Chapter 1409: How Stressful
Su Mucheng, Zheng Xuan.
They had debuted the same season, so even though one was a true member of the Golden Generation and the other was a forgotten character behind their dazzling light, the two weren’t strangers to each other.
So when the match began, Su Mucheng already knew the first thing that Zheng Xuan would say in the chat.
“How stressful!” She beat him to saying it.
“What are you doing!” Zheng Xuan was unhappy. How could she steal his line like that!
“I’m saying it for you!” Su Mucheng replied.
“Tsk, even my line has been stolen, how stressful!” Zheng Xuan still said it in the end.
“The greater stress is yet to come!” As Su Mucheng spoke, Dancing Rain charged forward.
No circling, no hiding. A direct, head-on charge.
“Of course!” Pan Lin and Li Yibo both shouted.
During the player change, the two of them had already discussed how Blue Rain only had one player left. At this time, Happy didn’t need to be too careful. Boldly taking this round and then carrying the surging morale into the team round was undoubtedly the best choice. Right now, it looked like that was exactly what Su Mucheng planned to do.
“It won’t be like Mo Fan though, will it?” Right after his exclamation of “of course,” Pan Lin suddenly thought of another worry. Last round, Mo Fan had also controlled his Deception to charge forward like this, but then as soon as he met his opponent, he slipped away.
“Uh… probably not?” When he heard this, Li Yibo also began to have doubt. Logically, Su Mucheng wasn’t some stranger, and they were quite clear on her style. But after joining Happy, she now seemed to be surrounded by a blurred, opaque aura. Ye Xiu, Fang Rui, these old faces had changed classes, so it made sense that they would bring some surprises. But this Su Mucheng… Her class hadn’t changed, her style hadn’t changed, her play seemed to directly follow from what it’d been at Excellent Era. So why did she also feel different from before?
“Hm, let’s keep watching,” Li Yibo said calmly. He didn’t dare to make any careless judgments.
This time, Zheng Xuan’s Spitfire Bullet Rain was the one sneaking around as soon as the match began.
“Zheng Xuan wants to play dirty?” Pan Lin said. Playing dirty was a style, a school of thought, a choice that existed to be made in a battle. As a pro player, you liked it or you didn’t, you liked to use it or you didn’t, but if you said you didn’t know how, then you wouldn’t be a professional. Zheng Xuan was an old player now in his seventh year. Of course he knew how to play dirty.
“He’s the group anchor, of course he’ll have to face this carefully,” said Li Yibo.
Zheng Xuan, this group anchor, still had three opponents ahead of him.
Su Mucheng was the first, but who would be next? The dirtiest player of all, Fang Rui? That girl who was like a tiger, Tang Rou? That chaotic Brawler player? Or their old senior from Blue Rain, Wei Chen?
Zheng Xuan didn’t know Wei Chen. It was Season 3 when he’d arrived at Blue Rain’s training camp, and by that time Wei Chen had already retired and left. Zheng Xuan had heard a few stories about this old senior, though. He’d discovered and recruited Huang Shaotian from the game, he was the original owner of Yu Wenzhou’s inherited Swoksaar… No part of Blue Rain’s origin story could be separated from his name. Even their Blue Brook Guild, in the box labeled “Founder,” was forever marked with his name: Swoksaar.
Wei Chen’s Swoksaar, not Yu Wenzhou’s Swoksaar.
And then this old senior, after leaving for seven years, suddenly returned to this battlefield.
In the beginning, he’d drawn a lot of attention, but his return wasn’t like Ye Xiu’s. Wei Chen was not the protagonist of the stage, and his appearances were pitifully infrequent. Gradually, the discussion around him faded away.
Only Blue Rain would continue to pay attention to their old captain, their old senior.
Would he go onstage?
Zheng Xuan thought, and then suddenly jolted back to the present.
Damnit, got distracted again!
In such a critical battle, Zheng Xuan had actually gotten so lost in thought that Bullet Rain had subconsciously walked forward quite a bit. Now that he realized, he hurriedly studied his surroundings.
“This guy… He started daydreaming again, didn’t he?” Huang Shaotian said, watching Zheng Xuan’s match. He was all too familiar with this guy.
“A lack of fighting spirit remains his biggest problem,” Yu Wenzhou sighed.
“Even throwing him into the anchor position couldn’t help him focus completely,” said Huang Shaotian.
“If only he had Yu Feng’s drive,” said Yu Wenzhou.
“But if that was the case… he would have left long ago, wouldn’t he?” Huang Shaotian said. Everyone at Blue Rain knew that Hundred Blossoms had tried to recruit Zheng Xuan, that one summer.
“Yes… There’s really nothing that can be done.” Yu Wenzhou was helpless.
“If only he could be averaged out with Yu Feng,” said Huang Shaotian.
“Then what? Our team would develop a Blood and Blossoms?” Yu Wenzhou said. Blood and Blossoms had left a deep impression on the players of the Golden Generation, because Season 3 and Season 4 was when that style had been at its peak. The Golden Generation had all gone through Blood and Blossoms as a rite of passage.
“Who knows!” said Huang Shaotian.
These sort of meaningless hypotheticals always led to melancholy.
Because Yu Feng was too vigorous, too ambitious, too driven, he left them.
Zheng Xuan was too passive, too lacking in fighting spirit, and so he stayed. Staying was good, but his lack of spirit became the biggest limit to his strength. Zheng Xuan had talent, but because he lacked spirit and initiative, his talent was unable to shine.
He should have been able to accomplish more.
This was what many people had said of Zheng Xuan, and this guy had heard it all, but it still wasn’t enough to motivate him. Even in the playoffs, even as the group anchor, his mind would still wander. And this was Blue Rain – if this had been a team like Tiny Herb, with strict requirements, Zheng Xuan probably would have already been kicked out the door.
Blue Rain was a strange team, one that could accommodate all kinds of strange players. Huang Shaotian, this talkative opportunist; Yu Wenzhou, this master tactician with a slow handspeed; Song Xiao, the Mister Clutch who could only shine in the playoffs; Lu Hanwen, this surging youngster who was already so bold at fourteen years old. And even the ones who had already left: Yu Feng, who wasn’t happy even with a championship, a perfectionist who would only be satisfied with a championship he’d won as the core player; Lin Feng, who’d gone to Wind Howl, an unorthodox battle Thief player. And Zheng Xuan, a competitive player who… lacked competitiveness.
Blue Rain was such a collection of unique players, and every player had found his place here.
People had thought about this before.
If Huang Shaotian didn’t chat and instead focused his handspeed entirely on his controls.
If Yu Wenzhou’s handspeed met the standard, or even surpassed it.
If Song Xiao could perform as excellently in the regular season as he did in the playoffs.
If Yu Feng hadn’t left in pursuit of his ambitions.
If Zheng Xuan was a player with fighting spirit, who always put his full effort into everything.
How powerful would such a Blue Rain be?
Blue Rain was just this kind of team, filled with defective beauty. But on the professional stage, they would resolutely advance just like any other.
Right now, their lethargic Zheng Xuan was their critical group arena anchor. Awaiting him were three players, which could include two All-Stars, or this season’s Best Rookie, so on and so forth.
The road ahead was covered in thorns. Just like Zheng Xuan’s mantra, how stressful.
But even though he said this, when faced with this kind of pressure, he would still advance forward. He lacked fighting spirit, but he was still working himself up to fight.
Bullet Rain circled around the flank. By the time it was his turn to come onstage, Blue Rain had already thoroughly investigated the ambush points on both ends of the map. Zheng Xuan played like this was his familiar home game map, swiftly finding a suitable position from which to launch a sneak attack.
He gradually heard the sound of footsteps. Dancing Rain was beginning to approach.
And he thought about how after winning this round, there was another, and after winning that one, there would still be one more…
What a headache!
Zheng Xuan gritted his teeth.
“How stressful!” he said once more, and Bullet Rain began to attack!
“This is really so stressful!”
When Zheng Xuan said his mantra for the last time, his Bullet Rain had already fallen. The opponent he was facing was no longer Su Mucheng and her Dancing Rain, but Fang Rui and his Boundless Sea.
Zheng Xuan won one battle.
Putting in his full effort, he defeated Su Mucheng.
But after that, he was ultimately unable to defeat Fang Rui.
The group arena ended with Happy in the lead, 5-3. They were entering the team round with a two-point lead.
“1v2 really is my limit. There was just no way to go on.” After Zheng Xuan came offstage, he spread his hands helplessly and said this to his teammates.
“1v2…” Huang Shaotian’s mouth twitched. “You have the nerve to count Deception as one of your kills too?”
“It’s not me counting it, it’s the rules,” said Zheng Xuan, righteous.
“Alright, this kind of outcome isn’t entirely unacceptable,” Yu Wenzhou said calmly.
In the team competition, there wasn’t much difference between fighting until one person remained and fighting until two people remained. Normally, after both sides used up their sixth player, the side who next achieved the advantage of numbers would obtain the final victory in one swoop of determination. In the team competition, it was most common for there to be three or four players remaining at the end. Even battles with five players remaining were more common than those with only two. These were all conclusions drawn by experts analyzing the data gathered after the new playoffs format had been released.
But because this was now the established competition format, one thing that had to be considered was whether the opponent, with a two-point advantage, would use a playstyle that fully utilized this advantage.
This sort of strategic thinking had never been seen before. After the playoffs matches of last season, as of now, there were still no examples of this. Everyone could rely on experience and speculation.
And the current playoffs system gave a longer break between the group arena and the team competition. It seemed that this was to give the teams more time to strategize for the team battle, given the results of the group arena.
What was Happy going to do?
Yu Wenzhou looked over at Team Happy. Because they’d done well in the group arena, they appeared to be in high spirits.