Chapter 17: Showdown (4)
Translator: Nomyummi Editor: Nomyummi
Another three days passed. At last, this season’s finals had arrived.
The battle that everyone had anticipated, the black horse Hundred Blossoms challenging the kings, hadn’t come to pass. But Tyranny, these opponents, weren’t at all disappointing. In the second match of the first round, Han Wenqing ultimately wiping out the dual-core of Hundred Blossoms in a breathtaking 1v2 left a strong impression in everyone’s minds. At that moment, everyone realized that Team Tyranny, who had only reached seventh place in the regular season, had gone on a rampage as soon as they entered the playoffs. The dangerous and thrilling elimination matches didn’t scare them; they only became bolder and fiercer.
Everyone looked back on last season’s match, noting that Tyranny had been eliminated in the first round by none other than Excellent Era. This year could be called a revenge match. And after that, people dug up and wrote about Ye Qiu and Han Wenqing’s confrontations in-game back in the day. The conflict between the Battle God and the King of Fighting was finally on full display.
Some continued to believe in the strength of the Battle God, while others anticipated that the King of Fighting could topple the current ruler. And now, the championship battle was upon them.
“Let’s go.” Han Wenqing stood up, leading Tyranny’s members out of the prep room. Across the hallway, Excellent Era’s players had also just come out to go onstage. Han Wenqing knew that he wouldn’t meet Ye Qiu here. That guy liked to be mysterious, always slipping in when no one was paying attention. The responsibility of leading the team was left to Wu Xuefeng.
He nodded his head in greeting to Wu Xuefeng at the front of Excellent Era. He and Wu Xuefeng were old acquaintances from the early days of the Glory game. According to Wu Xuefeng, when Han Wenqing and Ye Qiu had fought their first wild PK, Wu Xuefeng was one of the witnesses. At the time, Han Wenqing hadn’t noticed Wu Xuefeng. He only knew that afterward, he’d often seen this Qi Master called Qi Breaker at One Autumn Leaf’s side. By that point, the two had already reached a point where they could understand each other without words.
There’d also been another guy, who didn’t seem like a serious player, but his skill was also strong enough to be feared. Han Wenqing remembered that he was a Sharpshooter, always hanging out in the game, but after the Glory Alliance was established, he hadn’t been like Ye Qiu, Wu Xuefeng, and the other famous in-game experts who were recruited into professional teams.
That guy wasn’t as famous as them, but he was right next to Ye Qiu, and Han Wenqing felt that Ye Qiu surely would have recommended his strength to his team. Later, he found the opportunity to ask Ye Qiu, and –
Ye Qiu’s answer prevented Han Wenqing from ever mentioning this question again.
Walking through the player passageway to the stage, Han Wenqing thought of quite a few memories from the past. Through the years, he’d fought against Ye Qiu who knew how many times, from the game, all the way to the professional battles.
He’d won before, but he’d lost more often.
He’d admitted to himself long before that compared to Ye Qiu, he was still on a slightly lower level. Within this group of well-known experts, Ye Qiu was the only one about whom he would admit this. Aside from him, neither Wu Xuefeng, who was currently leading Excellent Era onstage, nor Wei Chen, who had already announced his retirement and left Blue Rain, nor Lu Liang, the expert from Royal Style who had competed with Ye Qiu for the championship last season, nor that extremely talented god-gunner who had already passed – Han Wenqing didn’t feel that any of these surpassed him by a level. Only Ye Qiu.
So this was truly a good opponent, difficult to come by.
Indeed. He only treated Ye Qiu as an opponent. He didn’t lower himself or put himself in the position of a challenger.
Because in Han Wenqing’s mind, strength didn’t equal victory. Every battle was an entirely new start, a pursuit of victory, over and over, now and forever, as always, starting over from the beginning.
And this time, he stood at what many people viewed as the finish line. But he himself didn’t have such strong feelings. Like he did before any match, he thirsted for victory. And after this victory was obtained, he would begin to thirst for the next victory. Even if this was the championship, it was the same. The pursuit of victory was something that would never end, and Han Wenqing hoped that he could, without ever stopping, continue to pursue this.
The two sides walked onstage. Because Ye Qiu never revealed himself at this sort of time, there weren’t any aggressive interactions between the teams. Wu Xuefeng was simply a good, nice guy, someone with whom you couldn’t really have any conflict.
After greeting and shaking hands, the players entered their competitor booths.
The finals were a bit different from the previous two rounds of the playoffs. There wouldn’t be multiple matches – instead, one match determined victory, in order to maintain the consistent excitement of the match. Three points in the individual competition, two points in the group arena, five points in the team competition. If both sides earned five points, they would play overtime. But because the points in the individual battles were scattered, it was rare that one team could earn all five points. And if a team couldn’t get all five points in the group arena, then even if they earned four points, they could still lose the whole match if they lost out on the five consolidated points of the team competition. So, in this sort of competition format, the individual battles were really a bit useless. There had always been all sorts of debate about reforming the competition format, but as of now the Alliance still hadn’t thought of a satisfactory solution, and could only leave things like this for now.
Because of this, the individual and group arena became the place where the teams engaged in skirmishes to gather information about the opponents. The six players sent out by each team didn’t sit around, going back and forth with attacks like a ping-pong ball, ultimately resulting in an almost-tie, 3-2. Wins and losses here weren’t worth too much attention. What was more important was whether or not anyone revealed any weaknesses during this process.
But to be honest, this was already the last match of the season, the finals. The two teams had already thoroughly studied each other before the match; they wouldn’t suddenly discover something new in this last match. Mostly, it was to evaluate player condition. If someone didn’t perform too well in the individual battles, then they might become the breakthrough point that the opponent attacked during the team competition. But perhaps a player would purposely pretend that their condition wasn’t too good during the individual battles, and then use this to set a trap during the team competition?
That was to say, these individual battles were no longer competitions of technique and skill, but rather competitions of wit and plotting. But in Excellent Era and Tyranny’s 3-2, they both seemed to be playing fairly honestly, without any sort of intrigue. When the group arena ended, the entire stadium seemed to jolt with excitement. They knew that upcoming was the true highlight, the true battle that would determine victory.
The stands weren’t just filled with ordinary Glory fans, the various pro teams had organized fan groups coming to watch the matches live. But watching this championship match that had nothing to do with them, the prevalent mood was still disappointment.
“Next year, we have to stand there!” Sun Zheping said in Hundred Blossoms’ area, pointing toward the stage. After a few days, the depressed haze of being eliminated in the first round had mostly dissipated. The team that they had been aiming to topple against the team that had eliminated them – of course they had to come watch this finals match.
“Next year, no matter who it is, we have to go all out in attacking,” Sun Zheping said. His earlier attitude of only setting his sights on Ye Qiu and Excellent Era had now been corrected for good. There were no weaklings on this professional stage. Everyone was a powerful opponent that needed to be dealt with seriously.
“Well said.” Someone spoke up with a word of praise. Sun Zheping looked over and saw a collection of Tiny Herb players. The one who had spoken was Tiny Herb’s Captain Lin Jie. To be honest, Sun Zheping felt that the strength of this team’s captain was rather average, but the him of today would never underestimate anyone.
“Thank you,” he said, nodding toward Lin Jie.
“You two need to work hard too!” Lin Jie said to the two youths by his side.
“Yes,” Wang Jiexi nodded. Beside him, Fang Shiqian also nodded, but an expression of unhappiness flashed across his face.
“Next season you’ll see the strength of our Tiny Herb,” Lin Jie said to Sun Zheping with a smile. During the regular season they’d faced Hundred Blossoms twice, both ending rather tragically for them.
“Really? I look forward to it!” Sun Zheping also smiled. He looked at the two youths standing beside Lin Jie, who also seemed quite excited. He knew Fang Shiqian, a fellow rookie debut in Season 2, someone with exceptional skill and who had gotten a lot of attention. But the other… Sun Zheping had never seen him. Was this a Tiny Herb rookie debuting next season?
To the side, Zhang Jiale also heard their conversation. He looked toward Tiny Herb as well, spotting that unfamiliar youth. Zhang Jiale smiled at him politely, and didn’t think too much about it. At the time, of course, he never could have known that this unfamiliar youth would become the biggest nightmare of his professional career.
T/N: The main novel names Guo Mingyu as Peaceful Hermit’s original user. However, Butterfly Blue forgot about this while writing the prequel, and instead created a new character called Lu (Lv) Liang as captain of Royal Style and Peaceful Hermit’s user. This was retconned in the For the Glory prequel movie, where Guo Mingyu was the original owner of Peaceful Hermit, but passed the account to Lu Liang before the start of Season 1.