Lin Yifei took two steps forward while holding the newspaper in his hand. Chris followed him like he's pretending to be out on a walk. Lin Yifei lowered his head and smiled gently. He knew Chris was actually accompanying him in this somewhat silly way.
No one deliberately looked at the other. They made no effort yet still felt one other.
When they arrived near the hotel, Lin Yifei was still standing across the street from the hotel, while Chris stood in front of the hotel, facing away from Lin Yifei. He paused then entered the hotel.
As soon as Chris entered the door, he saw Elizabeth sitting by his bed.
"Chris! Where have you been? You didn't answer your call. Have you had dinner?" Asked Elizabeth.
"George, where is my roommate?"
Chris didn't respond to Elizabeth but looked at George who was tidying up his clothes.
"Miss Elizabeth had reserved another room for him."
Chris picked up the room card and said to George, "Tidy up my clothes. I'll change room."
The meaning was very clear. He didn't want to stay with Elizabeth.
"Chris Osborne! Do you regard me as transparent air or poison?" Elizabeth suddenly stood up. Her pretty face contorted.
"You're not air because people can't live without air." Chris picked up the laptop in front of the table and smiled coldly at Elizabeth before turning around.
"So who is your air? Lin?" Elizabeth was easily emotional. Even though DeNiro warned her to be patient, she still couldn't contain her outbreak.
Chris ignored her and pulled the computer bag on his shoulder.
"Do you dare to see him? As long as you hug him or even hold his hand, DeNiro will make him die!" Elizabeth's voice sounded sharp and harsh.
"Idiot." Chris looked at her with a cruel pity in his eyes.
I miss him more because I can't hug him or kiss him.
Even when so close at hand.
Ten minutes later, Chris changed his room. Without Elizabeth, Chris had a rare peaceful sleep. In addition, this was the closest he had been to Lin Yifei in recent months.
The next morning, the team final between Lin Yifei and Chris began. This was a match whose final outcome wasn't important, but it still attracted the attention of the entire junior sabre team. Some people even recorded it with DV.
Lin Yifei would never forget the fencing hall today.
All around were spectators, who had already become familiar with the rules of watching. Even the slight whispers disappeared once the competition began.
The silent pressure started. Lin Yifei hadn't suffered this kind of pressure for a long time…It made his heart beat faster. Even his fingers holding the hilt trembled.
Opposite him stood a figure.
The thick protective equipment couldn't cover the slender and tall form of the other party. Like a sword, Chris Osborne was both sharp and proud, yet calm and cold like a glacier.
When he saluted Lin Yifei with his sabre, there was an illusion of extreme elegance. Perhaps what the audience expected was this opening moment.
They stood at mirror end and saw each other with their eyes.
Chelsea stood outside, lazily holding a cigarette. Because smoking wasn't allowed inside the fencing hall, he could only smell the tobacco.
Lippmann looked calm, but his heart was surging. He trained many excellent fencing talents for the U.S., but only when he met these two teenagers did he suddenly lose control of his excitement.
"Allez." Lippmann made a gesture.
Chris didn't hesitate to head straight for Lin Yifei's sabre and clash against it. The momentum of meeting gods and killing gods made everyone raise their hearts. Just two seconds after the start, Lin Yifei was hit hard and subconsciously took a step back.
At this time, Elizabeth came in wearing an attendant ID. She always thought that Chris would use the opportunity of the match to say something to Lin Yifei or hug him midfield, but she was wrong. Standing opposite Chris was only an opponent that he must defeat, even if that person was Lin Yifei.
Lin Yifei was forced to defend by Chris and almost hit the line several times.
Suddenly, he seized an opportunity when diverting Chris's cut to slip past and pointed his sabre at the other side's front. It looked breathtaking, but Chris avoided it easily.
Without extra action, the other side fended off Lin Yifei's attack and stabbed him in the throat. Just like a superhuman ability inspired by fear when near death, Lin Yifei managed to hide from it at the last minute.
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As he evaded Chris's attack, Lin Yifei suddenly felt that many things wouldn't be lost just because of having no contact for a long time. Between him and Chris, there's not only the passion of hugs and kisses, but something fierier that's hiding in his blood and lurking in his nerves. It's the connection between them that could never be lost.
At the end of the first set, Lin Yifei didn't get a single point, while Chris already got five points. This opening was unexpected to all but understandable. Because Chris today was obviously more serious than when dealing with anyone else. Lin Yifei adjusted his breathing while standing not far from Chelsea.
In the opening of the second set, Lin Yifei saw Chris's eyes through his protective gear.
Firm and decisive.
"Don't take up the sabre if you don't have the determination to get stabbed." Chelsea's words rang in Lin Yifei's ear.
Opposite him was Chris, a guy who knew all about him down to his breathing. If he wanted to beat Chris, he had to surpass himself.
Chris's sabre rose up. The audience in this place was holding their breath. Although everyone knew that Chris would surely win if he went on like this, they didn't want to Lin Yifei to fold his wings so soon.
"Bang-" The sound shook the nerves along his arm. Lin Yifei brandished his sabre to fend off the other side's attack and returned fire in a flash through a beautiful sliding step. The tip of his sabre crossed Chris's front. Unfortunately, the strength was too small to constitute an effective attack.
This was like the beginning of a counterattack. Lin Yifei's sabre raced forward, with flexible control and returned fire back. His maneuver looked so beautiful that one couldn't move their eyes. His attacks seemed to give up everything, yet his defense remained seamless.
Yes, thinking about how to defeat his opponent was a matter before the match. When he came on the court, he only needed to be the one-of-a-kind Lin Yifei.
In an instant, the one-sided situation in the competition was reversed. Lin Yifei's sabre circulated like endless flows. The audience were overwhelmed. It took one or two seconds for them to realize what had happened.
Only two and a half minutes later, Chris's five points from the previous set were immediately taken back by Lin Yifei. Such a quick loss could hardly be found in Chris's experience. However, no one felt that Chris was turned into a mess because Lin Yifei was so brilliant.
Although Elizabeth knew fencing, she always found the sport boring. She had never understood why Chris was crazy so about it.
Now, for the first time, this tension where everything was at stake made her forget to breathe.
The fighting between the two teenagers grew fiercer.
Elizabeth couldn't even imagine how Chris gave almost all his tenderness to Lin Yifei on normal days, but now he seemed to want to kill the other regardless.
Every attack made one unable to breath. Lin Yifei looked wild and unrestrained, which was completely different than his usual personality. Chris's offense and defense became more rigorous.
Lippmann almost forgot to call for time. By the end of the second set, the score was 12-12.
A short one-minute break saved the audience's life. They were finally able to breathe.
Lin Yifei stood on the sidelines, tiptoeing rhythmically on the ground like a drum.
Chris sat quietly on the ground, moving his wrists.
They became like two unrelated people.
In the opening of the third set, the collision between the two was still tense, as if it's either you die or I die. Each clash was breathtaking. Chris's feint cut on the back of Lin Yifei's hand with just a short opening. The audience at close range couldn't help shivering slightly. If they weren't wearing protective gear, Lin Yifei would no longer be able to hold his sabre. Only in the next moment, after Lin Yifei's straight thrust, he made three consecutive transposition attacks. In an instant, Chris fought back. Lin Yifei pressed his sabre firmly and returned the attacks. Just when everyone thought that he would try to hit Chris on the shoulder, he struck Chris in the chest with a sharp thrust.
Toward the end of the competition, Lippmann called out: "Une minute de combat."
The moment Lin Yifei and Chris traded their blows, it became another round of attack and defense battle that stopped the heartbeat. Their attacks and defenses were constantly shifting. The fight between the two had entered the stage of final confrontation.
Chris fended off Lin Yifei's attack one moment ago and began to counterattack with one hit after another to disrupt his rhythm. In the last five seconds, everyone craned their necks, only to see Chris half thrusted his sword then shifted it to resist Lin Yifei's attack. He changed his attack instantly and made another thrust at Lin Yifei. At the moment when the tip of his sabre touched the other's protective equipment, Lin Yifei lifted his own sabre to resist. He flexibly controlled his sabre to twist and cut sideways in the air. Chris's right leg barely supported his body as he evaded backward.
Everyone opened their mouths slightly and waited for Lippmann's referee call. Who had the priority of that attacked and who scored?
It happened too fast. No one could be sure. Someone took the DV to start a slow-motion playback.
Lippmann raised his right hand and motioned that Lin Yifei was the one who effectively scored.
This was the same conclusion that others have drawn after watching the DV.
Chris and Lin Yifei still stood opposite from each other. Their chests rose up and down like they hadn't recovered after the battle of life and death. Lin Yifei gulped down his saliva and took off his mask. Sweat made the bangs on his forehead stuck to his skin. He seemed to have lost all strength and stumbled back two steps before regaining his footing. Chris had a faint impulse to move forward to hold him, but he refrained. He also took off his mask and nodded to Lin Yifei.
This was the first thing Chris said to him after they met in the junior fencing team, only this one word.
The air, however, seemed to have been lit by a match and became hot.
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