Tu Yong could feel his brain just going toast, and the paper slid off his hand. Daddy was the coach driver…
Tomorrow was his birthday and before leaving, his father had promised him a birthday gift―was this it?
The next day, the company’s director came with a few meaningless words of consolation and dropped off a few dimes of pension before leaving. His mother quietly served the man throughout the process. Those directors―after all his dad had done―never gave him beneficial housing or raised his wages.
Now he was gone. Even then, all they did was pass off a few cheap condolences as if it was a mere formality; they were not even heartfelt. What use was there?
A family without a father loses its main income. While his mother was strong, her unit benefits decreased year after year until she became part of the first batch of workers who got laid off. From then on, the family had to rely on the monthly social support of 200 $. In addition to that, there were his mother’s wages from various odd jobs.
While she quietly assumed the burden of their difficult life, Tu Yong’s change broke her heart. After his father passed away, he spoke a lot less and turned a cold shoulder to everyone.
Why are they looking at me with those eyes? Because I lost my dad?
F*ck! Isn’t it just the same as playing hooky―being late to school, fighting, smoking and drinking? What makes you think you have the right to mind what I do?!
All of you. You think there’s safety in numbers? F*ck! I’ll do you all in!
"Argh! The kid doesn’t want to live! You’ll get killed by him! Run!"
He stared at the people in front of him, his own face dripping wet from someone’s blood. He clenched the metal pipe in his fists.
"You’re brother Tu Yong? We’ll follow you from now on, Big Brother!"
And from that day, he became the leader of a faction of street thugs. With his savagery and ruthlessness, he quickly earned the nickname "The Butcher".
Left without a choice against her stubborn child, his mother was forced to send him to Yang Guang High―a reform school.
Still, she would visit him every month and give him money for monthly expenses. He would take it without a single word of concern for her. Did he never notice how rapidly her white hair was growing, how hunched her back was now and how her facial features had aged? And she was not even 40!
What had he been doing all these years?
The match continued; the ball was sent to Tu Yong’s feet.
Yang Pan went up for a steal but was caught unawares―because with one wild spike, the motionless Tu Yong prodded the ball away from the sprinting Yang Pan and ran off at full speed!
Many of the others did not expect it either. The Butcher had been keeping his eye on Zhang Jun as long as the game had been going per his coach’s orders, never lifting a finger to help his team’s attack.
But now he was helping them and his offensive prowess was not to be underestimated. His dribbling, breakthrough and passing showed that he had what it takes to be an excellent midfielder. It was a pity that his teammates were not up to his level and would only waste his exquisite passes.
Despite knowing that the brat had a whole catalogue of dirty tricks, Wang Ning bravely met him. However, there were no cheap moves or loophole exploitations―not even a nasty foul. Tu Yong was intent on displaying his exquisite skills to one and all.
Against Wang Ning’s bodily defense, he shielded the ball with his back and swayed a bit to the left. Sensing from their conjoined frames that Wang Ning shifted his weight to the left as well, he immediately turned towards the right and with a prod, he got past a second marker!
Wang Ning was left rooted where he stood in disbelief; he was prepared to face some trick and never expected to be shaken off so neatly.
Grabbing the opportunity that the startled Shu Guang defense offered, Tu Yong burst into the penalty area.
If his teammates could not do it, he would!
Having no time to recall the other defenders, An Ke rushed towards Tu Yong alone.
"Want to score? Get past me first…"
Even before he could finish his boast, Tu Yong silenced him with a lob―the ball flew just over An Ke’s head and towards the open goal in a beautiful curve.
As cheers sounded, a shadow dashed over and volleyed the ball back towards the midfield just before the ball dropped.
It was Lin Xiaofang! When he saw Tu Yong dash into the area and An Ke leaving his line to keep him out, he did not run towards the attacker. Instead, he picked the right move and ran to his own goal to become the last line of defense. So, he was there to clear the danger at the right place at the right time.
Tu Yong began to mark Zhang Jun again. There were some hand movements amid the defending and attempts to dribble, but it was normal contact this time around.
Zhang Jun had not encountered such intense defending for a long time; the sweat and the hard breathing excited him.
Turn, pull, spike, feint―nonetheless, Tu Yong stuck to him one way or the other. Zhang Jun did not even have to look; his body could sense the ever-present pressure from his opponent.
"Looks like Zhang Jun has no way to make a breakthrough," Xiao Zhang said, saying something for the first time since the game started.
"Nope"―Chen Huafeng shook his head―"he’s just finished warming up!"
As if on cue, Zhang Jun sped up. The ball that he was kicking between his feet quickened and suddenly, it vanished!
While he kept Tu Yong confused, Zhang Jun lowered himself, picked up his pace and dashed away. His prodding of the ball with both feet formed an optical illusion and using the chance, he slipped the ball between his marker’s legs.
Tu Yong was left behind!
Ridding himself off his pesky opponent, Zhang Jun ran forward. However, the field’s condition was poor and did not comply with regulations, so the ball kept bouncing all the way. He would have lost the ball if he did not have enough experience.
Nevertheless, the penalty area was small and any small mistake on his part would see him lose possession. The intelligent Zhang Jun however, passed the ball out of the box after attracting a few defenders towards him.
Yang Pan ran on to it and fired a drive!
The ball whistled towards the goal. The Yang Guang keeper did not even move as the ball thumped into goal right beside his face.
It went in! 2: 0!
After scoring, Yang Pan ran to the stands. Pointing his index figure at the crowd, he moved it between his lips to silence them.
They had indeed quieted down but, it was from awe at the sight of Yang Pan’s powerful shot, not from obeying his words. The 180-km/h shot was but a flash.
Not only did Yang Pan’s effort subdue the crowd, it shattered Yang Guang’s will.
A match was nothing like a brawl, it did not permit barbaric acts. Exploiting loopholes and dirty tricks would be punished heavily if you were not cautious. Yang Pan’s "Murderous Drive" was different. If you were struck by it up close, it would mean serious injury. It would be a futile block too―the referee would not book Yang Pan for shooting after all.
That was why the Yang Guang players, like many other reasonable players who went up against Yang Pan before them, having to choose between life and victory, picked the former.
It did not take much for them to tell that Yang Pan was also steaming with rage―those who played with fire would get burned.
However, there was one exception among them.
Yang Pan collected the ball on the right, and was preparing to run when the ball was knocked out of bounds. It was Tu Yong, and the tackle was so clean that Yang Pan himself was left speechless.
Unexpectedly, Tu Yong also managed to intercept the ensuing throw-in. Yang Pan was caught out, ready to turn and give chase but, he saw another figure darting off in pursuit.
It was Zhang Jun! The striker latched himself onto Tu Yong. Although Tu Yong was shorter, Zhang Jun lowered himself, which did not do any favors for his opponent. After some effort, he turned and got in front of Tu Yong, stopping his advance. Thus, their duel intensified.
Knowing well that he would be encircled soon if he kept tangling with Zhang Jun, Tu Yong chose to force his way through. And fortunately, the Shu Guang forward seemingly stumbled in that exact moment to the right, leaving his left side open.
He broke ahead without a moment’s hesitation, only to have the ball blocked by an outstretched foot.
Tu Yong glanced at Zhang Jun, bewildered and not quite believing that he was being stopped.
Passing the ball off to Wang Ning, Zhang Jun smiled at him. "I’m a striker. I know best when it comes to an attacker’s mindset. Hehe! Sorry, you were tricked!"
Staying where he was in a drunken stupor and watching Zhang Jun run off, Tu Yong forgot to run back and defend.
Kaka held the ball steadily as surveyed the movements around the pitch. He was looking for the best way to make a pass. An ordinary pass was simply about getting the ball to your teammate without considering the fact if they could receive it or if the delivery would turn the game in their favor. Such play was borderline irresponsible, and Kaka would never do it.
In the midst of a dribble, Kaka flicked the ball with the end of his boot―the ball sped past a defender and fell to Ren Yu De’s feet. With one prod, he was in the box!
Another Yang Guang player had a go at him. He faked a sway to the right and poked the ball to the left, slipping away as he let a shot fly!
The Yang Guang goalie dived firmly; the ball hit the woodwork before rebounding out the front.
Smelling its prey like a hound on the hunt, Zhang Jun made for the ball. But Tu Yong was beside him and he pinned Zhang Jun down, having no intention of letting him off. However, just as the ball arrived, Zhang Jun used his explosiveness to blow past his marker in one move and dove for a header!
Tu Yong reacted quickly as well and stretched his left leg in the same direction! But if he came into contact with the ball, there was a possibility he would hit Zhang Jun too!
Zhang Jun realized the danger but showed no intention of pulling back.
"Ah Yong! This is a soccer ball, it’s really fun! Want to play?"
Such a nostalgic voice.
Under a collective exclamation of surprise, the ball darted into the Yang Guang goal.
Instead of celebrating, Yang Pan went to check if Zhang Jun was hurt first. When he saw that his best friend had straightened himself and ran towards him in celebration, he breathed a sigh of relief.
If Tu Yong had firmly pounced on the ball, Zhang Jun would have been bleeding all over and never got up so quickly. But why did the Yang Guang player not do so? It was not his style from what they had all seen since the game began. Nevertheless, Yang Pan had no time to pick on such trivial matters because, Zhang Jun leapt on to top of him.
"So, even the Butcher has a day where his knife is blunt?" Ah Yuan laughed on the stands.
Shu Guang led!
Zhang Jun’s second goal acted like a death warrant to Yang Guang; the players looked utterly dejected while their coach sat expressionlessly on the coach’s seat without a word.
When the referee blew the final whistle, other than Su Fei’s attention-grabbing scream, there was no enthusiastic celebration from the Shu Guang players. They kept their calm despite having weathered through a difficult battle. Whether it was them maturing or being jaded about winning, they were taking into account the few hundred ruffians behind the steel curtain. It would have meant cutting their own lives short if they had wildly cheered over their triumph.
In 1958, when Brazil beat the World Cup hosts, Sweden on their own turf to become the World Champions, they had to pull out a Swedish flag to shield their envoy from physical assaults.
Shu Guang was not Brazil and had even less right to brandish a Yang Guang uniform to "exorcise the evil spirits". Hence, even if they were feeling happy, they had to do their best to show "we aren’t that cool with beating you either, sorry that we won so inconsiderately".
After the game, many of his teammates evaded Yang Guang players like the plague in fear of retaliation however, Zhang Jun alone sought Tu Yong out.
"You’re good!" Zhang Jun stripped himself off his jersey and handed it to his opponent.
Looking at the surprised Tu Yong, Zhang Jun felt a little impatient―his teammates were waiting for him.
"Exchanging jerseys, you know? Take it off! What are you waiting for?"
Tu Yong still did not react, so Zhang Jun simply took to robbing him off his shirt.
Still staring blankly at his departing opponent, a gale made Tu Yong sneeze and he finally reacted.
"Is this the way to exchange jerseys?" He smiled. A smile he gave after what felt like a lifetime.
"Wow! Brother Yong is actually smiling!" Chapter 1456: Secret Discussion
Translator: Law Editor: Hitesh_
Nine cities of great calamity floated in the air, three-hundred miles above Liang Zhu City.
On the ground, non-humankind warriors gathered like ants, shouting and yelling restlessly. From the dark, boundless arrays, the sparkles of communication treasures could be seen from time to time. The light sparkled like stars in the night sky. Clearly, non-humankind commanders had been trying their bests to contact each other.
Every once in a while, tens to hundreds of non-humankind slaves would burst into howls and rush to Liang Zhu City from every direction. But, no matter which direction they approached the city from, thunderbolts, dagger-sharp blades, raging fires, and poisonous gases would roll down from the city wall and shred these poor slaves.
Within a couple of hours, before any result was delivered from the discussion run by the twelve non-humankind emperors, tens of thousands of non-humankind slaves died on their way scouting.
The three cities of great calamity which now belonged to the humankind were quietly floating in the air, cautiously keeping a distance away from the main non-humankind force.