After ending the livestream, Qi Zui went rummaging in the second floor rec room. As he suspected, the base’s first aid kit only stocked some commonly used medicines such as cold and fever relief and didn’t have burn ointment.
Fortunately, there was a 24 hour pharmacy not far from the base. Without alerting others, Qi Zui drove out to buy a tube of ointment and returned.
Just this afternoon the manager warned him against scaring off the children so Qi Zui hesitated and refrained from directly entering the first floor training room.
By chance, Yu Yang came out not long after.
Qi Zui leaned his head slightly to examine the red, festering wound in the center of Yu Yang’s right hand: “It doesn’t hurt?”
Yu Yang looked at Qi Zui with red eyes, his chest heaving. The countless words bottled up in his heart for over a year vied to pour out and soon squeezed his chest to the point of bursting.
His lips moved, but before a word could be said tears suddenly started to fall.
Turning his head to the side, Yu Yang gritted his teeth to regain a semblance of self-control, not allowing any sound to escape.
Qi Zui quietly observed Yu Yang.
If this was an act, then Yu Yang coming to play professionally was truly a waste. He could go out the door, take a left turn, and enroll at the Beijing Academy of Film. His long term career prospects would be far better.
Adjusting the team uniform, Qi Zui took a step forward: “You……”
“Qi-Ge! Did you plan to livestream once and push back against this past three months of news?” He Xiaoxu had spent a long time searching all over the third floor without locating Qi Zui. Hearing that the other had grabbed car keys intending to go out, He Xiaoxu purposefully came to the first floor entrance to intercept him. Sure enough he found Qi Zui here. Walking over while grumbling: “What are you trying to do, huh? We haven’t even officially announced Youth yet. Just now you…… eh you, you two……”
Qi Zui closed his eyes: “Fuck……”
Yu Yang didn’t want others to see his shameful tear stricken appearance. He turned to the side in a panic, vigorously wiping his face.
With few choices available, Qi Zui turned his head to shoot a look at He Xiaoxu and under his breath: “Shh……”
“What is……” He Xiaoxu as an interloper failed to get the hint, “I was just…… I was just looking for you to talk……”
Qi Zui rubbed the space between his brows, forcing down his annoyance: “Can we talk later?”
He Xiaoxu sensing the atmosphere was a little complicated, weakly replied: “Sure.”
Qi Zui waved his hand indicating to quickly get lost. He Xiaoxu looked around and saw that the youth trainees in the first floor training room had already raised their heads to peer out from the glass room. He awkwardly said: “You two…… be careful of making a scene. And there’s something else…… Today, Lai Hai specifically emphasized…… that the work-life balance is to be strictly managed. Even one minute late will be counted as violating regulation. The youth trainees have an access controlled doorway, and it will soon be 1:00 AM. Youth, you should keep an eye on the time. Qi-Ge, you…… I’ll go wait for you on the third floor.”
His head aching, Qi Zui snapped: “Fuck off.”
He Xiaoxu made himself scarce upon hearing those words. Each member of Team Two and the youth trainees were still stretching their necks to peer through the glass wall, eagerly watching the two. Qi Zui slanted his head toward the training room to shoot a sweeping glare. Most with a tactful sensibility retreated in a flash behind their computer screens, pretending to be busy in a flurry of activity.
“Once a day, apply then wrap in a layer of gauze. Don’t wrap too tightly.” Qi Zui passed the burn ointment over to Yu Yang, and from the pocket of the exercise pants he pulled out a box of gauze, “If it’s really painful, you can request for some time off. Don’t ask the person in charge of you guys. They usually don’t approve. It’s fine to come find me…… I can approve it.
Yu Yang shook his head, his voice stuffy: “No need. It doesn’t interfere with my training.”
“Doesn’t interfere?” Qi Zui smiled and didn’t pressure him, “It’s up to you……”
Qi Zui took out his cell phone to glance at the time…… 12:54 AM.
A youth trainee violating regulation once will forfeit a month of wages. Qi Zui surmised they would be unable to finish talking today: “You should return first. If there’s anything else…… it can be said later.”
“I’m not afraid of breaking regulation.” Yu Yang rushed to speak. Hanging his head right after, he stiffly admitted: “I frequently return to the dormitory at 3:00-4:00 AM.”
“I heard.” Qi Zui fell reticent for a while before questioning: “Did you contact Yu Qianxi to have him recruit you into the team?”
Yu Yang nodded in response.
Qi Zui laughed lightly: “He was that kind hearted? I’ve never seen him give a favor for free. What did you promise for him to help you this much?”
Yu Yang hesitated, shaking his head: “I can’t say.”
It came as no surprise. Yu Qianxi undoubtedly warned Yu Yang somehow, but Qi Zui didn’t particularly care. Besides, even if Yu Yang refused to explain it, he could investigate it himself and perhaps uncover even more.
Qi Zui leaned against the wall once more. As he considered Yu Yang, the hallway was all quiet.
Abruptly, “Did you lie in game just now?”
Qi Zui calmly regarded Yu Yang as he spoke with indifference: “Be a little wiser. Don’t use the same tactics to do this with me now. Speak honestly.”
Yu Yang looked up. After a moment of hesitation he nodded.
“Do you like Qi Zui?”
“I like him.”
Qi Zui was astounded. He sneered and turned to go upstairs.
Distracted for a few seconds, the contemptuous smile on Qi Zui’s face affected Yu Yang profoundly. A year ago Qi Zui also wore this expression while tossing back his cell phone and disappearing right after.
Yu Yang instantly felt panic rising. He opened his mouth. With no external influence, he again was struck dumb.
“I, I…… I!” Yu Yang’s right hand clenched tightly, a layer of sweat seeped from his back. He struggled fiercely, exerting his entire strength to stammer: “I! I joined…… HO…… HOG.”
Gnashing his teeth, Yu Yang bit out one word at a time: “It’s not, it’s not because, the battle team is st…… strong.”
Qi Zui turned his head around. Yu Yang was so ashamed he dared not look at him: “It’s…… because…… because of you.”
A string in Qi Zui’s heart that long had not been plucked by a person suddenly made a light strum, vibrating in his chest a slight ache.
“You……” Qi Zui unconsciously rubbed his wrist, “This is the only lie you said?”
With a red flush on his cheeks, Yu Yang nodded in confirmation.
He raised his head and struggled to speak: “You…… You to me……”
At precisely 1:00 AM, the first floor training room banged opened. A few youth trainees one after another walked out. Yu Yang felt endlessly embarrassed. Lai Hua coming downstairs from the second floor saw Yu Yang and hurried to catch him: “You’re here! Come over, and let’s go over your matches from today.”
Yu Yang hadn’t finished his sentence yet. He feared Qi Zui would leave and watched him anxiously. With two youth trainees obstructing Lai Hua’s sight, he simply didn’t notice Qi Zui. Lai Hua frowned, urging: “Hurry up, too much time was wasted today. The sooner we start the postgame analysis, the sooner you can sleep.
Qi Zui hesitated a moment before deciding to leave first, heading upstairs.
Trapped in his feelings, Yu Yang stubbornly stood there for a while longer. Only after Lai Hua repeatedly shouted at him, he then followed the other man.
“God Qi, I’ve got a controversial post concerning you. You wanna take a sec to hear about it?” On the third floor in the midst of eating a midnight snack, Bu Nana laughed until his belly ached, “Not even half an hour after your livestream ended, a video of you was already uploaded onto Weibo. Hahahahaha! You have a German level eight proficiency fan who translated the entire game chat. Hahahahahahahahaha! Your performance this time wasn’t too shabby. Seriously, no one is as big of a tease as you, Captain Qi.
He Xiaoxu originally thought while no one was paying attention, the matter could quietly be swept by. Unexpectedly due to the astonishing efficiency of Qi Zui’s fans, the forum and Weibo were already filled with shitposts about Qi Zui. He Xiaoxu gave up in despair and simply used HOG’s official Weibo to reblog that video followed by a line of ‘Hahahahahahaha’, conveniently forcing ahead of time the topic toward introducing everyone to Youth.
“You! It’s all because of you!” He Xiaoxu lamented nonstop, “We haven’t even decided where to place Youth yet, and you outed him first! Now everyone knows Youth joined us here. The club is having me release a public announcement tomorrow. What do I even release?”
Qi Zui knew he was at fault. Without protesting he sat down at his own computer and ambiguously replied: “If it’s not decided, then let’s decide now. Today he and I had a firefight and later teamed up for a random squad. He’s not bad. His skills pass muster.”
“Pass, my ass! He failed three consecutive sport psychological assessments. According to the mental health counselor’s evaluation, he absolutely cannot join Team Two.” He Xiaoxu had a pounding headache, “As soon as we officially announce, we’ll need to sign a contract but sign what? How do we sign him? Do we really have him join Team Two?”
Qi Zui’s brows creased: “What did you just say?”
A discontent He Xiaoxu: “Have him sign what contract! Ah?!”
“Not that……” Qi Zui’s brows pinched further, “Nowadays there are even people who can’t pass the psychological assessment?”
He Xiaoxu sighed, nodding: “There are. Furthermore, the issue is quite serious. Otherwise why do you think I haven’t signed a contract with him yet and have him mingling with the youth trainees?”
The sport psychology assessment, this exam is comparable to evaluating whether a long distance runner has a sturdy pair of legs. Some battle groups recruited so many newcomers that they don’t verify this thoroughly. In eight years of activity, this is the first time Qi Zui heard of a professional athlete that failed this test.
“He……” The impenetrable and invisible mist settled in Qi Zui’s heart, as if about to disperse, “Yu Yang, he……”
“Team Two just happens to be short a fragger , and Yu Yang excels in close range combat. Actually, he might be a good fit.” He Xiaoxu reasoned out loud while interrupting Qi Zui’s train of thought. Seizing on the vague plan, He Xiaoxu raised his head to ask Qi Zui, “How about we make an exception and let him join Team Two?”
Qi Zui returned to his thoughts. He considered it for a moment before shaking his head: “No.”
He Xiaoxu now thoroughly exasperated: “Then what do you want to do?! Is this revenge for making you livestream?!”
Qi Zui removed his jacket and looked at the vacant spot next to his own computer: “Our Team One is lacking a substitute player.”
Edited by Armaria and thanks yudun & AlexPT for the suggestion on sao, that…sao.
Translator’s Notes: In the next month or so, I’ll be checking the previous chapters for consistency and doing some minor revisions now that I have a better handle of things. *cough* ex. I never made a note of Yu Qianxi’s spelling change to match the audio drama when I started the TL, and there are some lines here and there could use improvement *cough* Anyhoo, if you find any errors in this chapter, please let me know! -akarin
 突击位 fragger: Because this will come up several more times, I’ve opted to use the general FPS terminology to describe a player role specializing in high kill counts. More generally, it’s a commando type or the “damage/DPS dealer” (as Bu Nana is described in Ch.1).