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Chapter 1: Liu Ye’s Past

"Hey kid, our boss wants to talk to you. Be good and get in."

The sky was dark when Liu Ye encountered a hindrance on his way back home. A black limousine stopped next to the sidewalk as three men in black suits came out with electric batons in their hands.

They gestured at the open door but Liu Ye only gave it a casual glance and continued walking as if he didn't hear them. The takeout food he carried would get cold if he didn't get home soon.

Too bad, they didn't appreciate the favor he granted them.

"Hey! I said get in!" the man nearest to him yelled in annoyance and quickly blocked Liu Ye's way. He aimed his baton directly at Liu Ye's head, causing him to finally stop.

"You must be new, right?" Liu Ye asked calmly, placing his food down on the sidewalk.

"Huh?" The man was taken aback by the question but Liu Ye didn't give him a chance to follow up.

"You must be new or else you would know you shouldn't aim anything at my face," Liu Ye explained as he slowly rolled up his sleeves. "Just look at your friends."

"Wait! Watch ou—"

The moment the man glanced over Liu Ye's shoulders, he was already on the move. The warning from the black suits came a little too late.

Liu Ye closed the distance with a leap and grasped the baton, his punch flying at the exposed elbow.

Crack!

It snapped like a dry branch, but Liu Ye had no mercy in his crystal-blue eyes. His knee was already at the man's stomach before he could even scream from pain.

"Ugh!"

That grunt was the last sound he made before he fell on the ground, leaving Liu Ye armed with his newly-snatched electric baton.

"Who's next?"

Liu Ye's cold gaze, combined with the juggling of the baton, was enough to cause chaos in his opponents' minds.

They had met him before.

They knew their chances of bringing him down dropped to zero the moment he acquired a weapon.

"That's enough." A sweet but stern female voice came from inside of the black limousine. "Get inside. I will give you a lift."

"My parents taught me not to talk to strangers, much less enter their cars," Liu Ye replied with a nonchalant face. "I will walk."

In response, the tinted window rolled down and Liu Ye saw a polished barrel aiming at him. He would never mistake the graceful hand holding the pistol, especially the dragon bracelet which only the heir of the local triad could wear.

Xu Yue, the daughter of the Red Dragon President.

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"I don't think you have a choice," she called out playfully while gesturing at the door. "Get in."

Anyone who had met her at least once knew she wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger if he tried to run.

"Fine." Liu Ye gave in and threw the electric baton at the men in black suits before entering the limousine with his bag of takeout food.

"Take care of the new guy. I will come pick you up later," Xu Yue called out to her bodyguards before the door closed automatically and the car slowly drove away.

Liu Ye had her full attention as she looked at his body up and down.

"Sit next to me," Xu Yue ordered. She put down her gun and exchanged it for the half-finished glass of wine beside her. "Want some too?"

It was a rare sight to witness Xu Yue offer anyone a drink and it was unbelievable to see that lucky person ignore her gesture.

Even stranger, Xu Yue continued smiling despite being blatantly rejected.

"What do you want?" Liu Ye asked with the same deadpan expression he wore towards her bodyguards. Although her beauty was desired by all, he didn't even spare her body a glance. He gazed directly into her eyes, as unflinching and unyielding as he had always been.

"What other reason do I need? I just missed you," Xu Yue replied, her voice gentle as she bent over, her soft body leaning on her armrest. "Did you miss me too?"

Her traditional black qipao dress did no justice to the cleavage hiding underneath, but her ample chest created a seductive curve any man would give anything to caress.

Any man beside Liu Ye.

"I guess not," Xu Yue answered on her own after hearing no response to her teasing. After taking a sip, she placed her wine glass to the side and began drawing on his arm with her perfectly lacquered nail.

"I want you back."

"No," Liu Ye replied without hesitation, brushing her hand away. "I will not work for your family again."

Xu Yue pursed her lips and suddenly slipped the armrest back, breaking the barrier between their seats. Her perfectly sculpted waist and hips were now in his full view.

"You see…" Xu Yue began as she moved closer to him, skillfully maneuvering her two graceful legs across his own. "I actually wanted to partner with you for my project but my father messed up my plans. I didn't want to force you to return but now I'm required to bring you back."

Her left thigh was fully exposed through the high cut of her qipao. Before he could react, she had tangled their legs together to prevent him from pushing her away.

Liu Ye lifted his eyes to meet her gaze once more.

"And why is that?" he asked with a frown. "I already paid off my parents' debt. I don't owe your family anything."

He didn't like where this was going. No one knew the struggle—how much blood he had shed and how many near-death experiences he had encountered—in order to escape his dark past and return to normality, yet it seemed this woman was here to bring the nightmares back.

Xu Yue took her time to reply, simply playing with his short black hair as she collected her thoughts.

"You... know you were my first, right? You took everything I was supposed to give to my future husband, including the most important one," Xu Yue reminded, her expression somewhat distracted and anxious. "If my Dad learns about us, you will either have to marry me or be a cold corpse in no time."

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Liu Ye squinted his eyes but Xu Yue swiftly clarified.

"I'm not threatening you, okay? I will not lower myself to blackmail to make you mine. I'm just putting it out there so you don't forget it. We are riding the same boat."

Liu Ye kept silent, aware that she had more to say.

"What I meant is something different. Your sister's hospital bills were brought up today," Xu Yue finally revealed. She was looking down as if to avoid his gaze. "Back then I covered them for you, but I made the mistake of using my family's money instead of mine. Today, my father questioned me about it."

Liu Ye's heart sank as his old pains resurfaced in his mind. The main reason he had accepted Xu Yue's advances was not because he was tempted by her beauty, but because of his desperation.

Since he had been working his ass off to clear his deceased parents' debt, he had saved little and had no extra money to his name. One day, his precious little sister collapsed and fell sick with a rare disease that required expensive medical attention.

"What did you tell them?" Liu Ye questioned but Xu Yue remained silent, hiding her face behind her long straight hair.

Liu Ye reached out and uncovered it before casually lifting her chin. She was forced to look into his eyes. This time, she didn't avoid his gaze.

"You know, you are the only man that ever touched me this way," Xu Yue muttered softly, completely different from her usual cold self. She held onto his hand and let her cheek lay against his palm.

"Tell me the truth," Liu Ye urged. He knew that the situation was critical. One bad move and his sister could be in danger.

"To hide what happened between us, I told him that I simply paid you in advance to work for me. He only accepted it because he knows you are one of the best," Xu Yue explained honestly. "If I told him the truth, he would force you to work for him and I know you would hate that."

"It's fine. It could be worse," Liu Ye sighed in relief. "I will pay you back the full amount. How much is it?"

"It was around 1 Million but money is not the issue. It was a gift and you don't owe me anything," Xu Yue shook her head helplessly. "The problem is that my father expects you to work for me by tomorrow and if you ignore me, I don't know how am I going to explain it."

"I already promised to myself that I'm done with that world. I will not risk my sister's life by joining the underworld again." Liu Ye's tone allowed no argument. "As for the debt, I will pay you back. I was already thinking to return all the money you lent me."

"I knew you would say that. How about you work for me then?" Xu Yue suggested in return. "I actually joined a secret project that will change the world. It has nothing to do with my family and it will help me get away from them. I want you to be part of it."

The limousine stopped in front of his apartment building but Liu Ye remained seated. "What kind of project? For how long?"

It would be strange if he wasn't interested given who Xu Yue was. As long as it wasn't dangerous or involved the underworld, he didn't mind cooperating with her. It was the power behind her that he hated, not her in particular.

Xu Yue decided to remain secretive as she finally moved back to her seat.

"I can't tell you any details now but I already sent the package with instructions to your place. Your sister will be happy you can spend more time with her at home," Xu Yue explained as she also passed him a black debit card. "Also, you won't need this for long, but this is your employee benefit. You can use this card for your daily expenses."

Liu Ye squinted his eyes but he didn't complain, taking the card with him. He knew her well. If she wanted to tell him more details, he would not even need to ask.

As if reading what's on his mind, Xu Yue took another sip of her wine. "I know you are suspicious but don't worry, I would not ask you to risk your life or do anything dangerous. All I ask you to do is pretend you are working for me for the next week and everything will sort itself afterward."

"Just a week?" Liu Ye asked confused. "Will your father be satisfied with that?"

Xu Yue shrugged in response. "He won't have a choice by then. Just trust me and go back home. You will want to join the project without needing me to force you."

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"I'm leaving."

Liu Ye got off the limousine without forgetting the bag of food for dinner.

Sure enough, when Liu Ye entered his apartment, he spotted a big square box by the entrance. There was a pink card folded on top of it. He only needed a glance to see the elegant handwriting in the middle.

'To my baby, Liu Ye'

He couldn't help but roll his eyes and instead entered the lobby in search of his angel. There wasn't anyone in this world who deserved his love more than his little sister.

"Zhenzhen?" Liu Ye questioned as he entered the dining room. The little beauty sitting by the table immediately stood up.

"Big Bro!"

For as long as he could remember, the way his sister welcomed him home had never changed—a warm greeting that was always accompanied with a jump hug and a neck squeeze. Although Liu Zhenzhen was just one year younger than him, she loved to act like a cute little koala.

"How are you?" Liu Ye asked casually as he placed her down. "I brought us foo—"

He stopped himself midway when he noticed some leftovers in the kitchen.

"You are late. What time do you think it is? It's already quarter to ten, you know," his sister replied as she gave him a knowing stare. "Your girlfriend already ordered dinner for us not too long ago."

"Girlfriend…?" Liu Ye repeated in surprise, before taking another look at the box by the entrance. It seemed the box had been personally delivered. "Xu Yue was here?"

He should not have said that.

"Aha! So you two are really dating!" his little sister called out, her mouth twisted in an exaggerated pout. "I don't like that you have been hiding it from me for so long."

"It's not like that." Liu Ye shook his head, but then he paused, realizing he couldn't tell her the truth.

"It's complicated."

"It's complicated."

They both said those words at the same time.

"I know, Xu Yue told me the same. I was really touched when she revealed everything," his little sister expressed with deep regret. "To think you two have to hide your love because of her family."

"Love, huh…" Liu Ye muttered under his breath. "What else did she tell you?"

"Let's see. Well, she also told me that you will be working with her from now on. That way, it will allow you two to meet more often. Ahh, I'm really happy for you two! Xu Yue is such a sweet girl," his little sister expressed dreamily. "Anyway, you shouldn't slack just because you are dating your own boss. You are running out of time. It's almost ten. You can't be late!"

"What do you mean? Late for what?" Liu Ye was confused. He didn't even know what his work was, much less the time he'd be starting.

"Huh? She didn't tell you the launch is today? You only have ten minutes left. What are you waiting for? Go unpack the package and get ready!" Liu Zhenzhen scolded as she took the bag of food in his hand before pushing him towards the box. "Tsk, she even wrote you a sweet note and you didn't even read it. I don't know which gods did you send prayers to for you to get such a thoughtful girlfriend."

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Liu Ye couldn't stop his curiosity anymore. He picked up Xu Yue's note but just as he read the first two sentences, his eyes were already wide open.

"Xu Yue… You…"

Avatar Online Chapter 1: Liu Ye’s Past
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