With one week left until Yu Zhaohan’s birthday, the club has started to warm up his birthday in advance.
Although Shine, who was about to turn twenty, had never won a championship and his best achievement was only a runner-up in the World Cup, he was undoubtedly one of the most valuable players in the league. With his extraordinary skills and his exquisitely aloof face, he had gained countless fans. This was his first personal merchandise release, and it was in the form of a chibi standee.
No one could resist Shine, especially not a chibi version of him, not even Shine himself.
Yu Zhaohan was eager to see what his chibi standee looked like. However, no matter how much he stretched his neck, all he could see was the bewildered and speechless backs of his teammates.
After hearing about the way to obtain the chibi standee, Yu Zhaohan and Shi Du were the first to fall silent.
Just imagine, in a crowded competition venue, standing on a small patch of empty space and shouting, “Rebirth from the ashes, Immortal Heroes” into the camera, three times.
There are two kinds of death for a person: physical death and social death.
After a minute of silence, Cheese smiled and comforted himself, “Fans are the ones who should be shouting slogans and such. We’re all on the same side… right?”
“No, no, no,” Old Tan shook his head and said, “In front of Chibi Shine’s standee, all beings are equal, including you and me.”
Yu Zhaohan was anxious. He wanted to ask if Shine could be an exception, but then he heard Jiang Di ask, “Can we wear a mask while shouting?”
The shock that Yu Zhaohan couldn’t show was fully expressed by Cheese. Sometimes he wished Cheese could be his spokesperson and face substitute.
“Xiao Jiang? What’s the matter with you, Xiao Jiang!” Cheese had an expression of “Are you crazy, you’re so worthless?” “Are you giving in now?”
Jiang Di calmly said, “I’m just asking.”
Jiang Di’s temperament was far too cold, almost as cold as Shine’s; he was indeed indifferent to everyone and was not as enthusiastic about Shine as the others. Old Tan didn’t expect Jiang Di to be interested in the chibi standee, but he was surprised that Shi Du, who usually clung to the captain, hadn’t said a word yet.
“Xiao Jiang reminded me,” Old Tan pondered, “If wearing a mask seems to make it less difficult, I will discuss it with the operator later, plus the condition that you can’t wear a mask…”
“Don’t, don’t, just say something!” Cheese hugged Old Tan’s arm and stopped him from taking out his phone, “Please give Shine fans a way out!”
Qi Xian nudged Shi Du with his elbow: “Young master, do you have nothing to say?”
Even at a time like this, the Young Master still wanted to appear strong. He even pretended to drink milk, saying, “Anything that can be solved with money is not a problem.”
“You mean collecting from other fans?” Qi Xian said. “That would make it second-hand, losing some special meaning.”
“Otherwise?” Shi Du squeezed the milk bottle and said coldly, “Are you really willing to die socially just for a standee? Ha, I can’t do that.”
He could have any kind of hug and even the original version of Yu Zhaohan in dinosaur pajamas. Would he care about a chibi standee? It was laughable.
He wanted Shine’s chibi standee without sacrificing himself socially. So, R.H’s Yu Zhaohan fan came up with the idea of sampling. To avoid conflicts, Old Tan displayed the samples on the living room shelf, claiming that they belonged to everyone.
Yu Zhaohan was almost suffocated from holding back his words in his stomach.
Why? Shouldn’t this belong to him? Hello, did anyone bother to ask for his opinion?
Shine’s standee was even more popular than the little kneeling from before. Every time Yu Zhaohan passed by, he found people standing around and watching. It started with just a few members of the team, but word spread to the neighboring academy team and the youth training team, and they came in groups to watch. It made it impossible for Yu Zhaohan to have a proper look at his own standee.
After enduring and restraining himself for a whole night, Yu Zhaohan finally found a chance to talk to Old Tan alone. “When was the decision made about the standee? Why wasn’t I informed?”
Old Tan put on a shocked expression. “I mentioned it to you last month!”
Yu Zhaohan had no recollection and asked again, “When exactly was it decided?”
Old Tan knew that he was doomed, so he bit the bullet and said, “Uh…during your training.”
He knew that under normal circumstances, Yu Zhaohan would never agree to something that made him look cute. He has no choice but to use this trick to achieve his goal. He knew that when Yu Zhaohan trained seriously, he would enter another dimension where he wouldn’t listen to anything and would only respond with “hmm.”
Old Tan waited for Yu Zhaohan to be angry at him, but to his surprise, Yu Zhaohan said, “I remember now, there was such a thing.”
Old Tan: “?”
Yu Zhaohan asked again: “How many limited editions will there be?”
Old Tan replied, “The operations team is still estimating. You have millions of followers on Weibo, so let’s say around fifty to sixty thousand.”
Yu Zhaohan nodded. “Alright. Let the operations team handle this matter. Don’t let it interfere with training.”
Old Tan hurriedly said, “Yes, understood. Captain, is there anything else you need?”
“No,” Yu Zhaohan said, “You may leave.”
That night, with the moon hidden behind clouds and the wind howling, the RH base fell silent as the last light was turned off. Yu Zhaohan put on his “night attire,” which consisted of a black hoodie and black pants, and put on the hood from the hoodie, making him look like an Assassin’s Creed character. He pushed open the door to his room quietly.
The teammates were all asleep, and his journey went smoothly. The first-floor living room was empty. Yu Zhaohan concealed himself within the darkness of the night and finally stood in front of the display shelf, where he could admire his own chibi standee without any obstruction.
The chibi version couldn’t fully capture his stunning beauty but aimed for a resemblance. It was a two-dimensional figure with black short hair, a round face, and an expression like this:
Yu Zhaohan felt a sudden discomfort in his heart.
Was this how he looked when expressionless…? It couldn’t be true. He must be much cooler than this.
The two-dimensional figure was dressed in a pink R.H team uniform with the R.H logo and Shine’s autograph. The figure carried a golden sniper rifle, almost as tall as itself, with Shine’s ID engraved on the gun. The background of the standee depicted R.H’s home arena in Shanghai.
Yu Zhaohan lingered over the standee, his heart fluttering with cuteness. He took out his phone and was about to take a photo when he heard footsteps coming down the stairs.
He moved quickly and crept behind the sofa. Who would have guessed that he was walking so quickly that he forgot there was a coffee table in front of the sofa, and his knee collided with the table’s sharp corner, making him let out a muffled sound.
Yu Zhaohan’s tears welled up in his eyes, but he forced himself to hold them back.
The footsteps had stopped, Yu Zhaohan had covered his mouth, and his heart was racing. He would either pretend to be dead or kill someone to silence him if he was discovered. In short, one of them must die.
“Who?” A familiar voice sounded, “Who’s there.”
A heavy weight lifted off Yu Zhaohan’s heart, and tears streamed down his face.
“It’s me, Yuyu,” he poked his head out from behind the sofa, his voice hoarse. “I came to see it for myself.”
Shi Du detected the hint of crying in Yu Zhaohan’s voice and hurried over: “Are you okay?”
“I’m not okay.” Yu Zhaohan said softly, “I bumped my knee on the coffee table.”
Shi Du turned on the flashlight on his phone and saw Yu Zhaohan sitting on the floor with his hands covering his knees. He was clearly in pain, but his expression management was still unaffected; there was no relentlessness on his face, and he didn’t make a choked sound; he simply looked up at him and cried calmly.
At this moment, Shi Du felt that his heart was about to be melted by Yu Zhaohan’s crying.
Yu Zhaohan bent his knee, the perfect position for a princess carry. Shi Du lifted him up and said, “Let’s go back to the room and check your injury first.”
Yu Zhaohan held onto Shi Du’s neck and shook his head. “But I haven’t taken a photo of the standee yet.”
“I took one already, and it’s in high definition,” Shi Du reassured him. “I’ll send it to you later.”
Yu Zhaohan looked at little kneeling’s cage and said regretfully, “I rarely come to the living room secretly, and I didn’t even get the chance to pet little kneeling.”
Shi Du continued to comfort him, “How about I secretly bring little kneeling and little Shine to the room for you to see?”
“No.” As the captain, Yu Zhaohan was very cautious, “If Cheese wakes up in the middle of the night and finds the standee and little kneeling missing, he’ll call the police again.”
Shi Du was a little helpless, and went upstairs with Yu Zhaohan in his arms: “I’m crying in pain, and you’re wasting time by talking so much nonsense—do you really feel hurt?”
“Then why don’t I see your face contorted or you grimacing?”
“Because a contorted and grimacing face would look ugly,” Yu Zhaohan said, tears streaming down his face. “Crying like this looks prettier.”
Shi Du couldn’t help but be amazed. “You’ve truly mastered the concept of ‘beauty’.”
Shi Du princess-carried Yu Zhaohan back to his own room and placed him on the bed. Shi Du rolled up his pant leg and saw that his knee was swollen, with traces of blood seeping through. It looked quite severe.
Yu Zhaohan knew that he was seriously injured. After practicing for so long, he was no longer the Shine who used to cry at the slightest pain. He wouldn’t cry for minor injuries, only for intense pain.
Shi Du frowned, it was the first time Yu Zhaohan saw his expression so serious. Yu Zhaohan tugged at the corner of the boy’s clothes and said, “I have a first aid kit, can you help me treat my wound?”
Shi Du said decisively: “This is not good, I will take you to the hospital.”
Yu Zhaohan was taken aback for a moment and said, “Luckily, it’s not my hand that’s injured.”
“…How is that lucky? Are you possessed by Lu Youshan?” Shi Du took a deep breath. “It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have gone to the living room at this time and scared you.”
Yu Zhaohan stroked the boy’s gray hair comfortingly: “It’s not your fault. You didn’t know.”
Shi Du quickly treated Yu Zhaohan’s wound and called up a car using a ride-hailing app on his phone. They had to wait a while because it was late at night before a driver accepted the request. Shi Du, who had recently turned eighteen, wished he could sign up for driving school and get his driver’s license on the spot.
They waited ten minutes for the driver to take the order. Shi Du helped Yu Zhaohan put on a mask, carried him into the car, and told the driver to go to the nearest hospital.
The two sat side by side in the back seat. Yu Zhaohan had stopped crying, but his eyes were slightly red. He leaned against Shi Du’s shoulder and reminded him to send the high-definition photo of the standee.
Yu Zhaohan received the photo sent by Shi Du and remembered something. “By the way, why did you come downstairs so late?”
Shi Du looked at the road conditions on the map: “What do you think?”
Yu Zhaohan pondered for a moment and asked, “Were you also come to see Little Shine?”
“Do you also want my chibi standee?”
Shi Du glanced at Yu Zhaohan, then said to the driver, “Please go faster, sir.”