I think you two should get an award for the most compatible deskmates.
Author: Wu Zhe, Translated by Ami <3
Going solely by the scores, there wasn’t much suspense to expect from the second half of the game. As long as Class-8 didn’t stand still and wait for Class-7 to make their shots, they would surely win.
Wang Xu and the other guys also came to the same conclusion, every one of them were on fire, they charged forward as if their tails had been lit. They bounced several feet up in the air every time they did a layup or vied for a rebound, as though they had a firecracker on their feet… They even went so far as to bring each of their alternate up so they can have a turn at playing.
The crowd for Class-8 also deeply committed themselves to cheering for their team. It was a rare chance for them to cheer their own team on in a competition, Lao-Lu didn’t even need a megaphone to have his roaring voice stand out in a cacophony of screams and cheers.
Class-7 would not admit defeat.
Indeed, there was no such thing as admitting defeat when competing on the court, no one wanted to give up until the very last second.
Though the method with which Class-7 expressed this reluctance annoyed Jiang Cheng to no end.
There were all sorts of collisions, obstructions, all manners of little discreet fouls; within a few minutes of the last quarter their whole team had accumulated enough fouls to warrant a penalty shot.
Their aim at that point wasn’t to bring up the score, that was no longer feasible. Their goal now was probably to disrupt Class-8 from scoring as much as possible, and vent their own dissatisfaction at the same time.
“Can’t put up with this anymore.” Lu Xiaobin had always been a man of few words, but during the break he wiped the sweat from his forehead and said, “Even my inner thigh got hit, they almost got my balls. I’m not ready to be infertile just yet.”
“But when we win, it has to be a clean one.” Wang Xu had been knocked in the side of the head when he was going for a rebound, but he insisted on what Jiang Cheng said. “They can do whatever they want, but we’re not going to. Otherwise even if we win they’ll say it was a dirty game.”
“Then we’ll just have to bear with it a while longer.” Guo Xu sighed. “It’s a sure win for us anyway, there’s less than ten minutes on the clock, they don’t have any more chances to play tricks.”
“Is this Wild Boar Head’s fourth foul?” Jiang Cheng asked.
“Mhm.” Gu Fei replied, staring at the other team with an irate expression.
“Go tempt him into another one.” Jiang Cheng said. “Remember, you’re instigating a foul from him, you’re not committing a flagrant foul.”
“Mhm.” Gu Fei’s face remained a picture of displeasure.
“In a second, I’ll tell you guys what to do in these situations.” Jiang Cheng raised his arms into a stretch, and held his arms in the air until the people from Class-7 looked over, then stuck out his thumbs and pointed them down.
Hu Jian pointed at him right away and cursed something out loud.
Jiang Cheng raised his arms up over his head again, and gathered his hands together into a heart, he even tilted his body to the side, just for him.
There were sounds of laughter all around him.
“Fuck!” Hu Jian was louder this time, he was about to stomp over to them, but was held back by his teammates.
“That’s all you do?” Wang Xu was a little befuddled. “Let’s all do it together?”
“… I was talking about when we get back on the court in a bit.” Jiang Cheng didn’t know what to say to him, he put his arms down. “Right now I’m just doing some stretching, as well as giving thanks to all the people cheering us on.”
“Oh!” Wang Xu had a sudden revelation. He nudged the other teammates beside him, then turned and raised his arms to make a heart shape to their classmates behind them. “Come on, let’s thank our cheerleaders!”
These guys either let the excitement of the game go to their head, or perhaps they’d already approved of Wang Xu’s class tyrant position, but only a short pause later they all raised their arms up in unison, and gestured heart shapes to their classmates.
All of a sudden Class-8’s crowd erupted in shouts and cheers, which drew applause from everyone else too.
“Da-Fei.” Wang Xu looked towards Gu Fei, who had been watching the show from the side with his arms folded.
“No.” Gu Fei rejected him plainly.
“Da-Fei! Where’s your sense of collective honour!” Wang Xu glared at him. “Come on!”
“Moron.” Gu Fei continued to dismiss him.
“Gu Fei ——” The girls from their class started chanting. “Gu Fei! Gu Fei!”
“Even Jiang Cheng Cheng-ge made a heart!” Wang Xu continued to badger him.
“I have to do it just because Jiang Cheng-cheng did it?” Gu Fei didn’t know what to do with him.
Wtf is this Jiang Cheng-cheng?! On the side, Jiang Cheng almost choked on his water.
The referee blew the whistle, the last few minutes of the game was about to start. The girls were still chanting, but their voices were tinged with disappointment.
Jiang Cheng figured Gu Fei was probably not going to give him this one, so he headed onto the court. Suddenly, there was a barrage of wild screaming from all around him, even the girls on the other side bounced up in their seats and shouted.
He turned around, just in time to see Gu Fei with his arms over his head in a heart shape.
……Fuck. Everyone’s gone mad.
Class-7 was almost 20 points behind at this point, there were only a few minutes left on the clock, and there was no way they could make a comeback. Therefore once the game resumed, their strategy was to not give a crap about the points, but rather to lock down each one of Class-8’s players.
As soon as someone in Class-8’s team got the ball, that person would be hounded by at least two of Class-7’s players, this was spearheaded by Wild Boar Head and Hu Jian. Even if they weren’t doing anything sketchy, they only needed to pester the person so much that they couldn’t even pass the ball away, and 24 seconds would pass by just like that.
The only thing Jiang Cheng was impressed by from Class-7 was their stamina.
Under these circumstances, their offence relied entirely on Jiang Cheng and Gu Fei working together, moving quickly and taking advantage of any gaps in the other side’s defence to get the ball out.
Many times when passing to Gu Fei, Jiang Cheng couldn’t even wait for a good timing, all he could do was toss the ball away. One time he almost bounced the ball onto Gu Fei’s head.
Gu Fei got the ball and had just crossed the centerline, when Wild Boar Head was already in front of him.
Even from more than a few steps away, Jiang Cheng could see the fury shooting out of the Wild Boar Head’s eyes, it was comparable to the head of a candle.
This was a good opportunity, with Gu Fei’s skills it wouldn’t be a problem enticing Wild Boar Head into a foul, especially since the guy was now playing with the intention of fouling.
“Pass!” Jiang Cheng shook off the hounds at his back and ran to the left side in front of Gu Fei.
Gu Fei glanced at him, and with two hands on the ball he reached forward, then changed directions in an instant just as Wild Boar Head went to swat it out of his hands.
Wild Boar Head’s palm connected with Gu Fei’s wrist with a sharp slap.
The ball flew out of Gu Fei’s hands.
Immediately, the referee’s whistle sounded, “Personal foul! That’s five!”
Jeers, cheers, and applause rose up all around them.
Wild Boar Head was disqualified from the game. Wang Xu gave every one of his teammates a high five, his face brimming with excitement, as if he personally disqualified the guy, he was in the highest of spirits.
Although Wild Boar Head’s disqualification did not temper the flames of Class-7’s brazenness. By the time they made their substitution, there was less than four minutes left on the clock.
Headed by Hu Jian, their aimless rampage continued.
Frankly, Class-7’s energy of persisting to the last second and not giving up might have been a little admirable. Some other team would have treated the last quarter like a walk in the park, if the score difference was too much.
Too bad Class-7’s energy was spent in the wrong place.
So many times when Hu Jian jumped at Jiang Cheng, he wanted to slap him straight. He felt a pang of regret at not beating him up with the handle of the mop earlier today.
An opportunity presented itself in the last minute of the game, Hu Jian had gotten the ball and carried it to the basket. The players from Class-7 still had more energy than Class-8, likely because they had more alternates, and so got to rest for longer.
At this point, Hu Jian was still able to make sudden advances, but on Class-8’s side they were already slower than when they first started, this allowed Hu Jian to cut straight in and descend on their basket.
He jumped and made the shot.
Based on Hu Jian’s starting off point, Jiang Cheng calculated his time in the air, and put all his energy into this single jump. Hu Jian’s jump was nothing to write home about, it couldn’t even compare to the towering mass type players such as Lu Xiaobin. Jiang Cheng jumped much higher than him.
The ball left Hu Jian’s hand and flew up toward the hoop.
Jiang Cheng extended his hand in the air and spiked down hard on the ball.
It was a clean hit, he didn’t touch a single thing aside from the ball.
However, he had put all his strength behind this spike as if it was a volleyball, the ball headed straight down and smashed into the face of Hu Jian, who had just landed back on the ground and didn’t even have a chance to regain his balance.
Hu Jian pitched sharply backwards and fell down on his butt.
“Foul!” Hu Jian yelled out after a moment of shock. “He hit me!”
The referee gave him a look but didn’t say anything.
“Foul on your mother’s ass!” Wang Xu rushed over and stole away the ball that had fallen to the ground, with a turn he passed it to Guo Xu on the midline.
“Sorry about that.” Jiang Cheng went over and patted him on the shoulder, then jogged away.
“Fuck!” Hu Jian continued to rave. “Fuck!”
Very soon Jiang Cheng heard his voice again coming up from behind, he turned to give him a look, and discovered this dude got a nosebleed out of the ordeal, and was currently glaring at him with a mouthful of smeared blood.
Gu Fei just scored a layup, and there was almost no time left on the clock. The crowd over at Class-8’s side were all yelling and stomping as they clapped their hands in the air.
Class-7 wanted to make a substitution, but was rebuked by Hu Jian, “Substitute your ass! I’m not dead yet!”
Hu Jian finished playing the last 30 seconds with his nose bleeding all over the court, when the last whistle sounded, he bounced the ball hard on the ground, it bounced once and hurtled toward Jiang Cheng.
Jiang Cheng’s attention was elsewhere. By the time he realized there was a ball headed his way it was too late to dodge it. He was just thinking to himself that perhaps his constitution was made for getting hurt, when a hand suddenly reached over and blocked it. It was Gu Fei, who at the last second swatted away the ball that was about to smash into his face.
“Motherfuck,” Wang Xu’s temper erupted. He pointed at Hu Jian. “What’s your deal, you’re no good at basketball but seem rather professional at being shameless!”
“What’s it got to do with you? Did you really think you’re the boss?” Hu Jian pointed back at him, around him several of the Class-7 players had swarmed up as well. The pairs of eyes all seem to spit fire, like a little bonfire party.
“I’m not the boss,” Wang Xu said. “Our boss is Gu Fei. What, are you looking for him?”
The guys from Class-7 didn’t speak, only directed their collective glares toward Gu Fei.
Gu Fei turned and walked away without even bothering to look in that direction.
Everyone from Class-8 was so overwhelmed with excitement they didn’t even notice the conflict brewing on the court. They all swarmed up and surrounded their players in a ring of chatters and cheers that instantly drowned out whatever else the Class-7 players had to say.
“Good game!” Lao-Xu was stuck in the middle of the throng but was trying hard to get closer. “Good game! That’s the spirit with which you’re supposed to play! You guys finally learned to control yourselves! Good job! I’m so touched…”
“GOOD ON JIANG CHENG FOR THAT SPIKE!” The sound of Lao-Lu’s yelling crushed Lao-Xu’s voice to a pulp, and left Jiang Cheng’s ears ringing. “THE SKILLS! And without any emotion attached at all!”
“Teacher… You have to teach their class too, how will you face them tomorrow.” Guo Xu said. “You’re so biased.”
“They can learn from that Class-4 I used to lead, and do a mass protest against my teaching!” Lao-Lu said. “I love winning fairly and openly like this! You got to be like that in your fights too! See, only last year…”
“Teacher Lu! Lao-Lu! Don’t go on and on about fighting!” Lao-Xu interrupted him and looked at the rest of the team. “I am honoured by all of you! Honoured!”
It took Jiang Cheng a lot of effort to finally break free from the throngs of people, he tugged his collar away from his body and waved it.
“I’m spent,” Gu Fei squeezed out as well. “You gotta hand it to them for their stamina.”
“They have more alternates.” Jiang Cheng glanced back at the excited crowd behind him. “What’s that Lao-Lu said about last year?”
“The fight between him and the twelve graders last year,” Gu Fei said. “It was brilliant. After that he got kicked to teach our grade instead.”
“……Now that’s a personality.” Jiang Cheng exclaimed.
“Just for the next few days, why don’t you wait for me before coming to school.” Gu Fei said.
“Hmm?” Jiang Cheng gave him a look, then glanced in the direction of the Class-7 players. Everyone there had dragged their chairs away already with dejected expressions, leaving only a few guys from their basketball team standing there and looking this way.
“You don’t need to bother with Hu Jian and the guys, just a couple of students can’t stir up much,” Gu Fei said. “Jiang Bin is the real trouble.”
“Who’s Jiang Bin?” Jiang Cheng asked.
“Wild Boar Head,” Gu Fei said. “He’s Monkey’s younger cousin.”
“Monkey?” Jiang Cheng paused and racked his brain before remembering who Monkey was, he was speechless. “Are all your thugs around here in a family business? Even Monkey has a connection to this?”
“Bullshit, it’s not like you hand out anywhere else. It’s just the area around here that belongs to Monkey and his gang.” Gu Fei said.
“But isn’t Monkey scared of you?” Jiang Cheng asked quietly.
“Nah, they’re just unwilling to easily provoke me,” Gu Fei raised his arms and stretched. “Not scared.”
“Why?” Jiang Cheng continued to ask.
“I don’t hold back.” Gu Fei gave him a look.
Jiang Cheng looked back at him without a word.
“Come on let’s go let’s go!” Wang Xu rushed over to their side. “Go wash your face, we’re gonna watch Class-2’s game in a bit. Then tonight we’ll go out for dinner, Yi Jing said we can use the class funds.”
“Feasting on the official funds?” Jiang Cheng said.
“This is normal expenditure! How is it feasting on the official funds, we earned honour for our class!” Wang Xu straightened his spine all the way. “The whole class agreed on this, they even delegated special eating companions!”
“……You’re making it sound even more problematic.” Jiang Cheng couldn’t help but laugh.
“I mean, some of the girls want to come out and eat with us,” Wang Xu said quietly, and stole a look in the girls direction. “I figured it’ll be livelier this way, so I agreed.”
“That’s jobbery.” Gu Fei said.
“Shit,” Wang Xu was suddenly a little embarrassed, but then stuck to his guns after some thought. “You two can get in on the benefits too!”
“Get lost.” Gu Fei replied.
Class-2’s game was just as unsuspenseful as theirs, their opponent was weak, not to mention they didn’t have the dirty reinforcements as Class-7 did. They were held down by Class-2 the entire game.。
“We can’t beat them.” Jiang Cheng stood beneath the hoop and watched the Class-2 players on the court.
“Mhm.” Gu Fei answered.
“Their talents are too evenly spread, and all tall too.” Jiang Cheng covered his mouth with his hand, to prevent Wang Xu from hearing and losing faith. “They must play together all the time, look at that teamwork.”
“Their class is taught by principal Liu, they play pickups whenever there’s free time.” Gu Fei said quietly. “And it’s true that all the skilled players are gathered there.”
“So what’s the play?” Wang Xu was recording the game on his phone. “I got some footage, by the time we face them it’ll be after exams, we have some time to study their weak spots.”
“Mmn.” Jiang Cheng nodded.
“Their team doesn’t have anyone bigger than our Lu Xiaobin,” Wang Xu said. “Or a pair more in sync than you two, maybe…”
“Don’t get your own voice in the recording too,” Gu Fei interrupted him. “It’ll be annoying when we watch the footage back.”
“Damn, you’re getting full of yourself.” Wang Xu narrowed his eyes and shot him a look. “But it’s understandable, I am too.”
After watching Class-2’s game, Jiang Cheng only had two thoughts: the first was they can’t beat them, the second was the wonder at their very strong cheering squad.
Just as they were about to leave, Class-2’s team captain came over to them.
“His name is He Zhou.” Gu Fei leaned over and said into Jiang Cheng’s ear. “Don’t just use a random nickname.”
“……Oh.” Jiang Cheng responded.
Wang Xu immediately walked up when he saw He Zhou make his way over, but He Zhou only nodded, walked past him, and stopped in front of Gu Fei.
“We’ll be facing you guys in the next game.” He said.
“Mhm,” Gu Fei gave a little laugh. “Are you gonna go easy on us?”
“Never,” He Zhou laughed too. “You guys don’t have to either… I’ve waited all this time to finally play a proper game with you.”
Gu Fei didn’t reply.
He Zhou turned to face Jiang Cheng, “Your name is Jiang Cheng?”
“Mmn,” Jiang Cheng nodded. “Jiang Cheng.”
“I’m He Zhou,” He Zhou was smiling, but there was a hint of provocation in his eyes. “Don’t hold back on us, king of 3-pointers.”
Wang Xu stared at He Zhou’s retreating figure, feeling a little irked, “That kid’s a tiger with a smiling face.”
“Take some notes on intimidation from him,” Gu Fei said. “Captain.”
“Shit, let’s go eat, come on!” Wang Xu waved his hand, then paused and turned back to look at Jiang Cheng. “You got the nickname of ‘3-pointer king’ now? Mighty impressive huh, as a captain I’m not even as famous as you are huh?”
“You are.” Jiang Cheng gave him a thumbs up.
“Bullcrap. Tell me, if you’re the 3-pointer king, then what am I?” Wang Xu pointed at himself.
“The 3-pointer king’s captain.” Gu Fei and Jiang Cheng opened their mouths at the same time.
Wang Xu stared at them and said after a while, “I think you two should get an award for the most compatible deskmates.”
As they walked out of the school, Jiang Cheng spotted Gu Miao right away. She was sitting on the railing of the parking shed, with her skateboard standing up against it. She dangled one of her feet while the other one rested atop the skateboard.
Jiang Cheng waved at her.
Gu Miao kicked the board to the ground and jumped down from the railing directly onto the skateboard, and rolled over on the momentum.
“Cool.” Jiang Cheng told her.
“That was awesome, queen Miao-miao!” Wang Xu clapped.
The bunch of them praised her to the heavens, but Gu Miao didn’t respond to any of them, only circled them on her skateboard with a blank look on her face.
She was indeed cool, Jiang Cheng watched Gu Miao, who seemed to be one with the skateboard. But on the other hand, when he remembered that this coolness of Gu Miao partly stemmed from problems with her psychology or physiology, he also felt sad at the same time.
“You,” Gu Fei leaned in close and whispered to him. “Hurry up and get on my bike.”
“What’s wrong?” Jiang Cheng scanned his surroundings, but didn’t see any Monkey or Monkey adjacent people show up, that they need to go on the run.
“I don’t want to carry a girl.” Gu Fei said.
“Ah.” Jiang Cheng understood, and nodded.
Next, he witnessed Gu Fei dash into the parking shed to grab his bike, then peddled on ahead of everyone else, without regard for even his little sister.
“Gu Miao, catch up!” Jiang Cheng shouted and ran after Gu Fei’s bike.
He didn’t know why Gu Fei was so scared of the girls in their class, but at the speed he was going, it was almost impossible for Jiang Cheng to hop on.
“Fuck! Why don’t you just fly?!” Jiang Cheng had to resort to grabbing his shirt, and only hopped on when he slowed down a little.
“I’ll only fly after you get on.” Gu Fei said.
As Jiang Cheng steadied himself on the backseat, he saw a shadow zoom by on their side, and glide ahead of them.
It seems that Gu Miao took off flying first, with this speed… Jiang Cheng suddenly thought perhaps having his weight on the back of Gu Fei’s bike was really hindering him from taking off.
Almost half a kilometer later, Jiang Cheng heard his phone ring. He pulled it out and saw that it was Wang Xu.
“Yeah?” He answered.
“If I didn’t know any better I would think you two were rushing to get to the bathroom for your explosive diarrhea!” Wang Xu’s voice sounded like he was yelling while peddling his bike. “You’re rushing to go off but do you even know where we’re going to eat?!”
“……Where are we eating?” Jiang Cheng asked.
“City center! That hotpot place in the square! Da-Fei knows,” Wang Xu said. “There’s clearly nothing good around here! The only good place around here is Wang Er’s Meat Pie!”
“Alright alright, got it.” Jiang Cheng started to laugh. He hung up the phone and patted Gu Fei’s back. “Hey, Mr. Pilot sir.”
“Where to?” Gu Fei asked as he turned, then whistled to stop Gu Miao, who was charging on up ahead.
“The hotpot place on the square, apparently.” Jiang Cheng said.
“Must be our captain Wang’s choice, he loves that place.” Gu Fei made a turn at the next intersection.
Gu Miao caught up to them and reached out a hand as if to grab the bottom of Jiang Cheng’s butt.
“Hey!” Jiang Cheng jumped in surprise, then immediately sat up straight and grabbed onto the back of Gu Fei’s waist to steady himself. “What are you doing?”
Gu Miao held on to the frame of the backseat, glanced at him with a totally calm expression, then moved her eyes to look forward at the road.
“Your brother is gonna be tired to death carrying two people.” Jiang Cheng chuckled and said.
“She doesn’t weigh anything like this.” Gu Fei said.
“I’ll switch with you in a bit when you’re tired.” Jiang Cheng said.
“I’ve always thought you didn’t know how to ride a bike.” Gu Fei turned his head.
“……I just don’t have a bike,” Jiang Cheng said, then sighed after a second. “And I can’t be bothered to go buy one.”
“Amazing, too lazy to buy a bike, but not too lazy to walk every day.” Gu Fei said. “I’ll take you some day, there’s one near the yarn store from last time.”
“Alright.” Jiang Cheng answered.
Neither of them spoke, Jiang Cheng watched Gu Fei’s back as Gu Miao glided beside them. It was a good feeling, there was residual excitement and fatigue from the game, but also a temporary peace as if isolated from the rest of the world around them.
Though Jiang Cheng kept getting the sense that something was wrong with his posture, it took a long time for him to suddenly realize that his hands were still resting on the small of Gu Fei’s back.
This discovery gave him a big shock, but he stopped himself from letting go as if he was actually shocked. He didn’t want to seem so fussy, so easily triggered.
However, after he had this revelation, the once feelingless palm kept feeling as though it could sense the warmth of Gu Fei’s body through his shirt.
I must be cursed. Jiang Cheng shut his eyes and sighed.
* Raw character count: 6013
* TL word count: 4323
* TL time: 5:48:37
* Edit: 1:11:55
* Curse words: 6x fucks, 2x ass, 3x shit
Last basketball chapter (for a while) and 3/3 of the Cheng-ge birthday marathon! I can finally close that wikipedia tabヾ(＾-＾)ノ
Anyways, head on over to the #撒野 tag on twitter for some celebratory art! (ps. I’m @StrawberryMuMa)
We will now be back to our regular (un)scheduled programming. Excuse me as I go sleep for a million years.