Zhang Jiale left the player booth. Despite the cheers for his defeat, he was calm. This loss was too insignificant for him. There was no loser in Glory more pitiful than him.
Zhang Jiale walked down slowly from the stage. The cheers from the crowd continued, accompanied with quite a few boos towards him as well. After his return, his popularity had dropped considerably.
Team Tyranny’s third player stood up from his seat. The display on the big screen amptly switched to an image of the player and character.
Lin Jingyan, Brawler, Dark Thunder.
He had been a part of Tyranny for two whole years, but even now, whenever Lin Jingyan saw his name alongside his character Dark Thunder, he would always feel a sense of unfamiliarity.
Three Hits. In the end, he couldn’t forget the name of the Brawler that he had traveled through wind and rain with for seven years. Even though the two of them had never obtained any glorious achievements, he would always feel at peace controlling that character.
Two years ago, that peace was finally broken.
At the end of his career, Lin Jingyan became a drifting leaf, finally settling at Tyranny.
Lin Jingyan was grateful for Tyranny. During his most bitter moments, the team had looked highly upon him. He had decided that he would give the final light of his career to Tyranny. But in the end, what was different was different.
Lin Jingyan, Dark Thunder.
As Lin Jingyan walked, he looked at the name on the screen and then, at his opponent, Fang Rui, Qi Master, Boundless Sea.
Lin Jingyan suddenly laughed.
The fate of these two brothers were so similar! A different name accompanied Fang Rui too. Fang Rui had even switched classes. Lin Jingyan didn’t only feel uncomfortable looking at the name Dark Thunder. He also felt uncomfortable looking at the name Boundless Sea.
Fang Rui, Thief, Doubtful Demon.
It was almost like he could see these names in front of him.
Lin Jingyan shook his head. Am I getting too nostalgic?
“Take revenge for me.” Zhang Jiale said as he passed by him.
“I’ll do my best!” Lin Jingyan smiled.
“Good luck!” Zhang Jiale didn’t say anything else.
Lin Jingyan walked onto the stage and entered the player booth. He swiped his card and loaded into the match. He had repeated these motions who knew how many times in these nine years, seven years with Three Hits, two years with Dark Thunder.
Lin Jingyan repeated the name of his character again. He loaded into the map, and the match officially began.
Both characters took the middle road again.
The audience was getting a little restless. Wasn’t this the sixth round of the group arena already? Up until now, no player had taken a roundabout route. All of them went straight towards the center. The manor wasn’t a manor anymore, but an arena.
Then, one player at the front of the manor, while the other player at the back of the manor. Except, this time, the two players finally chose to do something new!
Not through the door, or onto the walls!
Lin Jingyan’s Dark Thunder went counterclockwise from the back of the manor, while Fang Rui’s Boundless Sea went counterclockwise from the front of the manor.
Dark Thunder arrived at the front of the manor. Boundless Sea arrived at the back of the manor. Then, the two went in cautiously through the door.
Everyone was speechless.
These two former partners had become opponents, yet the two were still in harmony? You’re circling around? I’ll circle around. You’re going counterclockwise? I’ll go counterclockwise. You’re going through the door? I’ll go through the door…
The two characters tiptoed their way through the manor as if they were mirrors of each other.
The audience was helpless. They could only wait for the two to run into each other.
But it was as if these two guys had made an agreement not to meet. The two had wandered through the first floor of the manor for a minute, yet neither side saw even a glimpse of the other.
Afterwards, the two seemed to be tired. The crouched down at a corner and took a breather.
At this moment, the public chat was put to use.
“Hey, are you in the manor?” Fang Rui asked.
“Yeah!” Lin Jingyan replied. He didn’t ask the same question back. The way Fang Rui asked the question made it clear that he was in the manor too.
“How did you start the match?” Fang Rui went straight to the point.
“I circled around to the front.” Lin Jingyan went straight to the point.
The playoffs was a death match, yet the two were chatting so nonchalantly. It was as if this was normal day-to-day practice.
“Fuck.” Fang Rui cursed. The referee immediately jumped out, giving him a yellow card. Swear words were not permitted.
Lin Jingyan immediately understood. He didn’t need to ask. Fang Rui had definitely circled around to the back. Their actions were equivalent to swapping positions. They had the same thought: avoid getting caught and carefully scout the surroundings. I avoid you, you avoid me, and so the two went in circles, unable to find each other.
“Keep going!” Lin jingyan was determined to resolve this predicament. Both sides were incomparably familiar with each other’s habits and thoughts. To out-predict the other, just predicting one step ahead wouldn’t be enough because the other side would also predict one step ahead. As a result, neither of them would be able to get the right prediction.
Dark Thunder stood up from the corner, taking the lead. Lin Jingyan switched perspectives imagining what Fang Rui would do next. Then, he would formulate a plan through deeper reads.
The two characters started going in circles again.
Another minute passed. This time, the two didn’t disappoint them. The two players met at the spiraling staircase. The encounter wasn’t sudden, instead seeming very natural, as if the two had agreed to rendezvous here at a certain time. The two took their own paths and finally met.
Finally, some fighting. The viewers thoughts to themselves.
But the two just stared at each other.
To think they would bump into each other here.
What did that mean? It meant the two were still in harmony. They had a deep understanding of each other, so they tried to out-predict each other. But in the end, their predictions were at the same depth.
“XX!” Fang Rui cursed, typing XX.
The corner of the referee’s mouth twitched. XX wasn’t a violation of the rules, but it was obvious that the XX had the same meaning as “fuck”. Fang Rui didn’t say any profanities, but he got the idea across.
The two stared at each other for a good three seconds. Besides Fang Rui’s “XX”, neither said anything. Suddenly, the two acted simultaneously.
Each player used a long-ranged skill. They launched their attacks at the same time and dodged at the same time. In the end, neither side was hit by the other’s attack.
Brawler and Qi Master went back and forth, putting up an intense fight.
Everyone watching could feel their jaws drop.
Was this a fight? Or was this a synchronized show?
Attack, dodge, the two mirrored each other perfectly. You missed, I missed. They went back and forth, appearing more like a dance than a battle.
“Ahem!” After half a minute, Lin Jingyan typed a word into the chat. Dark Thunder’s offense suddenly halted. Fang Rui’s Boundless Sea also stopped.
They realized where the issue lay.
Even though they were good friends, this was the playoffs. They had a responsibility as pro players to help their team win, so they used their familiarity with their opponent, hoping to turn it into a weapon. But since the two had a similar level of understanding of each other, the decision that they made were pretty much the same. Their familiarity didn’t become a weapon, instead neutralizing any threat between them.
The deep understanding between the two of them obstructed their fight.
This wasn’t a good feeling.
They were proud of their deep understanding of each other, but in this match, it became their obstacle. To win this fight, they needed to see who could get rid of this connection, the connection of their past.
Another three second pause and then, attack!
The Brawler’s tricks and the Qi Master’s qi collided.
The two started getting hit.
You punched me, I’ll brick you.
The fight was intense, but to the more skilled players, it was unbearably rough.
This was a match that required understanding of their background. The roughness was because of their familiarity, because both sides knew each other too well, making what methods they had unusable.
Instead, attacking without any skill would achieve better results.
They weren’t supporting each other anymore. Instead, they schemed, plotted, and set up traps…
Many players with partners couldn’t bear to keep watching.
What a cruel competition. To win, the two turned their former understanding and complete trust in one another into all sorts of sinister schemes.
Huang Shaotian, who had been communicating with Yu Wenzhou throughout the match through text, fell silent.
Sun Zheping, Zhang Jiale, Han Wenqing, Zhang Xinjie, Ye Xiu, Su Mucheng… all of these people knew what it meant to be “partners”, but these former partners were destroying everything they had established before.
Every player had many restraints, but for their dreams, they had no choice but to ruthlessly cut off these restraints.
As time passed, their health bars dropped. The people who understood the match didn’t want to analyze the details. Only people who didn’t understand cheered according to the ups and downs of the player that they supported.
No matter how cruel it was, all things came to an end.
No matter how unwilling you were, in the end, there would only ever be one standing in the end.
Fang Rui, Qi Master, Boundless Sea.
In the end, the screen left only a single name. Lin Jingyan, Brawler, Dark Thunder turned dim as his time was over.
The crowd cheered for Fang Rui and for Happy’s win.
The pro players, watching in the stadium, stood up and applauded. They applauded for a match that didn’t have any impressive or brilliant plays.
They applauded for the mutual understanding between the two players, for their determination to win.
They applauded for their everlasting ambition to be the champions, an ambition that would always be worthy of pride.