"The Season 10 Championship goes to… Team Happy!!"
Amidst thunderous applause, the championship trophy, representing the whole, belonging to their team, engraved with "Season 10, Team Happy," was awarded to Team Happy by Alliance Chairman Feng Xianjun. The person to represent Happy and take it from the chairman's hands was naturally their captain, Ye Xiu!
This was his fourth championship trophy, yet this was the first time he had ever personally received the trophy directly from the Alliance. Everyone's gazes were fixed upon this scene, bearing witness to this fourth, and also first, champion's crowning.
The gleaming golden trophy, symbolizing the greatest Glory, was finally given to Happy.
Ye Xiu accepted it with both hands. But immediately afterwards, the trophy slipped between his fingers.
As the crowd cried out in surprise, to Ye Xiu's left and right, Su Mucheng and Fang Rui swiftly reached out to support the trophy. Then, hand after hand reached over, holding the trophy steady. Happy was no longer standing in a line on the stage, but gathered around Ye Xiu in a circle.
"Hey, even if you already have plenty of these, don't throw this one away! I haven't had one yet!" Fang Rui informed him in a serious tone.
"Exactly!" The others all agreed.
Ye Xiu smiled.
Obviously, he wasn't trying to throw the trophy away. But his hands were exhausted, and he just didn't have the strength to hold up the trophy.
Luckily, he had so many reliable teammates standing beside him.
They might've noticed this early on, which was why they all reached out their hands. Together, they helped Ye Xiu raise the trophy above their heads.
We are the champions!
In this moment, even though they weren't the home team of this stadium, they received plenty of applause. After the official award ceremony was over, Chen Guo also walked onto the stage, gathering with the rest of Happy, either crying or laughing; it wasn't important.
This moment belonged to Happy, but since it wasn't their home stadium, they had to limit their celebrations. After the award ceremony, Happy soon retreated backstage.
Even if it was the deciding match of the grand finals, the post-match press conference still had to go on.
Samsara soon arrived for their interview. There were simply too many spectacular moments to this battle, but from Zhou Zekai's opening 1v3 in the group arena to Tang Rou's counter 1v3 to the amazing performance from each and every player in the team competition, none of it could outshine the radiance of Ye Xiu's 6.5 second triple kill.
That was an extremely difficult finishing blow, the deciding finishing blow. Naturally, when discussing their thoughts on the match, Samsara's players couldn't avoid being asked about their thoughts on Ye Xiu's performance.
"He's an extraordinary player." This was what Samsara's Captain Zhou Zekai said. Words were not his strong point, but he crowned Ye Xiu with an adjective like "extraordinary," to which the other members of Samsara all expressed their agreement. They had lost, but they accepted it. Ye Xiu, and Team Happy as a whole, had achieved too many miraculous things. Their efforts and their accomplishments were all worthy of respect.
"We look forward to the next time we face them!" This hope of Samsara's could be considered the highest level of acknowledgement to an opponent.
After Samsara, the stars of the night took the floor. The reporters had all prepared their questions. But as it turned out, Happy's lineup for this press conference did not include Ye Xiu.
Everyone was stunned, and after congratulating Happy on their win, everyone's first question became: "Why isn't Ye Xiu here to attend the press conference?"
"He's exhausted. He needs rest." This was Su Mucheng's reply to the reporters' question. It didn't matter if everyone believed it or not, because either way, they couldn't do anything about it. But a Team Happy press conference without Ye Xiu was one missing its protagonist, missing its skeleton; it had suddenly become uninteresting.
In the later press releases regarding Happy's championships, there was a distinct lack of interviews with Ye Xiu. There wasn't even a single sentence from the man. Even Chang Xian, the Esports Home reporter that had always been close with Happy, had his requests for an interview rejected by Team Happy.
The star of the championship, refusing all interviews? The new reporters to the Glory circle all felt that this was unbelievable. However, the veteran reporters who had ten years of experience interviewing the Glory circle all felt a sense of nostalgia.
No reports on the star of the championship, wasn't this the very scene of that three year Excellent Era dynasty? Never mind an interview, the Ye Xiu of that era didn't even reveal his face once.
Was this guy returning to the past?
For a while, everyone was coming up with theories, and none of them gave up on getting that interview from Ye Xiu. However, no one had expected that the image of him raising the Glory Season 10 championship trophy with his Happy teammates would be the final impression that Ye Xiu left upon Glory.
On the fourth day after the finals had ended, Team Happy held a press conference. Originally, everyone had thought that Ye Xiu was finally here to take interviews, but to everyone's surprise, only Team Happy's boss Chen Guo and Su Mucheng attended. And then, during the press conference, they announced Ye Xiu's retirement.
Ye Xiu was retiring?
True, it had already happened once, and Ye Xiu's age was clear to see. But the undefeated streak he had left in the individual match record, and the 6.5 second triple kill that overwhelmed Samsara's three top players, had caused everyone to forget these facts. Everyone believed, with Ye Xiu's current state, Ye Xiu's current skill level, he could fight on for another ten years, no problem!
Such a sudden and resolute decision, and he hadn't even personally come out to notify everyone. He was leaving just like that?
Everyone wanted to know the reason, but Happy's boss Chen Guo didn't seem willing to discuss it. Her smile seemed rather forced as well. Clearly, she was the most reluctant to see Ye Xiu leave. She would love nothing more than for Ye Xiu to stay.
"It's time to go home." That was the reason Ye Xiu had given them, when he made the decision. He didn't hide his reluctance to leave Glory, or set down his passion for the championship. He just let everyone knew that he had another duty.
"You'll always be welcome if you decide to return." Chen Guo didn't want Ye Xiu to leave, but she couldn't stop him from leaving. She just hoped, anticipated, that perhaps Ye Xiu might get approval from his family, that perhaps he might not have to ever make such sacrifices again, but be able to uphold both at the same time.
She hoped so.
Chen Guo silently looked forward to such a moment. She never stopped hoping.
"He's going home," was what she told the reporters. This was the reason for Ye Xiu's retirement, as well as his direction after his departure. This answer had the reporters confused, but Chen Guo didn't explain further.
"As for Team Happy, Su Mucheng will take up the position of captain." Chen Guo accepted Ye Xiu's decision. She didn't fall because of his choice, and she wouldn't let Happy fall, either. As for Su Mucheng, after Ye Xiu made his decision, she didn't act in a way that made people worry. She knew this was Ye Xiu's personal decision, a mature decision. She wouldn't let herself become a reason for Ye Xiu to worry. She would only continue to support Ye Xiu to the best of her ability, and sweep away the worries that he couldn't let go of.
Thus, she would no longer only play that small role. She was going to take on all that Ye Xiu had done and become Team Happy's core in the days to come, just like Ye Xiu, all the way until she retired.
"Keep in touch, I'll wait for you to retire." This was the promise she and Ye Xiu made when they parted.
News of Ye Xiu's retirement spread like wildfire, sending waves through the entire Glory scene. Like last time, he left without a single word, and then everyone found out about his retirement through the news.
Disappointment, sadness, well-wishes, confusion...
All sorts of emotions and responses. Two and a half years ago, everyone had already experienced this once. However, this time, their emotions were much more complicated, because in these two and a half years, from the game servers to the Challenger League to the Pro League, this guy had made his existence very well known, sweeping through like a tornado, turning the world upside down.
But in the end, once again silently and suddenly, he left just like that?
Was he planning on hiding in a corner and then suddenly stabbing everyone when they weren't looking?
Some people's joking theories immediately earned widespread acknowledgement. Yet after tossing around a discussion of Ye Xiu's shamelessness, everyone fell into silence again.
In the end, the only thing everyone offered up were well-wishes.
To their strongest opponent.
To their greatest friend.