With his eyes closed, Lin Yifei was half asleep as he ran along the street. A few minutes later, he stopped at the side of the road and made a gesture of asking for water from Mark. The other party immediately handed him a bottle of mineral water.
After pouring down a few mouthfuls, Lin Yifei felt more awake.
“Lin, I know you hate us forcing you like this every day.” Mark said flatly.
“You’re also doing this for my own good.” Even though it doesn’t matter whether I like it or not.
“Philip and I like fencing, but we don’t have Katherine’s or your talent, much less Chris’s. It’s impossible for us to become world-famous on TV.” Mark lifted up his head and looked at the sky through the treetops. “Look at the sun, it’s so bright when it first rises. Yet, I can look directly at it without any cover. But it will gradually shine more brilliantly. By then I can only look down at my shadow.”
Mark’s words made Lin Yifei’s eyes a little hot.
“I never expect to be the sun. But if I can accompany the sun and lower my head once it becomes dazzling, I will also feel very proud.”
Lin Yifei took a deep breath and said with a smile, “I’m not the sun, so there won’t be a day when your eyes will hurt looking at me.”
With that, he ran forward.
Even if one day I have a brilliance that no one else has, I will still remember who gives me all this.
In this way, Lin Yifei, while studying like a middle school student, was walking towards a certain direction of his life.
Soon, another weekend came, which meant the semi-final.
Lin Yifei came to the fencing hall and ran into Chris in the dressing room. The lockers of the two boys were right next to each other.
“Hey…” Lin Yifei, who was used to these match scenes, was naturally not nervous when he saw Chris.
Chris had changed into his protective gear and was methodically sorting his gloves while staring at Lin Yifei by the locker.
After he took off his clothes and changed into protective gear, Chris suddenly stopped him.
“What’s the matter?” Lin Yifei stopped wearing his gloves.
Chris half knelt down in front of him and touched his shoe with his finger to help him tie the loose shoelace. Lin Yifei looked down at Chris’s head stupidly. Suddenly, a strong emotion overflowed his chest.
“The final must be you and me.” Chris looked up. There was a force in his eyes that made it impossible to question what he said.
The two boys walked side by side to the competition field and clapped each other before they separating.
Lin Yifei arrived at the edge of the court and put on his mask. He then held his sabre, closed his eyes and stood upright. Soon, all of the noise in his head went far away. Only his opponent at the other end of the preparation line appeared in his eyes.
After the referee’s ‘Allez’, Lin Yifei didn’t test his opponent too much. Instead, he steadied himself firmly when his opponent defended and counterattacked. Even when he retreated to the edge of the court, he calmly counterattacked and scored with his sabre.
His opponent should be a ninth-grade student with mature and lethal sabre skills. Lin Yifei evaded the heavy attacks and ignored the light ones. He always fought back and scored when the opponent’s offensive was at its fiercest, which also made the match climaxed after climaxed.
In the audience, Kevin propped up his head and looked at Lin Yifei’s stance. His teammate smiled. “Why do I think that you’re infatuated with that middle school student?”
“Am I?” Kevin asked slowly, but his eyes didn’t move from the field.
“Well, he’s really outstanding among these children, but if his opponent is you, you can get him in one set.”
At this point, the first round was over and there was a one-minute break. Chris’s match continued for the last ten seconds. His attack was not only quick, but also accurate in its angle and intensity as if calculated by computer. He hit the other side’s left shoulder with his sabre and scored right at the end of the match.
Kevin lifted up his head and narrowed his eyes slightly.
“Rhett, have you ever thought that ten years later, when I’m 28 years old and at my golden age of fencing, these two children will just be 24 years old. They will be full of ambition and accumulated experience. Their sabres will point toward my throne.”
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Rhett laughed. “You’re one of our rare talents in England. Are you still worried that someone will challenge your throne?”
Kevin curved up his lip and smiled while his gaze became deep, “It’s because fencing doesn’t require you to be a king. You can see the beginning but can’t guess the ending. That’s its real charm.”
At the beginning of the second set, Lin Yifei was suppressed by the other side for the first 20 seconds. The other side’s attack was fierce but rhythmic. Lin Yifei could only speed up his resistance and kept looking for opportunities to win back the rhythm. Unfortunately, he was still a little short. At the moment when he was preparing to defend and counterattack, the other side hit him on the shoulder to score. The score at this time was 8 to 8.
Lin Yifei jumped twice and took a deep breath. At this point, he finally understood Chris’s and Katherine’s good intentions. There were many talented people in this large world. He wasn’t the only one. Look at Chris, when he was in New York, how could he be Lin Yifei’s rival? But in less than two years, his odds of winning against Chris were already halved, maybe even a little less than half.
After adjusting his breathing, Lin Yifei began to adjust his pace. In the moment when the other party’s feet and hands failed to coordinate properly, he was fatally injured by Lin Yifei. With a sudden shock, he moved forward quickly, fending off Lin Yifei’s attack in a scattered way. As the result, Lin Yifei’s sabre cut on his arm without any suspense. In the next two minutes, after losing a point, Lin Yifei calmly took back two points from his opponent. By the third set, the gap between the two teenagers were also getting larger. Lin Yifei’s momentum became overwhelming. The other side’s heart became confused. His rhythm and initiative were taken away. Although the defense was still strong, there would be no scoring without an attack. After a long time of defending his attacks, Lin Yifei changed his strategy and disrupted the other’s defense to win his spot in the semi-final.
When the referee announced the end of the match, Lin Yifei had to look up and breathe for a while.
Great, Chris! We can finally meet in the final!
Once he took off the mask, Lin Yifei’s smile went up. Katherine and they in the audience hugged each other with joy. If it wasn’t for the silence rule in fencing, they would have cheered together.
After more than ten seconds later, Chris’s side was over.
Looking at him holding his mask and clasping his sabre with a disdainful expression, Lin Yifei knew that this guy must have won.
The two met again in the dressing room. Lin Yifei took off his protective gear and put it in his bag, while Chris came in to open his locker. Lin Yifei was about to say something when the other party put a towel on his face.
“Fool, you will catch a cold if you don’t dry your head after sweating.”
“Mmm.” Lin Yifei toweled his hair joyfully until his whole head became a bird’s nest.
Chris packed his bag and looked at Lin Yifei’s. His whole bag was a mess. Mineral water, chocolate and protective gear were all packed together. He stretched out his hand to put the odds and ends of the small things in the bag’s compartments, then folded the protective gear and put it at the bottom. He also put away Lin Yifei’s gloves, then placed his mask on top before zipping the bag and took it out of the locker to carry on his shoulder.
“Let’s go.” Chris took Lin Yifei’s hand and pulled him out of the dressing room.
Lin Yifei’s head was covered with a towel. Only Chris and his hand swinging together appeared in front of his sight. Somehow, he hoped that this road could be longer, the longer the better.
If we never grow up, we will never have to find the answers to those complicated questions.
Before arriving at the exit, Katherine and they were already waiting for Lin Yifei. Katherine’s hand was even holding a bouquet of lilies.
This made Lin Yifei happy. “Ha ha, Katherine, you bought me flowers!”
Katherine immediately showed the expression of ‘you’re deluded’. “Someone handed it to me and said that they saw you go to dinner with us after every match. They judge that we’re your friends and ask me to hand it over to you.”
(T/N: In the Chinese raw, no pronounce is used. So it’s not indicated whether the person is male or female. Here, to make the sentence make sense, I use the neutral term ‘they’.)
“Hah? I have a fan so soon?” Lin Yifei reached for the bouquet of flowers and didn’t notice Chris’s slightly puckered eyebrows behind him.
There was a small card in the flower with a row of flowery English script (T/N: cursive writing): Your competition is great. I look forward to meeting you in a competition one day.
No signature, but Lin Yifei was extremely happy. “Ha ha, maybe it’s from a beautiful woman!”
Katherine sighed helplessly: “You read clearly. The other side said that they expect to meet you one day on the court. Don’t tell me that you’ll take part in the women’s sabre competition! The other party is obviously a man.”
Sure enough, Lin Yifei’s face showed the expression of broken dreams.
“What will you do later?” Mark asked.
“Ah, my cousin came to visit. I have to accompany him this afternoon.” Katherine looked slightly sorry.
“It doesn’t matter. I have other things to do.”
“What is it? Going on a date with Chris?” Philip artlessly joked.
“That’s right!” Lin Yifei put his arms around Chris and acted like an innocent girl. “We’re going to George Washington University!”
“What are you doing there?”
“Don’t you know? This month, the fencing team from Cambridge University came to the United States. They were originally scheduled to go to New York but ended up coming to Washington first to play a friendly match with the fencing team from George Washington University.” Lin Yifei with a cheerful appearance said, “How can such a rare opportunity be missed!”
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“But to see the match requires tickets issued by the university. Do you have it?” Katherine’s expression seemed to say ‘don’t think about sneaking in’.
“Of course I have tickets!” Lin Yifei took his bag from Chris’s shoulder and rummaged through it to find a small pack. “Look, there’re originally five. Katherine, are you going to use one?”
“Go, why not!” Katherine grabbed a ticket. “Cambridge fencing team has world-class standard, so one would be a fool not to watch. But Lin, how did you get these tickets?”
T/N: For anyone who might be confused, the author seemed to have fast forward the time. I guess it’s been two years since Chris left New York with his father.
On another note, I changed my website appearance! How is it? Definitely let me know if something is out wack or annoying.
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