After the guild battle ended, Lin Xiao did not participate in the guild’s so called celebratory event. Instead, he casually slipped on a jacket and went out. After strolling for a couple of rounds downstairs, he ordered a bowl of seafood ramen from the noodle restaurant nearby to fill his stomach that had been left empty and neglected for the whole day while he was rushing to earn points.
After finishing his bowl of noodles and paying the bill, he unintentionally caught a glimpse of the computer in front of the cashier’s counter. It was actually playing the broadcast of the LPP League. He couldn’t help but to strike up a conversation. “Bro, are you a territory fan?”
When ‘Zone’ was translated, it contained multiple meanings. However, the domestic fans preferred to call it ‘territory’ as it had a sense of ‘this is my land, so I call the shots’, which felt especially good. The phrase ‘territory fan’ successfully attracted the attention of the cashier, who casually handed the change over to Lin Xiao and grinned at him amiably. “Bro, seems like you are a person who follows the same path? I am a fan of Team Apocalypse, which team are you a fan of?”
“What a coincidence, I’m a Black Rose fan.” Lin Xiao had caught a glimpse of the ‘Apocalypse’ word that had been edited into the channel’s broadcast long ago. Thus, he half-jokingly laughed, “A sworn enemy! Should we duke it out with each other right now?”
Lin Xiao’s joke delighted the cashier, who laughed and waved his words off while saying, “Apocalypse and Black Rose’s enmity was not established overnight, how could it be settled with a small scuffle here? We should wait for the real deal on the competitive stage!”
Oh, this was a rational fan. Lin Xiao took his time to place the change into his pocket. Then, he popped a cigarette into his mouth, but did not light it. The rhythm of his words fluctuated as he sighed and spoke slowly with a melancholic tone, “So many years have passed without me knowing. Who would have thought that so many people would actually pay this much attention to the alliance…”
The cashier smiled and said, “eSports is a genre that has spread throughout the world, how can people not pay attention to it? If you were to drag in random people off the streets right now, if not 90%, then at the very least about 70-80% of them would be territory fans. In recent years, if you were to say that you don’t know about eSports tournaments, then you shouldn’t ever dare to call yourself a young person!”
The movements of the cigarette that Lin Xiao was smoking paused briefly. Shortly after, he smiled back and replied, “Isn’t that so, after all, it has spread throughout the world.” As the conversation came to an end, he glanced at the emblem of the alliance, which had flashed on to the computer screen. He placed both hands into his pockets, then slowly ambled out of the restaurant.
The wind that greeted him blew his hair into a slightly messy tousle. Lin Xiao slowly strolled along the street. As he looked upon the bustling crowds having the time of their life, he squinted his eyes in a somewhat listless manner.
Although it had only been 5 years, it felt as if he had been placed in a completely different era. eSports, which had been seen as uselessly playing about back then, had already been completely accepted by the public. His persistence, which had been the butt of others’ jokes, now had the support of so many territory fans who were truly passionate about eSports. There were no doubts or mocking laughter involved. It was a very simple and pure kind of passion.
It had to be said that this kind of feeling was really good.
When he returned to his apartment, the screen of his computer was still lit up. When Lin Xiao had left his home just now, he had not turned off his computer. The game had also been left on the world interface, and since his character had not moved for a long time, it had changed to an ‘Away’ status.
He walked over and was about to log off from the game and turn off his computer when he saw more than 30 unread notifications and got a shock.
The first one he opened was a friend invite from Laughing Sky.
Lin Xiao casually hit accept, but a new character portrait did not light up on his friend list. Evidently, he had already gone offline. When he recalled the scene of their solo match, he couldn’t help but smile. He had merely felt that it was a waste of talent during their match, but now, he had grown somewhat more interested in this passerby king. For a person to still be able to to send a friend request to someone after being killed by them, they must possess a level of mental fortitude and acuity that was not easily shaken.
He leisurely opened a few more notifications, which came from Bloody Light, Meat Meat Meat Meat, I’ll Shoot You to Death and Blue Skies Aren’t Blue respectively.
Lin Xiao did not discriminate and accepted them all one by one. It was only when he clicked on a particular system notification that his hand, which grasped the mouse, stiffened in a rare fashion.
It was also a friend invite, but the person who sent the invite had an ID that a regular Zone player would definitely not be familiar with, Rain of Time1It can also mean seasonal rain, but I figured Rain of Time sounds better..
Lin Xiao did not click accept, but rather continued to open the other system notifications that followed.
There were a total of 20 odd notifications, one after another, all from the same person. The final notification had come in at 10.10pm, which was half an hour ago.
Zone’s system did not permit players to adopt duplicated names. The names created by each player were thus unique and one of a kind. Adorable Ghost was the personal ID that he had used before entering the alliance, and few people knew about it. It just so happened that his former Vice Captain was one of those people. Even if the first request could be said to have been sent to him on a whim, the subsequent, unyielding invitations proved to him without a doubt that Shen Changyu had already discovered his existence.
Although when Lin Xiao had decided to use this character, he did have some slight intention of using this ID to get into the club through the back door, but after all, something like reincarnating after death, which only happened in novels, was a little too shocking and terrifying to hear about in real life. Currently, he had not yet been able to prepare a story that would be slightly easier for others to accept. Having suddenly been noticed by his former teammate from times past, he was somewhat caught off guard.
At the same time, this sudden and unexpected friend request really made him feel a sense of discomfort due to the discovery of his secret identity.
Lin Xiao sat before his computer and stared at the “Accept” and “Reject” buttons, lost in thought. His eyebrows stayed creased for a long time. He glanced at the time displayed at the bottom right corner, which was past 11pm. Finally, he took a deep breath and released a long exhale. Then, he moved the cursor of his mouse to the button on the right side and clicked on it.
In the split second in which he had accepted the request, a portrait on his friend list suddenly lit up. Then, because the other party sent over a message so swiftly, he began to fidget restlessly.
Very good, he had indeed not followed his usual habit of resting at this time. Had he perhaps been sitting in front of his computer and waiting for him for all this time? Strangely, this caused Lin Xiao to think of the saying “to wait for a rabbit beneath the tree”2This is a Chinese proverb that means to wait fruitlessly for something to happen. The story goes that there was a man who one day saw a rabbit that ran into a tree and killed itself, giving him free rabbit meat for his meal. Having had this unexpected windfall, the man thus begins to wait beneath the tree everyday for another rabbit to show up and kill itself again, so that he can get another free meal without having to work. Of course, it doesn’t happen again. With his brows raised, he casually clicked on the chat box and opened it.
Rain of Time: “Who are you?”
He couldn’t tell what the other person’s tone of speech was like through the computer screen. Lin Xiao stared at this extremely familiar ID, and suddenly all of his doubts and hesitation dissipated like a cloud of smoke. Since this moment had come, why should he overthink it?
Adorable Ghost: “It’s so late, yet you still haven’t gone to sleep, have you been taking the rule to rest well lightly, and disregarding my past instructions? ^_^~”
There was a rather long pause after this. A whole 10 minutes had passed before the other’s portrait moved again. The contents of the message only included a single word. “Captain.”
Lin Xiao looked at this message which seemed to be expressing some sort of hidden meaning, and he gently laughed. “Sorry I’ve made you wait for so long. I’m back.”
In Team Black Rose’s player dormitory.
Shen Changyu sat at his desk and stared unblinkingly at the contents of the conversation in the chat window. He felt almost as if he was dreaming, which was rare for him.
His entire body felt as if it was floating. Even at this point in time, he still felt a sense of disbelief. This strange feeling had gripped his thoughts ever since he heard the words “Adorable Ghost” up until now, when he read the other person’s explanation word by word. His mind had fallen into a state in which he could not distinguish if he was feeling fear and terror, or surprise and joy.
As they conversed through the chat window, he suddenly came to a realization – the Captain Lin of the past had returned.
He no longer intended to use his brain juices to wrap his head around the details of the other’s explanation of why his soul had returned in another body. Shen Changyu swiftly opened a voice channel and immediately pulled in Adorable Ghost from his friend list.
“Hello, hello hello? Can you hear me?” Not long after, a voice rang out.
This voice was different from the one in his impression, but because of the somewhat casual and unbridled tone, it mysteriously began to overlap with that of the person in his memories, and there was no feeling of mismatch.
“I hear you.” After giving this reply, Shen Changyu felt that his throat had become strangely tight, causing his voice to sound a little hoarse.
“I say, Little Shen, I saw that careless and unfortunate match of yours. Weren’t you a bit too hasty?”
Right as he began to speak, Lin Xiao changed the topic so abruptly, causing Shen Changyu to be a little stunned. The corners of his lips unwittingly lifted. No matter the time or place, the first thing he thought of would always be Zone, this was indeed the Captain Lin of the past…
He laughed mildly and agreed. “En, indeed.”
“After all, you are different from Zhang Fengyu. His special traits are too prominent, so it is better to make the necessary adjustments and display them in the individual matches. There would be a definite improvement from his original fighting style. But for a team-oriented player like you, trying to change your style too much would probably just lead to the team’s performance as a whole being affected. Instead of trying to pursue a style that is sharp and flashy, you might as well adopt a new method in the team battles to strive for further improvements.”
Being subjected to this mercilessly straightforward criticism that was the same as what he had faced a few years back, Shen Changyu did not feel an ounce of annoyance. Rather, he fell into deep thought. “But, the current team does not have a player who can be the anchor in the individual battles.”
Without waiting for him to finish speaking, Lin Xiao’s cheerful voice resounded through his earphones. “Isn’t there one before you?”
Shen Changyu was so stunned that he momentarily lost his senses. There was a shred of surprise in his tone. “Captain, are you preparing to return to the team?”
Lin Xiao replied, “En. But it is not the time yet. Unfortunately, my current identity isn’t very convenient.”
Shen Changyu originally wanted to retort with a “It won’t be inconvenient”, but the words died at his lips. After a brief moment, he changed the topic and asked, “Where are you now? I will go and look for you. We can discuss the details in person.”
Lin Xiao was rendered somewhat speechless by such an impulsive decision. “I say, you…don’t tell me that the team gives you a lot of leave. The next competition is about to begin, isn’t it? To come looking for me, do you think you are very free?”
Shen Changyu was very persistent. “I want to see you.”
It was only 5 words, yet they caused the surroundings to fall into a momentary silence.
Lin Xiao rubbed the acupoint beside his ear, feeling like he had a slight headache. He felt helpless towards his vice captain’s occasional bouts of stubbornness. He took a look at the dates in his calendar, then sighed and said, “I’m in N city. Coincidentally, you will have to come over here for the competition you have next week. Let’s meet up after it ends.”
As he heard Shen Changyu reply with a sound of acquiescence, he couldn’t help but whisper, “By the way, Little Shen, are you missing some brain cells? A dead person like me is suddenly alive and kicking and has appeared before you, yet you aren’t even a little bit afraid?”
When Shen Changyu heard this, the curve of his lips slowly evened out. “As long as you can return, nothing else is important.”
The author has something to say:
All hail the face-to-face meeting3To be precise, this is a meeting for friends of online meetings. It also has a second meaning, which is for two guys to meet up for their first date. Vice Captain Shen is very direct, Vinegar is very pleased~
Regarding everyone’s anxious feeling of wanting to change CP, Old Vinegar can only silently express: the plot is hazardous, be prudent when standing in line~
When the time comes, Old Vinegar will not take responsibility for her extremely heartbreaking plot that will cause your feelings to make a 360 degree turn~~ ^_^~
TL comments: The long awaited moment! Man, some things were so hard to TL in this chapter…like Lin Xiao’s long speech and even parts of the author’s comments, since she loves to use internet lingo. I read as I translate as well so I guess we will find out what she means together ^_^~
Also, the A/N above has successfully scared my editors xD Welp, there’s only 1 way to find out~
- 1It can also mean seasonal rain, but I figured Rain of Time sounds better.
- 2This is a Chinese proverb that means to wait fruitlessly for something to happen. The story goes that there was a man who one day saw a rabbit that ran into a tree and killed itself, giving him free rabbit meat for his meal. Having had this unexpected windfall, the man thus begins to wait beneath the tree everyday for another rabbit to show up and kill itself again, so that he can get another free meal without having to work. Of course, it doesn’t happen again.
- 3To be precise, this is a meeting for friends of online meetings. It also has a second meaning, which is for two guys to meet up for their first date.