Shi Du’s “Withdrawal Application” worked even better than playing with his ball; it completely absorbed Yu Zhaohan’s stress, and Yu Zhaohan could unscrupulously turn into Yuyu in front of his boyfriend.
What’s the big deal about facing Lawman? He wasn’t afraid at all.
Yu Zhaohan and Shi Du hugged and kissed for a while. Suddenly, Yu Zhaohan thought of something. He climbed off Shi Du and reached for the tablet on the table at the foot of the bed, but his hand was just a bit too short, and his fingertips could barely touch the edge of the tablet.
Seeing Yu Zhaohan struggling, Timeless turned around in the same position, picked up the tablet, and pulled Yu Zhaohan back. He handed the tablet to Yu Zhaohan and asked, “Do you want to review?”
“No, I want to delete something,” Yu Zhaohan replied. He opened a folder and found a folder called ‘Advanced Love Skills·Video Version’ and said, “Since we won’t be having long-distance relationships in the future, we won’t need these.”
Shi Du stretched out his hand to stop him: “Wait a minute, let me take a look first.”
[Step 1: At the beginning, only let him see the part above your neck, slowly describe what clothes you wore today, and then let him guess the color of your underwear]
[Step 2: Move the camera down and let him watch you slowly remove all your clothes one by one, and then gently touch your body]
[step 3: Continue teasing him with words. Tell him you miss him and ask him if he wants to see you open your legs]
Shi Du was silent for a long time and asked, “You originally planned to practice these?”
Yu Zhaohan nodded: “Yes.”
Shi Du calmly exited the folder: “You don’t need to delete the folcer yet. If we have to be apart for two or three days due to something else, then it can be considered a long-distance relationship, and the video version will come in handy then.”
Yu Zhaohan was convinced: “Okay, then we will find time to practice after the game.”
This week’s competition brought them to Paris, France. For many domestic fans, this was a crucial week: between Hangzhou DSD and Beijing IPL only one could remain; R.H was facing Lawman again after a year, with both teams leading their respective zones and having gone undefeated in the regular season. The Paris showdown wasn’t quite the finals, but it was as important as one. Tickets for spectators had been scalped at several times their face value.
Paris was known as the city of fashion and romance, but the R.H boys had no chance to enjoy it. They sat on the team bus, heading to the stadium, and were noticeably quieter than usual.
November had brought the scent of winter to Paris. Yu Zhaohan wore a light-colored, knee-length overcoat over his team uniform. He sat with half of his face turned, gazing at the streets outside the window, giving the impression of a refined and cold statue.
Anyone sitting beside him would inevitably steal a few more glances at him than normal, but apparently, Lu Yaoshan wasn’t a regular person.
“We’re not incapable of playing a fast-paced system, but, after all, we’ve played it less often. Lawman, on the other hand, played it throughout the entire season. Only a fool would go head-to-head with them. Besides, the individual skills of Lawman’s players are incredibly strong, and apart from the double C, our tanks, supports, our players might all be at a disadvantage when it comes to one-on-one matchups,” Landowner was engrossed in his tactical planning, not even looking at his beautiful companion, “So, we still need to play with Lawman as a team, using an energy-operated system.”
Yu Zhaohan nodded and asked, “In terms of map selection, do you have any new ideas?”
The first map of the competition was drawn randomly, and then the loser of the previous round would select the subsequent maps. The initial map choice was crucial. If a team lost the first two rounds, it could lead to a significant psychological burden. However, if a team managed to tie the score through map advantages, both teams would return to the same starting point.
“Lawman has a 100% win rate on all the maps this season, so there’s no map they’re not good at. But there’s one map they definitely aren’t familiar with—of course, we’re not very familiar with it either.”
“Are you talking about Sunset Boulevard?”
Sunset Boulevard was the newest map, and it had rarely been selected in official matches.
“Yes, that’s a gamble,” Landowner leaned closer to Yu Zhaohan’s ear and said mysteriously, “Last night, Wan Feng sent me a dream, telling me that Lawman hasn’t practiced the new map properly.”
Yu Zhaohan: “…”
Shi Du’s seat was occupied by the coach, and he was forced to sit with Old Tan.
The boy was wearing a short black hooded jacket and was typing slowly on his mobile phone. He was sitting still, with his face almost sinking his entire face into the shadow of his jacket.
[Mom: Did you withdraw from school by yourself?]
[Timeless: You finally noticed. Congratulations.]
[Mom: What are you thinking! Didn’t we already agree?]
[Timeless: You made an agreement by yourself; it’s not my problem.]
[Mom: Your dad has already agreed to let you compete until you win. Are you going to go back on your word now?]
[Timeless: Yeah, so what?]
[Mom: Xiao Du, you’ll retire sooner or later. If you don’t want to go to school now, do you want to be a street punk in the future?]
[Mom: Xiao Du! How could you lie so confidently? Do you want to make your dad furious?]
[Timeless: He won’t get furious. Don’t worry.]
[Timeless: Mom, I’m playing a match in Paris right now. Is there any handbag or shoes you want to buy?]
[Mom: Of course, I’ll make a list for you later.]
Shi Du watched his mother retract the last message, then bombarded him with voice messages, one call after another.
[Mom: Xiao Du! You answer the phone for me!]
[Timeless: You’re blocked, I will unblock you after the game]
[Timeless: Love you]
Old Tan was the status of Lawman’s players when he suddenly exclaimed multiple times, like a rooster crowing. Shi Du was caught by the arm, and he didn’t even look up as he said, “Let go; stay away from me when you’re about to lay an egg.”
“No, look at this!”
Old Tan’s phone was on a Twitter post, posted by a user with the ID “laaradox,” who was the active support for Lawman and the only South Korean player on their team.
Laaradox posted ten minutes ago on Twitter, stating that he had an upset stomach in London and hadn’t slept well all night, running to the toilet five or six times.
Old Tan said: “If Paradox is truly ill, maybe he won’t be starter today? That would be a good thing for us!”
Timeless chuckled, “Old trick. You believe this?”
“Huh?” Old Tan re-read the translation, “You mean it might be fake?”
“It’s not certain, but whether it’s true or false, he didn’t need to tell his fans about it. Cheese had an upset stomach too; did he make a public announcement?”
Old Tan understood, “You mean…?”
“Prepare an excuse in advance, and if you lose, you can use feeling unwell to save face in front of the fans. They might say that Lawman lost today because Paradox was sick, and R.H only won by seizing an opportunity.”
Old Tan sighed, “No wonder. Lawman is an American team, and they have an average attitude toward foreign players. Paradox, being South Korean, should be under significant pressure. Tide might be as well… Oh well, it’s not our concern.”
Shi Du thought for a moment, “You reminded me. If Paradox is overly concerned about his reputation, in a match where he’s not confident, he’ll surely play conservatively.”
Behind Shi Du and Old Tan sat Jiang Di. were sitting in front of Jiang Di. He had headphones on, his eyes closed, and he heard the notification sound for a message. He opened his eyes and saw an email from the University Basketball Association with the subject “Investigation Report on Jiang Di’s Suspected Use of Prohibited Substances.”
Jiang Di’s finger hovered over the “Open” button for a long time, but he never pressed it. He locked his phone screen and closed his eyes once more.
Cheese and Stone were having a video call with Qi Xian.
Qi Xian was sitting with Little kneeling in his arms, on the couch in the Shanghai base. His bright red hair was quite long now, tied up in a high ponytail, giving him a touch of traditional charm.
Cheese said nervously: “Xianxian, I don’t feel confident at all right now.”
Stone whispered, “I feel the same… Lawman’s tank’s individual stats are just too incredible.”
Qi Xian smiled, “Just play normally, it’s okay even if you can’t win. We have the revive card. I’ve already bought my plane ticket. After my last rehabilitation session, I’ll come and join you guys. By the way, how’s our captain? Is he nervous?”
Cheese glanced at Yu Zhaohan and replied without hesitation, “Our captain is beautiful and calm. How could he be nervous?”
There were two important matches on a single game day, one in the winner’s bracket and one in the loser’s bracket. The battle between R.H. and Lawman was set for the second game. The first game had just begun when they arrived at the arena.
Everyone in R.H was rehearsing their tactical plans in the lounge when there was a knock on the door halfway through.
Old Tan thought it was a league staff member, but when he opened the door, his expression changed slightly: “Did you go to the wrong lounge?”
“I’m in the right place.” A man in Lawman’s uniform walked in and quickly locked his gaze on Yu Zhaohan among the handsome guys, “I’m here to say hello to you – Captain Yu, long time no see.”
Yu Zhaohan responded calmly: “Mm.”
It’s been a year since they last saw each other, and Tide’s “American” style has become significantly stronger. The wool curls on one end are less mischievous and more sad than the previous year.
It seems that his life in Lawman was not satisfactory.
Lu Youshan said in a bad tone: “What are you here for?”
“I said I came to say hello. Coach Lu, what else do you think I’m here for? You’re all old acquaintances of mine.” Tide looked at Timeless. “Of course, Timeless is an exception.”
Shi Du chuckled. “I can only say I’m glad to be the exception.”
Tide choked and held back his dislike. The entire league knew that despite Timeless’ young age, he wasn’t someone to be messed with. Tide had no need to incur Timeless’ enmity, and he wasn’t here to argue with R.H.
Tide asked: “Why doesn’t Captain Yu reply to my WeChat message?”
Yu Zhaohan said: “Forgot.”
“So you’re still the same, Shine,” Tide looked at Yu Zhaohan and twitched his lips, “Always looking down on everyone.”
Cheese interjected: “Not really, I think Captain respects me. He even hugged me and comforted me.”
Jiang Di said: “The Captain also hugged me.”
Shi Du continued: “Brother Xian was also hugged by the Captain. I don’t need to say more, people who understand will understand.”
“Come on.” Old Tan’s mentality broke. “Are you saying I’m the only one in R.H. who hasn’t been hugged by Shine?!”
Stone raised his hand weakly: “And me.”
Tide fell silent for a moment and then gave a mocking smile. “Well, let’s hope Shine’s marksmanship is as good as his looks, or it might be quite embarrassing.”
Yu Zhaohan narrowed his eyes slightly and said coldly: “Stop talking nonsense, see you on the match.”
Tide looked at Yu Zhaohan for a moment and then turned to leave.
Shi Du chuckled, “Could this idiot be one of those fans-turned-haters?”
“Who cares if he’s a fan or a hater,” Old Tan said, rubbing his hands. “Shine, do you want to…”
Yu Zhaohan didn’t see the expectant looks on Old Tan and Stone’s faces and said, “I’ll go to the bathroom.”
In the bathroom, Yu Zhaohan turned on the faucet and poured a pool of cold water on his face.
He looked up at his wet self in the mirror and thought back to when he first became the captain, directing the team during the matches.
He couldn’t ensure that every action and decision he took was 100% correct at that moment, no matter how hard he tried. If they lost a game, his mistakes would be emphasized immensely, and he would always be the first to suffer the brunt of the blame.
His teammates feared losing, but Yuyu feared it more than them.
Yu Zhaohan saw Shi Du in the mirror, and his cold indifference instantly melted.
“A bit.” Yu Zhaohan whispered, “If we lose, I might be scolded as a vase again. Shi Du, I don’t want to be scolded as a vase.”
“Are you kidding? If you’re a vase, then what am I? A street kid?”
Yu Zhaohan looked at him: “Shi Du, you know deep down just like I do that without Qi Xian, we’d be in a tough spot.”
Shi Du raised his eyebrows: “Well, isn’t that good? I’m tired of crushing the opponent through games; it’s boring.”
Despite the youthful and arrogant look of his younger brother, Yu Zhaohan pointed out mercilessly, “You’ve probably forgotten that we got crushed in that training match against PPZ just two days ago.”
Shi Du clicked his tongue. “I rarely get to show off, can’t you let me have this moment?” He used his sleeve to wipe Yu Zhaohan’s face: “Don’t be stressed, Yuyu, think about the Love Skills advanced video we’ll practice after the game.”
“The premise is that we have to win.” Yu Zhaohan said, “If we lose, I will wither.”
That’s the downside of being an E-sports couple, they take winning and losing too seriously. Losing a match means their mood is off for at least ten days.
Shi Du smiled: “Don’t worry; if we lose, I’ll definitely wither more than you.”
Yu Zhaohan: “…Okay.”
As expected, he was the younger brother who wanted to be strong all his life, he even wanted to win rather than wither.
In any case, for the sake of their happiness, they couldn’t afford to lose.