The atmosphere became embarrassingly quiet. Lin Yifei had been wiping his hair, seemingly afraid to look at the other.
Chris leaned against the bed as usual and looked at his book.
It took a long time before Lin Yifei said, "Can we not do this next time?"
"Are you scared?" Chris's eyes still didn't leave the book.
"…I'm afraid, come on."
The feeling of being completely controlled frightened him. He was afraid that if Chris took one more step, the two of them would be beyond redemption.
"But I like it."
Lin Yifei looked at him, and found that Chris had curved up his lips.
A week later, due to the adjustment of the competition schedule, Chris's and Rex's individual competition was moved to the morning. Sixteen fencers would drop to eight after the matches. The school still sent a school bus to take them there.
Chris had no match in the first four rounds. He put down his backpack in the locker room then bought a soda from the vending machine in the hallway with Lin Yifei.
"Well, I'll go to the audience and watch your match!" Lin Yifei lifted the Coke in his hand and cheered, "Change to your protective gear earlier!"
Chris went back to the changing room. He opened the locker, put on protective gear, then put gloves on his right hand. Suddenly, his entire body paused.
He slowly pulled out his hand from the glove. A deep mark on his palm showed red blood.
With a clanging sound, the blade fell out of the glove.
At this time, Rex came in after his match and saw Chris standing there. He said with a snort: "You haven't left yet? Be careful of being disqualified for being late."
Chris frowned and took the bandage out of his bag with his left hand. His teeth bit one end of the bandage and wound it up around his hand.
Rex, who was packing, turned his head again. When he saw the slightly bleeding bandage, his cynical smile disappeared.
"How did you hurt your hand! Right before the competition!" Rex came over and was about to examine his wound, but Chris refused.
"Forget it, except for Lin, others are like germs in front of you. Do you want me to call him?" Rex threatened to turn around, but Chris caught him.
"Don't you dare!"
"Why don't I?" Rex showed a funny expression and turned around, which caused the toe of his shoe to hit the blade on the ground.
"He has a match this afternoon. Do you want him to be distracted?"
"Wait," Rex narrowed his eyes. "Did someone deliberately pry your door lock and put a blade in your glove?"
Chris showed a cold face but didn't answer.
"You're really…" Rex sighed and pulled the bandage rudely. "If you don't want Lin to come over, let me help you tie it!"
One didn't know if it was intentional, Rex tightened the bandage so hard that Chris frowned.
"It's impossible to give up on the match based on your personality. Of course, if you abstain, I will find the rest of the match boring." Rex continued to pack up his sports bag then spoke up again after thinking about something, "You can't wear these gloves forever, can you? Lin will definitely know before the team competition this afternoon. So there's no point in keeping it from him."
Chris didn't speak.
"Wait a minute. When you were not in the locker room just now, it seemed that there was a tall guy hovering around your locker." Rex gave him a look. "Think you provoke someone?"
Chris held his sabre and walked out with steady steps, with a tall and straight posture, showing no sign of palm injury.
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Rex also left the changing room and returned to the audience.
Pan gave him a high five. "Congratulations on entering the top eight."
"This is a matter of course." Rex sat down with a smile. Lin Yifei was sitting right beside him.
"Lin, do you think Chris will win?"
"Of course he'll win." Lin Yifei glanced at Rex and his eyes were like, 'What's in your head'?
"Oh, then I look forward to it."
Looking at Chris and his opponent standing at the two ends of the preparation line, Lin Yifei raised his eyebrows.
"Huh? Chris's opponent is that guy?"
"Why? Do you know him?" Rex's interest was aroused.
"…Through the middle school competition from before. There was a small situation. But this guy is far from Chris's standard, so there's nothing to worry about." Lin Yifei laughed. Katherine who sat nearby agreed.
After the referee announced the start of the first match, the big guy took the lead and stab out.
Chris easily defended and fought back. His momentum was overwhelming. He was able to keep his feet at ease. From the big guy's attack to Chris's first strike, it took only six seconds.
Lin Yifei looked at Rex proudly: "Don't you see?"
Rex smiled then propped up his chin.
Chris's attack was a bit impatient and the cutting was very hard.
The big guy was in a mess. This was what Lin Yifei expected. Chris made another attack and the target was the big guy's head. Lin Yifei knew that it was a feint. Chris's real goal should be the other's arm.
Sure enough, the big guy crossed his sabre to try to resist. Chris directly changed his attack and cut on the big guy's arm.
At the moment when the lights lit up, Chris's sabre fell to the ground.
"Ah – " Rex lengthened his voice and looked at Lin Yifei.
"What's going on?"
How did Chris's sabre fall down?
Lin Yifei looked at Rex and lowered his voice to ask, "What do you know? Speak quickly!"
"I do know something, but it's better for you to ask Chris." Rex raised his eyebrows, looking like he wanted a beating.
The match was still going on. Chris's anger became even more obvious after he dropped the sabre just now. Although the big guy was shocked, he didn't give up his resistance and even deliberately stepped up his counterattack.
Lin Yifei narrowed his eyes and asked Rex on the side coldly, "Is his hand hurt?"
Rex touched his chin and replied, "You two really know each other well!"
"How did he get hurt?" Lin Yifei's eyes were fixed on the field. He squeezed out this question between his teeth.
"Your tone is more and more like Chris now."
At the end of the second set, there came a one minute rest.
Chris was sitting in a chair with his head tilted back, when he unexpectedly saw Lin Yifei in the audience. Although some distance apart, he could see the worry on Lin Yifei's face.
During the opening of the final game, Chris drew a semicircle in the air with his sabre point. These last three minutes almost became Chris's personal show. The anger from the last two games had faded. He's now completely cold. The act between lifting the sabre and swinging the sabre, plus the coldness of the thrusting, made people unable to notice any injury on his palm.
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After he cut his last sabre on the other side's mask, he ended the last game with great victory.
15-9, a big win.
Chris took off his mask and gave the other a cold look.
"It's really ugly. After using such despicable means, the result is still a big loss." Rex commented with slight disdain.
When Chris left, Lin Yifei rushed out of the audience and hurried to the changing room.
He came to the door and watched Chris slowly taking off his gloves while facing the locker.
"Chris!" Lin Yifei quickly walked in.
"You found out."
"How can I not find out?!"
If there's no injury on your hand, what else can make you drop your sabre?
Lin Yifei pulled Chris's palm and looked at the deep red liquid seeping out of the white bandage. After carefully untying it, red drops fell to the ground. Lin Yifei gasped.
"Did you have an accident! Why didn't you find a doctor to deal with the deep wound?!"
"It's not that serious." Chris flicked the tip of Lin Yifei's nose with his other problem-free hand. "I want you to concentrate on this afternoon's match. If you do well, I'll see a doctor."
"If I can't do well, you won't go see a doctor?" Lin Yifei's voice rose, with anger in it.
"Won't you do well?" Chris's mouth slightly sank down. He raised his hand. "Can you wrap it up first?"
Lin Yifei looked at him. His anger suddenly had no outlet, so he began to bind the hand up carefully.
At this time, the big guy came in.
Lin Yifei mercilessly glared at him.
The big guy didn't say a word and packed up his things. He seemed to want to say something, but endured it all this time. Only after closing the locker door did he finally open his mouth and said.
"I didn't put the blade in Chris Osborne's glove."
Lin Yifei snorted coldly. If it's not you, how do you know that Chris's palm was scratched by a blade, and how do you know that the blade was placed in the glove?
"When I was in the locker room, Leiden from Merlin High School came in. I heard people in our school say that Leiden is good at picking locker and putting blades in opponents' gloves. So I was curious about the place where Leiden went to. I was afraid that he might hit my teammate, but since it's Chris's locker and not my teammate, I didn't say anything. After all it's just a rumor. It doesn't necessarily mean that Leiden really put a blade in."
The big guy finished saying this then went out.
Lin Yifei frowned. "But in today's individual competition, Chris's opponent isn't Leiden!"
"But the team competition is against Merlin High School." Chris frowned and knocked on Lin Yifei's locker door. "Open the locker!"
Lin Yifei opened the locker. Chris took out his gloves and frenziedly shook them. Indeed as expected, a blade fell out and made an especially loud clanging noise against the ground.
"How…how did this happen?" Lin Yifei was shocked. He knew that some people would do anything to win, but this was really the first time he saw such a thing as this.
"Tell Pan and Rex to come back and check their gloves."
Pan was a little surprised when he heard the news. After all, he had participated in the high school fencing competition three times, including this one. It's the first time that he met such a thing.
"Should we tell the organizing committee?" Pan had a headache.
"Tell the organizing committee? What do you give as evidence? Is there anyone's fingerprint on the blade? Does it mean that all those who participate in the competition should be investigated? It's almost time for the match, so there's no use telling the organizing committee now." Rex was very pragmatic. Luckily, he changed into his protective gear long before Chris's competition, otherwise maybe his palm would the same as Chris's now.
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