“But few people can behave like him. His likes and dislikes are clear. He won’t hide his thoughts because of some hypocritical things like etiquette and manners.” Rex lifted up his mouth and looked at Lin Yifei. “He’s not good toward the entire world, only toward some people or a certain someone.”

Lin Yifei didn’t expect Rex to see these qualities in Chris.

“Why do you show such an expression? Chris is my opponent on the court and in love. If I want to beat him, I have to know him more than he knows me.”

At this point, Chris saw Lin Yifei chatting with Rex very attentively. He was ready to walk up to them, but Elizabeth was unwilling and continued to stand in front of him.

“Do you want to stay in Chinatown during winter vacation?”

Chris walked to the side to bypass her, but Elizabeth hugged him.

Now, it’s difficult for everyone to ignore both of them.

“Why did Uncle send me to the girl boarding school? He neither let me go home nor let my parents come to see me! You also ignore me! Why?!”

Chris broke Elizabeth’s hands and told her, “Go back to school.”

Elizabeth still looked at Chris’s back. She then left his back and stared at Lin Yifei. Her eyes seemed to accuse him of robbing her cousin.

“Let’s go change.” Chris came to Lin Yifei’s side. His cold front swept Rex with a hint of warning.

Elizabeth bit her lips. If she stayed like this, she would only lose face. But her tears couldn’t help flowing down. She choked back her sobs and ran out of the fencing hall.

Lin Yifei sighed and glanced at the pair of high heels that Chris had just placed beside his seat.

“Wait for me at the cafeteria.” Lin Yifei took off his protective gear and sent them into Chris’s arms. He then picked up the pair of high heels and ran out.

He didn’t mean to sympathize with Elizabeth. He knew that Chris’s indifference was because he’s too straightforward. He never hid his likes or dislikes. But Lin Yifei didn’t want Chris to offend everyone who cared about him and liked him. He would enter society* one day. While Chris could still thrust others unabashedly like this, he might also get stabbed back one day.

Outside of the fencing hall, Elizabeth finally shed tears on her face and ruined her makeup. While stepping down the stairs, she realized that she had left her shoes in the fencing hall, but she didn’t want to go back. The eyes of those people and Chris’s attitude hurt her self-esteem.

“Liz.” Lin Yifei stopped her.

Elizabeth didn’t look back but walked more decisively down the stairs.

“Liz, if you walk around the school without your shoes on, more people will stare at you.” Lin Yifei knew that she had lost face and didn’t want to face him.

Elizabeth stopped without looking back.

Lin Yifei squatted down beside her. He placed the shoes by her feet then lifted her ankles to help her put them on.

“In fact, you shouldn’t wear shoes with such high heels.”

“Why? Are you afraid of me stepping on the floor of your fencing hall? Chris hates me, so everything I do is wrong!”

“It’s not about the fencing hall floor. You’re not even 16 years old. You won’t grow tall if you wear high heels too early.”

Lin Yifei stood up slowly, “Go home early. I believe that Mr. Osborne sent you to the girl boarding school to give you a better education. He’ll be disappointed if he finds out that you skipped class to come here.”

“Lin, do you know how much I hate you!” Elizabeth reluctantly lifted up the corners of her mouth. Her eyebrows wrinkled with the radian of heartache.

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“I know.”

“I’m his cousin. We live in the same house. From childhood to now, no matter how I approach him, all I get is his indifference.”

“Why do you care so much? Mr. Osborne is Chris’s father, but they aren’t very close either?”

“What about you? Chris did a lot of things for you that he wouldn’t normally do!” Elizabeth suddenly grabbed Lin Yifei by the shoulder. He never thought that a girl’s finger would be so strong.

“Tell me! What method did you use? Tell me, why don’t you?!” Elizabeth asked with tears in her eyes.

“Come on, Liz! I didn’t use any method. Maybe it’s just that I met Chris when he was poor and stayed with him through that difficult time!” Lin Yifei frowned and took Elizabeth’s hand away.

Elizabeth took a step back and looked at Lin Yifei. “No matter what method you use, Chris belongs to the Osbornes’ family. So do I.”

(T/N: well, technically your last name is Taylor)

At that moment, she seemed to think of something and restored her proud princess appearance. She left with her head held high.

Lin Yifei knew that whatever Elizabeth thought was beyond his control. He smiled and went to the cafeteria where Chris was already waiting for him.

He looked at the dinner plate. It was full of the food and vegetables that he liked.

“Chris…do you know what my favorite fruit is?”

“Watermelon.”

“My favorite book?”

“You don’t like reading.”

“…Then my favorite star?”

“Your favorite female star is Julia Roberts. Your favorite male star is Matt Damon and your favorite fencing star is Giulio Gaudini.”

Lin Yifei tilted his head and asked, “Chris, how can you remember my preferences so clearly?”

“Did Elizabeth say something to you?”

“Yes,” Lin Yifei lowered his head and fiddled with the vegetables on his plate, “You know almost everything about me, but you can’t be kind to your cousin. You are so kind to me that everyone else is jealous.”

“There will be a holiday soon.” Chris didn’t want to continue this topic.

“Yes, I’m going home to spend some time with my parents.” Lin Yifei smiled and added, “We have to practice hard because the national competition is next semester.”

“Yifei, I will be strong enough, so just only look at me.”

“Mmm.”

Lin Yifei paused and looked up at Chris with a calm expression.

Fool, I have long been used to only looking at you.

At the weekend’s Washington regional finals, the men’s sabre event will naturally be the battleground between Chris and Rex. The situation was extremely tense, but Chris looked calm and sharp compared with his impulsive behaviors at the qualifier. He constantly forced Rex to reveal his flaws. Rex responded patiently. The two teenagers tried each other, both waiting for the chance to deal the fatal blow.

At the end of the first round, both of them unexpectedly only had a score of 3 to 2, which showed that Chris and Rex were very cautious in their defense.

At the beginning of the next round, Chris’s attack became even fiercer. Although everyone felt cold sweat for his wild temper, Lin Yifei knew that Chris would not leave any space for Rex. Sure enough, an attack, followed by a diversion, then suddenly swung back. This caught Rex off guard.  

Lin Yifei clenched his fist and cheered in his heart.

But Rex wasn’t a fuel-efficient lamp. He would return the score immediately. The audience was shocked by his oblique splitting, but Chris responded quickly and attacked with his sabre. Rex crossed his opponent’s sabre tip and made a side-to-side attack, cutting Chris on the shoulder instantly.

As he took a deep breath, Lin Yifei had to admit that even he couldn’t escape that attack.

The battle situation was getting fiercer and fiercer. The score was also rising alternately. When he was in high school during his last life, he never met an opponent like Rex. For the first time, Lin Yifei realized that he was so lucky to have stood in the international arena. He was ranked seventh in the world. Although there was still a long way to go to the top, for those who was still working silently below, he had become their goal.

As time went on, the competition gradually came to an end. The last 15 seconds became the decisive moment.

Chris was very quick and decisive in his three consecutive transposition attacks. Rex responded and prepared for counterattacks. The frequency of shifting gears was dazzling. With five seconds left, Lin Yifei’s breath stopped in his chest. Suddenly with a whirling sabre, Chris separated Rex, which was followed by a sharp cutting at an angle that hit Rex in the arm.

At that moment, Lin Yifei opened his mouth slightly.

The referee announced that it was time.

Just now the light came on, which meant that Chris hit.

The regional championship belonged to Chris. Lin Yifei laughed.

Coach Smith’s expression was relaxed since the beginning, because no matter who won, it was still Ghosn’s victory. Then he became more solemn because of the high-level performance between the two players on the court. He only relaxed back at the end of the match.

“Lin, Pan, you have to win against Griffith this afternoon.”

Pan smiled. “Of course, this is my last high school fencing tournament.”

Only then did Lin Yifei realize that Pan, who was replaced by Chris in the single competition, might be very tense in his heart. He needed a good performance to win the favor of elite fencing colleges.

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“Pan, are you playing against Andrew Patrick this afternoon?”

“Yes, I heard that he’s a strong opponent.”

“Yes, he’s very good at sabotaging his opponent’s fencing line and often uses feints. I think you should be careful of his feints, especially his moves from the top to the bottom.”

“Ah, I forgot. You and Andrew had a match in middle school!”

Chris and Rex came back. Lin Yifei reached out and gave Chris a high five. “What a beautiful win!”

“Ahhh…Ahhh…” Rex held down his temple and looked very sad. “Then did I lose beautifully?”

“You also lost wonderfully!” Lin Yifei’s words were sincere, but the people around him laughed in a low voice.

In half an hour, Rex would have to go back to prepare for the final match to determine the second and third place. He must get second place to continue competing. On the contrary, his afternoon match with Griffith seemed more relaxed.

Andrew played in the first round, which meant that the level of the two fencers behind him was at least equal to him. At this thought, Lin Yifei became vaguely excited.

At the end of the morning competition, Rex won second place as expected. As a result, Ghosn took all the spots in the national men’s sabre single competition in Washington_D.C. What a glory if they could also win the team competition as well.

Pan was really nervous and even rubbed his hands. He asked Lin Yifei, “Do you think I’m stronger or Andrew Patrick?”

————————

T/N: The author finally specifies the setting location as Washington D.C. To avoid the tooltip notes from showing up and making no sense, I added an underscore between Washington and D.C.


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