Chapter 51: Blue Skies
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The referee blew his whistle twice, signaling the end of the first half and breaking Liang Ke’s train of thought. The coach got up from his seat and made his way towards the field’s exit. He watched and waited as both teams passed him by, getting off the pitch and into their locker rooms. He was waiting for Ren Yu De.
Ren Yu De was the last person to get off the field. He seemed to be troubled by something and walked slower than the others, as if wanting to be left alone. And as he got closer to him, Liang Ke briefly revised his message to the boy.
“Ren Yu De.”
Ren Yu De looked up at his coach in his dejected state. Just as the coach was about to continue, he was taken aback by the look in the boy’s eyes.
His eyes were clean and pure. Although there were still bits of it in his gaze, his eyes were not as muddled with emotions as the first time they met.
Liang Ke knew that the boy in front of him was an introvert, soft spoken and often mistaken for being unfriendly. But he also had the chance of seeing how he laughed when he was around Zhang Jun, Yang Pan, An Ke and Kaka. How could a player who laughed like that with his teammates, betray their trust, or his dreams? Liang Ke thought.
Ren Yu De looked at his coach, still waiting for him to say something. But, Liang Ke only patted him on the shoulder and said, “There’s still the second half! Go on!”
Ren Yu De was surprised by his coach’s words. He stood there and took everything in before heading into the lockers.
The atmosphere in the locker room was not somber as Liang Ke thought it would be. Even though they did not score any goals, everyone was talking in a very relaxed manner and even joking around. This surprised the coach. Since when was his team this relaxed during a match? As a coach, he knew that this was a result of the team’s confidence. Where did the Shu Guang team from the start of the last school year go? Where were those kids who had no idea what they were playing for, and were sh*tting bricks when they heard that they were up against a top five team? Coach Liang Ke then realized for the first time, that he could no longer underestimate just how fast these boys could grow.
Zhang Jun made his way over to Ren Yu De. He noticed that Ren Yu De had been very quiet since returning to the locker room, and thought that he was blaming himself for the “unfortunate misplay” earlier.
“Hey, don’t think about it too much. That was just a small mistake! You don’t have to beat yourself up about it.”
Kaka also joined them. “Yeah! Besides, An Ke is doing nothing most of the time anyway. So, that was a good warm up for him. Didn’t you see how beautiful his dive was to make that save?”
“Shut up, Kaka! I hate it when people think that I’m no good.” An Ke jumped. “If I can’t even make a good save like that shot just now, you guys are gonna have a bad time in the second half! Heh heh!” he boasted. And while he was still laughing and feeling proud of himself, a bottle of water flew across the room and hit him square on the face.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I tried telling you to catch it, but you weren’t listening,” Yang Pan said, without even the slightest bit of regret in his tone or his manner of speaking.
Seeing the bottle mark imprinted on An Ke’s face, Su Fei could not hold herself back and broke into laughter. And as her loud laugh echoed in the locker room, An Ke finally snapped.
“Yang Pan! You a**hole! I’m gonna eat you alive!” An Ke sounded like a mad dog.
“Oy! Kaka! What are you laughing at?”
“And you! Zhang Jun! Don’t think I won’t get you just because you’re hiding behind Su Fei!”
“Lin Xiaofang! Chen Bo! You two juniors dare laugh at your senior? Let me teach you guys some respect!”
Liang Ke leaned against the door and smiled as he watched his team. He had no intention of stopping them. And as he turned to look at Ren Yu De, the coach saw his expression changing. It was like a sky with heavy clouds slowly clearing up. Finally, a ray of sunlight broke through the clouds and shone on him; he was finally smiling. With that change, Ren Yu De joined in on the fun too.
“Argh! Ren Yu De! That was a cheap shot!”
“Oy! Oy! Don’t hit innocent people!” Liang Ke said as he dodged a bottle that went flying towards him. But as soon as he stood back up, someone’s smelly sock flew and landed right on his face.
Liang Ke removed the sock with his fingers and revealed an annoyed face. As he was about to step in and stop the brawl, someone emptied a bottle of water on his shirt, extinguishing what was left of his patience.
“You punks! You dare mess with me? You must be tired of living!”
“What the hell? Who’s pulling my hair? Fight like a man you a**hole!”
“F*ck! Who’s kicking below the waist! That’s a foul! Red card! Red card!”
And so, the team spent their 15-minute break time in utter chaos. No strategy meeting, no motivational speeches or cheering whatsoever. All 11 players walked onto the pitch covered in various bruises and injuries!
The Guan Lin team stared in shock at their freshly injured opponents and they all wondered just what had happened to them. Just as they were thinking if the coach was responsible for all this, they all froze like they just saw Medusa: Liang Ke was seen drenched from head to toe. His hair was dripping wet and sticking to his forehead while his neat white shirt was sullied and unruly. He looked as if he just came out of a war zone―a far cry from his usual appearance!
Liang Ke awkwardly sat down on his seat next to Su Fei. She was covering her mouth with her hands, trying hard not to laugh. But as soon as she saw the silly reactions from the opposing team, she could not help but laugh out loud. Liang Ke finally understood the destructive part of Su Fei’s laughter when everyone who heard it, turned to look at them and started noticing his messy state.
Liang Ke was embarrassed, but he could only glare at Su Fei intensely, hinting at her to shut up. Despite that, his current get up was so undignified that when he glared at her, it only made her laugh harder.
Meanwhile on the pitch, the Shu Guang boys looked like they were about to start a fight. They were all gritting their teeth and glaring fiercely at their opponents, as if they were the ones who punched, kicked, or poured water all over them in the locker room earlier. The whole team exuded an enormous, fearsome aura towards the Guan Lin team, ready to tear apart as soon as the referee blew the whistle!
This change in Shu Guang High was not lost on someone watching from the stands and it sent shivers down his spine. He felt as if the Shu Guang team became a totally different team right after half-time.
But before he could even continue his thought, the sound of the referee’s whistle resounded throughout the stadium. The second half began!
At the sound of the whistle, Shu Guang High charged into their opponent’s half of the field. Yang Pan performed a sliding tackle with such ferocity that it scared the his opponent into giving up the ball. He then passed it to an angry looking Kaka!
Kaka was pissed because someone had kicked him in the back during the half-time brawl, giving him a dirty footprint just right under the number 10 on his jersey. He charged with the ball towards the defenders as he bared his fangs. The defenders were caught off-guard by how angry he looked and froze in their tracks, allowing him to slip past them easily. He then passed the ball over to Zhang Jun!
Zhang Jun carried the ball towards the goal and feinted a shot at the goal. The other team sent out one, two, three defenders to defend against him. They were all aware of how dangerous it was to let him close to the penalty area. But just when they thought he would try to go through them and score, Zhang Jun passed the ball!
With a misleading kick using his heel, Zhang Jun sent the ball between the legs of one defender over to Ren Yu De! The opposing team had sent out most of their defenders against Zhang Jun, and now, the closest defender to Ren Yu De was three meters away. He was practically unguarded!
Ren Yu De did not hesitate and reactively kicked the ball with his right leg, sending it towards the goal!
Everyone got on the edge of their seats and the reporters began frantically clicking away with their cameras, sending flashes all over the field!
Liang Ke stood up in response, his hands raised in celebration! He knew that Ren Yu De would not let him down!
“Go, go Shu Guang! Go, go Shu Guang!” Liu Qi and the Shu Guang High cheerleaders shouted!
Everybody watched as the ball flew past a defender’s foot, over the keeper’s hand, across the goal line, and into the net!
Cheers erupted across the whole stadium like a crashing tsunami. Everybody was calling out one name, “Ren Yu De! Ren Yu De! Ren Yu De! Ren Yu De!”
Ren Yu De stood exactly where he was with his head held up high, savoring the moment. He had never felt anything like it before. So many people calling out his name at the same time! It felt so surreal, as if such glory could only be found in dreams…
He turned around and saw his teammates running towards him. Zhang Jun who assisted, leaped onto him.
Ren Yu De fell on his back with his arms wide open as his teammates piled up on him like a rugby team.
Barely five minutes into the second half, Shu Guang High’s No. 9, Ren Yu De scored a beautiful shot from a very tight angle, breaking the stalemate and giving Shu Guang High a one point lead on Guan Lin High.
What a beautiful goal!
However, somewhere on the stands, someone was cursing and swearing in a very animated manner. Nonetheless, the loud cheering from the crowd absolutely drowned out his voice, leaving him to throw his tantrum without anyone else noticing.
To everyone else there, it was a beautiful goal, which sent Shu Guang High into the lead. But to Ren Yu De, it meant something else. He had placed his past into this kick and now, he only saw blue skies ahead.