At the end of the competition, HOG was ranked first, TGC was ranked second, and MOON was ranked third.
Qu Zui quietly looked at the first place ending interface on his screen and was motionless.
Fans in the audience yelled out Qi Zui’s game ID over and over again: Drunk, Drunk, Drunk.
Qi Zui’s right hand was continuously trembling because of the pain, he untied his bandages and threw it aside. He raised his hand and gently stroked his keyboard, not getting up.
The rest of HOG had already left their seats, following the staff to walk to the front of the stage and wait to collect their prize and post-competition interview. The crowded competition venue was currently extremely empty, and only Qi Zui was still sitting at his seat.
All the cameras were facing Qi Zui now, recording him in silence.
All the HOG staff backstage had already all came out. Lai Hua’s face was covered in tears, and it was like he had gone silly, not even able to say a single word. However, when He Xiaoxu wanted to go up and remind Qi Zui to collect their prize, Lai Hua pulled on him and shook his head.
“Don’t rush him.”
After a long time, Qi Zui stood up.
Qi Zui kept his computer accessories one by one. He was as skilful and calm as he was in any one of his competitions for the past eight years. He was not too fast or too slow, and unhurried.
Qi Zui’s fans even had a momentary illusion, feeling that the news about his retirement that had spread out like an explosion was just a rumor.
He had won the competition as easily as before, he had calmly kept his computer accessories as he had always done, preparing to receive his prize.
Until he started to remove his keyboard.
Qi Zui removed his keyboard, slowly coiling the wire up properly. Before he kept his keyboard into his accessories bag, Qi Zui suddenly lowered his head and lightly kissed his keyboard.
The boy who had kept holding up a sign that said “Drunk, please don’t retire” outside the venue broke down and squatted down hugging the sign he had rushed to make at the last minute and crying out loudly.
Everyone understood. Drunk was really leaving.
Qi Zui carried his accessories bag and came down.
Yu Yang’s eyes were red and he took Qi Zui’s accessories from him.
The organizers received news last night and knew that Qi Zui would be announcing something today. At the last minute, they informed everyone that they would be delaying all the post-competition arrangements and leave time for Qi Zui.
Qi Zui got onto the podium, using Korean to thank the organizers. After that, he looked towards the camera and was quiet for a few seconds.
The noisy competition venue was suddenly so quiet it was scary. Everyone was looking at Qi Zui.
Qi Zui’s fans had tears in their eyes, they still had a trace of hope. They hoped that Qi Zui could clarify that they were all rumors, telling them that all of it was fake.
The godly team of HOG had just been formed and Drunk obviously could still play.
In the solo match the day before yesterday, he had just won first place.
In the squad match today, he counter-attacked and showed them a miracle again.
All the audience present and the fans watching on the livestream platform in China were all waiting…
“I’m sorry,” Qi Zui smiled faintly, “I know what everyone wants to hear from me now… But this time, I probably can only continue up to here.”
Qi Zui’s fans had already become aware of it during Qi Zui’s first solo match, but they were still holding out hope. Now that they heard Qi Zui say it himself, a few fans almost collapsed, holding up their fan signs and crying loudly.
Backstage, Yu Yang sat on the floor, his two arms hugging Qi Zui’s accessory bag, burying his face into it, his two shoulders continuously trembling.
“Sh…” Qi Zui comforted his fans with a smile, “I don’t like to say overly serious things, but today’s recording is probably going to be archived and will be repeatedly edited and replayed in the future, so it’s better to be more formal.”
“Eight years ago…”
Qi Zui paused for a moment and continued, “I was not considered an adult yet. At that time, the eSports environment in China was very bad, practically all the clubs were losing money. Teams were either dependent on rich people paying money to maintain them or the players themselves using love to generate electricity, working in the day time and practicing in Internet cafes at night.”
Qi Zui smiled, “Of course, you guys know. Our team is a bit special, they depended on my face to maintain them.”
Several female fans laughed through their tears.
“I’m just joking,” Qi Zui smiled self-mockingly, “It depended on the few of us in the club to throw money in ourselves.”
“At that time, I followed my captain to compete in intercity competitions in Internet cafes. I’ve seen students who skipped lessons to come to competitions and win prizes, full of joy. I’ve seen male dormitories full of hope and directly forming exams, I’ve also seen martyrs who sleep and eat in Internet cafes all day long practicing but have no income,” Qi Zui looked around the stadium and smiled, “I’m quite happy, eight years have passed and the eSports industry has developed to the level it is today.”
“But unfortunately, I can only witness the change until today.”
“I don’t want to say anything more about the injury on my right hand. There will probably be a lot of documentaries for my retirement, and everyone will get to know the details.”
“In the eight years I’ve been playing, I’m already fortunate enough,” Qi Zui looked at the Chinese team members that were below the stage, “I participated in the golden age of rapid development.”
Zhou Feng looked at Qi Zui in silence. Hua Luo had tears in his eyes and could not bear it anymore, turning his head away, putting his head onto soso’s shoulder. Ye Huo looked at Qi Zui in disbelief, muttering with a Chaoshan dialect that no one could understand. The Lioness team captain and the Wolves team captain were die-hard fans of Qi Zui and had already burst into tears.
“What is even more fortunate…” Qi Zui looked at the HOG team members in a distance, “I’ve joined my team, my HOG, and I used eight years, with my strength, and used all my efforts to contribute to the team.”
“I know that after I leave, many people will be guessing as to whether HOG will wither, disband, or be swallowed up by other teams. On behalf of the club, I’ll give a unified answer here…”
“We won’t,” Qi Zui’s eyes were firm and resolute, “I will continue to stay in HOG like the previous captain of HOG, and use another identity to continue to stay in HOG. Hand of God, every member of the current HOG will be the successor of the Right Hand of God.”
“I, Qi Zui, HOG-Drunk…” Qi Zui’s voice was hoarse and he solemnly said, “Will be officially retiring today, the post of HOG captain will be transferred to Youth.”
“The old generals will not die, and the torch of learning will be passed from master to student.”
”Thank you for accompanying me these eight years, goodbye.”
Qi Zui declined the interviews, and after a long bow, he left.
Backstage, the new HOG captain Youth also declined to be interviewed.
There was a reporter that was eager to get a headline, so he busily wanted to stop Yu Yang, but after being glared at coldly by Yu Yang, the reporter was so scared that he did not dare to say anything more.
“Please understand,” He Xiaoxu tried his best to keep calm and soothed the media with a low voice, “Youth has always thought…”
He Xiaox paused, forcing down the sobs in his throat and said, restrained, “Youth has always thought that this was a beginning, he entered Team One just because of…”
“He did not expect… Anyway, may we ask everyone to give our new captain some time.”
“Thank you, everyone.”
After a lengthy event that needed to occur, HOG brought their gold pot and got on the team bus.
After all the staff got on the bus, the driver drove back to the hotel.
No one was tired or sleepy, no one was playing their phone, no one was speaking. Everyone was silent. The whole bus was dead quiet, it was completely not like a team that had just gotten first place.
“In the future…”
Qi Zui broke the silence and suddenly asked, “What should I do?”
Yu Yang who had been controlling himself to not let himself cry out: “…”
Lai Hua, whose tears were quietly falling and freely covering his face looked towards Qi Zui in disbelief, his voice hoarse, “You… What did you say?”
“I said that I don’t know what to do,” Qi Zui raised his head to look at the roof of the car, using his left arm as his pillow as he expressed his true worried, “I already said confidently that I want to stay in the team, but… our team doesn’t seem to be short of people, right?”
Qi Zui turned his head to look at Lai Hua, “Are you considering resigning? I can replace you.”
Lai Hua was so angered by Qi Zui that he forgot to cry, and he said angrily, “Who wants to resign! When I’m alive, I’m HOG’s person, even when I’m dead, I’ll be HOG’s ghost! Do you think that it’s easy being a coach?!”
Qi Zui recalled Lai Hua’s daily work and shook his head, “Nevermind, I’ve been tired for eight years, let me rest for a while.”
Qi Zui got an idea, “I can be a commentator…”
“Don’t even think about it!” He Xiaoxu shouted shrilly, “Don’t think that just because you’re retired, you don’t have to sell your body and face for the team, you have to maintain your image! I’m still relying on you to continue to get sponsors!”
Bu Nana was angered so much by them that he laughed, he wiped his tears and spread out his hands, “Can you spare us? If you become a commentator, how do you plan on introducing us when we are competing?”
“Hello everyone, this is my former teammate, the boorish fat man.”
“The thin person next to the fat man is also my former teammate, Lao Kai the pug.”
Lao Kai wiped his face and said in amusement, “Next to the thin man, is my ex-boyfriend, Youth.”
HOG’s new captain choked and started coughing.
Xin Ba tried to find a sense of existence for himself and said carefully, “Next to my ex-boyfriend is the previous substitute for the team, the cute and loyal Xin Ba.”
He Xiaoxu went crazy, “Shut up! You’re still being filmed now! Are you guys so blind that you can’t see these two large cameras?! Cry for me now! We need to use it when editing the documentary later on!”
Bu Nana tried to squeeze it out, but he could not manage to squeeze any out, so he gave up and turned around to look at Qi Zui, saying sincerely, “How about you do livestreaming? If you do livestreaming properly, you’ll definitely squeeze everyone else out, till they are unable to even earn money to eat.”
Qi Zui shook his head.
“I’ll do serious things first,” Qi Zui looked at Yu Yang who was sitting in front of him and smiled slightly, “Let me settle my affairs with my ex-boyfriend first.”
The half of the ear that his ex-boyfriend had exposed slowly turned red.