"Hey, hey, stop shouting. Who are you calling your boss, take a look at the place!" Zu Wen had been about to head to the company's cafeteria to grab a bite. When he'd stepped out and saw the scene at the door, he'd suddenly raged.
How dare you do this at our virtual projects department's main entrance, trying to pry away our department's foundation?! If you poach him, are our department members supposed to go hungry?
"Shoo, shoo, shoo. Run back to your gaming department!" Zu Wen used his hands and waved them away. Toward them, his face was black as hell. After that, he turned around and ran over toward Fang Zhao for some bootlicking. "Boss, don't bother them, let's go in and talk."
The five of them seemed as if they were stuck behind, following Fang Zhao tightly as they entered the virtual projects department. Zu Wen tried to squeeze them out, but it was to no avail.
"Wayne said that we would be working with you in the future," a youngster with explosive hair said.
When they had first been recalled to the company and encountered Fang Zhao in the elevator, they hadn't thought much about it, since Fang Zhao had a different occupation, but who would have expected this sort of situation to occur?
On the first day of the game, Wayne had set them a target. After giving their all, they were dog-tired when exiting their cabins. Seeing their results, they were partly proud and partly apprehensive. They were proud, as they felt their results were better than expected and they might not even have achieved better if they went another round. They were apprehensive because their placing was not what they'd expected. They were all in their twenties, and the oldest among the five was 28. This was also the first time they had experienced the competitiveness of the leaderboard. Even giving their all every day, the ranking would not rise up, and a moment of carelessness would leave them biting the dust.
After disconnecting, they had originally been wondering whether it would be praise or criticism from Wayne, but when they'd come out, only the assistant assigned to them had been there; Wayne had been nowhere to be seen. The other people in the gaming department had strange expressions, seemingly excited and worked up yet at the same time regretful. The five were also unable to obtain answers from the others, and the only reply they got was to do their best.
On the leaderboards, SilverWing50PolarLight and the number-one-ranked AliveAfter500Years, who'd maintained his position since the first refresh, had really aroused their curiosity. They'd wondered if the rumors were true, and other than the five of them, Silver Wing's gaming department had collaborated with the virtual projects department to sign others. Or perhaps formed another team?
Only after night had fallen had they gotten to meet Wayne. When they'd found out the truth through Wayne, their minds went blank as their jaws dropped. They'd had no idea how to react.
The composer, head of the virtual projects department?
Wayne had spent the night explaining stuff to them and giving new instructions.
Having been in control of the gaming department all these years, Wayne also had his own methods. He was not an indecisive person, so when it came to making a decision, Wayne just gave up on the original plan and did not let the five log in to continue gaming. Rather, he got them to register a new username to join SilverWing50PolarLight team and enter district 79. To just dump all the hard work of the first day and bank on someone else, the decision was firm.
But no matter what opinions Wayne had, he still had to first get Fang Zhao to agree.
Therefore, early in the morning, the five of them had run over to the virtuals projects department and stood guard, armed with a nervous urgency. Especially when they saw Fang Zhao, it was as if they had seen a dazzling light of hope.
Fang Zhao had stopped the five. "Don't bother shouting first; nothing has been decided yet."
Receiving a message from Duan Qianji, Fang Zhao stepped into the elevator and headed for the top floor.
In Duan Qianji's top-floor office, Duan Qianji, Wayne, and another deputy manager from the gaming department were already seated there.
A large smile appeared on Wayne's face when he caught sight of Fang Zhao, the sort one got when meeting a lover again after a long time.
Duan Qianji's assistants and secretary retreated, leaving the four alone. There was no need to worry about any strategic information leaking.
Duan Qianji did not beat around the bush and instead went straight to the two proposals that she and Wayne had come up with.
The first proposal was in line with the opinions of the outside world. They would go all-out to create a new superstar and let the AliveAfter500Years ID become a super ID, utilizing all the resources of the gaming department to assist Fang Zhao. Once that happened, Fang Zhao would become the first ever globally popular superstar produced by Silver Wing in the gaming circles.
However, Fang Zhao did not have much interest in this. Yesterday he had already turned it down once when speaking to Wayne. If that really happened, it would imply that he could only follow in the path and accomplish the goals the company designated for him, and he would have much less power to make his own decisions. Creating a superstar and whatever did not matter much to him, he did not need to rely on that to eke out a living.
Facing Fang Zhao's rejection once more, Duan Qianji and Wayne could not help but feel a little regret. After all, this solution was the safest and simplest at this point in time, and the benefits were great. However, as Fang Zhao did not have a contract with the company as a gamer, they had no way of forcing him.
Wayne shared his thoughts, "I knew you would reject it, so that brings us the the second proposal we discussed."
What they meant to say was that, since Fang Zhao had not agreed to the first proposal, they could all try collaborating. Silver Wing would request Fang Zhao lead the few members of the gaming department. This was their motive behind signing those five. The original plan had been to build them up and create five gaming stars.
After listening to their views, Fang Zhao fell silent for a bit before asking, "So you mean to build up five average gaming stars?"
Hearing Fang Zhao's words, Duan Qianji and Wayne, who were rather impressive themselves, knew right away that Fang Zhao definitely had other ideas.
"What do you propose?"
"I don't have one. I have received the information on the five members that you sent, including their in-game performance yesterday. To promote them individually would not be easy," Fang Zhao replied.
"We can collaborate with professional assisting studios," Wayne said. He meant those that helped to provide equipment, draw monsters, and provide suppressing fire and leave the kill for the employer, letting the employer gain as many points as possible. Certain studios and teams provided these one-stop services. Previously, Wayne had engaged a studio to do so, to provide assistance for the five members to rack up points. It was a pity that even with that assistance they had been unable to even compete with Fang Zhao, who had done it alone. Even the scores of all five added up could not compare.
Fang Zhao ruthlessly rejected the notion. "My team would have no such service from these studios."
"Even if we do not use any studios, just relying on the few of you would not be enough. If we wanted to score high points... only relying on your own team—I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but even though I am not to well-versed on this matter, five members are still too little. Even if we count you in, forget about the Big Five gaming clubs, we would not even be able to compete with those second-tier gaming clubs. Zu Wen and the others are all amateurs, and we can't count them in since they still have to work on normal days," Wayne analyzed.
"Then recruit more." Fang Zhao did not seem anxious when Wayne questioned his suggestion. Continuing on, he said, "You mentioned previously that you would keep an eye out for talented young players. If they seem decent, just sign them."
"You make it sound easy. I don't mean to strike you down, but those with excellent qualities didn't even give us a second look. We had a name list and sent out invites, but not a single one replied. If you don't believe me, you can try it out..."
Wayne had not finished when he abruptly paused and his eyes widened, as if he had remembered something important. He clenched his fists that were resting on the armrest tightly and even his breathing stopped for an instant.
It was not that they were unable to sign anyone despite offering a high fee, it was just that Wayne was unable to sign anyone that met his criteria, because he was not capable enough to poach those outstanding gamers.
No matter how much he could offer, Wayne still knew that, in the gaming circles and in the eyes of many professional gamers, he was not considered a big deal.
Wayne? Who the hell was he?
This was the first thought that came to the minds of gamers who saw that name.
This was the reason why Wayne had received such pathetic replies after sending out countless invites. Many people did not even bother sending a simple reply of rejection.
However, Wayne could understand. Silver Wing was an entertainment company, and it touched on less aspects in e-sports, as its core was still film and music. Therefore, in the eyes of many, Silver Wing and other entertainment companies were all the same, dabbling a little in the gaming industry because it was profitable. Gamers with a professional ambition generally would not consider these sorts of entertainment companies. In the past there had been no lack of examples. There were some who had been lured over to an entertainment company and had a brief period in the limelight, but after that, they had fallen from grace and were never mentioned by anyone in the gaming circles.
Therefore, as the manager of the gaming department in a mixed-entertainment company, there was great difficulty involved when Wayne tried to poach his targets.
But it was different with Fang Zhao!
AliveAfter500Years still held the top spot in the global rankings and had wide acclaim! Which professional gamer would not recognize this ID? Furthermore, Fang Zhao apparently seemed to be able to continue holding onto the top spot.
No one spoke in the office; the only sound was Wayne's increasingly heavy breathing.
"Wait a minute!" Wayne hurriedly opened his briefcase, took out a file, and solemnly said, "Please take a look at this list of names!"
Wayne's hands were trembling as he handed over the list to Fang Zhao. This list of names was the result of three years of work. Three years ago, he had approached these people, but unfortunately, he had been unable to poach a single one. The names on the list, especially those on the top, would create big news if they could be poached! Poaching three would let them occupy the recent headlines of the e-sports scene! Poaching five... Poaching five over, their gaming department would soar!
After handing the list of names over to Fang Zhao, Wayne watched Fang Zhao's expression. He had originally expected a gasp of surprise from Fang Zhao, but he had never expected that Fang Zhao would just scan through it once and ask, "Only from Yanzhou?"
"You... you still want to... poach from other continents?!"
"Are there any?" Fang Zhao asked.
"No, but I can start taking notes immediately!" Wayne hurriedly declared.
"Let me first take a look at these names. Let me make this clear: my team, my decisions."
"This... is a project the company is investing in, after all..." Wayne was a little awkward. He felt a little uneasy if he was unable to control it himself.
Fang Zhao put down the file and prepared to leave. "All right, find someone else instead."
"Hey, youngster, don't be so hasty. I haven't said no!" Wayne quickly pulled Fang Zhao back to his seat and stuffed the list of names back into his hands.