In Leizhou, when many people mentioned Zaro Renault, the self-indulgent son of the Renault family, their teeth would ache at the same time as their heads. They viewed his style of operation disdainfully yet were unable to do anything about it.
Take this time as an example: When "Battle of the Century" was released, Zaro was captivated once again. He had been unable to take part in the gaming feast ten years ago, as he had been underage and had had limited capital. He might have had ambitions, but he had been unable to execute them. This time around, though, it was different. He did not own a gaming company or an e-sport club, so he bought one straight away! Flexing his financial muscle to the fullest!
But the big e-sports clubs in Leizhou had been wary of him and simply had not allowed him to interfere. Therefore, Zaro had gotten angry and brought out his most consistent methods, throwing huge sums of money to poach. Not only had he poached from within Leizhou, he had poached from other continents as well.
Although what Zaro had done was unreasonable, the high-salaried people under him were capable and simply helped him poach over many gamers with genuine talent.
Of all the teams invited to the annual conference this year, other than SilverLight, another team that had only been established this year was Zaro's Wireless e-Sports Club.
In Leizhou, the Renault family name was a gold-plated signboard. Outside of Leizhou, it also had influence. Even people who did not pay attention would reconsider a few times when they saw this family name.
Now, Zaro wished to poach someone once again, and his target was the global leaderboard's first position, AliveAfter500Years. Other e-sports clubs might desire to poach this person as well, but when they saw Zaro's position, they hesitated. In terms of using their financial muscle to poach, they had no way of beating this person.
Zaro also had his confidence to back him up. He could poach people openly and candidly. After all, daddy has the money!
Everyone's eyes were on Zuo Yu. No matter how strong he was mentally, Zuo Yu also felt pressured.
Taking a deep breath, Zuo Yu was prepared to tell this pretentious bastard who was in need of a spanking "You got the wrong person," but just as he opened his mouth to speak, Jinro elbowed him and whispered, "Boss is here."
Hearing that Fang Zhao had arrived, Zuo Yu let out a sigh of relief in his heart, as did the others on the team. Being watched by so many people was nothing to get happy about.
Fang Zhao pushed his way through the crowd. "What's going on?"
"It's like this..." Zuo Yu explained the situation in a low voice.
Zuo Yu had originally followed Jinro and the others to the sixth floor to relax and unwind. Jinro and Dorrian knew many old adversaries who were also old friends. They had brought the team's new members to get to know other seniors within the circle. Zuo Yu did not have much interest in this, though; he was not a professional gamer and only followed Fang Zhao and joined in the fun when Fang Zhao gamed.
He might have been a bodyguard, but he was not beneath anybody else. Only in front of Fang Zhao would he act a little more like a bodyguard. When he was not by Fang Zhao's side, he still had the air of a former special forces soldier.
The members of the team did not treat him as an attendant. Zuo Yu was also considered a member of the team. Although he, like Fang Zhao, did not spend too much time in-game, he had proven his strength, and when Fang Zhao was not online, if Zuo Yu was not at his side, he would be teaching the others a few things in-game. If Fang Zhao was considered their military instructor, then Zuo Yu was their deputy military instructor. Therefore, his treatment was also different from the other members.
Zuo Yu had been sitting down idly but realized that quite a number of people had their attention focused on him.
Schwarzer had gone one round with Jinro and returned to chat with Zuo Yu about gossip he had heard from e-sports athletes from other continents, such as which gaming superstars were going to come over and blow their own horns and such.
As he was speaking excitedly, Zuo Yu's hand stretched out in a flash and steadily caught an orange that had been thrown over.
After that, it was Zaro and his entourage that came over.
Noticing something wrong over here, Jinro and the other members came rushing back. Everyone in the area now had their attention placed on this group of people. They were watching the show and waiting for answers.
The group from Silver Wing contained a board member and a deputy director, but these senior executives were interacting with other executives and were not on this floor. Wayne was building friendly relations with a few senior management executives of a few of Huangzhou's entertainment companies. The only one who could rush here promptly was Fang Zhao.
Anyone who had done their homework on the SilverLight team knew who Fang Zhao was.
"They threw the orange, probably to probe," Zuo Yu said.
What was there to probe?
Without a doubt, they were probing to see whether Zuo Yu was AliveAfter500Years! Unable to get a verbal answer, they could only probe. Eliminating the other SilverLight members, the only other suspicious person who had an unknown identity was Zuo Yu.
When Zuo Yu was speaking to Fang Zhao, Zaro sized Fang Zhao up and asked his agent beside him, "Who is this? He seems a little familiar."
Zaro's manager had long anticipated this happening. "SilverLight's person-in-charge, the Silver Wing virtual projects department manager and also a contracted Silver Wing composer. The '100-Year Period of Destruction' series is his work. We used the third movement in the series for 'God of War,' the one you spent 10 million to purchase the rights for."
With the manager's reminder, Zaro had a little impression and remembered it. Not because the manager had mentioned the film and series name but because he had received an unfair beating back when his great-grandfather had shed anguished tears because his emotions had overflowed when listening to the piece. Because of that, Zaro had nearly been disfigured from the beating, so how could he not remember that?
However, after that incident, Zaro had seen his fortunes change. He had specifically obtained all four music videos of the "100-Year Period of Destruction" to curry favor with his great-grandfather and had received many benefits. He had originally wanted to poach Fang Zhao, but unfortunately, Silver Wing were not willing to release him.
"Oh, so it's you!" Zaro started having poaching intentions once again. "Have you considered changing jobs?"
"No," Fang Zhao replied stiffly. "Where did you learn that he was AliveAfter500Years?"
Zaro lifted his hand and pointed over in a certain direction. "They said so."
Everyone's gaze followed the direction Zaro's finger was pointed in. Over there were a few people clad in black and white striped jerseys, members from Zebra e-Sports Club.
The members of Zebra e-sports club looked as though they were about to puke blood. "It wasn't us! We never talked about it in front of him!"
"They said it behind my back," Zaro replied firmly. He was also not dumb. He knew what they were trying to do. Wasn't it just using his hands to confirm whether Zuo Yu was AliveAfter500Years? It just so happened that Zaro was curious himself, so he'd thrown an orange at Schwarzer, who had been beside Zuo Yu. When he'd seen Zuo Yu catch the orange, in his heart, he had come to believe that Zuo Yu was indeed AliveAfter500Years.
With such agility, quick reflexes, and an aura different from the others here, if he was not AliveAfter500Years, who could he be?
Actually, everyone around who had seen the orange-catching scene felt the same way as Zaro. Thus, the atmosphere quieted down, as everyone wanted to listen and confirm their hunch.
Fang Zhao swept a look at Zebra e-Sports Club's members and then faced Zaro. "You got the wrong person."
Zaro felt his own judgement was correct and Fang Zhao was just refusing to admit it. "Wrong person? It's not him? I certainly think it's him."
"Suit yourself." If Wayne had not violently opposed keeping Fang Zhao's identity under tight wraps, Fang Zhao would not have concealed it. To him, there was no need to make things so complicated, but Wayne's way of thinking was different. Wayne, as well as people from the publicity and public relations department, always considered the options that granted the most benefits. How to attract the most attention? By tempting everyone's curiosity! That was how Silver Wing managed to achieve their high viewership. When media organizations from different continents mentioned Fiery Bird's annual conference, Silver Wing's SilverLight team would also be brought up.
Fang Zhao did not bother explaining more to Zaro. He just told Zaro that poaching was impossible. Following that, he instructed the rest of the team members on what to do next.
Zuo Yu raised the orange that he'd caught and asked Fang Zhao, "What about the orange..."
Jinro and gang shuddered. They felt that the two words Fang Zhao had just spat out were laden with killing intent.
A slight grin appeared on Zuo Yu's face as he took out the foldable knife he always kept on him. He tossed the orange into the air, made two lightning quick slashes, and caught the falling orange with his free hand. He placed the orange on a plate on top of the table and made another two deft cuts. Releasing his fingers, the orange split into eight juicy pieces, and the sweet aroma wafted out.
He was steady when he brandished the knife, and his cuts had been decisive. The eight pieces seemed as though they had been measured by a robot. Every piece was evenly distributed.
Zaro's eyes glowed, and he exclaimed, "Impressive knife skills!"
Zuo Yu: "..." Are you f*cking brainless? Your father imagined that you were the orange before slicing it up. Don't you even have the ability to see that?!
Finally, Zaro's agent could not put up with it any longer and found an excuse to drag Zaro away. The sixth floor returned to its previous noisy atmosphere. There were still quite a few glances coming their way, but after hearing the news of what had happened, they no longer continued to inquire. After all, everyone would know the answer tomorrow.
At night, after the free time ended, everyone returned back to the 62nd floor to rest.
Wayne had heard about the incident in the day and so told Jinro and the others, "I know what happened. Don't think too much about it. Have a good rest and be in your best condition for tomorrow."
They could not do anything to Zaro, so they had to just place the blame on Zebra e-Sports Club's personnel.
"Some people just love to use these kinds of tricks, tsk." Wayne shook his head and returned to his room, after which he contacted people to cause some trouble for Zebra e-Sports Club.
At the same time, on the internet, a piece of news attracted the attention of many gaming fans.
"According to information leaked from certain parties in the hotel, AliveAfter500Years's identity is suspected to be Fang Zhao's bodyguard."
No one knew the culprit that leaked the information, but there were no photos.
Although there were no concrete rules, there was an unwritten rule that the people within the industry acknowledged. Here, you could take photos of yourself as you pleased, but releasing photos of others without their prior permission or posting them on social platforms was frowned upon. Anyone who violated this rule would be despised and excluded by others in the industry.
Therefore, even if anyone had sold the information, they would not dare to sell the photos taken on the sixth floor.
However, even without any photos, it was enough to excite the gaming fans paying attention to Fiery Bird's annual conference.
"I was wondering why AliveAfter500Years-god had such skills. Turns out he is a bodyguard."
"From an anonymous source, I heard that Fang Zhao's bodyguard was special forces."
"Special forces? That's so cool!"
"No wonder his shooting is so accurate!"
"The global first position would actually serve as Fang Zhao's bodyguard? Does Fang Zhao have such thick skin?!"
"A bodyguard originating from special forces. How did he end up gaming?"
"Maybe they discovered his skills. Recalling back, there were many times where Fang Zhao did not have his bodyguard with him. Most likely, he was letting his bodyguard game and rack up points."
"'Suspected' means it is just a guess and has not been confirmed. Look at you all talking as though you have seen it for yourselves."
"The more I think about it, the more plausible it seems. There has to be a reason for all these baseless rumors."
"Then who is 'LittleFlyingFish' from SilverLight team?
"Stop all this useless chatter. After all, the truth will be revealed tomorrow. In previous conferences, the global first position would go on stage and speak.
Next day, 62nd floor hall.
The SilverLight team members were in a frenzy.
"Where's the hair gel? My hair is messy again."
"Hey, who took the wrong clothes?"
"The f*ck, Dorrian is even spraying cologne! How come you don't show off your flashiness normally!"
"Bag? Where is my bag?"
Wayne instructed the makeup artists that had tagged along to tidy up the appearances of the team members. Relying on themselves was no good. Jinro and Dorrian were still passable, but he could not bear to look at Schwarzer or the other new guys. Better that the professional makeup team repair the damage.
Today they were not facing the attention of a small circle but rather the camera lenses of media organizations throughout the world.
"Later, when we pass by the signature wall in the conference hall, do we sign our real name or in-game ID?" Schwarzer asked.
Jake scoffed. "Are you an idiot, Schwarzer? Your game ID is the same as your real name! What are you acting all confused for!"
"For those that have an ID different from your name, signing any is fine," Dorrian instructed.
"Zuo Yu, will you be signing LittleFlyingFish or your real name?" Schwarzer asked.
"LittleFlyingFish." Zuo Yu was not comfortable with leaving his real name around.
The entering sequence was in order of ranking. The SilverLight team was placed 50+ globally, and only the main members and team executives could use the main doors to the conference hall. Other members had to enter through another door.
After waiting till 5 p.m., it finally became their turn.
Leaving the hotel, they stepped onto a carpet with a Fiery Bird design and walked toward the large conference hall as many camera lens pointed in their direction. Midway, the team stopped to leave their names on the signature wall.
Although the SilverLight team was ranked toward the back and appeared later as well, when the team showed up, all the reporters were clearly even more excited. The incessant humming of the film drones increased by several decibels, especially at the point where the team was signing their names. Camera lenses focused on every team member writing on the wall.
Fang Zhao signed his own name. Zuo Yu signed his ID name, LittleFlyingFish, which was also telling the reporters that their groundless accusations yesterday had all been wrong.
This was the first time Zuo Yu had experienced this type of celebrity treatment. No wonder many people wished to be stars. It felt great, but he knew that the reason they could demand so much attention was all because of Fang Zhao.
Once they entered the hall, Fang Zhao separated from the group. Fang Zhao's seat was different from Jinro and the rest, much closer to the front. Being situated nearer to the front was more convenient for when Fang Zhao had to go on stage.