Sun Xiang had experienced countless 3.5 seconds over the course of his professional career. But in the future, even many years after his retirement, these 3.5 seconds of the Glory Professional Alliance Season 10 finals would be forever engraved in his memory.
Amidst the explosion of the Heat-Seeking Missile, the three Samsara players had killed Su Mucheng's Dancing Rain. Even Jiang Botao's Empty Waves, who'd only had 11% health at the time, had fortunately managed to survive.
What a logical train of thought. Sun Xiang didn't feel that it was wrong for him to have this kind of thought at this moment. He didn't feel that he had relaxed his guard or anything. His controls remained as attentive as ever as he adjusted One Autumn Leaf, stabilizing him after the blast of the explosion.
And then, he watched as Empty Waves' sliver of health was suddenly wiped clean.
And then, he watched as Lord Grim rushed toward Cloud Piercer, fighting so rapidly that Cloud Piercer was rendered helpless.
At the time, Sun Xiang didn't have an accurate sense of the time that had elapsed. Everything that happened had caught him completely off-guard. His awareness couldn't keep up with Lord Grim's attack movements at all. He was hurriedly stabilizing One Autumn Leaf, but as he prepared to rush through the dissipating smoke and fire to help his teammate, Cloud Piercer was already sent crashing toward him.
Glory's number one player Zhou Zekai, the Great Gunner Cloud Piercer. In 3.5 seconds, he'd become a corpse flying in his direction.
In interviews many years later, Sun Xiang would be utterly unable to use words to describe his emotions in that moment. But he knew very clearly: those 3.5 seconds were not, in fact, the most frightening moment of his professional career.
What frightened him the most, what made him feel true fear, were not those 3.5 seconds, but the 3 seconds that came after.
One Autumn Leaf dodged Cloud Piercer's corpse. Sun Xiang hadn't even completely awoken from his shock when Lord Grim, Ye Xiu's Lord Grim, had already rushed up to him.
Sun Xiang clearly remembered, in that moment, he had no awareness. All of his controls were conditioned reflexes, subconscious reactions.
These kind of reactions and controls, done without thought, should be the fastest. But Sun Xiang would also remember clearly, in that moment, he was slow, too slow. Compared to Ye Xiu's controls, compared to Lord Grim's movements, everything that he did was far too slow.
Probably! Sun Xiang had no way of confirming. All he saw were afterimages. While his brain was still trying to analyze Lord Grim's movements, Lord Grim was already beginning his next skill.
He was Bleeding? This was an effect that could only come from a Double Stab. Had there been a Double Stab after the Dragon Tooth?
Two injuries? Had it already become Full Moonlight Slash?
The attacks just came so fast, the skills just changed so fast, he couldn't keep up with the rhythm, there was no time to react. Sun Xiang never would have expected, in this kind of confrontation of pure skill and technique, that he could be so helpless, that he could be so thoroughly overwhelmed.
He seemed to have made many controls himself, but not a single one had been effective. He could only watch as One Autumn Leaf's health slid downward. The blast of the Heat-Seeking Missile had already taken most of his health from him, and in an instant, it reached the end.
Sun Xiang only understood one thing.
He now knew how Zhou Zekai's Cloud Piercer had been killed…
The Myriad Manifestations Umbrella fell like a meteor. This Exorcist skill was the final attack that Lord Grim used, the attack that ended it all. Without wavering, without hesitation, the meteor-like Myriad Manifestations Umbrella pierced One Autumn Leaf's chest. This character that Ye Xiu had built himself, this character that had been honored as the Battle God, fell.
The word flashed on the screen.
The exact same word and font as the in-game Arena. But at this moment, this word was a symbol of the very highest glory.
Glory Season 10, Glory's champions, Team Happy!
It was over. Everything had come to an end.
In the broadcast, commentator Pan Lin was shouting this result with all his might, and Li Yibo, who had experienced another face-slapping for his analysis, was also feeling his heart swell with emotion.
Restraint, he needed restraint! Li Yibo reminded himself over and over, he had to maintain his image of calm rationality. But Pan Lin, who was roaring next to him as though he were a diehard Happy fan, was about to grab him in a hug. Faced with this devotion, this passion, Li Yibo finally could hold himself back no longer. He suddenly remembered Glory Season 4, the scene when their Tyranny had defeated Excellent Era. At the time, hadn't they been just like Happy today, challenging and defeating the all-powerful kings?
"Damn, fucking incredible!" Li Yibo was finally shouting as well. Bearing? Rationality? How could any of that compare to the thrill of victory?
A 6.5 second victory. 6.5 seconds decided the championship. This was absolutely unprecedented in Glory history.
The moment the word flashed onscreen, everyone in Happy's player area leapt to their feet. Chen Guo instantly started crying, her tears flying onto those next to her.
No one mocked her for it. How could Chen Guo be the only one who felt like crying right now?
Wei Chen looked like he didn't know what to do with his hands and feet. It seemed as though he wanted to ignore the ban on smoking in the stadium to light a cigarette, but the match he lit ended up almost burning his own hair. They did it, they'd actually done it. After so many years, returning to the Pro Alliance as the oldest player, he'd actually managed to get a championship?
"This guy!!" The cigarette that had never even been lit in the first place was fiercely ground out by Wei Chen.
"Fuck!" Fang Rui cursed, because Wei Chen had ground that cigarette on his thigh. But aside from this curse, he couldn't care about it any more. In fact, whether this shout was cursing Wei Chen or expressing his emotions, even Fang Rui didn't know. Championship, he had won the championship! Transferring as an All-Star to the grassroots Team Happy, class changing from the number one Thief to a Qi Master, Fang Rui had done so many things that most people wouldn't even dare thinking about. But, he had succeeded. He had won the championship that every pro player dreamed of.
"Beautifully done!" Fang Rui praised fiercely. It was praise for himself, as well as praise for his teammates. And at the same time, he remembered his former partner, who had bid farewell to the professional stage after the second round of the playoffs, Lin Jingyan.
Do you see this, Old Lin? Me, the champion!
"Amazing, we're champions, amazing…" Luo Ji was also extremely moved. Even though he may not have contributed very much, he, as a part of Team Happy as a whole, shared everyone's feelings clearly. He very much wanted to find someone to share his excitement with, but his closer friends Qiao Yifan and An Wenyi were still in their player booths, while Wei Chen and Fang Rui were two seniors. Who else? Luo Ji looked at Mo Fan, and had a fright.
Mo Fan's facial expression was contorting. That face of his never seemed to be able to display a moved or excited expression, and right now, it looked as though he didn't even know what muscles to use to show these emotions. The expression that resulted was as broken as it could be.
Luo Ji laughed. Laughter or tears, everyone had their own ways of expressing their excitement!
"We won," Luo Ji said to Mo Fan.
He didn't get an answer. Mo Fan simply looked at him, and nodded once with all his strength.
We won! We really won the championship!
In the away team audience section, with the guild members led by Wu Chen at the center, everyone was uncontrollably cheering and screaming and jumping. Their excitement, their emotion, it was indescribable. But compared to the stadium as a whole, this area of excitement felt a bit abrupt.
For the Samsara fans, this was a moment of disappointment. A few still gave their applause to the victors, but most of them were silently tasting the bitterness of defeat.
Just a little more, and they could be celebrating like those fans in the away team section right now. But, 6.5 seconds, everything had changed in 6.5 seconds. The last one standing on the battlefield had been Ye Xiu's Lord Grim; the final victor was Happy.
"These guys, they actually did it…"
There were surprised exclamations, there were emotional sighs.
No one dreamed of the championship as much as the pro players did. And among them, only a small portion would ever be able to achieve this honor. Any championship winner was worthy of their admiration, of their respect.
Happy, a new team.
Ye Xiu, an old player that many people had viewed as outdated.
In Season 10, they stood tall upon the summit of Glory.
They were the champions!