Three days before Ran Feng Ge made his official public appearance as Jing Qiu Han, he received a phone call from Cheng Xi Ran.
“Punk, are you still alive? You haven’t contacted me in a long time!”
“Thanks to you, I’m living the life right now. Are you disappointed?” Ran Feng Ge responded routinely with a joke.
“Yup, I’m very disappointed! What kind of job did you accept this time? You don’t even have time to meet up with us! In any case, I’m living in the same city as you right now. Come around when you have time. Don’t make it out as if you owe me money and you are afraid to see me because of it,” Cheng Xi Ran added in a rapid-fire manner. He’d always liked shooting his mouth off when given the opportunity. “Hey, don’t tell me you’ve locked yourself up this whole month to make nuclear bombs?”
“Do you think I’m you?” Ran Feng Ge rolled his eyes. “I don’t have the talent for that sort of thing.”
“That’s true.” If you gave Cheng Xi Ran some dyes, he’d start experimenting with them in a dyeing mill. If you gave him some sunlight, he’d figure out a way to make himself shine. Cheng Xi Ran was exactly that sort of curious person. At Ran Feng Ge’s words, he started praising himself narcissistically. “No one can compete with my skill!”
“Hey Bro, you didn’t call me to show off, did you?” Ran Feng Ge ambled towards the floor-to-ceiling windows. He half-stretched lazily while looking at the blue sky decorated with white clouds and the vibrantly green trees underneath. “I’m perfectly clear on your many glorious achievements. There’s no need for you to show off with me, right?”
“Ah, of course I didn’t call you for that! Do you have time today? Why don’t you come around to my bar tonight? I have something good to give you!” Cheng Xi Ran sounded as if he was trying very hard to suppress his excitement, which only gave a contrived mysteriousness to his words.
“Something good? What something good?” Ran Feng Ge asked curiously.
He knew Cheng Xi Ran liked studying all sorts of weapons. Could he have made some sort of new weapon?
“Haha, I’m not telling you! You’ll know when you come around tonight!” Cheng Xi Ran did a good job of maintaining the suspense.
Mi Le’s voice suddenly sounded from the other end of the line, calling for Cheng Xi Ran. The man in question raised his voice and answered obediently, “I’m coming―”
“That’s how it is! I’ll see you tonight!” Cheng Xi Ran said hastily to Ran Feng Ge before cutting off the call.
Ran Feng Ge listened helplessly to the sound of the dead line and shook his head. Energetic like always, what clowns his friends were.
He sure was horrible for not contacting them for a month. Seemed like he really should turn up at the bar tonight.
“I’ve arranged to meet with my friends tonight. I hope you’ll let me go?” At five in the afternoon, Ran Feng Ge went downstairs to find Su Yi Mo to tell him of the short break he was taking.
Su Yi Mo didn’t respond. He merely stared at Ran Feng Ge with a sharp gaze.
“…Very important friends of mine,” Ran Feng Ge emphasized, not backing down and meeting Su Yi Mo’s gaze evenly.
“Didn’t you say you’ve already taken care of all your private matters?”
“I’m not dealing with a problematic matter this time. I’m only meeting up with my friends and having a chat. I haven’t seen them for nearly a month, so they’re worried about me.” Ran Feng Ge paused and added, “It’s a normal social outing this time. It’s not going to affect my ability to do my job. Besides, there are still three days left before I report at the company. Boss, are you really that harsh? You can’t let me take a break for one night?”
“One night? The whole night?” Su Yi Mo frowned. “You said yourself that there’re only three days left. I don’t want any mistakes happening right now. Moreover, you’ve spent a month at home. Doesn’t that count as a break? I didn’t even require you to act as Jing Qiu Han for this whole month. How can you call me harsh?”
Ran Feng Ge didn’t expect Su Yi Mo to be so prickly this time, but he continued fighting for his right to take a night off. “A proper night of relaxing will allow me to double my efforts in my job! My friends will also give me all sorts of advice I’d never think of myself. Boss, if a country closes its borders to all foreign contact, it’ll soon fall apart. Communication is a very important skill in our line of work!”
“…Are they friends from the same circle?” Su Yi Mo’s voice eased up a bit.
“Yup.” Ran Feng Ge nodded and further stressed, “The three of us are the best in the industry! I promise; I will be back by tomorrow morning!”
“…Fine.” Su Yi Mo stood up and said apathetically, “If you cause any trouble at this critical point in time, I’ll cancel our contract and you’ll have to pay me a penalty of sixty million.” After leaving behind those words, Su Yi Mo left for his room.
How stingy! Ran Feng Ge thought to himself, but he smiled politely on the surface and said, “I’ll do as you wish!”
Tian Lan Bar
Standing behind the bar counter, Cheng Xi Ran glanced about the bar anxiously. When he saw Ran Feng Ge walk in dressed in a casual outfit, he finally relaxed. Cheng Xi Ran’s eyes shined with a hint of pride. It seemed like his present for Ran Feng Ge was something he was especially proud of.
“I was starting to think you weren’t coming. Here, your punishment.” Cheng Xi Ran slid a glass of alcohol across the counter.
Ran Feng Ge picked up the glass and took a drink. He then sat down in a chair and looked around the oddly quiet bar. Glancing about, he noticed that the bar was completely deserted. He asked in surprise, “You don’t have any customers today?”
“No kidding! I cleared out the place just for you. Didn’t you see the ‘temporarily closed’ placard on the door?” Cheng Xi Ran also took a seat. He picked up a glass of alcohol and slowly savored the liquid, glancing up occasionally at the second floor.
Not long after, Mi Le leapt down the stairs two steps at a time wearing a pair of riding boots. She waved her arms wildly to greet Ran Feng Ge. “Hi! My busy friend! Do you know how difficult it is to meet up with you these days?”
Ran Feng Ge flashed an apologetic smile at her. “I finally got a chance to come over. Don’t spend it making digs at me.”
“All right. I’ll keep quiet.” With a happy smile, Mi Le sidled up to Cheng Xi Ran. While hugging him from behind and putting her chin on his shoulder, she placed the bag she’d been holding onto the counter. “Here, I brought it down.”
Cheng Xi Ran took advantage of the moment and turned to plant a kiss on Mi Le’s pink cheeks. “Thanks, my dear wife!”
Mi Le raised a hand and slapped him on the head. “Stop being so corny! Why don’t you start telling Xiao Ge why he’s here?” Despite her words, a blissful smile adorned Mi Le’s face.
“Hey hey, enough of the lovey-dovey behavior. If I watch any more, I think I’ll start hating you two out of jealousy.” Ran Feng Ge took another drink while looking upon his friends. His mood soared just by joking around with them.
As expected, he could only relax completely when surrounded by friends.
Cheng Xi Ran and Mi Le smiled happily despite being teased. Cheng Xi Ran reached out and pulled a t-shirt from the bag on the counter. Ran Feng Ge could almost see the flames of anticipation flickering in the other man’s eyes. Cheng Xi Ran was obviously very excited to show him the t-shirt. “Here, this is for you!”
Curious yet suspicious, Ran Feng Ge accepted the t-shirt. Turning it over in his hands, he examined the cloth closely. The t-shirt seemed to be made from silk, but Ran Feng Ge decided otherwise after some more inspection. The cloth was soft to the touch and the style was also modern and fashionable. The t-shirt didn’t have a tag on it, so Cheng Xi Ran obviously hadn’t bought it from a store. Glancing at his friend’s especially proud expression, Ran Feng Ge deduced that Cheng Xi Ran had personally made the t-shirt himself. Didn’t Cheng Xi Ran like weapons though? Since when did he start studying tailoring?
“You made it?” Ran Feng Ge asked Cheng Xi Ran, humbled by the fact that he couldn’t find anything special with the shirt.
The man in question looked over at Mi Le and met her eyes before nodding fervently. “Of course!”
“Why are you gifting me a t-shirt? Is there anything special about it?” Ran Feng Ge then added without much thought, “Don’t tell me it’s for self-protection? Like those gold-threaded vests from long ago that claimed to protect against swords and spears?”
Both of his friends’ expressions froze in shock. Cheng Xi Ran slammed a fist on the counter. “Damn it! Why are you so smart? Couldn’t you at least guess a few more times to inflate my ego?”
Ran Feng Ge’s lips twitched in a smile. “Oh, so you already know your ego is inflated?”
“Cough―All right! Enough of the chitchat!” Cheng Xi Ran didn’t mind Ran Feng Ge’s remark. A proud expression quickly graced his face again as he took the t-shirt from Ran Feng Ge and stroked it admiringly. “This is a new product that I’ve come up with this month after much research: a super bulletproof t-shirt!”
“Bulletproof t-shirt?” Ran Feng Ge’s jaw dropped in shock. “You’re saying this is bulletproof?”
“What about it? Are you in awe?” Satisfied with Ran Feng Ge’s reaction, Cheng Xi Ran raised his chin in pride. Picking up Mi Le’s hand, he said, “I made one for each of us. Now we are even more unrivalled in the industry!”
“Bulletproof t-shirt…” Ran Feng Ge mumbled to himself. He picked up the exceptional t-shirt and inspected it again. He had the impression that bulletproof clothing was typically heavy and thick. The t-shirt in his hands, however, was lightweight and soft. How could something like this protect against a bullet?
“I see you don’t believe me! Le Le!” Cheng Xi Ran signaled to Mi Le with his eyes. Lifting the hand she had wrapped around Cheng Xi Ran’s neck, she flicked her wrist and a small knife slid into her hand. In one swift motion, she turned and aimed the knife at Cheng Xi Ran.
Ran Feng Ge jumped up in shock. “Hey! You two―”
The knife point stabbed into Cheng Xi Ran but could go no further than his clothes. With a broad smile, Cheng Xi Ran unbuttoned his shirt, exposing the same type of bulletproof t-shirt underneath. “What do you think? Isn’t it amazing?”
“Yes, it’s amazing. But can you two clowns not use yourselves as test subjects? I was scared to death just now!” Ran Feng Ge sighed loudly and picked up his glass, draining the remaining alcohol in one go.
Ran Feng Ge wasn’t timid or anything. It was just that he cared too much about the two devils in front of him to allow them to fool around like that!
The other two were still cackling away. Like he was performing a magic trick, Cheng Xi Ran pulled out a gun from nowhere and aimed it at Mi Le. Ran Feng Ge quickly seized the gun and pointed at the bulletproof t-shirt. “Why don’t we test it on this instead?”
“Don’t be so tense. We’ve already experimented with it many times,” Mi Le said with an unruffled expression.
“Okay, I believe you guys.” Ran Feng Ge returned the gun to Cheng Xi Ran. “Thanks for the present. I really like it!”
“Then you have to see how it works!” Cheng Xi Ran aimed the gun at the t-shirt lying on the counter and pulled the trigger. As the gun had been equipped with a silencer, the shot was quiet. The force of the bullet was quickly negated when it came into contact with the t-shirt. The bullet lightly bounced off the t-shirt and rolled onto an uncovered section of the bar counter. Mi Le then picked it up and stored it away.
“That was awesome!” Ran Feng Ge praised in admiration. “Xi Ran, I think you can go apply for a patent.”
“I don’t want to.” Cheng Xi Ran wrapped an arm around Mi Le’s thin waist and pulled her in for a hug. “I enjoy the leisurely life I’m having with Le Le right now. If I apply for a patent, I’ll surely become a household name in the future. I don’t want to deal with all that trouble.”
“All right. Pretend I didn’t say anything.” Ran Feng Ge picked up the bulletproof t-shirt. Without feeling any embarrassment, he pulled off his shirt and put the t-shirt on instead.
Cheng Xi Ran and Mi Le spoke simultaneously. Ran Feng Ge froze, still in the process of pulling the t-shirt over his head. After his head was free, he asked, “What’s wrong?”
Cheng Xi Ran pulled up the ends of the t-shirt, exposing the wound on Ran Feng Ge’s abdomen. Expression uncharacteristically darkening, he questioned, “You were injured recently?”
Next: Chapter 41: Intoxicated
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