Edited by Tin
Qi Zui screenshotted his conversation with Hua Luo, deleting and cropping some portions, hiding Hua Luo’s id and removing the parts where they were talking about random things and sent it to He Xiaoxu.
A few days later, at 2 a.m., three people held a meeting in the entertainment room.
He Xiaoxu had already considered for a long time and sat down and said, “Let’s break the contract with him.”
Qi Zui and Lai Hua stayed quiet.
He Xiaoxu looked between the two of them, after waiting for a long while with none of them saying anything, he was struck dumb. “What’s going on today? Both of you aren’t angry? You aren’t going to end the contract like this? You two… Did you two steal my wife’s calming medicine and drink it?!”
Qi Zui was horrified and at He Xiaoxu up and down, his gaze holding complicated emotions.
“I have always thought that I was the one who has done the most for the team.” Qi Zui looked at He Xiaoxu’s faint adam’s apple. “I was too arrogant…”
Lai Hua frowned, irritated. “Don’t joke around!”
“We aren’t joking around.” He Xiaoxu shrugged. “He’s already contacted the other eSports teams in private already, how can this situation be salvageable? Wait… What’s going on now? Where are your horrible tempers?
Qi Zui and Lai Hua continued to stay quiet.
He Xiaoxu felt a little uneasy for some reason and said, unsurely, “Is there something… that you two know about, but I don’t know about?”
“In this batch of trainees, besides for Yu Yang, is there any other possible candidate that can be a first-class player?” Qi Zui did not respond to He Xiaoxu. He looked towards Lai Hua. “You’re with them everyday, did you notice anyone…”
Lai Hua shook his head.
Qi Zui breathed out and leaned backwards into his chair. “Then we’re screwed…”
He Xiaoxu got more and more confused. “Didn’t you say that Youth really had talent and you only wanted him? If Yu Qianxi leaves, you can just have Yu Yang take his place.”
He Xiaoxu had already been prepared for this possibility after arguing with Yu Qianxi. He really did think highly of Yu Yang. Yu Yang was young and had talent. He was willing to suffer and was very hard-working. The most important thing was, he was a rare talent in solo. Although he was not very outstanding in team matches or duo matches yet, he had also never been matched with truly brilliant teammates. In the future, when he managed to get used to playing with the people in Team One, he would definitely not be worse than Yu Qianxi.
“Do you guys really need a substitute player?” He Xiaoxu found it strange the more he thought about it. “When you didn’t have one in the past, wasn’t it fine? Furthermore, I don’t understand, why would we need a substitute player? Everyone is so strong. Aside from Youth, Lao Kai, Nana… And there’s Qi Zui. Is there even a need to talk about him? Who doesn’t bow down to Drunk? As long as there’s Qi Zui, the team leader, the conductor, so what if we have a change of player? What sort of competition… Lao Lai?”
He Xiaoxu looked at Lai Hua, muttering, “You… what’s going on?”
Lai Hua’s eyes were red, his lips trembling slightly. When he heard those words, he stood up and walked to the window, his back towards the other two as he refused to speak.
Qi Zui smiled helplessly, trying to comfort him in a soft voice. “Don’t be like that.”
He Xiao Xu was speechless. “What exactly is happening?!”
Qi Zui was quiet for a moment before he said in a low voice. “Don’t get worked up, let me tell you something…”
He Xiaoxu walked out of the entertainment room and entered the bathroom, staying in there for half an hour.
“Don’t act like I’m going to die, alright?” Qi Zui looked at the two people whose eyes were all red. He could not help but smile. “I’m not used to this sort of atmosphere…”
He Xiaoxu raised up his red eyes to glare at Qi Zui. He was about to say something before he lowered his head and buried his face in his hands again.
“Don’t keep crying.” Qi Zui frowned. “Let’s discuss the important things.”
He Xiaoxu wiped his face, taking a deep breath before he said, “I’ll listen to you two.”
Lai Hua cleared his throat and said, “What Yu Qianxi did… it’s enough for us to break the contract with him, but the current situation isn’t very good. Team One is scattered and the Asian Invitational Cup is about to begin. We’re also preparing for the Global Invitational Cup. We- we haven’t finished preparing yet…”
“Why did you think that I was able to tolerate him until now?” Even if they ignored Yu Qianxi’s dealings with other eSports teams, Yu Qianxi taking light of training was enough for Qi Zui to fire him a hundred times over. Qi Zui thought about the words that Hua Luo had told him and laughed in a self-depreciating way. “If we look at things from this perspective, not long later, we might actually become a brother team to the Knight’s team…”
Qi Zui could not help but laugh. “Fractured teams holding hands, the one that’s the first to rise is a dog.”
“You!” He Xiaoxu wished he could bite Qi Zui. “You… How much longer can you last?”
Qi Zui shook his head. “It’s hard to say. I’m already being careful. I’ll try my best to finish competing in the Asian Invitational Cup.”
He Xiaoxu’s heart sunk. The situation did not seem good.
There was a bit of luck involved in PUBG. In bigger competitions, to maintain fairness, there needed to be multiple matches for a single round to reduce the component of luck in the ranking.
Without even mentioning the invitational cup in Busan, this Saturday, they were about to play in the domestic qualifiers as a team, and that alone was ten games.
The duration of each competition was on average half an hour. Including the time for warming up before the competition, the rest time between each match, the interview time, the total competition time each day was at least seven hours.
And this was only the team match. In the large competition, there would also be solo and duo matches. It would continue for three days straight. With Qi Zui’s situation currently, He Xiaoxu was not sure if Qi Zui would be able to stand it.
If Qi Zui was unable to compete and the results of the team worsened, the one who would be affected instantly would not just be Qi Zui himself. It would be the whole team.
Would the sponsors sponsor an eSports team that kept losing?
Would those companies that look to them for endorsement be willing to ask a team that does not have Qi Zui?
Would the broadcasting platform continue to provide such great contracts?
Would their eSports main branch continue to support their PUBG branch?
He Xiaoxu lowered his head, suddenly feeling like it was hard to breathe.
“Qi Zui refused to tell you before this and refused to let the public know because he was scared it would affect the sponsorship this year…” Lai Hua’s eyes were red. “Three months ago, I suggested to him to take a temporary break for half a year to see if it can be cured. Yet he refused to listen…”
Qi Zui sneered, “Don’t be too naïve.”
He Xiaoxu thought back on Qi Zui’s state for these few months and picked up the team uniform Lai Hua had thrown to the side, covering his face with it.
“Do you believe me now? Yu Yang really wasn’t prepared for Yu Qianxi,” Qi Zui smiled mockingly. “He’s not worth it.”
“Right now, all we can do is recruit youth trainees, and take extra notice of Yu Qianxi.” Lai Hua said in a low voice. “We need to be careful that he’ll stab us in the back. We need to be careful that he doesn’t try to do match-fixing, but we can’t let him go either…”
Lai Hua was the same as Qi Zui. Towards eSports, they really could not stand such things, so it was extremely hard for him to say such words. Lai Hua gritted his teeth. “It’s not that I don’t want him to leave, the main thing is… You need… You need to give me some time.”
Qi Zui said calmly. “The most important thing is to give the team time. Whether it’s the other team members or the higher-ups, we need to get ready to face the possibility of losing sponsors… Everyone needs to be prepared.”
He Xiaoxu raised his head to look at Qi Zui and asked in a hoarse voice. “Nana and Lao Kai…”
Qi Zui shook his head slightly.
No one in the team knew.
“I’ll continue to persevere. Not just for this, there’s also… there’s also Yu Yang.” Qi Zui rubbed his right wrist, then said in a low voice. “We don’t have someone to direct in the game. Lao Kai would definitely be unable to take up the position, and it’s not possible for Nana either. If I really…”
Qi Zui continued in a low voice. “The position of team leader will probably have to be taken up by Youth.”
He Xiaoxu was shocked. “He… He doesn’t know either? Aren’t you two…”
Qi Zui shook his head. “That’s why I’m even more unsure of how to inform him about this.”
Lai Hua pinched between his brows, sighing. “He’s only just turned nineteen.”
“I really do not know how you’re going to tell him, but I feel… That it might be hard for him to accept.” He Xiaoxu stood up and opened the bookshelf to take out a file. He opened it and pulled out a wad of paper and passed it to Qi Zui. “This is what Youth wrote when filling up the forms on entering the team’s youth training team.”
Qi Zui took it from He Xiaoxu. This was the questionnaire that the team gave every youth training member when they were signing up. The contents were trivial, and it was just used to find out more about the youth trainees.
He Xiaoxu let out a breath, then said in a low voice. “Look at the last page.”
On the last page, there was only one question. “Why did you come to HOG?”
There were all kinds of answers from the youth trainees. There were a lot of excited emotions, words singing praises of the team, visions of their brilliant future. Only Yu Yang’s answer was the simplest. He wrote seven words:
I came to HOG because of Drunk.
Qi Zui placed the questionnaire down, and rubbed his temples, tired.
That whole night, no matter how much He Xiaoxu and Lai Hua cried, Qi Zui was quite calm. He did not feel that it was something major. However, now that he saw this, for some reason, he started to feel heartache.
He Xiaoxu said in a low voice. “He doesn’t know how you two intend on cultivating his talent. He probably doesn’t have that much ambition. He joined the team simply to play alongside Drunk, you two…”
He Xiaoxu felt extremely tired, and waved his hand. “I’m going to sleep first. Tomorrow, I’ll find Yu Qianxi to talk to him and see if there’s any hope there.”
Lai Hua had spent the whole day observing the training of the players and was also tired, so he followed He Xiaoxu to go to sleep.
In the third floor training room, Lao Kai and Bu Nana had both gone downstairs to take their delivery and eat their supper. Only Yu Yang was left there.
On the left side of Yu Yang’s desk was a small box of seafood fried rice that had turned cold. On the right side there was a piece of paper. On it were all the common mistakes that Yu Yang had made that Qi Zui spotted and wrote down.
Yu Yang logged into a custom server, and continuously jumped down in Town Y to correct his landing errors. He had been doing it for almost an hour straight.
Yu Yang landed then left the server, landed, then left the server. He was trying his best to practice so that it would become muscle memory to him.
Everyone had a different role in the team. For example, Lao Kai was always the first one to open his parachute after jumping down from the plane. This was not because he liked doing that. Rather, it was due to the fact that the team needed someone to fly higher, and this person would have a wider vision and hence would be able to accurately tell how many enemy teams were landing nearby and where they were landing at.
On the other hand, Yu Yang was the complete opposite of Lao Kai. He was a fragger and in a team match, the team needed him to land with the quickest possible speed and pick up a gun as fast as possible so that he could go up against the other teams dropping in the same location as their team.
A difference in landing time or a small error in controlling the parachute would greatly affect his ability to perform in the competition.
In the interval of time he took to summarize what he had learnt, Yu Yang lowered his head to quickly eat a few mouthfuls of rice, barely chewing as he swallowed.
Qi Zui stood at the doorway looking at him, feeling complex.
Lai Hua had not been mindlessly exaggerating things when he had said that Yu Yang could practice for sixteen hours a day.
As long as he found that he was lacking in some area, he would tirelessly try to correct that for a few hours at a time. The only break he would take was to go out to use the bathroom or smoke. For the rest of the time, even his meals were eaten in front of the computer.
With the arrival of someone who forgot to sleep and eat on the third floor training room, Team One’s Bu Nana and Lao Kai that had been living with no rules and were becoming less and less hardworking gritted their teeth as they were forced to train for an extra hour everyday by Yu Yang.
Qi Zui turned around and poured a cup of warm water.
“Rest for a while.” Qi Zui placed the cup of water onto Yu Yang’s desk, pushing it forward a little and smiled. “Is cold food tasty?”
Yu Yang raised his head and hurriedly swallowed the rice in his mouth. He looked at the cup in front of him, a letter D carved into it and was stunned. “Is… Is this yours?”
Qi Zui understood what he meant but acted dumb and asked back, “Yep, why are you asking?”
Yu Yang hurriedly shook his head. He hesitated for a moment and picked up the cup and took a sip, paused, then took another sip.
When he put down the cup, Yu Yang’s cheeks were already slightly red.
Qi Zui pretended to look at his phone, but from the corner of his eyes, he took in Yu Yang’s current state until he was satisfied and placed down his phone.
It was not only He Xiaoxu that did not know how to talk to Yu Yang after he returned, Qi Zui did not know how he should talk to Yu Yang as well.
Playing professionally for eight years, Qi Zui only learnt how to mock people and make obscene remarks. He did not know how to comfort people.
Especially Yu Yang, this sort of… unique person.
Qi Zui thought for a moment and opened his browser and searched:
[What kind of gift should I get for my ex-boyfriend to make him happy]
The all-powerful Baidu was not all-powerful right now. There were very few related webpages, but there were quite a lot of related searches that were being suggested. Qi Zui clicked into each one…
[What kinds of gift should I get for my boyfriend]
[What gifts should I prepare when confessing to someone]
[What is a good gift when proposing]
Qi Zui had spent a while looking at it before he found something relatively reliable. The post said that he had used three months of salary to buy a ring, which allowed him to show his sincerity.
Qi Zui did not really wear jewellery himself, so he did not know the industry very well. He picked up his phone and contacted his friend who was working in the luxury items line and gave him a price, wanting him to help recommend a suitable ring.
Not long later, a friend replied: Qi-Ge, do you want to buy an antique?
Qi Zui: …
Friend: Qi-Ge, I don’t do such things, you know, illegal stuff…
Qi Zui closed his eyes and subtracted all his random earnings, and only calculated the amount of money he got from signing the contract with the team, then sent his friend another number.
Friend: If you remove a zero, I can help you look around…
Qi Zui: …You’re insulting my sincerity.
Qi Zui threw his phone to the side, then looked at Yu Yang, who was completely focused and suddenly said, “Let’s play a duo match?”
Yu Yang raised his head, his eyes shining as he nodded.