Translated by: Cloud
At two in the afternoon, at the HOG Club’s PUBG branch base in Shanghai, the Captain of the first team was carrying a bottle of water as he dragged his feet across the floor in a pair of sandals and a team uniform jacket draped over his shoulders. He sauntered down the flight of stairs at an unhurried pace, passing by the wall of champions. The wall that led directly to the third floor was filled with countless trophies and medals, more than half of them were engraved with the player ID of the first team Captain, ‘Drunk’.
Drunk—Qi Zui, the former team leader of the HOG Club’s CrossFire (CF) sub-unit as well as the current top star of the eSport players ranking in the country—used to lead his team into the CF World Tournament for three years consecutively in a row. Having led the team for three consecutive years, Qi Zui firmly won the first place in the world championships three years straight without fail. During his reign of terror, the regional battle teams in Europe, North America, and South Korea always had to struggle for the runner-up seats, unable to win against him.
Due to his early fame and having spent a long time playing, Qi Zui had garnered many nicknames over the years such as God Qi, 7 God, Poison-Tongued Zui, Right Hand of God, the Light of eSports… All these names solely referred to him.
But regardless of how much glory he had brought to himself, back in the base, Qi Zui was just a handsome young man addicted to the internet.
The twenty-five-year-old young man addicted to the internet was standing outside the glass wall of a training room located on the first floor of the base. Face devoid of all emotions, he twisted off the lid to a water bottle and drank a mouthful of warm water.
The training room on the first floor was reserved for the team members of the second battle team as well as the youth trainees. The average age of those members was less than eighteen and they had decent mental fortitude. On top of that, almost all of them were loyal hardcore fans of Qi Zui, who respected and feared him. As soon as they caught sight of Qi Zui in the corner of their eye, it was like their backs had been pricked by thorns as each of them bolted upright one after another. Even the tapping sounds coming from their keyboards vaguely sounded uniform.
All this while, Qi Zui had been staring at the same person who had his back to him, his slim body covered up entirely by the tall gaming chair. Standing from Qi Zui’s position, he could only see his slender and lanky arms. As he continued to stare at him for a while longer, he twisted shut the lid to the bottle before turning on his heels to head to the upper level.
HOG was a wealthy club in the community and the PUBG division was all the more rich and overbearing in this aspect. Their teams’ base was a three-story villa situated next to the Huangpu River. The first floor contained everything ranging from training rooms, a lounge, a kitchen, restaurants and everything else, while the second floor was allocated as the living quarters for the team members including the staff. Finally, for the third floor, which had the best facilities as well as the best lighting, it was the private space given to the first battle team consisting of four members.
Upon entering the third floor, Qi Zui went directly to the training room dedicated to the first team. In the training room, Bu Nana, the damage dealer for the first team, had already arrived and was currently setting up the custom server for the afternoon training match. Qi Zui walked over to his computer, removed his jacket and draped it over his gaming chair. He swept his gaze across the room in one full circle, asking, “Where’s Lao Kai and Qianxi?”
Lao Kai and Yu Qianxi were the other two members of the squad.
“Lao Kai was replaying the training match we had yesterday until ten in the morning. He only just slept. As for Qianxi, he…” Bu Nana stared at the screen as he typed while continuing to explain, “Didn’t he do a live stream last night? Seems like it lasted until eight in the morning so he couldn’t wake up.”
Qi Zui frowned at his reply. “There needs to be a stricter control of his streaming, it mustn’t delay our usual training time…”
“Ay! Rules are meant to scare the wits out of the children downstairs! Yu Qianxi just renewed his live broadcast contact and is in hurry to rope in fans.” A fatty with a good temper, Bu Nana smiled as he helped to smooth things over. “He’s not that free either. I’ve taken a look at his account. He maintained it quite well and practised a lot in private. You don’t have to think too deeply into it. Do you seriously think everyone is like you? Earning millions through ambassador wages alone?”
Qi Zui was compelled to say something but Bu Nana quickly changed the subject, “Forget about him for now. What have you been doing lately? Just what have you been staring at downstairs all day? I heard the second team captain rat you out to the manager complaining that you’ve disturbed their training. You’re like a head instructor, eyeing them like a hawk from standing outside the training room. A couple of the kids almost peed their pants because of you! The manager came to look for me earlier and told me to pass you a message to stay as far as you can from your fans’ life. Don’t go ruining the normal ecosystem on the first floor when you’re feeling jobless.”
Smiling, Qi Zui sat back down on his seat.
“Tell me, what were you staring at anyway while you were there?” After setting up the server, Bu Nana mass sent the password in bulk before giving a push on the desk, swiveling his chair next to Qi Zui’s side. “Is there someone you know who’s among the new wave of recruits?”’
Booting his computer, Qi Zui entered the custom server and casually warmed up with two guns. He replied, “Yeah.”
”Seriously?” Bu Nana was shocked. “Who is it?”
Qi Zui gathered a couple of attachments and affixed them to the guns. He loaded the guns with ammo as he said, “Yu Yang.”
“Youth?” Bu Nana was surprised. “I know him. Youth. His real name is Yu Yang and he’s quite famous. I think he has been in the top ten of the Asia server for three consecutive months already? He climbed to the top several times already this month. I was actually quite surprised that he came here as a youth trainee, he seemed to have been recruited by Qianxi. I’ve seen his matches. He’s damn strong in solo but I heard he’s quite cold? Seems like he’s a bit reclusive. Everyone on the second team is a little scared of him… How do you know him? Is he a relative? Did a friend of yours asked you to take care of him?”
Qi Zui switched to full auto, his right hand steadied the grip on the gun while pulling down to mitigate the recoil as a round of ammo shot through the bullet hole that was completely fixated at one position. After firing two rounds, Qi Zui released the mouse, gently rubbing his right wrist before saying calmly, “He’s not a relative, but my ex-boyfriend.”
Although he was astounded for a moment, in any case, Bu Nana was a person who had seen many similar situations before. In addition, he was also very well aware of Qi Zui’s covert sexual orientation so he wasn’t too surprised by the revelation. He was only bewildered by one thing that he had to ask out loud, “…When was this? How come I didn’t know about it?”
Bu Nana was an old teammate of Qi Zui. For all these years, apart from the New Year holidays, they had always stuck to each other like glue. Bu Nana was completely lost as to where this ex-boyfriend of Qi Zui popped up from.
“It’s from last year.” Qi Zui twisted open the cap to his water bottle and gulped down a mouthful before continuing, “That month when I went to the Goblet of Fire as a coach.”
The Goblet of Fire was an offline training competition organized by several clubs in China last year with the intention of selecting outstanding youth trainees in order to recruit fresh blood in the eSports community. The HOG Club that Qi Zui was in had never recruited anyone through a preselection tournament. Because of that fact, the organizers had requested their club to send someone to be a coach for the sake of fairness.
Qi Zui and Yu Yang met during that month.
Yu Yang wasn’t well known then, but as soon as Qi Zui went in, he immediately took notice of him.
It was for no other reason than the fact that Yu Yang was too good-looking. When among a bunch of otakus, it was difficult for him not to get noticed.
Of course, Qi Zui was not that shallow of a guy. He was a little moved because Yu Yang was really amazing.
He was so strong that during the entertainment match on the first day of the offline competition, he almost won Qi Zui who was under the influence of alcohol.
That day, Qi Zui had been called out by a couple of sponsors for dinner. Unable to refuse their magnificent display of hospitality, he drank two cups. Worse, Qi Zui’s capacity for liquor was enough to raise people’s hackles. The moment the two cups of alcohol went into his tummy, his response rate instantly dropped to the point that he was severely pressured by Yu Yang during the match at night. However, in the end, Qi Zui still managed to narrowly beat Yu Yang.
Qi Zui couldn’t be bothered to reminisce anymore.
“Say it! Say it!” Bu Nana was anxious. “How did you guys break up? I want to know all the details! Make me happy!”
“…” Qi Zui looked up and shot a glance at Bu Nana. “What’s wrong with being single?”
“Tell me, tell me!” Bu Nana was really curious. “I always thought that an old bastard like you had already broken away from your vulgar fun. You’re good! So sneaky! Can’t believe you actually went behind our backs and had a May-December romance!”
“Screw you and your May-December romance.” Qi Zui avoided Bu Nana’s pudgy hand. “He just reached adulthood at that time… younger than me by six years.”
“Don’t change the subject,” Bu Nana latched on relentlessly, feeling overly enthusiastic. “How did you guys end up together? I’ve heard about his temper… How should I put this… He gets angered easily, like a hedgehog.”
Qi Zui continued to tap away on the keyboard. Shaking his head, he replied, “Nope. When I got to know him better, he’s nice. Just that he gets embarrassed easily…”
The organizers of the Goblet of Fire provided great benefits. It was summer so every day apart from various fresh fruits and desserts, they would also provide two scoops of Haagen Daz ice cream to the gamers. During that time, Qi Zui had casually commented that the taste was great. From then onwards, Yu Yang would go behind everyone’s back and send his own share to Qi Zui’s room. There was a time when Qi Zui accidentally caught him doing so, but before Qi Zui could say anything, Yu Yang’s entire face flushed a deep shade of red and he scampered off in a flurry.
“Then how did the two of you break up?” Bu Nana, the inhumane damn fatty who didn’t have an ounce of sympathy, pursued on with deep interest. “If he’s so good then why did you two break up?”
“Why do you care?” Qi Zui switched to another gun. Following the update of the game, a couple of firearms he used on a daily basis had their stats changed so Qi Zui needed to get used to the gun’s recoil control again. He casually replied without giving it much of a thought, “We broke up because we weren’t suited for each other.”
Qi Zui was considered a hooligan with a poisonous tongue and no virtues. He definitely didn’t have the best nature but he wasn’t capable of doing something as low as shit-talking about his ex behind his back.
Moreover…as to why they broke up, Qi Zui had the pride of an idol so he couldn’t bring himself to say it.
Yu Yang’s dynamics and vision were superior to others. He was very conscious of his surroundings and had a quick response time. Each and every single one of his predictions was accurate. He literally paved his way in the Goblet of Fire tournament unimpeded. During the post-match analysis, Qi Zui generously gave Yu Yang over-exaggerated praise which he deemed ridiculous now that he thought about it again. Just like that, Yu Yang secured first place in that year’s tournament.
At the celebration dinner after the tournament, Qi Zui had taken advantage of the fact that Yu Yang had yet to determine which club he wanted to join, and called him to the walkway behind everyone’s back to ask him whether he was interested in joining his club.
That day Yu Yang had drank some wine so his face was flushed, looking very delectable in his eyes. Throughout that month, the two of them had never been alone before and hadn’t even held hands once. Thus, Qi Zui felt his heart stir. Before Yu Yang could say anything, he had been instantly pinned onto the wall of the walkway.
And it was precisely then, that realization dawned on Qi Zui that he had been fooled all this while.
In a flash, Yu Yang’s face had turned a ghastly shade of pale, his entire body shivering with suppressed fear. The fingers that were locked tightly with Qi Zui’s suddenly turned as cold as ice. By the time Qi Zui could recover his senses, Yu Yang had pushed him away with brute force as a wave of alert and panic filled his eyes.
Yu Yang’s reaction wasn’t strange as it was the conventional form of disgust that a straight man would harbor towards a gay man, one that Qi Zui knew all too well.
Stunned for a brief moment, Qi Zui spread his arms, indicating that he wouldn’t make a move on him again.
Face devoid of all emotions, he asked Yu Yang, “You can’t accept it?”
Yu Yang’s entire face was covered in cold sweat. It was only after a while has passed that his eyes finally became focused. He absentmindedly nodded in response.
Breaking into laughter, Qi Zui smiled for a long time before saying, “You have a great talent. You don’t need me to win the tournament so it’s unnecessary for you to force yourself to do this with me.”
Yu Yang stared at Qi Zui in a daze, as though he hadn’t understood a word Qi Zui said.
Qi Zui had no intentions to keep pestering him. He was so used to being worshipped for all these years, and this was his first time feeling the stirrings of love. It was entirely out of his expectations that he had been tricked, so he was already doing him a favor by remaining calm on the surface. Qi Zui took Yu Yang’s phone and after blacklisting and deleting all the contacts he had of him before Yu Yang’s eyes, he tossed the phone back into Yu Yang’s embrace and stalked off on his own.
After returning from the Goblet of Fire tournament, Qi Zui led his team to battle in North America, only returning home two months after. A few months later, he overheard that Yu Yang still hadn’t signed with any clubs yet and later, he heard that his player ID had officially been named Youth. And soon after again, if he was to insist that they still had some sort of connection with each other, then there was that fateful meet in the leaderboard of each PUBG’s servers.
Never once had they came into contact with each other, until last month when a bored Qi Zui looked at the achievement list of newly recruited youth trainees and saw that familiar name.
Qi Zui really couldn’t understand whether Yu Yang thought of him as an idiot or a very nice gentleman, to the extent that he could sign with HOG with such ease and boldness, without fear of Qi Zui looking for trouble.
Letting go of his mouse, Qi Zui stared at Bu Nana. “You mentioned just now that Yu Yang was recruited by Qianxi?”
“Yeah.” Bu Nana nodded. “I’m sure. They seemed to be quite close. I saw him looking for Yu Qianxi several times.”
Qi Zui sneered.
Confused, Bu Nana asked, “What’re you sneering at?”
Shaking his head wordlessly, Qi Zui put on his headphones and gently gnashed his teeth…
It had been a year since then and now that little slut was using the same tactic to hook Yu Qianxi?
Then that would be a shame as Yu Qianxi was perfectly straight as an arrow.
And he was a sly, straight male with intentions. If Yu Yang tried to trap Yu Qianxi…he reckoned that the guy would be devoured instead until nothing was left.
After training with his firearms for a while, he swiped the cursor and exited the game. Standing up, he said, “I’m sure the training match will be delayed for another hour. I’m heading to the lounge. Tell Yu Qianxi to find me as soon as he wakes up. There’s something I need him for.”
There were a couple of equipment in the lounge such as a few treadmills, but the eSports scene didn’t have anything to do with stamina training so they were left unused. As time went on, the lounge turned into a place Captain Qi used to lecture people.
Bu Nana caught on instantly. “What’re you planning? You’re gonna scold him again?! Qianxi only did live streams a little more often than usual. He didn’t do anything bad, did he?”
“Don’t panic. I’m not going to nag him. It’s just that there’s something I don’t understand so I want to ask him about it.” Qi Zui grabbed his phone. “I’m going to exercise for a bit. Remember to tell him to come over and see me.”
Edited by: Coffee
Modu is changed to Shanghai.
Yu Jianxi is changed to Yu Qianxi.
Old Kai is changed to Lao Kai.