translator: baumkuchen editors: glitterypanda, serefina
The next day, He Changsheng’s plan to leave didn’t come to fruition.
In the endless stream of New Year’s visitors, was mixed in a Lou Sifan.
He was dressed very neatly. Only after greeting Dong Ge’s parents did he grab He Changsheng and drag him over to a secluded place by the rink to talk. “Thank goodness you’re here. I was worried all night.”
Given their many years of closeness, and He Changsheng not being the type to hold grudges, during his kenja time last night, he had also consciously reflected on his mistakes.
He said, “I lost my phone, I wasn’t intentionally ignoring your calls. Sorry.”
“I’ll get you a new one,” Lou Sifan said, “Just take it as my apology, okay?”
He Changsheng said, “No need.”
Lou Sifan smiled and said, “Do the two of us still need to fuss over such things? I’ve even given you a pair of ice skates before.”
He Changsheng said solemnly, “You can’t mix money into friendship. At the time, I couldn’t afford it. Afterwards, didn’t I buy a pair for you in return?”
Lou Sifan said, “I still have that pair of skates.”
He Changsheng nodded. “So do I.”
This short exchange made He Changsheng think of the darkest period in his life when he was younger.
He had a relatively feminine appearance, with red lips and white teeth, and when he was happy, his eyes shone with a natural radiance. However, the type of appearance he had was the most looked down on by other boys.
The standards of the world of children were both simple and cruel. To them, not being like them was the biggest mistake one could make.
It was when he had almost begun to doubt the meaning of his existence that Lou Sifan appeared.
He rescued He Changsheng from the abyss, bought him the ice skates he couldn’t afford, and even said to him, “Why not try out pair skating? You need to learn how to put yourself out there and how to talk to people.”
Lou Sifan had saved him, so He Changsheng couldn’t bear to watch him fall into another abyss either.
During yesterday’s dinner, the always gentle and kind Lou Sifan exposed the darkness in his heart to He Changsheng for the first time.
—— He was jealous of Dong Ge, jealous to the point of madness.
Over the past few years, compared to Dong Ge’s steady rise in skill, Lou Sifan remained stagnant, even regressing a little. His coach had already had several heart-to-heart talks with him, but it was of no use.
He Changsheng understood this type of dark side.
In this world, there were too few saints. Who hasn’t had one or two dark thoughts before?
But He Changsheng didn’t want to let jealousy completely erode his best friend’s heart.
Lou Sifan cautiously looked into He Changsheng’s eyes. “Changsheng, don’t go, stay to celebrate the New Year. The provincial team headquarters are too cold and cheerless, if you don’t have a happy New Year because of me, I’ll feel terribly guilty. Anyways, you’ll be going to Finland after this, and we won’t get to see each other for at least a month……”
He Changsheng thought it over. “En, okay.”
In these past few years, Lou Sifan had never gotten into an argument with He Changsheng before. He hadn’t expected that He Changsheng, who looked as noble as a Persian cat, could be so easily soothed with just one or two strokes.
Pleasantly surprised, he said, “I’ll go help you get your luggage.”
Who knew that He Changsheng would stop him with a press to his hand, raise his voice and call out, “Dong Ge?”
He thought Dong Ge was in his room, but who knew that a voice coming from not far away would reach the two, “Qianbei.”
The two of them looked up simultaneously, spotting Dong Ge.
He was leaning over the railing above the stands, a steaming cloth in his hands. “My parents and my uncle went out to pay their New Year’s greetings. I was bored alone at home, so I came to clean up the ice rink.”
Upon seeing Dong Ge’s face, He Changsheng suspected that there might be something wrong with his own body.
……His heart was clearly thumping wildly, but he felt a little short of breath.
He looked up and asked, “Why didn’t you go with them?”
Dong Ge’s reply was short and to the point, “It would be too troublesome.”
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.
He would have to shake a round of hands, sign a round of signatures, talk about a scandal or two in the ice skating world, and be heckled into performing with constant “do a jump”s. It was the same program every year, he’d be better off just staying at home and cleaning.
Qlat atja, tf cbvvfv rilutais ja Obe Vlojc. “Obe-dljcyfl, Ljqqs Rfk Tfjg.”
Ktf mbgcfgr bo Obe Vlojc’r wbeat kfgf rilutais ogbhfc raloo ys atf mbiv klcv. “Lfiib.”
Lf Jtjcurtfcu jrxfv, “Jbeiv P agbeyif sbe ys rajslcu ja sbeg tbwf obg j ofk wbgf vjsr?”
Lfjglcu atlr, Obe Vlojc’r tjcvr revvfcis alutafcfv lcab olrar. C rwjii oijwf luclafv lc atf vfqatr bo tlr tfjga, ribkis gbjralcu la, wjxlcu tlw kjca ab rtbea ibevis, ab afii Gbcu Xf ab oemx boo.
Dong Ge cocked his head slightly. “If it’s qianbei, it’s no trouble.”
He Changsheng, “What about Uncle and Auntie……”
Dong Ge, “I’ll let them know.”
After settling the matter of where he would be lodging in short order, He Changsheng turned back to look at Lou Sifan. “Lou-ge, from now on, if you want to ask me to go out to play with you, you have to bring Dong Ge along too.”
In He Changsheng’s view, Lou Sifan still had too few interactions with Dong Ge.
If he bound Dong Ge and himself together and let Lou Sifan have more opportunities to talk to Dong Ge, he would find that Dong Ge was a very good child.
Lou Sifan blinked, then curved his eyes into an incredibly gentle smile. “Alright, it’s Lou-ge who owes you this time. I’ll listen to you.”
Following that, he looked up and smiled at Dong Ge. “Are you free tomorrow? Let’s go to the billiard hall to play.”
Dong Ge nodded slightly. “En, alright.”
After sending Lou Sifan off, He Changsheng walked back to Dong Ge’s side, where he was still cleaning the railings. “Is there still any work to do?”
Dong Ge looked up and didn’t try to be overly polite to He Changsheng, “Does qianbei know how to drive a Zamboni?
He Changsheng, “Yes.” He’d learned when he worked in the provincial team’s ice rink to earn money in the past.
Dong Ge said, “Then let’s smooth out the ice and give it a wash.”
He Changsheng, “Alright.”
In two hours, the two young men, one older and one younger, resurfaced the vast ice rink. The edges and corners the Zamboni couldn’t reach could only be dealt with manually by smoothing out the ice with a blade, and then laying down a layer of hot water.
It was tedious work, but the two did it with great joy.
Dong Ge shared his experience with him, “You can use warm water at about 50 degrees celsius to make the wash water. If you add a bit of milk to it, the resulting ice will be both smooth and beautiful.”
Such knowledge might sound utterly boring to other people, but He Changsheng asked very seriously, “With what proportion?”
Dong Ge told him.
In order to test it, the two, stretching their waists, ran back into the house, carried out a carton of milk, mixed it with warm water, and poured it into the water tank.
He Changsheng leaned against the copilot seat of the Zamboni and watched Dong Ge with his arms crossed.
He was wearing an absolutely ordinary black down jacket and blue jeans. Because the pouring process wasn’t going very smoothly, his eyebrows were slightly creased, looking very serious. He licked his lips, making his naturally red lips seem even more bright and glossy.
He Changsheng looked away, their pair skate last night subconsciously coming to mind once again. He thought about their close training sessions over the years, thought about himself waiting for him by the side of the rink, while the elf-like person in the rink danced in the breeze.
He thought for a while and smiled, until Dong Ge called out for him, “Qianbei.”
He Changsheng, “……Ah?”
In Dong Ge’s eyes, the corners of He Changsheng’s mouth were currently raised and his cheeks flushed a light crimson, like a delicious peach pastry.
Chi Xiaochi sat in the Zamboni and said to 061, “Liu-laoshi, next time Lou Sifan’s regret level reaches its max, let’s leave.”
061, “……Not going to save up a little more?”
Chi Xiaochi educated 061, “Liu-laoshi, both people and systems need to learn how to be satisfied with what they have.”
061, “…..” Then dare I ask who it was that cleaned out half the cards in the storehouse?
At the same time.
In a cafe, Lou Sifan sat face to face with a skinny, monkey-like man by the door.
The man lit a cigarette. “I don’t like it when Second Uncle comes. With such a big family, it makes the house so noisy.”
The girl watching the cafe held her nose and pointed at the sign pasted on the wall. “Dear customer, smoking is not allowed in here……”
Skinny monkey shot the girl a sideways look and pushed open the door to the cafe.
The sub-zero winds rushed into the springtime warmth inside the cafe, freezing the girl and making her scrunch up her eyes. She trotted right over to close the door.
As Skinny monkey watched the girl shiver, his mouth split open in a wide grin.
Lou Sifan stirred milk into his coffee with one hand while his right hand was pressed against a photograph. His fingertips slowly slid across the plastic surface of the photo.
Skinny monkey stretched out his neck. “Yi, you really brought the photo out.”
Lou Sifan said, “Weren’t you the one who wanted to see it?”
Skinny monkey reached out a hand. “Let your cousin see, which boy is your ‘close’ friend?”
Lou Sifan passed him the photograph. “The first row from the back, the second from the left.”
This was a group photo taken in the spring of last year for the provincial team’s thirtieth anniversary, in which stood the twenty new elite skaters of the provincial team.
Cousin Skinny monkey smacked his lips. “This lady looks very interesting.”
Lou Sifan was a little discontent. “……He doesn’t like others saying he looks delicate.”
His cousin laughed loudly, then puffed a few breaths of cigarette smoke. “Got it, got it. You already have your target, so when are you going to get him, ah?”
He vulgarly extended his middle finger and made a penetration motion.
Lou Sifan frowned.
Unlike him, this cousin of his had mixed in with the crowd of this little town since he was young, becoming brothers with a gang of rowdy hooligans. Today he would go to some construction site and steal some raw materials to sell; tomorrow he would deliberately drive his loud modified motorcycle past girls, making them screech or break out into rebukes.
Lou Sifan had always been a little dismissive of his cousin.
If not for his having a request of him this time……
He scrunched up his eyebrows, showing a distressed appearance.
His cousin, “What’s with ya? Did you eat shit or what?”
Lou Sifan let out a bitter laugh. “I fear he’s beyond my reach.”
His cousin’s interest was immediately piqued. “What happened? He’s not willing to be gay?”
Lou Sifan said, “He was snatched by someone else.”
“……What the fuck?” His cousin let out a curse, “Didn’t you say that you and he grew up together? Who fucking stole what was yours ah, isn’t there a first come, first served? Doesn’t he know the rules?”
Lou Sifan said, “Take it as him having the skill.”
His cousin, “What does he do? How old is he?”
Lou Sifan pointed at the photograph.
Dong Ge stood in the middle of the first row, the place closest to the head coach.
Skinny monkey took a look. His mouth twitched downwards. “What the fuck, it’s this little calf with a face asking for a thrashing?”
Lou Sifan spoke for him. “Cousin, don’t put it like that. He’s my teammate.”
Skinny monkey astutely caught onto the key point. “He’s dug out the bottom of your wall, he’s unhitched your tire, and he still counts as your teammate? ……He also figure-skates?”
Lou Sifan smiled. “Of course, and quite well at that. He’s even from the same town as us.”
Skinny monkey said, “Right, I got it.”
Lou Sifan acted confused. “What did you get?”
Skinny monkey reached out his hand and picked up the picture. He looked closely at Dong Ge’s face. “Leave it, just drink your coffee.”
Lou Sifan’s expression turned heavy. “Cousin, what are you up to?”
Skinny monkey said, “Crimes are my forte, I’m going to put him in his fucking place.”
Lou Sifan said, panicked, “No need, really no need. What are you doing? Nobody can force feelings.”
Skinny monkey flicked the photograph with his index finger. “I already told you, leave it, ah.”
Lou Sifan was still worried. “Cousin, I don’t even care about this, don’t you……”
Skinny monkey, “Chittering and chattering like this, are you a girl? Leave your photo here with me first, I’m taking it back to let my mother have a look at it.”
Lou Sifan watched firsthand as Skinny monkey placed the photograph into the front pocket of his backpack and pulled up the zip. He picked up his cup of coffee to hide his tiny smile.
Over the next few days, in order to force the two’s relationship to develop, He Changsheng would take the initiative to ask Lou Sifan out to play every day, bringing Dong Ge along with him.
This little town had a lot of places to go to to play, such as the arcade hall, billiards hall, boardgame rooms, escape rooms; adding them all up, they were able to enjoy themselves to the fullest.
In the arcade hall, Dong Ge didn’t waste any time before collecting a hundred coins in a worn-out bucket and making a beeline to a claw machine containing Spongebob Squarepants soft toys for a fight to the death.
As Chi Xiaochi tried to pick up a Spongebob Squarepants toy, he gave the Dong Ge inside his body a lesson, “If you want to give him something, you should give him his absolute favourite thing. With presents, it’s not about the price, it’s about the intent.”
I understand the truth in your words, but as someone with handicapped hands, why are you making it hard for yourself?
After watching the hundred coins decrease by a half while the Spongebob Squarepants toys in the claw machine remained as immovable as a mountain, not a single one of them having moved an inch, 061 finally couldn’t bear to watch any longer.
Chi Xiaochi inserted another coin.
The claw machine began to move with a loud drone. The three-pronged claw moved downwards shakily, barely missing a Spongebob’s right hand.
Chi Xiaochi sighed, “Ai, this iron claw isn’t good.”
In the next second, that tired, feeble iron claw unexpectedly became like steel pliers, suddenly jamming itself down onto the Spongebob’s hand, directly dragging it upwards and seamlessly and firmly sending it to the exit chute before letting go once more.
Chi Xiaochi was stunned for a long time, before exclaiming excitedly, “Liu-laoshi, Liu-laoshi, see my micromanagement!?”
061, “……” Fine fine fine, your micromanagement, your micromanagement.
Hugging the Spongebob Squarepants toy, Dong Ge ran over to He Changsheng, who was currently watching Lou Sifan play a motorcycle game. He said with a cold face, “I captured a soft toy for qianbei.”
This Spongebob was truly made very shoddily, with a nose that didn’t look like a nose and eyes that didn’t look like eyes, but He Changsheng hugged it to his chest, his heart a little sweet.
……Just now, he had actually been sneakily watching Dong Ge the entire time.
He clearly couldn’t use the claw.
As he’d taken in Dong Ge’s unresigned gaze, his heart had melted.
On the ice, he was also like this……
He said, “Thank you, I really like it.”
He felt like this sentence was unable to fully express his emotions, so he added another line, “……Really like it.”
Lou Sifan sat on the moving, roaring motorcycle, seeming to single-mindedly look forwards.
Meanwhile, ten or so meters away, a group of little hooligans with multicoloured hair moved their pointed gazes away from Dong Ge and walked out of the arcade hall.
The author has something to say:
This world’s ending soon la w
panda: I’ll miss HCS and DG once this world ends…
sere: i hope Fake Lou dies a little faster for my ship to sail a little smoother… midterms for me too orz and a project and 3 problem sets… dying…
baum: although it means I have to tl more of LSF, I kinda like that HCS isn’t going to give up on his friend of more than ten years and is still trying to help him. HCS is such a nice guy, I can’t believe LSF thinks himself worthy of him -.-
quick reminder that since sere and I have midterms, this’ll be the only update this week. thank you all for your understanding and well-wishes from last chapter~ <3