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T/N: There are notes about stocks and the background of this financial crisis at the end of this post.


"Then you should discuss it with him."

"Do you and your father think that I don't know what both of you are trying to do? You're selling your stocks at a lower price and let us the Taylors buy them while you use the cash to invest somewhere else. Because you believe that the Osbornes' stock price will definitely fall lower in the next two years. This way you can buy them back at a lower cost with the money you earn. But now it's different. Your investment has also hit a dead end!" Mr. Taylor got out of control. The teenager's indifference made him uneasy. He always felt that there was still a bigger plot brewing behind.

"I told you. If it's about business, go to my father. I haven't reached the legal age of 18. And I don't have any equity in my hand. So, I can't help you."

"What about the boy named Lin? I know the reason why you're indifferent to Elizabeth. It's because you don't like girls. You're the young master of the Osbornes. Nobody dares to touch you, but he isn't."

"It's not that I don't like girls," Chris said as he gripped the desk with a cold expression on his face. Mr. Taylor suddenly felt a sense of fear. "It's just that I only like him. You can give it try. If you touch a strand of his hair, I'll give you one of Elizabeth's fingers. If you make him shed a drop of blood, I'll cut Elizabeth's head off. Although you can try to test whether what I said is true or not, I hope you can remember one thing, that is, I, Chris Osborne, is a vengeful person. So, from today on, you'd better pray that Lin has nothing. Even if he accidentally falls, I'll count it on your head."

Mr. Taylor swallowed his saliva. He tried his best to control it, but his shoulder still trembled.

"If there's nothing else, I want to rest. The latte in this hotel restaurant tastes good. You can try it."

After Mr. Taylor left, Chris called DeNiro.

"Oh, dear Chris, how is your competition going?"

"Not bad."

"You only call when you have something to ask. Why don't you tell me what you want?"

"Watch Elizabeth."

DeNiro at the other end of the phone went quiet for a moment then smiled, "I will watch your diamond bride."

With the arrival of the final, there were more reporters in the fencing hall than in the past. Due to the impending real estate crisis, news reports nowadays always made people feel depressed and despairing. As the result, the World Junior Fencing Championship, which was decided to be held by in the U.S. two years ago, became one of the most positive news.

The competition was about to begin. Kevin sat in the broadcasting room and smiled as he looked at Lin Yifei on the broadcast screen.

Chelsea was tidying up his protective gear while talking to him.

The camera zoomed in so close that even his eyelashes became clearly visible.

"You really like this kid." The female presenter sat down beside Kevin. She propped up her chin and smiled.

"Do you think so?"

"Yes. Every time you do commentary analysis, as long as he's mentioned, the corner of your lips
" The female presenter made a 'curving up' gesture. "Since he's reaching higher level, aren't you worried about being defeated by him one day?"  

"Maybe the meaning of my existence is to be defeated by him." Kevin's expression was cool.

"I quite like this kid Lin. But I still prefer Chris Osborne."

"Because he looks handsome? Believe me, few women can stand his temper."

While the two joked, the competition soon entered the preparation stage. Not only the competition arena, but the broadcasting room also became quiet.

Lin Yifei gulped down his saliva. His sabre-wielding fingers slightly trembled. He could hear his own breathing. Yet, his heart was as excited as the rushing tide.  

Chris slowly came to the opposite side of him. His eyes looked cold and sharp to the extreme, just like something was about to burst out.

The two people assumed their preparation stance. The moment the referee motioned to "start", the air shot out sparks.

Chris fended off Lin Yifei's attack and slashed him on the shoulder. During the first second of the match, none of them did any testing attack. It was really shocking. As if eager for contact, Chris every sabre appeared to thrust deep into Lin Yifei's bones, showing strong determination to conquer, not just his sabre, but also his heart. He wanted him to have no retreat and only belonged to him.

Lin Yifei withstood these attacks. He controlled his sabre and tore away from Chris's expectation of him. He seemed to break away from everything and fly to the sky. The only way Chris could prevent him from leaving was to cut off his wings by using the most cruel and barbaric way.

This fight between controlling and breaking away made people's heart beat faster. Each move couldn't be missed because every change in the sword angle equaled to the change in fate.

I love you, do you know?

Chris cut down with shocking pain and determination, but Lin Yifei's resistance was unhurried and relentless.

This was a quiet match. Even during the break in the middle, no one spoke.

In the broadcasting room, the female presenter took a deep breath and asked, "Kevin, who do you think will win?"

"It doesn't matter to them who wins."

Kevin looked at the broadcast and smiled. The smile appeared very complicated, with both love and helplessness.

He understood the fencing between these two teenagers.

It was never a battle of victory or defeat. It's just the way they expressed themselves to each other, while excluding everyone else.

The nine-minute match passed quickly, and the score became 14 to 14, which meant that a one-minute overtime would soon begin. The winner would be the one who got the first point in the 'sudden death playoff'.

Lin Yifei let out a sigh of relief and flexed the wrist holding his sabre. If he didn't try his best this time
when would be the next time he meet with Chris?

"How many opportunities like this can I have in my life?"

Lin Yifei smiled just as the match began again. He struck down Chris's sabre. It looked like a seemingly simple action. Only Chris standing across him understood the real speed and strength behind his attack.   

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Lin Yifei took a step forward, giving up everything like a suicide attack. Perhaps, even in Chris's eyes, it looked like a foolish move. But he knew
he knew that Chris's defense would only block at the hilt and his counterattack would swipe at his waist. However, through this opening, his own sword would severely stabbed Chris's chest!

"Ah!-" The entire audience all exclaimed at the same time.

This attack looked so powerful that no one could even see it clearly. Chris Osborne reeled backward and finally stood firm after taking a few steps.

However, Lin Yifei still maintained his striking pose, with the sabre trembling in his hand and his shoulders and back showing indescribable tension.

Until the referee announced that Lin Yifei had scored one point did one audience started to clap. Soon, applause spread like flood throughout the audience.

Lin Yifei took a deep breath and slowly withdrew his sabre.

Chris who stood opposite him slowly took off his protective gear. The movement was slow but good-looking. One didn't know how many victories would be needed to form such a graceful demeanor.

Lin Yifei heaved a deep sigh of relief. He raised his head and let the sweat flow down his cheeks. He didn't want to take off his protective gear, because he knew that once he took it off, when he put it on again, the person standing opposite him would no longer be Chris.

The two shook hands, which only lasted two seconds. Lin Yifei's fingers were gripped hard by the other party, causing sudden pain.

When this ceremony was over, Lin Yifei turned and left. He didn't have the slightest joy from his victory because victory or defeat only meant separation for them.

Lin Yifei left the competition venue. The short passage of less than 10 meters made him feel as long as his entire life.

Many years later, Chris held Lin Yifei in his arms and whispered in his ear. There was a hint of injustice in his cold voice. "The back of you leaving that day looked so cool. I wanted to hold it."

After entering the bathroom, Lin Yifei closed the door of the compartment and felt the remnant of Chris's strength via his fingers.

In half an hour, the competition between the second and third runners-up would begin. Chris would compete against Keane from Holland. Lin Yifei didn't need to see the match to know the result.

Lin Yifei didn't think that he could win. In every international competition before his rebirth, he always lost to Chris. Then the two people would sit in front of the TV, eating pizza and drinking coke while Chris analyzed why he lost.

When Lin Yifei finally stabilized himself and opened the door, he saw Chris washing his face with water in front of the sink. He looked up and saw Lin Yifei via the mirror.

Lin Yifei's eyes were red as he stood there looking at Chris's back.

Chris didn't look back. He just curved up his lips in front of the mirror, showing a kind of indifferent but spoiling smile. This brief moment smoothed the dull pain in Lin Yifei's heart.

When Chris and Keane competed for second place, Lin Yifei who was sitting in the audience could already watch the match with a calm mind.

This year's World Junior Fencing Championship was finally over. Lin Yifei smiled brightly on the podium, not because he stood on the tallest step, but because Chris was standing beside him.

After the award ceremony, Lin Yifei was naturally surrounded by reporters. Although he had seen such scenes many times before he was reborn, the main character was always Chris. Most of the time, that guy showed a calm face. He would never lower his head to avoid the flashes of light that struck his handsome face. However, once an opportunity came, he would rush out of the encirclement and throw all the problems to his coach. At this moment, Lin Yifei also wanted to follow Chris but he didn't have Chris's courage.

The reporters' questions mainly focused on his development direction. For example, did he have any plans to enter the professional fencing arena? Would he take part in the U.S. qualifying tournament next year, round robin competitions and so on?

Chelsea's appearance saved his life. Lin Yifei's bewilderment prevented the media from getting the answers they wanted. However, Chelsea was able to answer all the key questions in an orderly manner. He was like Lin Yifei's guardian, keeping him behind him. After more than half an hour, they finally came outside of the fencing hall to join Lin Yifei's friends and relatives.

At this time, Chris had just walked back to the hotel and took out his cell phone. He saw a text message from Mr. Osborne: Citi and Merrill Lynch have been losing money for four consecutive quarters. The Taylors' assets have shrunk. They might take some actions soon. Be careful.

Chris deleted the text message. He opened his laptop to check today's financial news and frowned thoughtfully.

——————-

T/N: I think the author is alluding to the 2008 Financial Crisis in the U.S. that affected the entire world (which was caused by real estate crash). Citi and Merrill Lynch were among the big investment companies on the verge of bankruptcy that had to be bailed out by the government.

I don't know how many of you remember it. I was still in K-12 when it happened. Basically, a bunch of big investment firms here in the U.S. decided to use their investors' money to invest in real estate (housing) by lending out money to literally anyone who wanted to buy a house (regardless of whether they can really afford to own one aka subprime lending). Unfortunately, many of the people they lent out money to couldn't pay their mortgage and default on their house loans. This means that these investment firms lost a lot of money, with some having to file for bankruptcy.

Whose money were these investment firms using to invest? Wage earners (normal workers), maybe some rich people. As the result, a lot of people lost their entire life savings after these investment companies went bankrupt (including many retirees). This is why you never put your egg in one basket and only invest your retirement fund in just one company or one sector.

I remember hearing about people ending up living in tents at the parks, many of them old people. Of course, some of those who lost their houses because they defaulted on their loans also ended up there.  

This kicked the U.S. economy into a recession. The government had to intervene and bail out the biggest companies to prevent the 'second Great Depression'. Still, many companies went bankrupt, and a lot of people lost their money. And because the U.S. economy was down, it also affected the entire world's economy.

The first thing you need to know is that stocks tend to go up and down with the economy. When the economy is doing badly, stock price will go down (Ex: $100 stock –> $50 stock). Inversely, stock price will go up in good economy (Ex: $100 stock –> $150 stock). When a company declares bankruptcy, the stock price will turn to zero (Ex: $100 stock –> $0).  

The goal is to buy stocks at low price and sell at high price. And avoid buying stocks from companies that will go bankrupt.

The rich have their connections. So, they always know news about the financial market ahead of everyone else. Like many investors, Chris and his Dad saw that the stock market isn't looking good. So, they sold off their stocks while they're still worth a lot of money (Ex: $150), and use the free up cash to do something else. Meanwhile, the Taylors bought these sold off stocks at high price (Ex: $150), thinking that the stock price will still go up.

Unfortunately for them, the stock is going down because of the real estate crash (Ex: their $150 is turning to $50 or less).

Meanwhile, once the stock price hit an all-time low because of bad economy, Chris and his Dad will buy the stock back, let's say at $50. Remember, they sold their stock at $150. Now they just made $100 profit while the Taylors just lost $100 if they chose to sell their stocks at a loss.

Once the economy recovers, that $50 stock will most likely go back up to $150 or higher. That's another > $100 net profit there. Of course, these types of investment are typically in the million if not billion U.S. dollars.

You will see later that the Taylors also own stocks in investment companies that will go bankrupt, so they had to sell back the Osbornes' shares at a loss to cover their other losses. Even then, their ending is still bankruptcy.

Hope this clears things up a bit.


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