Edited by PohTahTvh
At five minutes to eight, the curtains finally rose on a busy Monday. Zheng Feiluan reached up, tightening his tie and straightening his sleeves and collar. Looking in front, he adjusted himself to the perfect state that was most suitable for work.
Two minutes to eight, the car drove into the twin towers of Jiusheng, stopping under the spacious porch.
The head of the team, who had been waiting for some time, hurried over and opened the door. With a textbook smile revealing eight teeth, he welcomed Zheng Feiluan, respectfully greeting, “Good morning, President Zheng.” Zheng Feiluan stepped out of the car, his leather shoes, gleaming brightly without a speck of dust on them, landed firmly on the flat grey bricks lining the floor.
He strode towards the lobby, his eyes looking straight ahead. When he walked past the head of the team, he tossed out casually, “Change the colour of your tie.”
The team’s head trembled, swiftly yanking off his tie that basically matched everything and shoved it into his pocket, exchanging a look of near despair with his colleague.
Inside the hotel, a dark and gloomy cloud swept towards the reception, carrying with it a storm of thunder and lightning. Everywhere it went, there was a drop in the air pressure. The service staff who were assisting guests with checking in and checking out turned stiff. Reflexively, they lowered their heads and held their breaths, pretending that they were part of the relief carved along the walls.
They followed Zheng Feiluan’s figure out of the corners of their eyes, fearful that the moment their motions were a little too big, that deadly King of Hell would suddenly turn towards them — during this moment of danger and unease, if Zheng Feiluan walked over to you, it basically meant that your career was about to end there and then.
Evidently, the King of Hell’s target was very clear-cut. He did not even look at the reception desk at all, heading straight to the elevator without even turning around. The pitiful front-desk staff finally put all their anxiety away. Those who were supposed to be typing on their keyboards went on typing, and those who were supposed to be providing key cards provided them. Who would have thought that before they could even complete a breath, Zheng Feiluan’s eyes darkened slightly, his feet came to a stop, and he turned straight around.
The staff at Counter No. 5 in the corner happened to be checking in a lady in a flower-printed skirt. Suddenly caged in by that huge shadow, his fingers shook, and the key card fell onto the ice-cold marble countertop with a clatter.
Hurriedly, he lowered his head. “I’m sorry, President Zhong!”
Zheng Feiluan did not look at him at all, staring at the lady in the flowery skirt instead. From her forehead to the tip of her nose, from the tip of her nose to her chin, his gaze was sharp and incisive, as though he was searching for something that was very important.
The lady blushed. “He- hello, may I ask… if there’s a problem?”
Zheng Feiluan said, “Madam, my apologies for the disruption. I noticed that there’s a very enchanting scent coming from you. It smells very refreshing and natural, giving one a great sense of comfort — is that the scent of your pheromones?”
“Ah, no, no. I’m a Beta, and my pheromones smell just like distilled water, like nothing.” The lady’s blush deepened, simpering at him incoherently, “What you smell… should be my perfume.”
“What brand is that?”
The heart of the lady in the flowered skirt was in total disarray by Zheng Feiluan’s handsome face, and she could not recall the brand no matter how hard she tried. After a period of embarrassment, she opened up her handbag, clumsily rifling through it, and miraculously, she found it. “Here, this one!”
The bottle was made of a frosted, jade green glass, the label in the shape of a flower basket, and a budding lily of the valley leant against the side of the label. Underneath, in silver lettering was printed — Muguet des Bois.
The lily of the valley.
Zheng Feiluan accepted the perfume bottle, pressing down on the nozzle.
A spray of fine mist filled the air — dewy, refreshing, sweet and rich — like some sort of wonderful magic, it allowed the world to regain its original gentle tone. It was a curtain after curtain of rain falling down the windows, washing away the grease and smog, leaving behind a clear, clean pane of glass, as well as the scene of a sunny day after a rain — the azure sky had returned to its azure shade, and the aquamarine waters had returned to its aquamarine shade.
Gazing at the perfume bottle, Zheng Feiluan traced his finger across the slender stalk of the flower, seemingly reluctant to let go.
The lady then said, “I’ve, I’ve already used most of this bottle already, it’s not worth much. If you like it, I’ll give it to you?”
Zheng Feiluan did not refuse, tucking the glass bottle into his palm. “Do you often stay in the hotels under Jiusheng?”
His question came out of nowhere, and the lady tugged at her hair, answering honestly, “No, no I don’t. Jiusheng is too expensive. I’m on a business trip this time, and it can be expensed, and so that’s why I’m staying for two days. If it’s my own vacation, I’m afraid…”
Zheng Feiluan nodded, signalling that he understood. Turning around, he spoke to the receptionist, “Help me excuse the bill of this lady — for a year.”
“Y-yes, President Zheng!” The receptionist swiftly followed the instruction.
Zheng Feiluan then kept the perfume bottle, inclining politely at the lady. “Thank you for your gift.”
“You’re… you’re welcome…”
The lady’s eyes followed Zheng Feiluan as he departed, and only after a while did she then register what the “President Zheng”’ meant. Astonished, she covered her mouth with her hand.
At eight on the dot, Zheng Feiluan stepped punctually into his office.
From the carpet to the ceiling, everywhere was cleaned to the point where there was not even a speck of dust. All items were placed in the most suitable position according to his likes, and at the angles most pleasing to the eye. Tucked into a thin porcelain vase on the table was a stalk of the lily of the valley, its leaves tender and its flowers delicate. Yu Yue stood by the side on tenterhooks, looking very much like a criminal awaiting the judge’s decision.
Upon seeing the lily-of-the-valley, Zheng Feiluan’s expression was calm, unlike how he instantly flew into a rage last week. Yu Yue knew this meant his approval, and emotionally, she clenched her fist. “Good morning, President Zheng!”
For the first time ever, Zheng Feiluan returned the greeting, and that gentlemanly attitude that Yu Yue had not seen for a long time left her stunned for a while.
“I have a task for you.” Zheng Feiluan took out that frosted perfume bottle. “Everyone working on the fifty-fifth floor, whether man or woman, everyone has to get a bottle of this and carry it around with them. The things around me — incense, hand soap, cleaning solutions… as long as they can be changed, change them to this scent.”
He had never given any explanation for his commands. Long used to it, Yu Yue took the bottle and accepted the task. Once she left the office, she looked down at the image on the bottle, surprise running through her.
The lily of the valley again?
Just now at the florist, when she called Cheng Xiu, in her desperate situation she had caught hold of the words “lily of the valley”. As though grasping at a lifeline, she immediately bought a stalk of the freshest one available, trying her luck. Who would have thought that she would be like a blind cat coming across a dead mouse, and she actually succeeded. It seemed like she would have to buy up all the lilies of the valley from the florist tomorrow.
Yu Yue was staring at the perfume bottle lost in thought, when the stern, frosty scent of an Alpha’s pheromones brushed past her. It was seventy percent sharpness, and thirty percent strength, shooting chills down one’s spine. Shuddering, she turned her head reflexively to see an Alpha in a white shirt stepping into Zheng Feiluan’s office.
In an instant, a silent nuclear explosion happened inside.
Two strikingly different types of Alpha pheromones simultaneously surged thickly through the air, almost like a shockwave that would shatter glass. They were like two lions released into a colosseum, their bloodthirstiness surging out, their bitter hate for each other completely undisguised.
Yu Yue of course knew who the newcomer was. With the perfume bottle, she rapidly withdrew from the battlefield.
The visiting Alpha was over a hundred and eighty-five centimetres tall, and he shared about seventy percent similarity in looks with Zheng Feiluan. One hand in his pocket, he leant against the doorframe, maintaining the farthest possible distance with Zheng Feiluan.
“Why are you here?”
Zheng Feiluan sat back in his leather chair, gazing at this unwelcome guest, his eyes steady yet cold.
The man shot him a smile, lifting his right hand and spreading his fingers out — accompanied by a clear, crisp sound. A shiny, gleaming pendant fell from his palm, stopped by a thin silver chain in midair, swaying side to side.
That was a pendant of qingshui jade in the shape of a teardrop, about the size of a pigeon egg. Unfortunately, an ugly crack had split through it. Crushed diamonds were embedded on one side of the pendant, and the other half, no one knew.
Looking at it, Zheng Feiluan’s expression momentarily darkened even more.
The Alpha collected the pendant back, tucking it into the pocket of his trousers. His long, sharp eyes narrowed slightly, and he smiled. “We’re both Father’s sons, and I have a part in Jiusheng’s business as well. Why can’t I be here?”