Every summer, this was an unavoidable topic.
Lin Jingyan had announced his retirement after Tyranny was eliminated from the playoffs; Ye Xiu had quietly departed after winning the championships.
Several older players in the Alliance also chose to say their farewells. It was just that compared to Lin Jingyan and Ye Xiu, they weren't as famous, so their farewells appeared more ordinary.
Wei Chen was among these retired players. However, there wasn't anything sentimental about his departure. It was more like he had scooted over to the corner to count the five million in cash he had just picked up. He didn't say goodbye to Happy, either. He went to Happy's guild department to wreak havoc in the game.
"Old Wu! Hurry up and bring a team to help. Hurry!!!" Angry bellows could be heard everyday from the guild area.
Conflict in the game was eternal. Guild Happy had pulled quite a bit of aggro from all sides ever since Ye Xiu had founded it. At that time, Ye Xiu had led an alliance of medium and small guilds to fight against the large guilds, and the guild had been able to hold their own. But the current Happy was the newly crowned champion. This time, they were everyone's target, and the guild's situation in the game immediately became more strenuous.
When Wei Chen returned to the game, he was immediately swamped with work. Every day, he battled in high spirits. The guild leader was still Wu Chen, but he was yelled at every day too. Still, no one in the guild felt that it was inappropriate. With Wei Chen's status and position, who dared to question Boss Wei's authority? Guild leader Wu Chen was no exception.
When the old left, the new would take their place. Many of the pro teams had their own training camps, and every year, they would take out fresh blood to serve the team. But Happy was too new, and hadn't established a training camp yet. Ye Xiu and Wei Chen had retired. Two important players had suddenly left, and the team could only look for transfers.
The task was given to Su Mucheng and Fang Rui. The two were now Happy's captain and vice-captain, respectively, and had quite the authority in this area. Happy currently didn't have a dedicated operational manager.
Chen Guo could feel that their simple and crude grassroots structure wasn't enough. For Team Happy, money wasn't a big issue anymore. After winning the championships, sponsors came in left and right to partner with the team. Even the city, City H, had put in plans to support Happy.
The influence of Glory esports was constantly expanding. City H had become famous because they had been home to the three-time champions, Team Excellent Era. Unfortunately, Excellent Era ultimately collapsed, and was starting over from scratch. As for the team that toppled Excellent Era, Happy had brought the Glory championship trophy back to City H after seven long years. The city naturally gave their new champions attention. As for the new Team Excellent Era, they had won the Challenger League. Next season, they would be fighting in the Alliance along with Happy.
City H didn't care which team won more fame. All they cared about was the boost to the economy that the Glory esports would bring to the city. Happy was the reigning champion, so the support given to them was obviously much larger. All sorts of talks needed to be discussed with them. In addition, with so many sponsors knocking on their door for partnerships, Chen Guo was feeling completely overwhelmed with work.
On one hand, she was working to expand the organization, establishing departments and recruiting new staff. On the other hand, for now, she would have to personally take care of everything big or small. Tang Rou was helping her quite a bit during this time. Luo Ji and An Wenyi were absorbed into the R&D department, helping Guan Rongfei improve the team's equipment. Steamed Bun and Qiao Yifan were helping Wei Chen with in-game work. As for Mo Fan, he was single mindedly devoting himself to practicing and improving.
During this break, no one on Happy relaxed and went to take a vacation. They were doing what they had been doing ever since they had gathered together. Everyone was doing their best to contribute to the team in any way they could, pushing Happy forward.
That summer, Ye Xiu left.
But when Chen Guo saw how busy everyone was, she felt like it was almost as if Ye Xiu hadn't left. Traces of him could be seen everywhere. The spirit that he had left behind still remained. Chen Guo truly hoped that these vestiges would never disappear.
Happy continued to move forward, even after Ye Xiu's departure.
But, if only he had left a bit later in the summer, that would be even better.
Chen Guo looked out the window. It had been two days since an enormous billboard had been erected. The gold Glory logo glittered in the sunlight. During these two days, the news had already spread far and wide. Everyone in the Glory community was talking fervently about it.
The Glory Worlds Invitational.
The International Esports Association partnered with together with the Glory game company, inviting sixteen teams from sixteen countries for the first international Glory tournament. The announcement had been made. Everyone was calling it the Glory World Cup, and winning it would undoubtedly be the greatest glory of all.
The competition was scheduled to take place from July 17 to August 6. It would be hosted in Zurich, Switzerland. The sixteen countries invited were China, South Korea, Japan, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Russia, Canada, America, and Australia. At present, all sixteen countries had confirmed their participation in the tournament. Each country was currently inviting players to join the national team.
Happy's Su Mucheng and Fang Rui had received invitations, and had hurried over to City B to practice together with the rest of the national team. The full roster of the national team had yet to be announced. Even Su Mucheng and Fang Rui, who had been picked, didn't know.
"Who else could have been chosen?" The forums exploded with fervent discussion and voting for who would be on the roster. Fang Rui didn't really care, though. This team would undoubtedly consist of the very top players of the Alliance. Even if it hadn't been announced yet, the majority of the roster was already set in stone. For example, take the healer. Even though every team had outstanding healers, Zhang Xinjie was indisputably number one.
Coincidentally, when Su Mucheng and Fang Rui arrived at the elevator to the training center conference room, they happened to bump into Zhang Xinjie.
"It looks like we won't be late," Su Mucheng joked to Fang Rui.
Zhang Xinjie obviously knew what she meant, and just smiled. Then, he congratulated Happy on their championship victory.
"You're alone?" Fang Rui felt doubtful. He and Su Mucheng were on the same team and had received the invitations at the same time, so they obviously came together. But they only saw Zhang Xinjie alone. Could it be that Tyranny...
"Zhang Jiale went ahead," Zhang Xinjie said.
"Oh, how lucky for him, avoiding anything related to the championships," Fang Rui nodded his head. The insult seemed to flow just right out of his mouth. It could be considered an embodiment of his professionalism. In just one sentence, he linked together two crucial phrases "lucky" and "championships," two stabs at Zhang Jiale.
"Just you and Zhang Jiale?" Su Mucheng saw the other meaning behind Zhang Xinjie's words.
"Captain Han declined the invitation," Zhang Xinjie said calmly.
"Why?" Fang Rui asked.
"He said that his energy was limited, and he wanted to focus on Tyranny," Zhang Xinjie said.
Trash talk came naturally to Fang Rui, but this time, he didn't utter a word. The inside of the elevator instantly fell silent. The phrase "persevere for ten years as if it were one day" was truly an appropriate description of Han Wenqing's dedication to Tyranny. Ye Xiu had quietly left, but Han Wenqing was still working hard for Tyranny, even giving up the opportunity to stand on a higher stage. This choice was worthy of admiration.
"Incredible," Fang Rui said solemnly. Zhang Xinjie nodded his head. The three didn't say anything else for the rest of the elevator ride. When they arrived at their destination, they walked out of the elevator into the conference room.
"Like I said! How could Zhang Xinjie be late?"
The three arrived at the conference room just on time. As soon they walked through the door, they heard Huang Shaotian slapping the table and shouting loudly. He quickly noticed Su Mucheng and Fang Rui.
"Yo, the champions also came. Congratulations, you guys!" Huang Shaotian continued to chatter, but there were very few people who were actually paying attention to him. Su Mucheng and Fang Rui looked around the conference room. They had arrived with Zhang Xinjie just on time. By now, everyone had gathered.
Team Blue Rain's Yu Wenzhou and Huang Shaotian.
Team Samsara's Zhou Zekai and Sun Xiang.
Team Tiny Herb's Wang Jiexi.
Team Thunderclap's Xiao Shiqin.
Team Void's Li Xuan, Team Misty Rain's Chu Yunxiu, Team Wind Howl's Tang Hao, Team Tyranny's Zhang Xinjie and Zhang Jiale, Team Happy's Su Mucheng and Fang Rui.
Thirteen people, the required number of people for a team in this tournament. The people here made up the national team.
"It's really quite surprising that Han Wenqing didn't come."
Su Mucheng sat down. Chu Yunxiu had switched seats to sit next to her. The two girls immediately started chatting.
"Mm..." Su Mucheng nodded her head. Seeing the people here, Han Wenqing was indeed the biggest surprise. Apart from that, even though Jiang Botao, Xu Bin, Yang Cong, Tian Sen, and so on were all outstanding players, the number of spots on the team was limited. The spots might not have necessarily been picked based on pure skill alone. Who knew what other criteria was looked at? It wouldn't have been hard to argue for swapping them in with someone else. Han Wenqing declining the invitation was the only real surprise.
"Say... if Han Wenqing came, who would have he replaced?" Chu Yunxiu wanted to go deeper. In other words, who had benefited from the good fortune of Han Wenqing declining the invitation? Who had been given this lucky last chance?
"It's hard to say," Su Mucheng replied.
"Ahem," Li Xuan coughed, getting Chu Yunxiu's attention. "Let's not guess, it'd start things off badly!"
"What are you eavesdropping on our conversation for? I'd say it's got to be you, no?" Chu Yunxiu said, displeased.
"It's me, it's me. Sis, could you not gossip so much?" Li Xuan valued the team's atmosphere.
Chu Yunxiu stopped talking, but her eyes continued to shift around. She was clearly still curious about this question. At this moment, Yu Wenzhou stood up. Everyone looked towards him, and he began to speak.
"Because Captain Han declined the invitation, and because Captain Wang declined the position of captain, the organizers wanted to appoint me as captain. Of course, I have to ask for everyone's opinion. Does anyone object?" Yu Wenzhou smiled. For many, this might have been embarrassing to say, but he was quite natural about it. After saying what he needed to say, he calmly waited for everyone's response.
"No objections," Huang Shaotian said loudly, supporting his team's captain. The others either didn't care or didn't object to it. They waved their hands: "Sure, sure."
"Great, thank you everyone for your support," Yu Wenzhou said with a smile, and sat back down.
"Then, will you be leading the meeting? What are we going to talk about?" Xiao Shiqin asked. Everyone had arrived, but no one had officially taken charge of anything. Everyone was just chatting with each other. Of course, because everyone was friendly with each other, it wasn't like there was anything wrong with that.
"No, even though I'm the team captain, I don't actually have that many responsibilities. The organizers said that they had appointed a team leader. He'll be given total authority over the team," Yu Wenzhou said.
"A leader?" Everyone looked at one another. None of them had heard of such a role.
"They're not planning on sending an amateur to wave his hands around, are they?" This was an international tournament. Everyone here was part of the national team. They would be competing not only for the pride of their Glory Pro League, but for the pride of their country as well. It was quite likely that their government's General Administration of Sports would send someone who didn't understand Glory to coach them. If that really were the case, then the person having "total authority" would be quite terrifying.
"I heard he's an expert," Yu Wenzhou said.
"An expert? Who in our competitive scene is more of an expert than us? Who could possibly have the qualifications to have "total authority" over us in a Glory competition?" The person who spoke was Tang Hao. He stressed the words "total authority." These words didn't lack his usual arrogance, but today, everyone felt quite pleased hearing him speak. Many of them agreed. Yes, of the people sitting at this table, who could possibly have the qualifications to have total authority over them?
Wait a minute...
Suddenly, half the faces in the room changed. The other half were more calm. When they thought about this question again, they couldn't help but think of one person's name.
"No way?" Someone already blurted out. Two thirds of the people there looked toward Su Mucheng.
Su Mucheng just smiled. She didn't say anything. At this moment, the door to the conference room opened.
Someone came in. The person looked like he didn't want to be here, and his footsteps looked heavy.
"I'm here," he continued to speak as he walked over to the control panel for the multimedia projection. He listlessly and half-heartedly pressed a few buttons, and a video appeared on the projection screen.
"Let's skip the greetings. Let's take a look at our opponents," he said. The projector was still starting up, and the video couldn't even be seen clearly yet, but he had already started talking.
Apart from his voice and the sounds from the Glory VOD, the room was dead silent. The silence lasted for a full five minutes before finally...
"Fuck, who are you? What are you doing here?" Zhang Jiale was the first to speak up.
"Didn't you say you retired?" Zhang Xinjie pushed up his glasses.
"Yeah, and you're back already? Make up your mind!" Xiao Shiqin said.
"Can't you be more reliable?" Huang Shaotian said.
Even the always-quiet Zhou Zekai felt the need to say something: "Exactly."
"Shut up, all of you!" Ye Xiu said with a gloomy face. He didn't wait for anyone else to interrupt him.
"Did you think I wanted to come? I was forced," Ye Xiu said.
"Forced? Who? Stand up!" Huang Shaotian looked like he was about to jump onto the table.
"My father," Ye Xiu said with a dark face.
"What?" The answer surprised everyone. No one could make heads or tails of it. Everyone immediately fell silent.
In the end, Wang Jiexi began analyzing it calmly: "So you retired and went back home. Then, when you got back, your father shooed you away so that you could lead this team?"
"Yes," Ye Xiu said. "The head of the General Administration of Sports directly called my father, telling him that I needed to go and win honor for my country. The words "win honor for my country" struck my father's vital point. I hadn't even finished making up my bed yet, and I was shooed out of the house."
Everyone was stunned. What sort of situation was this?
"Okay, enough nonsense! These are all the videos that I've gathered in these past few days of the other country's players. You Gods go and analyze them yourselves. Play well. Don't lose face. I didn't bring my account card, so I won't be substituting in for any of you."
"You can still play?" Sun Xiang was quite sharp, hearing the implications of Ye Xiu's words.
"According to tournament rules, each country's team is limited to thirteen players, but we're allowed to bring an unofficial player to substitute in if the need arises," Yu Wenzhou had been appointed captain ahead of time. He had clearly looked over the tournament rules.
"What do you mean by 'if the need arises?" everyone asked.
"For example, if a player is incapable of playing because of an accident. The final decision is up to the tournament organizers," Yu Wenzhou said.
"Should we be hoping for an accident to happen?" Everyone looked at each other. Who dared to question Ye Xiu's skill?
"It'd be best if an accident didn't happen," Ye Xiu said.
"Of course, it won't! Don't even think about it!" Everyone shouted loudly as they went over to the operating desk to copy the VOD. Afterwards, the meeting was over, and everyone left. No one lingered around to talk to Ye Xiu, not even Fang Rui. Soon, there was only Ye Xiu and Su Mucheng left.
"Isn't this infuriating?" Ye Xiu said helplessly to Su Mucheng.
"Really?" Su Mucheng chuckled.
Ye Xiu didn't say anything.
Many years ago, he had given up everything, leaving his home for Glory.
Now, he had decided to let go of Glory to make up for his earlier childishness. But this time, his family shooed him away and told him to keep playing Glory.
He didn't know whether to laugh or cry at this turn of events. However, he was certain that this time, his old man was sincere. Because winning honor for your country was one hundred percent a reason that could convince him. Glory esports had developed to this stage, to the point that even his old man would approve...
The video was still playing on the projection screen. In front of him was the skill and technique of foreign experts that he had never encountered before. However, the sound effects of those attacks, the visual effects of those skills, they were still incomparably familiar.
Just like that, Ye Xiu watched quietly. This was the thing in which he had immersed himself for over ten years, the thing for which he had never stopped pursuing.
The word flashed, practically jumping out from the screen.
"Are you going to continue?" Su Mucheng asked softly.
"Of course." Ye Xiu stood up, and smiled. "After all, I'm a pro player. What do you think?"
Announcement: Some very special chapters are going to be released soon, translated by our very own Syncogon!!! There's also going to be a grand TKA ceremony on Webnovel for the ending of the main novel and release of the prequel, so look forward to it.
Also, please check out the Final Updates, Thoughts on Completion. We'd appreciate it! Thank you all for reading :)