Chapter 20: The Time for Witnessing Miracles (2)
Translator: Nomyummi Editor: Nomyummi
Wang Jiexi didn’t respond immediately, thinking this over for several minutes in silence as the other two waited. In the end, he lifted his head and looked Lin Jie in the eyes. “I believe I can do this.”
“Great!” said Lin Jie with a broad smile. While the young player had been mulling things over, Lin Jie had started to feel nervous that Wang Jiexi would refuse, that he didn’t have enough confidence in himself. Confidence could be built, of course, but it was better that he had it from the start. Lin Jie had high expectations for this player.
It was clear now that Wang Jiexi’s silence had been consideration, not hesitation. He was not only confident but thoughtful – even better than Lin Jie had anticipated.
“Excellent,” he couldn’t help but praise again. With that, he felt much more secure about his next decision.
“Since that’s the case, I’ll offer you some more responsibility.”
“Huh?” Wang Jiexi stared at him uncomprehendingly.
“My position as captain, take it as well!” Lin Jie said slowly.
“Captain?!” Wang Jiexi yelled. To his side, Fang Shiqian had leapt to his feet.
Lin Jie had indeed changed his decision, but not in the direction that Fang Shiqian had hoped – instead, he’d gone the more drastic direction. He was giving up his captaincy to Wang Jiexi. Then what was he himself planning to do? Leave the team like Blue Rain’s Wei Chen? Absolutely no one in Tiny Herb wished to see that happen.
“I don’t agree!” Fang Shiqian said, disregarding everything.
Wang Jiexi glanced at him, and saw the shock in his eyes, the refusal, the dismay, the… fear. He was ignoring Wang Jiexi – none of these emotions were from dissatisfaction with Wang Jiexi’s earlier answer. Now, he was focused completely on Captain Lin Jie, and nothing else.
In a flash, Wang Jiexi understood.
Fang Shiqian had been depressed recently because he had known that Lin Jie would make such a decision. It wasn’t that he was jealous of Wang Jiexi, he was just sad that Lin Jie was giving up Vaccaria and his position as core. It was a kind of childish, “if you weren’t here, this wouldn’t be happening” attitude.
But now, Lin Jie wanted to give up his captaincy to Wang Jiexi? Fang Shiqian had no idea of this beforehand. He was shocked, he was worried, he lost his composure, because this decision pointed to an end result that Fang Shiqian was even more unwilling to accept. Lin Jie was giving up his account, his status as the team’s core, his captaincy… was there any reason for him to remain in Team Tiny Herb?
Then, this decision was hiding Lin Jie’s intention of retiring. He was planning to entrust the entirety of Tiny Herb to Wang Jiexi.
“I don’t agree…” Fang Shiqian repeated. He knew, of course, that he had no authority in this matter, no status to say words like that. But that was just his attitude, and these were just his thoughts. If Lin Jie wanted to give up Vaccaria and being the core, then fine. But now, he was planning to leave? Their beloved captain, the one who had taken care of all of them over these years, leading them to work hard toward the future, was planning to leave just like that?
He didn’t agree!
He didn’t accept this!
Fang Shiqian shook his head, hoping that Lin Jie would retract his decision. But Lin Jie only smiled at him, a gentle and warm smile. Whenever Fang Shiqian performed excellently on the field, and even when he messed up, Lin Jie was always giving him that kind smile, praising him, comforting him, encouraging him. This smile reassured him, this smile helped him quickly adjust to his pro player life, this smile, stopped him from losing his temper any further…
“I have already spoken about this with the club,” Lin Jie said, looking back toward Wang Jiexi. “Of course, we will respect your wishes on this matter as well.
“Even so… I do hope you will accept, because I think this is the best decision for Tiny Herb,” Lin Jie continued. “My apologies for being somewhat selfish here, pushing all these responsibilities onto your shoulders.”
“I…” This time, Wang Jiexi was truly hesitating. He had prepared for becoming a pro player, he welcomed a powerful account, and he was willing to become a core player. But to lead a team as its captain? And what’s more, he was still a rookie – all of his teammates would be his seniors…
To be a core player, having good technical skill was enough. But to be the captain, you needed more than that. Could Wang Jiexi really handle it?
Wishing he could stall for time, Wang Jiexi glanced to the side, and saw that Fang Shiqian was nervously watching him.
Fang Shiqian knew that Lin Jie wasn’t going to change his mind. Now, there was only one chance to prevent this from happening: Wang Jiexi himself had to refuse. Lin Jie would never force him to do anything he didn’t want to do. That was just the kind of person he was.
Wang Jiexi noticed Fang Shiqian’s anticipation.
To be honest, refusing all this was a very attractive option. Wang Jiexi didn’t want to see Lin Jie leave like this, either. As long as Lin Jie was still the captain of the team, then even if he was no longer the core player, he would still be that reliable compass needle guiding them in the right direction, a comforting presence to the team.
Wasn’t that the best option?
Wang Jiexi was about to open his mouth to give his refusal, but when he looked into Lin Jie’s eyes…
In Fang Shiqian’s eyes, there had been anticipation. But Lin Jie’s eyes revealed his own anticipation as well.
He wasn’t losing his temper, he wasn’t acting childish. Without any selfishness, he anticipated Wang Jiexi’s decision. But it was clear what he was anticipating. Wang Jiexi wanted to refuse, following both Fang Shiqian’s and his own desires. But could he really just dash Lin Jie’s hopes like that?
Lin Jie continued to smile gently and patiently, without giving any pressure. Wang Jiexi knew that if he declined, Lin Jie would swallow his disappointment and cheerfully accept Wang Jiexi’s decision, acting as though Wang Jiexi made a happy decision for everyone involved.
But that wouldn’t be the reality.
Perhaps everyone would be happy, but what about Lin Jie himself?
“I…” Wang Jiexi opened his mouth.
“I accept,” he said.
“Are you insane?!” Fang Shiqian lost his composure once more, spinning to face Wang Jiexi fully. Just then, he had been so sure that the younger player was about to refuse, but when he finally opened his mouth, he chose to accept?
This guy! Fang Shiqian was filled with rage, but this time, Lin Jie didn’t try to restrain him. When Wang Jiexi said that he accepted, Lin Jie let out a long and quiet sigh of relief, and it was as though a great weight was lifted from his shoulders. He would miss Tiny Herb dearly, of course, but that alone wasn’t a good enough reason to stay. He was a captain that could unify a team, but he wasn’t a captain that could lead a team to victory. This was the pro scene, after all, not a game of house, and what they needed was victory. More importantly, they needed a leader that could help Tiny Herb achieve this.
Wang Jiexi was that kind of person!
Lin Jie believed this wholeheartedly. He was far more confident of this than of his own ability to win on the battlefield.
“Then, in a bit, we’ll announce this decision in the press conference,” Lin Jie said cheerfully.
“Alright,” replied Wang Jiexi with a nod.
To the side, Fang Shiqian was stonefaced. His hands and feet felt like ice, and he was glaring at Wang Jiexi, purposely avoiding looking at the captain.
Lin Jie saw this, but could only smile helplessly.
“There’ll be someone coming to get you in a bit,” he said. He stood up and headed toward the exit, but paused after pulling open the door.
“I was Tiny Herb’s captain for two years.” He didn’t turn back around when he spoke, only stood there facing the open doorway. Wang Jiexi and Fang Shiqian stared at his back.
“I believe that, in all that time, this is my wisest and most correct decision. You all will be the pride of my lifetime.” With that, he departed without looking back, closing the door quietly behind him.
After a long moment of staring at the door in silence, Fang Shiqian turned to see Wang Jiexi standing directly behind him.
“He never was the type of person to force others into doing something,” Wang Jiexi suddenly said.
“What do you mean by that? Was he forcing you into this?” Fang Shiqian snapped. Accepting Vaccaria, becoming the core player, taking on the captaincy – was Wang Jiexi now saying that he hadn’t wanted any of this, that Lin Jie had shoved this onto him? Disgusting! Shameless!
But Wang Jiexi shook his head. “No, that’s not what I meant. He doesn’t burden other people, but he burdens himself.”
This caused Fang Shiqian to pause. Burdening himself?
The more he thought, the more he realized Wang Jiexi had a point. Lin Jie wasn’t skilled at Glory, but he was Tiny Herb’s captain and core player. Other people only saw the prestige of this position, but had no idea of the pressure he suffered as a result. To survive in the pro scene, you needed skill. And Lin Jie endured this pressure even though he lacked skill – wasn’t this burdening himself?
But what was Wang Jiexi trying to say by bringing this up? Was he saying that Lin Jie wasn’t good enough to bear this burden, so giving it up was the obvious option?
Before Fang Shiqian could try to decipher the other’s meaning further, Wang Jiexi was already speaking again.
“So this time, let’s take some of the burden ourselves, and follow his wishes for once?”
Follow… his wishes?
Right! This was the captain’s wish! Otherwise, he wouldn’t have brought it up in the first place.
And Fang Shiqian himself? Had he been spoiled by the captain? His hope that the captain would stay was entirely selfish; he hadn’t even considered what Lin Jie himself wanted.
But Wang Jiexi had.
Fang Shiqian remembered Wang Jiexi’s expression – he had wanted to refuse the offer. But in the very end, he had accepted. Because he saw the captain’s anticipation, he changed his mind; in becoming captain, he shouldered some of the burden himself, just like Lin Jie always did for them.
Fang Shiqian looked at Wang Jiexi, and although he couldn’t bring himself to say anything, he felt that Lin Jie’s figure was overlapping with Wang Jiexi’s.
The door was pushed open.
“You two, get ready, we’re starting soon.” Tiny Herb’s spokesman had come to call them.
“Okay, we’re coming,” Wang Jiexi replied, then, to Fang Shiqian, “Let’s go.” He started toward the door.
“Hey,” Fang Shiqian called out suddenly. The other player halted, turning to face him.
“You’d better succeed. Otherwise I’ll never forgive you,” Fang Shiqian said.
“Then you have to continue to put in the effort as well,” Wang Jiexi replied calmly.
“Acting all captain-like already?”
“The sooner the better.”
“Then you’d better not forget, I’m still your senior,” said Fang Shiqian.
“Of course. I’ll still rely on your guidance.”
The two of them walked out of the lounge together. They were both very clear on what was about to happen in this press conference, and Fang Shiqian still felt some sorrow. But he had made a decision of his own. He would no longer let the captain take all the burden, he would do as the captain quietly hoped.
During the press conference, as he watched the two sitting next to him, Fang Shiqian maintained a genuine smile.