"Your fencing is more mature than Andrew. Don't worry too much when you meet in a while. Just be yourself and beat him with your strengths."
Before the two teams met, Andrew hadn't yet put on his mask. He smiled at Lin Yifei. Andrew had always been a great general. His calm temperament at the moment gave Pan inexplicable pressure.
The first round was Pan vs. Andrew. Pan had always been good at attacking, but this time he was obviously put in a passive state. He had to be cautious from beginning to end. Nevertheless, he still appeared very calm and steady when compared with Andrew. In the first round, Andrew led by a point.
Pan walked back. He sat on the seat and exhaled.
Lin Yifei patted him on the shoulder, "It doesn't matter. This isn't the real final. After winning against Griffith, there'll be other formidable opponents waiting for us."
The opponent in the second round also had some skills. His feint attack and line-changing attack were coordinated extremely well. However, Lin Yifei was best at controlling rhythm and seizing initiative. He moves seemed to copy Chris's attack against Rex from this morning. His opponent was overwhelmed by three consecutive transposition attacks, followed by a swing to deal a powerful split to the middle of the opponent's arm.
Pan sat there unblinking and sighed, "Lin is really strong."
Rex snorted softly: "He really likes that guy. He even uses that b*stard's tactics."
Lin Yifei's wonderful strike just now obviously shocked the opponent. At the end of the match, Pan's lost point was chased back.
The Griffith guy competing in the final round and Rex had already competed against each other in the single competition. He lost to Rex before. Rex was the kind of person who had a strong desire for control. The opponent didn't give up trying to resist his rhythm during the match, but was still completely controlled by Rex.
Before the start of the second set, Rex patted Pan on the shoulder and said in an indifferent tone: "Anyway, this is your last year of high school. It's better to not give yourself so much burden. Just concentrate on enjoying the competition. In my opinion, how is that little boy Andrew a rival to an old bird like you?"
After all, Pan and Rex were familiar in level to each other. The affirmation of the other party increased Pan's confidence. He finally found his rhythm and let out all his attacks.
Andrew was rather shocked by this transformation. His footwork became chaotic, thus revealing frequent flaws.
With Pan back in his zone, Ghosn almost won the match in the first round.
When the two sides shook hands after the match, Andrew smiled and said: "Lin, you're much better than a year ago. I feel like I'm falling behind."
Lin Yifei bowed his head and smiled.
No way, Chris is getting stronger and stronger. If I relax, I might not even see Chris's back.
After the match, everyone went to celebrate. Ghosn finally achieved the dominance in both men's single and men's team sabre events. Coach Smith tried his best to show a calm expression, but his slightly faster steps revealed his great mood.
"Washington_D.C. championship isn't the end! Our focus is on the national final. We still have to win!"
Everyone raised their glasses one after another. At this time, Lin Yifei felt that it's good to have reborn.
Under the table, Chris gently clasped Lin Yifei's fingers.
Time passed. Winter vacation was coming. Lin Yifei finally returned to Chinatown with a luggage of commonly used clothes. George personally took him home.
Looking at Chen Lin Ji's sign, Lin Yifei couldn't wait to open the car door, but Chris grabbed him.
As soon as Lin Yifei looked back, Chris swallowed his lips.
There were people coming and going here. Lin Yifei was scared back into the car. His entire body was pressed on the back seat by Chris.
Chris sucked hard a few times before releasing him.
"Don't play games too long and don't forget to answer my phone once you get home."
"…I won't forget. Don't worry." Lin Yifei's face was red. Chris this guy didn't look at where they were! This is busy Chinatown!
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Chris slowly pulled up Lin Yifei and stretched out his hand to open the door for him.
George went to the rear compartment and carried his luggage down. Mother Lin trotted out while calling Lin Yifei's name.
Fortunately, she just came now. If she had come out more than ten seconds earlier and saw what Chris did to her baby son, she would definitely faint.
Lin Yifei was hugged by his mother and walked into Chen Lin Ji. When he looked back, he saw Chris's deep eyes.
Chris sat in the car and watched for a long time. It was not until Lin Yifei went upstairs that George drove away.
Back at the Osbornes' villa, Mr. Osborne was sitting in the living room looking at the newspapers. He raised his eyes and saw Chris. A smile triggered on his face. "You're back."
"Mmm." Chris nodded and went upstairs.
Hearing their conversation, Elizabeth ran down the stairs.
"Chris! You're back!"
Winter vacation meant Elizabeth could see her cousin every day.
"Mmm." Chris answered and opened the door to his room. Elizabeth followed in. When Chris was away, George would lock the room. Elizabeth just wanted to sneak in to see it.
Through the glass of the bookcase, one could see rows of books, many of which were in Chinese. If it's someone else, these large number of books should be mostly for decorative arts. But Elizabeth knew that Chris read all of them.
There were some photos inside the bookcase, most of which had Mrs. Osborne. At that time, Chris and she lived in Queens, New York. Their life was not rich. Elizabeth couldn't imagine how poor they were. Only when she looked at the old Chinese restaurant in the background and the coffee shop with doors that hadn't been repainted for a long time, did she realize that it would never be the life that she wanted to live.
Her line of sight slowed down. The only photo that didn't have Mrs. Osborne had Chris and Lin Yifei. Chris was sitting at the McDonald's table. Lin Yifei looked back at him. It was definitely a snapshot, because not only was Lin Yifei's expression very natural, Chris even gave people the illusion of smiling.
"Why do you come into my room?" Chris turned on the computer on his desk and looked at the latest news on U.S. stocks.
"Nothing. I haven't seen you for a long time." Elizabeth sat on the bed while shaking her legs, "Christmas is two weeks away. There'll be a family gathering. I can finally see my parents."
Chris snorted softly. He had no interest in that kind of party, which was long and boring. People flattered and despised each other behind their back.
"Grandpa DeNiro will also come. He's highly respected in the Osbornes' family. Even your father must respect him."
In a large family like the Osbornes, older people often experienced more storms and had higher prestige.
"He also mentioned the engagement between me and you last time. This way the Osbornes' and Taylors' will be connected." When Elizabeth said this sentence, her voice was very light and showed a tentative tone.
Chris's finger holding the mouse froze slightly. He then said, "I'm your cousin. How can we marry?"
"Do you think the law is binding on families like ours? For Grandpa DeNiro, how to consolidate the position of the Osbornes' is more important."
"You and I are absolutely impossible." Chris still didn't turn around. "You seem to have been in my room too long, Elizabeth."
"…You can try to refuse Grandpa DeNiro and see if Mr. Osborne will be on your side." Elizabeth walked out of Chris's room. She closed the door, then leaned against the wall and took a deep breath.
Chris stared at the computer screen. He suddenly got up and came to the bedside. There was still the cabin that he and Lin Yifei had made. He pushed the door and Schubert's "Winter Journey" sounded slowly.
After returning home, Lin Yifei could finally eat authentic Chinese food. Originally, he wanted to stay up all night playing games. He didn't expect his character to automatically log off at 12 o'clock. At first, Lin Yifei thought it was his character's problem. Then one night when he called Chris, he realized that his character was more than 80% likely to be hacked by him, in order to prevent him from staying up late to play games.
As Christmas approached, light snow had fallen these days. Although the weather was cold, the heating in Lin Yifei's house was sufficient.
The snowy Chinatown also had a special charm. After sleeping till noon, he received Chris's text message: Are you up yet?
Lin Yifei replied: Up, would you like to go to Chinatown with me?
Within two seconds, he received another text message: Look out the window.
Lin Yifei opened the window and saw Chris with his hands in his pockets standing under the opposite streetlamp. He was wearing a grey nylon windbreaker. The dull color actually looked nice on him. His jeans showed the shape of his long and slender legs. He posed there like a model decked out in luxury brand on the poster.
After putting on a down jacket and wrapping the scarf around his neck, Lin Yifei ran downstairs.
The two teenagers stepped through the snow. Candied haws in snowy days were surprisingly crisp, because the sugar coating wouldn't melt like in hot days. Snacks in winter were popular. After eating from one street to another, Lin Yifei only felt half full. When he looked at Chris again, the other side's skin appeared very beautiful amidst this piece of whiteness.
Lin Yifei took off his scarf and hung it around Chris's neck.
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"Trying to look handsome! Be care not to freeze to death!"
Then he ha ha laughed and pulled up his collar. Lin Yifei took Chris back to Chen Lin Ji. With Manman, the three of them ate hot pot.
Mother Lin and father Lin were busy downstairs. They couldn't accompany their children during dinner, so they guiltily brought up the best mutton slices.
"Chris, do you not like hot pot?" Manman looked at the boiling red soup and asked.
"No." Chris rinsed the mutton in spicy soup, dipped it in sesame paste, and ate it with chopsticks like a real Chinese.
T/N: The respecting the old part is such a Chinese thing. So does the marrying one's cousin part. A lot of cultural inaccuracies in this chapter.
Anyway, big prestigious families in China like to marry their relatives to consolidate powers in the old days. Some still do now. That's why there's a lot of cousins marrying each other.
In my opinion, another reason why marrying cousins is so popular comes from the fact that women were treated worse than animals in ancient China, especially a married woman. She's expected to be literally a slave to her husband and mother-in-law. So, marrying one's relative would ensure that she (ideally) won't get treated too badly since the families know each other.
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