Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
The group matches were coming to an end. The situation was becoming clearer. Long Sky was in eighth place, and Temple of God was in ninth place; their point difference was not a small one. Temple of God had to get a huge win in order to surpass Long Sky, but the next match was between the two of them. This meant that no matter who won and who lost, there would definitely be one side that qualified.
Many Chinese spectators felt their hearts being squeezed. They all hoped that all three Chinese teams could enter the top eight, but the situation was a very difficult one. This internal battle was expected since the grouping was decided, but when it really happened, they were still nervous about it. Group C was filled with strong teams, so it was very difficult to gain points. Many teams that had the chance to qualify did not even enter the top ten, so Long Sky and Temple of God’s result was already quite good.
Some players calculated the points and came up with a conclusion that made the people feel very complicated. Long Sky had more points. If they deliberately held back and lost this match, giving Temple of God enough points, Temple of God would be able to jump to the seventh place while Long Sky would drop to the ninth place. In that case, Long Sky’s point difference with the eighth-place team would be very small. The matches coming up for them was easier than those for the eighth-place team, so there would be a very high chance for Long Sky to get back to eighth place. This way, there was a chance for both teams to qualify.
The worst outcome of the internal fight would be Temple of God winning with a slight advantage and only getting a few points while Long Sky lost and did not get any points. This would mean that this round was a waste and did not produce many points. Not only would Temple of God’s situation remain unchanged, but Long Sky’s ranking would also become unstable.
Working together secretly was the only way to achieve the best results.
However, this was just the thoughts of the fans. Hao Tian had never been someone who would do such things. His professionalism made him go all out against any opponent, and it was absolutely impossible for him to fake the match. His personality was very simple and direct, so he did not want to bother about these things.
Long Sky did not plan to hold back at all. This internal battle was tragic and intense. Both sides had armor and were similar in strength. The outcome of this battle was Long Sky getting the upper hand and winning, defeating Temple of God and making their ranking more stable.
Temple of God’s hope to qualify was destroyed by Long Sky.
A part of Temple of God’s fans immediately became enraged. They scolded and blamed Long Sky and even made it into a matter of betrayal. However, most people, including a portion of Temple of God’s fans, did not agree with such comments. They felt that Long Sky did nothing wrong. This was a competition, and competition meant going all out; playing fake matches was an unethical act, so there was not much to discuss when they lost after giving their all.
Of course, Temple of God stood on the side with moral high ground, telling the fans to not blame Long Sky, saying that they were the ones that did not perform well. Of course, it was impossible for them to be not upset; their journey in the International League had come to an end, but their competitor continued their journey by stepping on their corpses. However, Temple of God had always been very realistic. The situation had already been determined, so there was no need to be angry about it. The problem that they thought of was preventing more losses, which was what Li Ge was good at. He was proficient in building a good image and guiding the comments.
Under Li Ge’s lead, not only did they deliberately not fight seriously in the last few matches, but they changed their tactics and fought more fiercely and aggressively. It felt like they knew that they had no chance to qualify, so they stopped being so cautious and played the game their way. More importantly, their goal was to give the impression that they wanted to make sure the opponents did not get too many points from them, which meant that they were indirectly helping Long Sky drag the enemies down, building an image of never giving up and showcasing the spirit of teamwork. Then they found someone to make this kind of ‘deduction’ in the forums and lead the others to agree. Temple of God’s image became positive and selfless instantly; they were on the peak of the moral high ground. When people talked about Temple of God, they all praised them.
This way, not only did they receive fame and a better name, they also reduced the negative impact of not qualifying. Furthermore, they used this method to create a contrast between them and Long Sky, who defeated their fellow countrymen, emphasizing how ‘virtuous’ they were. The Temple of God superiors were somewhat satisfied with this result.
Of the four largest clubs in China, Temple of God was the most commercialized club. If losing the battle would give them more benefits, Han Xiao did not doubt that they would do that.
As the last match ended, the qualified teams were decided.
6. Kangaroo Boxing
7. Rose Knight
8. Long Sky
Dynasty had the best performance in the group stages. Around the middle of the competition, they surpassed Devil and took first place, but in the last few matches, they held back purposely and dropped to second place. This was because the battle in the finals was determined according to the ranking of the group stages. If Dynasty was ranked in first place, their opponent would have been Long Sky, who were ranked in eighth place, which would not be good. Therefore, after discussing internally, Dynasty decided to drop one place. However, everyone knew that if Dynasty wanted to, they could absolutely have maintained their unbeaten streak and entered the finals without losing a single match.
This ranking was completely different from the one in Han Xiao’s memory. Han Xiao’s existence had a butterfly effect and changed the situation of the league. He vaguely remembered that one of the top eight in his previous life was Korea’s Kimchi, but Kimchi was now below tenth place and had been replaced.
There were many strong teams in the top eight that had shone brightly in every season of the league in his previous life. Sadly, their novice planet was very distant, otherwise Han Xiao would have drawn those pro players into his faction. Their ability to complete missions was very dependable.
In the top eight, only China and America had two teams qualifying. Dynasty had been the only one in the top eight in his previous life, but Long Sky was now qualified as well.
In the Singles, Frenzied Sword qualified in fifteenth place, and King Admiral qualified in sixth place. There were two Chinese players qualifying as well. With strong teams and highly skilled players from so many areas competing on the same stage, getting this result was amazing.
The Galaxy Times did an episode focused on analyzing the performance of the teams that qualified, predicting the future situation in the finals. They came to the conclusion that three teams had the highest potential of becoming the champions—Devil, Dynasty, and Key. With the match system being Best of Five, every team would definitely use all their trump cards and target the opponent in any way possible.
The schedule of the finals was released. The first round was Key versus Tulips.
During the group stages, Han Xiao had stayed in Juberly Hub and temporarily rejected the partnership invitations from other mercenary groups, letting his team rest. He was not doing nothing; he had built more machinery, guided Aroshia, commanded the Sunil Division to do other missions, and helped Herlous in combat training.
Now that the group stages had ended and the ranking was up to his expectations, Han Xiao did not focus on the details of the competition anymore. No matter what results the teams got, it would not impact him much. He continued to expand the business scope of the mercenary group.
It just so happened that the Head Butler of the Floating Dragon Island, Jenny, had sent him a supply mission. The Logistics Manager Haier had requested a new batch of resources. The seller’s team was on a Godoran colonized planet in the Gavin Star System, so they required Han Xiao to escort the goods.
Ames almost did not manage anything at all; Jenny had always been the one dealing with all matters. Compared to the other three beyond grade A individuals in the Shattered Star Ring, Ames was the most carefree in terms of making his forces stronger. The other three more or less had armies, while Ames only had a group of guards. The Black Star Mercenary Group was the only external combat force under her command, but they were actually just running errands. After all, compared to those large fleets, a medium mercenary group was as insignificant as a speck of dust.
Floating Dragon’s protection did not come free; his Black Star Mercenary Group was Floating Dragon’s field team on paper, so they often had to do some errand missions such as escorting supplies, chasing enemies, collecting intel, and so on. It was similar to the daily missions of a faction; it did not have a high experience reward and was mainly meant for increasing the faction favorability. Han Xiao’s faction favorability with Floating Dragon was already at 2,100 points, and the relationship had become [Friendly].
Han Xiao brought the others and headed out. As the players used Gathering Crystals to enter the match, they were not limited to one location, so they acted together with Han Xiao.
Although the competition was important, following Han Xiao was crucial as well, or there would be no one to repair their armor.