When Lin Yifei came to the court, Chris was ready. He was wearing a mask and stood at the other end of the line, while neatly holding a sabre to salute sharply but gracefully.
The two took their stance. Aside from the sounds of their heartbeats, the entire fencing hall was silent.
As the referee signaled the start of the match, all of Lin Yifei’s upset mood was forgotten.
Only attacking could grab the initiative and score points. Lin Yifei suddenly stabbed the other side. Of course, he knew that Chris would parry. When the other side resisted him, he already thought of the next move and thrusted at the other’s shoulder. If Chris could be hit in this way, he wouldn’t be Chris. Lin Yifei shifted his sabre to cut Chris’s arm at the moment when the other side parried to defend. These three attacks were closely linked and couldn’t be prevented.
However, Chris not only successfully defended, but also suddenly suppressed Lin Yifei and hit his body with a lunge.
At that moment, he was like the god of death who wielded the power of war, attacking Lin Yifei with a sickle-like fate.
Lin Yifei, who tried to resist, failed to evade the speed and staggered back two steps after being hit. This attack made Lin Yifei fully realize Chris’s imposing manner, which was completely different from what he usually felt as an audience. During this time, Lin Yifei had the illusion that his muscles would be cut open and his blood would splash. Two seconds later, Lin Yifei came back to his senses.
The referee motioned for the match to continue. Chris’s sabre drew a semicircle in the air and returned to his original stance.
Lin Yifei touched the tip of his sabre. The match continued. With the same attack, Lin Yifei’s move became faster. Chris couldn’t find the opportunity to fight back. His tip flashed across Chris’s hilt. After an almost score, it was blocked by Chris again. But no one could see the faint smile on Lin Yifei’s lip. With a sideway swipe, the tip skillfully bypassed Chris’s body and stabbed him in the shoulder between the small gap.
The audience hissed and then quieted down.
The sabre looked breathtaking. Chris knew that Lin Yifei was determined to win.
Afterward, each attack could be taken for granted. Both of them had aggressive momentum. Every move was to take advantage of the other’s flaws.
Katherine, Phillip and Mark who sat in the audience already clenched their hands. This competition was challenging their nerves.
When the final round came, the score between Lin Yifei and Chris was 10-11. The gap between them wasn’t big.
“I will beat you.” As he walked towards the preparation line, Chris whispered low enough that only Lin Yifei could hear him.
Lin Yifei gently smiled and thought that his guy was so confident that it’s hateful.
As soon as they started, Chris took the initiative to attack. For the first time, Lin Yifei felt such unbridled onslaught, as if he wanted to leave no gap for evasion. But Lin Yifei still calmly blocked every sabre that came. At this moment, Chris completely occupied the rhythm. This feeling of being subverted was stronger than that of Kevin Phil in the fencing hall that day.
Lin Yifei didn’t deliberately get back the rhythm, but gradually slowed down his pace of retreat along with Chris’s attack. When the two teenagers reached the same rhythm, Lin Yifei began to fight back. Chris, sensing this, turned his wrist flexibly. He grazed Lin Yifei’s sabre and stabbed Lin Yifei at great risk. The result of this move was that the two hit each other almost at the same time.
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The referee motioned for them to separate. Lin Yifei returned to the preparation line and shifted his leg. He vaguely realized that Chris had stabbed him first. Sure enough, after two or three seconds, the referee decided that Chris scored. However, Lin Yifei didn’t feel depressed. On the contrary, there was a burning sensation in him. All of his blood flowed to his fingertips. After that, both sides worked hard and scored alternately. Clearly, their focus was high strung like a string that could be snapped in the next second, but Lin Yifei didn’t feel any fatigue.
Chris’s attack was aimed to kill. After Lin Yifei resisted, he looked for a chance to counterattack. The whole venue only sounded the clashing of sabres. The closer it was to the end, the more Lin Yifei understood that if he wanted to win against Chris, he couldn’t rely on calculating every step accurately, because Chris would always move out of his plan. Fencing wasn’t like playing chess. It’s important to plan step by step, but it’s even more crucial to react instantly when the deadly sabre came.
With 30 seconds left in the match, Chris was two points ahead of Lin Yifei. Under such circumstances, Lin Yifei had to score another point before the match could go into overtime.
Lin Yifei seized an opportunity to reverse Chris’s sharp offensive and kept thrusting and cutting in an orderly way. Chris’s resistance was very effective. The two were deadlocked. Lin Yifei side stepped at a crucial moment. Chris’s cut swept past his arm while Lin Yifei’s tip stabbed him in the chest. Almost at the same moment, Chris withdrew his sabre. With the speed that no one else could have reacted, ‘pa–’, Lin Yifei’s sabre bounced off.
Right at this time, the referee announced the end of the match. Lin Yifei took a deep breath and slowly untied his mask.
The two shook hands with each other. Chris’s expression was calm. “I said that I would beat you.”
Lin Yifei lowered his head and smiled, “Can you not affect my next match? I have to keep second place.”
“Nobody here is your opponent except for me.” Chris let go of Lin Yifei and walked smartly off the court.
In the audience, Rhett finally breathed out a sigh of relief, “Ah, is this really a middle school student competition? What a thrilling scene that was!”
“Lin Yifei’s final attack was classic and Chris’s defense was impeccable.” This was Kevin’s final comment.
“Your little darling lost. Don’t you have to comfort him?” Rhett raised his brow.
“I’m going.” Kevin smiled slightly. He put his coat on his arm and left the audience.
In the dressing room, Lin Yifei opened the mineral water and showered it on his head. Soon, the footsteps in the corridor made his heart hung up again. Chris walked into the locker room. His left hand was holding a mask and his right hand was holding a sabre. He stood silently beside Lin Yifei’s locker. His back was straight. He opened the wardrobe and began to tidy up his things.
The water trickled down from Lin Yifei’s hair. He waited with his head down. Perhaps Chris would cover his head with a towel like last time. Then Lin Yifei would ask him if he would watch his next match, in which he would win the second or third place. That way, they would have a chance to break the strange deadlock.
But Chris didn’t even look at him. He picked up his bag and left.
Lin Yifei sighed and went to the door after tidying up. He lowered his head and still remembered Chris’s indifference.
“Are you depressed losing to Chris Osborne?” A melodious voice instantly let Lin Yifei snapped back.
“Kevin…” Lin Yifei was a little surprised. “You came to…watch my match?”
“Yes, after this afternoon’s competition, you will enter the national top 16.” Kevin walked toward Lin Yifei.
“Ha ha, I just lost a match. Can you still have such confidence in me?” Lin Yifei laughed.
“Yes, does this need God’s permission?” Kevin’s smile possessed a kind of affinity. It let Lin Yifei depressed mood subsided. The two people talked and laughed to the outside of the fencing hall.
Behind them, a young teenager leaned against the wall at the corner. His fingers clenched. His eyes looked straight at the empty front. It took him a long time to loosen his fist and closed his eyes.
Once Katherine found out that Kevin would be eating with them, her pink bubbles were almost floating in the air. When Kevin asked them what they wanted to eat, almost all of them raised their hands and said ‘McDonald’s’.
Although Kevin didn’t eat fast food a lot, he thought that since he’s with a group of children, he should follow their wish. It’s just strange that Katherine didn’t order a Big Mac, just a pie and French fries. Philip proudly teared down her mask, “Katherine! You’ll be hungry in the afternoon if you eat this little! At least two hamburgers is your usual appetite!” After his voice fell, everyone laughed immediately. Katherine’s face was red. She mercilessly stared Philip, who made a fool of her in front of her idol!
While eating, Lin Yifei felt lost. He was used to holding hamburger in one hand and putting his other hand around Chris.
“What’s the matter? Isn’t this what you like to eat?” Kevin lowered his head and stared into Lin Yifei’s eyes.
“Oh, no, it’s delicious.”
On the contrary, Katherine seemed to think of something, “Lin, did you really quarrel with Chris that guy? The competition is over. Why didn’t he come to have dinner with you?”
“Yes…” Mark and Philip also feel a little strange. “Are you angry that he won?”
“How is it possible? Am I that stingy? There is something going on in his family!” Lin Yifei retorted.
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At this time, Chen Manman rode her bicycle outside of McDonald’s and rushed in. She looked around and finally found Lin Yifei and them.
“Brother…Brother Yifei…” Manman appeared nervous.
“What’s the matter?” Lin Yifei looked at Manman’s face and asked her to relax first.
“Uncle…Uncle Lin had an accident! Your mom wants you to come to St. Anthony’s hospital at once!” Chen Manman finally finished her speech in one breath.
“What…” Lin Yifei stood up. His French fries fell all over the floor.
“Hurry to the hospital!” Mark, Phillip and Katherine reacted.
“I’ll send you.” Kevin also got up.
T/N: Stay home and stay safe guys, especially if you’re in the US.
It’s ironic how I learned about the 1992 LA Riots in college, but now I’m actually seeing it live on a way larger scale 😓😓😓 It’s super scary. Shame on those people who took advantage of the protests to vandalize other people’s businesses.
BTW, if you need an example of how to make a motivational speech, check out Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s address. Dang, but she’s so cool!
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