It was even quieter now than ever before in Team Nine Skies’s competition room. As they looked at the word “Defeat” displayed on the grey screen, the trio all had befuddled expressions on their faces. They sat in their places and did not come to their senses for a long time.
It was not just them. Because the results had been too shocking, everyone present at the stadium had gone strangely silent.
The previous battle was chock full of gunpowder, like a scene out of World War 1. Those heaven-shaking explosions had practically elevated the match to the scale of a war movie!
As they stared at the notification of Team Black Rose’s victory displayed on the screen, many people were still out of sorts. They were still immersed in the display of intricate, seamless, almost perfect cooperation shown earlier.
The director had clipped out the magnificent last scene of the battle into a video. As the commentators began to do a detailed analysis of how the battle strategy had developed throughout, the audience could not help but to maintain a prolonged state of silence.
As everyone was aware, the Cannoneer was the damage dealing class with the greatest skill range. In other words, they were the most dangerous out of all of Zone’s professions. It was precisely because they were so strong in this area that the developers had added some fatal flaws when creating this character, which were extremely poor mobility, as well as high inconsistency and uncertainty.
In order to battle, the Cannoneer was required to construct their own turrets. This greatly limited the areas in which they could use their skills. Furthermore, all of their skills could only be used when they loaded their ammunition. Thus, they relied on external protection from their teammates during team battles. Furthermore, after each missile was fired, it would still take time to fly towards the destination, with the flight duration corresponding to the distance of the target point. The severe lag time that came with using their skills made them very difficult to land. It was precisely because of this that, although their lethality was high, they tended to be used to provide covering fire in battle, or to destroy obstacles on the battlefield.
Once the directors began playing the slow motion video clip for the audience to watch, it was very evident that Fire Barrier had indeed fired all of his cannonballs as soon as he possibly could. But what made the audience go wild was that, at the same time that he was firing his shots, the rest of the players had been fighting their own battles intensely on the battlefield. They had had no inkling at all of what was taking place.
It was only 1.5 seconds after the cannonballs were fired into the air that the other two members of Team Black Rose began to act.
Firstly, Rain of Time had preemptively summoned two ground traversing beasts and set up an ambush. Then, after Dazzling Abundance had successfully cast the Disable debuff upon the two foes, Rain of Time had made use of restraints to lure their foes towards the coordinates (236, -78). He then swiftly utilized the ground traversing beasts’ binding skills to keep the duo rooted in place. After just half a second, Handsomeness that Broke the Heavens and Eleventh Son of the Zhou Family were able to “enjoy” the baptism of cannonfire at that precise spot, with no errors made.
“So, this was actually a carefully planned, premeditated trap. Who would have thought that this sub-team battle would end in this manner…the MVP of this match should be awarded to Shen Changyu, right? To make such detailed and precise calculations about the point of descent based on the cannonballs’ trajectory is a feat that can probably only be achieved by him alone.” Xiao Wu tried her best to keep her tone of voice calm as she explained things to the audience. As she looked at the replay video being shown on the big screen, her heart was filled with boundless admiration. This video could definitely be included in a compilation of this season’s pre-match’s top 10 most magnificent highlights. After all, the scene had really been too bloody and tragic!
After listening to the detailed analysis, the audience felt as if their emotions were in a mess. Their gazes, which fell on the seats of Team Nine Skies’s players, were inevitably filled with sympathy. Losing like this really made one feel aggrieved, since it was as if the battle had ended before it even started.
While the venue was immersed in this strange mood, the 5 vs 5 team match segment began.
Team Black Rose’s lineup consisted of You Jing’s Priest Dazzling Abundance, Shen Changyu’s Summoner Rain of Time, the two Xu twins’ Blood at First Sight1More clever Chinese puns! I presume this is Xu Yiming’s character as he is called 一鸣见血. 一鸣 are the exact same characters as the ones in his name Yiming. and Headshot in One Strike, as well as Liu Zeshen’s Holy Knight Fine Birds Choose Fine Trees.
And Team Nine Skies’s lineup was Zhou Shiyi’s Shadow Swordsman Eleventh Son of the Zhou Family, Zhao Kongming’s Assassin Blank Space, Gao Jun’s Holy Knight Handsomeness that Broke the Heavens, Yuan Jiazhi’s Tomahawk Warrior Epitaph, as well as Su Chenjie’s Priest Light of Dawn.
The rosters of both sides more or less consisted of the players who participated in the previous rounds. Taking part in consecutive matches would inevitably test one’s stamina. Thus, the way the players allocated their efforts for each match was critical for them.
After the players paid their respects to each other, they went to their respective seats for the match and began making the final adjustments to their equipment.
“The previous match was truly magnificent. As a lead player who plays a Priest, You Jing displayed a strong level of hardiness in the prolonged 1 vs 2 battle earlier. But maintaining such high level plays inevitably places a great burden on the player. From the video, we can see that Captain You is making use of this time to have a short rest. I hope that the previous match will not have too much of an effect on the following team battle.”
Before the commentators had finished speaking, the directors had focused the cameras on You Jing. From this angle, he could be seen slouching in his chair and closing his eyes while resting. His eyelids drooped slightly, revealing a faint sense of exhaustion.
Shen Changyu finished making the adjustments to his equipment. Then, he turned and noticed You Jing’s expression. He couldn’t help but furrow his brows in worry as he asked, “Are you alright?”
You Jing’s eyes opened after he heard these words. He glanced over at Shen Changyu dully and used his usual neutral tone to reply, “Of course.”
Shen Changyu was silent. He had been prepared to continue asking some questions, but saw that You Jing had slowly begun to sit up straight.
His legs were elegantly crossed before him. After opening up a new Word Document, the tips of his fingers smoothly tapped on the keys of the keyboard. In the blink of an eye, he had typed up a long string of the word ‘Mom’, filling up an entire page without making any mistakes.
When he was done, to prove his point clearly, he placed a hand on the chair’s armrest and turned around in this position with the corners of his lips raised very slightly.
Based on the actions and attitude displayed by this person at this time, Shen Changyu suddenly felt as if there was nothing else he had to ask.
The members of both teams entered their respective team voice channels and the team match officially began.
It was possible that the losses they had suffered in the previous matches had left a psychological shadow in their hearts. This time, Team Nine Skies were a lot more direct than they usually were. The moment the match started, they enthusiastically began searching for traces of the opposing team.
This bold and unrestrained style of rushing headfirst towards the opposing camp elicited a lot of discussion amidst the audience. Once the two teams met, the four people from Team Nine Skies charged at Dazzling Abundance as if they held immense grudges and hatred2Literally the grudge due to killing one’s father and the hatred due to stealing one’s wife. towards him. The audience suddenly had an epiphany and their discussions turned into an uproar.
It seemed as if Team Nine Skies was still holding on to their frustration of not being able to kill Dazzling Abundance in the previous match…
After all, this was an official match with rules in place. It was extremely rare3Literally, an occurrence that is difficult to come by in a century. to encounter an entire team who shared the same hatred and chose to prioritize settling their grudges over strategy. Although this situation made the match seem unorthodox, it ignited the passion of the audience that was watching the scene unfold. Thus, the mood in the stadium became strangely excited. There were even people who suddenly yelled, “Let go of that Queen, let me do it!”
Under such chaotic pursuit, You Jing’s unusually natural and unhurried movements were especially obvious.
From the video that was being broadcasted, it was easy to tell how focused he was as he gazed at the screen. Agile fingertips tapped on the keyboard, as if they were playing an elegant and refined melody. As they danced up and down, each of their movements looked especially good.
Amidst the cheers and cries of hundreds of thousands, Lin Xiao gazed at each movement being displayed on the big screen while sitting in the crowd. He did not pay much attention to the surrounding noise that was so loud that it was almost funny. Rather, his eyes were fixed on the figure displayed at the bottom left corner of the screen, and his eyebrows gradually furrowed.
You Jing’s movements appeared to be smooth and stable, but while he was completing them, there would always be a slight, almost imperceptible tremor. When he caught sight of this scene, the pools of his eyes gradually darkened in an expression of seriousness.
Lin Xiao was also familiar with Team Black Rose’s current status for the pre-season matches. Although he was very clear about the necessity of snatching as many points as they could at this time, he still could not approve of the method that was being used before his eyes – forcibly burdening the lead player with adopting such an intense rhythm when they were already under such great pressure. This absolutely could not continue in future matches.
No matter how well it was concealed, he was still able to tell just how much this person had endured while hiding it under a smooth and unperturbed appearance.
The battle tactics they had adopted in the previous 3 vs 3 sub-team match had already placed too much of a burden on You Jing’s hands. He still had to hold out for half a month for the regular season matches that followed. Although Lin Xiao was not too familiar with the exact state of this person’s hand injury, he could at least tell that if he were to exert his hands at such a high intensity for the entire pre-season match duration, it would definitely be too much.
For You Jing, paying this price for the sake of improving the team’s standing could be said to be a cruel gamble, in which he was staking his future eSports career.
In the match, after Blank Space’s fatal strike failed to land, Team Nine Skies fell into a completely passive position. As expected, they were completely wiped out by Team Black Rose, with Black Rose taking five consecutive kills.
The competition was over. Team Black Rose had obtained an advantageous score of 10:0 and were the final victors.
Under the explosive cheers and applause of the entire stadium, the players from both teams walked out of their respective competition rooms, shook hands and paid their respects to each other.
Lin Xiao straightened his clothes and stood from his chair. Amidst the thunderous and deafening screams of the Black Rose fans at the stadium, he stepped away with great difficulty and moved towards the exit. When he approached the door, he turned and caught a glimpse of the exceptionally familiar team uniform. He exhaled softly and strolled towards their meeting spot. As he slowly walked further and further away from the seats, all the buzzing noise was cut off and left behind him.
Since he was extremely familiar with the Professional Alliance’s way of arranging things, after Lin Xiao circled around the outer area once, he identified the walkway that was designated for the professional players’ use with great ease. Taking advantage of the moment when the security staff were not paying attention, he stealthily snuck in through the side door. After confirming that there was nobody around, he found a corner and wordlessly hid himself.
As the match ended, he heard a babble of sound being transmitted over from a distance. Evidently, the audience was beginning to leave the stadium.
Lin Xiao noted that it was about time, so he slowly fished out the poster that he’d bought from the stall earlier and spread it open. It was life-sized and large enough to cover his whole body behind it. At this moment, he happened to receive Shen Changyu’s text asking about his whereabouts. The corners of his lips lifted slightly and he swiftly replied with one line. “Once you come out, you will be able to see me.”
When the message was sent, he could hear a text notification sound ringing out from far away. The sound of gradually approaching footsteps could be heard, as well as a teasing voice that joked, “Vice Captain Shen, why is there a poster of you there! Could it be that one of the staff members is your fan?”
After this was said, a few tall figures stepped out through the door.
Shen Changyu helplessly interrupted Xu Yiming’s endless chatter. Once he lifted his head, he happened to see the poster, on which his face took up almost all of the space, and chuckled softly. His gaze lowered slightly, and after getting a clear look at the person standing behind the poster, his corners of his lips momentarily stiffened.
At this moment, Xu Yiming had also gotten a clear look at Lin Xiao. His smiling, jovial expression immediately changed and he shouted loudly, “Fxxk, how were you able to sneak in here!”
TL comments: At this point, I think Team Black Rose is just full of trolls LOL. (Does this make Lin Xiao the dad…he is already thinking of how to improve the team dynamic.)
Also, the long awaited reunion is here!!!
- 1More clever Chinese puns! I presume this is Xu Yiming’s character as he is called 一鸣见血. 一鸣 are the exact same characters as the ones in his name Yiming.
- 2Literally the grudge due to killing one’s father and the hatred due to stealing one’s wife.
- 3Literally, an occurrence that is difficult to come by in a century.