Chen Shuo felt like it was high time he went to the temple to worship.
It really was his unlucky year.
In order to avoid Fu Zheng he had sought out Ning Wan during off-hours, and as a result, this devil-possessed1 man had appeared again! He even had sports clothes on and came to the same stadium! Did such coincidence exist?

What Chen Shuo didn't expect was that an even bigger coincidence was yet to come.
The captain of the rival team, Lin Sheng, suddenly received a phone call from his boss Gao Yuan.
There was an urgent piece of work that had to be done immediately.
Lin Sheng was forced to leave immediately and rush back to work on it, meaning that their team was short a player…

“Fu Zheng! You really called it!” As Chen Shuo watched, Ning Wan clapped Fu Zheng on the back, her face shining.
“Lin Sheng just happens to have something on and has to leave for a bit.
Thank goodness you're here, or we would have had to find some other substitute for the game.”

Then she looked over at Chen Shuo, her smile bright.
“Isn't this great? You can play together!”

What was good about it?! He didn't want to play with Fu Zheng at all!

Chen Shuo gnashed his teeth inside but could only respond with a gentle smile.
“Yes!”

He felt like he was an orthodox, upright martial arts master and Fu Zheng from the Demon Sect, but this Demon Sect fellow was pretending to be righteous, tricking the simple-minded masses left and right with his handsome face and good acting skills.
Meanwhile Chen Shuo, the lonely warrior, had sustained internal injuries from Fu Zheng's underhanded beating.
Yet he had to swallow his blood, because even if he wanted to proclaim to the world that this fellow was up to no good, he knew it wouldn't help, that no one would believe him…

He could only watch Fu Zheng approach with a smile as Ning Wan watched expectantly.

 

Ning Wan was very pleased that Fu Zheng didn't have to warm the bench next to her.
Now Chen Shuo would get his wish of playing with his good friend, and she could make the best use of the situation – cheering for both of them.

But soon she began feeling conflicted, because she had just realized that Chen Shuo and Fu Zheng were not on the same team.
Every time Fu Zheng scored, it meant that Chen Shuo's team had failed their defense.
But technically, she was Chen Shuo's cheerleader…

Fortunately, Fu Zheng was older than her and would surely be more mature than Chen Shuo.
He would never mind such a thing.
Thinking this, Ning Wan put away her worries and concentrated on the ball.

Unlike before, this game was fierce right from the very start.
But when Chen Shuo, who had shone brilliantly in the warm-up match, came up against Fu Zheng, he couldn't take the advantage.

To begin with, Fu Zheng was taller than him.
Since they seldom stood next to each other at work usually, it wasn't obvious, but in a face-to-face confrontation on the court the height difference stood out.
On top of that, though Chen Shuo was objectively in good shape, when compared to Fu Zheng he was slightly inferior ― though muscular, he had a lean, Asian build, giving off a thin and tall overall impression.
Fu Zheng, meanwhile, was completely different.
Though he was tall and his skin fair, there was nothing feminine about him.
His face was fine-boned and delicate, but the same could not be said about his figure.
Instead, his build more closely resembled the musculature of a Westerner, the ratio of his muscles just right on his body.
Though he was not much bigger than Chen Shuo, he was more powerful, and the advantage of age sat well on him – he was like Chen Shuo's final evolution, more powerful, more capable, and more handsome…

“That guy's so cute! He's even better looking than the one from just now!”

“He plays better too, when he dunks it's like it's no big deal to him.
It feels like he shoots really casually and is super comfortable with the game.”

The two girls who had just been hovering around, infatuated with Chen Shuo, immediately defected.
They chattered together for quite a while before and glanced at Ning Wan, blushing.
“Older sister, I'm guessing you know that guy too? The one who was talking with you just now.
Can you tell us his name? Is he still single?”

“……”

This change of heart came a little too fast…
Weren't you just talking about how you had fallen in love with Chen Shuo at first sight…? It didn't take very long for you to move on to Fu Zheng…?

When the two girls had asked about Chen Shuo, Ning Wan had told them his particulars almost without thinking.
But now that it was Fu Zheng's turn, every fiber of her being rebelled against it.
By the time she realized what she was saying, she had already answered, “No, he isn't single.”

As expected, the two girls looked disappointed.
“Aw, man, he's already taken…”

……

Without even thinking about it, Ning Wan had lied.

It was obvious that Fu Zheng was still single, and she clearly knew that it was wrong for her to lie, but it was as if before her reason could take the moral high ground, her emotions had impulsively made the decision for her.

The two girls behind her were saying something more, but Ning Wan was no longer paying attention.
She was still feeling agitated inside, but after thinking about it, she consoled herself by reminding herself that she was just blocking a suitor for Fu Zheng.
That was reasonable, wasn't it? After all, those two girls falling in love at first sight meant that all they liked about him was his face.
How unreliable! Why, they weren't even as true as Aunt Xiao's love! Aunt Xiao hadn't liked Fu Zheng's age at first, and only afterward had she fallen for his personality! How should she put it – it was an appreciation of Fu Zheng as a person, rather than just his looks.

Fu Zheng was so good, it would have been such be a waste for him to get a girlfriend who only liked him for his face.
Rather than letting him be taken advantage of by some random girl, it would be better to let good water flow back into one's own field and strive to take advantage of him herself!

Ning Wan was almost shocked by this sudden idea.
She quickly reminded herself that she couldn't possibly do such an animal thing.
Why, if she used her position as his superior to do this and that to Fu Zheng, wouldn't she be just as bad as Gao Yuan?

But it was okay.
She had just thought about it.
Thinking about things wasn't a crime.

Such thoughts in mind, Ning Wan's heart was once again steadfast.
In a good mood, she looked back at the court with renewed concentration.

She was Chen Shuo's cheerleader and should have been looking for Chen Shuo, but unconsciously her eyes were drawn toward Fu Zheng–

Bathed in the sun, Fu Zheng was running with the ball.
His lips were slightly pursed and his hair flying with the beat.
His eyes were bright, his fair skin flushed from exercise, and the lines of his legs were taut and smooth, like a cheetah gaining momentum.
Every detail of his movements seemed to emanate pheromones.
Even his slightly bent knees and flashing ankles made a woman aware of how sexually appealing he was…

Calm down! Calm down!

Ning Wan slammed the lid down on her thoughts.
She moved her gaze back from Fu Zheng to Chen Shuo.
At that moment, Chen Shuo had just gotten the ball from his teammates and broken through the other team's encirclement.
His focused eyes and movements showed that he was about to shoot…

The next second, Fu Zheng swooped in and cut off Chen Shuo's shot.
Frowning, Chen Shuo took the ball and broke through.
He made it it to the basketball hoop, jumping to dunk the ball, biting his lip in concentration as momentum carried him through the air; but almost at the same time, Fu Zheng also jumped to block.
His hand shot out when Chen Shuo spiked, as fast as lightning, and the ball bounced off the basket.
One of Fu Zheng's teammates grabbed the ball and passed it back to Fu Zheng, who took it, broke through Chen Shuo's defense, and turned to shoot a beautiful 3-pointer…

“Amazing!!!”

“So cool!”

“Go, go!”

All around her several of Fu Zheng's new fans had leapt to their feet.
Infected by the atmosphere, before Ning Wan knew it she was also already standing and cheering for Fu Zheng.

But Fu Zheng's happiness was based on Chen Shuo's pain.
Chen Shuo glanced at her at that moment, and although there was no blame in his eyes, the look of loss was hard to hide.

However, Fu Zheng's eyes looking at Ning Wan were much brighter.
His neutral, coldly handsome face suddenly burst out into a smile as his dark eyes cut through the crowd, focused only on her.
Even though there were clearly so many others cheering for him, it seemed as though they had all faded into the background, merely backstage props, and Ning Wan was the only protagonist.

Fu Zheng's smile was shallow and fleeting.
He glanced at Ning Wan again before turning to devote himself once more to the fierce basketball game.
But where he was able to go on without any distraction, Ning Wan felt as if she had been trapped in that split second of Fu Zheng's smile.

All around her was the clamour and noise of the stadium, but to Ning Wan, all voices were still.
She could only hear the sound of her heart pounding violently in her chest…

In that moment, it seemed as though reason had been left behind.
Chen Shuo's feelings suddenly seemed beyond consideration.
Ning Wan felt as though she had become a single-celled organism, whose only thought was of one thing – Fu Zheng.

During the second half of the game, she was unsettled and restless.
No matter how many times she admonished herself to concentrate on Chen Shuo, her attention kept sliding back toward Fu Zheng…

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