First Published on Chaleuria
02 – They Met Over A Fight
If one were to mention Su Mu, nine out of ten girls attending F University would immediately turn heart-eyed, and the remaining one would faint on the spot. It was hard to blame them for reacting this way: Su Mu was the perfect Prince Charming. The fact that he was the second son of the CEO of the Su Group aside, he had a proud posture, a handsome face, a charming smile, and an elegant bearing. It would be difficult not to draw the eyes of the girls around him. Besides, the prince was also a top student in the finance department and the president of F University’s student council. Thus, no matter where he went, he became the focus of everyone around him.
The boys of F University disliked the situation, but couldn’t say a word about it. After all, although girls were infatuated with Su Mu, no one had heard of him ever dating any of them. So the boys could only watch as the pretty girls in the university lined up only to be rejected by Su Mu one after the other, and hope that one of those girls would change her mind and look at them instead. But those hopes were dashed more often than not.
“Yuan-ge, that pretty face is too much. Let’s find a chance to teach him a lesson.” Zhang Chen handed a cigarette to the tall boy at his side. He thought about the girl he had a crush on staring besotted at Su Mu, and felt ill at ease.
Yao Yuan took the cigarette, lit it, and took a long drag. Then he gave Zhang Chen a brutal punch. “If you’ve got the guts, chase her directly. You use such underhanded tactics and still call yourself a man?”
“Yuan-ge, you’re not short on admirers, so of course you don’t get how hateful he is.” Zhang Chen turned to look at Yao Yuan’s profile; his was a face that certainly did not lose to Su Mu’s. Although their demeanors were wildly different, they could both capture women’s hearts with ease. Yao Yuan had a striking facial structure with clearly defined angles; his lips around the cigarette subconsciously curved, leaving the impression of dismissive teasing. Currently, Yao Yuan’s dark bright eyes showed impatience, but Zhang Chen knew well that this was the terrifying glimmer showed in his eyes during a fight. He radiated wildness, the sort that made women willingly submit to him yet want to do everything they could to conquer him completely.
Yao Yuan was another well-known figure at F University but, unlike Su Mu, he was not only liked by girls, but also respected by boys. Three years ago, not even three months into his first year at F University, he had sent a letter of challenge to the tyrannical and ill-reputed fourth year bully, Qiao Jin. No one knew the details of the fight, but ever since then, Qiao Jin and his gang no longer extorted protection fees from people. Yao Yuan made his name with that single fight. At first, people were afraid of him. But as time went on they discovered that he was loyal, sincere, and sought to redress injustice; he did not bully the weak and had the air of a martial hero from the ancient times. Thus, their initial fear eventually became respect.
Yao Yuan threw the cigarette butt to the ground, stepped on it several times, then dusted off his hands and said to Zhang Chen, “Go back to school. I’ll visit my sis.”
Yao Yuan’s sister, Yao Qian, operated a restaurant near F University. Students often went there because of Yao Yuan; besides, the cook made good food and the prices were reasonable, so the restaurant enjoyed good business. When Yao Yuan arrived, it was already 9 o’clock at night and the patrons had all left. He helped his sister clear the tables and calculate the accounts. He still felt guilt towards her: their parents had passed away early and she had had to pick up life’s burdens at too young an age. In order to make a living for both of them, she had given up on too much: like her studies and a young girl’s pursuit of beauty.
“You’re overthinking again, aren’t you?” Yao Qian curved a rather rough finger and flicked her brother’s forehead hard, a mischievous smile surfacing on her naturally beautiful face. “Oh, you. If you really want to help me, then find me a rich husband. Your sis is turning the ripe old age of 25 this year.”
“That’s true, you’re old enough. But what sort of person can measure up to my beautiful and capable sis? Let me think.” Yao Yuan put his hand to his forehead and pretended to be deep in serious thought. “He must be tall, handsome, gentle, polite, attentive to details, extremely rich…”
“Get lost!” Yao Qian flicked him again. “How can someone that perfect exist?”
“Don’t say that. He really does!” After Yao Qian cut him off, Yao Yuan discovered that the person he was describing was no other than the legendary Su Mu. ‘Perfect’ was the assessment most people gave him. He smiled slightly and was about to boast up a storm to his sister when the faint sounds of fighting came from outside the door. He immediately jumped up. It was mostly F University students who came to this area and he couldn’t sit by idly.
Yao Qian didn’t stop him. She had seen such a scene more than a few times. Yao Qian had only been sixteen when their parents passed away and she had had to give up her studies and take any job she could in order to make a living. But no matter how she pleaded, people would immediately refuse to hire her upon hearing her age. At the end of her rope, she accepted help from a former teacher and set up a small fruit stand. She was honest and did not cheat people, so her business did better and better. This invited the envy of the older man who sold fruit at a stall next to hers; he often mocked her and sometimes even resorted to violence. Yao Qian could only endure it, until one time when Yao Yuan witnessed it happen. He had been only thirteen at the time but, driven by anger, he taught the man a lesson. It was the first time Yao Qian saw her brother fight and the anger flashing through his eyes shocked her. After they returned home, she brutally scolded him, then hugged him and bitterly cried. To this day she remembered the words he said to her as she hugged him: “Sis, I won’t let anyone bully you.” After that, Yao Yuan became impulsive. He could not bear seeing the weak being bullied. Yao Qian always felt that it was because of her that her brother had become this way.
Yao Yuan followed the sounds and turned the corner. Beneath the washed out yellow lamplight overhead he saw a tall student surrounded by four or five others, but the student did not seem anxious at all. A cruel smile hung at his lips as he landed quick and brutal blows. Clearly he was more than capable of handling himself. In that case, Yao Yuan also didn’t bother to interfere in other people’s business. He folded his arms, leaned against a tree, and idly watched the fight.
When the group finally left after throwing out harsh parting words, Yao Yuan glanced at his watch. It had been exactly fifteen minutes since his arrival. The boy was clearly skilled. Yao Yuan yawned, intending to go back and sleep.
“Rumors say that Yao Yuan will help with his fists when he sees injustice, but it turns out he might also idly stand by!” A mocking voice reached his ears from behind.
“Rumors say that Su Mu is gentle and polite, elegant and handsome, but it turns out he is such a good fighter!” Yao Yuan put a finger in his ear and retorted. He had not overlooked the cruel gleam in the boy’s eye before. Rumors, indeed, were not reliable. Su Mu was assuredly not the little lamb other people made him out to be.
They had both recognized each other at first glance. After all, both their faces were very well-known.
“Since Young Master Su is fine, I’ll take my leave.” After having heard Zhang Chen complain for an entire evening, Yao Yuan could not face the person before him calmly.
“That would be a mistake.” Su Mu tugged off his button-down. On his pale back were two uneven bruises which had been inflicted with sticks before Yao Yuan arrived. “I’ll have to trouble Hero Yao to take me to the hospital!”
“Hospital?” Yao Yuan guffawed. He pulled out a small bottle and tossed it to Su Mu. “Young Master Su really is precious!”
Su Mu caught it reflexively. It was a bottle of medicinal ointment. “You think I can put this on myself?”
“Surely that has nothing to do with me.” Yao Yuan pushed off the tree trunk with both hands, casually turned, and left. What a joke. It was good enough that Yao Yuan was willing to give him medicine. Apply it for him? Not a chance! But the next second, a familiar voice forced him to change his mind.
“Yao Yuan, you rascal, hurry and invite your schoolmate into the shop!”
Yao Yuan helplessly touched the hair at his forehead. He was unafraid of heaven and earth but he obeyed his sister’s every word, and now he saw Yao Qian standing at the corner waiting for him. He reluctantly said to the precious young master next to him, “Let’s go. Or do you even need me to help you?”
Su Mu picked up his trench coat from the ground then followed. From behind he could only see Yao Yuan’s hair, thick and sturdy, as untamed as its owner. Su Mu had long heard of Yao Yuan, but he had never expected to meet him under such circumstances. The side of him he intentionally hid in front of others had been exposed in front of Yao Yuan; that was pathetic, really.
On the restaurant’s second floor was a simple apartment. Yao Qian had rented it for convenience, and Yao Yuan lived there most of the time. Now, Yao Qian kicked her brother into his room and made him apply the ointment for his schoolmate.
Su Mu unceremoniously lay face down on the twin bed, grinning at the room’s owner. Since Yao Yuan had already seen his ugly side, he was too lazy to keep hiding anything.
Infuriated, Yao Yuan sat on the edge of the bed and poured the ointment onto his hand. He intentionally used a lot of force as he rubbed against the bruises. Bastard. Am I, Yao Yuan, so easy to order around?
“Hey, can you be gentler?!” Young Master Su finally could not take it any more and objected.
“If you want gentle, go look for one of those girls of yours. They’ll surely fight over the chance to look at your naked body.” Yao Yuan rubbed even harder, forcing the abused person to finally let out an audible groan.
“Be gentler… ah… you bastard…”
“What are you moaning for? I’m not one of those girls.” Yao Yuan finally stopped what he was doing, then deliberately and forcefully slapped the soft skin before finally getting up. Seeing the person still lying on his bed, he frowned, displeased. “Leave, why don’t you?”
Su Mu raised his torso slightly and turned to face him, an elegant smile hanging off his lips. “You seem very unhappy with me. Why? You’re jealous of me, like those other boys who know nothing?”
“You think too much of yourself, Young Master Su!” Yao Yuan dismissively pursed his lips. “I can’t stand how arrogant you are.”
“Arrogant?” Su Mu sat up and looked at him. “Are you sure you’re talking about me and not yourself?”
Yao Yuan stepped closer, about to retort, but just then the door opened. Yao Qian came in carrying fresh bedding. She smiled as she said to Su Mu who was lying on the bed, “The school dorm has a curfew, doesn’t it? Why don’t you stay here tonight?”
“Sis!” Yao Yuan immediately objected. “This guy is the young master of Su Finance. Of course he’ll have somewhere to go. One phone call and his chauffeur will come to get him immediately.”
But Yao Qian ignored him, beautiful eyes on Su Mu’s face, clearly completely ignoring her brother’s objections.
“Then, thank you very much, Miss Yao.” Su Mu maintained his smile—it was not the same challenging one he had when alone with Yao Yuan but instead one showing his usual noble elegance. Yao Yuan, who had clearly seen the whole process of Su Mu’s change in expression, snorted derisively.
“Don’t stand on ceremony.” Yao Qian placed the blankets on the bed, brushed away a strand of hair by her ear, then said, “If you don’t mind, just call me by my name.”
“All right, Yao Qian.” Su Mu nodded, his gaze landing on Yao Qian’s face. She resembled Yao Yuan, but her features were more delicate—her charming eyes seemed to always be smiling and her pale lips were small and exquisite. Although she wore no make-up, she was still movingly beautiful.
Yao Yuan stood to the side. Naturally, he had not overlooked Su Mu’s gaze. He pursed his lips in resentment and cursed inwardly, Lecher.
“Then, please squeeze in with Yao Yuan tonight.” Yao Qian smiled sweetly, pushed open the door, and left.
Yao Yuan locked the door, then rushed over to the young master and caught hold of his collar. He threatened fiercely, “Don’t get any ideas about her.”
Su Mu propped up his weight with his arms to either side of his body, and his teasing gaze landed on the handsome face in front of his, a faint smile on his lips. “And if I say no?”
“Do you believe I won’t cripple you?” Yao Yuan shook his fist.
“You’ll beat up an injured person. Is that your heroic way of doing things?” Su Mu remained calm in the face of the threat.
Yao Yuan met his eyes for a long time and eventually retracted his fist. He turned over, got off the bed, and retrieved a bathrobe from the closet. He unlocked the door and issued a proper challenge to the guy lying face down on his bed. “After you’ve recovered, I’ll cripple you, open and aboveboard.”
“If you win, I’ll consider giving up on Yao Qian. But if you lose, then don’t blame me!”
Seeing Yao Yuan slam the door, finally unable to endure it any more, Su Mu buried his face in his pillow and laughed to himself. Yao Yuan, you’re rather different than you’re made out to be.