Shen Yanming wanted to discreetly ask He Changkong what had happened, but when he turned his head, he coincidentally met He Changkong’s finger poking towards him.

And so, his face got poked.

He Changkong quickly withdrew his hand as if he had touched something electric.
He didn’t know where to look, and finally lowered his head to examine his fingertip.
Shen Yanming looked slim, but he was still in his adolescence, somewhere between a boy and a man.
His face still had some baby fat, and when He Changkong touched it earlier, it felt soft and… quite pleasant.

Even more enjoyable than poking cat ears.

But poking someone’s face repeatedly would be a bit too much.

Shen Yanming casually said, “Gege, what are you doing? You want to poke a dimple on my cheek?”

He Changkong replied, “…No.”

Shen Yanming didn’t pay much attention and leaned half of his body against He Changkong’s, moving his head closer to whisper in He Changkong’s ear, “What’s going on between Ding Ding jiang and Meng Yan?”

He Changkong uncomfortably shifted away, “Stand up straight.”

Shen Yanming reluctantly stood up straight, “Fine, you really sound like my mom.
You’re just like my mom.
In middle school, I used to walk with a hunched back, and my mom would pat my back like crazy from behind, constantly telling me to stand up straight.
I would hear her say ‘stand straight’ every day, and it made my head buzz.”

He Changkong glanced at him.
Now Shen Yanming’s posture was quite upright, so it seemed that his mom’s patting worked well.

“We should also pay attention to sitting posture during training… let’s talk outside,” He Changkong said, opening the door.
Shen Yanming followed him outside, and they walked to a quiet corridor where few people passed by.
He Changkong continued, after those games just now, Pudding’s shoulder seemed to hurt.
He was rubbing it downstairs, and his complexion wasn’t great… Meng Yan noticed and told him to find some time to see a doctor.”

Shen Yanming’s heart tightened, “He should definitely go see one.”

He Changkong continued, “Pudding said it’s nothing serious, just a few physiotherapy sessions will do.
Meng Yan argued with him, saying why keep going back and forth, does he have no idea if physiotherapy is effective… or not?”

Meng Yan’s original words were, “Don’t you have a clue in your heart?”, but He Changkong wasn’t good at using such expressions, so he changed it slightly while retelling the conversation.

“They’ve argued like this before, and in the end… you know the outcome,” He Changkong said.

Shen Yanming clicked his tongue in understanding.

Physiotherapy really doesn’t do much, at most, it provides some relief at the muscular level.
In Shen Yanming’s memory, Pudding later had eventually stopped playing due to severe wear on his shoulder bones.
The problem was with the bones, and no matter how many physiotherapy sessions he had, it didn’t help.

Shen Yanming asked, “Don’t you want to persuade him together with Meng Yan?”

He Changkong replied, “Meng Yan has a good relationship with him, but Pudding doesn’t listen to him… Besides, I’m not very good at persuading people, so I want to see if there’s any other solution.”

Shen Yanming chuckled, “Where do you lack in persuading people? When you talk to me, aren’t you always using reasoning and logic?”

He Changkong was caught off guard by his question.

Shen Yanming playfully continued, “Is it because I’m Gege’s most beloved cub?”

He Changkong: “…”

He Changkong didn’t bother with this clearly frivolous question and changed the topic, “Or you could go talk to Pudding, he likes you a lot.”

Shen Yanming said, “Indeed, who wouldn’t like me?”

He Changkong replied, “…” What about the main point?”

After their private conversation outside, Shen Yanming and He Changkong returned to the resting room.
Pudding and Meng Yan had stopped arguing, but they were sitting far apart.
It seemed that Meng Yan was trying to avoid contact while Pudding appeared somewhat bitter.
When Shen Yanming and the others entered, Pudding even forced a wry smile.

Coach Afeng and Kuma were caught in the middle and seemed quite distressed.

Shen Yanming cheerfully approached and squeezed next to Pudding, “Ding Ding ge, want to dye your hair?”

He Changkong had thought Shen Yanming would try to persuade Pudding to see a doctor, but unexpectedly.
He didn’t expect the topic to jump like this.
The others were also quite shocked since the atmosphere in the resting room wasn’t good, yet Shen Yanming was acting as if nothing was wrong, inviting people to dye their hair?

Pudding was taken aback, “This all of a sudden?”

Shen Yanming gestured with his index finger, “Not all of a sudden.
I’ve been thinking about it for a while.
Ge, your dresses are all quite splendid and beautiful, but with black hair, it’s just ordinary.
What if you dyed your hair pink or some fabulous purple? Wouldn’t that give off a different vibe?”

In truth, Pudding would occasionally wear wigs of different colors according to his outfits.
He had wanted to dye his own hair for a long time but found it troublesome and never had the time.
However, after being persuaded by Shen Yanming, he was surprisingly tempted.

Meng Yan coolly interjected, “What kind of vibe? The vibe of a killing matt?”1killing mat: This refers to an edgy, rebellious, or eccentric style

After winning the games, Pudding was in a good mood, but Meng Yan’s words criticizing him for not taking care of his body spoiled it.
Although he understood that Meng Yan meant well, being nagged at still didn’t make him feel good.
He was feeling a bit emotional, and after enduring until now, he couldn’t hold back anymore, “Why the hell do you care even about my hair?”

Meng Yan was caught off guard, “Who said I care? Do whatever you want.”

With that, Meng Yan grabbed his things and left the resting room.

The others: “…”

Pudding clenched his fingers around the hem of his team jersey, sounding dejected, “Who the hell doesn’t know that I should see a doctor… Why is he so fierce?”

Shen Yanming also felt a bit awkward.
He originally intended to talk to Pudding about his hair, using that as an opportunity to discuss his shoulder injury.
Although it didn’t seem to affect his training and matches now, all bodily injuries were cumulative.
Neglecting them when they were minor could lead to disaster later.
Regardless of the team and competitions, as a friend, Shen Yanming genuinely wanted Pudding to stay healthy.

But he really wasn’t good at mediating between two quarreling people!

Fortunately, the next moment, Pudding seemed to recover his composure.
He stood up and pointed at the others, “You guys, go get some supper.
Remember to pack some for me.
I’m going with Luan jiang to get my killing matt hair done.”

Coach Afeng also stood up, “Alright, let’s go for barbeque.
You guys played well today, all of you have worked hard… Kong, give Meng Yan a call.”

Before they could say anything, Meng Yan came back in through the door, “No need to call.
I want to eat grilled eggplant.”

Everyone: “…” He left with a fierce demeanor only to eavesdrop on the conversation outside?

Meng Yan then playfully bumped Pudding, “What should I get for you?”

Pudding also smiled, “Anything will do, just save some leftovers for me.”

Meng Yan replied, “You idiot.”

Pudding said, “You’re making personal attacks.”

Meng Yan retorted, “I’m just stating the truth.”

“Okay, okay, let’s go dye our hair, it’s getting late, and the hair salon might close soon,” Shen Yanming said as he pushed Pudding out.
When passing by He Changkong, he winked and gestured a few times, “I want to dye my hair too.
Ding Ding jiang, what color do you think would suit me?”

Pudding raised an eyebrow, “Actually, it’s you who wanted to dye it, right? You’re making it sound like I deliberately asked you to dye it.”

Shen Yanming confidently replied, “Yes! I couldn’t dye my hair back in school, but I really want to become a cool killing matt.”

They had come here in the team’s minibus, but now they had to go separately and take a taxi.
While sitting in the car, Shen Yanming replied to He Changkong’s messages – He Changkong was asking what he wanted to eat, and Shen Yanming listed a bunch of dishes.
Meanwhile, he brought up the topic of Pudding’s recent argument with Meng Yan.

Shen Yanming asked, “Ding Ding jiang, why don’t you want to see a doctor?”

He had thought that Pudding was resisting the idea out of fear of hearing that the problem was severe, but Pudding replied, “I’ve already seen one.”

Shen Yanming said, “…Huh?”

“My shoulder issue wasn’t caused by excessive training.
I usually take good care of it, and it shouldn’t have worn out to this extent.
Besides, I play as a tank, so I don’t have the same pressure as you guys,” Pudding explained, “…Before joining the team, my shoulder was injured by someone else.”

These were things Meng Yan didn’t know.
Sometimes people are strange like that; they find it hard to share their true feelings with friends they were closer to, but can easily open up to someone they’ve recently met without any pressure.

“I won’t go into the specifics, but you don’t need to tell them either,” Pudding continued after patching things up, “The doctor said I need surgery to completely fix it, but you know, the recovery period after surgery is unknown.
Even a day of not practicing affects my performance significantly.
Moreover, the break is so long… Besides, I don’t think it’s a big problem.
Situations like today are relatively rare, and I usually feel better after some physiotherapy.
I don’t want to leave the team at this time.”

Shen Yanming could also understand.
In fact, not just Pudding, he knew that many players were playing with injuries.
Everyone just didn’t want to leave the competition.
They said they could recover after treatment, but how many of them truly managed to come back at their best? Everyone knew deep down.

So many people were just postponing the inevitable.

However, Shen Yanming knew that if Pudding didn’t seek treatment, in a few more months, he really wouldn’t be able to play.

Being willing to seek treatment meant there was still a chance.

How could he convince him?

They randomly searched for a well-reviewed hair salon nearby online.
The drive wasn’t far, and they arrived at the place without delving too deep into the conversation.
After getting out of the car and entering the salon, an enthusiastic hairstylist named Tony quickly greeted them.

Perhaps because it wasn’t the weekend and it was late, surprisingly, there weren’t many people in the salon.

Tony was also a gamer, though he didn’t recognize Shen Yanming right away.
However, he recognized Pudding and couldn’t hide his excitement, “Pudding! What hairstyle do you want? I’ll give you a discount! I really like TMM! Although my favorite is XXL, XXL! Forever the god!…”

Shen Yanming was rendered speechless by Tony’s words.
Although they were from brother teams, they would have been happier if Tony hadn’t said the latter part.

Pudding laughed twice, “I want to dye my hair.”

So, Tony handed them each a booklet with various colorful options.

While flipping through the book, Shen Yanming recorded a short video and sent it to He Changkong.

[Shen bird]: Gege, which color do you think suits me?

[kong_]: Really going to dye it?

[Shen bird]: Yes! How about this silver color? I can cosplay as Little White Wolf.

[kong_]: It damages your hair.

[Shen bird]: [Pouting dog.gif]

[kong_]: You have fair skin, you should look good with light-colored hair.

[沈bird]: You’ve got a good eye [Thumbs-up gif]

Shen Yanming didn’t take long to decide.
He said he wanted to dye his hair silver.
This hair color isn’t something most people would dare to choose, as it could easily turn into a disaster.
However, he wasn’t narcissistic and genuinely believed that any hair color wouldn’t make him look too bad.

He thought pudding would choose an extravagant hair color, but to his surprise, pudding took quite some time and settled for a more moderate shade of gray-purple.

Both of them were taken to wash their hair, and then Tony, the hairstylist, began working on their hair.
It took quite a long time, and they chatted aimlessly while sitting there.

During this time, a few people entered the salon one after another.
One or two guys who played games recognized them and came over to say hello.

As they were chatting, another handsome boy walked in.
He looked like he might be in college and also came to get a haircut.
He spotted Pudding and exclaimed happily, “Are you Pudding?”

Since Pudding couldn’t move much, he responded with a simple “yes” and then turned to Shen Yanming, saying, “We bumped into several fans tonight.
Our team is really popular.”

After saying that, he didn’t get a response from Shen Yanming.
Pudding narrowed his eyes and carefully looked again.
In the mirror, Shen Yanming’s expression didn’t look too good.

Thank you for reading! 

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day

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1killing mat: This refers to an edgy, rebellious, or eccentric style

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