translator: baumkuchen editors: serefina, glitterypanda
Chi Xiaochi raised his head and looked at Lou Sifan.
The teenager’s appearance was quite delicate and pretty, unlike that person’s naturally gorgeous features, but the tone he used when speaking was very similar. His attitude, too, was very similar.
It was this gentleness that had made Chi Xiaochi lose himself in it bit by bit, to the point of becoming his lifelong desire and dream.
Coming back to himself, he said to 061, “Liu-laoshi, send this world’s information over to me.”
061 confirmed with him, “Now?”
Chi Xiaochi said, “Immediately, however much there is, send that much to me.”
In an instant, countless images swarmed Chi Xiaochi’s mind, the excessive information stimulating him until his temples throbbed slightly with pain.
At that moment, the refined and elegant looking young man, Lou Sifan, said to He Changsheng waiting in the doorway, “Wait a moment, I’ll be right over.”
After that, he reached out a hand and patted Chi Xiaochi on the shoulder, comforting him with a gentle voice, “Don’t be afraid.”
In this short period of ten seconds, Chi Xiaochi had went through half of Dong Ge’s life.
The year he met Lou Sifan, Dong Ge was 11 years old.
At a young age, he’d left home to an unfamiliar place, and just as he gained a little popularity, he was locked in the toilet, cursed at and humiliated, and ice water was poured all over his head and face, soaking his entire body.
Bincheng’s winters were cold to the point that dripping water would turn into ice and one wouldn’t even be able to squeeze out toothpaste. He hid in the toilet, his heart frozen by the wind.
At his lowest, a person appeared, rescuing him from being ridiculed and shoved around, placing his clothes over him, telling him, don’t be afraid.
From this moment onwards, Lou Sifan became Dong Ge’s dream.
Lou Sifan was indeed born in the same small town as his. It was just that he was the second son of the deputy director of the local forestry bureau, and had a skating rink at home.
Lou Sifan occasionally went to his grandmother’s house in Beicheng. When he went to the ice-skating rink there to play, he saw Dong Ge a few times, but Dong Ge didn’t remember him.
The young Dong Ge was incredibly introverted. He had his own world, in which he carefully closed himself inside of.
From that day on, a door opened in his little world and Lou Sifan was stored within, where no one else could look at him.
Later on, he asked around and found out a lot about Lou Sifan: he was 15 years old, he was a genius praised by all, he was a well-known figure in the singles’ provincial junior team, he’d even been the runner-up in the Czech men’s singles Grand Prix last year.
That day, the teenager who’d come with him was called He Changsheng. He was the same age as him and was an outstanding genius just like Lou Sifan. He was a pair skater, and it was said that he would soon be transferred to the adult team.
Dong Ge really wanted to thank Lou Sifan, but other than ice-skate, he didn’t know how to do anything else.
So, he made up his mind. He was going to catch up to Lou Sifan on the ice, and show his gratitude that way.
It was the first and only time in Dong Ge’s life that he’d ever worshipped an idol.
He put Lou Sifan’s poster up in his dormitory. Every morning, when he got up for morning practice, he would stand before the poster for a while and say, “Lou Sifan, I’m going to practice.”
At night when he got back, he would obediently come to Lou Sifan’s poster and report: I’m back.
His roommate joked with him, why are you acting like you’re giving an offering to a bodhisattva, why don’t you light some incense for him.
Dong Ge didn’t reply to him.
To the young Dong Ge, the person who could save him was indeed a bodhisattva.
……You mock me, but when I was suffering, when I was being bullied, where were you?
In order to realise his wish, he practiced crazily, staying on the ice for more than ten hours a day.
Actually, he didn’t need to work so hard.
The provincial team coach really wanted him, he wasn’t just speaking casually. After seeing Dong Ge, he called many times to ask about him and even drove for two hours specially to see Dong Ge’s training.
When he came, Dong Ge was training.
After watching for a while, he called Dong Ge’s coach over in shock, “How could you arrange such intense training for him? Aren’t you afraid of hurting his body?”
Dong Ge’s coach said helplessly, “It wasn’t me. He added it himself.”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
On the ice, Dong Ge bent backwards at the waist, spreading his arms open, his flexible waistline stretched backwards to the extreme.
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The day after he moved in, he went to each and every dormitory, each and every practice rink, looking for Lou Sifan.
He stubbornly refused to ask people, silently searching for more than an hour before seeing an announcement that hadn’t been updated in a long time, half destroyed by rain, on the bulletin board.
Lou Sifan and three other junior division members had successfully entered the adult division two months ago.
Dong Ge stood in front of the bulletin board for a long time. He reached out his hands, took down the announcement, folded it twice and hid it in his arms clutched to his chest.
……He had found his next goal.
The practice times and venues of the adult division were entirely different from the junior division, and they weren’t places one could simply skate into. If one wanted to enter, technique, experience and accomplishments were all necessary.
Dong Ge put down his luggage and began training in the junior division.
In those few years, no matter who talked about Dong Ge, their comments were all very unified.
“Oh, Dong Ge? That boy’s really arrogant, he never looks people in the eyes.”
These comments couldn’t be considered unreasonable. Even the provincial team coach who’d single-handedly promoted him to the top deeply agreed. He’d talked with Dong Ge in private, “When you talk with your juniors about their technique, can you impart a little more of your experience onto them?”
Dong Ge said, “Work hard.”
The coach, “……Even dogs know they need to work hard to get bones. Can you say something useful?”
Dong Ge, “It’s something even dogs can do, yet they can’t?”
The coach, “……”
Seeing that he wouldn’t be able to convince him, the coach then brought up an old matter, “You’re 14 years old this year, it’s time for you to change your age.”
It wasn’t uncommon for skaters to change their age, making themselves a little younger, so much so that it was a customary form of cheating.
Dong Ge looked down as he tied his shoelaces. “I’m not changing it.”
The coach said, “Dong Ge, don’t be stubborn. You’re already 14 years old, if you don’t change your age and a talented newcomer joins next year at 12 years old, when there’s another large-scale competition, who will the head coach give more opportunities to?”
Dong Ge, “Of course it’ll be the people who can skate well.”
The coach, “……”
The coach, “Dong Ge, you indeed have talent, but you can’t be too arrogant.”
Dong Ge, “It’s just that I can do what the rest can’t, and can get the results the rest can’t, is that also what they call being arrogant?”
The coach, “……You being like this is what they call being arrogant!”
Dong Ge, “Oh.”
He skated into the rink, made two rounds, then turned back and asked, “Then what about it?”
No one could ask someone to be modest and courteous under the premise of brilliance. It wasn’t that that kind of person didn’t exist, but they were of the highest quality.
Lou Sifan was that kind of excellent product.
Under fierce competition, Dong Ge had become quite sharp and a bit of a showoff. Only when he occasionally ran into Lou Sifan, would he act like a normal child.
During the time he couldn’t see Lou Sifan, Dong Ge was always thinking of catching up to him, but when, under a freak combination of factors, he and Lou Sifan met once more, he lost his voice.
Unlike the last time he’d stolen a look at him, Lou Sifan had cut his hair a little shorter, but He Changsheng was by his side as usual.
Dong Ge knew that Lou Sifan and He Changsheng had a very good relationship.
Upon meeting face-to-face, Dong Ge opened and closed his mouth, his mind blank, unexpectedly unable to speak even a word of the innumerable mental outlines he’d made up in advance.
In the end, it was He Changsheng who first noticed his unwavering gaze. “……Yi.”
The Lou Sifan who had been in the midst of a conversation with He Changsheng turned around, his eyes filled with surprise. “It’s you. Dong Ge.”
Dong Ge, “En.”
This single “en”, had already exhausted all of his courage and strength.
……He still remembers my name.
He stood there stiffly, watching Lou Sifan approach.
“I saw your competition last time, you skated very well.”
……He watched my competition.
“……The accompanying music was also chosen well.”
……He liked the music I chose.
“Have you adapted to the junior division? Changsheng and I are waiting for you in the adult division. You have to come, okay?”
……He’s waiting for me.
He mustered up all his strength, and said happily, en.
Only when he was watching Lou Sifan and He Changsheng disappear into the distance, did he realise, upset, that he hadn’t managed to say a lot of the words he’d wanted to say.
Upon returning to his dorm, he tossed and turned for a long time. For the very first time, he asked his roommate for help, asking him if he had Lou Sifan’s number.
His roommate was shocked. “What are you looking for Fan-ge for?”
Dong Ge blushed, “Just something.”
After he got the number, he copied the number down on a notepad, jumped the wall of the provincial team’s dorms, and ran to the nearest China Mobile in one breath.
His heart was beating like a drum. He spoke to the shop assistant in a small voice, “I’d like to buy a phone.”
Only after getting a phone and buying a phone number, did Dong Ge then open his fist, unfold that slightly damp paper like he was handling a treasure, and enter in the phone number.
The ink of the low-quality ballpoint pen dyed his palm black.
He spent three hours organising what he wanted to say, sending over a few tens of words, including a self-introduction and his wish to become friends, deathly afraid that even a single extra word would make him annoyed.
Perhaps it was that Lou Sifan was busy with training. Dong Ge didn’t receive a reply until a few hours later.
“Hello. [smiley face]”
Dong Ge replied in seconds, “Hello. I hope I didn’t disturb Fan-ge.”
This time he didn’t wait too long. Not longer than 20 minutes later, he received Lou Sifan’s reply, “You wouldn’t.”
Before Dong Ge could think up his response, he received Lou Sifan’s next text, “If you’re not against it, you can call me Lou-ge.”
The third text came shortly after, “Only those I’m close to can call me that.”
Dong Ge clasped the phone in his hands, bouncing happily.
A teammate passed by the dressing room. Seeing him like this, he thought he’d gone crazy.
After the joy passed, Dong Ge typed out a reply with trembling fingers, “Okay, Lou-ge.”
But he quickly remembered something.
……It seemed like the first time he met Lou Sifan and He Changsheng in the toilet, that usually cool-tempered, cold-faced He Changsheng had intimately called out to him with “Lou-ge”.
Dong Ge thought, not enough.
……He still wasn’t good enough.
If he was strong enough, strong enough to surpass He Changsheng, he might be able to be like He Changsheng, good enough to stand by his side.
In that short period of time, Chi Xiaochi was only able to read Dong Ge’s memories up to this point.
So far, the Lou Sifan in Dong Ge’s memories remained an incredibly outstanding person, respectful of his juniors, gentle in attitude, a first-class genius.
Connecting Lou Sifan’s situation with Dong Ge’s final ending, it was as if Dong Ge was just someone whose worship turned into a one-sided love, which in the end, went unrequited, thus turning his thoughts askew, making him veer off the path.
Combining Lou Sifan’s words and deeds, Chi Xiaochi already had a tentative impression of Lou Sifan’s character.
However, due to insufficient information, Chi Xiaochi still couldn’t make a completely accurate and reliable judgement.
When Lou Sifan placed his hand on his shoulder, Chi Xiaochi asked 061, “Liu-laoshi, what kind of person is this Lou Sifan.”
061 answered succinctly, “He can’t be considered a person.”
Chi Xiaochi said, “Okay.”
061 took a moment to react. He suddenly felt a little warm.
—— In such a situation, where there was an urgent need for information, Chi Xiaochi had full confidence in his judgement.
In the next instant, Lou Sifan comforted him in a soft voice, “Don’t be afraid.”
Chi Xiaochi propped the bare mop pole in his hand against the wall, scanning the tragic-looking group of four out of the corner of his eye. He spoke in a neither servile nor overbearing manner, “I’m not afraid of them. You should be telling them to not be afraid.”
Currently, Lou Sifan was, after all, not a very experienced person. He was made to choke by Chi Xiaochi’s words, momentarily feeling a little embarrassed.
He Changsheng cocked his head to the side. His gaze towards Chi Xiaochi held a little more interest.
Chi Xiaochi nodded to Lou Sifan and He Changsheng, then stepped past them, heading over towards the dressing room.
As soon as Dong Ge left, the rest scattered like a flock of birds and beasts in embarrassment.
Lou Sifan walked back to He Changsheng’s side. He rubbed the back of his head, and laughed, “This kid’s weirdly haughty.”
The expression on He Changsheng’s face was very ugly. “I think it shows that he’s sufficiently tough. If I had been that tough when I was younger, I wouldn’t have been bullied. I hadn’t thought that after so many years, these kinds of situations still exist in the sports school. It’s still plagued by people trying to nip talents in the bud through bullying. Each and every one of them all think they’re so fucking great, but to tell the truth, they’re just a group of idiots who bully the weak and fear the strong.”
Lou Sifan said, “You’re very concerned about him?”
He Changsheng shot him a look, “From what I see, it’s you who’s concerned.”
Lou Sifan smiled.
He Changsheng, “You really know him?”
Lou Sifan, “I’ve really seen him before. He was a really good child, we’ve just never spoken.”
He Changsheng, “En.”
Lou Sifan laughed, “He’s talented, and stubborn. He reminds me of you in the beginning.”
He Changsheng waved his hand. “Okay, okay, I know that you’re a kind person, you can drop it now.”
On the way to the dressing room, the 061 in his body still kept his eyes on his back.
Lou Sifan and He Changsheng left, shoulder to shoulder, talking and laughing.
Dense strings of code flashed past 061’s eyes, scanning Lou Sifan from top to bottom.
……On this person’s body, there were traces of data having been implanted within.
His ever-gentle eyes darkened slightly.
……As far as he was aware, only the Lord God had this power.
What did he implant in Lou Sifan? Why were Lou Sifan’s various characteristics all so similar to the Lou Ying from Chi Xiaochi’s memories and descriptions?
Why was the Lord God constantly targeting Chi Xiaochi?
Could it be because Chi Xiaochi was too outstanding? Or was it because of some other reason?
061 even suspected that, if not for the fact that his, the host’s, and Chi Xiaochi’s information and memories were all registered and backed up in the general headquarters where the Lord God didn’t have the authority to interfere with them, he might just have directly tampered with those.
However, the facts were already before his eyes, he couldn’t have read them wrong.
There was an unspeakable level of manic depression and disgust in 061’s heart, especially after he’d noticed the obvious changes in Chi Xiaochi’s body data after hearing the words “Lou-ge”.
In that moment, he made up his mind.
……Since the Lord God liked violating the rules so much, then, as Chi Xiaochi’s system, it wasn’t so necessary for him to obey the rules any longer either.
The author has something to say:
It’s not just a simple substitute story.
This person’s routine goes very deep.
panda: Lou Sifan seems so normal up to this point. I wonder what kind of atrocities he committed to not be considered a person.
sere: ^^ same omg on the other hand i like He Changsheng now