Only after stepping into the hotel did Schwarzer and the others relax their facial muscles. They immediately massaged their now-tight muscles and thought about whether their expressions just now had been all right. Those were media personnel from all the different continents!
There were already people waiting for them in the hall. Upon seeing the tree emblem of the SilverLight team, they recognized the team straightaway. After an identification check, the leader of the group got to select the floor to occupy.
Wayne suddenly went forward and pressed a button.
Each team had 100+ personnel, and every team had been allocated a floor. Every floor was equipped with game consoles, sound and projection equipment, and a small conference room.
Fortunately, there were also many elevators for so many large groups. However, in the elevator, every time someone spotted clothes adorned with the tree emblem, regardless of which floor these people were from, they would examine the wearer as if he or she were some rare creature. The questions they asked were mainly two. The first was "Are you people from the SilverWing50PolarLight team?" and the second question was "Has AliveAfter500Years arrived yet? Which one is he?"
Regarding these curious looks and enquiries, the members of the SilverLight group always answered "yes" and "arrived" with a knowing smile.
After arriving on the 62nd floor in batches, Wayne began to assign rooms.
After being assigned to two people per room, lunch was ordered. After eating, everyone gathered for a small meeting about re-emphasizing the rules here. All of them were participating for the first time. Not just Schwarzer and the other young members, even Wayne himself was feeling nervous.
Wayne wiped off the sweat on his forehead. "All right, that's all I have. If anybody has any doubts or inquiries, please approach Jinro or Dorrian; those two are experienced."
Following that was free time. Many other teams had already arrived at the hotel, and those who knew people could go and interact with them or head to the places of entertainment within the hotel to unwind.
As the bodyguard, Zuo Yu naturally roomed with Fang Zhao. His duty this round was very important. The moment Fang Zhao's identity was exposed, his workload would increase. He would have to prevent fans and reporters from getting too close.
Fang Zhao had just placed his luggage down when he received an incoming call from Fiery Bird's sound effects department head, Hua Li.
"I just received word that your team has arrived. Have you sorted out your things? If you are done, come over for a chat. Just head straight to the fifth floor. I have a few people to introduce you to." Fang Zhao had no idea who Hua Li was chatting with, but the man sounded like he was in good spirits.
"Sure. I'll make my way over."
"Head to the northernmost corner and use that elevator. I will give you temporary access so you don't have to squeeze in with others. There are too many people today," Hua Li told him.
After ending the call, Fang Zhao checked the messages in the internal group chat. Jinro and the others were preparing to head to the sixth floor. The sixth floor was also a leisure district, but what was different was that it was more suited for e-sports athletes.
When he saw the message, Fang Zhao instructed Zuo Yu. "Go with them. You don't have to worry about me. Let me know if there is anything; I will head straight up."
Zuo Yu also knew that Fang Zhao had been invited over by Fiery Bird headquarters staff and there was unlikely to be any trouble on their own turf. He nodded his head and replied, "Got it, Boss. I will keep you informed."
Following Hua Li's instructions, Fang Zhao found the elevator in the corner and took it straight down to the fifth floor. It was probably an elevator for internal staff use only, as Fang Zhao did not encounter anyone else on the ride down.
The fifth floor was a well-furnished restaurant that seemed refined and cultured. The walls were adorned with paintings that were replicas of antiques left behind from the Old Era. The real art pieces were kept safe in Fiery Bird's own vault and would not be displayed at this kind of place.
The people on this floor seldom discussed game techniques. They were parties who collaborated with Fiery Bird, not e-sports athletes. Some were artists, designers, or composers. For example, people who worked on the background music for "Battle of the Century."
Fang Zhao looked around and spotted Hua Li speaking with a scrawny-looking guy. His face was quite flushed, probably from drinking wine or getting too excited from chatting.
"Hey Fang Zhao, over here!" Hua Li stood up and waved Fang Zhao over. "Come, come, let me introduce you. This here is Gao Se. He is a Qi'an Academy of Music alumnus, just like you. Currently, he is an associate professor for composition at the Huangzhou Academy of Art. We accepted two of his works this round to use as in-game music. We have used many of his previous works for gaming events and are practically old comrades. Thinking back to when we first collaborated, I think old Gao was still only an assistant professor?"
"Yeah, I was only into my fourth year at Huangzhou Academy of Art then." Gao Se did not seem to take any offence about Hua Li's mention of him being an assistant professor, and his tone still seemed slightly proud.
Fang Zhao knew that, although an assistant professor was not considered a high position, over at Huangzhou, an assistant professor's salary and benefits were extremely high, and they even had doctors attending their lessons. Huangzhou was an extremely competitive place, and their assistant professors were not ordinary. Hua Li's words had no intention of belittling Gao Se. Besides, Gao Se had already risen to up to become an associate professor. In Huangzhou, rising up to an associate professorship at Gao Se's age was a rare sight. Without sufficient successes, there was no way to get promoted.
As Hua Li was about to introduce Fang Zhao to Hua Li, Gao Se chuckled. "Fang Zhao, I know who you are. Ming Cang and the others frequently talk about you. I caught a glimpse of you from afar the last time Old Xue came over to Huangzhou, but we didn't get the chance to talk. This time, we ought to have a good chat!"
Originating from the same "QiMu" posse, both of them naturally had mutual connections, so Gao Se knew quite a bit about Fang Zhao.
Gao Se studied Fang Zhao, his expression somewhat satisfied. Given the amount of achievements Fang Zhao had at his age, he was neither arrogant nor hot tempered, and he had an unflustered disposition. It was no wonder Ming Cang and Hua Li praised him to the high heavens when they mentioned him.
No matter how much talent one had, there would always be some arrogance, but in certain situations, arrogance had to be curbed.
Fang Zhao had visited Huangzhou before, during the global lecture tour with Xue Jing. Back then, Fang Zhao had only been supplementary. He had not been the main character and couldn't even have been considered to have had a supporting role. In the eyes of many people during the global lecture tour, Fang Zhao had just been Xue Jing's little attendant and had just been going through the motions, letting people familiarize with his face.
Fang Zhao might have obtained a lot of profit from his few works, received affirmation from other professionals, and become popular among students, but in the global circles, he still could not be considered famous.
Just picking any random person here that collaborated with Fiery Bird and was invited, their files would be full of achievements and awards, and even after 10 pages, the list of achievements might not necessarily have ended.
"I was just talking with Old Gao about persuading you to come to Huangzhou." Hua Li brought out a bottle of alcohol from his bag behind him. "This is from my personal collection. Try some."
One reason Hua Li had called Fang Zhao over was to introduce Fang Zhao to a few seniors within the industry that had collaborated with and been invited by Fiery Bird. These people might not be known by the masses, but within the composition circles, their names were well known. Getting to know a few would be beneficial for Fang Zhao.
Fang Zhao sat down and listened to Gao Se talk about his own accomplishments, awards he had won, and high-level performances he had taken part in. He also flaunted the white metal piece hanging around his neck to Fang Zhao. It was a small medal.
"A Galaxy medal?" Fang Zhao asked.
Fang Zhao knew about this. The Galaxy Awards were the highest accomplishments anyone in the arts scenes could hope to achieve. Regardless of whether one was a composer, actor, singer, painter, or other artistic profession, every single artist wished to achieve a Galaxy Award.
"Haha, that's right! But it's not a Galaxy World medal, just the Galaxy Supernova medal." Even though it was subaward, when Gao Se mentioned it, he seemed rather proud of himself.
Hua Li eyed the medal on Gao Se's neck enviously before helplessly retracting his gaze. The path he had chosen had destined that he would have no fate with the Galaxy Awards. In terms of earnings, Hua Li could beat 90% of the people on this floor, but in terms of artistic skill, 99% of the people here were better than him.
Hua Li was willing to help Fang Zhao because he thought highly of the young man and wanted to accumulate some good karma when Fang Zhao had not yet risen up.
The Galaxy Supernova Award was conferred to a young artist who had sufficient accomplishments in his field. In the New Era, 50 or 60 was still considered young.
"When Old Gao received the award, he was probably around 40?" Hua Li asked.
"No no no, 50, I was almost 50. Forty-nine and a half. Hehe, I still remember it very clearly. After I received the award, Huangzhou Academy of Art awarded me with the lifelong teaching award. That was when I considered myself to have made a mark in Huangzhou. Half a year later, on my birthday, I was promoted to associate professor." Gao Se's face was fully red. As he reminisced proudly with some fond nostalgia, his fingers carefully stroked the medal he was wearing.
"Old Xue also has the Supernova Award, and the Nebula Award too. I reckon Old Xue could possibly achieve the World Award as well," Gao Se said in a revering tone.
The Supernova Award was given to young artists, whereas the Nebula Award, also a subcategory of the Galaxy Awards, was a celebration of the lifetime accomplishments of an artist. Even now, Xue Jing was still so hardworking. He wanted to achieve and contribute more to receive the Galaxy World Award, an award given to artists at the peak of the industry.
Gao Se rarely saw younger generations due to the pressures of intense competition in the industry, so seeing Fang Zhao, Gao Se was in good spirits and was in the mood to give pointers.
Although Gao Se liked to show off and gave off a hint of the arrogance of a senior, the pointers he gave Fang Zhao were valuable, and he was willing to share some of the realities he had experienced. He hoped that Fang Zhao would take the academic path and not be swayed by money and the overly commercialized market.
"Do not be blinded by small gains, and don't rush. Take it one step at a time and move steadily and surely. Also, do not be taken in by people who spout rubbish all day long. Those people have dreams beyond the heavens and are unable to keep up with their ambitions. They won't go far. In our industry, we need to simmer. In our industry, many try to find the equilibrium between art and commerce and lose themselves. Fang Zhao, you must absolutely not learn from them. If you are in doubt, you can look for Xue Jing to chat. After all, Old Xue is an old hand, and he has high hopes for you. If you are willing to ask, that old man would be more than happy to answer. If Xue Jing isn't around, you can look for Ming Cang. That fellow is in really high spirits now. I heard his son's treatment is going well..."
Probably from the drinks and his high spirits, Gao Se talked a lot, but it could all be summarized in one sentence: Young man, I think highly of you, so work hard, and when you have accumulated enough experience, us uncles will bring you out to pretend and help you fly!
Beside them, Hua Li did not interrupt. From the start, he had planned to pull Fang Zhao into the company, or maybe into companies belonging to a few of his friends, but after seeing Xue Jing bring Fang Zhao on his global lecture tour, he had given up. He knew that academics like Xue Jing and Ming Cang hoped that Fang Zhao would follow the academic path and not be too involved in the commercial market. Young people in this era were too easily influenced by money.
The Galaxy World Award was just a beautiful dream in Hua Li's heart. When he woke up, he was very clear that there was no way he could obtain it, but could Fang Zhao achieve it in the future?
As long as he kept up his standards, the Supernova Award should not be too hard, but the World Award?
Hua Li was not too optimistic. However, even if Fang Zhao really managed to get the World Award, it would surely be over 100 years from now. By then, if Hua Li was still alive, he would probably be older than the current age of Xue Jing and would have long retired.
Gao Se went on and on for half an hour before leaving when he received a call. An old friend who had also received an invite was looking for him.
After Gao Se left, Hua Li intended to introduce Fang Zhao to a few other people, but Fang Zhao's bracelet had a notification of an urgent message.
He took a look. The sender was Zuo Yu.
Hua Li he knitted his eyebrows and asked, "What's wrong?"
Fang Zhao pointed at the ceiling. "Some trouble upstairs."
The sixth floor above them was a place for e-sports athletes to gather and interact. Hua Li came to a realization.
"All right, go on and head up first. I will find some others to chat with. I have many old friends here. When you have the time, come back and look for me. I will probably stay here till night."
A place that ought to be boisterous was relatively quiet.
There were many e-sports athletes from every continent, but at that moment, regardless of whether they were chatting or holed up in a corner playing games or watching films, currently, all eyes were focused on a certain area.
At this area was the SilverLight team's group of about 10 people.
Zuo Yu was at a loss. His hands were itching to give someone a beating.
Standing in front of Zuo Yu, Jinro, and the others was an e-sports team from Leizhou.
At the head of this team was a young man acting all high and mighty. Arrogance was written all over his face. He was wearing a leather biker jacket and leather boots and was dressed in a retro style. On his shirt, a bright yellow and elegantly cursive font spelled out the words "Zaro Renault." Inside Zuo Yu's head, the words automatically translated in his head to four shining words—"not a good person!"
A totally pretentious appearance that deserved a spanking!
From his first glance of this senior master, Zuo Yu sent Fang Zhao a text message. The other party definitely had no good intentions, and Zuo Yu had no control over this situation. He wished to strike but could not afford to offend a descendant of a Founding Era's great general.
Zuo Yu's eyelids started twitching as the other party walked over.
Senior Master Zaro, who had been labeled "not a good person," directly walked in front of Zuo Yu and eyeballed him as though he was inspecting a shipment of goods. "You are the one that has forcefully occupied the top position on the leaderboards, AliveAfter500Years?" Not waiting for Zuo Yu's reply, the other party shot out another line. "One hundred million annual salary. Leave Silver Wing and join our Wireless e-Sports Club. How about that?"
Zuo Yu: "..." Boss, hurry up! I'm afraid I might not be able to control my own mouth!
Smashing this salary in his face, Zuo Yu almost agreed immediately!