With the second match, it was Happy’s turn to play the away game. The day before, they flew over to Blue Rain’s home city, City G. A night of rest allowed them to recover from the fatigue of travel. That morning, they warmed up in the temporary training room specifically for away teams. In the afternoon, there weren’t any group activities, so everyone found their own ways to get into condition. When it was about time, they would go over to the stadium together to familiarize themselves with the surroundings, and soon after that, tonight’s match would be upon them.
After lunch, everyone returned to their own rooms to take a break. Wei Chen, smoking, stood by the hotel room window and absently stared outside.
“Isn’t this already your second time here? And the second time you’ve stayed here? What’s with the sad face?” Ye Xiu said from the side. Like their place in Upper Forest Park, he and Wei Chen were rooming together.
“Last time we came, I don’t think I went to visit the team,” Wei Chen said.
“You want to visit?” Ye Xiu asked. He knew that by “team,” Wei Chen was referring to Team Blue Rain.
“Before, not really, but after last match, I suddenly kind of want to,” said Wei Chen.
“I understand,” Ye Xiu said, nodding.
“You understand?” Surprised, Wei Chen turned to look at him.
“Last match was a struggle for you, so now you need to go in front of those guys and aggressively show off,” said Ye Xiu, with a face of sympathy.
“Oh, fuck off!” Wei Chen said snappily.
“If you want to go then just go. Do you really need to waver over something as small as this?” After that, Ye Xiu didn’t pay him any more mind. He went to go take a nap to rest up. Wei Chen stood by the window and continued to waver for quite a while. In the end, he made up his mind, firmly finished and extinguished his cigarette, and left.
Ye Xiu slept for the entire afternoon. By the time he woke up, Chen Guo was already calling everyone to head over to the stadium together to familiarize themselves with it. By this time, Wei Chen had already returned, and was acting as though nothing was up. Had he gone? Ye Xiu didn’t ask, nor did he say anything about it. After Happy assembled, everyone left the hotel together and arrived at Blue Rain’s stadium, Xiaochuan Stadium.
Last time it had been somewhat unfamiliar, but this was now their second time here. Following the workers, Happy filed into the stadium. All of the facilities needed for the match were already prepared, and Happy’s members were simply wandering around, imagining the atmosphere that this place would have in a few hours. They would often do this during the regular season as well, so everyone was used to it. No one could say for sure whether it was useful, but because everyone did this, there wouldn’t be any downside.
“You’re here!” As Happy was aimlessly hanging around, they suddenly heard someone greeting them. When they turned, they saw Blue Rain’s Captain Yu Wenzhou. He was just by himself, calmly standing to the side and looking at the entire Team Happy. The greeting had sounded less like an opponent, and more like a host welcoming some guests.
“Yeah, we’re here.” Ye Xiu answered for Happy.
“Good luck with your preparations.” Yu Wenzhou dipped his head and didn’t bother them any further, leaving them to their devices.
“What was that for?” Chen Guo asked Ye Xiu. The home team players generally wouldn’t come to familiarize themselves with the stadium beforehand. Of course, a few players had their own unique habits, but it didn’t seem that Yu Wenzhou had been exposed for having any such special habits.
“Who knows,” said Ye Xiu, watching Yu Wenzhou depart. “Just casually wandering around, probably!”
The next time they saw Blue Rain’s current captain, it was already nighttime, right before the match’s start. The two teams were lined up in the player passageway, waiting to enter.
The two captains at the front of the two lines represented their teams as they encouraged each other. The air actually seemed quite harmonious. After that, the teams entered the stadium as normal, nothing out of the ordinary. But because Blue Rain had lost the previous match, they had to win today’s match no matter what. As soon as the players entered, Blue Rain’s home fans erupted.
In order to cheer on their team today, special preparations had been made on Blue Rain’s side. Guild Leader Changing Spring had specifically recruited helpers and arranged everyone in all corners of the stadium. This let the devoted fans act like a train, driving up the spirits of the whole stadium.
And Changing Spring himself was sitting in the east seating section, directly across from the west.
On the west side was the section reserved for the away team fans, while the east side had Blue Rain’s diehard fans. Over here, they were directly opposite the away team fans, and could easily engage in contests with them.
With the explosion from the Blue Rain fans, the Happy fans on the west section weren’t about to be outdone. Even though there was no way for them to get the upper hand due to their inferior numbers, they would certainly let the opponent recognize their presence. The fan squad following Happy for the playoffs had been personally organized by Wu Chen. Right now, the west seating area included Thousand Creations, Horse Shooter, Seven Fields, Sleeping Moon, these players who were the backbone of Guild Happy. Everyone had made thorough preparations with sophisticated equipment, all sorts of eye-catching noisemakers that swiftly began to disrupt the home crowd’s cheering.
“Wow, the players have only just entered the stadium, and the fans on both sides are already going at each other! It looks like today’s match is going to be exceptionally exciting!” said the broadcast commentator Pan Lin, feeling the atmosphere in the stadium.
“Blue Rain has no more path of retreat. They’re going to have to give their all in this match,” said Li Yibo.
“But Happy won their last match by only a narrow margin. Blue Rain isn’t under too much pressure, right?” Pan Lin said.
“Well, a team should never let themselves feel too much pressure. But if they let down their guard because Happy only won narrowly, then that attitude would be very bad for them. I trust that Blue Rain would not do such a thing. Whether a narrow or a big victory, Blue Rain’s situation right now would be the same,” said Li Yibo.
“You’re right. Right now, the players from both teams have already arrived at their own competitor booths, and the match will start soon. For the group arena, Happy will probably send Ye Xiu up first again, right? Then on the home side, who will Blue Rain send up to deal with Ye Xiu? The win or loss of this first point can have a big impact on the morale of both sides!” said Pan Lin.
“But they also have to be careful, what if Happy doesn’t send Ye Xiu first? Then whatever plans Blue Rain makes to deal with him might come to nothing, and it’ll hurt their own rhythm,” said Li Yibo.
“Then what should Blue Rain do?” Pan Lin said.
“There isn’t a perfect way to deal with this, so let’s just see what they do. This is the pressure exerted by a top-tier player!” said Li Yibo.
“Alright, let us wait and see. Will Happy continue to send Ye Xiu onstage first? And what kind of response will Blue Rain make? Right now, there are still five minutes until the match officially begins,” said Pan Lin.
The five minutes passed in the blink of an eye. The judge came to call for them, and the two teams began to send their players onstage.
“Ye Xiu! As it turns out, it’s still Ye Xiu!” Pan Lin shouted. On Happy’s side, Ye Xiu had already stood up.
“What about Blue Rain? Who will Blue Rain send up to battle?” Pan Lin looked at Blue Rain’s side, but still didn’t find his answer. But at this moment, the digital screen in the stadium displayed the names.
Happy, Ye Xiu, Lord Grim.
Blue Rain, Yu Wenzhou, Swoksaar.
It was as though the broadcast froze, entering five seconds of dead silence.
Pan Lin’s mouth had fallen open. For a long time, he was unable to say anything. In the stadium, too, when the names came out, it went completely quiet.
“Yu Yu Wenzhou?” Pan Lin double-checked the words on the screen, and then took another look at Blue Rain’s player area, where Yu Wenzhou was already walking toward the stage.
Yes, it was Yu Wenzhou.
In reality, when Ye Xiu had stood up, Yu Wenzhou had also already stood up on Blue Rain’s side, and when Pan Lin had checked the screen, he had seen that. But he never would have thought that Yu Wenzhou was the player that Blue Rain was sending out. He had subconsciously thought that he’d stood up to let another player pass by, or maybe as the captain he was giving some last reminder to the player about to go onstage. Who would’ve thought that this was Yu Wenzhou himself about to head onstage?
Yu Wenzhou was about to 1v1?
Five seconds of silence, a stammered announcement of Yu Wenzhou’s name, and then another five seconds of silence. Finally, Pan Lin recovered for good, and began yelling with disbelief in his voice.
“Yu Wenzhou! It’s actually Yu Wenzhou! Blue Rain’s first player in the group arena, the player facing off against Ye Xiu, is actually Yu Wenzhou?! Coach Li!” At the end, Pan Lin called for Li Yibo. Such a big thing happening, you hurry up and say a few words!
“This is indeed an extremely unexpected arrangement.” Li Yibo forced himself to remain calm. He couldn’t allow himself to be as passionate or volatile as Pan Lin, he had to display how much more of a refined person he was.
“Yu Wenzhou I don’t even remember the last time he appeared in a 1v1,” said Li Yibo.
“Today he’s suddenly going onstage, this is probably a tactic specifically targeted toward Happy sending Ye Xiu first?” said Pan Lin.
“I would think so”
“Has Yu Wenzhou found the secret to dealing with the unspecialized Lord Grim?” said Pan Lin.
“This There probably isn’t any such secret, right?” said Li Yibo.
“Then what’s he thinking?” said Pan Lin.
Li Yibo couldn’t answer that question, and so he didn’t. Yu Wenzhou, who hadn’t played an individual match in who knows how long, today wanted to challenge Ye Xiu, challenge this season’s King of Dueling, the unspecialized Lord Grim who had been an incomparable headache for countless players
They hadn’t even finished processing this reality by the time the two characters had already finished loading in, and the round officially began.
“The battle’s starting, right now the battle’s starting, Happy’s Ye Xiu, against Blue Rain’s Yu Wenzhou. This is a matchup in a group arena, I don’t think I need to describe just how unusual this confrontation is?” Pan Lin shouted.
At this time, the two players entering the battle had already begun conversation in the chat. The first one to speak was Ye Xiu.
“You’re really too bold, aren’t you!” Ye Xiu said.
“I’m giving it a try,” said Yu Wenzhou.
“If you end up winning this, no one in the pro circle will have any face left! This season’s King of Dueling finally taken down, and it’s by you?” Ye Xiu said.
“Don’t rule out that possibility,” said Yu Wenzhou.
“How’s your hand speed right now? Can you reach 200?” Ye Xiu said.
“So-so!” Yu Wenzhou answered.