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Fleeting Fireworks

Chapter Text

This round was very stimulating and beautiful to watch. Huang Shaotian’s excitement was greatly stirred. “Autumn bro, your main account is a Sharpshooter, right? How about it, play a round against my Troubling Rain?”

“We’ll discuss it again after you’ve beaten Eternal Autumn!” Su Muqiu rejected Hung Shaotian with a smile. The other instantly and reluctantly followed up, “But I won’t have a lot of chances to go on this side account in the future! Boss Wei wants me to focus on training up Troubling Rain!”

“Haha, I’m also pretty much done with playing this Spitfire. There probably won’t be many chances for me to go on again…” Su Muqiu pondered for a moment, and suddenly suggested, “How about this. When you’re done training up your Troubling Rain, just play in an Alliance match with me.”

Huang Shaotian was shocked, “Ehhhh?! Autumn bro, didn’t you say you wouldn’t be playing in the Alliance?”

Su Muqiu swore and scoffed, “I never said that, I only said that I wouldn’t go to City G. Did I ever say that I wouldn’t be competing?”

Huang Shaotian went oh and an epiphany struck him. He laughed loudly, “Ah, you’re intending to create your own team in City H! If that’s so, won’t we be opponents the next time we meet?!”

“Brat, you have to train many more years before you can even think about becoming my opponent!” Su Muqiu acted stern.

“Autumn bro, don’t be smug too soon. Boss Wei said that I’m improving at a godly speed, catching up to you is a mere matter of minutes!” Huang Shaotian yelled loudly, then again thought of something important, “Speaking of which, quickly tell me what the name of your main account is! How will I contact you otherwise!”

“We agreed that I would only tell you after you beat me, don’t think that I’ve forgotten this yet.”

 “Damnit, then tell me your real name?!” Huang Shaotian felt like he was being toyed with.

“It’s all the same, once I say it I’ll be exposed,” Su Muqiu responded seriously. In the face of Huang Shaotian’s childlike innocence, Su Muqiu decided to play this mysterious act to the end. Anyway, he knew that they would surely meet again in the future.

Huang Shaotian was so harrowed that he wanted to scratch a wall, “Fuck fuck fuck fuck, Autumn bro, do you really have to be so petty?”

“How about this, let’s make a promise. I’ll tell you my real name once you recognise me from the Alliance matches.” Su Muqiu increasingly felt that it was rather fun to tease Huang Shaotian.

“Gah, stop pulling my leg! If I recognise you in matches, I’ll naturally know your real name by then, will I still need you to tell me!” Huang Shaotian flew into a rage, but right after, a lightbulb flashed in his mind, “Ah ha, but I can look for you in Glory! The way you throw grenades is too cool, it’ll be so easy to recognise. Or I could go scout around whatever gunner-class experts and the like.”

Su Muqiu burst into laughter and silently decided not to use Spitfire accounts in the short term, “That works too, as long as you find me.”

“I definitely can!” Huang Shaotian thumped his chest and vowed earnestly.

Su Muqiu smiled. “Alright. I’ll be waiting for you.”

At that time, Su Muqiu was very certain – whether or not Huang Shaotian could find him before the Alliance matches started was irrelevant. Just based on the burning passion they share for Glory, there would surely be a day when they, as pro players, meet again.

 

 

Afterwards, Huang Shaotian busied under Wei Chen’s guidance, diligently raising his skill level in Glory. Su Muqiu, on the other hand, was busy researching Unspecialised and the Myriad Manifestations Umbrella with Ye Xiu. The two of them indeed never again had a chance to log into those two side accounts.

Furthermore, influenced by Wei Chen, Huang Shaotian firmly kept the terrifying names of One Autumn Leaf and Autumn Tree locked in his mind. In addition, he principally remembered the countless times they had shamelessly stolen away Blue Brook Guild’ BOSS. Those two scoundrels with just a little skill in Glory bullying noobs would be formidable opponents of Blue Rain in the future. They must be taken seriously. If he meets either one of them when alone, he must swiftly flee; otherwise, he would definitely be killed to the next respawn point. Thus, Huang Shaotian never actually had any opportunities for close contact with One Autumn Leaf and Autumn Tree.

Hence, Huang Shaotian never linked these two people with the – in his opinion – warm, interesting, righteous and intelligent Eternal Autumn.

Conversely, it was Ye Xiu and Su Muqiu who often caught wind of that Blue Brook Guild’s Troubling Rain who was a good hand at snatching BOSS. Both people knew this to be Huang Shaotian, therefore Su Muqiu would often boast to Ye Xiu that he had a good eye for skill.

By the time Huang Shaotian finally harboured a little suspicion towards the Shaprshooter Autumn Tree with the word ‘Autumn’ in his name, Glory happened to open their second server and a Spitfire with a gorgeous playstyle appeared. Huang Shaotian promptly decided to set up another side account to find that person. He spent the entire day hounding the other like a pest, non-stop yelling, “Autumn bro, don’t run! I’ve found you!”

At that time, he hadn’t noticed that the later nicknamed ‘Hundred Blossoms’ playstyle of the Spitfire was not at all similar to the cool playstyle of Eternal Autumn. Furthermore, when he PK-ed the other, he could still grind out a few wins – Huang Shaotian naturally assumed that this was because he had improved.

Of course, it wasn’t long before Huang Shaotian realised that he had identified the wrong person.

Because of Eternal Autumn, Huang Shaotian held a relatively good opinion of the Spitfire class. Along with this amusing and awkward series of incidences, these later became the foundation of Huang Shaotian and Zhang Jiale’s deep and radical friendship.

In the summer of that year, Glory indeed started a professional circuit.

Wei Chen established the team Blue Rain, moreover became the first captain of Blue Rain. The competition system then was different from now. Because of his age, Huang Shaotian could not participate in matches and could only remain in Blue Rain’s training camp.

However, Huang Shaotian never forgot the promise he made with Eternal Autumn.

Zhang Jiale was not the first person that Huang Shaotian had mistaken. In the second season, Huang Shaotian even went to look for Zhang Yiwei solely because he played the Sharpshooter well. And even in the fifth season when Zhou Zekai debuted, Huang Shaotian couldn’t help suspecting that Zhou Zekai could be Eternal Autumn. But when he saw the other’s age and reticence, reality sharply knocked Huang Shaotian in the head.

Huang Shaotian met Yu Wenzhou during his time in Blue Rain’s training camp and even spent a large portion of his idle time telling Yu Wenzhou about things related to Eternal Autumn. After that, Yu Wenzhou seriously contemplated it and guessed, there was a high possibility that this person had not continued playing Glory after that, therefore never entered the professional circuit.

Of course Huang Shaotian knew this to be a possibility. But he was unwilling to believe it and also felt it rather impossible. After all, it was this person’s burning love for Glory that had ignited Huang Shaotian to pursue his dreams. Therefore, Huang Shaotian watched every Alliance match at a set timing every day, simply in hope of catching a glimpse of Eternal Autumn’s figure from within.

And after that, time pulled longer. The memories that Eternal Autumn left Huang Shaotian resembled that spectacle of fireworks he had personally set off – short, radiant, beautiful, perishable; and after the curtain fell, inevitably growing cold.

Huang Shaotian knew that his hope of finding the other slimmed with the passing of the days. But he always hid this secret deep down in his heart, never to be forgotten.

Oh, right. There was one more thing that should be mentioned. During the time that Huang Shaotian looked for Eternal Autumn, there was a piece of dark history that he never wanted anyone to bring up.

 – He had almost mistaken Ye Xiu and that aggro-inducing face of his for Eternal Autumn!

It happened like this. In the first season, when Huang Shaotian watched every Alliance match at his usual time hoping to find a godly avatar similar to Eternal Autumn, he never found it. However, the Battle Mage One Autumn Leaf had an unforgettable flair. While Huang Shaotian found it rather odd that he did not see Autumn Tree by One Autumn Leaf’s side, he quickly flung this matter to the back of his mind.

Afterwards, Huang Shaotian found out that the player behind One Autumn Leaf was named ‘Ye Qiu’, and he abruptly thought of how the player behind Eternal Autumn had once mentioned to him that he was also decent at playing the Battle Mage. Huang Shaotian immediately grew excited.

It turned out that Eternal Autumn was actually such an incredible great god of Glory?!

Not only that, Ye Qiu was different from other pro players. He was very secretive, never revealing his face to the public. Therefore, Huang Shaotian was even more certain – a person this unwilling to let others find out his real identity, can surely only be Eternal Autumn himself!

Thus, when Blue Rain played against Excellent Era in a home game, Huang Shaotian especially followed Wei Chen to watch the match. After the match ended, he immediately ran into the player’s passageway to wait in the corridor for Ye Qiu himself to appear. But he never saw the chic and handsome guy that he had always imagined. Instead, he saw a young man with a cigarette perched between his lips. If it weren’t for members of Excellent Era behind him calling him ‘Captain’, Huang Shaotian would never have believed that that was Ye Qiu, because it was really too disillusioning, okay?!!!

“Hey, hey! Wait a minute!” Huang Shaotian hesitated for a long time, but still called hold of the other in the end.

Ye Xiu started. He looked over and saw that it was a boy half a head shorter than him, “Hm? You called me?”

Once Ye Xiu spoke, Huang Shaotian instantly felt discouraged again – ahhh, no matter how he thought about it, this definitely didn’t sound like Eternal Autumn’s voice! This person’s voice was a lazy drawl, he absolutely didn’t sound as good as Autumn bro! He had actually gotten it wrong again!

After riding high on anticipation for so long, the tremendous disappointment crushed down too abruptly. Huang Shaotian did not even notice that the voice of the person facing him was also slightly familiar. Instead, he immediately withered like a frost-bitten eggplant, “Sorry, I mistook you for someone else…”

“Shaotian, brat, where are you!” As the two people were talking, Wei Chen’s shout came from not far off.

“Coming!” Huang Shaotian replied. Hearing this, Ye Xiu suddenly turned around, his expression stunned as he looked at him, “You’re Huang Shaotian?”

Huang Shaotian’s eyes lit up. “You know me?” Could it be… that this person is really Eternal Autumn?

Huang Shaotian’s name stirred up several memories. Ye Xiu smiled and casually ruffled the teen’s short head of hair. “Of course, the kid that talks too much. Truly unforgettable.”

“Talks too much? How do you know I talk a lot? …Wait, had you played Spitfire before in the first server?” Huang Shaotian suddenly remembered that the player behind Eternal Autumn always taunted him for talking too much and was suddenly so anxious that even his questioning tone sounded off.

Because at this point, Huang Shaotian was not yet a pro player. A lot of players in Glory only knew that this character Troubling Rain liked to spew out text bubbles. They couldn’t have known that the player Huang Shaotian himself was a chatterbox.

Ye Xiu froze.

Somewhat distractedly, Ye Xiu recalled how he had first learnt of Huang Shaotian’s name. Part of the reason why he had called Huang Shaotian earlier was indeed because of the attention Su Muqiu kept on him. However, Ye Xiu had never expected that Huang Shaotian himself also remembered Su Muqiu. He thought that kids would have long forgotten affairs from such a long time ago. Yet, who could have known that the other was, like him, remembering it clearly as before, even –

Ye Xiu abruptly understood why Huang Shaotian had come over to ask if he was Ye Qiu. Huang Shaotian was looking for a person. And the person he was looking for, was Su Muqiu.

Ye Xiu’s fingers trembled imperceptibly. For a split second, the smile on his face grew stiff.

The next moment, Ye Xiu clenched his teeth. His expression was airy as he said, “Of course I played Spitfire before in the first server. I’m proficient across all classes, how can there be any class that I’ve never played before!”

“Ugh! How narcissistic!” Huang Shaotian turned his nose up. However, he was still not entirely sure if Ye Xiu was that person, so he couldn’t help asking again, “How do you know that I talk a lot?”

“Haha, I only know that Troubling Rain spouts a whole load of garbage and was told by your captain that the player behind Troubling Rain is called Huang Shaotian.” They had only just met. But within two sentences, Ye Xiu already began taunting the other.

Actually, Wei Chen had never mentioned to Ye Xiu that there was a boy called Huang Shaotian in their Blue Rain training camp.

But Huang Shaotian believed him. Nonetheless, the main point wasn’t this. He furiously jumped up and roared, “Wtfwtfwtfwtf! You’re too much! Excellent Era’s results are only a teeny bit better than Blue Rain’s okay! If you’re that good then come PKPKPKPK me!”

Ye Xiu cheerfully smiled and replied, “Sure.” Once saying this, Ye Xiu conveniently borrowed an autograph pen from his teammate and directly wrote his QQ number onto Huang Shaotian’s palm.

This marked the beginning of the friendship that Ye Xiu and Huang Shaotian built over PKs.

Not many rounds later, Huang Shaotian resolutely affirmed that Ye Xiu was most certainly not Eternal Autumn. Simply because this guy was simply too shameless, he really wanted to beat him up! Furthermore, Huang Shaotian also found out after they grew more familiar that Ye Xiu was not only adept across the Gunner class but was a through and through master of all classes.

Yet, for some unknown reason, whenever he saw Ye Xiu using Gunner subclasses, Huang Shaotian would always feel an inexplicable sense of familiarity. Along with Su Mucheng’s later support, in Huang Shaotian’s heart, Ye Xiu was outstanding with the Gunner class, his proficiency not worse than Eternal Autumn, and not worse than anyone in the Alliance.

Therefore, a very long time later, Huang Shaotian would go over to help Ye Xiu run dungeons. And when he saw Ye Xiu’s Delivery Gun technique, he would instantly grow invigorated.

But there were some things that Huang Shaotian would never know.

Back then, after giving his QQ to Huang Shaotian in their very first meeting, Ye Xiu had said with a seldom-seen seriousness. “When you have the time, come find me to practise. Keep working hard.”

With that said, Ye Xiu waved with his back to Huang Shaotian and disappeared from the player’s passageway.

Huang Shaotian clenched the numbers scribbled on his palm into a fist. He shouted at that person’s back, “Just wait! There will be a day when I surpass you for sure!”

However, Huang Shaotian had not known this: there was still a sentence stuck in Ye Xiu’s throat that he hadn’t said – “Muqiu thinks highly of you.”

 – “When you have the time, come find me to practise. Keep working hard. Muqiu thinks highly of you.”

From that moment on, Ye Xiu had decided. He would never tell Huang Shaotian of Su Muqiu’s death.