Baldy clutched his phone, and hurriedly asked Xu Po, “I didn’t hear wrong, did I? Was Dr. Cheng mocking us?”
At this time, even Xu Po couldn’t help but want to laugh. “You didn’t hear wrong. She was indeed mocking us.”
“Damn. I’ve never been mocked like this my entire life.” As Baldy said this, he picked up the phone again, and fiercely said, “Just now, you mocked me and damaged my reputation. I demand that you pay me for—”
Only then did he realize that she had already hung up.
Baldy cautiously asked, “...Is this really something that Dr. Cheng would do?”
Unsure, Xu Po replied, “Probably. After all, she is quite smart.”
Baldy called her again, and thankfully for him, Cheng Xi picked up again. However, this time, she only said a single sentence. “I’m a bit busy today, so if you have a friend who needs a diagnosis, please make an appointment. If it’s something else, then sorry, but I don’t have time.”
And then she hung up again before Baldy could even get a single word in.
Baldy put his hands on his hips and spun around twice as he exasperatedly loosened his collar. Xu Po thought that he was about to get furious, but all Baldy did afterwards was drink a full glass of water. After he finished it in a single gulp, he said in an unnervingly calm tone, “Let’s forget about it and think of another strategy. What if we let Boss Lu mess with us after he finds out?” He then turned to look at Xu Po. “Who said that Dr. Cheng was going to go just now? Was it you?”
Xu Po was silent for a moment before he staunchly replied, “It was you.”
Baldy cursed, particularly indignant. “Why the hell did I ever stand up for you for something like this?”
But it was already too late, as he’d already done it. Baldy was panic-stricken the entire way to the event, whereas Lu Chenzhou seemed to be rather calm. Even after the event was over, besides the discussion and the final wine reception that he hadn’t attended, Lu Chenzhou was perfectly cooperative throughout. Xu Po’s father even asked his son, “That Lu fellow seems particularly easygoing today. Did something happen?”
Xu Po laughed dryly, and when he met up with Baldy again back at the hotel, the two of them curled up in a corner, both of them shivering in fear. “I feel like something big’s about to happen.”
Their premonition was very accurate; before they could finish commiserating, an attendant clad in white came over and said, “Mr. Xu, Mr. Gao, Director Lu would like to invite you both over for a moment.”
This time, they didn’t go back to the venue. The attendant instead took them to the tennis court right behind the hotel. Lu Chenzhou was standing in the innermost court, and was just wearing a white-sleeved shirt and black pants after having taken off his jacket. His right hand held a tennis racket, and his left hand was slowly and carefully rolling up his sleeves.
At his foot was a large basket, about half-full with tennis balls.
When he saw the two arrive, he didn’t even raise his eyelids, only saying, “Let’s get started.”
The attendant threw Baldy and Xu Po a racket each, and before the two could even react, Lu Chenzhou had already raised his racket and sent a tennis ball smashing from the other end of the court towards them as fast as the wind.
“F*ck!” Baldy’s face turned pale with fright, but he’d at least gotten some practice with this over the years. He waved his racket and barely blocked the ball.
But by the time he’d done so, the next one had already arrived.
The balls were like guided missiles, all heading towards Baldy. Xu Po tactfully stood to the side and passively watched their match—though it would be more accurate to call it a one-sided slaughter by Lu Chenzhou, Baldy barely able to hold his own. If he missed a return, then the balls would hit his body, all of them slamming at high speed into a particularly sensitive region. Tennis balls weren’t that heavy, and they usually wouldn’t hurt all too much, but when they all struck the same area at high speed, the resulting sensation was…… hard to describe.
At any rate, Xu Po didn’t want to ever experience it.
At the start, Baldy was still able to return some of the balls. However, he gradually lost his strength as the beating continued. In the end, he felt like his hand was about to break just from trying to block Lu Chenzhou’s serves. In the end, he flopped down lifelessly onto the court with his four limbs akimbo. “I’m not playing anymore! Just kill me now.”
As he finished speaking, a ball brushed by the corner of his eye. He was so scared that he screamed sharply as he rolled over to one side.
Lu Chenzhou ignored him, picked up his racket, and pointed at Xu Po, coldly declaring, “It’s your turn.”
Xu Po desperately asked, “……Can I surrender?”
The answer was no, and he ended up in an even worse condition than Baldy. At least Baldy exercised regularly; Xu Po, on the other hand, never did anything of the sort!
Lu Chenzhou launched ball after ball at him. Xu Po was never good with sports to begin with, and as he frantically tried to parry these attacks, besides getting hit passively, he could only… be hit passively.
But he also couldn’t give up right away because Lu Chenzhou would not stop until he was fully satisfied. Unfortunately, Xu Po’s skills were just too lousy; Baldy had lasted for over half an hour, but he couldn’t even last twenty minutes. His shoulders had been hit seventeen or eighteen times, and his face had also suffered a few blows; once, a ball hit his left cheek so hard that he thought his teeth were going to break.
Finally unable to go any further, Xu Po swiftly collapsed onto the floor. Of course, he received the same ‘splendid’ treatment of having one last ball brush past his eye.
He didn’t avoid it, and this time, the ball brushed by the corner of his eye, scraping his face. He reached out and even thought that he saw a few flecks of blood.
Lu Chenzhou slowly walked over. After their strenuous exercise, Baldy and Xu Po’s clothes were a mess, and sweat covered their bodies. However, Lu Chenzhou didn’t seem to be sweating at all; his body was clean and his clothes still tidy.
He didn’t stop walking when he reached the two of them, dispassionately continuing onwards.
Baldy knew that Lu Chenzhou was mad. Whenever Lu Chenzhou was mad, he became even more reticent; if you let him go at you until he was satisfied, it would be fine. However, otherwise… he would simply ignore you.
“Boss Lu!” Baldy called out as he chased after him.
Lu Chenzhou put the racket back, picked up his jacket, and prepared to leave, as if he hadn’t heard Baldy’s pleas at all.
“Zhou, Lu Chenzhou!” Baldy didn’t give up.
He was still ignored.
Baldy chased after him, enduring the pain resounding throughout his whole body. “Boss Lu, listen to me. We really invited Dr. Cheng, but she didn’t show up……”
Before he could finish, Lu Chenzhou had grabbed him by the collar and pushed him against the wall. “My temper’s a bit better now,” Lu Chenzhou coldly said as he stared right at Baldy, “But don’t provoke me.” He turned to look at Xu Po and ordered, “The car keys.”
Xu Po didn’t want to give them to him and cautiously said, “...I’ll give you a ride.”
Lu Chenzhou’s lips curled up derisively. “As you want.” He let go of Baldy, coldly walking out.
Lu Chenzhou sat in the back, took out a recording device and put on some earphones, listening to something that Xu Po couldn’t make out. He seemed calm, his eyes drooping, but Xu Po felt even more fearful than before.
In truth, Lu Chenzhou also felt like he was about to lose control. His heart felt like a blazing furnace that was about to overheat and burn his body to a crisp. In the recording device, Cheng Xi’s voice was unusually soothing. The stories she was telling were silly and dumb, but he still listened to her recite them over and over again, just as he did during those long sleepless nights, playing them on repeat until he fell asleep.
But today, it was abnormally hard to calm himself down.
He knew what he wanted, as he had been suppressing this particular desire for a few days now. Today, after Baldy had brought it up, it became even more difficult to control.
He didn’t go back to the hotel. He gave Xu Po his address and returned to his home. He hadn’t been back here in quite a while—his own house, which he’d bought after returning to the country and moving out.
The reason he had bought this place was because it had its own swimming pool. Right then, in the winter, the pool water was bone-freezingly cold. But despite the frigid temperature, Lu Chenzhou entered almost without hesitating, even neglecting to remove any of his clothes.
It was that same feeling, that craziness… like he wanted to destroy the whole world, only seeking destruction, wanting everything to… die!