Yu Zhaohan and Shi Du took a taxi to the nearest hospital. Yu Zhaohan briefly informed Old Tan about the incident on WeChat. Old Tan responded with three consecutive exclamations: “What the hell!” “Oh my god!” “Old Lu, bring my emergency replenishment pills!” He then asked for the hospital’s address and said he would come over right away.
Upon arriving at the hospital, when the doctor examined Shi Du’s wound, she asked something that made Shi Du furrow his brows.
Yu Zhaohan asked, “What did she say?”
Shi Du replied, “She asked if the fruit knife was rusty.”
Yu Zhaohan also furrowed his brows. They hadn’t paid much attention to the knife in the heat of the moment. Yu Zhaohan immediately messaged Jiang Di, asking him to take a picture of the fruit knife. As expected, it was an old, rusty knife.
A chill ran down Yu Zhaohan’s spine. Just thinking about the fact that the knife might have struck a vital area on Shi Du almost made him collapse into Shi Du’s arms and cry.
Yu Zhaohan had heard of incidents where fanatical fans caused large-scale riots and extreme sports fans stabbed celebrants to vent their frustration when their supported teams suffered defeats. He had never thought that such a thing would happen to him one day.
Using a rusted fruit knife wasn’t just a momentary loss of reason due to excitement; it was deliberate harm, possibly even attempted murder. The feud between R.H and Cobra had already begun a week ago, and today, at the competition venue, the broadcast had given them ample screen time. Fans following the competition all knew where Shine, Timeless, and Jiang Di were.
Yu Zhaohan dared not think further; he was terrified.
How could there be someone so disgusting, so malicious? It was the first time he had encountered such a person in his entire life.
After examining the picture of the fruit knife, the doctor didn’t waste any time and immediately administered a tetanus shot to Shi Du. She also provided a list of precautions to prevent infection. Once the shots were done, the two waited in the waiting area for Old Tan to pick them up.
Shi Du leaned back on the bench, and Yu Zhaohan sat beside him, patting his forearm gently and tentatively. “Shi Du, does the wound hurt?”
Yu Zhaohan was careful not to apply too much pressure, making his movements light and slow. Shi Du was slightly tickled by the patting, and he smiled, saying, “The wound doesn’t hurt, but the shot does.”
Yu Zhaohan wasn’t sure how to comfort Shi Du. He remembered that when he was a child and got a shot, his mother would buy him snacks afterward. Then he realized that, after all this time, neither he nor Shi Du had eaten dinner yet.
Yu Zhaohan stood up and said, “I’ll go buy you something to eat.”
Shi Du grabbed Yu Zhaohan and said, “I’m not eating.” He pouted, “Mature and responsible big brothers who are strong, and good at fighting are running around everywhere, and you want me to eat, making me look like a glutton.”
Yu Zhaohan looked puzzled, “But you’ve always loved eating.”
Shi Du was momentarily speechless, unable to deny it, so he changed the subject. He wrapped his arm around Yu Zhaohan’s waist and pulled him closer, looking up at him. “Your complexion looks terrible. Did you get scared, you idiot?”
Yu Zhaohan still had lingering fears in his heart: “This was the most terrified I’ve ever been.”
Shi Du didn’t stand up; he just sat there, pressing his face against Yu Zhaohan’s lower abdomen. “Don’t be scared; we have Xiao Jiang to protect us. He’s so good at fighting.”
Although it was meant as a comforting remark, it had a hint of bitterness.
Yu Zhaohan relaxed a bit, “Yes, thankfully we have Xiao Jiang.”
Now, being a professional E-sports player has become a high-risk occupation. Without a towering, muscular guy like Xiao Jiang on the team, there was a distinct lack of security.
Shi Du remained quiet for a while and then suddenly said, “I may not know how to play basketball like Xiao Jiang, and I may not be able to fight like him, but I’m definitely more handsome.”
This statement was meant to be humorous, but it carried a hint of jealousy.
Yu Zhaohan reached out and gently patted Shi Du’s gray hair, “You’re right.” Not to mention in the E-sports world, even in the entire 3D world, Shi Du’s looks were quite impressive. “Even though you don’t have a car or a house, you’re greedy and love sleeping in, but you really are very handsome, and I really like you.”
Shi Du was left momentarily speechless.
As soon as Old Tan arrived, he witnessed the scene of his own Double C’s hugging each other, not quite understanding what was happening. He abruptly hit the brakes, his pupils wide with astonishment. “Shine? Timeless?”
Yu Zhaohan, being experienced in handling such situations, calmly explained, “Timeless just got an injection and is a bit scared, so I’m comforting him.”
In order to protect Yuyu’s pretense, Shi Du had long abandoned any pretense of maintaining his image in front of his teammates. His cheek was pressed against Yu Zhaohan’s lower abdomen, and he imitated Yu Zhaohan’s tone as he said, “I’m really scared of getting injections.”
Old Tan had an expression that clearly said “I didn’t expect you to be this kind of person.”
“If your female fans see you like this, they’ll probably flee overnight.”
Shi Du didn’t pay it much mind, saying, “Most of my female fans are older sisters, they won’t mind.”
Yu Zhaohan asked, “How’s Jiang Di?”
Old Tan replied, “I had the translator accompany him to the police station to make a statement.”
“Did you get the surveillance footage?”
“We got it. Jiang Di made a copy of it before handing the video over to the police.”
Yu Zhaohan nodded slightly, “Alright, let’s wait for the investigation results.”
The situation itself wasn’t too complicated, and the police quickly identified the criminal’s motive. It was similar to what they had suspected. The culprit, Kim, was a die-hard fan of Cobra. Since the establishment of the Cobra Esports Club, he watched every match in South Korea, even when Cobra went abroad to compete, he occasionally flew to the venues to watch live.
The police found numerous online posts on Kim’s social media accounts where he insulted other teams and launched personal attacks on players. Whenever a team defeated Cobra, be it a South Korean team, a Chinese team, or a Western team, he continued his verbal abuse.
After the match between R.H and Cobra, Jin’s hatred for R.H reached its peak. He publicly declared on the internet that if he didn’t kill R.H, he would be a worm. According to the translator who was following up on the case, Kim kept shouting at the police station that Timeless and Jiang had assaulted him in public and must be banned for life from participating in esports.
“I don’t understand.” Cheese was kind of oblivious, “What’s there to be a fan of in a team like Cobra? What do their fans gain from supporting them? Are they rooting for their poor performance or their bad character?”
“What’s there not to understand,” Shi Du sneered, “Teams have fans who are just like them. It’s only by supporting a team that reflects their values that they can have a sense of belonging.”
Qi Xian’s expression was unusually serious, “Looking back, it’s truly horrifying. Thank goodness Timeless noticed in time; otherwise…”
Everyone fell into an eerie silence, their expressions growing colder by the second.
Thinking back to the situation, it was clear that the attacker was ruthless and intended to harm someone. He had chosen to strike at Yu Zhaohan first, the closest target. If Shi Du had noticed even a second later, that rusty fruit knife might have plunged into Yu Zhaohan’s body from behind.
If anything had happened to their captain, they could hardly even bear to think about it. They wanted to do more than just insult the idiot. No, calling him an idiot was too kind; they should call him a maggot.
Yu Zhaohan broke the silence: “Since the matter has been clarified, let’s send a Weibo report.”
Old Tan was surprised, “Now? Right away?”
“Yes,” Yu Zhaohan said without room for argument, “Now.”
At this moment, Old Tan’s phone rang, and he picked it up to check. His eyes widened immediately, “Can they do this?”
Jiang Di had a faint idea, “Someone leaked this already?”
Old Tan said, “How did you know? It’s from someone claiming to be Kim – Kim’s fans and friends. They said Kim encountered the R.H trio on the street and asked them for autographs, but this request angered the celebrity players. They then brutally attacked him.”
Old Tan showed them the original post, complete with images. One showed Kim lying unconscious in a hospital bed, and the other was a picture of the R.H trio walking on the street, likely taken without their knowledge.
The comments were overwhelmingly negative.
[OMG, this fan is so pitiful. Apart from physical injuries, they’ll need psychological therapy.]
[Does R.H think they’re still in their own Shanghai home ground, where they can beat people up without consequences? Sorry, you’re in Seoul!]
[If R.H isn’t banned, Korea won’t host any more Destination matches.]
[R.H, get out of the league!]
As Shi Du translated these comments, cracks began to appear in Jiang Di’s usually calm and composed facade. Angry veins throbbed on his forehead, and Yu Zhaohan could almost hear the sound of his muscles tensing.
The news quickly spread to domestic fans in the inner circle, and soon, fans were translating and reposting the post in Chinese.
[Shine, Timeless, and Jiang beating up a fan asking for autographs? Are you kidding me? Who would believe this?]
[I can believe Timeless getting into a fight with idiots. But Shine fighting… Are you okay?]
[Don’t rush, let the bullets fly a little longer [lights a cigarette]]
[Also, suspend them? I’ll suspend your mom’s matches]
Cheese was simply flustered: “Captain, what should we do?”
“Don’t panic,” Yu Zhaohan said. “We have all the evidence.”
Half an hour later, R.H’s official Weibo clarified the situation regarding Jin. The post was well-structured, including a photo of the fruit knife, high-definition video footage, and Shi Du’s medical examination.
[Shanghai R.H E-sports Club: … Timeless player was injured by an extreme fan of Cobra. In addition to physical injuries, he has also suffered significant psychological trauma. Currently, we are considering finding a suitable psychologist for intervention and treatment.]
The last sentence was added as per Shi Du’s request. When others played dirty, Timeless loved to play back dirty games.
[If you don’t understand, just ask. Is it Cobra’s corporate culture to accuse others falsely and distort the truth?]
[Oh my god, my little hubby is injured? Where is it? Please tell me it’s not his hand!]
[Dare to touch our handsome younger brother, I’ll fight you to the end [chopper][chopper]]
[Will it affect R.H’s upcoming matches? I’m really worried.]
As soon as the clarification Weibo was posted on the foreign network, those shouting “R.H get out of the league” quieted down. Not long after that, the league’s official account publicly expressed condolences to R.H, confirming the veracity of R.H’s statements and promising to cover all of Timeless’s medical expenses.
Seeing the league’s official statement, Cheese felt a sense of satisfaction, “These idiots have finally been fair and just for once.”
“It’s not that they wanted to be fair and just, but in the face of irrefutable evidence, they had no choice but to be fair and just,” Yu Zhaohan said, glancing meaningfully at Jiang Di. “This is what we fought for.”
Jiang Di’s throat moved slightly, and he hesitated, “Captain, I’d like to talk to you alone.”
Yu Zhaohan was waiting for this, “Okay, let’s go outside.”
Amid the curious gazes of Cheese and the others, the two of them left the villa, leaving Lu Youshan to ask if they were going to discuss new tactics. He wanted to listen too, but was nonchalantly pulled back by Shi Du with his uninjured hand.
Yu Zhaohan chose to have the conversation outdoors to create a solemn and coldatmosphere. Under the villa’s doorstep light, his face appeared somewhat stern. Unfortunately, the midsummer evening was far from cold, and there were plenty of mosquitoes outside. He had developed another mosquito bite on his neck and couldn’t scratch it, making him long to return indoors to the air conditioning.
Jiang Di seemed oblivious to the conditions; Yu Zhaohan suspected that the mosquitoes couldn’t even penetrate his muscular skin.
“Captain, I want to request two days off next month when we return to China,” Jiang Di said. “I need to take care of something.”
Yu Zhaohan asked, “What is it?”
Jiang Di remained silent for a long time, and Yu Zhaohan had another mosquito bite on his neck before he finally said, “Something very similar to what happened today.”
At that time, he was still a professional athlete in school. He loved competitive sports, took every training seriously, and gave his all in every game. He thought he could continue this way indefinitely until he stumbled upon a scene of his teammate using banned substances.
His first instinct was to report it to the coach. However, the teammate he had lived with for two years cried and begged him to keep it a secret. The teammate said he wanted to stay in the school team, he was afraid of getting cut, and he did something stupid because he wanted to bring glory to the school. He knew he was wrong, and he would never do it again.
Jiang Di was soft-hearted and hesitated. His teammates took advantage of his hesitation to do the unthinkable. Within a few days, the athlete who took the banned substance became himself.
He doesn’t like to talk so much, he repeatedly explained to the coach, to his teammates, to people from the basketball association, but his urine test results were there, and no one believed him. Only his best friend stood by his side, encouraging him to continue searching for evidence to clear his name.
But before the investigation results were announced, he chose to drop out of school. Not because he was afraid but because he was disappointed.
He was thoroughly disillusioned with competitive sports; he found it pointless.
After dropping out of school, he lived in a cheap rental apartment. Around that time, Shine had just started streaming on a platform, and he watched every one of Shine’s streams.
He liked several members of R.H. He liked Shine the most, not because of Shine’s face, but because of Shine’s personality. Shine’s personality was just like his, and every time he saw Shine, he felt like he was looking at himself.
For Shine, he picked up the game he hadn’t played in a long time due to training. His aggressive support playstyle caught the attention of R.H’s coach, and he soon received an invitation to try out for the team.
So, he transitioned from competitive sports to E-sports, thinking that E-sports, which relied on program-based determinations of wins and losses, could provide him with the fairness he wanted. However, after entering this industry, he realized that it was no cleaner than traditional competitive sports.
What he had pursued for so long might have never existed in the first place. As long as the words “competitive” were involved, there would never be absolute fairness.
He even considered retiring.
Until Yu Zhaohan told him that justice and fairness would never assert themselves. He could only fight for his fairness on his own.
If even he felt that fairness didn’t exist at all, what right did others have to give it to him?
Yu Zhaohan listened quietly as Jiang Di spoke. For once, Jiang Di’s words were several times more than his own in a conversation. Just for this, he was ready to elevate Jiang Di to the status of Consort. Jiang
Yu Zhaohan looked at the tall young man who was ten centimeters taller than himself and asked, “So, did you cheat?”
“No, I didn’t,” Jiang Di answered quickly. “I’ve never cheated in any competition—never.”
Yu Zhaohan thought for a while and said, “I can try to help you with this matter.”
Yu Zhaohan’s parents were professors at prestigious universities, with connections throughout the academic world, including the university where Jiang Di had previously studied. Perhaps they could reach out to people in the sports academy to reopen the investigation into the cheating incident from back then.
Jiang Di’s voice trembled as he said, “Captain, I…”
He wanted to say a lot, but he was never good with words, especially in front of his favorite and most admired professional player.
Jiang Di really didn’t know what to say, so he just said, “Thank you.”
Communicating between true aloofness and feigned aloofness was truly difficult.
Yu Zhaohan took a step forward and embraced the teary-eyed hulk of a man.
He had hugged Timeless, Cheese, and Qixian before. Now it was Jiang Di’s turn.
Jiang Di was really too muscular, too muscular for Yu Zhaohan’s two small hands to contain.
Yu Zhaohan felt the stiffness in the big man’s body, but he suspected that the stiffness had always been there. He patted Jiang Di’s back and said, “I know what you value the most. I might be powerless in other areas, but as long as you’re in R.H., I’ll do my best to protect it. Trust me, okay.”
The big man’s voice became nasal: “…Okay.”
When Yu Zhaohan withdrew his hands, he took the opportunity to scratch the mosquito bite.
Jiang Di quickly composed himself and said, “Captain, can you tell me about yourself?”
Jiang Di spoke seriously, “I also want to understand you more.”
Yu Zhaohan understood what Jiang Di meant.
Jiang Di told him the secret hidden deep in his heart. To be fair, he should also tell Xiao Jiang a secret that belongs to him.
His biggest secret was his ability to transform into Yuyu, but he couldn’t tell Jiang Di about that. Jiang Di was a fan of Shine, and his admiration was for a captain who was handsome, had precise shooting skills, and was mature and composed. If Jiang Di found out that Shine was a bit of a goofball in real life… While Yu Zhaohan wasn’t a star chaser, he knew well enough that the collapse of an idol’s image could quickly shatter a person’s spirit.
His second biggest secret was something recent – that he and Shi Du were in a relationship.
Could he use this secret to exchange information with Jiang Di? It didn’t seem like a good idea either. He couldn’t reveal about Shi Du without his consent.
Yu Zhaohan made up his mind. “Okay.”
Shine had a rich history within the league, and every part of his life story was a valuable treasure.
Jiang Di sat up straight, prepared to listen attentively to an unknown legendary story.
Yu Zhaohan said, “Actually, I’m gay.”
Jiang Di: “…”