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Wei Ruxia liked to be with her grandmother, so Luo Tang didn't talk with her much on the weekends, instead he went to the school gymnasium to participate in the pre-league training for the basketball team.
The campus on Saturday was very quiet. Sometimes teachers and students who worked overtime walked by. Luo Tang carried his bag and went straight into the gymnasium.
Before entering the door, the sound of basketballs slapping against the basketball court and basketball shoes squeaking could be heard from inside, adding some vitality to the quiet campus.
Luo Tang's appearance was conspicuous, and as soon as he walked in, the basketball players who were training looked over. The young man was dressed in a casual long sleeve shirt and trousers, was tall and slender, with headphones on his neck, and he had a clean face and a cool temperament.
Wang Ye was instructing a large-scale exercise. When Luo Tang came in, he smiled and beckoned, "Luo Tang is here, come here."
Everyone on the basketball team knew that Wang Ye had found a substitute, but they didn't expect that the person they were waiting for was Luo Tang. Although Luo Tang had a cold personality and didn't like to show up, his existence was particularly eye-catching, and it was difficult for anyone to not know him.
Luo Tang walked over and Wang Ye patted him on the shoulder then introduced him to everyone, "This is Luo Tang. You all should know him, he often plays basketball here. I asked him to take over Lai Qing's position. Li Haoshu, work together with him."
As soon as Wang Ye finished speaking, the tall boy standing in front of him responded. He was tall and strong, with white skin, monolids, and a perfect appearance. He looked quite sunny.
Hearing what the coach said, Li Haoshu glanced at Luo Tang, there was no particular emotion in this look. He turned around and said to Wang Ye, "Got it, coach."
After the arrangement was made, Wang Ye clapped his hands and said, "Okay, let's get to work!"
The order was given and the team members dispersed. Wang Ye turned his head and said to Luo Tang, "Go change your clothes and I'll see how well you work with the team."
Originally, Wang Ye was worried that although Luo Tang could pass the bar for skill, he wouldn't work well in a team. After watching them play two games, Wang Ye not only felt relieved, but also that Luo Tang was a good seed for professional basketball.
He had a higher probability of scoring a three-pointer than Lai Qing, and he adjusted himself to adapt to Li Haoshu's movements. The other players didn't even need to make adjustments, he could quickly integrate himself in.
After watching two games, Wang Ye changed from rest assured to happy. He got up out of the gym and went to the office to record the exercises on the computer.
The training within the basketball team was very systematic. Although everyone had the habit of playing all roles, in general, the fixed training regime remained the same and Luo Tang integrated quickly.
But this fixed training gradually became irregular after Wang Ye left.
Li Haoshu's pass affected the pass of the next person and in the end, the distance to the backboard was even longer when the ball arrived at Luo Tang. He noticed this change and when he missed the second goal, Luo Tang raised his eyes to look at Li Haoshu in front of him.
The basketball made a circle around the hoop and eventually escaped the hoop and fell to the ground. The sound of basketball hitting the court sounded with a 'bang-bang-bang' before finally it stopped in Li Haoshu's hands.
Li Haoshu grabbed the basketball with one hand, looking at Luo Tang, frowning and gritting his teeth. He threw the basketball towards Luo Tang.
"Does your mum play better basketball!?"
He was already a tall man, and this time he also used more of his strength, the basketball would definitely hurt if it hit.
When the players exclaimed, the basketball had already reached Luo Tang, but he didn't even flinch as he reached out to smack the basketball to the side. The basketball was spun sharply by the force and fell to the ground with a loud noise. At the same time, Luo Tang rushed to Li Haoshu and in the moment before anyone could react, he kicked Li Haoshu in the chest. Li Shuhao didn't have time to react and he staggered back and fell to the ground. Luo Tang came over to overwhelm him, putting a knee against his chest as he grabbed his collar with one hand, and raised his fist.
"Try that again." Luo Tang said.
The whole process was quick and smooth. He was calm and his expression didn't change at all. Even when he spoke, the sound was like a bottomless lake, there wasn't even a ripple from the wind.
Li Haoshu was actually taller than Luo Tang, but right now, he was so crushed by Luo Tang that he couldn't move at all. His body and strength weren't proportionate and now his strength was no match for Luo Tang.
Everyone in the team knew that Li Haoshu couldn't accept Luo Tang. Wang Ye's praise of Luo Tang made him uncomfortable, and secondly, Li Yawen, who he liked, liked him. He couldn't understand how Luo Tang, who was praised by people, always had a calm expression on his face. He felt that he was pretending to be compelling.
However, all this was nothing compared to participating in the league.
Li Haoshu was a sports student. He had already entered his third year of high school this year and the results of this league would determine his university next year. He couldn't make a mistake in this.
Next to him, Liu Renxiu, who was good friends with Li Haoshu, looked at the scene and said to Li Haoshu, "Li Haoshu, you threw the ball short. Just apologise quickly."
He tried to reduce the conflict between Li Haoshu and Luo Tang to Li Haoshu failing to admit his mistakes. That way Li Haoshu wouldn't suffer as much shame if others got involved.
Li Haoshu looked at Luo Tang's hand on his neck. After a while, his eyebrows gradually loosened, and the back of his head hit the ground.
His voice wasn't too big or small, and his tone was light.
Luo Tang glanced at him, grunted in his throat, and let go of his hand.
Had it not been for Wei Ruxia wanting to accompany him to the basketball games, he would be too lazy to stick with it after today.
Grandma spent the weekend with Wei Ruxia at home. On Monday, Wei Ruxia went to school before her grandma returned home. After two days of life accompanied by someone, Wei Ruxia was still a little uncomfortable when her grandma left. Before she left, Li Suhe told her that she could spend the Spring Festival during the winter vacation with her, and Wei Ruxia was faintly looking forward to the winter vacation.
It was mid-November. After their midterm exams, when school ended on Friday afternoon, Wei Ruxia accompanied Luo Tang to Mucheng to participate in the basketball league.
Mucheng wasn't far from Ancheng, it only took half an hour by high-speed train. Except for Luo Tang, the members of the basketball team were all accompanied by their parents. Wei Ruxia didn't mind this. While she was waiting in front of the platform for the train, she looked back at the green train that was slowly starting on the track behind her.
Luo Tang stood in line behind her, watching Wei Ruxia in front of him, leaning to one side and crossing his body to look behind him. He glanced at the smile in Wei Ruxia's eyes and then looked back.
"Want to sit?" When Luo Tang turned his head, the end of the green train could still be seen as it gradually drove away from their sight.
Ancheng had developed rapidly, and now the green trains were basically abandoned, leaving only the high-speed rail running. The train Wei Ruxia saw just now wasn't a passenger one, but a cargo train.
Withdrawing her gaze, Wei Ruxia looked up at Luo Tang. She nodded and said, "My mother told me that when she left Ancheng that year, she was sitting on that kind of slow train. The train ran like a little old man, but she could see the scenery along the way and the weather changing from cold to hot, humid to dry, it was wonderful."
Wei Ruxia seldom mentioned her mother. Seeing the green train today, she thought of her somehow. When she was with Luo Tang, her heart was more relaxed than usual and she said so much before she could realise.
"I haven't ridden it before, I also want to sit and watch the scenery."
After speaking, Wei Ruxia smiled at Luo Tang again. Someone said that the train was coming and Wei Ruxia turned around and followed the team into the carriage.
Luo Tang followed Wei Ruxia, but before he got on the train, he raised his eyes and glanced at the green train that had already disappeared from sight. The weather today was very good and the evening sun spread across the track, covering the cold hard track with a layer of warmth.
Mucheng was north of Ancheng and the climate was colder and drier. The basketball league was held in a stadium in Mucheng District. Players from various school basketball teams were arranged to stay in hotels near the stadium.
As soon as they arrived at the hotel, the league staff arranged for the families to eat then Luo Tang and other players were taken to familiarize themselves with the venue. They would have a game tomorrow morning.
Luo Tang and the others went to get acquainted with the venue and Wei Ruxia went back to her room to pack everything up, then walked out of the hotel to the gymnasium.
In November, Mucheng was much colder than Ancheng. Wei Ruxia wore a scarf and raised the collar of her coat high, revealing only her tall nose and heroic eyebrows.
When she arrived, Luo Tang and the others were almost done. She was afraid of disturbing Luo Tang's training, so she stayed at the entrance of the basketball hall and waited without going in.
It was eight o'clock in the evening, and the stadium was quite quiet, occasionally a small group of people passed by, all players who were participating in the basketball league.
Everyone who played basketball was quite tall, and Wei Ruxia also saw a few who stood out from the crowd who looked around two metres tall. Tall people were gifted, but they also had shortcomings. Generally speaking, their coordination wasn't always good.
Wei Ruxia didn't understand basketball, so she just thought about her own things. While she was thinking, Wang Ye's voice came from the basketball hall.
"That's it, take a rest early tonight, and maintain ample energy."
When Luo Tang came out, he saw Wei Ruxia standing under the magnolia tree not far away. She was dressed in dark clothes and hidden in the night, with only a small part of her face revealed, white and eye-catching.
After Wang Ye told them the plan, everyone disbanded and Luo Tang got up and walked towards her.
Luo Tang had just finished playing and there was still a layer of heat on his body. The warmth from his surging blood was refreshing and clean. After feeling it, it made others feel energetic.
He was wearing a jacket on top and his basketball uniform underneath. Wei Ruxia glanced at his tightly trimmed calves and asked, "Isn't it cold?"
"Nope." Luo Tang didn't sweat much, but his body was still hot after just exercising. He glanced around and said, "Shall we walk?"
It was only eight o'clock, and they wouldn't sleep if they went back, so they might as well go out and stroll around. Also, before the game, it was better to relax and keep your body and mind happy.
"Okay." Wei Ruxia jumped off the small steps beside the magnolia tree and followed Luo Tang.
The stadium was very large, and there were the Mucheng Botanical Garden and Mucheng Park nearby, so it had also been turned into a large garden. There weren't many people near the basketball courts, but walking forward, you would encounter people walking around.
Mucheng was dominated by hills and was considered a mountain city. The roads were very flat, but the terrain went up and down, as if they were walking up a mountain. They walked along the path by the wall of the stadium. The sidewalks were paved with tiles and the uniform patterns were pleasant to look at.
Behind the high wall next to them was the Mucheng Botanical Garden. Wei Ruxia talked with Luo Tang, looking up at the plants that protruded from behind the high wall.
The terrain was uneven along the way, and the high walls were sometimes high and sometimes low. The branches and flowers on the other side of the wall could sometimes be reached by stretching out, and sometimes they couldn't be reached even by jumping up.
"Which school are you playing against tomorrow morning?" Wei Ruxia looked up at the outstretched branches in the botanical garden, chatting with Luo Tang as they went.
Luo Tang walked beside her, and the shadows of the two people grew and shrank under street lamps, almost merging into one. He stepped on the tiles, buried his chin under his collar, and responded lightly, "Mucheng No.1 High School."
They'd met the hosting school when they first arrived, and it was a powerful team. It would be a difficult fight.
After Luo Tang finished speaking, Wei Ruxia beside him didn't respond. She suddenly quickened her pace and started trotting. When Luo Tang looked up, Wei Ruxia was jumping up with strength, reaching out to reach the branches over the garden wall.
Clusters of lavender flowers bloomed on the branches. The girl was tall and light and could jump very high. However, the branches were too high, and her efforts were only enough to grab a leaf.
Wei Ruxia pinched a leaf and landed on the ground.
The terrain at this point was a bit high, the wall was as tall as her, and the tree branch was above the wall and was even higher. She raised her eyes and looked around but there was only one flower of this variety nearby.
Wei Ruxia stepped back, ready to run up to gain some more momentum to reach it. But as soon as she backed her foot up, she fell against a person's chest. The two of them were very close to each other, and a pair of arms wrapped around her waist. She only just felt that her waist was held, before Wei Ruxia found her legs were off the ground.
Her whole body was picked up and the top of her hair touched a tree branch. The tree branch made her flinch and she looked back at the young man who had picked her up.
The young man raised his head slightly, his face was gleaming cold under the street lamp, and his eyes, which were as deep as a lake, had some warmth to them.
He held Wei Ruxia, facing the tree she was looking at. The young man's breath was steady, and a smile flashed in his eyes.
"Grab it." Luo Tang said.
Wei Ruxia laughed, her brows and eyes curving. She stretched out her arms, broke the branches, and then took two stems with flowers on them and was put down by Luo Tang.
As soon as her feet landed, Wei Ruxia glanced around. There was no one. She relaxed and looked down at the flowers in her hand.
Luo Tang watched her smile, and asked, "Do you like hibiscus?"
Compared with the name hibiscus, Wei Ruxia preferred to call them infinity flowers.
"Yeah." Wei Ruxia replied and stretched out her hand to touch the hibiscus petals, "My hometown is very cold in winter, and there aren't many flowers and trees that can survive outdoors. There is a small area on the hillside in our town. An infinity flower forest, seeing these flowers is like seeing my hometown."
In winter, the temperature in Dongzhen reached minus 40 degrees, and it was difficult for flowers and plants to survive. In winter, people in the town would wrap them with straw to protect them from the cold. Wei Ruxia grew up watching the infinity flowers grow. The infinity flowers really went on forever, symbolizing the vitality of the place where she once grew up.
There were many kinds of flowers and plants in Ancheng, but the hibiscus wasn't counted among them. Wei Ruxia had never seen it in Ancheng, and didn't expect to encounter it in Mucheng.
Looking at infinity flowers and thinking of the green train that she saw in the afternoon, Wei Ruxia seemed to have broken a hole in a hidden place in her heart. Something in it gurgled out, making her feel something she couldn't explain.
She pursed her lips, raised her head and smiled at Luo Tang, then said, "Let's go back, and sleep early."
She obviously had something to say, but she held back. Luo Tang didn't ask further, nodded and agreed.
Ancheng No. 1 High School scored well in the basketball games. After their final game was played on Sunday afternoon, the players packed their things and returned to Ancheng. The families gathered at the entrance of the hotel, waiting for the bus to take them to the high-speed rail station.
Wei Ruxia carried her backpack and held a glass bottle in her arms with water in it and the two hibiscus flower branches inside.
After two days of exchanges and meet ups, the team members also got to know Wei Ruxia. Before they knew her, they had only heard of her going to the art class to attack someone. They thought that she was a fierce and brave little sister, but after getting to know each other over the past two days, they found that she was a good-natured person, and it was very easy to get along with her.
"Isn't that a hibiscus? Mucheng's city flower. What are you doing with it?" The team's center, Liu Renxiu, was a wheat-skinned boy. He was a chatterbox and can talk with anyone.
"Yeah." Wei Ruxia smiled and glanced at him, and said, "I want to take it home and plant it."
The vitality of the infinity flower was so strong that a branch could grow into a tree.
"Awesome." Liu Renxiu praised, looking at Wei Ruxia and said, "You're really clever. Did you pick it in the Botanical Garden?"
Just as Wei Ruxia was about to answer, Luo Tang, who was standing next to her, suddenly spoke.
"I held her up, so she could pick it over the wall around the stadium."
There was a smile on Liu Renxiu's face and several of the players next to him looked over and glanced at Luo Tang and Liu Renxiu. Liu Renxiu looked at Luo Tang, coughed dryly, and stopped.
Seeing that he suddenly stopped talking, Wei Ruxia said, "The wall was really high, so we added our height together."
Next to him, Liu Renxiu laughed again. While smiling, he looked at Luo Tang and said, "Ah, I see, I see."
It was already five o'clock in the afternoon when she returned to the community with Luo Tang. Luo Tang had played basketball for two days, but Wei Ruxia didn't talk to him much. At the door of their houses, Wei Ruxia and Luo Tang chatted, neither planning to go home yet.
"Give me one." Luo Tang stood beside Wei Ruxia and looked at the glass bottle with hibiscus flower branches she was holding, and said something.
"Do you want to plant it?" She didn't expect that Luo Tang would be interested in hibiscus flowers. She smiled and took the flower branch that seemed to be held together better and handed it to him, "This one is easy to grow."
The underside of the flower branches was wet with the water from the glass bottle, and when Luo Tang took it, his fingertips were also wet. He looked at the half-wet flower branch and the bright black eyes under his eyelashes lifted slightly to meet Wei Ruxia's gaze.
"Do you miss home?"
She was standing at the door of her home and Luo Tang asked her if she missed home. When Wei Ruxia listened to his words, the smile on her face gradually disappeared and then expanded again.
"Kind of." Wei Ruxia didn't correct him. She looked at Luo Tang and said in a relaxed tone, "But it's also good here, with grandma, my classmates, and good friends like you. Now I have these flowers again, wherever I can see the flowers is home."
Listening to her, Luo Tang waved the hibiscus flower branch in his hand, pointed to his yard, and said, "I'll plant it there."
The direction he stretched his finger towards was exactly where Wei Ruxia's bedroom window could see. Wei Ruxia's heart felt numb, watching his slightly lifted chin, it seemed that there was some emotion that climbed up to her cheeks.
Wei Ruxia's face felt hot, she smiled and said, "Okay."
Separating from Luo Tang, Wei Ruxia hugged the bottle and returned home. She has to put her things down first, before she went out to plant the flowers. She opened the door of her home and when she looked up, she saw Wei Zishan sitting in the living room.
Since she'd moved in, Wei Zishan had rarely appeared in the living room. He originally looked out the window but when he heard the sound of the door opening he turned around.
Wei Ruxia saw the haggardness on his face and his bloodshot eyes, and a bad premonition gradually surged in her heart.
"Your grandma's test results came back." Wei Zishan said.
The author has something to say:
Tangtang: The point is I held her, held her to pick them.
Haaa, I think we are on evening (for me) releases for a while. Also, I went onto NovelUpdates to make sure their script was still pulling the chapters and I saw some reviews that said nice things about the translations I put up, thank you so much! And thank you for reading! It's always fun to share things I enjoy, but none of my friends read cnovels.