Edited by Tin
From that day on, Yu Yang seemed to be a different person. Suddenly, he was no longer against taking up the command post.
Lai Hua was very relieved and praised himself in a restrained way, “There’s no use in just assigning positions, we still need to do the thinking for the team members and maintain this sort of attitude. After that, everything is negotiable1.”
Qi Zui sneered, “Bullshit… What sort of medicine did you secretly give him to eat?”
“If there were really such a medicine, I would have given it to you a long time ago.” In the hallway, Lai Hua looked at Yu Yang through the glass wall and said, “These few days, he’s been very hardworking and serious. Of course, there’s never a time where he isn’t serious, it’s quite good. By the way, the physiotherapist is here, you should go.”
Qi Zui was not very interested and said lazily, “Curing the symptoms but not the root cause…”
“How can we cure the root cause?” Lai Hua lowered his voice, “It’s good to relieve the symptoms a little, too, at least your injury won’t hurt. Go.”
Qi Zui shook his head. “No.”
“You…” Lai Hua felt helpless and talked slowly, “Don’t worry, they won’t know. Bu Nana and Lao Kai need to practice playing duo matches in the afternoon. Youth is going out in a while, I heard him ask for a half-day leave from He Xiaoxu.
“Why did he ask for leave?” Qi Zui looked towards Lai Hua. “Why… Why did he ask for leave from He Xiaoxu, why didn’t he look for me?”
“How would I know?” Lai Hua frowned. “Don’t stand here and block the way, go and get your massage!”
Qi Zui felt helpless, he carried his cup of water and walked off, swaying.
While he was getting his massage, Qi Zui was trying to remember the past few days. These few days, Yu Yang barely looked for him to start up conversations.
However, Yu Yang seldom talked to anyone, especially during the period they had extra training. Ever since he became an official team member, Yu Yang was like a wolf who had been starving for several months that suddenly saw meat; he trained like a madman2. Aside from sleeping, going to the bathroom and smoking, he refused to leave his gaming chair.
Lai Hua thought that his ‘substitute theory’ had scared that child3, he even specially had He Xiaoxu announce in front of everyone that Yu Yang was already a proper member of Team One, but it did not really work.
Qi Zui scrolled through the forum in his boredom and recalling Yu Yang’s recent state, he suddenly felt that it was a little familiar…
[HOG has been training so intensely recently, they must have been provoked by the results from the preliminary competition in China, right?]
[For HOG, getting second place is considered losing, right?]
[Can Qi Zui’s fans not talk so big? Isn’t TGC snatching the title of the champion well-deserved?]
[Their training is so intense +14, my God-Yang doesn’t livestream much anymore, and even when he livestreams, he doesn’t speak, sigh… even though he was still so cute a while ago. As expected, playing eSports wastes away at people’s lives.]
[That’s right, although I don’t expect God-Yang to be like Bu Nana, full of obscene remarks and making everyone laugh, but don’t stay quiet the whole time, was he infected by Mute Luo?]
[I don’t feel that he’s like Captain Luo. When I hear him leading the team, he feels like he’s becoming more and more like God-Qi. Recently when I see his livestreams, I get the illusion that I’m watching God-Qi.]
[I’m begging you, please don’t become like Qi Zui, what’s the use of becoming like Qi Zui? My God-Yang is still a little wolfdog, please don’t become an old dog5 so quickly, cries.]
“You’re the old dog…”
The physiotherapist was alarmed, “What?”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Qi Zui gave a comforting look towards the physiotherapist and smiled, “I’m sending a voice message to my friend.”
The physiotherapist was speechless, and after a moment, he asked, “Have you still been using your hand recently?”
Qi Zui smiled, “It’s not like I’m crippled.”
The physiotherapist felt helpless. “You know what I mean, have you still been training recently?”
Qi Zui continued to look at his phone, saying perfunctorily, “Around two to three hours…”
“Two to three hours!”
“Sh…” Qi Zui had a headache. “Lower your voice!”
“Oh oh, I’m sorry,” The physiotherapist lowered his voice, “I’ve already given you advice before this, since you chose conservative treatment6, then you must rest. Don’t you understand what rest means?”
“I understand, I understand,” Qi Zui said perfunctorily, “Then I’ll reduce it by one more hour…”
“Don’t practice for even one hour,” The physiotherapist tried his best to convince Qi Zui, “All of you care too little about taking care of your health, thinking that since you’re young, you can push your body to your limits, and when you grow old…”
“Let me ask you something,” Qi Zui was annoyed at the physiotherapist’s nagging and interrupted him, “For my current situation, if I do closed treatment7, will it affect… the flexibility of my fingers or something.”
“This…” The physiotherapist did not dare to confirm anything. “There would definitely not be any effect on the ordinary person, but your Right Hand of God…”
Qi Zui laughed self-mockingly and stopped asking.
After he was done with his physiotherapy, Qi Zui had originally wanted to continue practicing, but when he remembered the physiotherapist’s nagging, he felt helpless and took his car keys, leaving the base to make a trip down to Hengshun plaza.
After ordering his things, Qi Zui called Yu Yang, wanting to ask him where he was so that he could pick him up and return to the base together.
Yu Yang did not pick up the phone.
Qi Zui frowned, calling He Xiaoxu to ask if Yu Yang had returned to the base. He Xiaoxu’s face was full of confusion, “Nope, what’s the matter?”
Qi Zui hung up the phone, feeling increasingly like Yu Yang was acting a bit off recently.
Qi Zui was about to call Yu Yang again when he received He Xiaoxu’s phone call.
“Yu Yang is still outside, he’ll return after half an hour,” He Xiaoxu complained, “He asked for leave from me very early on, alright? What are you acting surprised for? I suddenly called him, and he might have misunderstood me and thought that I was complaining that he had been out for too long.”
Qi Zui smiled slightly and understood, Yu Yang had not disappeared, he was just not picking up Qi Zui’s calls.
Qi Zui threw his phone to the side, stepped on the gas, and returned to the base alone.
“Haha, serves him right9.”
“He made his bed, so he must lie in it…”
“Does he really think that if he goes somewhere else, others will flatter him? Naïve…”
“He doesn’t even know what sort of trash10 he is…”
When Qi Zui brought his three points of anger11 back to the base, He Xiaoxu, Bu Nana and Lao Kai were sitting around together and chatting happily while munching on melon seeds.
Qi Zui: “…”
Qi Zui frowned, grabbing a bunch of melon seeds. “You guys aren’t training?”
“Listen to me!” He Xiaoxu beamed with joy, “Guess where Yu Qianxi went to.”
Qi Zui’s face was expressionless, he spat out the shell of a melon seed. “Where?”
He Xiaoxu smiled coldly, “NCNC, when I was telling Nana and the rest just now, they didn’t even know that such a team existed.”
Qi Zui laughed, he, too, had never heard of that team before.
“It’s said that their team’s base is not even half the size of our first floor, and all the internal logistics are settled by a single person. There are no drivers, there are no cooks, there are no cleaners, there is nothing at all…” He Xiaoxu tutted, “I suspect that their team does not even have their own custom server. Yu Qianxi is used to how comfortable life is in our team. I wonder if he can stand that sort of horrible situation.”
“Which first-class eSports team will dare to take such a big risk and accept someone who’s willing to fix matches?” Lao Kai said calmly, “His luck is already considered quite good. Recently, there has been a temporary shortage12 among the eSports teams, otherwise, he might not even be able to enter NCNC.”
Bu Nana grabbed a bunch of melon seeds, spreading it out evenly on the desk, sighing, “When Old Master Yu13 was alive, he was a respectable person. Come come, each man gets one handful of soil, let’s offer a sacrifice…”
“What are you all doing?!” Lai Hua came downstairs, yelling loudly, “It’s time for practice! Instead of practicing properly, you’re doing such trashy things here!”
Bu Nana was so scared he scrambled up, frightened out of his wits as he ran back up to the second floor.
“Where’s Yu Yang?” Lai Hua glared at Lao Kai, then looked towards Qi Zui, “He’s not back yet?”
Qi Zui silently chewed on his melon seeds, not saying a word.
Lai Hua lowered his head to look at the time, “The practice competition at night is about to start, what is he doing?”
“He said he’s dealing with some things,” He Xiaoxu waved his hand. “Hey, why are all of you being so anxious? Even if Yu Yang runs away, would Qi Zui run away? Isn’t Youth hard-working enough during his normal training? Isn’t it fine that he occasionally goes out to get some air? When I have nothing to do, I love to go out to wander about too…”
Lai Hua frowned, “What wander about? What get some air?! Can’t he breathe in the base?”
“You… forget it, it’s hard to talk to you about the things concerning us post-90s14,” He Xiaoxu stood up, patted off the melon seed shells on him, then called the cleaners to come over and clean up the living room. “Send the remaining melon seeds to the third floor, Youth has yet to try it. The melon seeds from this store are quite good…”
Lai Hua’s expression was livid. He turned toward Qi Zui, who was also a post-90s child. Qi Zui’s mood was not very good and he said casually, “Rebellious period? I don’t think I’ve ever had such a time.”
Lai Hua was dissatisfied, “This is having no discipline! Let’s find a time later on to hold a meeting for him! Not just him, Team Two also. Have them all get together and talk to the children about responsibility and honor, and to cultivate some team conviction.”
In less than half an hour, Yu Yang returned, he went to He Xiaoxu to cancel his leave15 and hurried up to the third floor, just in time for the practice match in the evening.
During the four hours practice match at night, Yu Yang took the role of the commander, and besides the necessary communications, he did not say a single additional word to Qi Zui.
After the practice match ended, it was already 1am in the morning.
“There are strong Korean eSports teams today and two godly European and American teams, so the difficulty is quite high. It’s normal to not have a good ranking.” Before they replayed the matches to do a review, Lai Hua, in a rare moment, comforted everyone first, “For the overall ranking… I calculated it, fourth place.”
Yu Yang’s face instantly darkened.
The whole night, he was the one who was giving commands.
“Eh, it’s not your fault,” Bu Nana smiled, good-natured, “If you had told me to make the decision at that time, I would have also ditched the car and tried to go around the back. None of us thought that the Korean team would be so good at camping18, hiding in wait for us even though they were suffering from the poison effect.”
Yu Yang shook his head, “My fault19.”
“We’re doing a review, not a meeting to take the blame20,” Lai Hua knocked on the table. “It’s already quite late, let’s finish the review quickly and go to sleep, don’t talk about useless things.”
By the time the review ended, it was already 3 am in the morning.
Everyone rubbed their sore necks, leaving the lounge one by one to return to their rooms to bathe and sleep.
Qi Zui took two steps, and watched as Yu Yang directly entered the training room.
In the empty third-floor training room, only Yu Yang’s computer was still lit.
Qi Zui sighed.
Yu Yang carried the notebook that Lai Hua had used to do the review, looking at it over and over again, practicing over and over again.
In the dark hallway, Qi Zui leaned against the wall, in a quiet daze.
From the training room, there was the clattering sound of someone pressing on the keyboard quickly and Qi Zui suddenly remembered what this strong sense of familiarity was.
Right now, Yu Yang was very similar to Qi Zui a few years ago.
At 5 am, Yu Yang took off his headphones, switched off his computer, and exited the lounge.
Yu Yang grabbed his jacket. He did not return to his room and instead entered the washroom on the third floor, using the cold water in the washroom to clean his face.
In the corridor with the dim morning light, Qi Zui looked at Yu Yang, not knowing what to say.
Lai Hua wanted to have a meeting with Yu Yang and He Xiaoxu would say some encouraging words to Yu Yang once in a while. They were all signaling to Qi Zui, wanting him to persuade Yu Yang more, to communicate with Yu Yang more, to let him understand the meaning of a team and the significance of inheriting his position.
Yu Yang was too young, and his experiences were too complicated. There was also another layer to his relationship with Qi Zui21…Qi Zui did not know how to speak to him at all.
The clearer he was about the burden he had shouldered in the past, the more he hesitated about whether he should pass on this burden to Yu Yang so quickly.
Qi Zui really liked Yu Yang. At twenty-five years old this year, this was the first time he had liked someone so much.
He liked him so much… that Qi Zui was no longer satisfied with the idea of retirement.
The sound of the water was so loud that Yu Yang did not hear Qi Zui’s footsteps. He wiped his face and took off his T-shirt to wet it with the cold water, then twisted it dry, using it as a towel to wipe his neck and arms.
Qi Zui looked at Yu Yang’s half naked back, and his pupils suddenly shrunk for a moment.
On Yu Yang’s back, at his shoulders, there were two tattoos of words that had yet to heal.
On his left shoulder was HOG.
On his right shoulder was Drunk.
On his left shoulder was the team, on his right shoulder was his conviction.
Without anyone needing to say anything, he had already carried everything by himself a long time ago.