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The other Battle God

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“To B City? What for, I’m not involved…”

“Take this as an opportunity to travel. You haven’t been to B City before, right?”

“Well, I don’t think so, but sight-seeing and touristing is not my thing….”

“Take it as going with me then? It will be our first vacation together. I can schedule it longer so we can go do our dating stuff”

“You-! Can you not say it so casually?!”

“Say what? Dating? We are dating, are we not? Besides, I don’t think you’ve been out of this district ever, let alone this city”

Those words hit home quite hard. He truly never travelled before. Thinking back, his mother had never brought him anywhere outside of this city, if he were to generously maximise his travelling range. He had been to playground parks, but his mother could only bring him out to play early in the morning before going to work, so there weren’t many children around for him to interact with. Only his mother. His brother died to an illness, while he had to recuperate from the accident where he suffered a head injury, as he had been told, because he couldn’t remember.

He vaguely recalled playing with a sibling, they shared their toys, but now most of them were gone. His mother probably wasn’t able to handle his brother’s loss, so she threw them all away? He didn’t mind, by the time he could remember properly on his own, he was used to reading due to being bed-ridden for so long, he’d rather read than playing with toys. He had attended his school’s carnival/open-day fairs before, but had never been to travelling funfairs or theme parks. One, his mother never been able to catch the timing so they could go together, two, the other was outright expensive to go to.

His mother wouldn’t allow him to go on his school’s field trips or any activities his peers would organise. He understood their finances, they weren’t exactly poor, he really thought they were of average, lower-middle class? He wasn’t sure. His mother’s willingness to accommodate his gaming habits was already a miracle. He didn’t fault his mother for it. He somewhat knew she needed him at home. He believed she didn’t want him to run into another automobile accident ever again. He could understand that kind of persistent and paralysing fear. He pitied his mother living with such fright. His mother didn’t want to chance having him injured again after all. She really loved him.

Until the lawyers came with his mother’s will.

He had never questioned why. His mother saved so much so she could leave a massive fortune with him, and he sincerely could not blame his mother for preventing him to socialise. He wasn’t frustrated about it, he was glad when he read that a lot of other teens might not think the same like he did.

Guess he was the weird one out huh?

His peers weren’t exactly beneficial to him after all, recalling his situation in school before. Him being left out suited his recluse and anti-social tendencies. His mother was easier to talk to compare to them after all. Then again she was his mother. She didn’t judge nor berate him for his view on matters. His mother made sure he was heard first before she presented her view on his discussions calmly, without throwing insults and calling names like his immature classmates.

He liked this kind of discussions. He should really practice it more often. He remembered his disastrous misunderstanding with Han Wenqing’s confession from before. A shudder went through his body on recalling that horrible over-reaction.

“Are you okay? I’m sorry if it offended you. I just don’t see any hint of souvenirs that aren’t from this city in your home”

“Ah? No, not offended. What you say is true. I was just thinking about why I haven’t been out of this city before, I guess not everyone can be lucky to be able to travel”

“Now we make our own luck. Try going with me to B City, you might find something you like. After this trip and if you find you don’t like it, I won’t ask you to go on another one again. How about it?”

Yeah, that something I like is you!  He smiled at his senior boyfriend’s words of encouragement. He should give it a try, he supposed. He noticed how Senior Wenqing didn’t say ‘I won’t force you to accompany me again’ in that statement. Will he try to persuade him to go on future ones with him instead?! This sly boyfriend…

-

He felt a sense of deja vu when sitting in a plane. Like he had been on one before. The seats were much bigger, he remembered he could lie down on it with a blanket over his entire self, maybe because he was younger when he sat in a plane before? Then again, he probably imagined it, as he had seen quite a lot of shows that presented the interior of a plane. Maybe that was it. The city was familiar to him as well, so was the airport. Once again, B City was the capital of the country, it would have definitely been filmed a lot before. He brushed that feeling off as over-excitement. He was travelling, after all. With his boyfriend. He hasn’t gotten use to calling Wenqing as such in public, so he was satisfied with calling him such in his head. He smiled to himself.

Speaking of the devil, Han Wenqing decisively poked him on one cheek. He huffed.

“What’re you thinking about? You seem happy about it?” Han Wenqing smiled, and he actually resisted from dying since he had gotten used to it. Ha, take that shy past-self! To be fair, he did have an amazing smile (regardless of what people say about his wallet-face!).

“What else could I be thinking about when you’re with me?! It’s you. So where are we going?”

“I’m flattered that you keep thinking about me even when I am by your side” His raised hand (that poked him earlier) turned around and caressed his cheek with the back of his palm.

Damn why is Senior Wenqing so smooth…

“We’re going to check-in our luggages at the hotel, then go out for lunch. The others will be there to meet us. You’re okay with it?

Han Wenqing smirked. Dude, if he thought staying in a hotel together was going to make him blush for the blatant hint of what hotels were secondarily used for, the older male had it coming. Han Wenqing had been staying over at his place so often, what had he not seen? (Besides his birthday suit of course. He would never be able to live that moment if that were to happen! He was not that used to his boyfriend!)

He didn’t blush, just nodded in agreement. The other’s smirk disappeared only for his own to rise.

-

The Alliance HQ itself looked so bland, but he wouldn’t mistaken the GLORY logo emblazoned on the front doors, the top of the entrance and on the top of the building. Greeting them in the lounge were GLORY’s advertising posters, and also LED-screens showing off all their game trailers. The current promotion now was the Cyberathlete Professional League, also known as the GLORY Alliance, open for registrations! Fame and fortune awaits those who dared to vie for GLORY!

He supposed this was Wenqing’s interests though, he sought stronger opponents to fight with (non-physically, that is, GLORY forbade him from real-life PK!), and the professional scene was the only way left to go. Too bad he couldn’t join. While it was exhilarating to fight with others, he wasn’t able to just leave his family uncared for and join the Alliance, travelling here and there just to PK! The competing teams even had their own accommodations for the team to stay together!

He wasn’t willing to let go of his childhood home even if he was of age to sell it. No way. He couldn’t bear it. So he had to let the pro scene go. At least he was promised that he could still play (and train) with the Autumn Duo and Tyranny (what a name, boyfriend!), so he would still have interesting fights, just not as often! Actually, why bother training him though? He had to remember to ask both his partners and his boyfriend later.

Speaking of which, he had forgotten that the Autumn Duo were also signing up for the Alliance. Aih. He hadn’t managed to tell them he was coming here in the excitement of getting ready to travel for the first time! He supposed he could message them later. They might be busy shuffling their new team around like his boyfriend too.

There was an attached cyber cafe to this building (next to the merchandise shop he caught a glimpse of), and all the computers had GLORY installed. Han Wenqing booked him a computer so he could spend his waiting time playing while he sign up with the Alliance. He was thankful for that. After logging in he went to DMs immediately. There were online, so lucky! Their group chatroom was brought up instantly.


 

[System Announcement: Your friend RedNightAutumn is online!]

 

RedNightAutumn: Yo, guess who is in B City

OneAutumnLeaf: !?!?!?!

AutumnTree: ?!!!

AutumnTree: Wth bro, u said u weren’t joining?!

RedNightAutumn: Yeah, still not joining. Here on vacay ^__^ Since the GLORY Alliance is here, I decided to drop by! The building is kinda bland hahaha but dem, all the GLORY merchs…

OneAutumnLeaf: R u there already?!

OneAutumnLeaf: Oso y u no tell us u r coming?! D:<

RedNightAutumn: My bad, 1st time travelling, I got 2 excited I 4got

AutumnTree: Awwww, y not 2molo, v r signing 2molo! TTATT

RedNightAutumn: Too bad .____. I happen to be here 2day, I got things to do 2molo. U guys not free today right? V can’t meet up for dinner?

AutumnTree: Our team is here tonight to finalise stuff 4 2molo, so sad v can’t meet TT^TT

OneAutumnLeaf: Sorry v can’t make it bro

RedNightAutumn: Nah it’s okay. I din tell u I’m coming anyways.

RedNightAutumn: Next time then ^___^/

AutumnTree: Wait, come have a run with our team. I must show them the Autumn Forest in full >:D

OneAutumnLeaf: -___-;;;

RedNightAutumn: XD *pats Brother Ye

RedNightAutumn: Oh, you guys are together somewhere? What’s your team’s name?

OneAutumnLeaf: Yeah, together with the team, but we’re nowhere near the Alliance today :(

AutumnTree: Excellent Era!

RedNightAutumn: … isn’t that the name of the CC you two work at? -___-;;;;

RedNightAutumn: Really a CC by the roadside kinda name…. :B

AutumnTree: Shut it! It’s an excellent name ok! D<

RedNightAutumn: U can’t pun that! That’s terrible! D:<

AutumnTree: I pun whatever I want! >:D

OneAutumnLeaf: EE have a red autumn leaf for our logo, in memory of u bro :)

AutumnTree: V put in 3 stars to remember us, the original 3 lol

RedNightAutumn: Damn, u can’t guilt trip me like that! You know I can’t join!!! >.< I so touched, TQ!

OneAutumnLeaf: <3 u bro :3 The red autumn leaf will always stay with us <3 <3 <3

AutumnTree: V totally <3 u :D

RedNightAutumn: <3 <3 <3 TT^TT


Wu Xuefeng was god-sent, Yeqiu affirmed. He was a pretty good player for a Qi Master (he felt it suited this man a lot), and his awareness for little mishaps was amazing. He was glad he was able to bail One Autumn Leaf (and his baby Red Night Autumn) out of tight spots when they weren’t aware of it. Pay attention Brother Ye, you were supposed to be the best! Brother Ye had found some pretty good players. Muqiu was truly a Gunner God, he was able to counter the other gunner classes (and play amazingly on them too during their farming). His launcher, Dancing Rain (modelled after his sister, what a sis-con. He wondered if he made one of Brother Ye) performed splendidly to support and assault in their dungeon run.

Excellent Era’s other team members, the Elementalist, and the Cleric wasn’t too bad as well. They need to work on their teamwork a bit more, but they were good to go! When he voice-chatted with them in a dungeon run, he was amused at how they thought it was their captain talking at first, before their 6th player, Xia Ming, their Sharpshooter, pointed out there were two of them, because she caught on how differently their captain and his talking were (you go girl!). Captain Ye talked more straight-forwardly blunt while Yeqiu was a bit reserved in his barbs. He still didn’t like to offend people after all, he was still a bit shy. It’s either that, or his social skills were lacking improving.

The amount of ‘EHHHHH?!!!’ he heard were tremendous. Even Brother? Wu was surprised with a slightly shorter “Eh?!” Sorry fellow brothers. The other two Autumn Forest peeps were laughing their heads off when their team were clarifying if their captain was playing a prank on them. They answered ‘NO’ at the same time, further doing the stereo-sound effect on them; there were more laughters afterwards. Vice-Captain Su (Oh, Muqiu’s the vice huh…) confirmed with them Yeqiu just happen to sound like their captain. Muqiu once again proudly declared that he was the last member of the Autumn Forest, pity he wasn’t able to join them in the pro scene. Yeqiu apologised profusely for that, stating he wanted to join too, but circumstances didn’t allow him to.

He couldn’t get over how Brother Ye’s teammates keep praising them both together. Both of their Battle Mages danced and attacked beautifully and dangerously, finishing off the bothersome horde of NPCs monsters and spearheaded (pun intended) the attacks on the bosses. The team covered flawlessly (pro-level players were really something), but it didn’t make them shut up about their co-operation, like a dragon phoenix pair wiping out whoever dared stood in their way. They covered each other’s flaws no matter how small, and amplify their prowess, one attack after another in a seamless volley, without verbally communicating.

Like a perfect couple, their girl member had said.

Or perfect partners, or duo, came the replies from the male members. They had never seen such splendid performance before and were mesmerised. Muqiu stated in the pro scene there will be displays like this in the future, as they won’t be the only two who had perfect co-ordination with one another.

Yeqiu noticed that Muqiu was a bit off, like a little jealous after hearing praises of him and Brother Ye together, seeing him targeting NPCs that were out of their way. He had the attack range being a Launcher but why bother with NPCs that didn’t trouble them? Did Muqiu not realise he too, had good co-operation with either one or both of them (like the Autumn Trio Forest they were), so what was his problem? Muqiu seriously need to open his eyes.

Wait… what was he even jealous of?! Yeqiu tested that idiot older male by being intentionally needy with Brother Ye, with some innocence (he wasn’t, of course), asking about the Battle Spirit requirements. He heard how Muqiu had been silent, and observed what his female avatar was doing when Brother Ye was explaining Battle Spirit to him (he knew it already of course). He took the berating from him stating how could he not know at this point?! Was he pulling his leg? (Yes, he was).

He didn’t expect Brother Ye to command One Autumn Leaf to knock at his Red Night Autumn on the head with a gesture, and actually used a visually more intimate one by bowing slightly in front of him and gently head-butt him, making it look like their avatars were rubbing their foreheads together. GLORY was played in the first-person point of view, and watching the reflection of his avatar doing it to him reminded him of his dreams’ mirrored twin.

He felt something warm blossoming in his chest, and was comforted by it even though he didn’t know why.

He didn’t call out Brother Ye for it either.

Avatars01_LR1

Muqiu’s Dancing Rain responded with a very big “!!!!!” in a speech bubble above Dancing Rain’s head, she made the crossed-arms gesture and turned her head like she was sulking (oh Muqiu was so sulking). Brother Ye turned a blind eye at the blatant envy (or was he fully aware of it?), so they both did nothing else after One Autumn Leaf stood back into the idle position. The others were just finishing off the monster horde the trio accumulated for them while Qi Breaker waited for their lead. Brother Wu coughed and commented how adorable both their avatars looked together (Brother Wu will never say ‘cute’ to another guy, no normal guy would unless they’re like a couple like him and Wenqing), which gathered the attention of the others.

They joked about how they resembled, acted and sounded like twins but Brother Ye seemed to take offence to that. Red Night Autumn’s design was also an unfortunate coincidence, like the many One Autumn Leaf wannabes sporting the same physical features, just to look like the infamous dark avatar. He defended that he already made his Red Night Autumn to have this look before even knowing about One Autumn Leaf, and they humoured him (he bet they didn’t believe him either like all the other people on the GLORY forums). He ignored all of those comments, he didn’t want to waste time explaining what he himself knew was the truth, but unfortunately became a part of the many fake copies, so he accepted that nobody will ever believe so. Aih.

He rather put his confidence that Brother Ye, Muqiu and Wenqing believed him, firmly telling himself that they did, even if it was to console himself.

Muqiu quickly backed it up saying they had been playing way longer together, way before the formation of the team, hence they can assimilate with each other so easily. Yeqiu himself quipped in in agreement. Yeah, he did play very often with these two (for work too, okay!) for so long until recently, when they wanted to join the pro scene. The team regretted he wasn’t able to join and lamented the misfortune of unable to see such a display in the Alliance. Yeqiu apologised again.

After they finished their dungeon runs, Yeqiu bade them farewell stating he has to go, as he has gotten a message on his phone that Wenqing was almost done, they could leave soon. He has his eyes on some merchandises after all, he didn’t want to miss out on buying some official GLORY items, being the game’s exclusive fanatics as they were. All of them gave his avatar a hug and a wave (Red Night Autumn got one from Dancing Rain too, Muqiu mood really swung a lot), he responded with a bow and a wave too. While he controlled his avatar to a safe zone (smacking the HPs out of his stalkers, especially one that couldn’t stop talking his ear off), he couldn’t help but thought about the Autumn Duo’s team…

Damn it, Excellent Era had 2 outlier experts and good support players, how was Wenqing going to fair against them? He slightly regret he wasn’t able to join him and fight against them. It would really be glorious to do so. Well, he had to support his boyfriend by training more with him, he suppose. (oh, was that why both teams were trying to keep training him?) He could make the time. Hopefully.

-

While Ye Xiu was annoyed at the twin comment earlier, he was currently over-the-top happy. Muqiu couldn’t fathom why, and he didn’t get his answer when he asked why was he so gleeful today. Ah Xiu shrugged and said maybe it was due to Wanqiu being so near (yet so far), and knowing that Wanqiu was in B City made him smiled. Was it that, or was it being a pro such a good thing to happen? He recalled Ah Xiu’s hesitation when he said he wanted them to go pro. They were signing tomorrow after all. Since he was in such a good mood, he actually declared he wanted to cook for them! Mucheng was confused why she suddenly didn’t have to do it, while Muqiu was terrified.

The smile adorning his face wasn’t the normal smug one (that he usually used when they went farming, exploiting the loopholes and weaknesses of others during their chaotic wild PKs). In fact, it was full of love, one that wasn’t directed to him, and he was freaking jealous! His slightly flushed cheeks (it was from the heat from cooking but he bull-headedly believed it was a blush) and that soft, gentle smile, plus the humming he was doing in the kitchen nearly brought him to his knees, if not for his stubbornness to remain upright (and he was holding onto the table, thank gods for their furnitures).

What was going on?! Did Ah Xiu have a crush on Wanqiu?! Ah Xiu was so happy spending time with him today, but the other times didn’t count? What is this?!

This can’t be happening!!!

Su Muqiu persevered. He won’t lose to Wanqiu!!!