Translator: Star River
Observing boss Zhang's stall for a long while, Hong Zhu hadn't seen anybody coming to sell [Lin Daiyu] cards. However, the spies that she dispatched to search for [Lin Daiyu] cards in the black market reported to her privately, "Sister Hong Zhu, I have found five [Lin Daiyu] cards!" "Sister Hong Zhu, I have found three [Lin Daiyu] cards!"
Hong Zhu replied immediately, "Buy them all at once! Be careful not to reveal your ident.i.ty. You can tell the stall owners that you're buying them to collect."
Keeping Hong Zhu's words in mind, the two swiftly bought all eight cards for the president.
Hiding behind the stall and waiting, a distraught Hong Zhu stared at the black market. The person that she was waiting for didn't appear after a long time.
According to sister Xue, there were ten [Lin Daiyu] cards on the market, among which eight cards had been bought by her subordinates, who were sent to scour the market for [Lin Daiyu] cards. Where were the remaining two cards? It didn't matter if they had been bought for collections, but what if they had been bought by clubs? Thinking about it, Hong Zhu felt increasingly worried. She stared sharply at the people walking around in the market, hoping to find the culprit at once.
However, instead of finding the culprit, she encountered one of her deadly enemies, Can Yang, the vice president of the Adjudication Club.
Both the Fenghua and the Adjudication clubs were among the top card clubs in the league, and their players were all super popular gurus. There had been constant conflicts between the two clubs, so they had a tense relationship.
Can Yang stopped Hong Zhu when she turned around to leave, sneering, "Sister Hong, I haven't seen you for a long time. What have you been doing recently?"
"I'm buying some cards and materials in the market." Hong Zhu said distantly.
"Are you preparing for the new season?"
"Yes." Hong Zhu replied and left in a hurry.
This time, Can Yang let her go. Then he wandered around the black market.
If clubs wanted to buy cards of the highest grade, they would generally ask their merchants to buy some from the card specialty stores in the commercial street that had many ready-to-use cards of high stars. There was very little chance that cards of the highest grade would be sold in the black market, where most were low level cards of one-star to four-star that were sold for collections and worthless in battles. However, sometimes high-grade cards were sold in the black market and clubs would then track the creators, who were new and highly talented in creating cards.
Tang Muzhou, the chief card player of the Fenghua Club, rose by selling cards in the black market.
The era when Tang Muzhou's plant cards swept the black market came to an end many years ago, but experienced players still felt shocked when they recalled it. At that time, Tang Muzhou, a newbie in the game, had made a great number of plant cards that had 'Tang' as a LOGO and sold them on the black market. His cards were snapped up in an instant. Later, Tang Muzhou raked in millions depending solely on his talent in designing cards. He alone had renewed the popularity of the Wood cards, which had been in decline for a long time.
Both Xue Linxiang, a trump card player's agent, and Hong Zhu, the president of Fenghua club, were great figures led by Tang Muzhou in the online game.
Tang Muzhou's appearance had a strong impact on the fifth season. A large-scale shuffle took place in the game and many veteran players were eliminated. At the same time, many new players seized the opportunity and managed to rise. Since then, all kinds of cards formed a balance. A certain type of card would not be overwhelmingly dominant. Card players had their own characteristics, like a hundred flowers in bloom, which resulted in more exciting professional league matches.
Perhaps due to Tang Muzhou's influence, as well as the fact that sister Hong Zhu always enjoyed hanging around, the black market turned into a place to discover talents. Therefore, all managers of the clubs developed the habit of “if idle, hang around the black market”.
Unfortunately, after the legendary Tang became a celebrity five years ago, no one else ascended from selling cards at the black market to be a famous professional player.
Can Yang looked back at past events, and wandered through the black market.
At that time, he suddenly received a private message from their spy in Fenghua Club, “Boss, Hong Zhu suddenly requested members to buy beauty cards for collecting. What's more, she privately set up a stall to purchase character cards with high prices in the black market.”
Can Yang was stunned, “Why is she buying character cards?”
The spy said, “It's said that she recently started liking character cards, so she wants to buy some for collecting.”
Can Yang did not know what Hong Zhu's real purpose was, so he urged the spy, “Continue to investigate. If there is more information, tell me as soon as possible.”
After a long time, when she didn't see the card seller at that card store, Hong Zhu resorted to the method of luring the snake out of the hole and simply opened a big stall in the black market, named “High Prices for Collectible Beauty Cards”; basically saying that she wanted [Lin Daiyu] cards directly.
Original translation from w.a.n.gmamaread.
Everyone knew that every club sent undercover spies to other clubs, so Hong Zhu tried to keep a low profile and dared not talk directly about the [Lin Daiyu] card. Her actions had the major clubs in the game puzzled and they were all trying to guess her real target.
What made Hong Zhu dumbfounded, was that as soon as the stall opened, a mish-mash of card makers rushed there and she became aware of all types of beauty cards within half an hour.
Hong Zhu, surrounded by beauties, suffered unspeakably and only hoped that “Chubby” appeared soon!
But Xie Mingzhe would not go to that stall, because he had quit drawing Lin Daiyu.
He had made this decision after going to the black market twice. In this game, which had been in operation for ten years, various styles of card creators emerged one after another. There were innumerable character cards of handsome guys and beauties in excess of demand.
In this game, apart from unambitious players who just collected cards for fun, most players were battle card enthusiasts. The auction last time indicated that pet cards were worth only a few thousand gold coins, no matter how cute they were, while the best battle card [Tuberose] was sold at auction for 660,000 gold coins. Players full of zeal focus much more on card attributes than images on a card.
Therefore, it didn't matter whether characters were good-looking. Strong combat power was the most important thing.
After Xie Mingzhe figured this out, he temporarily abandoned drawing beauties in the Dream of the Red Chamber, turning his attention to Water Margin¹.
When it came to strong characters in Water Margin, the first person he thought of was Wu Song².
He had loved to read novels and comics since he was a child. He was only six years old when he read the Water Margin comic strip. A philanthropist had donated these books to the orphanage he stayed in. He had read the comic strips with interest every day. He thought it was so cool when Wu Song punched a tiger to death – he was a real man! Unfortunately, he did not remember what Wu Song looked like in the TV series Water Margin. He only remembered the black and white ill.u.s.trations in the comic strip.
Xie Mingzhe first sketched Wu Song slaying the tiger in his mind. After ensuring he could draw the scene without mistakes, he took out Nebula papers to make a new card.
Since he only remembered black and white comic strips, the composition this time was much simpler than Daiyu Burying the Flowers.
As Inner Spirit was injected in, a black-and-white ink wash painting appeared on the paper gradually – a strong man clenched his fists, on which veins protruded from the skin. He threw punches at the tiger's head, beating its brains out! The tiger dies then.
System: “You've created a card successfully. Please connect to the database for verification!”
With the experience of verifying the Lin Daiyu card, Xie Mingzhe waited patiently. A few minutes later, he heard the prompt sound: “Your card pa.s.sed the verification successfully.” Then he skillfully printed his “月半” LOGO on the back of the card.
It was still a one-star card. Xie Mingzhe picked it up, poring over its data.
1. Water Margin, also translated as Outlaws of the Marsh, Tale of the Marshes, All Men Are Brothers, Men of the Marshes or The Marshes of Mount Liang, is a Chinese novel attributed to Shi Nai'an.
The story, set in the Song dynasty, tells of how a group of 108 outlaws gather at Mount Liang (or Liangshan Marsh) to form a sizable army before they are eventually granted amnesty by the government and sent on campaigns to resist foreign invaders and suppress rebel forces. It has introduced to readers many of the best-known characters in Chinese literature, such as Wu Song, Lin Chong and Lu Zhishen.
2. Wu Song is a fictional character in Water Margin. The novel describes him as a good-looking man of an impressive bearing and with shining eyes, thick eyebrows and a muscular body. Wu Song slaying the tiger is a famous story in China.
On his way home, Wu Song pa.s.ses by a tavern near Jingyang Ridge which puts out a large sign that reads “After Three Bowls, Do Not Cross the Ridge”. He stops there for a break. The waiter explains to Wu Song that the wine sold at the tavern is so strong that customers usually get drunk after having three bowls and are unable to cross the ridge ahead. That is the meaning behind the sign. Still sober after drinking three bowls, Wu Song demands that the waiter continue serving him wine. By the end of his meal, Wu Song had consumed 18 bowls of wine but he still appears sober. He is about to leave when the waiter stops him and warns him about a fierce man-eating tiger on the ridge. Wu Song suspects that the waiter is lying to him because he wants him to spend the night there to earn extra money from him. He ignores the waiter and continues his journey.
While crossing Jingyang Ridge, Wu Song sees an official notice which convinces him that there is a tiger on the ridge. However, he does not turn back for fear of losing face. As he moves on, the alcohol starts taking effect, so he decides to take a nap on a big flat rock. Just as he is falling asleep, a tiger leaps out from the woods and attacks him. After narrowly dodging the tiger three times, Wu Song attempts to fight back but breaks his staff on a tree. Left with no weapon to defend himself, Wu Song summons all his might and manages to pin down the tiger with his arms. He then rains blows with his bare fist on the tiger's head. Local hunters in the area find Wu Song with the dead tiger and are amazed by his feat.
Explanations in translator's notes are from wikipedia.