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Chapter 717 - Some Happy, Some Worried

Club Excellent Era gathered the fans, the media, and had even reserved a car to pick Xiao Shiqin up from the airport. How could they just let Xiao Shiqin simply get off the car, walk through the main entrance, and end the event like that?

Inside, the Club had prepared a stage out in the open in order to officially announce Xiao Shiqin’s addition to Excellent Era. Liu Hao and He Ming being blocked from going through the main entrance wasn’t necessarily aimed towards them. Random people couldn’t just freely move around in such a carefully arranged area. Of course, two pro players being considered as random was a bit of a stretch.

On the path opened up by security, Xiao Shiqin greeted all of his new fans left and right, while walking towards Excellent Era’s main entrance. Even though he came from a smaller team, he was still an All Star player. Xiao Shiqin could cope with this kind of environment.

Right when Xiao Shiqin reached the main entrance, he suddenly stopped, staring at the team emblem hanging above the gate. The weather was good today. The ten o’clock sunlight reflected off the team emblem.

Once he stepped through that door, he would be walking a new path in his career. Xiao Shiqin had never doubted his feelings for Team Thunderclap, but like every other pro player, he had great ambition. Unfortunately, Team Thunderclap couldn’t help him achieve what he wanted. Both sides understood and had parted on good terms.

A new team. A new path. Xiao Shiqin needed to succeed in order to show that he hadn’t given up on Team Thunderclap for no reason.

Amidst the cheers from the fans, Xiao Shiqin finally stepped through Club Excellent Era’s main entrance. The cheers reached their peak, drowning out the car alarms. On the second floor of Happy Internet Cafe, both Chen Guo and Wei Chen had unhappy expressions.

“How noisy.” Chen Guo grumbled. She had gone from an admirer to a detractor. If she and Ye Xiu had never met, she would definitely be cheering at the front of that crowd. Boss Chen had quite a reputation among the Excellent Era fans in the area, especially the ones who frequented Happy Internet Cafe. These people regarded her highly as a leading figure among fans.

“He’s even enjoying it!” Wei Chen’s attack was mainly aimed at Xiao Shiqin. He had a bad impression of that “idiot” from the beginning: “Let’s see if you can still smile next season!” Even though he said that, Wei Chen felt a bit weak in his heart. Team Excellent Era was truly a formidable opponent. It would be arrogant and ignorant for anyone to think that they could guarantee a win against Team Excellent Era. Even the new champions, Team Samsara, wouldn't dare to be so confident against Excellent Era’s new roster.

After Xiao Shiqin entered through the main entrance, the Club did not stop the fans from pouring in. The press conference was open to the public.

The media had come prepared. On stage, the owner of Excellent Era, Tao Xuan, personally came out. Next to him was the manager, Cui Li, and behind him were Team Excellent Era’s players.

Sun Xiang, Su Mucheng, Guo Yang, Shen Jian, Zhang Jiaxin, Wang Ze, Fang Fengran, and two new players they had scouted from their training camp: Zeng Shenghe, Meng Yongming.

Apart from the pro players, the director of the development department and the director of the public relations department stood in a rather inconspicuous corner.

All of the important figures in Excellent Era had come out for Xiao Shiqin’s welcome. On one hand, it was to show how much they valued him. On the other hand, it was a good opportunity to show the media and fans Excellent Era’s lineup and image for upcoming season.

The pro players naturally received cheers from the crowd. Not all of them were shouting Xiao Shiqin’s name anymore. Some began to yell out their favorite player’s name. However, the fans quickly noticed that the vice-captain Liu Hao and He Ming were missing.

Everyone had come to this event, yet these two were missing. It made the media and fans realize something.

On stage, Excellent Era’s owner Tao Xuan personally made the opening statement, welcoming Xiao Shiqin to Team Excellent Era. Afterwards, the two shook hands. The fans still gave face despite their doubts and the cheers reached another peak.

Next, it was Xiao Shiqin’s turn to speak. Xiao Shiqin knew that something similar to this would happen, so he had come prepared.

“I’m still very sad about leaving Team Thunderclap…….” Xiao Shiqin started, but he didn’t talk too much about his feelings for Team Thunderclap. After all, this was Excellent Era’s venue. Everyone around him was a supporter of Excellent Era. Talking too much about Thunderclap wouldn’t be appropriate. After saying a few words about Thunderclap, Xiao Shiqin immediately began talking about Excellent Era. He didn’t compare the two teams. He mainly emphasized how he thought highly of Excellent Era’s future, which was exactly what the higher ups of Excellent Era wanted to hear. Inviting Xiao Shiqin to join their team was to prove this point to the fans. Xiao Shiqin’s words further strengthened it. Excellent Era was extremely satisfied with how Xiao Shiqin stuck to his principles.

“I hope that, along with my teammates and all of you, we’ll be able to walk through this low point together and restore our former glory as the three-time champions!”

Xiao Shiqin ended his speech under thunderous applause. An experienced team captain like Xiao Shiqin naturally knew what to say at the right moment.

Practically all team captains in the Alliance possessed such a trait, but Tao Xuan felt a bit emotional as if he had never seen someone like that before. After all, everything had exceptions. Team captains who weren’t like this had appeared in the Alliance before. There were only two extreme cases though. One was Zhou Zekai. He spoke through his gameplay on stage. Off stage, he pretty much didn’t say anything. The other case was Excellent Era’s former captain, Ye Qiu, who Tao Xuan had forced out. Ye Qiu was even worse than Zhou Zekai. He wouldn’t even show his face at press conferences. At first, it didn’t matter too much, but as the Alliance grew day after day, this sort of behavior from a team captain was too difficult to bear. Excellent Era had put in who knew how much effort to try to get the media and fans to finally accept such a figurehead as the team’s captain.

Ye Qiu was finally gone. Now there was Sun Xiang and Xiao Shiqin to fill in the gap in Tao Xuan’s heart. He almost wanted to cry…..

After the speech had ended, Excellent Era finally announced the details of Xiao Shiqin’s transfer. They had used Liu Hao and He Ming to trade.

On paper, trading Liu Hao, He Ming, and their two characters for Xiao Shiqin alone and his Life Extinguisher was a bit of a loss. However, this trade had other implications, which weren’t convenient to tell the public. And after seeing the life brought back to Excellent Era from Xiao Shiqn’s arrival, this trade couldn’t be rated by what was on paper alone.

There were a lot of tricky issues that needed to be mentioned with this trade though. For example, would trading players instead of purchasing the transfer be met with resistance from the players in question? Did Excellent Era not want to spend the money because they were worried about the Challenger League? However, Excellent Era had put in a great deal of effort to deal with the media. In the press conference afterwards, all of the reporters invited would show restraint. Both parties knew exactly what would type of question would be asked and what wouldn’t be asked, so nothing troublesome would come up for Excellent Era. Everything went harmoniously. Regarding the transfer, Excellent Era said things like “we respect the choices of our players and we hope that they do well in Team Thunderclap”. 

That morning, Excellent Era immersed themselves in joy. Under their careful operation, nothing unexpected happened. While some were happy, others were worried. Apart from Liu Hao and He Ming, at Club Tiny Herb, there was one more person packing his belongings and getting ready to leave.

In Qiao Yifan’s room, Gao Yingjie quietly watched him pack his bags. Perhaps he should help him, but he didn’t want to. If he packed slower, Qiao Yifan would at least be able to stay for that much longer.

Gao Yingjie truly didn’t want his good friend to leave, but the decision had already been made.

Pro player contracts in the Alliance typically started on July 1st and ended on June 30th of some other year, whether it be the next, or further down the line. As a result, there were always contracts that expired on June 30th. If the Club wanted the player to stay, the Club would always extend and renew the contract before the end date. This year, on June 30th, Qiao Yifan’s contract would expire. Unfortunately, it wasn’t yet June 30th and the Club had already notified him that he wasn’t a part of Team Tiny Herb’s future plans. Once the contract expired, he could search for another path forward.

Search for another path?

Qiao Yifan smiled bitterly. He had never come out on stage in an official match for even a single second. A player like him was usually called “the team member who was closest to the water dispenser”. Yes, his value in the team was perhaps as useful as serving tea to the other team members.

He wasn’t a part of Team Tiny Herb’s future plans, but what team would want a water dispenser like him in their future plans?

The future of a championship team?

What a joke. With Gao Yingjie’s existence, the spotlight shone onto him. Qiao Yifan’s contract wasn’t renewed, which was proof that he didn’t belong on a championship team. Perhaps in the past, he might have been, but that notion had quickly been wiped away. For a player like him, it wasn’t a question of whether or not a team could find a use for him, but rather if they even noticed him. At least, when June 30th came, Qiao Yifan still hadn’t received any offers from another team.

His status wasn’t enough for someone to want to pay for him to join their team. He could offer his services for free, wait foolishly for something to happen, or leave the pro scene. What other option did he have?

“Yifan… what do you plan to do?” Gao Yingjie was worried about what choice Qiao Yifan would make. He knew his good friend’s current situation. With his current position in Tiny Herb, if he insisted, maybe he could rudely and unreasonably demand that Qiao Yifan stay, but Gao Yingjie wasn’t someone who did that sort of thing. He could only respect the Club’s decision while worrying for his friend’s future. He didn’t know what he could do.

Me?” Qiao Yifan smiled. He didn’t seem to be too distressed.

“I’m going to pay a visit to a certain Internet Cafe.” Qiao Yifan said.

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