Chapter 35 - Regret (Translated by Xing and edited by Souhi)
After lunch, Zhou Ran wanted to show Bian Cheng around RCU. Tang Xue excused herself by saying that she needed to report for work at the ice rink and waved goodbye to them.
The group parted ways at the Sky Yard's entrance. Li Yubing was headed the same way as Tang Xue as he needed to report for training at the ice rink as well. He rested his right hand on top of Tang Xue's head. As the two of them had a 20 cm height difference, this was a practically effortless action that he could carry out with ease.
A little annoyed, Tang Xue shook her head but was unable shake him off.
Li Yubing used his left hand to wave to Bian Cheng. "We're off. See you."
After saying this, he drew Tang Xue's head back slightly as if he was driving a darned machine and steered her away.
Bian Cheng suddenly yelled, "Tang Xue."
Both Li Yubing and Tang Xue halted. Tang Xue felt the evil grip on her head loosen. She turned to look at Bian Cheng with her temporary freedom. "You have something else to say?"
"I'm competing tomorrow. Will you be there?"
Tang Xue tugged her lips. "You know, I hated English the most."
After she said this, Li Yubing promptly twisted her head back. After the two of them had walked some distance, Tang Xue pointed out, "Hey, you can let go of me now."
Li Yubing did not release her. On the contrary, he began to move her head around even more. As he did so, he commanded, "Guide dog, turn left, turn right." He chuckled.
Tang Xue exploded. She pushed up her sleeves, ready to beat him up. Unfortunately, he firmly held her at an arm's distance. Due to the length of his arm, Tang Xue was tragically kept at a distance where she could neither evade nor hit him.
She turned and ran in an attempt to escape his clutches.
Li Yubing could keep up with her steps with ease. Thus, he shadowed her with his hand still on her head. The two of them ran in this outrageous manner without caring that they were attracting the stares of passers-by.
At the intersection, Tang Xue almost ran into a patrol car. Luckily, Li Yubing reacted quickly and pulled her back in time.
He grabbed her shoulder and yanked with force. The two of them collided due to inertia and her back pressed against his chest. Perhaps due to running, his chest was heaving heavily and exuded waves of heat. Tang Xue felt awkward in his arms and quickly leapt to the side.
She glared at him.
Due to their height difference, Li Yubing was looking at Tang Xue from the selfie angle. Her face appeared smaller while her eyes appeared larger. He could vividly see her lively, dark pupils. Staring at him like this, she really looked like an angry kitten. This translation is meant to be published only on teafragrance[dot]wordpress[dot]com.
"Li Yubing, I'm in a bad mood today. Don't provoke me."
Li Yubing shoved the bag that had fallen down his arm while running back onto his shoulder. "Not even a word of thanks after my help? You have no conscience."
"Yes, yes, yes. Thank you."
"Can you be even more half-hearted?"
Tang Xue tugged her hair in frustration. She asked, "What do you want, then?"
Li Yubing thought for a while before suddenly quirking his lips. "Treat me to supper tonight."
Supper was at the usual food street.
Li Yubing ordered numerous dishes and also two bottles of beer. He looked up and saw Tang Xue looking at him. He asked, "You want some too?"
Tang Xue nodded.
Li Yubing ordered another two bottles.
Tang Xue had things weighing on her mind. As she finished a bottle of beer, her urge to spill her guts intensified. Therefore, when Li Yubing asked her about her history with Bian Cheng, she revealed it without hesitation.
"I liked him in the past."
Even though Li Yubing had suspected this, hearing her admit it personally still gave him a jolt. His heart pounded lightly. He could not explain why he felt so annoyed at this information.
Tang Xue poured more beer into her cup. She stressed, "Really, really liked him."
Li Yubing flagged the waiter over and ordered a few more bottles of beer. He then turned and, in a somewhat disgruntled manner, asked Tang Xue, "What did you like about him?"
"I don't know. I just liked him at first sight. At that age, everyone probably has someone that they had a crush on…… didn't you?"
Li Yubing shook his head. "No. I was dying from the amount of things that I had to do." As he spoke, he gulped a mouthful of beer, hoping that the alcohol would help to ease the burning discomfort in his heart. He prompted, "What happened next?"
"I was in the athlete class while he was in the elite class. In order to get closer to him, I came up with the excuse of wanting to pull up my grades and begged my dad to use his connections to transfer me into his class. Then, I conspicuously became the only student athlete in the elite class."
Hearing this, Li Yubing nodded. "That sounds like something you'll do."
"At that time, Zhou Ran liked him as well. She thinks that I'm still in the dark but she was the one who gave me the nickname of 'She-hulk'…… Anyway, things were a chaotic mess—thinking back now, it was all really childish."
"Did you give up speed skating because of the nickname?"
"Ah? It didn't affect me till that extent." Tang Xue shook her head promptly.
"Then why did you stop?" He pressed for an answer.
Regarding this issue, Tang Xue was extremely embarrassed. Her eyes darted from side to side. Seeing Li Yubing's imposing gaze on her, she scratched the back of her head sheepishly. "Who doesn't want to go to the same school as their crus.h.!.+" As she said this, she did not dare to meet his eyes. She did not know why she felt guilty, and purposely spoke a little louder to assert her words.
Li Yubing looked at her steadily, a complicated expression on his face.
Tang Xue looked to the side. She spoke softly, "His goal was Peking University. So I wanted……" To strive for the same school as him.
For a high school student, there was perhaps nothing more romantic then putting in effort together to get into the same elite university.
"At that time……" Li Yubing suddenly said.
Tang Xue waited for him to complete his words. Unexpectedly, he paused and stared at her after speaking halfway. His usually bright eyes were obscured by a hidden emotion. She asked curiously, "At that time what?"
At that time, did you also have the same thought when you wanted to get into the same middle school as me?
Li Yubing wanted to ask this. However, he was not able to say it out.
There were some things that he did not even have the rights to ask.
Right now, his mood teetered between burning flames and freezing ice. It felt like he was being tormented. Thus, he raised his cup and in a few quick gulps, downed everything.
Tang Xue was stunned. "Li Yubing, what's wrong with you? Drink slower……"
Li Yubing originally planned to accompany Tang Xue as she vented her troubles. Who knew that he would end up being the one troubled instead. He put down his cup. As he refilled it with beer, he asked, "To actually go through with the decision to stop skating just like this, are you daft?"
"I was muddleheaded then. Forget it, let's change the topic. My heart feels like it's being jabbed with a needle every time this is mentioned. You're banned from mentioning ice skating in front of me in the future."
Li Yubing huffed out a breath and forced a half-hearted smile. "Honestly, just how much did you like him."
Seeing Li Yubing's disdainful attitude, she did not have the guts to let him know that she had even confessed to Bian Cheng and was rejected. The reason for his rejection was quite remarkable too; Bian Cheng said that he did not want to get into a relationship in high school and wanted to concentrate on studying.
"What about now? Do you still like him?" Li Yubing suddenly added.
Tang Xue shook her cup gently. She looked at the rolling amber liquid in it, her eyes unbearably sombre as she replied, "Do you know? Some people can't be classified into 'like' or 'dislike'. In him, I see memories and time long passed. He was part of my youth—a unique and irreplaceable youth."
Indeed, a unique and irreplaceable youth.
In this unique and irreplaceable youth, there was Bian Cheng, Liao Zhenyu, and even Zhou Ran. There were so many people who were present.
Except for him.
All of a sudden, Li Yubing felt like he was being stifled. He straightened up, his gaze drifting across the room before finally landing back on Tang Xue's face.
Tang Xue's alcohol tolerance was not high. Drinking to ease her troubled mind, she became tipsy fairly quickly. Her cheeks were tinted a rosy pink by the alcohol and she gazed at her cup blankly.
"Stop drinking." Li Yubing took her cup away.
"Stop drinking, let's go."
"Nooo, let's stay for another while. I'll tell you more about Bian Cheng."
"I don't want to hear it anymore."
He waved the waiter over and footed the bill. Then, without a care if she was willing or not, he hauled her up and dragged her off. Tang Xue was very cross. "What are you doing, don't touch me. I haven't eaten the lamb skewers……"
Li Yubing swiped a few of the lamb skewers off the table and stuffed it into her hands. Tang Xue stopped fussing and began chewing on the lamb skewers as Li Yubing dragged her out of the eatery.
After they got out, he did not retrieve his bicycle. Instead, the two of them started trudging back. This chapter is a labour of love that should not be found outside of teafragrance[dot]wordpress[dot]com.
Tang Xue ate the lamb skewers till her mouth was slick with oil. Li Yubing fished out some tissue and helped her to wipe her mouth. After he was done, he used his hand to feel her cheeks. Her face was still quite heated.
Tang Xue began to sing after finishing the lamb skewers. Having previously gone through the ordeal of prolonged exposure, Li Yubing was now immune. His brows did not even tick in the face of her ghastly-sounding tune.
After singing for a while, Tang Xue abruptly became silent.
Li Yubing's ears gained instant relief. As a result, he did not place much attention to why she quietened down.
When they reached her dormitory building, they stood facing each other. He lowered his head to say goodbye and saw her head drooping.
"Asleep?" he asked in a soft voice. He used his hand to nudge her head gently.
She did not react.
Feeling that something was amiss, Li Yubing slid his hand down. He lifted her chin to raise her head.
Then, he discovered her eyes br.i.m.m.i.n.g with tears.
She blinked. Fat teardrops rolled down her face. Caught in the street light, the tears glistened like lustrous pearls.
Even though he knew that this was probably Tang Xue feeling emotional after being drunk, Li Yubing could not help feeling soft-hearted. He subconsciously gentled his voice and asked, "What's wrong?"
"Li Yubing, I really regret it." Tang Xue began crying even harder. Her tears streamed into two lines that coursed down the sides of her flushed cheeks. "I regret it so much," she said again.
"Why did I give up speed skating just like that? I must had been insane."
Li Yubing stroked her head and comforted her, "You probably didn't realize how important speed skating was to you."
Wasn't this the case for so many things out there? Not caring about something when it was there and only realizing how precious it was after losing it.
Once she started, Tang Xue could not stop. Her tears spilled out in an uncontrollable flood. As she tried to messily wipe them off, she sobbed, "Do you know what Coach Fang, my middle school coach, told me when I went back to visit him during summer vacation? He said that he thought I could have entered the national team, and didn't expect me to give up. You can't imagine how terrible I felt when I heard that. I can't bear to look at Bian Cheng. Because whenever I see him, I'll be reminded of what I lost. I, I really……"
She sobbed till she struggled to catch her breath. Li Yubing pulled her into his arms, using one hand to hug her and the other to stroke her back gently and ease her breathing. As he did so, he comforted, "What’s done is done."
She leaned into his embrace. In a listless and m.u.f.fled voice, she murmured, "I'm such a fool, aren't I?"
Li Yubing continued hugging her. Suddenly, his arms tightened.
He saw someone.
Yu Yan held a bouquet of flowers. When he saw the two of them hugging together, his initially lively steps abruptly slowed.
Around two, three metres away, he stopped and gazed at them.
Shock and devastation were written all over his face.
Li Yubing had one arm wrapped around Tang Xue's waist while his other hand was gently pressed against the back of Tang Xue's head. He took one glance at Yu Yan and said, "Minor, please step back."This is an original work of 酒小七 (Jiu Xiaoqi) translated by Tea Fragrance. If you are not reading this at teafragrance[dot]wordpress[dot]com, this translation has been reposted without the translator's consent. Head there for extra content or to leave feedback and comments on the novel translation.
 Selfie angle: Camera is slightly raised so that it's pointing down. Supposed to make people look better in selfies. Is this a thing outside Asia?
I teared when I first read this chapter. I hoped I translated well enough to make you guys did as well. I love how raw this is. There are so many things in life that—looking back now—feels really childish or minor but was the world to us then.