As this was the first time Silver Wing's e-sports department was taking part in the auction segment, Wayne viewed it with utmost importance. Since there was lots of funding, manufacturing of the team jerseys had been done with the finest materials. Yesterday, when they had been preparing this set of Fang Zhao's clothes, Wayne had personally watched as his staff cleaned and tidied the clothes then wiping the captain's badge till it was sparkling before putting it on.
It could be said that, even if this set of clothing was placed in a store, it would not be sold at a low price. The production cost for these clothes was at least 2,000 to 3,000. With a starting bid of 10,000, three times the cost, it was not considered very high. Wayne had estimated the clothes to be auctioned off for around 35,000, which was considered really high. This was when comparing with past examples of popular e-sport athletes.
If no one bid for it, Wayne would let some internal Silver Wing staffers bid for it in the shadows and jack up the price.
Supporting one's own interests from the shadows was a method that every e-sports club employed. On the surface, it would look better, and Wayne had felt that if the price were not jacked up to at least 1.8 million, he would be letting down Silver Wing's brand.
However, Wayne was now staring with his mouth agape at the figures that were still rapidly shooting up.
Eight hundred thousand... 1 million.... 1.5 million... 2.3 million...
Looking at the bidders, there were some displayed IDs and some anonymous IDs. When it came to online bidding, some people were unwilling to reveal their personal information and would set up an anonymous profile. Confidentiality was something that Fiery Bird permitted.
Passing the 1 million mark, the number of bidders fell drastically, and when it reached 2 million, there were basically only five or six bidders left.
Even if Fang Zhao was a hot topic and his popularity was on the rise, he was still a newcomer to the gaming circles. As it was only a set of team jerseys, 35,000 was already considered a premium and even entertainment media outlets would exaggerate it, but now, the price had been jacked up so high...
In the conference hall, some people watched the SilverLight team with a profound look. To jack up the price, Silver Wing were really going all out.
Wayne's face was rigid. Drooping his head, he sent a message to his staff in the shadows. "That's enough! Stop jacking it up!"
Only appropriate price jacking was considered good work. Overdoing it was not beneficial! This bunch was so unprofessional.
The looks of people in the surroundings made the self-declared thick-skinned Wayne feel like he was on fire.
However, the person in charge of the shadow operations pleaded innocence. "We didn't. It really isn't us jacking up the price. There has simply been no chance for us to step forward!"
It's not our own people jacking up the price?
Wayne was really flabbergasted. Was it really Fang Zhao's diehard fans bidding?
Watching the figures on the screen, the current bid had already passed 2.7 million and was still climbing towards 3 million.
Currently, there were only three active bidders left.
Wayne leaned toward Fang Zhao and muttered, "That 'Little Leaf' currently bidding, do you know him?"
"Oh? Who is he?" Wayne was curious.
Wayne: "...That former headmaster of the Qi'an Academy of Music?"
"I just received a message from him. He says his son, Ming Ye, is recovering well, so he decided to win this set of team jerseys as a memorial day gift for Ming Ye," Fang Zhao explained.
Wayne nodded his head. "So that's it." If it was Ming Cang, he could understand.
Fang Zhao's "100-Year Period of Destruction" series had provided a treatment direction for Ming Cang's sick son. There was hearsay that the treatment effects were going well and Ming Cang was very grateful toward Fang Zhao. Whether he really wanted to get it as a gift for Ming Ye or he was simply using this situation as an excuse to help out, either way, that pleased Wayne.
Wayne asked Fang Zhao about another ID that was still in the bidding war. "What about 'ATreasuredKnifeDoesNotAge'?"
"My great-grandfather," Fang Zhao replied. The old master had said he wanted to root for his great-grandson.
Wayne's facial muscles trembled. "...The old master is really awesome."
The three remaining ID's were "Little Leaf", "ATreasuredKnifeDoesNotAge" and "Anonymous." Two IDs were known; only the anonymous one was left.
"Do you know who the anonymous ID is?" Wayne quizzed.
"No idea." Fang Zhao was puzzled too. He really did not know.
As they were talking, the figures on the screen changed once more, and many people in the conference hall could not help but exhale sharply.
Looking up at the current bids, after "Little Leaf" had bid 3 million, the bid had suddenly risen to 5 million. The caller was Anonymous.
It was just a set of team jerseys, not some limited edition item or a treasured belonging of a certain great master that had passed on. It was just the clothing of a newcomer that had risen to prominence. Although there was a captain's badge and Fang Zhao's reason for temporarily withdrawing, there was no need to be so excessive! This was utterly excessive!
Silver Wing's self promotion? Otherwise, who else would fork out 5 million just to buy a set of clothing?
Zaro sneered as he told his manager, "I have no idea which idiot would actually spend 5 million to purchase such an ordinary set of clothing." Raising his head, he realized many pairs of eyes were on him, and although it didn't happen a lot, he was enlightened and knew what the stares of these people actually meant.
Zaro raised his voice slightly. "What are you staring it? That wasn't my bid!"
Nobody could be blamed for looking at him this way. In the hearts of many, throwing money around had always been Zaro's style. Just yesterday in the leisure district, he had still been talking about wanting to poach Fang Zhao over to Wireless e-Sports Club, and the latest bid being a massive jump from 3 million to 5 million was totally in the style of what Zaro's sort would do.
Following Zaro's outburst, nobody suspected him any more. Although Zaro had all sorts of shortcomings, he wouldn't go so far as to lie about this. People that were familiar with Zaro's style knew that if this Senior Master really wanted to bid, he would not use an anonymous ID. He would want to let the whole world know he had money and then bid excessively. This remarkably foolish person had too much money.
Ultimately, Fang Zhao's set of team clothing was sold to the highest bid of 5 million. This left many people shocked, and the internet started to boil once more. Chat rooms and forums were all discussing this.
And everyone's conclusion after discussing was that such a high bid could only be a diehard fan of Fang Zhao or a self-promotion scheme by Silver Wing!
More people were inclined to believe the second possibility and felt that it was surely a means of self-promotion by Silver Wing! Their internal staff had purposely raised the price!
Whether it was those present in the conference or the online viewers watching the live broadcast, they all felt the same way. Even if Silver Wing had officially announced that their internal staff had not taken part in the auction, nobody believed them.
"Isn't this the highest ever bid in any year?"
"For team clothing, that is indeed the highest ever."
Although there were bids of over 5 million in the auctions of the following items, those items were game consoles, and the manufacturing costs and starting bids were already very high.
After the auction, everyone was still discussing the high price of Fang Zhao's set of team attire. Many people thought, if it really was all a charade by Silver Wing, would it infuriate Fiery Bird? Or perhaps attract more disgust from even more people? After all, most gaming clubs had secret operations behind the scenes, but jacking up the price to such ridiculous extremes had never been seen before. Even if it had happened, the offending parties would be placed on Fiery Bird's unwanted list.
There always had to be a limit when it came to hyping up in a business. If it was overdone, it would not be that popular and would instead result in an adverse reaction.
Wayne was also worried, so once the auction ended, he wanted to look for the highest-ranking board member in Silver Wing's entourage and get him to explain to the relevant Fiery Bird officials. However, before Wayne even moved out, Fiery Bird announced that the anonymous buyer had no relations whatsoever to Silver Wing, that he was just a fan of Fang Zhao.
Someone found it inconceivable. "How fanatical must he be to throw that much money just to get Fang Zhao's team attire?"
"Maybe that person has no lack of cash?"
"Or perhaps he just wants to use it as an excuse to contribute to military expenditures?"
"It's a pity it was anonymous. We won't know who it is."
Fang Zhao was also curious himself and inquired with Fiery Bird staff after the auction concluded, but he did not get an answer either. Fiery Bird placed great importance on customer confidentiality.
Wayne had a positive perspective. "Forget it. Since they actually said it is a fan of yours, that person will appear in future, maybe at a fan meet or some related event." Besides, it was not their behind-the-scenes methods that had resulted in big news, so he had the confidence to say all this.
As for who had bought it and what intentions they had, Wayne no longer cared. Having been with Silver Wing for so long, he had seen this sort of situation many times and did not find it strange. It was tiring if they had to get to the bottom of everything.
Back at the hotel, Fang Zhao ran into Mazhou's Ma Xier, the gold-medalist shooter ranked No. 2 on the individual leaderboards.
"Are you really going to enlist in April?" Ma Xi'er asked Fang Zhao.
"Yeah. I will hand in my application after Memorial Day," Fang Zhao replied. The time period for enlistment had not arrived yet, but all his company matters had already been arranged. All he needed was for Memorial Day to pass before sending in his application.
Ma Xier watched Fang Zhao with a complicated gaze. Suddenly, he laughed. "Just as well. I am preparing to temporarily withdraw too. There is no meaning in climbing up to first on the leaderboards if you aren't there. Besides, compared to games, I still prefer playing with real guns. Have you played with real ones before?" Ma Xier asked.
"I have," Fang Zhao replied. "I have a member card over at Yanzhou's shooting club."
Fang Zhao had indeed applied for a member card at Yanzhou's shooting club and had gone there to handle some New Era firearms.
"That's great. When you have the time, visit Mazhou, and I will bring you to a shooting range. Shooting athletes all around the world love Mazhou shooting ranges the best. They have the most specialized ranges and large areas. Even Huangzhou's most famous shooting range cannot compare to the one in Mazhou." As Ma Xier talked about Mazhou's shooting ranges, his face subconsciously displayed some pride.
The competition continent, Mazhou, was a heaven for athletes of all sports.
After exchanging contact details with Ma Xier, Fang Zhao headed upstairs.
An hour after the auction, Ma Xier posted a new update on his social platform, announcing his decision to temporarily withdraw from "Battle of the Century." When Fang Zhao returned, only then would he continue. It just so happened that he had competitions in real life and considered them a priority.
Three hours after the auction ended, Fiery Bird officially released some data from the 10th-generation console that Fang Zhao had assisted in obtaining as well as a short video of Fang Zhao on the day of the exchange match. In the video, viewers could see the adaptability video soaring to 98 and even hitting 99 on a number of occasions.
Fiery Bird used this as a pretext to refute the many cynics from within the industry who had spoken up after the 10th-generation console had been released.
When the 10th-generation console had just been released, a professional from the industry had estimated that, in three years, there would not be a single gamer that could successfully adapt to the 10th generation and that it was impossible for the 10th generation to become mainstream in the short term!
After that, he had even said that some e-sports club members did not really use the 10th-generation console and chose to switch back to the 9th generation while shelving the 10th generation, only using it to adapt once in a while at leisure. The expensive 10th generation that gamers could not adapt to was a big mistake by Fiery Bird!
But now, four months after the release of the 10th-generation console and three months since "Battle of the Century" had been released, someone had genuinely adapted fully.
As the user was Fang Zhao, all gamers had the same line of thought: If they could raise their adaptability value to 98, would they be as impressive as Fang Zhao?
With an adaptability value of 98, what would the experience be like? Would judgement and perception be raised? Would movements be more relaxed? Would shooting be more accurate?
Global ranked No. 3 and mainforce captain of Huangzhou's Phoenix e-Sports Club Bruce also used the 10th-generation machine. When faced with his teammates' and fans' inquiries, he replied, "I also do not know. I'm only 95, but I feel like I'm going to break through soon. In a months time, it might be 96. I will let everyone know what the experience is like when I hit 98."
As for gamers without the 10th-generation console but who were well off, they all wondered if they could obtain one to try it out for themselves. Who knew if they had the innate talent to adapt quickly?
Of course, there were others who did not feel so strongly about games and felt that this way of thinking was too crazy. Spending so much money to purchase a game console that they might not adapt to might be a waste! Wasn't it just a game console? There were high maintenance fees just to keep it as an ornament. Were they just going to chuck aside the 9th-generation console that was easier to adapt to and purchase a 10th-generation console? Even if the 10th-generation console had a second batch of sales, there wouldn't be many buyers! Forget about it even becoming mainstream.
As the internet was abuzz with discussion, on the SilverLight team's side, the members were already packing up their stuff. Fiery Bird's annual conference had come to an end, and they would be returning back to Yanzhou the next morning.
"Wayne, bring the others back to Yanzhou tomorrow. I will be visiting Muzhou before returning," Fang Zhao told Wayne who had just ended a call.
Wayne's smiling face suddenly tightened. "What are you heading to Muzhou for?" He was worried that a team in Muzhou wanted to poach Fang Zhao away. This time around, many teams had expressed an interest to poach.
"To fetch my dog," Fang Zhao replied.
Wayne let out a huge sigh of relief in his heart. "Oh, right, your champion dog is still in Muzhou, herding sheep."
The memorial holiday was approaching soon and the people in Muzhou needed to celebrate too. Furthermore, people of Muzhou treated Memorial Day with great importance, and all members of the Su family had to return to Qingcheng. Su Hou would not be staying at the farm, so Fang Zhao had decided to bring Curly Hair back to Yanzhou.
"How will you be heading over? Do you need me to request another flying transport?" Wayne asked.
"No need. The boss of Muzhou's Four Elephants Foodstuff, Su Feng, is here in Huangzhou. I just talked to him, and he will be leaving for Muzhou tomorrow. I will join him and fly straight to Muzhou's Dongshan Farm."
"How long will you be gone for?"
"Three or four days, depending on the situation."
"Then you better bring Zuo Yu with you. Make sure to be careful!" Wayne exhorted. "You are now a famous celebrity and lots of people will recognize you. Put on some disguises when you head out. Also, don't spend too long in Muzhou. The company has planned an interview program for the SilverLight team before Memorial Day. Now that you are especially popular, return a little earlier to record. Otherwise, if you wait too long, everyone will have shoved you to the back of their minds. Online audiences have very short memories."
After exhorting repeatedly, Wayne started to think of topics that could continue hyping up Fang Zhao on the days he was in Muzhou to ensure the audiences didn't forget him.
With Memorial Day approaching, many entertainment companies would be releasing new-year blockbusters, and many celebrities would be in the news. Now that Fiery Bird's annual conference had come to an end, e-sports clubs would postpone climbing the leaderboards and would prepare for some rest and reorganization. Entertainment companies would take over the bombardment of the entertainment news. Perhaps many people would place Fang Zhao at the back of their minds the following day.Leaf in chinese