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Chapter 967 - Setback

Even when Team Happy concluded their match, they had no idea that the other match in their group had finished even faster.

This round, Team Mysterious Fantasy had taken their turn not fighting. The other matchup had been between Team Trader and Team Cloud Viewing Pavilion. Team Trader’s strength wasn’t bad at all. After beating Ten Steps One Kill 8 to 2 in the last round, they acted even more boldly this round, cleanly slaughtering Cloud Viewing Pavilion 10 to 0.

Up until now, two rounds had been completed. Surprisingly, Team Trader led the standings in Group B with 18 points, well above the other teams. Both Happy and Mysterious Fantasy had amassed 9 points, and were tied for second. However, compared to Team Trader, these two teams had competed in one less match. As for Ten Steps One Kill and Cloud Viewing Pavilion, both these teams were very pitiful. After two rounds, one of them had 3 points, the other had 1. Their futures looked very dim.

The other groups all finished at around the same time. In Group A, Team Jade Dynasty, the so-called "King of the Revival Tournament," was proving that their strength really wasn’t the same year after year. After two rounds, although they had taken the lead with 14 points, they didn’t show any of the strength that a pro team should have. The future of Group A wasn’t obvious at all.

In the other half of the tournament, because Group C didn’t have any pro players, they received the least attention. However, in reality, this group’s matches were the most interesting to watch. Because all of the teams had a similar level of strength, the fights between them were very intense. The rankings were very close, and even more chaotic than what could be seen in Group A.

As for Group D . . . Excellent Era’s overwhelming strength couldn’t be measured through points alone. For them, getting ten points was no trouble at all. Their strength was better reflected in how much time they took to finish each round. For the past two rounds, they had concluded in twenty minutes or less.

Thus, in the next issue of Esports Home, in the headline for the least suspenseful Challenger League in history, the writers reported on the overpowering dominance exhibited by Excellent Era. As for the circumstances in the other groups, after the two journalists offhandedly mentioned the results, they silently lamented, "Do we really need to pay attention to this stuff?" These two had attached themselves to Excellent Era’s legs, sparing no efforts in trying to climb up; the article was filled with flattering statements.

Cao Guangcheng, on the other hand? Using the resources and connections he had amassed after years as Excellent Era’s team reporter, he had been allowed to write a special column on the Challenger League to discuss Excellent Era.

Cao Guangcheng’s commentary was far more leisurely than those other two. He certainly disdained those two’s method of yelling compliments until they were hoarse. With Excellent Era’s strength and status, wasn’t this kind of performance in the Challenger League expected? With you two yelling and making a big fuss like this, people who didn’t know better would think it was some kind of fresh news! Are you guys writing satire or slapping faces or what?

The main focus of Cao Guangcheng’s commentary wasn’t Excellent Era’s victories at all. After years of reporting about the Glory pro scene, Cao Guangcheng had gained quite a bit of knowledge about Glory as well. In the special column, he focused on analyzing the matches in order to let the readers know that this was how Excellent Era had always been. Even when giving examples of Excellent Era’s strength, there was no way he would use the teams in the Challenger League for comparison. Rather, he would directly use one of the powerhouse teams in the Pro Alliance as a reference.

This season, Excellent Era was in fact one of the teams that had made major changes during the summer. It was unfortunate that they had sunk into the Challenger League, and as a result didn’t have that kind of specialized reporting on their tactics. Only now, after they had reached the offline portion of the Challenger League, did they have specialized reporting. The new Excellent Era’s tactics were only beginning to emerge before the eyes of the masses.

Consequently, Cao Guangcheng’s special column received positive reviews for two issues in a row. However, Cao Guangcheng himself didn’t feel proud at all. During these two issues, he was far more concerned with the news regarding Ye Qiu’s name change to Ye Xiu.

Cao Guangcheng had always thought that within the reporter circle, he was the one who was closest to Excellent Era, and thus the mysterious character that was Ye Qiu. However, this time he discovered that in these two recent reports, both had nothing to do with him at all.

In the first report, Cao Guangcheng could easily see that Excellent Era was using this event to create pressure on Happy, through the mouths of the media. This kind of matter, Cao Guangcheng had long become accustomed to. The thing that made him depressed was the fact that this information had been put in the hands of those two idiots! Through what means had those two obtained this information? There weren’t many people who could recognize Ye Qiu. If Excellent Era had been the first to discover this information, why had they gone to some other reporter instead of him?

However, in comparison to the first article, the second article, which had been Happy’s response to this topic, had made Cao Guangcheng even more depressed.

Ye Xiu, who was also Ye Qiu, had actually personally accepted an interview? However, in the past seasons, God Ye Qiu hadn’t been less talked about than he was now. When had he ever cooperated with the media to respond like this? Why had be broken his own rule now? Furthermore, why did this have to help that kid Chang Xian?

Cao Guangcheng could in fact be considered a pretty good senior, always giving Chang Xian plenty of opportunities in the past. Except that day, Chang Xian and locked him outside the door, making sole use of all the juicy information in the room. Afterwards, when Cao Guangcheng had asked about it, he had directly brushed it off and replied "Nothing." Just afterwards, this guy had actually gone and got an interview with Ye Qiu...

"This punk…." Seeing this issue of Esports Home with Chang Xian’s name, Cao Guangchen could only grind his teeth. In this issue, Chang Xian had also provided commentary on Happy’s first public match. Chang Xian’s didn’t have Cao Guangcheng’s knowledge or his insider information about Glory, but how could Happy not have things to talk about? A Warlock with eight pieces of Silver equipment, a beautiful Battle Mage player, a former member of the championship team Tiny Herb, and the two other members who hadn’t appeared on stage this round: one was the infamous Deception, the guy who had made countless players in the Heavenly Domain gnash their teeth in anger, and had also caused headaches for many teams. This guy, who ignored all the suffering he had caused, had unexpectedly joined Team Happy as well? As for the other member, he was even more well known. Sun Zheping! This former God, who was a senior to all three of Excellent Era’s current All-Stars, had also surprisingly appeared on Team Happy’s roster! Flipping through the information on the Challenger League, it was possible to confirm that Happy previously didn’t have this member. However, when the offline tournament arrived, the team couldn’t hide this person any longer, and suddenly a God had appeared out of nowhere! Just how many experts was Happy hiding?

Even Cao Guangcheng had no choice but to admit that while the Challenger League was in session, Happy was an even more eye-catching topic than Excellent Era. Excellent Era’s current popularity came mostly from their original fans, who strongly supported and paid close attention to the team. Happy, on the other hand, used their fresh appeal to steal away the attention of the more neutral fans.

The third round of the offline tournament was set to begin the next day. In Group B, Team Mysterious Fantasy would be fighting Team Ten Steps One Kill, while Team Happy would face Team Trader. Team Cloud Pavilion would sit this one out.

During the matches against the non-professional teams Ten Steps One Kill and Team Cloud Viewing Pavilion, Team Trader had collected 18 points, exhibiting the strength similar to that of a pro team. In reality, this team wasn’t really strong enough to be compared to a pro team. Their miraculous performance had been entirely caused by their mentality.

Group B had Mysterious Fantasy and Happy, and so it was publicly recognized as the Death Group. With these two teams locking in the spots at the playoffs, the other teams appeared as if they had become cannon fodder, without any opportunities. After that day when the lots had been drawn, the three teams that had drawn Group B had been in low moods, mourning as if they were attending a funeral.

However, after this, Team Trader had proactively adjusted their attitude. Even in this Death Group, even faced with unshakable opponents, they still weren’t willing to give up. In the first two rounds, they had faced the other two cannon fodder teams. Team Trader had displayed a far more energetic and proactive style than the other two teams. In comparison, Team Ten Steps One Kill had employed their usual defensive strategy, looking as if they hadn’t used their brains. With Group B’s circumstances, if they had made an any attempt to think at all, the three should have done their best to completely crush the other two cannon fodder teams. Afterwards, facing Mysterious Fantasy and Happy, they could use a defensive strategy to accumulate as many points as possible. Only by observing the tigers fight could they potentially gain an opportunity.

A team like Ten Steps One Kill, which couldn’t understand the current circumstances, would only thoroughly become cannon fodder in the end.

In contrast, the energetic and active Team Trader, had already pinned down the situation after two rounds. The next step would be to steal points from the two more powerful teams, and afterwards watch the two fight.

Having such a good opportunity in front of them, Team Trader’s players were in an outstanding mood. In fighting against Team Happy, a few of their completely unknown members shone. They actually managed to suppress Happy 7 points to 3.

The entire competition had many twists and turns that day. In the eight matches that took place that day, this match was the last that took place. However, none of the previous teams had left. All of them had been attracted to this fierce battle...

The final team competition had lasted a full thirty minutes. When the result finally came out, Trader’s six participants went crazy, rushing off the stage in a group hug with their seventh member. Like Ten Steps One Kill, Trader also had seven players. However, their seventh player was definitely not a placeholder, also possessing quite a bit of strength. The final victory had caused the seven to laugh happily as a group. What they had accomplished, gaining seven points from Team Happy, made them absolutely ecstatic.

The other competition in Group B had long since concluded, with Mysterious Fantasy winning 10 to 0 against Ten Steps One Kill. This gave them a small chance. After three rounds, Team Trader had amassed 25 points. After two consecutive rounds at the top of the Death Group, their morale surged. Mysterious Fantasy had obtained 19 points, in line with what was expected from a professional team. On the other hand, Happy, which had previously been considered a powerful team as well, had only taken 12 points. 

This kind of result unexpectedly led to celebration among the crowd. Team Happy had never had a good reputation to begin with, especially in places where lots of Excellent Era fans were gathered. They had been hoping for Happy's boat to capsize for so long, yet round after round in the online matches, their faces had been slapped. Now, in these extremely important offline matches, Happy was met with unexpected failure**. This made them even happier than Excellent Era’s heroic 10 point wins.

The entire stadium was filled with sounds of heckling and jeering laughter. Happy walked off the stage with their heads hung low. Chen Guo, seeing Ye Xiu next to her, felt extremely conflicted.

For the team competition, Ye Xiu had actually not arranged for himself to go on stage. Chen Guo thought this was very unusual. In the end, her premonitions were right, no matter how much she wished they weren’t. Happy had lost the team round, throwing away not a small number of points. How would Ye Xiu feel at this moment? Would he also regret not going onstage himself? Would he blame himself?

Seeing everyone come down, Chen Guo directly went to offer greetings, giving everyone encouragement. "Everyone fought very well."

"Can you not talk nonsense . . ." Ye Xiu’s voice came from behind. "If they had played well, they wouldn’t have lost."

"You . . ." Chen Guo swiveled her head around, quite angry. At times like this, how could this guy continue being this straightforward?

As she turned around, she saw that Ye Xiu was completely ignoring the stadium’s rules about no smoking. He lit a cigarette, giving it to Wei Chen, who had just come down. "Not bad eh?"

"It’s really fucking exhausting . . ." Wei Chen took the offered cigarette and brought it to his mouth, collapsing sideways into one of the seats.

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