You Jing had always remembered the first time he had seen that person’s operations. It had been on the broadcast of a national league match.
At that time, he had not even known about the game “Zone”, let alone the existence of esports. However, even through the frigidness of the screen, he could still feel the depth of desire for victory that brimmed in that man’s eyes.
Back then, the lights shone on the side of his face. Although he had simply been focused on the actions displayed on screen, this caused You Jing to experience a level of attentiveness that he had never felt before. The image on screen suddenly zoomed in and focused on the hands that were speedily maneuvering the mouse. Long and slender fingers were moving so actively that it seemed as if they were dancing in the air. Due to tension, the individual joints of his hand could clearly be seen. The contours of his hands were so good-looking that their structure seemed more or less perfect.
Once the word ‘Victory’ appeared on the screen, the previous excitement slowly faded into a calmness that emanated from the depths of his eyes, expressing a sort of rational indifference. That person slowly stood from his seat, lips curled arrogantly, and shook hands with each of his opponents while complimenting them. At the moment, all of the shouts and cheers resounding at the venue belonged to him. The scene was very natural and attention-grabbing.
At this moment, without any warning, he had been completely captivated by it. Just a short competition match had caused him, who had everything that he could possibly want at his fingertips, to feel such growing passion and hot-bloodedness for the first time. And for the first time, he felt an inexplicable longing to experience the same kind of glory.
This was You Jing’s first encounter with esports, as well as the very beginning of his firm connection with esports. From then onwards, he had begun understanding the esports alliance bit by bit, started following Team Black Rose’s developments, and started taking note of that man’s every move…
You Jing’s impression of “Old Ghost” Lin Xiao, Team Black Rose’s captain, was that regardless of victory or defeat, he would always be the most magnificent and eye-catching one on the competitive stage. This continued until he had finally stepped on the podium to receive the trophy for the global competition. At that moment, it felt as if he had conquered the masses. He had truly, without any doubt, been the strongest within the realm of esports.
Like this, the matters of the past flowed through his mind like a current. A slight, momentary sadness was reflected within You Jing’s eyes for a brief moment. He blinked slowly, then wordlessly closed the equipment window displayed before him.
It was not that such a cooldown build where the casting speed was almost instant had never been tested before in the past, but rather, it was that no one had dared to choose to use it in the end.
It was not because it “could not” be replicated, but rather because it was “impossible” to replicate it.
The guild battle would officially start at 8pm. At 7.30pm, teleportation channels closed in advance. Everyone had already teleported to the battle preparation map. Five teams were fully equipped and ready to go, meticulously making some final adjustments.
After Ye Chen had the leaders of each team to account for all present members, he activated the guild’s special voice channel that was specially used for the guild battle and did his usual pre-battle rallying speech. “Our opponent today is our old enemy, the Heaven guild. In the previous guild battle, we have already lost to them once. Thus, we must treat things even more seriously today. Everyone must strictly adhere to the instructions given. We must return the favor to them, and absolutely cannot give them the chance to win again! After all, we belong to Team Black Rose. Be it victory or defeat, we will share the same fate1This sounds a lot more poetic in the original text (“一荣俱荣，一损俱损”), but it’s difficult to translate the nuances of it. What it means is if a person experiences glory or ruin, then everyone else around them will also experience the same. Since the main point is about everyone sharing the same fate, I’ve decided to go with that for the translation.!”
Although in past guild battles, the Guild Leader had spoken words that could also somewhat stimulate people’s hearts as well, this time, they were especially pretentious and well-spoken. If they had been heard by the public, they would not have understood anything. Who knew if their leader had taken the wrong medicine and gotten high today.
With great difficulty, Ye Chen finished giving the ardent speech that he had spent the previous day preparing. He secretly glanced at the silhouettes which were seated in a line at the other side. Sheepishly, he recalled his performance just now and stealthily mopped up his cold sweat in relief.
It was still alright. Anyway, he felt that he had expressed himself pretty well on the whole.
After reigning in his feelings of excitement, Ye Chen proceeded to the next stage of deployment. “Tonight, Team One’s leader will be me. Team Two’s will be Chongchong, Team Three’s will be Long Black Curse, Team Four’s will be Broken Sky, and Team Five’s will be Shadow. After we have entered the map, everyone must move based on my broad instructions. The individual team leaders will mainly be responsible for arranging your movements in detail. During this process, unless you are a different person, you must follow instructions at all times.”
In the hearts of the public, “…”
Unless you are a different person? What the hell did this mean!
In a room at the professional team’s area, when Xu Yiming heard these words in the voice channel, he couldn’t hold back his laughter. He nudged Shen Changyu, who was next to him, and said, “Vice Captain Shen, it looks like by coming here, we have caused Manager Ye a lot of stress.”
Xu Yichen replied, “Having stress is a good thing. It’s better than not caring.”
Shen Changyu laughed and said, “Manager Ye’s stress level likely had nothing to do with us. It has entirely been caused by someone else.”
After saying this, he surreptitiously glanced at the person beside him, but You Jing acted as if he had not heard what he said. Even his earphones had been placed aside on an adjacent table. Handsome eyebrows were slightly knitted, and no one knew what he was thinking.
Shen Changyu felt a little curious. Could he have found a target so quickly?
While they were talking, Ye Chen had already allocated specific assignments for the five teams.
Each side had three strongholds on the guild map. They were classified as “Territory of Strength”, “Territory of Wisdom” and “Territory of Gods”. Each territory had its own unique protective barrier, as well as its own corresponding boss monster, a guardian envoy, who was stationed nearby. Each side was required to exterminate the guardian envoys of the territory in question within the battle duration. Only then could they proceed to attack the territory itself.
It was only after conquering both the “Territory of Strength” and “Territory of Wisdom” that the pathway leading to the “Territory of Gods” would be opened. When one side managed to take over all three checkpoints, they would be deemed victorious.
Zone’s administrators could be said to have spent a lot of effort to make the guild battle event more playable. They had released one or two new guild battle maps per month from the first year of the game’s release until now, and the map for each guild battle was selected at random. Currently, the total number of maps was close to about two hundred. Before the game shifted to battle mode every week, there was no way for anyone to find out which map they would encounter. It was even possible that they might get a brand new, never before seen map.
The extent of unpredictability, based on past experiences, usually made the players feel very excited. It was only today that Ye Chen felt that it was harder to bear than usual.
After all, the opposing Heaven guild was Team Apocalypse’s official guild. They were not only a fierce competitor of Black Dawn’s, but even the professional teams themselves had always competed with Team Black Rose from the early days of the alliance until now. They could be considered sworn enemies. Furthermore, their own team’s captain was currently seated by his side and listening to every single instruction that he gave out. If they were not able to win today…the pressure he felt was truly piled up as high as a mountain.
— The guild battle is about to begin, the Territory of Light belongs to your guild! You will fight a decisive battle in Atlan, the World of Space!
The system notification flashed with this message at 8pm sharp. The guild battle officially began, and all the players who were in the preparation map were immediately teleported to the map in which the guild battle would take place.
This time, Black Dawn was assigned to the blue base camp, occupying the top right half of the territory. Looking at the minimap at the top left corner of the screen, Ye Chen’s face unwittingly revealed a pained expression.
Atlan, the World of Space, was a new guild battle map which had been released not long ago. At that time, the administrators had deliberately kept the players in suspense by not revealing the details of the map in advance to maintain secrecy. No one could have guessed that it would have been selected as the map for this battle.
The scenery of the entire map was azure colored and was currently being enveloped in a sea of clouds. As the name “World of Space” suggested, it consisted of islands that were suspended in midair. At a glance, it felt as if the map consisted of nothing but blue and white hues. Even the mini map was filled with lined symbols representing the various possible routes. It looked very much like a labyrinth that would be difficult to navigate despite looking through it once.
No one had ever encountered this completely new map before. It was so riddled with pathways that navigating through it would cause people to claw their heads in frustration. Ye Chen could only rely on his intuition to make some basic conjectures to determine the rough locations of the other two territories. He arranged for two teams to split up and conduct reconnaissance in both directions, leaving two teams to band together and push forward.
Team Two, which Lin Xiao belonged to, had been divided into four sub-teams based on how they were listed on the roster. Since he had joined late, he was grouped into a team with the other four people who had been added later. The other members were the Plumed Archer2An archer who specializes in using feathered arrows. “I’ll Shoot You To Death”, Holy Knight “Meat Meat Meat Meat”, Enchanter3An auxiliary class that specializes in supporting the party by giving buffs to strengthen them, or by weakening enemies using status effects like blind, poison etc. “Blue Skies Aren’t Blue”, as well as the Priest who was the last to join, “Hello Kitty”. In summary, they had a tank4A class which specializes in taking damage to protect teammates., a DPS5A class which specializes in dealing damage. This can be further classified into physical damage (e.g. archers) and magical damage (e.g. mages), a support, and a healer, which could be said to be a perfect lineup.
The sub-teams followed the groupings they were organized into and headed towards the four different paths of the forked road located at the top of the map. In this manner, they split up to scout through the map and locate the boss monsters of the other two territories. Both guilds consisted of 100 members. Since they were both facing a new map that they had never encountered before, the decisive factor of the battle would naturally be the speed at which they were able to explore the map, rather than their tactics for battle.
As the fourth sub-team’s leader, the Holy Knight Meat Meat Meat Meat, who was also the team’s tank, naturally stood in front and acted as their meatshield. The remaining members followed behind him. Very quickly, they crossed the cloud bridge and set foot on the first floating island.
Lin Xiao sized up his surroundings as he walked. He silently compared the paths before him to the routes displayed on the minimap. His line of sight was constantly moving according to his maneuvers. The first time he turned backwards, an onee-san’s huge breasts appeared in the centre of his screen. The second time he turned, it was still breasts. The third time he turned, it was still breasts…sigh, this shota model was good in all aspects except for height…
Lin Xiao couldn’t help himself and turned towards the Priest onee-san who had been following behind him like a phantom. “…Kitty, could you change your auto-follow target to someone else?”
You Jing had just poured himself a cup of tea. He turned and scanned through the team chat, reading the message that had just appeared. Casually, he replied, “I can’t.”
Forget it, forget it. Fortunately, this was a girl. It was fine even if she stood closer to him. Even if they bumped into the enemy, he could still follow his principles to become the hero who rescued the damsel in distress. At this time, Lin Xuao was still in quite a good mood, so he did not pursue the matter of his vision any further.
With the “natural barrier” behind him, he led the Priest onee-san through the paths in a lively manner, skillfully dodged all of the angles which caused his line of sight to be blocked, and leisurely walked at the team’s rear.
Yes Lin Xiao, its a G.I.R.L (guy in real life) ^_^~
Also, fun fact from pidgon is that if you calculate based on the numbers in this chapter, Zone has been out for at least 10 years at this point.
- 1This sounds a lot more poetic in the original text (“一荣俱荣，一损俱损”), but it’s difficult to translate the nuances of it. What it means is if a person experiences glory or ruin, then everyone else around them will also experience the same. Since the main point is about everyone sharing the same fate, I’ve decided to go with that for the translation.
- 2An archer who specializes in using feathered arrows.
- 3An auxiliary class that specializes in supporting the party by giving buffs to strengthen them, or by weakening enemies using status effects like blind, poison etc.
- 4A class which specializes in taking damage to protect teammates.
- 5A class which specializes in dealing damage. This can be further classified into physical damage (e.g. archers) and magical damage (e.g. mages)