?”
Wang Xiaoming answered, “He can beat Tao Le up.”
“And I can’t?” The fallen angel’s pride took a severe hit. Baal’s expression turned even more threatening.
“Don’t you only have a soul but no body?” Wang Xiaoming asked.
“But I have magic!” Baal raised a hand and was about to move when Wang Xiaoming jumped on him.
“Let’s just wait and see.” His mind still bore the image of the big guy sliding off the taxi cab, which made his heart beat faster.
Baal watched as Wang Xiaoming draped over him and, though he wouldn’t admit it, his face relaxed quite a bit.
Tao Le suddenly raised his foot and slammed it against the door. “Jiang Junjie! You come the eff out right now! Out! Who let you quit! Who let you go!” That was followed by several more kicks.
“What’s the fuss?! Can a guy sleep here?” Chu Zhao suddenly pulled his door open and then said calmly, “Ah, it’s Mr. Tao. It’s the middle of the night, what’s going on?” Clearly he already knew it was Tao Le. If he hadn’t heard the commotion, he’d either be a pig or be born from a pig.
Clearly Tao Le was in a crazed state. He didn’t even look at him and shouted, “None of your business! Go to bed!”
Chu Zhao’s expression changed slightly and he ground his teeth together several times before saying coldly, “We’re a society ruled by law; please restrain yourself Mr. Tao.”
Tao Le didn’t care about what he said and turned around to kick the door again, each kick heavier than before. As Wang Xiaoming watched, he worried that Tao Le would accidentally break his leg.
“Jiang Junjie! I won’t let you leave, I won’t let you leave, I won’t let you leave! Do you hear that?!” He shouted, each phrase louder than the previous one, until his words seemed to reach the skies and raise the dead.
The door to the room finally opened.
Jie had one hand on the handle and looked at him disinterestedly.
“Junjie…” Tao Le seemed to recover his wits slightly. He hurriedly wiped at the tears on his face and sobbed out, “I was just mad yesterday. Xiang Wenxun said you wouldn’t bat an eyelash even if I got beaten to death. He told me to give up on you so I got angry… How could I let go of you? I did that once and then regretted it so much I wanted to die.”
Jie stood there unmoving and watched the man cry as if the skies were falling down on him.
“Junjie, let’s start over again please?” He squatted on the floor and looked at Jie like a child would, with his eyes full of hope. “I was just playacting with Xu Yiming because I was afraid you didn’t care about me… Junjie, don’t ignore me please.”
He reached out to grab Jie’s hand, but Jie dodged it.
Tao Le looked up pitifully.
Though Wang Xiaoming couldn’t see the man’s face, he could imagine his expression. Wang Xiaoming’s own heart throbbed in pain. He still remembered the proud man he had met previously and had no idea the man was like this in private.
“I won’t force you.” Tao Le stood up slowly. “But won’t you please stay?”
Tao Le saw that he was finally responding and happiness lit up his face. “I just want to be able to see you everyday. I’ll do my best to treat you right and do whatever you want. Trust me…”
“Even if I never pay attention to you again?” Jie looked at him without any emotion.
Tao Le froze and stammered out a while later, “I believe, there’ll be a day…”
“There won’t be that day.” Jie said calmly before he shut the door, “That’s my attitude toward you for the rest of my life.”
Wang Xiaoming didn’t know how he managed to fall asleep that night. Even his dreams were filled with Tao Le’s figure, as forlorn as a kicked puppy.
When he woke up, he could almost feel the pain in Tao Le’s heart as Jie said those words. His support for Jie slowly wavered.
He got up, ran to the study, and asked Baal as the latter was working hard to defeat a Boss, “Don’t you think Tao Le is pitiful?”
Baal, focused on defeating the Boss, only let out a sound that resembled agreement.
“I also think he’s pitiful.” Wang Xiaoming scratched his head. “Do you think I should go and talk to Jie?”
“Dammit!” Suddenly, Baal’s expression changed and he shot up from his seat.
Wang Xiaoming took several steps backward in fear.
“What did you just say?” Only then did Baal actually look at him.
“I said, Tao Le is so pitiful, should I go help him?”
“He should be called trash, right?” Baal said disdainfully, “If he can’t even get together with the person he likes.”
Wang Xiaoming suddenly sensed danger and asked cautiously, “If it’s you…”
Baal demanded proudly, “Who’d refuse me?”
He then shot a strange look at Wang Xiaoming. “You best make up your mind fast. My patience is limited.”
“But we had a deal,” Wang Xiaoming answered timidly. He didn’t always have the courage to risk it all.
Baal didn’t pay him any mind and re-dedicated himself to the monumental task of defeating the Boss.
Wang Xiaoming suddenly asked, “Have you ever run into strange names when you’re battling monsters?”
“What names?” Baal asked without looking back.
Could it be that he hadn’t met Baal yet?
Wang Xiaoming walked over to the bathroom in confusion and brushed his teeth.
Wang Xiaoming was used to sleeping early and rising early. Even if his days and nights were practically reversed while working at the Silver House, he insisted on getting up at eight and eating breakfast at 8:30.
Regardless of whether anyone ate it or not, one of the benefits of working at the Silver House was the breakfast being served in the cafeteria.
By this time, the chefs in the cafeteria knew him.
That was because out of everyone at the Silver House, he was the only one who’d go there for breakfast. So they made it according to his preferences and he could even preorder the dishes for the next day.
“Spring roll, soy milk, and red bean bun.” The chef set out the dishes he had ordered yesterday on the counter.
After Wang Xiaoming thanked the chef, he found a place to sit and then slowly started eating.
During this time, Baal kept looking at him with an unfathomable gaze.
Having been stared at with that gaze for the past three days, Wang Xiaoming gradually learned to ignore it.
“Say,” Baal slowly opened his mouth to say, “how can I get you to fall in love with me quickly?”
This wasn’t the first time he had heard the question, so Wang Xiaoming answered calmly, “You fall in love with me first.”
“Me fall in love with you first.” Baal’s lips curved slightly. “Fine.”
Wang Xiaoming paused while chewing the red bean bun and looked at Baal.
Those dark eyes of Baal’s glinted and gave Wang Xiaoming a bad feeling. It was like the movies where the evil guy had set up a trap and was waiting for the protagonist to spring it.
“I heard that physical contact will lead to spiritual dependence.” Baal smiled evilly. “Since we can touch each other…”
Wang Xiaoming spewed out the red bean paste in his mouth and kept coughing.
Baal frowned in disgust while looking at the black and white spittle on the table with Wang Xiaoming’s saliva on it too.
Wang Xiaoming took slow sips of the soymilk and his eyes wandered around the room.
Just judging by physical ability, without even considering spellcraft, he’d absolutely lose against Baal. Plus, they still had that five-meter limitation and even if he wanted to run away, he couldn’t escape Baal’s palm1Five-finger mountain (五指山) refers to a scene in [i]Journey to the West[/i], where the Monkey King tries to run away from the Buddha’s punishment, only to realize that no matter how far he ran, he had never gotten out of the Buddha’s palm..
Wang Xiaoming felt anxious because he knew very well that Baal would do what he said he’d do, whenever he wanted.
His face was so red it was practically dripping watermelon juice.
“You’re here.” The bright and happy female voice instantly lit up his eyes like sunlight piercing through layers of storm clouds.
“Manager Jiang!” He stood up in excitement.
Jiang Xueyan felt uneasy at the honor. “I’m just a team leader, not a manager. You go sit down, I’ll go get some food.”
Wang Xiaoming looked helplessly at her retreating figure and his heart felt like it was being held over a frying pan, especially since there was a pair of knowing eyes staring relentlessly at him.
As if sensing his anxiety, Jiang Xueyan came back really quickly and plopped herself down in front of him. She said, “Junjie told me to tell you that he’s gone.”
“Oh, oh.” Wang Xiaoming sneakily glanced at Baal, who had moved to the side and crossed his arms. He let out a secret sigh of relief.
“Come to think of it, I should thank you too.” Jiang Xueyan sighed, “As his elder sister, the only thing I knew to say was that it wasn’t his fault and it was all that bastard Tao Le’s fault. Your advice worked more. Maybe that’s what they mean by bystanders can see the situation clearly.” Every time she talked about Tao Le, she got more excited than Jie ever did. Eventually, he had stopped talking about him to her.
“Jie’s gone, uh, Team Leader Jiang…” Wang Xiaoming struggled to figure out what to say in order to avoid a misunderstanding.
“I’m not leaving.” Jiang Xueyang slowly ladled the soy milk. “I have to stay to repay President Xiang’s favor.”
Wang Xiaoming looked up in surprise.
Jiang Xueyan explained, “Back then if it hadn’t been for President Xiang, we wouldn’t have been able to repay our family’s debts as quickly. Though President Xiang did it because of Tao Le, he ended up helping us. I have nothing to give in return, so I’ll do my best to work for him.”
Baal snorted, “He’s good at doling out favors.”
Wang Xiaoming knew that Baal wasn’t in the best of moods and didn’t dare say anything more, out of fear of provoking another instance of teleportation. He hurriedly ducked his head down and focused on eating.
Jiang Xueyan noticed that he wasn’t saying anything and knew enough to stay quiet. She kept her head lowered and silently chewed on the buns.
Regardless, Wang Xiaoming managed to escape his troubles for this meal because of her presence.
- 1Five-finger mountain (五指山) refers to a scene in [i]Journey to the West[/i], where the Monkey King tries to run away from the Buddha’s punishment, only to realize that no matter how far he ran, he had never gotten out of the Buddha’s palm.