Chapter 10: 0: The Dual-Core Era (3)
Chapter 10: The Dual-Core Era (3)
Translator: Nomyummi | Editor: Nomyummi
Night fell, lanterns lit. Occasional sounds of fireworks and laughter echoed in the darkness.
Tao Xuan hadn’t gone home for the new year, instead simply organizing a dinner get-together in his Internet café. He thought that this was quite suitable – they could eat and drink their fill, and he could even play a few rounds of Glory with Ye Qiu.
“Let me use One Autumn Leaf, he can use…” Tao Xuan was trying to pick an account card for Ye Qiu to use. But the more he deliberated, the more discouraged he felt. Ye Qiu could use anything and he’d still win. Tao Xuan’s skill wasn’t even expert-level in-game; compared to a professional like Ye Qiu, he didn’t have a chance. A brutally honest way of putting it: against Tao Xuan, Ye Qiu could use only one hand and it’d still be like cheating.
“How come they’re still not back?” Tao Xuan wondered, glancing at the clock. It was almost seven. Anxious, he peered out the window. Neither Ye Qiu nor Su Mucheng had cell phones, so he had no way of getting in contact with them.
They didn’t run into trouble, did they?
As he wrung his hands in worry, there finally came a knock on the door. Tao Xuan dropped everything and hurried to open it.
A loud sound, like a gunshot, followed by Su Mucheng’s bright voice: “Happy New Year!”
“What’s going on?” yelped Tao Xuan, staring at the opening of the paper tube pointed at him.
“The sound was a success, but the flowers…” Ye Qiu shook his head in disappointment, taking a drag of a cigarette as he walked in.
“What was that all about?” Tao Xuan was confused, and even after the two of them explained, he still didn’t really see how this was exciting.
They really were still just kids! An adult like him couldn’t find arts and crafts interesting.
“Come, let’s eat!” he said. Last year, he had spent New Year with the two of them; this year was the same.
While they ate and chatted, the subject of discussion inevitably turned toward Glory.
“The Pro League has a bright future ahead,” said Tao Xuan confidently.
“Let’s hope so!” responded Ye Qiu.
“We need to keep up with the development of the League, so I’ve thought of our plans going forward,” Tao Xuan continued, standing up and returning with a stack of papers and packets. He pulled out a few and tossed them in front of Ye Qiu. “These are specially for you.”
Ye Qiu picked one up at random and began perusing it.
“Last year, in terms of competition, we undoubtedly succeeded – the championship is the best proof of that,” said Tao Xuan. “But in other areas, our development is unimpressive. Tyranny is already making arrangements with sponsors and investment corporations, as is Blue Rain, and that Team Tiny Herb is arranging partnership deals. I’ve heard that even that new Team Hundred Blossoms is in talks for endorsement deals.
“We are the championship team! You are the strongest player in Glory. There are many who want to partner with us. So I was thinking, we have to seize these opportunities. You take a look at just those packets related to you, there’s- ”
“Brother Tao.” Ye Qiu cut him off abruptly, pushing the stack of papers back in front of Tao Xuan.
“I have no interest in any of this. I only want to play Glory.”
Tao Xuan opened and closed his mouth a few times, but no sound came out. Finally, he spluttered, “But this… These will all help you greatly!” He hadn’t thought that Ye Qiu would completely refuse like this, not even considering a single one.
“No need. From last season up to now, I never had any public appearances, and I don’t want to participate in these sort of offstage activities. Sitting in front of a computer and playing Glory, that’s enough for me.”
“You… Why is this?” Tao Xuan didn’t know what to do. Without Ye Qiu’s support, many of his plans would be impossible. After all, Ye Qiu was the pillar of Team Excellent Era!
“There are some complications…” said Ye Qiu. He looked almost as though he was about to say more, then stopped.
“No way to take care of them? What kind of complications? Say it, and we can figure something out!” Tao Xuan refused to give up.
“No, it’s fine. Even without those complications, I really would not want to participate.”
“…Alright,” Tao Xuan finally said. “I respect your wishes, I’ll think of other ways.” His earlier enthusiastic ambition had turned to dejection quickly.
“I’m sorry, Brother Tao,” said Ye Qiu.
“Don’t worry,” said Tao Xuan, though his smile was somewhat forced. “If you ever need help with anything, let me know.”
“We will.” But Ye Qiu’s resolution didn’t waver one bit.
The earlier festive atmosphere never found its way back. Tao Xuan made some efforts to be cheerful, but they could all tell that they were half-hearted. The minutes dragged by agonizingly slowly as they waited, until finally, they heard the clock strike midnight.
“Happy New Year!”
“Happy New Year!”
With that, this New Year’s Eve dinner dispersed.
Ye Xiu and Su Mucheng walked along the streets. The sky was filled with bursts of light and color, while the roars of firecrackers filled the air.
“You don’t want exposure, is it because you’re scared your family will catch you and take you back home?” Su Mucheng almost had to shout to be heard over the noise.
“It’s a possibility!” replied Ye Xiu, similarly loudly.
“Then this situation right now is pretty good,” said Su Mucheng. Since she was little, she’d depended on her brother for everything, and she’d never wished for a “true” family before. She felt that as long there was one person by your side and neither of you bothered the other, then that was best.
“Yeah! It’s pretty good.” Ye Xiu reached over and rubbed the top of Su Mucheng’s head.
“When I grow up, can I play Glory too?” she asked, suddenly.
“Sure! Come join Team Excellent Era,” replied Ye Xiu.
“Mm,” Su Mucheng nodded. That way, she thought, they could stay together.