Just as many people had expected, after Fiery Bird's Yanzhou branch's half-year event concluded, on that very night itself, lots of media outlets joined in the festivities and stirred up news. These outlets edited the part of the segment where the newcomer award was handed out and made it into a video with captions and added special effects.
Wilkinson's voice was clear and resounding: "The person I worship most is Fang Zhao!"
And the "thank you" speech after receiving the award also became a topic that people made fun of.
All Wilkinson had had to do was memorize the thank you speech that his company had prepared for him and recite it on stage, but Fang Zhao just had to be the esteemed guest conferring the award.
After Wilkinson thanked his company, his teammates, his parents, he gave a very emotional thank you to Fang Zhao...
Everyone from 2S wanted to puke blood. What are you thanking him for?! The speech we prepared for you doesn't contain this line!
If words, once spoken, could be swallowed back, 2S e-Sports Club's manager would probably have held Wilkinson down and forced him to eat his words.
A pity that this was not possible.
During the live broadcast, the cameras had not been pointed toward 2S, and their weird and complicated expressions had not been broadcast. Fiery Bird was not an entertainment news outlet and they took 2S's reputation into consideration. After all, 2S was a respectable and well-known e-sports club, so Fiery Bird ought to give them some face.
Of course, Fiery Bird's people knew that even if they did not generate these topics, entertainment reporters on the scene would disseminate this news. These entertainment reporters were just so good at starting a prairie fire from a little spark.
Thus, Fiery Bird just needed to uphold their professionalism and leave the rest to others in the industry.
As they had expected, many reporters took advantage of this opportunity. The live broadcast cameras might not have captured the moment, but these professional reporters had their own equipment!
Not only were these videos high definition, but they were from all sorts of angle and had been captured perfectly. Besides the scenes during the award ceremony, they had even filmed circumstances in the wine reception after the presentation, when Wilkinson had sought out Fang Zhao for an autograph.
These materials from various sources were taken and edited together with portions of the live broadcast and compiled as a news video, and the circulation rate was rising continuously. Now, everyone in the Yanzhou gaming circles knew that the fresh talent that 2S had signed, Wilkinson, this mid-year newcomer king who might very well be the newcomer of the year, was officially a Fang Zhao fan.
"Hahaha, this year's newcomers are really interesting."
"I can imagine 2S's manager's face turning as black as the bottom of a pot."
"However, speaking of this, there are indeed many e-sports athletes that adore Fang Zhao, but the only one willing to say it out loud in this sort of circumstances is Wilkinson."
"Someone please recount the animosity and grudges between SilverLight and 2S. I have almost forgotten it all already."
"Since Wilkinson is a fan of Fang Zhao, why did he sign with 2S instead of going to Silver Wing?"
"He was probably intercepted by 2S."
"Now this situation is just embarrassing. Those SilverLight guys are probably laughing their heads off."
At 2S e-Sports Club. Many of their members and staff had seen this news.
Wilkinson's movements in gameplay might be sharp, but when it came to dealings and handling affairs with other people, he wasn't that smart. It was as if all his IQ and EQ was used for the game and not even a tenth was available for other aspects. When it came to reality, some of the stuff he did was really stupid.
Otherwise, Wilkinson wouldn't have been so easily swayed into signing a contract with 2S, and even a long-term one at that. The contract had especially strict clauses regarding switching teams just to guard against Wilkinson running over to Silver Wing in a moment of madness.
The manager of 2S felt his head hurt as he saw all the reports online. Whatever, others can laugh all they want. SilverLight is not able to get anything for this. After all, at the start, Wilkinson's first choice had been SilverLight, but the Silver Wing gaming department manager didn't grab the chance. In any case, it was 2S that had unearthed a gem.
In the beginning, Wilkinson's first choice had indeed been SilverWing50PolarLight, but Wayne had been considering it from the point of a team and had hesitated for a few days. During this hesitation, 2S had swooped in and grabbed this talented sapling. This was the reason Wayne looked so full of regret whenever Wilkinson was mentioned.
While other e-sports clubs and netizens were watching and joking about this, over at Silver Wing, this wasn't the case. The SilverLight team, from the gaming department manager all the way to the e-sports athletes at the bottom, was not as merry as the outside world thought them to be. Instead, the atmosphere here was rather solemn.
On the morning after the event, Wayne had just arrived at his office and sat down before he made a call to Fang Zhao. "As the event ended too late yesterday, I wasn't able to look for you. I wish to talk with you about the problems regarding the team."
The team had signed a number of people in the last two years. The team's results were decent, and they were the most successful e-sports team ever produced by a Yanzhou mixed entertainment company, which was something to be proud of.
But in the last year, some team members had been negligent in their training and had slightly inflated egos. Wayne himself was not feared by the team members. Previously, because Fang Zhao had been undergoing military service followed by preparing for his concert, Wayne had not disturbed him, but now, finally, the occasion had arrived.
Wayne spoke continuously for half an hour. All that he said could be summarized in a single sentence: These little fellas have to be put in order.
After he had finished talking, Wayne heard Fang Zhao reply with one line: "Got it."
Although he had only received a two-word reply after talking nonstop for half an hour, Wayne was still very satisfied. He felt much better now compared to the terrible mood he had been in after the Wilkinson situation.
When the staff in the gaming department saw how much Wayne's mood had changed in 30 minutes, they were astonished.
"Did our manager just have something good happen to him? He seems in rather high spirits."
"I keep feeling that his smile seems a little creepy."
Silver Wing tower 50th floor.
A few newcomers were looking at the online comments of videos from yesterday's event.
"Hahahaha, captain, you guys take a look. These netizen's comments are real funny. Those 2S people's expressions really look as though they are suffering from constipation. I reckon that they must be fuming with rage, haha..." The few newcomers were laughing heartily when they suddenly realized that their seniors did not look at all happy. "Captain, you guys, what's wrong?"
Even the normally outspoken hulk of a man, Milo, was silently staring out of the window. His eyes appeared blank, like he was slightly distressed.
Jake leaned back in his chair and coldly said, "Do you think we can run away?"
The newcomers were puzzled. "Run away... from what?"
A notification from the chat group.
Team Captain Jinro's face twitched as he opened the message. "It's here."
All the members of the team hurriedly opened the chat group and saw that AliveAfter500Years, who rarely spoke, had sent a message.
In typical Fang Zhao fashion, a set of coordinates and a time—that was all.
Vice Captain Dorrian winced as though his teeth hurt.
Schwarzer wailed in anguish.
The older batch of SilverLight members recalled the experience they'd once had.
These perplexing reactions by their seniors made the newcomers even more nervous.
"Senior Schwarzer, why are you rubbing your chest?" a newcomer asked.
Schwarzer looked as though he was reliving a terrifying nightmare. "It hurts. My innards were all shaken up."
"Actually, Senior Fang Zhao doesn't look all that frightening," a newcomer said.
When the senior members heard this, they all simultaneously replied with a "hehe."
On this day, the members of the SilverLight team did not shirk their duties. Many people realized that in the late morning, the members of the gaming team had been full of vigor, but in the afternoon, every single one of them was listless. Even those few lively ones were very silent.
After that, everyone discovered that the SilverLight team had suddenly begun to be spirited. The cocksure swagger that had been cultivated over the past two years had also dwindled. It was as if the team had returned to when they had first been established.
Wayne was satisfied when he saw the team's current drive. Indeed, he should go looking for Fang Zhao from time to time. This bunch of people needed to be flogged once in a while.
Elsewhere, after Fang Zhao logged off, he passed the gaming helmet to Curly Hair.
As his 10th-gen console had been moved to the office, he only had a Fiery Bird gaming helmet at his residence. Normally, Curly Hair was the one playing it.
Shortly after leaving the gaming room, Fang Zhao received some information from Wang Tie.
Wang Tie had said he would need two days, but not even a day later, he had already found it.
Fang Zhao took down Nova Roman's detailed location before contacting Zuo Yu and Yan Biao. "Pack your stuff. Prepare to head to a faraway place tomorrow."
To a faraway place meant that perhaps an extended stay away might be needed.
"Boss, where are we headed?" Zuo Yu asked.
Teasandsea was the name of a small island affiliated with MaErSizhou.
The next morning, Zuo Yu and Yan Biao both brought travel suitcases.
"Boss, I have applied for a flying transport from the company. We can set off anytime." Zuo Yu said.
Noticing Curly Hair pacing up and down, Yan Biao asked, "Are we bringing Curly Hair?"
"Bring him out to run," Fang Zhao replied. Curly Hair needed to be active. Ever since returning home, Curly Hair had spent a lot of time gaming. This wasn't good, and he still needed to head out to move around.
As he was speaking, Fang Zhao received a call, so he turned and headed into his study.
Watching Fang Zhao enter the study to answer the call, Zuo Yu excitedly told Yan Biao, "It's Teasandsea! That place is a great vacation destination. I have never been there before."
"We are bodyguards. We have to remain responsible and diligent; we cannot covet the pleasures in life!" Yan Biao replied.
"A benefit of being Fang Zhao's bodyguard is that you can travel everywhere. In my first year being his bodyguard, I traveled to all 12 continents."
"Probably to seek inspiration. At that time, Boss had accepted an assignment to compose an accompaniment piece for a game. I followed him as he visited every continent's Cemetery of Martyrs. However, we still visit each Cemetery of martyrs every year. You will come along next time too," Zuo Yu said.
"This time, what is Boss heading to Teasandsea for?" Yan Biao asked.
"How would I know? Wherever Boss points to, we go to, no questions asked. Furthermore, given my experience, I reckon that the two of us will not get any chances to show off our capabilities during this trip to Teasandsea."
"And why is that?"
"What do you think our assignment is supposed to be when we reach Teasandsea?"
Yan Biao had a puzzled expression. "What are you trying to say?"
Zuo Yu pointed at the excitable Curly Hair. "To walk the dog."
At the moment, in Silver Wing tower.
Duan Qianji opened an application for a vacation in her email inbox.
It was from Fang Zhao.
A vacation? What does "return date undetermined" mean?
If the preparations for the concert a while back had been too tiring, heading out to relax a little was fine, but "return date undetermined" was a little subtle.
If it was because he wanted to prepare for his next concert and wanted to go elsewhere to gain inspiration, that was also understandable.
Whether it was a short vacation to relax or to prepare for his next concert, Duan Qianji would surely approve of it, but she had her doubts. When she called Fang Zhao to inquire, Fang Zhao only replied that he was going on a trip to Teasandsea.
Teasandsea was a tourist destination. Many people loved having holidays there. When she first heard it, she didn't think there was anything special.
But Duan Qianji kept feeling that something wasn't right.
Because every time Fang Zhao went on vacation, he created a stir. How big or small the matter was was directly proportional to the length of his vacation.
So, this time, what exactly was Fang Zhao up to?
Contemplating for half a day, Duna Qianji asked her secretary, "Is there any big news that I am unaware of?"
Duan Qianji's secretary was very clear what Duan Qianji meant by "big news." Thus, she very calmly replied, "All the big news in recent times has already been arranged and sent to you."
"At present, that's all."
Having received this reply, Duan Qianji still felt rather uneasy.
"Keep an eye on Teasandsea."