Chapter 1436: Wearing Down
The attacks made from the ethereal qi from a Qi Master were actually more visible than usual on this map, where any movement disturbed the thick fog. Even though Song Xiao had launched this Sky Piercing Strike very quickly, it didn’t pose any difficulty for Ye Xiu.
Even though he clearly saw the attack coming for him, Ye Xiu chose not to hide behind a tree, but to ferociously charge forward.
Part of the qi from the Sky Piercing Strike slammed into the tree, giving off a muffled sound, followed by the rustling of the tree’s leaves and branches. Ye Xiu hadn’t chosen the safer method of dodging the attack – he seemed almost in a rush as he chased after Song Xiao.
“It looks like Ye Xiu has lost some of his cool?” Pan Lin shouted, his voice full of surprise. He’d been commentating Glory matches for a number of years now, so he’d commentated for the old Battle God One Autumn Leaf Ye Xiu as well as the current unspecialized Lord Grim Ye Xiu. For Pan Lin to become so distinguished in the Glory commentary circle, he was at a solid level. He had always felt that this new Ye Xiu, after returning to the professional scene this season, was somewhat different from before.
Pan Lin hadn’t experienced the years when Excellent Era had swept the Alliance, but from the seasons afterward, in the matches where Ye Xiu and Su Mucheng built their reputation as Best Partners, he could imagine just how ferocious that dominating Battle God had been. Even though Excellent Era’s scores had been in a steady decline in the following years, Pan Lin could still tell that all of the powerful teams in the Alliance still viewed Excellent Era as a difficult enemy. And Ye Xiu had always been the target that all of the Gods and experts had aimed to defeat.
Ye Xiu had always been this pinnacle existence.
All the way until he departed in Season 8. Just like that, a God had fallen. In the days of his absence, though, the Alliance continued to develop. The king of the new generation, Zhou Zekai, lived up to expectations as he won two championships and continued to charge toward Excellent Era’s record of three consecutive championships.
The times had changed, and in the eyes of many younger viewers, Zhou Zekai was the one who was worthy of being called Glory’s number one. The returned Ye Xiu was no longer the pinnacle presence of before, no longer that lofty goal that everyone wanted to challenge and defeat. This time, he had become a challenger. Those people who had once looked up to him now all had beautifully powerful teams behind them. And this Team Happy that Ye Xiu now led could only look up to them.
No longer was he the one being challenged. Now, he was the challenger!
From the beginning, Pan Lin had felt that looking at Ye Xiu and Happy from this angle would be very interesting. But… Ye Xiu hadn’t cooperated at all! Right after they’d barely managed to defeat Excellent Era, they were already hollering about winning the championship. Where was the attitude of being the challenger?
But Pan Lin understood. This was probably the principle of not letting yourself be intimidated by the opponent’s identity, while still being cautious of the opponent’s abilities and tactics.
Season 10, 38 rounds. The television broadcast wouldn’t choose Happy’s matches every week, but Pan Lin still watched every single one of Happy’s matches.
As a commentator, he couldn’t demonstrate emotional bias. He could only praise those that performed well, or express regret for those that didn’t. Even though he would also sometimes forget himself while a particularly thrilling performance onstage, on the whole, the emotions of a commentator had to be almost mechanical. Their emotional expression was trained, or in other words, it was… a performance.
In reality, Pan Lin had paid very close attention to Happy this season. Like many others, he was very curious about that weapon in Lord Grim’s hand, and he was very curious about how this team, a team that had come from who-knows-where but had miraculously defeated Excellent Era in the Challenger League, would ultimately perform in the professional circle.
The people who had paid this kind of attention to Happy had reaped quite some satisfaction this season.
Happy, this patchwork team, had done extremely well.
And those who had been paying attention to Happy were, of course, paying attention to Ye Xiu as well.
Thirty-seven consecutive wins! To be able to watch this record built from start to finish, this was an incredible reward for those paying attention to Ye Xiu over the course of this year.
But in the process of watching these consecutive victories, Pan Lin felt a few other things.
Thirty-seven consecutive wins. Even in Ye Xiu’s pinnacle years, he had never had such a perfect performance before. Part of this was of course because Lord Grim was unspecialized, but separating the character from the player, Pan Lin felt that Ye Xiu was different as well.
The Ye Xiu of the past, who had led his account to earn the title of Battle God, was domineering on the battlefield, invincible.
But today’s Ye Xiu? He’d won thirty-seven consecutive battles, which still seemed invincible. But Pan Lin felt that, even though his results were incredible, the returned Ye Xiu didn’t seem to have that same brash, dominating air that he’d had as a Battle Mage.
Was his temperament different because his class was different?
At the beginning, Pan Lin had thought this was the case. But after seeing many matches, it didn’t seem quite right.
It wasn’t until the end of the season, and he saw the adjustments and changes that Team Tyranny had made, that Pan Lin finally understood.
Ye Xiu, like those three old generals of Tyranny, wasn’t young anymore! That brash and sharp air of the Battle God had slowly bled away with the flow of time. Before, because Ye Xiu had always been present and everyone was always watching his matches, they hadn’t noticed the feeling very clearly. But after leaving and then returning after a year and a half, the scars left by the passage of time were suddenly in stark clarity.
He hadn’t wantonly squandered his youth, nor had he willfully tried to compete with the years. He had simply been continuously adjusting and perfecting his own technique, using whatever style best suited him at the time to engage in battle.
Calm, elegant, and then old. From the very start, he had never planned to lament this inevitable fact of life. Just like how he faced the championship, he faced this saddening situation with vigor.
This season, quite a few people discussed the pressure that Ye Xiu faced, leading a team like this. They discussed just how exhausting it was for him, all for the sake of victory.
But Pan Lin didn’t agree.
Ye Xiu had indeed been working very hard. Without him, this Team Happy definitely wouldn’t be what it was today. But over Happy’s thirty-eight matches, whether they won or lost, Pan Lin had always seen an air of joy.
The sort of joy that came from playing from the heart.
Glory was, after all, a game. Pan Lin wondered whether many people had forgotten this point. After last round, many commentators criticized Happy’s brutally utilitarian style of play. After reading them, Pan Lin found them laughable.
Had they not realized that the Glory Alliance itself was the most utilitarian?
The implementation of all sorts of rules, the requirement that the battles be splendid, this and that, all of it revealed the utilitarianism.
In comparison, Pan Lin felt that Happy’s performance wasn’t utilitarian at all. It was purely a pursuit of victory. Pan Lin had always thought that those who wanted both victory and a beautiful battle were the real utilitarians!
Victory and loss. A very straightforward thing, and yet so many details had to be bickered over. The utilitarianism revealed a sort of hypocrisy.
The battle wasn’t pretty?
But the thing was, who was going to contribute a pretty battle for you? The players were on the battlefield, they cared about victory, and certainly not appearance. You thought the battle was ugly, but didn’t you know just how happy the players were while playing?
In Pan Lin’s eyes, Ye Xiu was undoubtedly this kind of person. He never cared about the opinions of those around him. Using the best method to obtain victory, this was what he had always done. This was one thing that had never changed about him, from age 17 to age 27.
So now, Ye Xiu’s decision had caught him somewhat off-guard. This sort of action, eager to show a certain attitude, didn’t suit Ye Xiu’s character!
“He does seem a bit rushed…” Li Yibo hadn’t thought as much as Pan Lin. Just from technique, Ye Xiu’s forced charge was a bit impatient. Even if he was anxious to lock onto Receding Tides’ position, the risk was a bit too much. Song Xiao, after all, wasn’t Yu Wenzhou. Coming into close range wasn’t an immediate guarantee of victory.
Right now, Lord Grim rushed into close range and the two began to fight. But could he really take him down with this?
No one thought he had a good chance. The only reason Li Yibo didn’t dare say so was for fear of getting slapped in the face.
Lord Grim’s charge earlier had really been a bit of a struggle, but an arrow once fired couldn’t be recalled. He had charged forward, so he had to see this through. But Lord Grim’s rhythm never managed to stabilize, and in his exchange with Song Xiao’s Receding Tides, he failed to gain the upper hand. Instead, he presented an opening to Song Xiao.
But Song Xiao didn’t have Receding Tides pursue this opening. He actually chose to retreat, and instantly hid himself once again within this foggy forest. It appeared that Blue Rain had made thorough preparations on this map. Song Xiao’s control when controlling the path of Receding Tides was no inferior to Yu Wenzhou’s.
“They really are planning on dragging this out!” Pan Lin was stunned.
“They’re playing an endurance battle!” Seeing this, Li Yibo’s tone became much more confident than before.
“What are they wearing down? Lord Grim’s health? Mana?” Pan Lin said.
“And Ye Xiu’s energy,” said Li Yibo.
Pan Lin paused, and then looked at the time. Indeed, today’s group arena had been dragging on for quite a while. Normally, by this time, the group arena would already be on the third or fourth battle. Blue Rain’s Yu Wenzhou had been defeated and replaced by Song Xiao, but Happy’s first player Ye Xiu still hadn’t gone down! Blue Rain wasn’t giving him the chance to end a match quickly. Even when there was a chance to counterattack, Song Xiao had chosen to back off. The intention was all too clear: they wanted to play a long endurance match.
And this Song Xiao wasn’t like Yu Wenzhou, he didn’t have to worry so much about the opponent closing in. Just after escaping, he was able to come back and harass him again as if it were nothing.
Once, twice, three times…
Song Xiao’s steadiness and ability to perform under pressure was, in this match, used entirely on running around. Every time he’d come to harass Ye Xiu for a bit, and as soon as the situation became slightly unfavorable, he’d instantly run away. Again and again, he actually succeeded in getting away every time. This struggle continued on for another five minutes, and in that time, the health of both players had dropped less than ten percent. This rhythm was almost disastrously slow.
“How will this match turn out?” Pan Lin said weakly. The first or second time when Song Xiao had rushed back, he had gotten excited and shouted a bit, but after that he wasn’t fooled again. From Song Xiao’s current attitude, it seemed that the only way Song Xiao would relax would be if Lord Grim completely stripped off all of his equipment and just stood there waiting to be attacked.
Clutch player? Pan Lin didn’t feel it. The feeling that Song Xiao gave him now was more like that of a frightened songbird.