Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Galaxy Times made an objective analysis for each group in the tournament. Group A was the most competitive. The fan-favorite team since the start of the tournament, Long Sky, might even be eliminated there. Although Hao Tian was still overpowering all his opposition, many of the other teams that had survived thus far had been conserving their strength. Most of the teams had not revealed their trump cards yet. Under such conditions, even strong teams like Long Sky would have hard fights ahead.
The fans of the teams who were placed into Group A were not having any of it. The fans of the three big guilds, especially, were flaming and spamming in the forums about how the tournament was rigged and why all those strong teams were placed in the same group.
But their arguments were not at all convincing. Most of the neutral audience believed that if each of the four big guilds had been placed into different battle groups, then that would really have meant that the tournament was rigged.
Of course, what was logic in the face of the crazed fans? The discussions on the forums were getting more and more heated as the tournament entered its pre-seasons.
The pre-season matches did not count toward a team’s score and served as more of a warm up for the teams to gauge each other’s strengths or even misguide one another.
Compared to formal matches, these warm-up matches were much less pressuring on the players. The audience loved watching these matches as players often played without restraint and used whatever tactics and plays they wanted.
Each team’s mistakes and insane outplays were soon turned into memes and analyzed on the forums. Bun-hit-dog also made a few videos on these warm up matches.
After the pre-season matches would be a cooling period where teams would be given time to rest up and regroup. This was also when the clubs would amp up their advertising to hype up the next stage, which was the regionals. The waves of advertisements would be used to further excite the audience.
Once the official matches began, it was already the sixth month of the Galaxy Calendar.
Han Xiao had stayed in the shelter this whole time to farm experience points from the players. Other than that, there was not much else for him to do. He had already met the requirements for the third part of the hidden main storyline mission, but he could not get in contact with Hannes and thus could not turn in the mission.
This was the first time that Han Xiao had heard about this mission, and he was not sure how things were supposed to go. When he still could not find Hannes despite going through the Dark Net’s intelligence network, Han Xiao realized that something was wrong. If even the Dark Net, the largest intelligence hoarder on the planet, could not find him, then Hannes was really missing.
After some more digging, Han Xiao found out that Hannes had last been seen at a barren wasteland called the Somar Desert.
This kind of sound familiar… Han Xiao frowned. Oh right, I once visited this desert for a bounty mission. [Basic Strengthened Life] was also obtained from this place. It was the ruins of a nation, and there were also wanderers trying to find traces of magic or the like there.
Although Han Xiao was not very close with Hannes, since he was the NPC who gave out the hidden main storyline mission, Han Xiao was not just going to sit still as he went missing. Bennett had a similar thought.
Just as the official matches were about to start, Han Xiao left the shelter and arrived at the Somar Desert with Bennett.
Under the sun’s glare, heat waves constantly rolled across the desert floor. All one could see past the barbed wires of the Dark Net checkpoint was an endless sea of sand.
“Hannes was last seen a month ago. He resupplied at this checkpoint before entering the Somar Desert, but he never returned.”
The man in charge of the checkpoint reported the details to Han Xiao and Bennett while showing the two the supply reports proving his words.
“I have already sent out search parties to look for his tracks, but… the sands in the Somar Desert constantly shift and reform, and there haven’t been any concrete results yet,” said Bennett.
Han Xiao glanced and asked, “Can’t you come up with a better idea than that?”
Bennett was helpless about this. “Telecommunications and any other kind of communication all met a dead end. There’s no other way.”
Searching this way was like trying to look for a needle in a haystack. Han Xiao shook his head. “This is too much of a waste of time… but there really does seem to be no other way. Let’s hope something comes up soon.”
The Somar Desert buried countless secrets, and Hannes may have run into a tricky situation this time. When Han Xiao started thinking about the ruins of Felonia and the remnants of a ‘magic’ civilization, a thought started to form at the back of his mind.
“I’m afraid that Hannes may have already died.” Bennett sighed.
Han Xiao was not too sure about that. In the past, Bennett had raised tombstones for Hannes and the others, but Han Xiao felt like things were different this time. First of all, the hidden main storyline had not failed yet and was only stuck at the third stage. Han Xiao felt that Hannes should still be alive, as he was the mission NPC. Maybe this was all part of the storyline.
Since there was no other way to progress the mission, Han Xiao decided to patiently wait for something to happen. Although he was curious about what this hidden main storyline would lead to, the reward that the mission offered was not that tempting. The Great Mechanic Han did not need to work hard to farm experience at the moment, and the experience that would be rewarded upon mission completion was nothing in Han Xiao’s eyes.
After sending out some more orders for the men, the two got back on their planes to return. On the plane, Bennett suddenly said, “I heard that your shelter is welcoming more and more Inhumans. Make sure to keep a careful watch over them in case they decide to cause trouble one day.”
Han Xiao raised his eyebrow. “What are you trying to say?”
“Inhumans have unclear origins, and they often demonstrate weird behavior,” said Bennett with a heavy expression. “They are a ticking time bomb. If all the Inhumans decide to group together and rebel, the planet will see another bloodbath. We can’t take another war. My sources tell me that the Six Nations had already contacted the space civilization, and they will soon send personnel down to our planet to investigate the Inhumans.”
“I know.” Han Xiao gave off a faint smile and patted Bennett’s shoulder a few times.
Not only was Han Xiao aware of the Godora investigators’ future visit, he even knew the specific date and time when their spaceship would enter the atmosphere. This was fate smiling down on him. The spaceship sent by Godora would be his chance to venture out into the stars, in about another month.
During the next month, Han Xiao followed his original plan and continued amassing experience points. More and more players were visiting the shelter every day due to the ongoing tournament, and Han Xiao never ran out of players to farm experience from.
Han Xiao occasionally followed the tournament. There was now a new match format: the duel. Each team would send out six players to battle against another team’s six, one at a time. Winners would stay on the fight against the opposing team’s next player, until one team has no players left. There was also a point tallying system where the total points your team would win, in the case of a victory, would be six points minus the number of players who were defeated in the match.
Duels added variety to the tournament. As the official matches progressed, the situation within the battle groups had become clearer. Battle group B, C, D’s respective leading and runner-up teams had pulled away from the other teams in the group and were guaranteed to go to the next stage. They were Temple of God, Thunder Storm, Mountain Sea, and teams from three other foreign guilds.
Frenzied Sword’s team was unfortunately one of the bottom-placing teams and had no chance to advance. However, being able to enter the official matches had already allowed this newbie team to suddenly explode in popularity. Their team’s success had caused Lone Crane to become ambitious, and he wanted to obtain an even better score.
However, reality was harsh. All the teams that had survived to that stage were strong teams with elite players. Their team’s overall strength was just too low, so no matter how hard he worked, they suffered defeat after defeat.
Lone Crane was shocked, and he realized that his hard work was not going to make the difference. His ambition was also blown to the winds.
But he was still a veteran and was quickly able to reset his mindset. “That’s enough. It’s already not bad that we could get this far and fight with all these top teams.”
With this thought in mind, Lone Crane believed that he would be receiving handsome reward from his gaming club. However, reality gave him a face-slap, yet again.
Rivervale gaming club official announced that they were going to have Frenzied Sword take over the team captain position for the future. Lone Crane immediately lost his standing, and the announcement was even followed by them sending Lone Crane to terminate his contract. He was utterly flabbergasted.
The club’s management were not blind. Frenzied Sword’s performance in this tournament was clear for all to see. He had made it into the top three in the individual category and qualified for the regionals before finally becoming the only Mechanic left within Planet Aquamarine’s top sixteen individual fights contestant. He was even dubbed ‘China’s #1 Mechanical Pugilist’!
A player with such a potential would naturally be taken extra care of by Rivervale. This was only the first tournament, and there were still many more chances in the future. They planned on having Frenzied Sword become the club’s pillar and were in the process of building a team around Frenzied Sword.
On the other hand, Lone Crane, who lacked both results and commitment, was mercilessly kicked out of the club.
Frenzied Sword did not really like Rivervale at first, but now that he knew they wanted to build a team around him, he was ecstatic—this was treatment that not even some star players would get.
Once he obtained good results, his professional gaming career would kick off. Frenzied Sword was already somewhat of a star now, but he was not satisfied and always looked to improve himself to do even better in the future. He was full of determination, and he also made a note to himself to hang on to Han Xiao no matter what. Good things would always follow if he did.
Frenzied Sword’s results for the first tournament was actually already better than in the past. Han Xiao felt emotional as it was like watching his own kid grow up… Um, or more like raising a player.
On the other hand, Electrolux, who had made it into the top sixteen in Han Xiao’s past, could not even make it out of the elimination rounds this time. This was mainly due to Han Xiao’s interference with his early development this time, and it would not even have mattered if Electrolux had grade A potential for his Esper abilities.
In Planet Aquamarine’s tournament, only battle group A’s standings were still unclear.
This was a true death group. There are only a few more rounds of matches left, yet the top five teams were basically even in points. There was no way to tell who would come out on top in the end. Currently, Long Sky held third place.