Chapter 1 – The Banished Battle God
Click click, tap tap… …
A pair of nimble hands fluttered across the keyboard and mouse. The rhythm of the tapping sounds produced were like a lively symphony. The screen flashed with bright light and the opponent fell to the ground in a spray of blood.
“Ha ha.” Ye Qiu laughed as he lifted his hand to take the cigarette that was held in the corner of his mouth. The silver white smoke had already formed into a long cloud, but Ye Qiu continued with his work, brandishing his mouse and striking his keyboard, not in the least bit shaken. The removed cigarette was quickly extinguished in an eccentrically-shaped ashtray on the table. Ye Qiu’s hand quickly flew back to the keyboard. Right when he was about to say a few words to his opponent, the door of his room was suddenly pushed open with a ‘bang’.
Ye Qiu didn’t turn his head as if he had been waiting for this moment, merely asking: “Arrived?”
“Arrived.” Su Mucheng also replied simply.
“Then let’s go!” Ye Qiu once again declined his opponent’s request for a duel. He gently removed the card from Glory’s dedicated log-in device. He headed to the door and grabbed a jacket from a clothes hanger on his way out.
The night had already darkened considerably, but Club Excellent Era’s lights were still bright. Ye Qiu and Su Mucheng walked out of a room and walked all the way to the end of the corridor. Located here was a spacious conference room; at the entrance, digital display screens almost completely covered the walls. They showed the rankings of the “Glory Professional Alliance” and a few skill statistics.
Ranking: Team Excellent Era - 19th — second to last place.
Once a trump card team with three consecutive titles as Champions in the league, there former achievements were exceptionally dazzling. Now it hung brightly on the wall as if heartlessly mocking everyone.
The atmosphere in the room wasn’t heavy. On the contrary, it was somewhat friendly. The members of Excellent Era were all gathered around one person as if they were stars surrounding the moon. They ignored Ye Qiu’s arrival and the ones that did, quickly swept over him with expressions of coldness and mockery.
“Ye Qiu, the club has already decided that the transfer member Sun Xiang will take over your position as captain. From now on, Sun Xiang will be in control of your account One Autumn Leaf.” Club Manager saw the arrival of Ye Qiu and immediately turned his head to speak. Without saying it in advance or conveying it tactfully, he heartlessly notified him in an ice-cold manner as if he were throwing away a ball of already-used toilet paper.
Su Mucheng opened her mouth wanting to speak, but Ye Qiu lightly tugged at her sleeve. He smiled and nodded his head at her indicating that he wasn’t surprised.
“Brother Ye, I’m sorry, on arriving, I just took your position.” On the left hand side of the conference table —— the exclusive seat for Excellent Era’s team captain should have been Ye Qiu’s seat. But Sun Xiang casually sat there as he said these few words. However, his eye didn’t even glance at Ye Qiu. This was already no longer ignorance, rather it was a type of disregard. His gaze fell upon Su Mucheng’s body who had arrived with Ye Qiu.
To be fair, Su Mucheng was indeed more attractive to the eye than Ye Qiu. She was known as the Glory Professional Alliance’s number one beauty. Even if she was thrown into the show business, she would still be considered a rare beauty.
Even for those Excellent Era members who could see her everyday, they were still somewhat stunned when they saw Su Mucheng enter. Only they quickly recovered because there was another important person that deserved their attention.
“Ha ha, Brother Xiang, with those words, this position definitely suits you.” Everyone that had recovered promptly scrambled for their lines after he said this.
“Right, some people are already old and out-of-date!”
“One Autumn Leaf really should follow Brother Xiang’s commands so that our abilities can truly be displayed as battle strength!”
This was the focus that everyone payed attention to at this moment — Sun Xiang, Glory Professional Alliance generation’s genius level player. In the league last season, Sun Xiang won the Best Rookie title with his MVP-like stats and led the mediocre Team Conquering Clouds to eighth place. His advance to the playoffs was hopeful, but midway, he transferred to the collapsing Team Excellent Era. Although Excellent Era’s accomplishments were terrible, they possessed a player who was regarded as a Battle God in Glory: Battle Mage One Autumn Leaf.
These Excellent Era members actually shamelessly approached Sun Xiang, who hadn’t even been a part of the Alliance for two years. It was clear that Sun Xiang would be the future leader of the team. Sun Xiang comfortably accepted their flattery and was unwilling to part with it so much so that he wouldn’t glance at Ye Qiu; feeling that such an action was beneath him.
“Ye Qiu, hand over your account card for One Autumn Leaf to Sun Xiang!” the team manager said.
Even if Ye Qiu was unfazed before, at this moment, his heart couldn’t help but feel somewhat hurt. Ye Qiu, One Autumn Leaf, the relationship between these two names was obvious. (TLNote: Ye Qiu means Autumn Leaf). This was the name he had created when he entered the online game world of Glory. This account had accompanied Ye Qiu for a full ten years. Originally, the newbie became known as a textbook level expert. The insignificant battle mage also turned into the famed “Battle God” in Glory. But seven years ago when he entered the professional circle, he signed a business contract with the club and all the rights to One Autumn Leaf transferred to the club. Ye Qiu had known that there would be a day they would separate and this day finally arrived.
Ye Qiu’s fingers slightly trembled. To a pro-player, steady hands were a must. This inner quality could not be ingrained any further into the old veteran’s body but right now, Ye Qiu’s hands were trembling. Su Mucheng twisted her head. She did not want to see this scene, but was powerless to help.
Everyone took delight in his misfortune as One Autumn Leaf, that silver white account card, was handed over to Sun Xiang.
Sun Xiang’s eyes lit up with greed and happiness. He had willingly transferred and joined the inferior Excellent Era Club in order to have One Autumn Leaf’s account. One Autumn Leaf’s former owner Ye Qiu’s achievements were not good in the last few years and he often broke out in arguments with the club. Sun Xiang had 100% confidence in replacing him.
“Mine!” In the instant he retrieved the card, Sun Xiang felt a burst of excitement but felt a trace of resistance from the card.
Sun Xiang felt Ye Qiu’s reluctance and proudly chortled: “Let go Brother Ye. Your hands are unexpectedly shaking to this degree. With these hands how are you going to display your power as a Battle God? Better to let me do it! I’ll let the title Battle God to once again echo throughout Glory. You? Retire!”
After saying this, Sun Xiang saw that silent Ye Qiu, who just only handed over One Autumn Leaf, had a hint of pain flash across his eyes. He discovered in shock that Ye Qiu’s trembling hands suddenly steadied.
“Do you like this game?” Ye Qiu suddenly asked looking straight at Sun Xiang.
“What?” Sun Xiang startled.
“If you like it, then treat everything as glory and not boasting.”
“What did you say? What does this have to do with you?” Sun Xiang suddenly lost control. At the moment, he didn’t know why he felt that he was lower than Ye Qiu by a head. He didn’t think that he would lose to his opponent in loftiness. He came here in order to replace Ye Qiu. He came here to take the Battle God One Autumn Leaf.
“Put it away.” Just when Sun Xiang wanted to summon up his loftiness, Ye Qiu already let go of the account card faintly saying the phrase. He turned around ready to leave.
“Ye Qiu!” At this moment, the manager suddenly called out.
Ye Qiu stopped and tilted his head slightly to the side hearing that the manager was already behind him saying: “The club currently doesn’t have any suitable competitive cards to give you. First find a team member to serve as a training partner!”
Training partner… … A person who built a dynasty in the Alliance and an expert known by all in Glory had actually fallen to be a training partner.
Sun Xiang was very interested in this arrangement and immediately laughed out loud: “With Brother Ye’s level, training together won’t be a problem. Only you deserve to be Glory Professional Alliance’s number one training partner!”
“Ha ha.” Accepting the insult, Ye Qiu unexpectedly laughed. He turned his body towards the manager: “Training partner? It looks like I don’t have to. I cancel the contract!”
“Cancel the contract? Are you actively seeking to cancel the contract?” The manager’s expression looked as if she were in deep thought.
“Right. I request to cancel the contract.”
“Dont be rash!” Su Mu Cheng immediately came charging over to stop Ye Qiu. An Alliance had an Alliance’s rules. Terminating a contract during the contract period required a special reason. Actively seeking to cancel the contract required a penalty fee. Ye Qiu and Excellent Era still had another half a year for the contract. If he were to forcefully request a termination of the contract, then the loss would be huge. As for Su Mucheng, she feared Ye Qiu’s departure.
“The boss isn’t here yet, wait for him to come before you continue speaking!” Su Mucheng hoped Ye Qiu would calm down.
Ye Qiu had noticed the trace of ridicule at the corners of the manager’s mouth long ago. He shook his head towards Su Mucheng and laughed bitterly: “Mucheng, do you not understand? My departure is the boss’s goal. I no longer have any value to this club. I’m only a money sink.”
“No way. How could you be a money sink? Your strength wouldn’t lose to anyone.” Su Mucheng said.
“Strength isn’t the issue. This is a business. And me? I’ve never had any business value.” Ye Qiu said.
“You originally did have value, but you chose to give it up yourself.” The manager coldly interjected at this moment.
“Right, this is my choice.” Ye Qiu said. The current Glory Professional Alliance was flourishing, sponsors flocked over left and right. Celebrity players in Glory were natural advertisers as spokespeople for popular goods. But even though Ye Qiu was viewed as a top-tier level player, he rejected any offer to be in advertisements. He even refused to take part in interviews or news conferences. He was like an ancient netizen, carefully concealing his true identity in virtual reality.
The club was extremely dissatisfied with this matter. They looked at him as if he were a gold mountain but were unable to dig out even the slightest amount of gold. They were only able to put up with him because his strength was tyrannical, helping the Club gain fame and glory. But as their achievements declined, everything had already become of the past.
“The Alliance’s commercialization allowed us to survive, but now… …” Ye Qiu couldn’t say anything further. He also didn’t know whether this development was good or bad. The current Alliance was full of greed. Every Alliance boss’s first consideration was how to exploit the team to make a profit. Harboring a love for gaming and tirelessly struggling in Glory, Ye Qiu cherished his memories for the Alliance when it had just been made. But now, the Alliance only strived for money.
Su Mucheng did not say another word. She had originally come with Ye Qiu here and witnessed everything about this old veteran. Her eyes were filled with tears. She knew that Ye Qiu truly wanted to leave. Blocking him would only make it more painful for him.
“Since it’s like this, I… …”
“No need.” Ye Qiu smiled interrupting Su Mucheng. He knew what she wanted to say: “Don’t worry, I haven’t given up all hope yet. I’ll be back.”
“Right. This is the ambitious Ye Qiu I recognize. Then first, let’s talk about the penalty fee! Honestly speaking, you’ve been with us for so many years and your achievements have been high so we won’t push it. If you want to leave, then let’s all sit down and talk about the details of cancelling the contract. How about it?”
“Tell it to me straight. What are the conditions?” Ye Qiu asked.
“Okay. The conditions are simple: announce your retirement.” the manager said.
“Retirement! This condition can’t be avoided?” Su Mucheng was very angry. Ye Qiu was 25 years old this year. With regards to pro-gamers in electronic gaming tournaments, this age was already considered high. Retiring at this age was not at all strange. But Ye Qiu already stated clearly that he did not want to retire. The Excellent Era manager’s condition of retirement was clearly directed against him.
Retired pro-players naturally did not have the qualifications to participate in a tournament again. Although retired pro-players could come back, Glory Professional Alliance had a rule stating that a retired pro-player could only return after a year. This was to prevent people from transferring to another team and then returning the next day. Ye Qiu was already in the declining years of this profession. Every day was precious, but now they wanted him to waste a year. After one year, even if he wanted to return again, for the elderly, without a year of intense competition to maintain his skills and even by relying on former fame, whether the team would still want him would be an issue. In addition, Ye Qiu had a fatal flaw: he refused to do anything related to business.
It looked as if it were an impossible condition, but Ye Qiu simply nodded his head: “I accept.”
“Are you mad?” Su Mucheng alarmed.
“I’ve worked so hard for so many years, can’t I rest for a year?” Ye Qiu smiled.
“What… … what are you thinking of doing?” Su Mucheng didn’t understand.
“Nothing much.” Ye Qiu turned his head. The manager had already handed over the documents. Ye Qiu took a glance at them and laughed a bit. The other party really had prepared for this long ago! Thinking of this, Ye Qiu put the pen to the paper and quickly signed his name.
Just as he was about to leave… … Ye Qiu glanced back at this place he had stayed for seven years. He didn’t say any farewells and silently turned his body ready to leave.
“I’ll send you off.” Su Mucheng was the only one to follow behind him.