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Chapter 885 - Mental Burden

“Yeah, I can come out of retirement. Time flew by so fast.” Ye Xiu’s voice carried a trace of nostalgia. It had already been a year since he had departed from Excellent Era.

‘But there’s no need to announce my return right now. In any case, I won’t be able to rejoin the pro scene this season. I would have to wait until next summer.” Ye Xiu said.

“True.” Chen Guo nodded her head.  

It wasn’t only the reporter, Chang Xian, who paid close attention to the end date of Ye Qiu’s retirement period. Besides Cao Guangcheng, who had completely lost hope in ever getting an interview with Ye Qiu, all those with a bit of acuteness to Glory news were aware of the double specialness of this day.

After all, Ye Qiu was a legendary figure in Glory history. A year of retirement wasn’t long enough for his fame to have fallen from an immortal’s to a mortal’s. What’s more, news of Ye Qiu constantly popped up. Rumors of his return circulated for a long time. The fierce Team Happy in the Challenger League only redoubled Ye Qiu’s image. These were all reasons for why numerous people followed him closely.

Unfortunately, everyone waited for today in vain. No news of Ye Qiu coming out of retirement appeared in any channel. The rest was all just endless guesses and gossip.

At Club Excellent Era, it was a nerve wracking day.

Ye Qiu had formed his own team to push his way through the Challenger League. Of course they needed to be on guard against Ye Qiu in every way possible. When Ye Qiu announced his return, who knew what things he would say. As a result, Excellent Era had made the necessary PR preparations. The manager, Cui Li, even called everyone on the team to gather specifically to address this issue. He indirectly reminded everyone that if an interviewer asked any related questions, they must not be careless.

Cui Li was talking about this issue solemnly when he heard a disdainful humph. Cui Li looked over to see who it was and felt his head hurt.

Su Mucheng.

When Ye Qiu was still here, no one would have ever thought that Su Mucheng would be a huge thorn in their side. In everyone’s eyes, Su Mucheng had always followed Ye Qiu around like a well-behaved child. She never said too much and never caused trouble.

But now? While she still took her matches seriously, the previous Su Mucheng from before had completely disappeared.

She didn’t conceal her hatred and disgust towards Excellent Era. Sun Xiang, Chen Yehui, Cui Li, and Tao Xuan had come across her refusals both tactfully and vehemently. That previously well-behaved girl seemed to have changed into a completely different person overnight.

Truthfully, Cui Li had tolerated her for a long time now. He was becoming less and less polite with Su Mucheng because, at this point. Cui Li knew very well that after this season ended, Su Mucheng would certainly transfer and leave. In fact, early in the summer, Excellent Era had considered sending Su Mucheng away, but because of all sorts of reasons, it didn’t end up going through. Now from the looks of it, once this season ended, they would lose her. Whenever Su Mucheng was mentioned, he would get all sorts of headaches.

In this meeting, Su Mucheng once again expressed her disdain, making Cui Li even more nervous. Su Mucheng’s relationship with Excellent Era had fallen apart long ago. Although she still took their matches seriously, that was required because of her professionalism as a pro player. As for everything else, she probably wouldn’t side with Excellent Era. Would Su Mucheng comply with what Cui Li hoped for her to do?  

That cold humph was her reply, and facing a player of her status, the Club was powerless to do anything to her. It wasn’t like they could put her under house arrest…...

Vice captain Xiao Shiqin noticed Cui Li’s awkward situation, but he was helpless too.

It had been half a year since he had joined Excellent Era. Through all sorts of channels, he had pretty much gotten the full picture on the conflict between Ye Qiu and Excellent Era.

Excellent Era’s way of handling the matter was indeed unscrupulous, but Xiao Shiqin could empathize a bit with the executives of Excellent Era. The other Clubs seemed to be in harmony, but that didn’t necessarily mean that their executives were particularly incredible. It might just be that their teams didn’t have an individual like Ye Qiu.   

Xiao Shiqin didn’t have too many thoughts of gossiping about the dispute towards Excellent Era and Ye Qiu. He was more concerned about a much more terrifying reality.

Excellent Era had forced Ye Qiu out, but that hadn’t stop him. Ye Qiu started anew from the new server, preparing step by step. He formed a team and joined the Challenger League. He had never given up for a single moment.

On the contrary, Excellent Era had been affected by this matter ever since it started. It had already been a year, but from the expressions he saw on many in Excellent Era when he mentioned anything regarding Ye Qiu, the topic seemed to be extremely taboo. It seemed like this matter had cast a shadow in Excellent Era’s heart.

Ye Qiu all alone started from zero.

But unexpectedly, it was Excellent Era that was pressured with the mental burden. Xiao Shiqin was beginning to suspect that Excellent Era miraculously getting demoted last season might have been because of this mental burden. Now that Ye Qiu had directly become their opponents in the Challenger League, this mental burden seemed to have grown even heavier.

In Xiao Shiqin’s eyes, Cui Li convening this type of meeting was an unwise decision. The team urgently needed to be rid of Ye Qiu’s shadow, but you just have to feel the need to bring the issue of Ye Qiu to the table? Aren’t you just making the problem worse?

This cannot continue!

Xiao Shiqin thought to himself. Just when he was about to say something, who would have thought that Su Mucheng would speak first.  

“Manager Cui Li, aren’t you overthinking things?” Su Mucheng said.

Cui Li was still feeling conflicted over Su Mucheng. He didn’t expect Su Mucheng to speak up. Su Mucheng had always been too lazy to bother with them.

“I actually feel sorry for you.” Su Mucheng continued, “You’ve worked together with him on so many things, yet you don’t understand him at all. He’s a pro player and he’s very professional. He has dedicated everything to Glory, to competing. Did you think that because you’ve treated him like this, he’s set on getting revenge? You’re wrong. He’s coming back because this is where Glory lies. He’s in conflict with you because he’s disappointed that you guys fell so far as to drop to the Challenger League. Him treating you as an enemy has nothing to do with you guys being Excellent Era, nor does it have anything to do with you guys forcing him into retirement. It’s simply because that’s the nature of competition. That’s why, Cui Li, you don’t need to worry. He won’t take advantage of announcing his return to say anything bad about Excellent Era because in his eyes, you guys are simply a competitor inherently no different from those player teams that he’s beaten along the way. The only difference is that you guys are a strong team, so he’ll be even more serious and put in even more effort to face you guys. So manager Cui Li, if you don’t want to lose, then hurry up and focus on practicing. This meeting is just a waste of time. It’s completely unnecessary, so I’ll be going now.”

Su Mucheng got up and left the conference room.

The room was completely silent. Just when everyone was wondering how long this silence would last, someone finally broke it. Someone stood up.

“I’ll be going to practice.”

Qiu Fei.

This rookie had only just been promoted from the training camp this season. To think he dared to speak out against the Club’s manager. “I’ll be going to practice.” By saying that, it meant he agreed with Su Mucheng. 

Ignoring everyone else’s gaze towards him, Qiu Fei left the conference room. The remaining people looked at one another, occasionally sneaking a glance at Cui Li.

This time, their captain Sun Xiang spoke up: “Haha, that child. He’s really got a personality. How interesting.”

F*ck! Everyone slapped their forehead. Bro, I think you’re misreading the issue here.

It wasn’t Xiao Shiqin’s first time witnessing Sun Xiang’s stupidity. He didn’t bother commenting on it. From the looks of it, this meeting wouldn’t be able to continue on like before, so Xiao Shiqin might as well just speak to Cui Li: “Manager Cui, how about we take a break?”

“Okay. Then, everyone can go back!” Cui Li used this as a pretense. All of the players left one by one. Cui Li walked out last gloomily, but discovered that Xiao Shiqin had intentionally lagged behind. He immediately understood that this God wanted to speak with him!

”Manager Cui, I have some thoughts on this matter that I wish to speak to you about.” Xiao Shiqin saw that everyone had left and promptly began speaking. 

“Mm, vice captain, please do.” Towards this God that they had went all out this season to invite, Cui Li didn’t dare to neglect him. 

“It’s like this……” Xiao Shiqin began speaking candidly about his thoughts on Excellent Era’s current situation.

“Right now, Ye Qiu is an opponent we need to face. We cannot let this burden continue pressing on us. In terms of strategy, we should look down on him. In terms of tactics, we should redouble our efforts.” Xiao Shiqin discussed what he thought would be the correct approach.

Cui Li listened to Xiao Shiqin’s plan and felt very moved. The cost of the transfer for him in the summer was completely worth it. The two who had been traded away, Liu Hao and He Ming, would never have been as calm as Xiao Shiqin, especially that Liu Hao. He would have probably been thinking up all sorts of schemes to fight against Ye Qiu!

But then again, Xiao Shiqin was more of a spectator who could see a more clear picture with wider parameters. An outsider like him would be the only one who would be neutral towards Ye Qiu. Fortunately, this outsider had woken him up at a crucial moment. Cui Li had also become aware that his worries about Ye Qiu had already intangibly increased the burden on their shoulders. They needed to give up on this attitude and treat Ye Qiu as just another opponent like those player teams they defeated before.

Hm? That sounds familiar? Cui Li thought about it and suddenly recalled what Su Mucheng had talked about a few minutes ago. He suddenly went into a daze.

“Manager Cui, what do you think?” Xiao Shiqin saw that Cui Li was lost in a daze and hadn’t spoken in a long time, so he asked this question.

“You’re right. We should rid ourselves of these chains.” Cui Li nodded his head. He had made his decision. In the future, he needed to communicate more with this vice captain. As for Chen Yehui, he needed to call him over and remind him.

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