Who On Earth Bit Me? Chapter 30

Chapter 30: Time Bomb

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“What’s the matter? Didn’t you say, ‘I’m waiting here, try suppressing me’? An Lan tried it, and now you’re getting all fired up. Isn’t that a bit lacking in manners?”

Ye Yun lowered his head, smiling as he looked at Xiao Nan. Despite the joking tone, there was an inexplicable authority in his words.

Xiao Nan turned red from his neck to his ears. He gritted his teeth and said, “We’ll see at the practice match!”

Ye Yun’s smile became more apparent. “That’s more like it. There’s no need for pheromone competition in the shooting range.”

Xiao Nan lowered his head, obviously not in a good mood. He stood up and walked out of the changing room.

Meanwhile, Ye Yun sat down on Xiao Nan’s seat, propping his chin with a meaningful look at An Lan.

“Before, I smelled your pheromones, faint and elusive. I couldn’t help but want to get close to you and discern the scent properly.”

An Lan was momentarily stunned. He suddenly realized that, although Ye Yun was handsome and articulate, he was an omega, and An Lan was a quasi-alpha. When Ye Yun said he wanted to get close to discern his scent, it seemed a bit embarrassing.

“Don’t think too much. Ye Yun is just curious about your pheromones,” Gu Liyu’s voice brought An Lan back from his reverie.

“I… I know.”

“The scent of bamboo is indeed special,” Ye Yun squinted and smiled.

“Bamboo? Is my pheromone scent like bamboo?” An Lan looked at Gu Liyu.

Gu Liyu nodded slightly.

An Lan couldn’t help but burst into laughter.

“Why are you laughing?” Ye Yun asked.

“It’s nothing, nothing….” An Lan shook his head. “People around me who can smell my pheromones all know what it smells like. But I can’t smell it myself.”

Ye Yun paused, “You don’t know the scent of your own pheromones?”

“No.” An Lan replied.

“But now, you can’t smell it anymore. I guess you used it all up when you taught Xiao Nan a lesson just now,” Ye Yun pointed to the direction where Xiao Nan left.

At this moment, Xu Xingran also walked in. Seeing the three of them chatting together, he looked surprised.

“What are you three talking so enthusiastically about? Coach Lin is still talking about how none of the key players in this practice match have come out.”

“We’re talking about An Lan’s pheromone scent, bamboo fragrance. But he doesn’t know the scent of his own pheromones,” Ye Yun said with a smile.

Xu Xingran looked at Gu Liyu for a moment, and a trace of coldness appeared in his eyes. But he quickly regained his smile, walked to An Lan, and slightly lowered his head, saying, “So, An Lan, do you know what your pheromone smells like now?”

“I know… but I still can’t smell it.” An Lan scratched the back of his head.

Xu Xingran’s gaze was deep, as if containing many things that couldn’t be expressed in words.

Just as An Lan was pondering the profound meaning in Xu Xingran’s eyes, he suddenly remembered. That day, when he and Qiao Chuluo were eavesdropping outside the KTV room, they heard Xu Xingran and Xiao Chen talking about the pheromones they liked— the scent of green bamboo.

At that time, he didn’t pay much attention because he had no idea what the scent of green bamboo was. But now… An Lan opened his mouth, wanting to ask if the scent of green bamboo referred to his own pheromones.

Xu Xingran looked at An Lan’s expression, and the curve of his lips became more pronounced. His fingers lightly tapped An Lan’s forehead, “The question you want to ask, I’ll give you the answer after the practice match.” 

Has Xu Xingran entered his mind? How else would he know what question An Lan wanted to ask? 

Or was it when he and Qiao Chuluo were eavesdropping on their conversation outside the KTV that day, and Xu Xingran knew everything?

“Let’s go,” Gu Liyu stood up and walked toward the door. 

“Oh, sure!” 

For some reason, An Lan felt that when Xu Xingran walked over, Gu Liyu seemed a little unhappy? 

Arriving at the shooting range, An Lan only then realized that, except for him, the other club members, whether it was Ye Yun or Ye Yun’s teammate Liu Qingyang, or Xiao Nan and Xie Huai, all had their own coaches accompanying them. Only An Lan… all alone. 

The current unified competition rules for the 10-meter moving target are: the preliminaries consist of 30 slow-moving targets in 5 seconds plus 30 fast-moving targets in 2.5 seconds. The ranking is determined based on the total score of these 60 targets, and the final is comprised of 10 fast-moving targets.

Since this is a practice match with only 10 players, there is no need to eliminate anyone.

After Coach Lin announced the rules of today’s practice match, his gaze fell on Xiao Nan.

“Everyone, shooting competitions are places where strength and mindset determine the outcome. Whether you win or lose, it should be the accumulation of each of your shooting scores.”

This statement was clearly a warning to Xiao Nan not to misuse pheromones in the shooting range.

Although Xiao Nan was displeased in his heart, he could only suppress his anger in front of Lin Huaien, a well-known coach in the industry.

“Similarly, whether you win or lose, your competition should be limited to this shooting range. If anyone engages in fights or pheromone disputes after the match, even if the Shooting Committee can’t handle it, such players are not welcome in our Observing Mountain and Sea.”

Lin Huaien’s voice lowered, and the atmosphere in the entire shooting range became very serious.

An Lan speculated that Coach Lin already knew about what happened in the changing room. While he appeared to be warning An Lan and Xiao Nan, everyone involved knew that Xiao Nan had been “bullied” by An Lan. Lin Huaien’s words were to prevent Xiao Nan from retaliating against An Lan after the match.

In An Lan’s heart, he thanked Coach Lin for his kindness and “favoritism.”

Everyone stood still, with a referee behind each person. After the players were ready, as soon as the referee said “good,” the targets would be released by pressing a button.

There were a total of twelve positions, and standing in the central sixth and seventh positions were Ye Yun and Xu Xingran.

Next to Xu Xingran’s eighth position was Xiao Nan, and next to Xiao Nan was Liu Qingyang. Liu Qingyang’s position, the tenth, was next to An Lan.

As for Gu Liyu, he was on Ye Yun’s right side, at the fifth position. He was a bit far from An Lan.

Before this, An Lan hadn’t had the chance to compete with top players like Gu Liyu, Xu Xingran, and Ye Yun. This made An Lan excited. He adjusted his breathing and state while holding the gun, causing even the palms supporting the gun to tremble slightly.

An Lan took a deep breath, calmly adjusting his breathing and state.

At this moment, someone walked into the shooting range, wearing a white shooting suit with red stripes on both sides. He was tall and stable, holding a gun as he walked to An Lan’s side.

“Coach Lin, I said I would come. Why didn’t you wait for me?”

It was Xiao Chen.

The entire shooting range suddenly quieted down, and everyone’s gaze shifted towards him.

It was said that since the competition in the last quarter, Xiao Chen hadn’t returned to Observing Mountain and Sea.

“You’re…,” An Lan remembered that Xu Xingran had told him Xiao Chen had a shoulder injury, and the coach only allowed him to participate in the last ten quick targets with An Lan.

But looking at Xiao Chen’s posture, it seemed like he wanted to start from the slow targets in the preliminaries and go all the way to the finals.

Could his shoulder withstand that?

“Xiao Chen, it’s not your turn to play yet,” Lin Huaien’s gaze darkened.

“Not my turn?” Xiao Chen lowered his head and smiled lazily. “Are you planning to open a back door for me, letting me directly participate in the finals?”

Lin Huaien sighed, “It’s for your own good.”

“Every decision made by the adults is for our own good, right?” Xiao Chen, with one hand on An Lan’s shoulder, said.

This act suddenly disturbed An Lan, causing him to sway.

“Young man, I haven’t exerted force yet, and you’re not very stable,” Xiao Chen turned his head, very close to An Lan. The warm airflow from his speech touched An Lan’s ears, as if it wanted to penetrate into An Lan’s head.

An Lan did not refute but adjusted his posture again. Even though Xiao Chen increased the pressure on his shoulder, he remained motionless.

Xiao Chen’s lips curled up, “Not bad. I heard you had a pheromone showdown with Xiao Nan?”

Xiao Nan, not far away, naturally heard their conversation, and his face became even more unsightly.

An Lan just looked ahead, not answering Xiao Chen’s implied question.

Xiao Chen didn’t care. He deliberately wanted to distract An Lan, leaning in even closer, “I heard you also suppressed Xiao Nan?”

Before An Lan could react, Xiao Nan shouted, “Xiao Chen, what are you acting so arrogant for? Right now, you’re just a broken frame, and you think you’re very powerful?”

An Lan’s fingers holding the gun trembled very slightly, but Xiao Chen keenly sensed it.

“The broken frame refers to me, not you,” Xiao Chen laughed.

The air around his laughter gently vibrated, and An Lan finally couldn’t help but shrug his shoulders.

“The broken frame” probably referred to Xiao Chen’s shoulder injury.

Xiao Nan had obviously been targeting Xiao Chen. They both had the surname Xiao, making An Lan suspect that these two might be related by blood.

Xiao Chen finally let go of An Lan, standing at the eleventh position next to him. He calmly loaded bullets while saying, “Resting for so long, my shoulder is almost healed. Coach Lin, if you don’t let me try, how do you know I can’t compete?”

Lin Huaien frowned and said, “Unless I see a certificate from your attending physician, I won’t let you…”

At this moment, Lin Huaien’s phone vibrated.

Xiao Chen raised his chin, and there was a hint of pride in his smile. “Here, the certificate you wanted has arrived.”

Lin Huaien took out his phone, swiped it, and found an unread email from Xiao Chen’s attending physician.

Xiao Chen said nonchalantly, “Even if I’m a broken frame, I’m better than some fancy frame.”

“You wild dog…” Xiao Nan’s anger flared up, and he directly switched to single-handedly holding the gun, leaving his position and rushing towards Xiao Chen.

On the other hand, Ye Yun suddenly laughed. His voice wasn’t loud or soft, and everyone could hear.

“Ye Yun, why are you laughing?” Xiao Nan turned around and looked at Ye Yun.

Ye Yun’s gun preparation posture showed no signs of shaking.

“If Xiao Chen is a wild dog… don’t forget, he’s your cousin. If your cousin is a wild dog, what does that make you?” Ye Yun replied.

An Lan’s speculation was indeed correct; Xiao Chen and Xiao Nan were related, they were cousins.

But for cousins to quarrel like this, calling each other “wild dogs” in public even in front of others, their resentment must have reached an extreme level. It seemed that something significant had happened between them.

However, An Lan wasn’t interested in other people’s affairs.

“I haven’t acknowledged him as my cousin,” Xiao Nan snorted, “How he entered the Xiao family, doesn’t he know that himself?”

Everyone present fell into silence. Some might know about the conflicts between Xiao Chen and the Xiao family, so they remained silent. Others might have no idea what was going on and refrained from asking.

Ye Yun continued to smile, his expression resembling that of a wise elder observing childish behavior.

“Ye Yun… you…”

Lin Huaien stared coldly at Xiao Nan, “If you don’t want to compete, you can leave now. Whether you’re a stray dog or a wolf king, you’ll know after the competition.”

Xiao Nan gritted his teeth and returned to his position, closing his eyes to calm his anger. As a participant in many competitions, he quickly regained his composure.

Coach Lin temporarily assigned a referee for Xiao Chen, saying, “Alright, let me see how much skill you’ve retained during your self-exile these past few months.”

“Half a bucket of water is still better than some people,” Xiao Chen turned his head, winking in An Lan’s direction.

Don’t misunderstand; Xiao Chen’s wink was not flirtatious but rather provocative.

It felt like a sharp blade poking the valve of the heart, ready to rupture at any moment, followed by blood flooding everywhere.

For An Lan, the slow targets were a process of entering a state.

Gunshots came one after another, and after thirty rounds, the results for the slow targets were released.

After firing his last shot, An Lan looked towards Xiao Chen.

His expression was stern, and his jawline was already tight, creating an atmosphere that was difficult to approach visually. His body rotated smoothly with the moving target, and at the right moment, when the target had covered a fifth of the distance, he scored 10.4 rings. For someone who had just returned to competition, this result was impressive.

The slow targets were completed, and the rankings were revealed.

To everyone’s surprise, Xiao Chen ranked first, followed by Ye Yun in second place. Xu Xingran and Gu Liyu tied for third place with the same score, and Xiao Nan took the fifth spot. An Lan’s performance was not ideal; among the nine participants, he ranked second to last.

“Now take a five-minute break, everyone, adjust your state. The difference in scores for the thirty quick targets will be more pronounced.” Coach Lin addressed everyone on the field.

Each player returned to their respective coaches.

For example, Xie Huai’s coach seemed very excited, clenching his right fist and pounding it into the palm of his left hand. Although they were far away, An Lan could hear him say, “What are you panicking for? All messed up in the last three rounds! That player from the civilian club is steadier than you!” 

An Lan was speechless. “Civilian club” clearly referred to him. 

Gu Liyu, Xu Xingran, and Xiao Chen’s coach were all Lin Huaien. However, Coach Lin apparently had no intention of guiding them. He just casually dropped a “good form” when passing by Xiao Chen, then walked towards An Lan. 

“Coach Lin,” An Lan respectfully twisted the cap on his mineral water bottle and set it aside, standing up to face the coach.

Lin Huaien smiled, “Don’t be nervous. Your performance today is actually quite good.”

“Haha, temporarily second to last.”

Coach Lin said indifferently, “Because you are a slow-warming player. You need time to get into the groove. Your first ten slow-speed shots did indeed rank first—in last place.”

An Lan pursed his lips and couldn’t help but laugh, “Coach Lin, are you praising me or discouraging me?”

“Of course, it’s praising you. After all, the participants in today’s practice match are carefully selected. Any mistake in any shot, whether slow or fast, can make a significant difference.”

Coach Lin’s words hinted at An Lan. If he continued to be slow-warming, he would miss many opportunities in formal competitions.

An Lan’s smile faded, and he lowered his head, contemplating his first ten shots.

Although there were no distracting thoughts in his mind, his body didn’t quickly integrate with the pursuit of the target.

“An Lan, you need to warm up your heart faster,” Lin Huaien said. “Shooting requires more than just calmness. If you don’t have enough passion for your target, you’ll lack stickiness in pursuing it.”

An Lan understood Coach Lin’s meaning.

But understanding was one thing; it was like when you were dating, everyone said the girl was excellent, you knew she was excellent, but you couldn’t fall in love with her.

An Lan has always enjoyed the focused feeling of aiming and pursuing the target.

But now, Coach Lin told him that he not only needed focus, but also a feeling hotter than focus… What was that feeling?

He knew himself very well. When the fast targets competition began, it would be a new rhythm. Did he need another ten shots or so to warm himself up?

Being slow-warming would become his fatal flaw.

Official competitions often determined victory or defeat with a single shot, and he wouldn’t have so many opportunities to get into the zone.

There were still three minutes left in the break.

Initially, An Lan was not easily influenced by external factors, but when Coach Lin explicitly pointed out his flaws, An Lan felt a bit lost.

Xu Xingran, who was watching from afar, said to Coach Lin, “I can guess what Coach told An Lan. But I think… his weaknesses are sometimes his strengths. Many players who enter a good state are easily affected by external factors in their mindset. For example, when the opponent suddenly performs well or hits one more point than oneself, or when there is only a 0.1 difference between the last shot and the opponent. These so-called good-state players might instantly collapse. But An Lan is different; his state is built shot by shot… even if he faces such problems, he won’t be shaken. This mentality will allow him to reverse the situation in the finals.”

Lin Huaien stroked his chin, smiled mischievously, and said, “Xingran, how do you know that ‘slow-warming’ is not a time bomb buried in An Lan’s heart?” 

“Time bomb…” Xu Xingran lowered his head, furrowing his brow as if contemplating. 

Meanwhile, Xiao Chen sat on the side, supporting his chin and smiling as he watched An Lan’s distressed expression. “This little guy looks quite cute when he’s earnestly troubled.” 

“Xiao Chen, you’re really mischievous,” Xingran sighed helplessly. 

“Where am I mischievous? Coach Lin’s approach is not wrong. The little guy may have agonized over his slow-warming, but this issue hasn’t affected his performance in formal competitions. However, in the unpredictable arena, who knows if the little guy might start questioning himself due to some sudden problem, blaming everything on his slow-warming. This kind of self-doubt is enough to completely shatter a player’s mentality,” Xiao Chen explained. 

His tone was objective, but there was no hint of gloating in his gaze as he looked at An Lan. 

At this moment, Xiao Nan walked past An Lan, carrying a bottle of mineral water and casually dropped a comment, “Thought you were really something. When Xie Huai returns to form, you’ll be at the bottom of the rankings all the way to the end of the competition.” 

An Lan was momentarily stunned. He wasn’t particularly concerned about his performance. 

In competitions, winning came with losing. 

However, if he continued to be slow-warming in subsequent matches, the significance of the competition would be lost because he would not show any improvement. 

Someone walked up to him and softly asked, “An Lan, have you ever liked someone?” 

“Huh?” An Lan turned around to see Ye Yun smiling at him with his arms crossed. 

“Like someone? Why are you suddenly asking this?” 

Ye Yun looked at An Lan’s shocked expression and blurted out a laugh, “Just because I ask if you like someone doesn’t mean I want to pursue you.” 

Only then did An Lan breathe a sigh of relief.

“How can I put it? The process of chasing the bullseye, aiming, and pulling the trigger, don’t you think it’s similar to love? When you fall in love with someone, you invest all your efforts in paying attention to that person. Every detail about them gets magnified infinitely. Your gaze is drawn and the attraction gradually intensifies. There’s a desire in your heart to harmonize with the other person. That’s what aiming is,” Ye Yun explained.

“And then?” An Lan found Ye Yun’s analogy quite interesting.

“Then, when the desire in your heart reaches its limit, you finally decide to fly into the other person’s world, just like pulling the trigger,” Ye Yun replied.

Whether the bullet hits the bullseye, fuses, or destroys, the result becomes insignificant in the moment of pulling the trigger.

I just want to enter your world, and the ultimate desire is the final bullet.

Someone lightly touched An Lan’s head. Thinking it was Ye Yun, he turned around, only to meet the eyes of Gu Liyu.

“No need to fear your slow-warming,” Gu Liyu said.

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