translator: baumkuchen editors: serefina, glitterypanda
But Dong Feihong quickly snapped out of his weird mood.
He asked, “Do you want me to ask your parents to come and watch the competition?”
Chi Xiaochi paused as he was drinking his soup.
Dong Feihong said gently, “I’ll go give them a call. This is your first competition, they should be there.”
Since Dong Ge left, his relationship with his parents gradually cooled.
He became the country’s Dong Ge, but was no longer the Dong family’s Dong Ge.
After Dong Ge was crippled, it was them, the already aging couple, who took him home and put their hearts into taking care of him.
They had gotten old, and their temper much milder. They’d thought through many things in retrospect, but it was already too late. Dong Ge had already completely closed himself off.
Standing outside the barrier Dong Ge had built, they begged, they beat on it, hoping to open up a door and bring their son out, rescue him.
However, these parents who had hardly ever praised him since he was young weren’t trusted by Dong Ge at all, and absolutely couldn’t become Dong Ge’s emotional support. On the contrary, they made Dong Ge’s gradually crumbling mind become even more nervous.
Only when they had no other options left did his parents tearfully send Dong Ge to a sanatorium, placing him in the care of professionals.
But what they got back was a corpse, frozen from spending tens of hours in freezing water at sub-zero temperatures.
Upon seeing her son’s body, something inside of Madam Dong broke.
She began watching the videos of her son’s performances over and over.
This job, which had been “not a proper job”, where “in the future you won’t have any way out”, and “you’ll be so impressive after you’ve gotten old and given yourself a body full of injuries” when her son was alive, became the sole sustenance of this old lady who was over half a century old and had lost her only child.
Her favourite video was the one of Dong Ge’s very first competition, where he only won fifth place due to nerves.
The child in that video was the closest to the Dong Ge in her memories, silent, quiet, and still had a little shyness from his longing for recognition in his eyes.
One day, she and her husband were once again watching the video side by side.
The woman seemed to think of something. Hair slightly disheveled, eyes red and swollen, she turned to her husband. “……Back then, why didn’t we ever go watch Xiao Ge’s competitions?”
Back to the present.
Chi Xiaochi said, “……The competition will be held in another city, they’ll think it’s too far away. Besides, they have their jobs.”
In response to Chi Xiaochi’s, or rather, Dong Ge’s question, Dong Feihong didn’t answer him, instead replying with another question, “Do you want them to come?”
Dong Ge’s long, soft eyelashes trembled uncontrollably for a while. He spoke hesitantly, “……Yes.”
Dong Feihong smiled, “Drink your soup. If you take any longer, it’ll get cold.”
Dong Feihong gently interrupted him, “That’s not for you to worry about. Leave it to me, let me deal with it, okay?”
Dong Ge looked up at him from the still-steaming thermos. Some of the vigilance and unease had faded from his features.
He slowly nodded, letting out a rare smile his face wasn’t used to making. “Okay.”
The face before him was clearly Dong Ge’s face, but the moment he thought about the other soul in his body, Dong Feihong couldn’t quite keep the corners of his mouth from curving up.
He said, “Go back and think about what you want to eat when you come home this week. Let me know by text.”
For the next three months, Chi Xiaochi led a very simple life. On-ice training, dance training, cultural studies, everything was arranged in an orderly, unhurried way.
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.
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It had been a very long time since the last school team wide mandated haircut, and his hair had grown a lot, nearly brushing his shoulders.
As it so happened, Chi Xiaochi himself didn’t like cutting his hair all that much.
He’d recently spent an afternoon facing a mirror, teaching Dong Ge how to tie his mid-length hair up in a half-crown braid so it looked nice, and how to tie it into a half-bun that was both good-looking and long-lasting.
But when he was practicing dancing or practicing skating, Chi Xiaochi would hand total control over his body back to Dong Ge himself, letting him go crazy.
Dong Ge liked to train on his own. Especially when there was a competition coming up, even late at night, he would often still be in the dance classroom, training.
Ding, da, da, da, the metronome rang out in four beats. Bam, boom, boom, boom, his feet stepped firmly on the plastic floor.
The sports school’s rules allowed family in the city to visit the school.
Dong Feihong went to the school to apply for a temporary pass so he could come by and watch Dong Ge’s practice often.
When Dong Ge practiced his dancing, he had something to keep himself busy.
He took out a sketchbook, sketching a silhouette of a little person dancing on the paper with a brush pen.
Dong Feihong said, “Uncle will draw you a manga. I’ll give it to you on your coming-of-age ceremony.”
Accompanied by Dong Feihong, three months flew by quickly.
It was unknown how many rounds of discussion Dong Feihong had to go through, but the day before the competition, Dong Ge’s friends and family supporters group gained a new member.
The skating rink couldn’t run itself, so Mister Dong decided to stay behind, while Madam Dong and Dong Feihong took the high-speed railway together and arrived at the competition rink in Beijing.
The entire way there, Madam Dong’s mouth hadn’t stopped even once, constantly asking Dong Feihong about how Dong Ge’s grades in his cultural classes were, and if he would be able to get into a good university when he graduated from the sports school.
Dong Feihong remained good-natured and patient, reassuring her, “Dong Ge’s grades aren’t bad, and his results in practice are really outstanding. Otherwise, why would the school let him, a new student who’s only joined the school for half a year, compete in such a big competition?”
Madam Dong’s lip curled. “A student, but he doesn’t know to study. Skating is just playing, can it still put food on the table, huh?”
Dong Feihong’s attitude was incredibly gentle. “Have you seen a skating competition before?”
Madam Dong, “Watched some before on the television. It’s all young people leading each other along and hugging, then ga-bam, they throw the other, then crash, they fall onto the ice. I say, this is just too dangerous, such sharp ice blades, just one cut on the body and it’s over, but that brat just didn’t listen.”
Dong Feihong guided her along patiently and systematically, “Dong Ge participating in this competition is like the first time a lady gets on the sedan chair, if you don’t understand the rules, and the judges just anyhow watch, and mess up his score, wouldn’t our Dong Ge lose out?”
Madam Dong’s thoughts instantly went off in that direction. “Bullying outsiders, ha?”
Dong Feihong pushed her along a little further, “More likely than not, that’ll really happen, you know?”
With this shot of chicken blood, Madam Dong was instantly riled up.
In her mind, this was the child she gave birth to and raised, she of course could treat him however she wanted, but if he were to be bullied by someone else, she wouldn’t be able to take that.
With a swipe, she snatched Dong Feihong’s cellphone, and pulled up the first video. “Dong Ge’s Uncle, explain this to me.”
But interested or not, Madam Dong didn’t have any hopes of Dong Ge winning this competition.
In her mind, Dong Ge was an unfortunate child who would just make idle rounds about the ice rink, his heart not at all focused on his studies. With his skinny arms and legs, how could he possibly make any jumps?
As a result, during the qualifying round, when she saw Dong Ge skate out of the prepared channel, she immediately became anxious. “Why is he wearing so little? Gloves? Scarf? Won’t his joints get stiff from the cold?”
The moment Dong Ge appeared, he aroused discussion from the crowd.
To Dong Feihong’s right, someone “woah”-ed. “What a good looking kid.”
His girlfriend chimed in, “Like a child star.”
True to how they described him, because of his slender frame, Dong Ge’s appearance had long since progressed from the category of “cute”, becoming quite the classic beauty. His temperament very much suited his blue and white skating costume. A pale gold choker was wrapped around his neck, and his black hair was tied up in a half-up crown braid.
But the praise of being like a “child star”, was for Chi Xiaochi.
What Chi Xiaochi feared the least was the media and camera flashes, not to mention that the qualifying round was merely being broadcasted online.
He skated a round around the rink, doing a few exercises to loosen up. Although he took a few deep breaths, the movements of his body were clearly still following Chi Xiaochi’s relaxed rhythm.
He looked up at the audience, but before he could find Dong Feihong in the stands, he was called over to take his position in the centre of the rink by the referee.
The youth skated into the centre of the rink, assuming his starting position, arms spread and neck craned like a swan.
For his first song, he’d chosen Yanni’s 《Nightingale》.
The on-site commentary was made by an already-retired skater and a commentator whose qualifications couldn’t be considered first-class, but who had a good mouth.
The commentator said, “Competitor no. 5 is in pretty good condition.”
The retired skater nodded. “The self- confidence he has is very rare amongst children of his age, it’s very valuable.”
The commentator said, “Isn’t it? Just now there were two 12, 13 year olds who got all stiff, not even able to grasp the rhythm.”
The first lines of the music began to play, and the youth skated backwards. His hair was blown up by the ice-laden wind, whirling along with him.
The camera zoomed in on Dong Ge’s face.
There was no smile on his lips, but he didn’t appear imposing, severe or nervous, seeming somewhat melancholy, like there was a weight on his mind, yet this kind of indifference perfectly matched the mood of his performance.
In the beginning, the music was slow and soothing, like the cries of a nightingale. The sound of the blades of his skates hitting the ice with his every step matched perfectly to the beat. His movements were fluid, his sequences like flowing water and drifting clouds. Even though the difficulty level wasn’t very high, his every movement was both clean and proper.
The melancholy in his gaze grew deeper. He raised his hand and slightly placed it to his forehead, like he was pushing himself backwards.
The retired skater instantly recognised this movement. He could hardly hide the surprise in his tone, “A layback Ina Bauer?”
That was indeed a most proper layback Ina Bauer. Both arms were extended to the most perfect width, combined with his powerful yet soft transition, it could be said to be absolutely perfect, like a nightingale singing to the skies.
Just as the commentator wanted to say something, he saw Dong Ge very smoothly follow up his Bauer with a jump.
Even this inexperienced commentator could recognise it. “……2A?”
“……Connecting a layback Ina Bauer with a 2A, that’s a GOE higher than three.”
The gaze the retired skater used to look at Dong Ge had completely changed.
……GOE was one thing, but the understanding this child had towards the beauty and art of skating was on a whole level above the previous competitors’.
He looked down at the competitor’s profile.
……An 11 year old child. If this wasn’t experience, then it had to be pure genius.
The youth on the ice had already gone into an arabesque spiral.
People who understood figure skating were already shocked by the level of skill this unknown youth was displaying, but even more excited were those who actually didn’t understand it very well.
In the eyes of these laymen, “beauty”, “complex movements” and “many turns” were synonyms for amazing technique. Although in this performance, Dong Ge didn’t use any difficult spins, leaving them a little dissatisfied, the first two had very much been achieved.
At the end of his performance, Dong Ge raised his right hand, reaching out to the heavens.
As the final, melodious line of music fell, it was as if every ray of moonlight was shining onto his body.
After he’d completed all his movements and the sound of applause rang out loudly in the stadium, Chi Xiaochi let out a long breath, finally feeling his exhaustion.
It was as if there was a piece of ice burning its way down his throat and into his lungs, making him unable to tell if he was feeling hot or cold.
He bent down, bowing to the audience, then circled around the rink, relaxing his tense muscles.
061 immediately regulated the lactic acid constantly being secreted by his muscles, eliminating his muscle soreness from the root.
He said, “Good work.”
Chi Xiaochi wiped off the sweat on his forehead. He smiled to himself, “……We did pretty well, didn’t we?”
Dong Feihong wanted to stand up and give Dong Ge a round of applause, but unexpectedly, the first one to jump up was Madam Dong, straining her throat in her endless excitement, “My son! My son!”
Her voice was drowned in the sea of discussion and cheering, but Chi Xiaochi still seemed to sense something, turning to face the stands.
At that moment, her seemingly forever dissatisfied face was filled with genuine joy.
She waved her arms wildly at Dong Ge, while Dong Ge stood stunned in place, staring at his mother, who looked twenty years younger, yelling in excitement like a young woman.
A few seconds later, he slowly pulled his face into a smile and waved to her.
At the same time, 061 received a notification he found a little hard to believe.
In the next second, the next notification that followed close after surprised him even more. “Xiaochi……”
Chi Xiaochi also saw it.
The digital display before his eyes had lit up.
The target Lou Sifan’s goodwill level had risen by 8 points, and his regret level had risen by 8 points.
……061 expressed that this was his first time seeing such a strange scene where the target’s goodwill level and regret level rose simultaneously.
But Chi Xiaochi’s attitude was very mild. “I thought he would only see my competition during the live television broadcast for the finals.”
061, “Lou Sifan, he……”
After Chi Xiaochi skated into the exit passage, he slipped off his hair tie in one smooth motion and brushed the ice off his hair. “First of all, goodwill value doesn’t necessarily mean love; and second of all, regret level also doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s reflecting on his own past wrongs.”
Chi Xiaochi said, “One of the reasons why he regards He Changsheng as his white moonlight is because the type of person He Changsheng is suits his tastes.”
061 agreed with Chi Xiaochi’s judgement.
For Lou Sifan, this type of person who loved acting like the saviour of the world to exhibit his Holy Mother-like kindness, this bullied, slightly cool yet with a little artistic air perfectly matched his tastes, easily invoking his protective urges.
Be it Li Changsheng or Zhang Changsheng or Dong Changsheng, they were all the same.
061 asked, “Then the regret value……”
Chi Xiaochi was amused. “Another one of the reasons as to why he regards He Changsheng as his white moonlight, is that even though He Changsheng is a genius, he isn’t a single skater.”
The author has something to say:
Congratulations Xiaochi on succeeding at gaining points remotely √
The attitude that led to Fake Lou’s regret points increasing can be explained in one sentence.
——“I want my friends to be better off than I am, but I don’t want my friends to be better off than I am by too much.”
baum: yay we’re back!! thanks everyone for your patience, and the well wishes! <3
sere: uMM did anyone catch that 061 just called our beautiful child by his name???
song in this chapter: