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Chapter 35: The Struggle
"Mr. Qi, slow down!" The overlord was maintaining his usual pace, but one of his steps equaled two of Li Xin's, and she soon found herself breathing heavily from trying to keep up with him. She didn't want to lag too far back, knowing that Qi Mo expected his men to be in their positions by the time he sat down — otherwise, they were punished. She sprinted a few steps to catch up to him and her chest started throbbing in pain.
"I can't keep up, walk slower," she demanded, all the while clutching her chest and panting.
"I thought you wanted to get more exercise to help you heal faster," Qi Mo retorted. His voice sounded near her ear. She looked up to see that he had returned and was standing right next to her.
She smiled amicably. "I meant light exercise, not a high-intensity workout. I can barely keep up with you while running."
His gaze landed on the hand she had against her chest. "People who are more dead than alive only bring shame to me and are also useless," he muttered. Then, he suddenly reached out and gathered her horizontally in his arms and set off towards the villa.
Yellow Falcon, who had been following them, raised his eyebrows inquisitively. He'd never heard anyone talk back to the overlord like that, nor did he expect that she'd be treated so well. It was an exception among exceptions. He glanced back at the doctor, who was watching them with a devilish smirk, before hurrying after them, his brows still quirked in bemusement.
Li Xin didn't complain about Qi Mo carrying her simply because there was no point. Doing so would only make things worse, and there was plenty of evidence on her indicating the consequences of complaining. Still, his statement that she was half-dead was wrong… but again, there was no point in arguing that point with him. He clearly wasn't the listening type.
Qi Mo carried her to the dining table and placed her in a chair. Sitting across from her was Red Falcon, Yellow Falcon, the doctor, and an attractive man whom she assumed was Black Falcon. She was surprised to see that every single one of them was present today. There was probably something important going on, but she disregarded them all. Whatever was going on had nothing to do with her anyways.
As soon as Qi Mo took his seat, plates of steaming hot food were brought out for them. The wonderful, aromatic scent of Chinese food immediately took to the air. Thanks to the influence of both being in Southeast Asia and Li Xin herself, the Qi Clan's meals had progressed from Western cuisine to Chinese cuisine. They started out side-by-side as friendly rivals, but soon, it became clear that one outranked the other, resulting in today's meal being exclusively Chinese.
The sight of the dishes filled with scrumptious shrimps, crab, plump loquats, and steamed dumplings made Li Xin set aside the pain in her chest. She set her arms on the table and prepared to eat. All she'd eaten the past few days while recovering were soups and porridges; the blandness of her diet just about killed her. Today, she was finally going to resume her usual diet.
She grabbed her chopsticks and reached for the closest dish of shrimp, but she had barely picked a piece up when there was a loud noise and the chopsticks flew from her hand. She scowled at Qi Mo. "What? You brought me here to eat."
Qi Mo glared back at her coldly, which made her pause. Unless he didn't bring her there for the purpose of eating? She had barely entertained that thought when a two bowls appeared before her. One was filled with bird's nest soup and the other contained thin porridge-like gruel. They were both what she had been eating endlessly for the last few days. Her face fell.
"Your food," the overlord added helpfully, ignoring the bitter expression on her face.
Li Xin grit her teeth as she looked down at the bird's nest soup. She was so over this.
Across the table, all four of the other men watched the entire exchange with their eyebrows raised comically. They all began eating right after Qi Mo took his first bite.
"Boss, White Falcon got a lead on the high-tech device from the other day," Red Falcon reported while they ate. "The info he sent us indicates that the device is a new product created by the Blue Clan. They're still keeping it under wraps and haven't put it on the market yet. It's capable of completely destroying a human body within certain perimeters."
Qi Mo didn't react to his words, thought he appeared pensive and didn't seem to be surprised. Yellow Falcon's face tightened visibly. "So it was the Blue Clan messing around the whole time. I was just thinking that even for the pissed off Southeast Asian drug lords, directly attacking the boss was too brazen. Turns out they were just acting on behalf of the Blue Clan. And you have to admit that it was a smart move using other people to kill their targets."
Nodding, Qi Mo responded, "This was not beyond our expectations. We don't even possess such high-tech devices in our clan; it wouldn't have made sense for any of the Southeast Asian crime bosses to possess them. It looks like we've attacked the Blue Clan where it hurts."
"Well, naturally. The Blue Clan dabbles in weapons dealing, but they're also a huge player in the drug trafficking industry. Boss just singlehandedly destroyed at least 30 percent of all drug producing sources, which definitely severely affects the Blue Clan's business. After all, their main provider was Southeast Asia." The doctor spoke up. His usual smile adorned his face, but his voice was uncharacteristically serous.
Meanwhile, all the talk of arms dealing and drug dealing made Li Xin sigh inwardly from boredom. She waited until Qi Mo wasn't looking at her and reached out again in an attempt to pick up a few pieces of barbecue.
"Eat your own food." A pair of chopsticks flew out of nowhere to intercept her. She looked up to glare at Qi Mo and found him looking back with equal frustration.
"I've already recovered," she insisted. "I don't want to eat this crap. I want to eat what you're having." Good food was her reason for living and in its presence, she couldn't be bothered with etiquette skills. She would have been fine if they hadn't showed her to begin with, but not letting her eat while waving the food in front of her was too much.
Qi Mo took in her glare before shifting his glance over Li Xin. She was unpredictable and difficult to manage at best; the injury seemed to do nothing to help her mood. "Good," Qi Mo said. "Now that you're well, you can go drive for Black Falcon."
She threw a glance at the handsome Black Falcon, who looked so similar to the overlord, as if they were cut from the same cloth. Her status had changed once again — apparently she'd gotten demoted, considering she had gone from being Qi Mo's servant to being Black Falcon's chauffeur. Li Xin was afraid this meant she wouldn't be able to get close to Qi Mo anymore and figure out where Sui Xin was.
Numerous thoughts swirled around her mind, but before she could reach any sort of solution, Black Falcon decided to speak up: "Good. I'm traveling into hostile territory pretty often these days so I'll definitely be able to make use of your driving skills to get away from situations."
Li Xin clutched her chest with one hand and adopted a sorrowful look on her face. "I'm not well yet," she said to Qi Mo mournfully. "My wound still hurts."
Yellow Falcon and the doctor laughed at her antics. Even the stoic Red Falcon couldn't help but quirk his lips up ever so slightly. Qi Mo swept a dismissive glance at her and then stared pointedly at the two bowls before her. Realizing what he expected of her, she said meekly, "I suppose I can just eat this."
She clenched her teeth into a forced smile as she began spooning the nutrient-rich food into her mouth. She wasn't going to jump into a battlefield for the sake of food. A few injuries, she could handle, but she wasn't about to risk her life just to eat something nice.
more like “the struggle is real” loool