Beyond the Box
After finding Yuan Zong’s phone number from the personal profile list on his computer, Xia Yao hesitated for a while but in the end, he still dialed it.
“Bring your bird and meet me here.”
With that said, he immediately hung up as fast as lighting.
Half an hour later, Yuan Zong arrived at Xia Yao’s only to see that he was already waiting for him at the front porch. Once he saw Yuan Zong coming out of the car of empty handed, Xia Yao immediately asked from a distance, “Where’s your birdie?”
Yuan Zong patted his crotch, “Right here.”
Xia Yao gritted his teeth, “I meant your Great Myna?”
Yuan Zong patted his crotch again, “Here.”
Within seconds, Xia Yao was already on the verge of scowling. But suddenly, a big bird flew out from Yuan Zong’s pants, its body as black as coal and its tone as pure as gold. Yuan Zong grabbed the cage from the back seat and placed the bird inside before hanging it over to Xia Yao.
Xia Yao watched on speechlessly. This isn’t a magic trick, is it?
Even though he knew the answer, Yuan Zong still asked, “Why did you ask me to bring this bird here?”
“My little Myna likes it a lot more than thought. From the look of it, it doesn’t want to see it, so I’ve decided to buy him from you, just name the price.”
“It’s not for sale.”
“Then I’ll just take it off your hands by force,” said Xiao Li.
Looking at his expression, Yuan Zong remained calm before tightly holding onto Xia Yao’s nape. His face inched closer until there was only a mere five centimeters between them, and as he spoke, his scorching hot breath fanned over Xia Yao’s skin, exerting a dangerous aura that only a true man possessed.
“How about this…” Yuan Zong said, “I’ll bring the bird here every day to visit you so that way your bird won’t get lonely.”
“If it can fly here by itself, I’ll no problem at all.”
Yuan Zong silently gazed at Xia Yao for a long time, “You’re so white.”
Xia Yao flung out his arms as he fiercely threw punches in Yuan Zong’s direction, which was then followed closely by a spectacular kick. After exchanging a few more harmless punches, Yuan Zong ceased the fight and snickered gently, “Alright, stop messing around.”
Having been the champion of the annual Beijing Wrestling Championship three times in a row, nobody has had the guts to call Xia Yao’s skills as “messing around”. However, being underestimated by Yuan Zong only increased Xia Yao’s respect for this man. While Xia Yao is normally easily irritated and may be a little unreasonable, he is very serious when it comes to acknowledging true strength and stamina.
“I’ve heard that your company is still recruiting more students, is that correct?”
Yuan Zong said in all seriousness, “Not anymore.”
“Well, then can you make an exception for me? I’ve always been curious about your company’s abilities.”
Yuan Zong answered, “Our company only accepts those who can attend full courses, seven days a week.”
“I can pay for the whole week and come on the weekends, then when the holidays rolls around, I can attend some extra classes, how about that?”
To be honest, Xia Yao had thought that the moment he suggested this, Yuan Zong would not hesitate and maybe even express some eagerness. However, the final answer was somewhat of a surprise to him since not only did Yuan Zong refused his proposal but it was an outright, “No”.
“Why can’t I attend the classes?”
Without looking at him, Yuan Zong sternly said, “You don’t need to know the details.”
“Why not?” Xia Yao said, “Even if my moves are precise, you’d only deem it as “messing around”. I really feel like what I can learn from you guys are very useful, especially when it comes to someone with my job description, someone who needs to protect both the citizens and himself.”
Although, this was the first time Xia Yao compliment Yuan Zong’s company, Yuan Zong seemed to take no notice of it.
“Just don’t go.”
What? Why can’t I go?
“I’m still going whether you like it or not!”
Having said so, Xia Yao took to not paying Yuan Zong’s reaction any attention and in turn discovered that he was really not happy about this situation. This messed with Xia Yao’s mind: Why won’t you let me sign up? It’s not like I won’t pay or doesn’t have good foundations.
After glaring at Xiao Yao for a moment as if giving him a warning, Yuan Zong then turned away without saying a word.
* * *
The following day, true to his words, Xia Yao actually turned up at Yuan Zong’s company and taking advantage of his absence, Xia Yao started to chat with one of the instructors.
This instructor’s name was Shi Tianbiao, discharged Special Force soldier as well as Yuan Zong’ right hand man who has been following him for four years now.
“He was the sharpest shooter in the army. Even until now, there are still legends going around about him and many of his records have yet to be broken. If he had stayed in the military, he would have accomplished so much, no doubt. It’s a shame that…” Shi Tianbiao sighed.
After listening to that, Xia Yao asked, “Is he usually strict on you?”
“Strict?” Shi Tianbiao ground his jaws, “Strict does not even begin to cover it. He’s merciless!”
Only after taking a glance around to reassure himself that Yuan Zong was not really gone did Tianbiao dared to keep talking.
“His treatment towards both students and instructors are especially ruthless. I’ve worked here for four years and had never seen him smile even once. Almost every trainee here has been struck by him. You see the scars on my thighs? Two years ago, he used a pole to hit me and the mark still hasn’t faded yet.”
Xia Yao narrowed his eyes, casting his gaze towards a few female students who were practicing by flinging their body weight around. From a man’s perspective of always putting women first, Xia Yao could not help but feel sorry for them.
“He doesn’t hit the female students, does he?”
Those words made Shi Tianbiao scowled, “So what if they’re female students? You think we differentiate genders here? No one is safe from punishments if they make a mistake. The last two years have been a little better since Yuan Zong didn’t do the dirty work himself and had us instructors do it. If this had been a few years ago, there would have only been wails of mercy echoing off the walls in this room,!”
Listening, Xia Yao silently bit his tongues: Is he that ruthless?
While he was in the midst of thinking, a weird sound of slapping came from the distance, causing Xia Yao to turned his head. He was quick to see a guy being slapped by his instructor three four times in a row, making his face soon become swollen.
“What did he do?” Xia Yao asked.
Shi Tianbiao answered, “He must have swore.”
“Swearing gets you bitch slapped? What if it wasn’t intentional? No guy can talk without swearing a bit here and there, right?”
Glancing at him, Shi Tianbiao said, “Of course that can’t be allowed. Bodyguards have to follow their employer everywhere they go so keeping your mouth sealed is one of the most fundamental point in the job description. Not even one bad word is permitted.”
Hearing that, it was only then did Xia Yao understand why Yuan Zong pinched his cheeks when he swore, it was a working habit.
Shi Tianbiao continued, “You’re in luck today, the commander is away. If he’s heard you said those words, you would have received a slap that would leave you unable to eat for a whole week!”
Thinking about it, Xia Yao could barely stand looking him straight in the eyes, “Since you guys don’t receive any respect at all here, how come you’re so persistent?”
“Each year, it’s nearly impossible to count the number of applicants that come here. The majority think they can become well-known in the business after getting our graduation certificate. However, after only a few days of training, most can’t endure the torture so they always end up running back to their old lives. After many rounds of elimination, only a few outstanding students are left.”
“What are they looking to get out of this?”
“What do you think? Of course it’s the graduation certificate. If one can get through the training and receive a certificate from us, their monthly income would probably be this much.” Shi Tianbiao used his fingers to make an eight.
“Eight thousand?” XiaYao asked. (About 1100.00 USD)
Shi Tianbiao smirked, “eighty thousand.” (12000.00 USD)
“Of course, we’re not playing around!”
Xia Yao took out a packet of cigarette from his pocket and gave it to Tianbiao.
“We’re not allowed to smoke here.”
So many rules… Xia Yao grumbled to himself while putting the cigarette back.
After getting bored, Xia Yao steered the subject towards Yuan Zong once again.
“How old is your commander this year?”
Knowing that number, Xia Yao made a mental calculation and found that Yuan Zong was only seven years older than him, but why does it feel like they’re a generation apart? It has been said that those with an immense life experience usually appear more mature, unlike Xia Yao who born with a silver spoon in his mouth since birth. And, although he is into his twenties, he often talk childishly.
“Has he ever had a girlfriend?” Xia Yao continued to ask.
Without hesitating, Shi Tianbao replied, “Never. During the entire time I’ve known him, he has never had any girlfriends. Especially when he was still in the Special Forces. The chances of having a woman was slim to none.”
Xia Yao said, “For such a hot blooded man, how can he cope?”
“What do you mean by ‘cope’? We were all born rough! There’s no other way! As specialized bodyguards, especially highly qualified ones, we normally don’t have our own phone, much less girlfriends that would only bring troubles.”
“So…there has never been any woman who wanted to pursue him?” Xia Yao asked.
Shi Tianbiao laughed, “Who would dare do something like that? This type of man can only be put on the altar! In other words, this kind of man can definitely do them to death, how can they bear with that?”
Xia Yao coldly snickered while he was inwardly cursing the gods!
As the two continued to chat for a while longer, another instructor called out to Shi Tianbiao but he merely waved his arms, indicating that he will be there straight away. Then turned to Xia Yao, “Have you changed your mind?”
With a determined look, Xia Yao quickly confirmed, “Of course not! When I say I’ll come, I’ll definitely keep my words. It’s just that I have work during the weekdays so I’m only available on Saturday and Sunday. Is it alright if I only participate then?”
“Not a problem!” Shi Tianbiao said honestly, “Other than training bodyguards here, we also provide self-defense courses with a very flexible timeline.”
Xia Yao silently cursed Yuan Zong.
Even if you didn’t want me here, there was no need to lie straight to my face like that.