“Boss, I say, you really are the boss. Did you transfer Xiao Luo to my school to protect your daughter or to beat up my students? One hundred and twenty-three minor injuries and 1 major injury—with a fractured wrist. Now that all of Huaye has heard about this, the consequences will be huge. The heads of the Education Bureau have even called me to ask if I still wish to retain my position as headmaster. If I don’t, they told me to get lost. How am I supposed to reply to that?”
In the headmaster’s office, a man in his fifties was on the phone. He was extremely emotional and tapped on his desk while speaking. With each knock, the desk made loud rapping noises, and as he spoke, spittle flew everywhere.
“Hehehe! Don’t get so worked up, Old Dong. Things aren’t so bad that we can’t salvage the situation,” Chu Yunxiong laughed on the other end of the line. “Anyway, I did some investigating for you, and that student from your school, Song Jianan, is a real piece of work. Starting gangs, bullying his fellow students—generally really hateful stuff. I’ve heard that Huaye’s students feel relieved that he was beaten up.”
“Relieved! Bollocks!” Headmaster Dong scolded. “You can say whatever you like because you’re not in my shoes. Come, come, come. Let’s trade positions. You be the headmaster of Huaye, and I’ll be the boss of Chongshan House. How’s that?”
Chu Yunxiong did not know whether to laugh or to cry, so he replied, “I can’t be the headmaster. I’m not as capable as you, Old Dong.”
“Quit your b*llshit!”
Headmaster Dong hung up angrily and sank down in his soft armchair. He pinched the bridge of his nose to alleviate the pain from his migraine.
“Headmaster, how do we resolve this situation?” asked the male secretary carefully. “The injured students’ parents have asked us to punish the culprits severely.”
“What else can we do? We appease those who can be appeased and pay what needs to be paid. I’ll get Chu Yunxiong to reimburse me for future lost funds,” Headmaster Dong replied.
The male secretary said uneasily, “If the parents are not satisfied and report this to the media, I fear that we will be in a difficult position.”
“Difficult position my a*s,” seethed Headmaster Dong. He was already furious, but his temper now reached a boiling point. “Without proof on video, do you think they can tarnish our Huaye’s reputation with their unfounded statements? What a joke. I can simply say that their sons suffered injuries because they were training too hard. We’ll see who the public believes.”
The male secretary could not help but wipe away his sweat. He was really beginning to suspect that the headmaster used to belong to the underworld. He was so high-handed that he’d even called the parents’ concerns “unfounded statements.” You were the one making unfounded statements, thought the secretary. Trying to cover up a beating by saying the injuries came from training!
Headmaster Dong suddenly looked up and asked, “Oh right. What happened to that student, Song Jianan?”
“His hand has already been reattached. Thanks to timely medical treatment, he should recover within 2 to 3 months,” the male secretary answered. “His mended hand should serve him well for everyday use, but not so much for martial arts.”
“That’s good,” Headmaster Dong sighed in relief. “What about his parents?”
“Song Jianan stubbornly refuses to inform his parents, and the contact numbers in the school’s records are all out of service.”
“Heh. That kid still thinks he can act like a man. I’ll find some time to go visit him!”
Headmaster Dong’s expression showed a shred of appreciation. The members of the mixed martial arts club were all adults, and he felt that adults had to take responsibility for their actions. Deep down, he despised kids who went to their parents for the smallest things. For instance, kicking up a big fuss over minor injuries like a sprained hand.
“Headmaster, about that Xiao Luo…”
“Call him in. I do want to see what kind of magical abilities this beast has,” Headmaster Dong fumed.
“Understood,” the male secretary acknowledged then left the office.
Not long after, Xiao Luo arrived. He was accompanied by his instructor, Qin Nanyu.
Qin Nanyu was apprehensive. She lowered her head, afraid to meet Headmaster Dong’s eyes. Guiltily, she admitted, “Headmaster, this is all my fault for not properly managing the students. I take full blame for this incident. I—”
Headmaster Dong cut her off with a wave. “That’s enough,” he said. “We can’t blame you for this. If anyone is to blame, it’s the one next to you, Xiao Luo.”
As he spoke, he took a sip of hot tea.
“That’s right. This has nothing to do with Teacher Qin. I take full responsibility for my actions,” Xiao Luo agreed, standing up straighter.
“And how exactly do you intend to do that?” demanded Headmaster Dong angrily. His temper flared, and he slapped his desk and yelled, “The heads of the Education Bureau, various major media outlets, and the parents of the students who were injured are all looking into this situation. If I let you go out there, they’ll devour you in an instant. And yet, you say that you want to take responsibility. If it weren’t for Chu…” Here, the headmaster stopped himself. He realized that Qin Nanyu was listening, so he swallowed the rest. Clearing his throat, he continued, “Then, I would not even bother with you. I’d just hand you over to the police.”
Xiao Luo understood intuitively that Chu Yunxiong’s connection here was not Qin Nanyu, but the man before him, Huaye’s headmaster, Dong Zhenwu. It made sense. Getting him into Huaye was something that only the headmaster do easily. A mere instructor could not have pulled it off.
“I have reflected on my actions. Back in the army, I was kind of rowdy. I’ll pay more attention in the future. I’ll accept any punishment you decide to give me, Headmaster. A warning, disciplinary probation, whatever it is, I accept it.”
Now that he had calmed down, Xiao Luo was quite good with his words. Making up some nonsense based on the background of his student persona, he provided Dong Zhenwu with a few easy options.
A warning? Disciplinary probation? Do you really think that’s the punishment you deserve after making such a mess?
Dong Zhenwu was infuriated. This kind of brawl was entirely within the bounds of police intervention. Still, this kid wanted to keep everything within the scope of the school, which could mete out many kinds of punishment. However, Xiao Luo was not even a real student! Wasn’t a punishment from the school the same thing as letting him get away scot-free?
At this point, Qin Nanyu chimed in, “Yeah, Headmaster, Xiao Luo just got a little rough. Why not—”
“‘A little rough? One man dueling with more than a hundred? That’s more heated than what you see in the movies, and you’re calling it ‘a little rough’?” Dong Zhenwu harrumphed. Then, turning toward Xiao Luo, he said, “You’re a real arrogant kid. Thanks to you, you’ve brought this bag of old bones into the spotlight in front of the Education Bureau’s leaders. Thank you so much.”
“No need to thank me, Headmaster, it was my pleasure,” Xiao Luo replied with a smile.
Dong Zhenwu jumped to his feet, glaring at Xiao Luo. “You rotten brat. Do you really think I’m praising you?”
“Weren’t you?” Xiao Luo replied indifferently. He figured out that since Chu Yunxiong’s instructions to Dong Zhenwu were to keep everything under wraps, he had nothing to worry about.
You! @#￥*&! Dong Zhenwu almost swore out loud but managed to swallow his profanity. He waved the visitors out impatiently while snapping, “Get out, get out, get out. Submit a full reflective report in 3 days. If it’s less than 5000 words, then I’ll expel you myself!”
If he had to deal with Xiao Luo any longer, he feared that his rage might trigger a heart attack.
Xiao Luo turned to leave, while Qin Nanyu fled the office in embarrassment as if they’d received some great pardon.
“You’re letting him off so easily, Headmaster?” inquired the male secretary, puzzled.
“Every student in Huaye is like my own child. I treat them all equally and hope that they will grow and shine brightly as the pillars of our nation. Now that these events have unfolded, punishing Xiao Luo doesn’t help anything. We’d do better to concentrate on cleaning up the aftermath.”
Dong Zhenwu lied through his teeth, making these just and dignified statements. He thought to himself, “If Xiao Luo weren’t a part of Chu Yunxiong’s group, I’d have him skinned alive.”