translator: baumkuchen editors: serefina, glitterypanda
On a certain Saturday two weeks later.
Dong Ge, wearing a pale blue coat, dragged his suitcase behind him as he walked into the provincial team headquarters.
After the awards ceremony, he trimmed his hair short. Now, it’d gotten longer again. It had just been washed that morning, so it was unkempt and loose, giving off a light lemon scent.
A young assistant coach had picked him up from the sports school in Binzhou in his car, sending him straight to where the provincial team was, and while he was at it, familiarizing him with the various facilities there.
After walking for a while, Dong Ge inadvertently caught sight of He Changsheng and a pretty girl walking out of a snack shop side by side not far away.
From Dong Ge’s memories, the girl was called Fang Xiaoyan, and had been He Changsheng’s partner for a while. In the beginning, her skill level was almost the same as that of He Changsheng, but later on, due to poor condition and poor performance, she could only regretfully retire.
Chi Xiaochi raised his eyebrows slightly.
Since He Changsheng was here, then the derivative product that was always in his periphery was probably nearby.
Sure enough, no more than a few seconds later, Lou Sifan followed them out of the store, pressing a bottle of ice water to He Changsheng’s cheek.
He Changsheng shivered, then turned and gave him a look.
Lou Sifan unscrewed the other bottle, a sports drink, and passed it to Fang Xiaoyan. “This one isn’t cold. Girls can drink it too.”
His gentle smile truly made one’s heart melt, to the point that the gaze Fang Xiaoyan used to look at him was bright with undisguised affection.
He Changsheng, not paying them any mind, unscrewed the cap of his own bottle. After taking just a few steps forward, he caught a glimpse of a pale blue figure out of the corner of his eye.
He let out an “en”, and called out the person’s name, “……Dong Ge?”
Only upon hearing someone call him did Dong Ge stop and give them a controlled, polite bow.
When Lou Sifan heard this call of “Dong Ge”, the upturned corners of his mouth stiffened slightly.
By the time he turned around, he had already adjusted his expression with the ease of practice.
Before Dong Ge had arrived, his name had already become well-known amongst the members of the provincial team. Fang Xiaoyan recognised him at first glance. “Aiya, you’re that Dong Ge! You look even better in person than on television!”
Dong Ge nodded slightly. “Thank you, qianbei.”
This point blank earnestness actually made people like him more. Instantly, Fang Xiaoyan’s maternal instinct overflowed. She asked energetically, “Your qianbei will treat you to a drink, okay?”
Dong Ge valued his words like gold. “Thank you, qianbei.”
She grinned, reached out and grabbed He Changsheng’s wallet, and took off towards the snack shop.
He Changsheng was a little indignant. “……Oi, that’s my wallet.”
Fang Xiaoyan shot back from far away, “Look at how petty you are! Why don’t you learn a little from Fan-ge ah.”
He Changsheng felt his pocket, a little unhappy.
It wasn’t that he wasn’t willing to spend money, he just didn’t like other people casually touching his things.
Seeing He Changsheng’s expression turn darker, Lou Sifan immediately spoke up to comfort him, “Nevermind, later, however much Xiaoyan spends, I’ll make it up to you.”
He Changsheng, “……”
He couldn’t be bothered to explain, so he simply stopped talking.
By the time he moved his gaze back onto Dong Ge, Lou Sifan had already adjusted his face to its gentlest setting.
Upon finding out that Dong Ge was joining the provincial youth team, he’d come up with countless outlines in his head about what he was going to say when he met Dong Ge again.
……He had helped him like that in the past and had even publicly expressed that they knew each other very well, so he didn’t even need to think about it to know that that group of idiots from the sports school hadn’t dared to bully him anymore.
If not for him, Dong Ge might still be struggling in an abyss of suffering.
Even though he put it like that, Lou Sifan would never reveal this favour he’d done too obviously.
After all, he, Lou Sifan, had never been the type to use his position to tower above others.
He coughed lightly. He first lessened the distance between them with his words, “You cut your hair?”
Dong Ge touched a hand to his soft, now-short hair. He nodded.
He then praised, “We all watched your competition. You did really well.”
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.
Unexpectedly, Dong Ge’s attitude towards him was exactly the same as his attitude towards Fang Xiaoyan, whom he had just met for the first time. Like a little audio device that was put on loop, he said, “Thank you, qianbei.”
Obe Vlojc, “……”
Pc mbcagjra, Lf Jtjcurtfcu vlvc’a tjnf remt j ‘tfjiats’ fub. Lf jrxfv, vgjklcu yibbv bc atf olgra qglmx, “Gb sbe ralii gfwfwyfg er?”
Gbcu Xf’r qjlg bo kjafgs yibrrbw fsfr yilcxfv. “Tbe akb jgf……”
Obe Vlojc, “……”
Lf Jtjcurtfcu vlvc’a jmaejiis olcv atlr ragjcuf.
Ktfs tjv pera yffc ragjcufgr ktb tjv mbwf abufatfg ys mtjcmf, jcv la tjv yffc atgff wbcatr jub. Rba ab wfcalbc, atfs tjvc’a jmaejiis yffc bo jcs tfiq klat atf yeiislcu. Gbcu Xf cba gfwfwyfglcu atfw kjr cjaegji.
So, he solemnly introduced himself, “I’m He Changsheng.”
Dong Ge nodded. “He-qianbei.”
After that, he then turned to Lou Sifan, awaiting Lou Sifan’s self-introduction.
This huge gap in his expectations made it a little hard for Lou Sifan to accept.
……How could he not remember him?
Clearly it was he who’d helped him……
The current Lou Sifan was, after all, a 15 year old teen, his temperament wasn’t that steady. When his emotions flared, they were directly expressed on his face.
Seeing him go silent, He Changsheng helped him out, saying, “He’s Lou Sifan.”
Dong Ge nodded. “Lou-qianbei.”
This could be considered them having exchanged greetings.
Only after a great amount of effort was Lou Sifan able to produce a bit of a smile again. “Hello.”
……Forget it, there was no need for him have to argue with a child four years younger than himself.
What did he know anyway.
But following that, this audio machine on loop Xiao Dong Ge actually took the initiative to strike up a conversation with him, “Lou-qianbei, have you seen my competition?”
Lou Sifan made a quick adjustment of his mental state and praised with the style of a senior, “You were really outstanding.”
Dong Ge let out a shallow smile. “Thank you.”
Lou Sifan seized this opportunity, pretending to inadvertently ask a question he had been mulling over for a long time, “Dong Ge, having joined the provincial team, have you ever thought about what you want to achieve in the future?”
Dong Ge said, “I’ve thought about it.”
Lou Sifan looked at him encouragingly. “What are your plans?”
Dong Ge said, “To become the number one in the male singles division.”
Lou Sifan, “……”
Hearing this, He Changsheng let out a rare smile.
……He hadn’t thought that this child would have such high ambitions.
The him of that time also had those kinds of thoughts, but had never been willing to make them known.
Lou Sifan raised his spirits and continued to patiently and systematically guide him along. “Then have you ever considered changing to pair skating?”
The Chi Xiaochi inside of Dong Ge’s body, “……”
The 061 inside of Chi Xiaochi’s body, “……”
Lou Sifan’s reasoning was unexpectedly solid. “Our provincial team’s pair skating division’s teaching quality is very robust. In there, it’s very easy to shine. Also, they’ve produced many world champions. You can go to the trophy room to take a look, the trophies displayed there are almost all pair skating trophies; the competition in the singles division is particularly fierce and only very few can get ahead. You’re still young, so it’s not too late to change yet; if you were a little older, even if you wanted to change I fear it would be very difficult.”
Lou Sifan’s words were sincere and full of feelings. Unfortunately, upon falling into Chi Xiaochi’s ears, they all automatically turned into blah blah blah blah blah.
Chi Xiaochi said to 061, “Wow, so considerate. Should I be thanking him then?”
061, “……Don’t pay him any mind.”
One line after another came out so smoothly, 061 had the reasonable suspicion that Lou Sifan had rehearsed this speech in private.
Lou Sifan was still a picture of someone as humble as a chrysanthemum. He even casually brought up the coach to make himself sound more convincing. “When the time comes, the coach will definitely ask you if you want to change to the pair skating division. You can think about it in advance.”
Lou Sifan spoke very sincerely, and every word, every sentence he spoke was true.
The future one would have in pair skating was brighter than that of singles, and there was also less international competition.
As a senior, giving such advice was reasonable.
He expectantly waited for Dong Ge’s response.
Dong Ge indeed put on a serious, thoughtful expression. After thinking for a moment, he raised his head and asked, “Pair skating is that good?”
Lou Sifan pulled He Changsheng over, “Ask your He-qianbei.”
He Changsheng let out a succinct “en”, making his position known. “I used to be in singles too. Afterwards, after hearing Lou-ge’s words, I switched over. It’s not bad.”
Chi Xiaochi, 061, “……” Fuck, so it was you he practiced this on?
Dong Ge looked at He Changsheng, then looked at Lou Sifan, and raised an important question, “Lou-qianbei, since pair skating is so good, then are you also in pair skating?”
……That was really fucking filled with the intent to kill.
Lou Sifan’s expression turned ugly for a second, but he immediately reacted, smiling as he replied with another question, “What do you think?”
Dong Ge raised his hand and pointed in the direction of the snack shop. “That jiejie just now…… en, female-qianbei, is she your partner?”
This title of “female-qianbei” made Lou Sifan laugh.
He Changsheng replied in his stead, “She’s my partner.”
Dong Ge’s brows furrowed slightly. “……Oh.”
He Changsheng felt like he had something he wanted to say. “What is it?”
“Jiejie’s relationship with Lou-qianbei seems much closer than that with He-qianbei,” Dong Ge said, “Our coach told us before that the most important thing for a pair of skaters is a tacit understanding. ……Seeing how close jiejie and Lou-qianbei were, I thought that they were pair skating partners.”
His tone was like that of a little adult. In the beginning, he found it funny, but upon noticing the thoughtful expression on He Changsheng’s face, Lou Sifan couldn’t laugh.
……He had just been scared that Fang Xiaoyan would get a crush on He Changsheng, and had wanted to get He Changsheng to like him by getting her to like him.
After all, He Changsheng wasn’t interested in anything other than figure skating. He really didn’t know what to do to make him happy.
After some thinking, He Changsheng nodded. “You’re right. I’ll take note of this.”
Dong Ge didn’t say anything else. From beginning to end, there had been an indifferent expression on his face, as if he had just brought it up casually, that was all.
And pulling the carpet out from under Lou Sifan like this let him lightly brush over Lou Sifan’s encouragement to switch to the pair skating division, as if it had never happened.
Fang Xiaoyan came back with her drink and said that her friend had just called her out to play.
She passed the drink to Dong Ge. Dong Ge nodded and thanked her, then went off, pulling his luggage along behind him.
After Fang Xiaoyan also left, He Changsheng stroked his chin, ruminating over Dong Ge’s words.
He said, speaking to himself, “I say, why is it that Xiaoyan hasn’t been in the right state lately? ……It seems like every time she loses focus, you’re always there.”
Having been unable to talk Dong Ge over, Lou Sifan was already feeling a little irascible. Upon hearing He Changsheng say this, he became even more flustered. “What does this have to do with me?”
He Changsheng, “I think Xiaoyan likes you a little.”
Lou Sifan, “Why would you think that?!”
He Changsheng said, “I’m not stupid, the look in her eyes whenever she looks at you isn’t right.”
Lou Sifan became even more anxious, blurting out, “Don’t misunderstand, I didn’t want to make her like me.”
He Changsheng immediately felt those words weren’t appropriate. “Then what were you trying to do by treating her so well. You bought her a drink, you helped her twist off the cap, you even promised to repay me for her, how do you expect her to not think more of it?”
Lou Sifan, “I——”
He couldn’t say anything.
What could he even say?
After all, no matter how he looked at it, He Changsheng didn’t seem at all gay. Especially when he was partnering Fang Xiaoyan in skating together, his eyes were filled with the heart-moving luster of infatuation. Even just looking from afar made Lou Sifan’s eyes burn.
Even if He Changsheng had said many times that it was just a performance, that his and Fang Xiaoyan’s relationship was purely that of skating partners, that he wasn’t used to Fang Xiaoyan acting so familiarly, and that Fang Xiaoyan also didn’t like his inarticulateness off the rink, Lou Sifan still found it hard to accept the two of them having to make intimate bodily contact everywhere and all the time.
Perhaps he had purposefully gotten closer, purposefully acted friendly towards Fang Xiaoyan, but that was because of He Changsheng ah.
Seeing Lou Sifan falter, He Changsheng said bluntly, “From now on, when we’re training, don’t come to look for her as often. Xiaoyan has excellent qualifications in all aspects, and she’s currently in her golden period of development. If she can’t settle down enough to train, what’s she going to do in the future?”
Lou Sifan’s face turned a brilliant array of colours.
He really couldn’t say “I come to look for you”. He could only try to do his utmost to suppress his grievance.
However, the more he thought about it, the angrier he became:
……If not for Dong Ge bringing up the matter about pair skating, would Changsheng have brought up this matter of distancing himself from him?
So why did he waste his time meddling and looking after Dong Ge in the beginning?
Ten minutes later.
Chi Xiaochi, who’d settled down in his dorm, sat down on his freshly-made bed and sneered, “Hah, young people.”
On the display panel, Lou Sifan’s regret level once again increased at a speed visible to the naked eye, going up by 3, 4 points.
In Chi Xiaochi’s view, for Lou Sifan, this fake Holy Mother, his regret level was really very easy to grind.
This kind of person often liked to place himself on the moral high ground. The moment things developed in a way that didn’t adhere to this kind of person’s expectations, they would start fiercely denouncing others and even feel like their own good intentions had been insulted and trampled upon.
When facing such self-righteous people, Chi Xiaochi usually chose to trample on them a little more.
061 also hadn’t expected that just depending on him overthinking things from a remote distance, Lou Sifan’s regret value would actually be able to rise so quickly.
If things continued the way they were, Chi Xiaochi didn’t even need to buy a time compression card. He just needed to go bother Lou Sifan a few times and his virtuous achievements would come to their successful conclusion for this world.
Who knew that just as he thought this, Chi Xiaochi would lazily put forward a request, “Liu-laoshi, cash in a mid-grade compression card.”
Chi Xiaochi asked, “Is there any problem?”
061 said, “……After you buy the card, you’ll only have 6 regret points left.”
And the main point was that there wasn’t a need to buy the card at all ah.
Chi Xiaochi said, “Liu-laoshi, I can add, subtract, multiply and divide any number within three digits without a calculator.”
Chi Xiaochi leaned back against the roll of bedding smelling of sunlight, and cut off his advice, “Liu-laoshi, can you guarantee that I won’t encounter tasks with such long durations in the future? If that world’s target’s goodwill level and regret level are as difficult to increase as Zhou Kai’s, what would I do then?”
……Translating this sentence, he was once again taking Lou Sifan as a free ATM.
But after a bit of closer thought, 061 found that Chi Xiaochi seemed to have another point.
……Could it be that he had noticed that the Lord God was targeting him?
However, without waiting for him to ask further, Chi Xiaochi spoke again.
“……Besides, I can’t return this body to Dong Ge yet.”
Chi Xiaochi closed his eyes in rest, as if he was saying something utterly unimportant, his tone also very lax, “Don’t forget what state Dong Ge was in before he died. He still needs someone to accompany him down the next part of the road.”
The author has something to say:
President Chi-brand heat pack w
sere: kinda hard to remember that LSF is like 15 when hes such an ass. ALSO I PLACE DIBS ON HCS FOR DONG GE’S PARTNER
baum: after all this, I think author probably works in the finance industry. she tends to jump to using finance terms. like with Cheng Jian, when he was asking if Yang Baihua wanted him to help make a list of all the times Cheng Yuan had been good to him, he asked if he wanted him to help him make an account. account as in the accounting account, not an online account. on that note, bc it’s a little hard to tl (like should i write it as “should I help you make a [T-]account/journal” to make it clearer?), i just tled it as “should I help you make a list”, bc he was basically just saying should i help you record down all the times my brother has been good to you but now it keeps me up at night wondering if I should change it to something a little closer lol