Although Ye Xiu was Glory-obsessed and cared little about anything else, it wasn’t hard to notice the sudden shift in atmosphere when the original Excellent Era team left and was filled with players he let Tao Xuan choose. Their teamwork wasn’t the best, and it showed in Season 4, but he thought that over time things would improve because they were just a new team.
Then came the gossip and insults that grew bolder and bolder (honestly, did they really think he couldn’t hear them), the secret talks he sometimes noticed in the corner of his eyes, and Cui Li’s increasingly malevolent glare.
Then came a plot wherein he noticed his teammates weren’t just disobeying his command, but also actively sabotaging his plans. (He was called the Master Tactician, the Glory Textbook – did they really think he wouldn’t know?)
Season 5 came and it was only because of his coordination with Su Mucheng’s Dancing Rain that won the Best Partnership Award for the second time in a row that pulled Excellent Era through to the quarterfinals.
Ye Xiu was exhausted. It took all he had to not let their internal team atmosphere show in the results yet again . It took all he had to pull Excellent Era through... It took all he had to give a fight honoring the fans who supported them, honoring the other professional players who gave their all to the game and to beat him, and honoring the very game he loved so much.
Su Mucheng gave him a worried look, but left him alone at his request and he slumped the instant he heard the door close, leaving him in the darkness of his room. His mind swirled with many questions, many doubts, many feelings he thought he’d never experience because of Glory.
Once Ye Qiu had asked him if it was worth it, if it was worth still leaving the family for, and Ye Xiu had given him an overwhelming heartfelt ‘yes’.
If Ye Qiu asked that question now, however... Ye Xiu would still say ‘yes’, but he wondered what tone he would say it by...
He still wanted to play. He still loved Glory. He still wanted to give Glory, this awesome game, his all...
In the end, his choice didn’t even matter. Well, it did but not in the context of the question.
Ye Xiu’s computer lit up and, attracted by its brightness and the sudden sense of urgency he felt in his chest, he got up and read it.
And then he ran.
His brother was in the hospital, having gotten into a major car accident.
Originally, Ye Xiu wasn’t planning to keep in contact with the family. Ye Qiu and Ye Xiu wanted to run away from home so badly because of their parents and the family atmosphere.
But then his idiot brother actually, bewilderingly did the dumbest thing ever freshman year in college and Ye Xiu became an uncle to twins. This time, not identical.
In one sweep, Ye Xiu, the runaway who still hadn’t graduated high school, became the favorite and the heir in Ye Guang’s eyes – and Ye Guang, who actually never bothered trying hard to search for him, used all his resources to track him down, demand his return, and upon getting an equally stubborn response from Ye Xiu, demand that Ye Xiu at least continue studying and preparing to inherit the Ye Group and multi-billion valued Golden Leaf Corporation after he finished playing games.
Ye Xiu typically would just refuse again. But Ye Minghua, his mother, had thrown herself into his arms, apologizing over and over again for not watching the two and caring for them enough, causing them to go down self-destructive paths (Ye Xiu wouldn’t deny that for Ye Qiu, but gaming wasn’t self-destructive, mom) and begging for him to take care of himself (to this day, he still hesitated on the cigarettes). And Ye Guang’s once extremely hard, cold eyes seemed to have softened as he dismissed Ye Xiu’s biting accusation (what, are you going to abandon Ye Qiu now that he messed up) (of course not, that would be bad for our reputation) , indirectly acknowledged his gaming career and praised him for becoming the first champion, and even offered to legally take care of the issue of using Ye Qiu’s ID to register (of course with a pile of NDAs) so that it wouldn’t bite him in the back in the future.
And Ye Xiu, now grown and matured with many experiences of life, realized that maybe his parents weren’t so bad after all and agreed to study and to keep in touch with his parents once in a while.
And Ye Xiu, bombarded with pictures of Ye Ming and Ye Ning and his brother’s texts (which later became video recordings which later became video calls), realized maybe he could be extremely happy with something other than Glory and those he met through Glory.
Of course, no matter the other connections he made, Ye Xiu still stubbornly didn’t want to give Glory up. There were only so many years a person can professionally game for before their hand speed deteriorates and they leave their prime. He didn’t want to lose a single one of them.
Faced with his beloved twin brother in the hospital though, it wasn’t even a choice. Within seconds, without hesitation, Ye Xiu walked forward to his twin brother (he was in a coma, like Su Muqiu, a car accident), held his bandaged hand, and promised to take care of the kids and everything he cared for. When the twins in Ye Minghua’s hands reached out for him in tears unconsciously wanting him for the familiarity of his face (and because they always had adored him, him who made their papa happiest), he once again didn’t hesitate to hug them firmly and promise that he wouldn’t leave them alone and that Ye Qiu, their papa, would wake up.
Ye Xiu always knew that he would retire quietly, possibly even disappear like those who had retired before him had. Even before his father tracked him down, Ye Xiu had long since planned to never get the family involved. And with how he used Ye Qiu’s ID in a legal contract – that decision had only become firmer. He didn’t want to ruin his didi’s reputation.
Still, it came to him as a surprise how quickly, smoothly, and easily he was going to retire.
Tao Xuan had given him one look in surprise, and even seemed to brighten in excitement for one second, before sitting him down and pulling out all the papers. Long having known of Excellent Era’s plans to kick him out over time in a way such that he wouldn’t ever come back to Glory, Ye Xiu’s heart was already prepared and he only inwardly sighed at how his once old friend didn’t even ask why.
He was surprised though when the old man offered to do one thing for him for all the years they spent together building Excellent Era into what it was today. Ye Xiu paused. He wasn’t sure what Su Mucheng wanted to do in the future – but he was sure that Su Mucheng would want Dancing Rain, her brother’s memento (what he was planning to debut with before he died), no matter what. Whether she planned to continue Glory or not, stay in Excellent Era or not, Su Mucheng wouldn’t want to leave Dancing Rain in Excellent Era’s hands after having witnessed their treatment of him. (And people thought he was the one to watch out for.)
Ye Xiu also paused as he realized that there was another thing he actually did want. And in the end, Ye Xiu inwardly laughed when Tao Xuan easily sold him Dancing Rain and Autumn Tree, not knowing the value of both besides the sentimental worth. To him, who had never thought of Glory beyond its commercial worth, had never even watched the games seriously, Dancing Rain was good only because of its aesthetics and because of Ye Xiu’s gaming skills. Autumn Tree was something he had only bought as an offering to help them out financially on the day Su Muqiu died. For these two avatars, Ye Xiu only had to pay a half million yuan and that was it.
When Ye Xiu walked out, he realized that he really wasn’t so bothered about leaving Excellent Era at all.
The most surprising thing about retiring was actually Su Mucheng. Ye Xiu knew she hated Excellent Era, but he didn’t realize how much until she squealed upon hearing him say that he was leaving and hugging him to death while listing off different teams that they could join. Su Mucheng was stuck between Tyranny just to troll Excellent Era by joining their rivals and Blue Rain to join Huang Shaotian in annoying them to death with trash talk. She beamed, smiling brilliantly that none of her fans would be surprised if she suddenly learned how to trash talk opponents if she was at Blue Rain.
It was a very scary smile.
When Ye Xiu told her that he was not only going to leave, but retire though, she was quiet. Ye Xiu worried until he heard her promising to not get him involved (was she planning murder??) and then panicked, hurriedly explaining the situation. And Su Mucheng was even more quiet, panicked and crying in his shoulder with both memories of Su Muqiu’s own coma and then death and now the knowledge of how Ye Xiu was really feeling at this moment.
Ye Xiu was stunned. He didn’t realize that he was holding it in (not in front of the kids, not before Tao Xuan who didn’t deserve it) until tears fell and he hugged Su Mucheng tighter.
They stayed together like that for a long time, only quietly whispering to each other of words of comfort, of promises of support, of warm memories of Ye Qiu and the twins, of memories of Su Muqiu and the idiotic things he would do in the past, and of plans for the future.
“You sure? Tyranny would actually be the best fit for you. Old Han’s close combat paired with your covering--” Ye Xiu exaggerated a shiver, making Su Mucheng giggle at his antics and the very real scary thought of such a combination. “Not to mention, Zhang Xinjie really is a good Master Tactician, only second to me though Yu Wenzhou’s slowly beating him with all the imaginations of his black heart--”
“Ooooh, tempting, tempting. Join the rival team or the team that can offer more ideas on how to crush Liu Hao?” Su Mucheng playfully contemplated before warmly hugging her brother in all but blood. “I’m sure.” She emphasized empathetically. “I want to follow you no matter what. Be close to you – and there’s no way you’re separating me from the twins!”
Ye Xiu’s golden eyes warmed at Su Mucheng’s own warm orange before he held her close. “I wouldn’t dare.” Ye Xiu huffed, “Tell me if Big Eyed Wang is ever mean to you. I might just drop a visit for that.”
Su Mucheng giggled again, nodding into his wet shoulder.
“Do you want me to call him?”
“I’ll do it. You’ll just scare him and the management away.”
Ye Xiu didn’t deny. And he didn’t disagree. Su Mucheng would definitely be able to squeeze herself into Tiny Herb and negotiate a good deal despite their current lack of need for a Launcher or Glory All-Star, if only by attracting them with the sponsorship deals and good publicity that came with her. Tiny Herb was currently still lacking a lot of sponsorships and funds. Of course, her skill was definitely undeniable too so it’d be a good deal for them.
And so... Having only signed a two year contract, Su Mucheng was ready to leave and she hugged him for thinking of buying Dancing Rain’s contract.
Ye Xiu left within the day and Su Mucheng didn’t hold him back, knowing that right now, his priority was with the kids who he had temporarily left in B City to finish tying off all loose ends.
Ye Ming and Ye Ning tackled him as soon as they saw him and Ye Xiu’s heart ached when he realized that they had been waiting by the front door the whole time. Wiping their tears and soothing their cries with a lullaby he used to quietly sing to Su Mucheng when she had nightmares, he rocked them to sleep and carried them with Ye Guang who appeared behind him, having come home from work.
It was an interesting experience, walking with his father with a kid in each of their arms to the twins’ bedroom. As they placed the two to sleep on the large king-sized bed, Ye Guang hesitated but patted him on the head, murmuring.
“I’m proud of you, son.”
Ye Guang left before Ye Xiu could snap out of his stare and say anything. He buried his head in the sheets. Ten minutes later, when he finally composed himself, he was about to leave for his own bedroom but found himself clung to by the twins in their sleep. He helplessly huffed and decided to sleep with them.
And after multiple nights of waking up to them crawling into his bed, Ye Xiu just learned to let them in from the start.
He reddened when his mother wiped tears whenever she walked by and heard him read children’s books, tell stories of Ye Qiu, tell stories of Glory and its lore, or sung them to sleep. He was sure his mother had a lot of pictures.
Life was busy in the days preparing to temporarily take over Ye Qiu’s job and in the long run inherit the family business.
In the morning, he was helping the kids get ready for tutors or daycare (depending on the day it was) and he always wondered how Ye Qiu did it in the rush of waking up Ye Ning who liked to sleep a lot, of picking clothes for Ye Ming and doing her hair the way she wanted it for the day, of getting them to eat their food a little faster instead of playing with it, and of making sure they had everything they needed with them.
In the day, he was all over the place, sometimes shadowing his father and helping him out or meeting clients or bigshots. The four years of studying at night were definitely worth it, if only to not waste time in showing arrogant assholes who thought he was an easy target that he may be new, but he was definitely not a weak coward clinging onto the lapels of his father.
(Ye Guang had never been so proud of Ye Xiu until his son not only caught on to the fact that a rival CEO was trying to take advantage of him and cheat him, but also reversed the situation and controlled negotiations so that they were cheating that bastard who dared threaten his son without him knowing.)
(Ye Guang always knew that his twins would one day rule the world. Ye Xiu had always been extremely talented in whatever he did and Ye Qiu had always been crafty and merciless under his innocent demeanor. He only regretted trying so hard to get them there faster, temporarily forgetting that they were just kids and not the secret weapons and Ye’s he was so proud of, that they wanted to run away.)
In the late afternoon, he was taking care of the kids. Ye Xiu was surprised when Ye Guang was the one who insisted on it despite the enormous pile of work that had to be done, but... Ye Xiu supposed that Ye Guang learned from his mistakes and wanted Ye Xiu to be there for the kids while their father was still asleep.
Sometimes, Ye Xiu would take them outside, bring them to places normal kids would enjoy like the zoo, and play with them until they got tired and napped. Then, while they were asleep, he would secretly continue to do the work he probably should have been doing before his father cut his working hours for the kids.
Sometimes, Ye Xiu would take them to Ye Qiu and they would all tell Ye Qiu stories or give him little presents, arts and crafts they made beforehand. Ye Guang also got the hospital to add a piano to the room when he heard Ye Xiu play the violin for Ye Qiu at Ye Ming’s request – and Ye Guang, for the first time in his life, took a break from work for hours just to listen and even record his son’s piano performance. Ye Xiu pretended not to see Ye Guang’s eyes close and his being settle in a posture of utter relaxation and contentment.
Ye Xiu also pretended not to hear his mother complain about not being called back from her overseas trip for the performance and demanded for him to do it again. Ye Xiu could not pretend to ignore the twins who cried for an encore again and again.
Eventually, Glory came up.
And then, many times, the twins would ask Ye Xiu to play Glory before them or ask him to teach them how to play Glory.
At first, Ye Xiu was very hesitant. Ye Ming and Ye Ning had gave each other a secret look at dinner before bringing it up, asking him why he wasn’t playing the Glory he loved. Ye Xiu awkwardly listened as the twins brought up how Ye Qiu would always complain about how Ye Xiu loved Glory so much, about how Ye Xiu would play it all day for days and even years straight, about how Ye Xiu had appeared the happiest when he won the championships of Glory those beginning years.
Ye Xiu never even knew that Ye Qiu watched and followed his gaming career so closely. Or that the kids had sometimes watched together with him and admired the dancing colors, the tense fights, and the smile on his face when Ye Xiu had talked about Glory to them when they asked over a few video calls about his job in the past.
Ye Xiu was about to give them some excuse when they asked if they can watch him play, but Ye Guang surprised him by telling him that he could set up an empty room in the mansion for his games. That he can use as much money as possible. Ye Xiu stared when Ye Guang gruffly looked to the side while murmuring that his grandchildren weren’t going to live without getting the best of everything and being the best of everything, whether it be art, music, board games... or Glory.
Ye Minghua firmly agreed, even daring him to deny her grandchildren the opportunity to learn from the best pro gamer.
And so Ye Xiu found himself helplessly buying games with his father’s own credit card. He wondered if he was the one in a coma and dreaming... but some part of him lit up at the thought of being able to play again, warmed and enthused at the realization that his parents were actually supporting his hobby – his love, and at the thought that Glory really didn’t have to end at his retirement.
Ye Xiu stared at the silver card in his hand, at Autumn Tree who he had bought on a whim (well, Su Mucheng wouldn’t want her brother’s beloved card stuck with Excellent Era) and at the kids who excitedly watched him over his shoulders from where he had his computer set up on a coffee table low to the ground so that they could more easily watch.
And he played.
And after two weeks of not playing his favorite game, the game he gave his heart to, the game he lived and breathed for days upon days, years upon years, he couldn’t help but beam and laugh and even nearly cry. Inwardly, he couldn’t help but welcome back Glory, couldn’t help but introduce Su Muqiu to the kids, the family his sworn brother never got to see, and couldn’t help but fall in love all over again.
And to his daze, Ye Ming and Ye Ning loved it – never getting tired of him playing Glory and asking more and more times that he’d play for them or teach them how to play in their late afternoon times.
Ye Ming wanted to be a Battle Mage like him. She enthusiastically copied his every move on the second computer they moved into the room with clumsy fingers and constantly gave up her own character Beautiful Autumn to pile over his lap to stare at his handspeed and own new Battle Mage’s (One Leaf Heralds Autumn) (Su Mucheng laughed when he told her about how he finally had an Avatar with the name he intended all those years ago) fast, awe-inspiring attacks as he bull-dozed through countless bosses on his own.
Ye Ning, quiet peaceful kid that he was, wanted to be a Ninja. His avatar, Fading Autumn Flower, typically navigated through the Glory lore and quests – and Ye Xiu was proud to boast that Ye Ning figured out even hidden secrets of the game that even he never realized (because he was often PVP-ing in the Arena and focusing on Wild Bosses). Ye Ning was prodigiously smart though and highly curious, a combination that soon brought out the point that there were formulas for earning Skill Books from quests. Ye Xiu gaped in awe, and idly realized that the Glory Professional Alliance with all of their Gods and All Stars better be happy that he retired because wow this could totally make One Autumn Leaf even more powerful should he return and apply all that he knew now.
Ye Ning quietly but proudly continued doing his own thing under the awe and praises of his favorite person besides his father and his older twin sister’s beam.
None of the Avatars besides Autumn Tree (which he many times used out of nostalgia, sentiment, and because the kids wanted to see him defeat countless of people in Heaven’s Domain) were particularly high level or good enough for a real challenge yet, being new and frequently cycled through depending on which Class the kids wanted to see for the days they played... but Ye Xiu found himself having as much fun as he did on the professional scene when catering to the kids’ whims and playing again (he sometimes still couldn’t believe it) after a long day in the office.
Finally, with how he spent his evenings eating together with family and hanging out with the kids before they slept together, Ye Xiu could say that his days were definitely busy... but so fulfilling and fun.
Then, three weeks later, Su Mucheng visited the mansion, having finished transferring to Tiny Herb and moving into B City.
The first thing Su Mucheng did to his face was laugh as she breathlessly told him that it was actually a good thing he never got a phone because hers was constantly vibrating since the news of Ye Xiu’s retirement two weeks ago and now her transfer to Team Tiny Herb. Ye Xiu half-thought that Su Mucheng herself was vibrating as she blurted out all the news and gossip of the past three weeks now that she could see him in person.
“I did expect it, but Wang Jiexi’s actually less calm than we thought – he QQ-ed, texted, called me multiple times in disbelief when I told him you were going to retire and I wanted to leave Excellent Era and join Tiny Herb – and oh my, you should have heard all the conspiracies he thought of – did you know Wang Jiexi actually thought you could have been kidnapped by the mafia? Oh, but the best theory he had had to do with aliens and mecha pilot operators. Listen to this--”
“He sometimes still asks me questions, but I think he knows that something was up with Excellent Era this season and something else had to have pulled you away— of course, I still haven’t told him anything”
“Anyways, you should have saw Tao Xuan’s face! I never thought eyes could get that big – and he actually dropped his mug of coffee when I told him that I was transferring and then when Tiny Herb’s boss opened the door with the contract and offer, I thought he was going to faint haha--”
“When the news got out, everyone tried summoning me to QQ, asking me where you went, why you retired, how dare you say nothing or even have a phone -- Huang Shaotian actually wrote an entire 30k essay of questions before Han Wenqing got tired of tolerating it and muted him for an hour. I was actually surprised he lasted that long, but he must have wanted to know why you retired as well because he nearly booked flights to H City before Zhang Xinjie got the team to tackle him--”
“Yu Wenzhou tried bribing me with a lot of merchandise – of course, I wouldn’t sell you out on this though. Don’t worry, but on other things, well--”
“When Yunxiu called me, you texted me videos of the kids playing violin for Ye Qiu and I nearly squealed and gave everything away—by the way, you have to play for me. How did you never tell me that you were good at playing piano and violin?!”
“I told everyone that I didn’t know anything and no one believed me. And then when I transferred to Tiny Herb, everyone definitely didn’t believe me – and oh man, if Tao Xuan, Cui Li, and Liu Hao think that they can just float through Season 6, they have another thing coming--”
“No one believes Wang Jiexi either and when he complained that he really didn’t know to me, I laughed in his face—Fang Shiqian too – it was funny, they actually tried to tail me today, which was why I was so breathless.”
Ye Xiu laughed as his little sister continued on and on before hugging him and beaming up in full happiness.
“I miss you.”
“I miss you too, Mucheng.”
It only lasted thirty seconds though. Su Mucheng had her priorities straight. Pushing off Ye Xiu, her eyes narrowed.
“Now, where’s the kids?”
His family loved her.
Upon waking up from their afternoon naps, Ye Ming and Ye Ning practically thrown themselves onto the beautiful, kind, cheerful girl that they sometimes saw on video calls between her and their uncle. It was needless to say that Su Mucheng easily won them over with games and new stories of their favorite uncle as they ran around the house under Ye Xiu’s warm watch.
Having always wanted a daughter and upon realizing that Ye Xiu practically raised and adopted her, Ye Minghua practically squealed with delight and pulled her into a long conversation of girl talk and childhood stories of Ye Xiu as soon as the kids tired out again from playing with her.
Upon seeing how well Su Mucheng grew up, Ye Guang huffed in approval, patting Ye Xiu on the back, and inviting Su Mucheng into the family. Su Mucheng beamed upon getting permission to visit the mansion whenever she wanted and upon the countless invitations to events the family had planned over time as they found themselves cherishing their time together and wanting the kids to have fun (and to ease a bit of the burden of their missing father).
They all exchanged contact information in an instant and Su Mucheng was even added to the Ye Family QQ chat group.
(Unbeknownst to Ye Xiu, Su Mucheng may have slipped a few things of the toxic environment of Excellent Era of the last year to Ye Minghua.)
(Her brother was too forgiving.)
(Though they both agreed that the team as a whole didn’t deserve to be taken down for the poor management and few horrible people inside. Despite its current state, Excellent Era had been something Ye Xiu co-founded, built up, brought to glory, and loved.)
With all the family bonding they were doing and all the pictures and videos Ye Minghua was taking of Ye Xiu with the kids, it wasn’t long before Ye Xiu appeared on social media, particularly on the Ye Group Weibo.
It also wasn’t long before the Weibo grew extremely popular because of all the cute pictures, the amazing music performances which later made their way to Youtube and actual CDs (Minghua was never one to cheat herself of an opportunity; her herself was the owner of a business conglomeration), and because of the unexpectedly extremely wholesome side of two corporation leaders that people once thought of nothing but strict, cold-hearted, excelling, and power-hungry.
At first, Ye Xiu wondered if any professional Glory players were going to recognize him, but it seemed that none of them paid attention to the business side of the world – and he found himself snickering and sometimes posting hints (extremely subtle, but still hints) to his pro-gaming past in the background of some photos.
Due to how often Ye Xiu found himself still attracted to Glory though, with the suggestion and help of Ye Minghua and Su Mucheng, Ye Xiu found himself posting Glory livestreams, his own performances and renditions of Glory soundtracks and of tunes inspired from its lore and battles, and pictures of Little Dot wearing Glory avatar costumes (something Ye Ming and Ye Minghua, fashion designer hobbyist, bonded over after squealing over Little Dot cosplaying as One Autumn Leaf). Although Ye Xiu used all the account cards (having one for every class, each amusingly named after Autumn) for the livestreams, he couldn’t help but name the secret Glory-related social media account of his Lord Grim after the other first server card that he had but once never got a chance to develop until now.
Ye Xiu had to admit that it was slowly becoming his new obsession – watching Lord Grim which once held all the hopes and dreams and passions of two boys who wanted to give their all to Glory become the latest legend of Glory.
Ye Minghua didn’t quite agree with the name, but she cried and gave full permission when Su Mucheng told her the story behind Lord Grim. Well, not without demanding to have permission to redesign all of Lord Grim’s equipment.
Although Lord Grim became extremely popular within the course of a month, to his and Su Mucheng’s amusement, no one was figuring it out.
The reason, Su Mucheng recounted with a laugh, was because no one could imagine Ye Xiu only playing for a few hours every other day on Glory. Even in retirement, if he was still playing Glory, then Ye Xiu must be playing Glory at least ten hours a day at times when normal people should be sleeping every day of the week. Lord Grim, however, only appeared at 3-5 pm two times a week and 9-1 am every other day. After all, the twins had other avatars they wanted to see on the days when they did ask to watch Ye Xiu play Glory and Ye Xiu was an heir to a multibillion corporation who did need to sleep at night to prepare for the day.
Another reason was because no one could imagine Ye Xiu, certified Glory addict, to be able to have other talents or hobbies. No one knew that his famous handspeed was actually the result of years of playing piano or that the sloppily dressed man actually had a fashion designer hobbyist as a mother who adored dressing up the family dog (and also trolling her son’s community).
Still, some Glory professionals couldn’t help but stare in suspicion at the once in a while awe-inspiring achievements of the person behind the Lord Grim livestreams and 25 accounts that appeared within them.
Windy Rain: But he doesn’t have a dog. Mumu would have totally told me if Ye Qiu had a dog that cute – a dog that dresses up that cute.
Vaccaria: I’m not sure... There’s a lot of things Su Mucheng isn’t telling us.
Crying Devil: LOL Someone’s bitter.
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: But did you see that combo? What kind of non-pro person has that handspeed? The ability to pull it off? Not to mention, I swear he’s messing with us by naming all those accounts after AUTUMN
Immovable Rock: I have to agree. It’s not an easy feat to be able to play all 24 classes proficiently. Only Ye Qiu and Fang Shijing were known to have been able to pull it off. Not to mention, it would require the knowledge and skill equivalent to the Glory Textbook to successfully create and use a viable unspecialized account.
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: Right??
Demon Subduer: But come on.
Demon Subduer: You’re telling me this:
Demon Subduer: GOD Ye RETIRES (not even close to his end yet) from professional Glory to become a live streamer. THE Ye Qiu who never shows his face, never accepts to do even an ad of HIS HANDS for millions of dollars, doesn’t even have a fucking phone to answer to our questions is actively live streaming and dressing up HIS DOG on SOCIAL MEDIA. And you’re telling me God Ye who cared about nothing but Glory, always dressing like a pig, is actually a highly talented musician who dresses his own dog better than himself and is currently finally living and sleeping like a normal human being.
Demon Subduer: THAT’S what you’re telling me.
Immovable Rock: ...It’s just a conjecture.
Doubtful Demon: There’s no way God Ye is Lord Grim.
Demon Subduer: +1 (the other things just make it too improbable)
Dark Forest: +2 (Senior who can’t take care of himself has a dog?)
Brilliant Edge: +3 (true that)
Bullet Rain: +4 (why did he retire though QAQ)
Carved Ghost: +5 (I wanted to challenge him at all stars ORZ)
Cloud Piercer: +6 (QWQ)
Empty Waves: +7 (Captain says he wants Senior to come back. And he wanted to challenge Ye Qiu too)
Delilo: +8 (Glory won’t ever be the same)
[Troubling Rain is unmuted.]
Troubling Rain: I’M BACK!!
Troubling Rain: AND EXACTLY!! THAT’S MY POINT BEFORE YOU SHAMELESS BASTARDS MUTED ME!! WTF WTF WTF HOW DARE YOU MUTE THE TRUTH!! I WILL PKPKPK YOU LATER.
Troubling Rain: ANYWAYS +MY PK RECORD
Troubling Rain: THERE’S NO WAY THAT’S OLD YE – THOUGH THAT SHAMELESS BASTARD DESERVES TO BE PKPKPKPKPKPK FOR LEAVING US WITHOUT A WORD AND STILL NOT ANSWERING ANY OF MY QQS. PKPKPKPK--
Swoksaar: Shaotian ^-^
Swoksaar: Though I agree about Senior
Swoksaar: @Dancing Rain
Dancing Rain: ^-^
Dancing Rain: Still not telling you where he is.
Troubling Rain: You two are scary.
Windy Rain: Wow, you’re not going to spam-ask Mumu again?
Dancing Rain: He knows better now.
Dancing Rain: ^-^
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: Okay, you really are starting to scare me.
Dancing Rain: ^-^
With how they both lived in B City and Su Mucheng constantly hung out with him and the kids, it was really a matter of time before Team Tiny Herb found out.
Well, the real question is will they ever really find out.
When they both heard a very familiar shout from afar, Ye Xiu and Su Mucheng exchanged a very quick look before turning to see Fang Shiqian, Wang Jiexi, and some of the others from Tiny Herb approach fast.
“YE QIU!!” Fang Shiqian boomed with a loud angry shout. “YOU BASTARD!! YOU LEFT, NEVER ANSWERED ANY TEXT, DISAPPEARED AND YET WAS IN THIS CITY THE WHOLE TIME?!”
With very valiant effort, Ye Xiu hid his trembles from highly suppressed laughter and looked up at the towering Cleric-Paladan from his lazy slouch on the park bench. He looked like the epitome of peace, like the epitome of the shameless bastard Fang Shiqian knew him as. The only thing that could make Fang Shiqian angrier is the blasé question asked.
“What are you talking about?”
Fang Shiqian fumed at the amused glint of the infuriating man’s golden eyes – and very nearly punched the man if it weren’t for Xu Bin grabbing him from behind.
“WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT? WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT--”
Su Mucheng burst into laughter from the side, interrupting Fang Shiqian’s erupting rant and causing the man to suddenly become aware of the whispers of concerned people in their surroundings in the silence that followed. Fang Shiqian awkwardly calmed a little bit down, though his eyes still glared at Ye Xiu.
Ye Xiu blinked at both him and Su Mucheng, and Fang Shiqian’s brows furrowed when Su Mucheng patted Ye Xiu’s shoulder as she struggled to talk after her breathless burst of laughter.
“Ye Xiu. This is my teammate, Fang Shiqian.”
And Fang Shiqian’s brain froze as Su Mucheng continued to introduce the others behind him who likewise froze in incomprehension. What?
Su Mucheng continued, orange eyes glowing in amusement as she introduced.
“Everyone, this is Ye Qiu’s older twin brother, Ye Xiu.”
“What the fuck?” Fang Shiqian couldn’t help but blurt out even though Su Mucheng didn’t sound like she was lying at all. “Are you fuc--”
Whatever Fang Shiqian was going to say was interrupted when two kids who looked scarily very much like Ye Qiu ran to Ye Qiu, walking around him warily but determinedly hopping on the bench and hugging Ye Qiu in fear. Fang Shiqian’s heart ached at how the little girl looked scared of him and yet at the same time valiantly dared him with her eyes to do anything to her... father. The little boy though hid in Ye Qiu’s (Xiu’s?) chest.
Unbeknownst to Team Tiny Herb, the twins only started calling Ye Xiu that a few weeks ago. It started as an accident, and then in shy askance, before they began saying it all the time in happiness that he was taking care of them. Papa, though, was of course still Ye Qiu.
Ye Xiu straightened a bit, accommodating their trembling reach for his assurance and safety with a slight hug.
“Daddy? Are they bullying you?”
Ye Xiu finally laughed, causing the two to relax in relief. “Of course not, A-Ming. Do you really think your daddy can be bullied?”
Ye Ming and Ye Ning beamed before chiming, “No! Of course not!! Daddy’s the strongest!”
Both kids beamed before shyly looking at the group of gamers and then tugging his shirt. Fang Shiqian stared in disbelief that it was an expensive-looking, neat white collared shirt... Wait... Ye Xiu was wearing a brand-name suit like some young CEO or something.
“Daddy, can we go eat some ice cream? I want strawberry!”
“I want chocolate.” The little boy supported and Ye Xiu nodded, gazing at Su Mucheng who smiled and threw a thumbs up, shooing them off.
“Mumu’s not coming with us?” Ye Ming asked in alarm with wide eyes. “But they’re dangerous.”
Ye Xiu and Su Mucheng burst with laughter at that and Fang Shiqian’s flush and sputter (the whole team behind him the same at being called that by a kid). And Ye Xiu patted her head before picking the two four year olds up.
“They’re not really. They’re Mumu’s friends.” Ye Xiu explained before smiling at the group. “Well, it was nice to meet you. Mucheng told us a lot about you guys. And do take care of her for me. She’s very dear to my brother and me.”
“And me!” Ye Ming automatically said though her golden eyes still furrowed in suspicion at Fang Shiqian and Wang Jiexi. She solemnly declared. “Don’t you dare bully Mumu.”
“They won’t.” Su Mucheng brightly giggled. “They really are my friends, A-Ming. You really don’t have to worry about them.”
“...buu...” Ye Ming pouted in defeat before grumbling as Ye Xiu ruffled her hair and set off for the ice cream shop that Ye Ning was pointing to while tugging Ye Xiu’s sleeve. “Mumu has very mean friends.”
“They’re really nice.” Su Mucheng insisted, but snickered before waving them off. “See you later!”
Fang Shiqian fell heavily against the spot Ye Xiu once sat on the bench, holding his head while brokenly murmuring.
Su Mucheng really wished she had a camera on her.
“...you’re kidding me... no way... you’re not kidding...?”
“Nope! That was Ye Xiu! Ye Qiu’s twin older brother – he lives in B City and has the most adorable kids. I’d invite you to his house, but I don’t think the kids would like that anymore.” Su Mucheng relished in some flinches – even Ye Xiu with a gamer mouth didn’t curse in front of the kids, how dare they—and beamed as she continued messing around with truths, “By the way, don’t tell anyone about this. Ye Xiu definitely has enough money and power to crush most anyone who infringe on his kids’ privacy or does anything against his brother’s wish.”
“We won’t.” Xu Bin promised for the team, having recovered the fastest though he was still blinking incredulously in the direction Ye Xiu went. He just saw the craziest thing ever... Ye Qiu in a suit with kids? Wait, Ye Qiu has a twin named Ye Xiu? There’s two of them? What? He actually didn’t think anyone would say anything because of just how crazy it all sounded and how all of their minds felt warped by the mere thought.
Wang Jiexi actually closed his eyes before he affirmed. “No one will say anything.” And then he desperately looked at Su Mucheng. “Though is he the reason why Ye Qiu retired? And is Ye Qiu in B City too?”
“Not saying anything~” Su Mucheng sang with laughter and Team Tiny Herb groaned.
Su Mucheng was highly aware that the most perceptive person in the Glory Professional Alliance was probably her new captain, Wang Jiexi.
She was also very aware that she and Ye Xiu were highly mischievous and shamelessly talented people used to getting what they want for their own amusement and purposes. They had survived on their own as minors without any adult for years after all. Su Mucheng learned from the best... and so, if the opponent was perceptive, all she had to do was shamelessly tell the truth.
And laugh about everything with Ye Xiu when they were finally alone.
Wang Jiexi was slowly becoming aware that Su Mucheng was definitely someone to look out for. Many thought of her as someone who just succeeded because of her face and her relationship to Ye Qiu... but Su Mucheng was definitely a monster, perhaps even a master tactician in her own right when motivated enough.
...It kind of made him excited for the next season of Glory already.
“...Wait, wait, wait... You’re kidding me. Ye Qiu has a twin older brother with this much money – and he never shamelessly clung to his thigh?”
Fang Shiqian gaped at the check with a highly generous donation from Ye Xiu on their boss’s desk with a little note attached apologizing for his kids’ bad reaction to them. Their boss was beaming happily, thanking Su Mucheng profusely for joining Team Tiny Herb once again (it never failed to surprise them how much money and sponsorships Su Mucheng could reel in). Su Mucheng smiled back, hugging an adorable two in one doll of Vaccaria holding hands with One Autumn Leaf that was custom made by the highly popular and expensive brand, the Glory Couture, that popped up just a few weeks ago with Glory-inspired clothes and accessories (Wang Jiexi’s lips barely bit back a smile at the sight and implication that he and his Senior were friends).
There were also life-sized dolls of all of their avatars in the huge box next to the table, which everyone else were crowded around and cheerily hugging in awe despite their reputation as gamers.
It was said no gamer was not a troll at least somewhere inside and the pro player chat and even Team Tiny Herb’s official website and social media blew up when they took a picture of everyone with their own adorable life size avatar dolls, citing that their biggest fan had them made for them.
There was lots of jealousy, awe, squeals, rants from other professional players at how disgustingly cute and lucky they were, and countless people asking who the fan was so that they could order them.
Just when things seemed to be dying down, of course Su Mucheng had to post on her social media a picture of her surrounded by her Dancing Rain plushie and hugging the Vaccaria-One Autumn Leaf dolls in a way that it was obvious to see that they were stitched to be holding hands. The caption of course was ‘supported by my biggest fan’.
It was obvious to anyone that the dolls in her hands and the life-sized Team Tiny Herb dolls were made by the same people... and social media blew up because of the implication that Ye Qiu was the fan who custom ordered the team dolls.
Wang Jiexi huffed, shaking his head with amusement as Huang Shaotian blew up on both social media and the QQ chat in betrayal and many pro players complained about not having their own adorable, incredibly high-quality life-sized avatar dolls in their chat.
He supposed he could let Su Mucheng off for that as the post single-handedly disposed of all the haters of her team change that constantly posted that Ye Qiu wouldn’t have agreed to her transfer and betraying Excellent Era.
Actually, Wang Jiexi realized he had very mixed feelings about that two in one doll when WangYe began trending on Weibo and Chu Yunxiu personally flew and ran into their team building to squeal and hug the ‘WangYe’ dolls.
Unbeknownst to both Ye Xiu and Wang Jiexi, Ye Minghua blinked at the trending dolls she had made for her son when he asked... and then lit up upon realizing a very deep money niche in the Glory community.
Su Mucheng blinked in surprise when approached by Ye Minghua, but squealed and beamed, agreeing to help design Glory Couture dolls (and subtle danmei merchandise).
Ye Guang stared in surprise when the new dolls and merchandise set out by his wife’s pet project, Glory Couture, which started because of a dog and then became a huge success that net in millions of yuan and attracted many highly talented fashion designers, became even more of a money-reeling success.
Perhaps his son did have a reason to be obsessed with Glory.
Ye Guang was never interested in Glory besides the fact that it had attracted his eldest son.
Now, however, after seeing his son play and teach the kids multiple times, after seeing the money and attention it drew in, and after seeing it create a more permanent mark in the world as if settling to stay, Ye Guang began supporting it more and more.
Golden Leaf Corporation, which never gave sponsorships to e-sports, began to move, drawing up advertising contracts with, at first, Su Mucheng, and then Tiny Herb and then with the entire alliance, funding for game development, related technological advances, and then for the Pro League itself.
Glory began to advance further and then sometime later, Ye Xiu was surprised that projection technology developed by Golden Leaf Corporation was going to be introduced in the Season 5 All-Star Weekend.
“Keep your mouth closed if you’re not going to say anything, son.”
Ye Xiu stared and Ye Minghua giggled while the twins looked at her happiness, their uncle’s rare and completely stunned expression, and found themselves laughing happily too.
Later, Ye Xiu realized that he had never noticed it, but his family were supporting Glory little by little. Su Mucheng never told him that his future corporation was offering her and the team and even the alliance as a whole sponsorships and new tech. His father never mentioned it, but he had a team spearheading the sponsorships, the support to the game developers, and the development of computer, game, and any Glory-related technologies. His mother was not only spreading interest and support in Glory through fashion and merchandise, but also bought out Excellent Era shares and then the company itself (Ye Xiu stared at that report for hours) and was currently slowly, quietly replacing the team and management for the better (Qiu Fei had his One Autumn Leaf now) (Tao Xuan, Cui Li, and Liu Hao were fined for many little things here and there).
Ye Xiu blinked hard and quietly hid his face.
If Ye Xiu was more determined than even the usual (the workaholic) the next few weeks, no one mentioned it.
Su Mucheng huffed a laugh.
If there was one thing she realized about the Ye Family over time, it was that they were all workaholics. A family of workaholics. And despite how distant they outwardly appeared with one another, it was undeniable how much they loved each other.
Troubling Rain: OH. MY. GOD. HOW COULD NONE OF YOU – NONE OF YOU – HAVE SAID ANYTHING ABOUT THIS?! [link to Excellent Era’s new management and captain]
Troubling Rain: WILL YOU FINALLY CONFIRM IF EXCELLENT ERA REALLY WAS THE REASON WHY OLD YE RETIRED AND YOU TRANSFERRED TEAMS? THERE’S NO REASON MENTIONED, BUT SERIOUSLY?! THAT MUCH CHANGE IN ONE GO – WHAT DID THEY DO TO YOU TWO? DO I HAVE TO GO PKPKPK THEM?
Troubling Rain: AND DOES THIS MEAN HE’S COMING BACK?
Troubling Rain: @DANCING RAIN @DANCING RAIN @DANCING RAIN
Troubling Rain: DON’T MAKE ME COME OVER THERE.
Dancing Rain: Still not saying anything 😊
Dancing Rain: But don’t worry. Nothing big really happened. And we’re both doing really well now.
Dancing Rain: Ye Qiu’s the happiest I’ve seen in two years.
Troubling Rain: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??
Troubling Rain: AND TWO YEARS? DON’T TELL ME—
Troubling Rain: IT WAS LIU HAO, WASN’T IT. THAT BASTARD. WANG JIEXI ALWAYS SAID THAT HE HAD A FACE OF A WOLF LOOKING BACK. I WILL PKPKPKPK HIM.
Troubling Rain: (AND NOTHING BIG? EXCELLENT ERA BEING BOUGHT OUT, THE MANAGEMENT AND LIKE HALF THE TEAM BEING CHANGED FOR ‘NO REASON’ ‘SORRY, NDA’, NOTHING BIG??)
Dancing Rain: Captain said that? Wow, how flattering. Wolves look much cuter.
Dancing Rain: And nothing big, nothing big. I mean, I can totally show you something big for reference if you want...
Vaccaria: DO NOT.
Windy Rain: Wow, this is the first time I ever seen Wang Jiexi use caps lock. What did you do to him, Mumu?
Dancing Rain: Nothing big, nothing big.
Angelica: [Shivers] +1 (though did you really call Liu Hao that, captain?)
Flying Sword: [Shivers] +2 (wait, so did Liu Hao really do something?)
Bamboo Leopard: [Shivers] +3 (whether he did or not, I'm with Mumu. Mumu can do nothing wrong. Mumu is always correct. Mumu is good.)
Crying Devil: ….....
Carved Ghost: ….
Life Extinguisher: ....................
Peaceful Hermit: …...........
Troubling Rain: ........................
Windy Rain: ..............
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: ........did you somehow traumatize your team?!
Dancing Rain: Of course not. They’re just joking with me.
Vaccaria: ...So did Excellent Era really do something?
Windy Rain: You really don’t know, huh. (And LOL so we’re just going to ignore all that eh)
Windy Rain: And come on, Mumu. We’re not asking about his retirement really (though we still really want to know)
Windy Rain: This time, we just really want to know if we need to shank someone for hurting our friends
Dancing Rain: .......well
Windy Rain: well?
Windy Rain: (nobody dare text something and ruin this for me or I'll shank you)
Windy Rain: Mumu... please...?
Dancing Rain: ….well, they did
Dancing Rain: But it’s really no big deal. Don’t think about it too much.
Dancing Rain: I mean they were trying to make him retire in two years, but well, as you can see, that didn’t happen. So plan failed, actually worked out for us because it only took like two minutes to get out the door, so no big deal?
Dancing Rain: Anyways, you can forget about it. What matters is EE’s clean now 😊
Dancing Rain: And yes, before you ask, both of us have nothing to do with the current changes. Ye Qiu didn’t even know until last night.
Dancing Rain: Let’s just say... karma got them what they had coming. 😊
Windy Rain: ...you say you have nothing to do with it and then say that.
Dancing Rain: I didn’t. Someone just asked me about Ye Qiu’s well-being and what can I do but answer them honestly?
Troubling Rain: AND. YET. WE ASK. AND NEVER GET A REPLY.
Dancing Rain: Well, Ye Qiu told me not to let you guys know. He never said anything about others.
Troubling Rain: Che. Stupid Senior. We totally would have done something if he just said something.
Troubling Rain: You’re right though. What idiots. They totally had what’s coming. Seriously?? What idiot team kicks out God Ye?? The Battle God, three year champion, MVP of so many seasons, master tactician himself? Stupid, stupid, stupid. They deserve to be PKPKPKPK.
Troubling Rain: I should have known that he wasn’t deteriorating all these years—seriously, what team sabotages itself?? Deserve to be PKPKPKPK
Dancing Rain: No caps?
Swoksaar: He’s re-reading the article to write down the names.
Swoksaar: Don’t think too much about it. It’s no big deal.
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: Seriously, Mucheng. If you hear these guys on the news again, don’t think too much about it. It’s no big deal if the world loses a couple of idiots.
Desert Dust: +1 (idiots) [Angry Face]
Cloud Piercer: +2 [Angry Face]
Empty Waves: +3 (Captain says he’ll make sure they’ll never be able to show their faces again.)
Windy Rain: +4 (^-^)
Windy Rain: Anyways, sorry to break the chain, but Ye Qiu’s really okay now?
Dancing Rain: From –7 to 98
Windy Rain: Huh, I kinda thought only death would separate him from Glory, but I’m glad to know a more definite answer to his well-being. (Thanks Mumu, we really thought he could have died the past few months.) (Was that negative seven your boss, the manager, and the rest of the team?) (Is the minus two because of his retirement and the reason for his retirement?)
Dancing Rain: I can hear the sarcasm, but I really wasn’t supposed to tell you, Yunxiu. (I’m not confirming anything.)
Windy Rain: Uh huh. (That’s totally a yes.)
Dancing Rain: Really!! (I’m not saying anything.)
Immovable Rock: Ahem. So is it confirmed that Ye Qiu will never appear again on the Glory pro scene?
Dancing Rain: For now, pretty sure.
Immovable Rock: ...pity. And now that the situation with EE is settled, will you still stay in Tiny Herb?
Dancing Rain: Yes!! Big Eyed Wang will never be able to get rid of me!
Vaccaria: That’s good. We’re glad to have you. 😊
Aweto: +1 (We’re totally going to win the championship next season.)
Angelica: +2 [party poppers]
Flying Sword: +3 😊
Bamboo Leopard: +4 (You’re all going down.)
Rangoon Creeper: +5 (Best girl. No offense, Chu Yunxiu.)
Flawless: +6 [glasses shining]
Windy Rain: Wow, I feel bad about asking this, but don’t you feel pity for your former team? They lost like almost everything. (And none taken; Mumu’s awesome)
Dancing Rain: Nope! And I wouldn’t write them off just yet – although many things are going to change for them, EE’s going to get a lot of support. And though he’s a rookie, One Autumn Leaf’s also in really good hands 😊
Dancing Rain: My brothers’ legacy isn’t going to end yet.
Windy Rain: Ooooh!!! [claps] [claps]
Windy Rain: I’m excited!! New EE – fight!!
Vaccaria: That’s good. I’m glad Excellent Era won’t end yet.
Flowing Cloud: Same!! I grew up hearing the legends of God Ye. It can’t end yet.
Bullet Rain: ….Glory’s hasn’t even been around that long yet, Hanwen.
Receding Tides: Shhh. I feel the same way.
Delilo: It’s good that it’s not the time for even founding teams to retire yet.
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: [snorts] You make us sound so old.
Aweto: Huh. Brothers? Is that a typo? Or did the twin also help?
Flying Sword: Hey! Recall that right now!
[Aweto recalled a message.]
[Flying Sword recalled a message.]
[Angelica recalled a message.]
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: …
Windy Rain: …
Troubling Rain: …
Cloud Piercer: …
Aweto: Um, you saw nothing.
[Aweto recalled a message.]
Troubling Rain: WTF WTF WTF I KNEW MY EYES WEREN’T SEEING THINGS WRONG!! WTF WTF WTF OLD YE HAS A TWIN?? AND HE DIDN’T TELL ME?? YOU GUYS ALL KNEW AND DIDN’T TELL ME?? I DEMAND A PKPKPK RIGHT NOW – HOW DARE YOU KEEP MORE SECRETS!! WAIT, HOW DO YOU ALL KNOW??
Troubling Rain: GASP. THE TWIN’S IN B CITY ISN’T HE. THAT’S WHY YOU’RE NOT GOING BACK TO EE ISN’T IT @DANCING RAIN. OLD YE AND HIS TWIN ARE TOTALLY IN B CITY AREN’T THEY – WAIT IS THE TWIN THE REASON WHY OLD YE ISN’T COMING BACK? WTF. WHAT KIND OF DRAMA IS THIS?
Troubling Rain: HEY! SOMEONE ANSWER ME RIGHT NOW. @VACCARIA. @DANCING RAIN. @AWETO @ANGELICA @FLYING SWORD @BAMBOO LEOPARD @FLAWLESS @VACCARIA. @DANCING RAIN. @AWETO @ANGELICA @FLYING SWORD @BAMBOO LEOPARD @FLAWLESS @VACCARIA. @DANCING RAIN. @AWETO @ANGELICA @FLYING SWORD @BAMBOO LEOPARD @FLAWLESS
Troubling Rain: HEY, DON’T YOU ALL DARE PRETEND TO BE AFK RIGHT NOW. I KNOW YOU’RE READING THIS.
Troubling Rain: YOU CAN’T IGNORE ME FOREVER.
Dancing Rain: Sorry, I just got back. My physical trainer told me to stretch my fists more often since I’m on the computer a lot.
Dazzing Hundred Blossoms: o.O
Dancing Rain: Anyways, Fang Shiqian made an incorrect assumption. I meant EE is Ye Qiu’s and Su Muqiu’s legacy. Su Muqiu’s my real brother btw.
Troubling Rain: YOU HAVE A BROTHER TOO?? THAT’S IT. EVERYONE FESS UP!! RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. HOW MANY SIBLINGS RELATED TO GLORY ARE YOU HIDING??
Windy Rain: Shut up!!
Windy Rain: Mumu!! How can you never tell me you actually have a real brother?! I thought we were friends!!
Dancing Rain: Sorry, Yunxiu, it never came up.
Dancing Rain: Because my real brother is dead.
Windy Rain: I am so sorry.
Dancing Rain: It’s okay. 😊
Troubling Rain: Umm... I’m sorry too, Mucheng.
Huang Shaotian groaned as he buried his head into his arms, his fellow teammates staring at him in sympathy.
It wasn’t just because he messed up by texting things so insincerely without knowing that his friend’s family was dead...
“This isn’t fair.”
The shameless opportunist groaned at the highly strategic move of his opponent. It was perhaps until this moment, he never realized that she was truly Ye Qiu’s Best Partner, sister in all but blood, unofficial disciple.
“How am I supposed to ask about the twin now?”
In one fell swoop, the chat conversation was forced to a stop and died. Asking about another person’s brother right now would just be purely inconsiderate and even horrible. Even asking about Old Ye’s brother in the future would be awkward because who knows how many of what other kind of landmines might be near the topic. And then, asking about Old Ye’s retirement... might actually be an entirely big landmine itself because Su Mucheng never specified when her brother died and how it might have impacted his decision.
In short, he was never going to get an answer to any of his questions now.
Yu Wenzhou patted him on the back.
Wang Jiexi sighed as he stared down at the three idiots, one which blurted a secret and the other two which unintentionally but ultimately confirmed it.
“All of you. Your training will be tripled tomorrow.”
“Yes!” They all shouted in agreement, especially under Su Mucheng’s unearthly smile. Fang Shiqian trembled as he held the bump on his head.
The others who wisely didn’t text anything in the chat shook their heads.
Wang Jiexi glanced at Su Mucheng before offering. “Dancing Rain’s one of the best avatars I have ever seen. Your brother would have been proud of you and your handling of her on the professional stage.”
Su Mucheng blinked in surprise before smiling, “Thank you, Captain. You really are really perceptive.”
Wang Jiexi smiled, slightly relaxing in relief that he didn’t guess wrong and accidentally make things worse. He wryly noted. “It seems that I have to be in order to take care of those around me.”
Wang Jiexi thought of Ye Qiu – a person he highly admired, highly respected, highly desired to beat... and then highly desired to befriend and understand.
When he began to notice the disruptions between this man he wanted to call friend and his team, began to notice the slow evolving tension and then the self-sabotage, began to watch this man he highly admired and liked being ridiculed by the people who he himself had been helping carry, by the very people he was supposed to be able to trust to have his back, he actually did want to reach out... but couldn’t seem to with all the distance he felt between them.
And then it was too late.
One of the greatest people he knew, one of the best rivals he had... one of the kindest people he knew (because there was nothing else to describe that man under his outer prickly layer of shamelessness and self-imposed distance) disappeared and probably was never coming back.
These people around him... He didn’t want them to just be a one-time thing, friends and comrades in one year and gone without a word the next.
Team Tiny Herb should be a family.
And Su Mucheng, however abrupt her entrance was and however different her reason was, was part of this family and he won’t let her disappear like so many others.
And perhaps through her, he’d be able to meet Ye Qiu again and help him in whatever problem had drawn him away from the game he gave his heart to and loved so much that he had once inspired others like him to love it as well.
Ye Xiu smiled as he held his twin brother’s hand again. “Ye Qiu. It’s time to wake up. You don’t know how much you’re missing right now. I... You were right. I should have gone back home more often. I mean, I’d still play Glory... but I... didn’t realize how much I missed about family until I got home.”
Ye Xiu planted his forehead against his sleeping brother’s. “You’re better than me at this. So don’t be like me and miss too much, kay?”
Ye Guang many times wished that he had done things differently in his sons’ lives. Made different choices here and there. Had different priorities. Thought different ways...
But he realized that he might not have appreciated the things he had now as much if they had gone differently.
They all changed because of each other, grew because of each other, and now – they were stronger than ever in power, in ties, in bonds.
“Yes?” His handsome son looked up from a pile of papers and Ye Guang smiled.
“If after Ye Qiu wakes up, you want to go back, it’s fine. Golden Leaf can wait a few more years. And Ye Qiu definitely needs more life experiences.”
Ye Xiu blinked before laughing, “He does, doesn’t he? He's still so cute, innocent, and naive.”
Perhaps only the Ye Family could call one of the most scary and coldhearted managers of the corporation those two things.
Ye Guang chuckled himself before continuing, “It’s fine if you announce to the world your name as well. As you know now... we’ve already dealt with everything.” The pesky management and teammates that dared bother, disparage, and hurt his son was gone. The legal issues regarding identity fraud were taken care of with NDAs signed and threats of pulling sponsorships (and in a year, the chairman was going to be replaced by someone more suitable for advancing the game’s popularity). His son’s team was being slowly placed together with new pieces, but good enough (it was his son’s judgment and that was what he trusted the most). And now, Ye Guang didn’t care if Ye Xiu his heir was a renown professional gamer -- Glory having gained a lot of fame and respect over the years, and even more so in these past few months with their family’s work (something even he didn’t realize that they were all working on individually... until the parts came together into the whole). “It’s fine to play to your heart’s delight now.”
“My heart’s delight...” Ye Xiu repeated in wonder and Ye Guang regretfully didn’t blame him. Those were words he once would never expect to hear coming from his own mouth as well. In the past, he didn’t care about his sons’ thoughts as he did now. He didn’t care about the heart either, having long-lived with the rumors that his was stolen or decayed to a pitch black. And delight was something foreign in the Ye Family for a long time, their mansion once stiff and cold...
“Okay, father.” Ye Xiu smiled. “I will.”
“...And even if you lose, I’m still proud of you.”
And Ye Xiu stared (those were words Ye Guang who always pushed for them to be the best would never have said before) before grinning widely – and Ye Guang decided at that moment that nothing else in the world mattered.
“...And I you, father.”
Ye Guang choked up and he, for once, didn’t hide it.
Really, family was the most important.
Su Mucheng stared at the adoption papers in surprise. Ye Xiu’s parents had always acknowledged her, invited her to family outings, and even took care of her as if she was their own daughter, but... she never imagined that she’d ever actually be formally adopted.
“...are you sure?” She couldn’t help but ask and Ye Minghua scoffed, waving a hand.
“Of course. Since when have we ever done anything we didn’t want to do? You’re one of us, Mumu. And though it’s already something obvious to us, I don’t want to give anyone in the world any chance of denying it.” Ye Minghua held her hand, smiling warmly. “My daughter. My son made no mistake running away from home when he was fifteen because he brought back my daughter.”
Behind her, Ye Guang nodded, also gently patting down his hand on hers in solidarity, “My daughter.”
Ye Xiu grinned as he held his palms up, “And you already know how I feel.”
“Y-yes.” Su Mucheng breathed sharply as she recalled the years she had been an orphan asking about her parents, the years she only had Su Muqiu until Ye Xiu came into her life and took care of her ever since despite the burden, despite never once having any reason to do it... She recalled these past few months were she felt like she really had a full family again – not just a big brother, but a father, mother, and even little siblings who always just welcomed her into their home... “Yes. I want to be your family.”
Ye Minghua hugged her, smiling, “Silly Mumu. You already are. This is just a formality we long should have already done. Never feel ashamed to call us your parents no matter what.”
Su Mucheng laughed when after everything, Ye Xiu told her that his father told him that it was okay to temporarily take a break to go back to Glory.
“Will you return then?”
Ye Xiu smiled as he looked up at the stars – and it was the freest she had ever seen him. He stretched and fell back onto his palms, lounging on the balcony like a huge cat.
“Who knows? I’m not leaving the kids until Ye Qiu wakes up so there’s that first.” Su Mucheng nodded. Ye Qiu and the kids would forever be the priority now, Glory obsession or not. “And... I’m technically already playing Glory almost every day still.” Su Mucheng laughed. It wasn’t the professional scene, it wasn’t a job or thing to pour long hours into – currently Glory was a hobby he only did for the kids or in the very little free time he squeezed before bed... but Su Mucheng (and definitely the countless viewers he had who visited his livestream, who befriended his accounts) were sure that he was having lots of fun. “I’m not sure... but whatever happens, I think I’ll be happy. I won’t regret whatever comes.”
“Mm.” Su Mucheng smiled as she felt herself relax as well, unburdened by things she never knew once weighed her down. “...I feel the same. I... Whether you return to the pro scene or not, whether you go to Excellent Era or not, whether I stay in Tiny Herb or not... I don’t think it matters as long as I still have all of you with me.”
Ye Xiu laughed. “Big Eyed Wang poached my talent. I guess you won’t be following me anymore.”
“I’m just sticking with the champion team.” Su Mucheng sniffed stiffly before laughing as well. “I just have a feeling, even if you end up back in H City, you’ll be visiting home a lot this time round.”
“...I will, huh.” Ye Xiu snorted. “That little brother of mine... Always getting his way in the end.”
“Well, that’s what little siblings are for right? So Brother Xiu, when are you going to give me another little niece?”
“Get out.” Ye Xiu pushed her with a laugh before shamelessly declaring. “You’d be waiting a long time for that. I’m not as easy as Xiao Qiu.”
They joked and laughed under the moonlight.
When All Stars Weekend came, Ye Xiu was surprised when Ye Guang gave him the tickets to go.
“Aren’t there a lot of New Years parties, family reunions, and the likes that I should go to?” In fact, Ye Xiu was sure that he was years overdue to them – and with how news of his return was resounding throughout the business world, there were no doubt many who would be expecting and looking forward to his formal debut into their world.
Theoretically, this was a very important weekend. The Ye Family can finally properly reveal their intended heir as he should have been announced a long time ago.
As if such a thing wasn’t important, however, Ye Guang huffed dismissively and forced the tickets into his son’s gloved hands.
“Nonsense. Those snakes waited for eight years; they can wait for one more. More importantly, my grandkids want to go to their favorite game and who am I to deny them?”
Ye Xiu’s eyes glowed in amusement. “And me? What if I get revealed there? With my luck, it’ll definitely happen.”
The old man’s eyes crinkled. “Are you telling me that my genius son already forgot my words? It doesn’t matter. You do as you always do: whatever you want. If the world finds out that you’re a professional gamer before they realize that you’re my heir, then all that will change is just the order of which things I will boast to the others. My three-time championship winner and gaming legend. My heir who already brought a lot of money, contracts, talents, and success to the Ye Family’s corporations. Who dares shame my son, much less before me?”
“...heh. No one.” Ye Xiu eyed the other two tickets. “And the kids?”
Ye Guang’s eyes darkened as he grinned widely. “And who dare shame my other son and precious grandchildren before the Ye Family?”
No one. Even Ye Xiu, who was arguably the most forgiving of all of them, wouldn’t let go anyone who made the little Ye twins cry.
He nodded. “Thanks, dad.”
“You’re going to All Stars?! With the kids??”
Su Mucheng squealed in delight before quickly asking, “Dad doesn’t care anymore, right? You too, right? Right?”
“Wait a minute, Mucheng, you’re not going to--”
“See you there!”
Ye Xiu palmed his face, already feeling exasperation for the future to come... but looking down at the two kids who attentively watched past battles of Glory on the tablet with wide eyed awe and excitement as the plane took off, he sighed and shook his head with a smile. Well, what comes comes. And he wouldn’t deny that his kids would love to meet the professional players and watch their avatars...
The first sign something was up was Su Mucheng bouncing on her feet with a terrifyingly extraordinary amount of energy.
Fang Shiqian skirted around the corners of their group in wariness – and he wasn’t the only one either. Over the months since the transfer, Su Mucheng had definitely been increasingly blending with the group – to the point that any one of them would happily call her one of their own and defend her against others who dare say otherwise – and her mood has been getting brighter and brighter as if many former troubles were being released and many happy things were entering into her life (and they were truly glad, always wanting the best for all their fellow Glory pros)… but an abnormally highly energetic Su Mucheng was still sometimes a terrifying thing.
It meant that some kind of mischief no one can prepare for was about to occur.
Wang Jiexi’s mind whirred as he tried to figure out what she was planning, his heart beating in near-panic as they entered the Tyranny Stadium. Something had to be up... What was going to happen...
“Captain, I’m scared.” Xu Bin, a Knight, held onto his arm and Wang Jiexi closed his eyes, breathing deeply once... twice... thrice... and then as soon as they entered the door to their team’s preparation room, he made the executive decision to trust in a few months’ worth of team bonding.
“Su Mucheng. I don’t care if you don’t tell the others – we promise to keep it a secret this time, but please let us know what you’re going to do beforehand.”
Su Mucheng studied him before beaming, nodding excitedly, “Okay, but you have to promise.”
They all sighed in relief and immediately promised.
And then Su Mucheng spilled.
“...what on earth?”
Chu Yunxiu stared at the door to the hallway incredulously. She was pretty sure that everyone heard that echo. It was too bad that it was so loud she was pretty sure no one could distinguish who had the gossip that needed to be pried.
Seeing how it’d probably come up later, she decided to ignore the gossip for now.
Worst decision ever.
“...I know you were telling the truth the whole time, but you both were f--” “Language.“ “--messing with me.” Fang Shiqian held his head. “This whole time!! What the f--”
“Practice kid-friendly language!!” Liu Xiaobie shouted, even knocking into the Cleric Paladan’s arm, “Don’t you dare ruin this for me. If Ye Xiu bans us from seeing the kids because of you, I’m going to ruin your Glory training days.” He bounced, finally understanding how Su Mucheng felt even though she had been having this for months without telling them. “This is so awesome!! We get to see God Ye fight again! God Ye is going to finally show himself to the world!”
“I hope his brother gets better.” Xu Bin frowned. “Not just so that he can return, of course, but that must be hard, having to take care of him and his kids.”
The others nodded though they still stared at Su Mucheng incredulously. So many things were answered. So many things made sense now. And so many things were purely, entirely crazy.
“His life really is a drama.” Fang Shiqian said in disbelief. “And I’m pretty sure you didn’t even tell us the whole story.” He pinched his nose. “And I can’t believe I didn’t realize it at that time. He was right there! And I believed your—your h-half-truths! How could you--”
Li Ji huffed, patting him on the shoulder, “Well to be fair, if I had kids and was near a raging mad person who cursed a lot and was going to punch me, then I’d want to escape the situation with my kids as fast as possible too.”
Fang Shiqian silenced upon memory of how the kids thought that they were dangerous people, bad friends in the end. And grumbled. “Fine. I won’t confront him about it. I guess it really was a little funny.” Su Mucheng’s lips curled and he snapped. “A little. Only a little.”
Su Mucheng snickered anyways and when some of them thought about it, they couldn’t help it either. Wang Jiexi shook his head in disbelief and exasperation. To think, even he didn’t realize it either. Ye Xiu really was good at acting and slipping away.
Still, his lips curled. Finally. After months of wondering, he finally understood and finally knew that the other really was fine, really was taking care of himself, really was still playing and loving Glory, really was thriving despite all the things that tried to weigh him down and hurt him. It was really unfortunate that his twin was in a coma and he really couldn’t return to Glory professionally... but his friend was doing well in retirement and Wang Jiexi convinced himself that that was what mattered most.
“Okay, just one more question.” Fang Shiqian prodded, “I’ve always assumed it was Ye Xiu who did it for Ye Qiu, but obviously they’re the same person – so who was the one who took down the bastards of Excellent Era and how can I help them?”
Eyes narrowed as they remembered that there were people who had tried to force Ye Xiu into retirement and would have had a family emergency not come up first. There was a person who dared slander their friend, dared drag his name into the mud, dared dishonor Glory by making light of the game they gave their all to fight in by sabotaging themselves. Su Mucheng blinked before smiling half-lightly, half-scarily.
“Huh, oh. That was Ye Xiu’s mom. Like I said, don’t worry about it – Mama Ye is still currently making their lives very miserable.”
“Good.” Fang Shiqian nodded. He didn’t like Ye Xiu, but that man deserved respect, deserved better, deserved a lot more than what he was given – and he would defend the stupid bastard even if the idiot didn’t do it for himself. Fang Shiqian’s lips curled. “Now that that’s over with... Who wants to bet how many rookies are going to change their request after realizing Ye Xiu’s still in the game?”
Ye Xiu sighed. He was pretty sure his bad feeling had to do with Su Mucheng... and he wasn’t stupid enough to not have an idea of what she was going to do.
“...I suppose it’s a good thing that the VIP seats are near the stairs...”
Thirty minutes later, Ye Xiu face-palmed.
“Dad, dad, it’s Mumu!! Mumu called your stage name!!”
Idly, Ye Xiu was glad that Ye Qiu actually told them about that – and he himself had mentioned it to the twins. Otherwise, this could have been very confusing for them.
“She said we can come down too!”
Five minutes earlier, Su Mucheng grinned widely. From the corner of her eye, she could see Fang Shiqian type something on his phone, but she knew he wouldn’t dare give up the game just yet and that even if he did, it wouldn’t matter anymore.
The stage was hers.
She knew she could trust her gut feeling to join the Rookie Challenge when the form was given to her even when it didn’t really interest her at the time.
Aweto: Get ready.
Windy Rain: ?
Troubling Rain: ?
Immovable Rock: ?
Already, two rookies had gone up – and there were twelve this year.
Li Ji, holder of Flawless, pushed his glasses up. He was pretty sure that at least 7 would choose Ye Xiu when given an opportunity to battle the retired God.
Idly, he was glad that he was one of the few in the loop because this definitely would have given him a great shock had he not known.
“So who would you like to challenge?”
Su Mucheng beamed beatifically into the camera as she held the microphone offered to her by the MC.
“I would like to challenge Senior Ye Qiu.”
Fang Shiqian sighed in absolute bliss, idly agreeing with Ye Xiu that it actually was funny to see other people stare in absolute shock and then absolutely fall into pure havoc. His teammates also twitched in amusement as the entire stadium silenced before screaming upon realizing that Su Mucheng meant every single word and as the Glory pro player chat was bursting with questions and demands for Tiny Herb to speak up on what the heck was going on and what they knew about Ye Qiu and if Ye Qiu really was going to appear.
“Ahhh... This feeling might actually be better than winning the championship this year.”
Wang Jiexi’s lips twitched – and all his teammates snickered, knowing that this was not the end.
Troubling Rain: HEY I SEE YOU ALL LAUGHING TO YOURSELVES IN YOUR LITTLE CORNER!! GET ON YOUR PHONES AND EXPLAIN EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW OR I’M GOING TO PKPKPKPK!! WHAT THE HECK?! WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME THAT OLD YE IS HERE?!
The announcer had a look of shock as the audience burst into commotion -- the commotion only dying down when the announcer began to move, head swiveling back and forth between Su Mucheng who smiled beautifully, the screen behind him which incorrectly held Team Tiny Herb’s Wang Jiexi and his avatar Vaccaria, and the audience who was staring back intently at the stage. “Um, that is not what you submitted on the form, Player Su Mucheng...”
“Does it matter?” Su Mucheng smiled gently, though the announcer had no sense that it was gentle, as her warm orange eyes glowed, “Last night, Ye Qiu texted me that he was attending All Stars so I know he’s here in the audience. According to the rules, I’m allowed to challenge any non-rookie player I want. Ye Qiu is a non-rookie player. I wish to challenge him.”
“Erm, but--” The announcer looked to her captain in plea for help and Wang Jiexi very calmly blinked as if it was the first he heard about this before smiling, calling out,
“Oh, if this is about me, don’t worry. I don’t mind not being chosen. Ye Qiu is a very good player to test one’s strength against.”
Troubling Rain: THAT BASTARD DARES TO PRETEND THIS WAS ALL A SURPRISE – PKPKPKPK
“Um...” Pan Li helplessly flailed, “I should check with the higher ups first--”
“Oh, good!! I’m sure they’ll agree!!” Su Mucheng beamed, bouncing up and down cutely, before speaking up again. “Ah, while you’re at it, can you ask them if it’s okay if Ye Qiu can bring some kids with him? The reason’s why he’s here in the first place is because he’s babysitting his nephew and niece – I wouldn’t want to separate them after forcing -- I mean, asking him to come down and fight against me.”
Pan Li very nearly muttered to himself that if she really did care about not separating them, she could just challenge her intended opponent, her captain. He didn’t, instead smiling, and then hearing with relief that it was okay. He didn’t want to contradict Su Mucheng, female face of the Glory Professional Alliance with who knows how many fans who’d defend her to death, in front of an audience, even if it was a Tyranny Stadium.
“Both requests have been approved. Um, well then, would--”
“Really?! Yay!!” Su Mucheng beamed, jumping in victory, “Hear that, Ye Qiu? Now you have no excuse to not show your face– and don’t you dare hide your twin’s cute kids. I wanna see them, I wanna see them~”
Troubling Rain: HE DOES HAVE A TWIN!! AND THE TWIN HAS KIDS – OMG WTF OLD YE IS ACTUALLY AN UNCLE AND HE’S TAKING CARE OF KIDS?! HOW DOES HIS TWIN TRUST HIM?? WAIT, DOES THIS MEAN—OMG IS OLD YE GOING TO REVEAL HIMSELF?? IS HE ACTUALLY GOING TO FINALLY APPEAR ON TV--
Troubling Rain: NO WAY. HE’S THERE!! HE’S ACTUALLY THERE!!!
Ye Xiu palmed his face as he appeared on stage, following Ye Ming who beamed, running at the sight of her aunt.
Su Mucheng beamed as well, catching the most adorable little girl and even giving her a twirl in the air, “A-Ming!! Long time no see!!” Upon carrying her with an arm, she held out her other palm to Ye Ning who shyly high-fived from where he held onto Ye Xiu’s shirt, having been carried the whole way down. “You too, A-Ning.”
Ye Xiu deadpanned from where he stood. Had Ye Ning not been in his arms, he would have crossed them in slight exasperation. “You would, Mucheng. My first vacation in a long while and you called me up.”
“Please. You don’t take vacations.” Su Mucheng teasingly grinned back. Ye Ming nodded matter-of-factedly.
“After work, Xiu-Xiu always has to watch over us.” And beamed toothily. “And he will forever because he’s the best uncle ever!!” As if to emphasize her words, she reached out and hugged Ye Xiu as if she’d never let him go.
Ye Xiu sighed as he accommodated a second clingy child in his arms (he was pretty sure Su Mucheng and his mother taught Ye Ming how to act cutely and exaggerate in crowds) while Su Mucheng cooed adoringly at the adorable black haired, golden eyed four-year-old girl burying herself in his black scarf and coat.
“Awwww, he is, isn’t he? Your papa is so lucky to have a Xiu-Xiu to take care of you~”
It was a heartwarming atmosphere and scene that had even the audience temporarily not caring about the Rookie Challenge as they gaped over Ye Qiu’s appearance (God Ye appeared!!) (We’re actually learning about God Ye!) (He’s so handsome!! And his kids are so cute!! Wait, my God Ye can’t be this cute taking care of kids!!), cooed over the kids (they have to be illegal with how adorable they are – wait, are they holding limited edition Glory Couture dolls), and cooed over Su Mucheng who was so happy (my beautiful goddess is happy) (she’s sparkling; I can go to heaven).
Of course, it eventually had to be interrupted. They both blinked and turned to Pan Li who gaped at the sight of God Ye – the cryptid of the Glory Professional Alliance who had never showed up in public before, even preferring to pay a fine to skip press conferences.
Ye Xiu blinked before simply responding, “Yup.” As if it hadn’t been the most difficult thing to get hold of Ye Xiu or even a sight of him before. And then he continued as if getting personal information about him also wasn’t one of the hardest things ever. “Though I’d prefer it if you called me Ye Xiu – and yes, to those who know who I am, yes, I was using my twin’s name as a stage name. Before you ask, no, I do not feel ashamed about doing that.” Ye Xiu’s golden eyes gleamed mischievously as he snickered. “Rather, he should be happy that such a loving twin brother like me made his name famous~”
“Shameless.” Su Mucheng teased. “And you wonder why he always worries about you stealing his identity.”
“Please. He was just joking. If he was really worried, he’d ask me to stop in the first call after I registered in the alliance.”
Su Mucheng giggled before taking pity on the announcer who seemed stuck between wanting to hear more about Ye Q—Xiu and asking them about the Rookie Challenge she was sure everyone was temporarily forgetting. Pumping her fists, she grinned, “Well then. We can talk later – I still need to punch you at least once for not telling me that you were planning to come until last night.”
Ye Xiu snorted. “I’ll have you know that I actually had my whole schedule booked for B-City all week. Then these guys apparently bugged my dad until he gave me tickets to take them last night. Which is when I informed you.”
“You’re ruining the atmosphere, Ye Xiu. We should be roaring for a fight.” Su Mucheng complained though her smile hinted that she was trying to exaggerate everything to make everything theatrical. Especially when she leaned down to the watching, giggling kids in his arms to whisper a loud ‘good job’ (to which Ye Ming actually saluted in response) and gave a wink and a thumbs up. “I think we should do a Mexican standoff for the kids.”
Ye Xiu rolled his eyes, looking more and more like an exasperated older brother. He droned blandly, “If you really want to do it properly... In honor of the All Stars Weekend Rookie Challenge, may Player Su Mucheng declare a real reason why she chose Player Ye Xiu as her opponent?”
“You should take over Pan Li’s job~” Su Mucheng snickered before beaming to the audience before a mock bow. “I originally chose my captain Wang Jiexi because I wanted to see how I’d fare in a battle of tactics against someone unpredictable and fast – but now, I chose Ye Xiu for that... and a Mexican standoff.” She winked at the end and Ye Xiu idly watched as the announcer besides him actually stumbled and nearly planted his face on the ground.
Ye Xiu shook his head mournfully. “I almost believed you.” Su Mucheng grinned impishly and opened her mouth to say something, but both blinked when Ye Ming tugged Ye Xiu’s sleeve,
“Xiu-Xiu, Xiu-Xiu, use Autumn Tree! Autumn Tree! I want to see the standoff!”
“Standoff. Standoff.” Ye Ning nodded in an almost chanting tone. His quiet golden eyes glowed in interest and Ye Xiu huffed before giving a mock bow of servitude to the little bosses in his arms.
“Fine, fine. I live to please.” His golden eyes glowed as they flickered to Su Mucheng though, “But I’m not going easy on you.”
“Didn’t expect you to.” Su Mucheng shot back in mirth.
“Don’t bully Mumu.” Both kids interrupted and Ye Xiu shook his head as he walked towards the playing area while still carrying the two kids. The mic continued to pick up Ye Xiu’s teasing voice even as he exited the stage.
“Are you sure Mumu’s not bullying me? Your poor Xiu-Xiu was just innocently sitting in the crowds when Mumu declared that she wanted to fight me.”
"...Nngh...” The sounds of heavy thinking and frustration echoed in the stadium before the little girl pouted, throwing her hands up to instead declare seriously. “I can’t explain it, but Mumu’s not bullying Xiu-Xiu and Xiu-Xiu can’t bully Mumu.”
“Is this what we call favorites?”
“Heeeh, okay, imagine that your poor Xiu-Xiu was being beaten by someone – what would Xiu-Xiu be?”
“Stupid because he let someone beat him.”
“Is that how it works?” Ye Xiu’s voice was practically saturated in amusement.
“Can. It. Be. A-Ming! Are you bullying me?”
“No! It’s really just how it works--”
“Really now, I think--?”
A large slap resounded in the stadium before the little girl huffed. “Xiu-Xiu, quiet. Let the smart people finish talking.” Despite the silence, one could practically feel the amusement was radiating from Ye Xiu as he silenced, allowing the girl to push his mouth closed and pat it in affirmation before explaining. “Quiet. It works because--”
Excellent_Error: NOOO. It cut off. I wanted to hear more!! Keep a microphone on God Ye please.
Ye_Trash: I never thought I’d see the day when God Ye appears and now that he does, I realized he’s even better than my dreams. So cute, so cool, so perfect – how can he be everything a person needs??
Mage_Master: #MyGodYeCan’tBeThisCute #MyGodYeCan’tBeThisPerfect #DadYe #BrotherYe
Mage_Master: He’s too good. There’s no way he can be real. He’s handsome, he’s smart, he’s mischievous, he’s sexy, cute, beautiful, he’s funny, he’s so good with kids, he’s strong, he’s good at Glory... what the heck.
Autumn_Blossoms: Someone save me. I’m dying from seeing Ye Xiu tease and talk with Mumu like an older brother and with the kids like a dad and with the others like a boss. I think I can pass on now...
HanYe_Fan: I can’t believe in ten minutes of retirement we find out more about Ye Xiu than five years of professional playing. And I can’t believe there’s so much to comment on. Like ASAOFHOINFSFDASDFA
Wang Jiexi’s eyes widened in surprise, but glowed warmly as he observed Ye Xiu interact with Su Mucheng and the twins for the first time and realized that he wasn’t wrong in his perceptions of the formerly seemingly distant, unapproachable, and mysterious player. He really was kind, brilliant, amazing, charismatic, attractive, and many many other words. And... it was unmistakable how much he loved, treasured, and tolerated his family in his actions, words, and tone – which was something he really wanted to be sure of... because both Glory professionals he knew deserved to be happy.
Wang Jiexi also beamed in pleasant surprise by the multitude of information that was slipping out. Ye Xiu apparently was still a workaholic – which was probably worse now since he had to watch over two kids, one of which seemed extremely energetic. He was definitely taking care of himself now. Probably had to completely quit smoking for the kids. Eat healthy and exercise to be strong enough to carry two four year old kids. His brother was probably as mischievous as him for letting him use his name for years. It was New Years and yet it seemed that Ye Xiu was still supposed to be working – having only dropped everything last minute for his father and the kids.
It seemed there were only more things to see as well – and he supposed that was why no one, not even Huang Shaotian, was texting in the chat, each of them enraptured by the Ye Xiu and Su Mucheng and the atmosphere they unknowingly commanded.
Then Wang Jiexi huffed with laughter as the two really did do the Mexican standoff in the beginning before jumping into the fight, Sharpshooter against Launcher. Perhaps to adhere to the no bullying rule imposed by the kids, the battle lasted longer than normal rookie challenges against Ye Xiu – though Wang Jiexi’s sharp eyes could tell when Ye Xiu had to cancel an attack combo last minute to avoid harming Dancing Rain too much.
It was amazing. Autumn Tree wasn’t a Battle Mage, a Class Ye Xiu popularized because of how amazing the God-Level Account One Autumn Leaf was. Autumn Tree also didn’t have a full set of Silver Equipment. And yet with that account, Ye Xiu was easily overpowering Su Mucheng and Dancing Rain to the point where he was able to even subtly give lessons to her in the fight. All the while making extremely unpredictable and fast attacks like the Magician, like the style Su Mucheng had joked about wanting to fight against in her introduction.
Wang Jiexi sighed. It was really a pity that Ye Xiu wasn’t going to continue playing Glory professionally. His skill hadn’t deteriorated a bit and his talent was really a one of a kind – something that made any serious pro player aspire to reach and to beat. (Which really made what Excellent Era’s former management and team tried to do even more unforgiveable.)
At the end of the battle, there was a loud cheer and applause from the audience, far more so than for the previous two challenges, and even cries for more.
Wang Jiexi definitely wasn’t regretting sitting back from this challenge, if only to watch that Battle God play even more.
At the end of the fight, upon returning to the stage, Ye Xiu arched a brow at the announcer who was opening and closing his mouth like a gaping fish and instead turned to the kids who were standing on their own though they kept one hand on Ye Xiu’s pants.
“So, A-Ming, did I bully Mumu?”
There was a burst of laughter from at least half of the audience at the sudden question – and then most everyone were either laughing or cooing over the little girl’s pout as she reluctantly, very reluctantly admitted.
“Was that why you never could finish some of your best combos?” Su Mucheng teased light-heartedly before squatting to Ye Ming’s eye-level, “A-Ming, what did we say about back-seat drivers?”
Ye Ming grumbled, not bothering to answer, having sensed that Su Mucheng was teasing more than looking for one. Ye Ning also looked away, giving himself away. Su Mucheng grinned before ruffling their hair,
“Well, for cuties like you, I’m fine with making an exception, hehe~”
“You say that not knowing the horrors they put me through behind the screen.” Ye Xiu joked before blinking and picking up Ye Ning when he squirmed under the laughter of the audience. Ye Xiu brushed his hair reassuringly and even whispered something to the boy that made him hug the other in gratitude and Ye Ming pout before reaching up in the universal gesture of ‘carry me too’. Seeing that the two had enough of the spotlight for now, Ye Xiu adjusted the two in his arms and huffed in mirth.
“Anything else Player Su Mucheng wants to say?”
“Hmmm....” Su Mucheng playfully thought before beaming at the little kids, “I can’t really see them because you’ve both been holding them so tightly, but I’ve been wondering which Glory avatar doll you both would bring to the All Stars. Care to share?”
Ye Ming beamed as she held out her plushie, “Swoksaar! Xiu-Xiu used to tell us many stories about the funny things and cool battles he would do with Senior Wei in the first server!”
Ye Xiu snorted, but made no comment. He supposed it did make sense that the kid would admire the crazy things they’ve done from hunting down and many times stealing elusive Wild Bosses, tackling on large groups of angry people wanting to PK them, and the Glory tricks they would figure out over time together. Ye Ming seemed to like really smart people and Old Wei had been one of the best commanders and tacticians of Glory.
Ye Ning shyly held his out as well, murmuring, “Scene Killer.”
Ye Xiu waited a bit before patting the boy’s head when the boy turned to look up at him and whisper in his ear instead. “Hm, hm, alright, gotcha kiddo.” Smirking at Su Mucheng, he belayed. “Ye Ning really likes the Ninja Class, but there’s currently no good professional Ninjas so he settled for the best Assassin.” Ye Ning tugged his sleeve as he buried himself deeper into Ye Xiu’s black coat and Ye Xiu’s grin grew as he corrected. “Not settled, he really admires Yang Cong. Looks like we need to hunt someone down for an autograph later.”
Su Mucheng squealed at how adorably shy Ye Ning was acting. “I’ll help! Really, A-Ning -- just drag Ye Xiu to come to my seat later and I'll help – we can go to your hotel to play Glory together afterwards so you can see your favorite Assassin.”
Ye Ning perked, but didn’t move his head away from the safety of Ye Xiu’s coat. His head did shift slightly upwards as if to look imploringly to his uncle and Ye Xiu interpreted with a laugh. “Sounds like a plan.”
Ye Ning hugged Ye Xiu’s neck in happiness instantly and Ye Ming pouted, especially as Ye Xiu began leaving the stage after a nod to Su Mucheng but no more words said. Her pout grew as she deduced Wei Chen wasn’t present in the audience, little genius that she was, and she petulantly complained, child that she still was.
“Not fair, Wei Wei’s not here.”
Ye Xiu choked with laughter, nearly stumbling off the stairs down the stage. “Hey A-Ming, do me a favor and never call Old Wei that to his face – no listening to trash talk until you’re at least 15 okay? If you can do that, maybe I can go track down the guy. I’m pretty sure he’s still on Glory.”
Ye Ming solemnly nodded, demanding. “I want to see you both stealing a Wild Boss.”
And then both Ye Xiu and Su Mucheng looked at her in mock incredulity. Had Ye Xiu’s arms been freed, he would have playfully held a hand over his heart as he teased. “Stealing? And you call me a bully?”
“You are. I’m just The Boss.”
Ye Xiu burst into laughter.
Little did he know, later that night, Ye Ming’s smug face on the camera following God Ye would become a meme on the Internet along with many other things of the new content they all got on God Ye and his most adorable twins.
Troubling Rain: I can’t believe it. He’s such a dad. I have no words.
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: So this is what it looks like when a trash talker actively tries to get rid of the trash in their talk.
Receding Tides: So sparse. So empty. So concise. Amazing.
Flowing Cloud: Maybe we just need to invite more kids to Blue Rain to get Huang Shaotian to stop talking.
Troubling Rain: Hey I have a lot of words besides trash talk. I can talk about anything. I mean what the heck, Ye Q—Xiu?! Using your twin brother’s name as a stage name? Was every part of him a lie? Not to mention, what the heck, EE? You seriously wanted to get rid of that from Glory? Old Ye is like worth millions more than Liu Hao and all the other phonies. Idiots. What idiots. And seriously stop being so ugh, Old Ye. I’m going to die of diabetes. What happened to shameless jerk Old Ye? Is this what happens when one gets kids? Don’t get kids everyone.
Troubling Rain: And what the heck, Old Ye – I was in server one too – where are my stories, respect, and plushie?? I was totally there with Old Wei at least half the time. And what the heck, are you seriously letting your little girl admire the biggest, most shameless trash talker there is in Glory? What the heck, what the heck, what the heck – I’m so much better, kid-friendly, and cooler than Swoksaar. I’m even OG. Swoksaar got recycled through so many people like unwanted trash and that ain’t Old Wei anymore. And what the heck, there’s no need to admire, much less talk about some loser avatar that never got near to a championship before. Scene Killer has nothing on Blue Rain avatars and Troubling Rain. What the heck – who wants the merchandise and autograph of a stupid assassin.
Scene Killer: Jealous? [cool sunglasses]
Windy Rain: Oof.
Boundless Seas: LMAO. The longest rant was about Old Ye’s twins’ targets of admiration. Though I kinda agree. Old Wei sucks and Boundless Seas is awesome.
Cloud Piercer: Senior Ye
Empty Waves: Captain says that Cloud Piercer is very popular, attractive, and strong. Very worthy of admiration.
Crying Devil: Obviously Crying Devil’s the best. And Ghostblade’s not so different from ninja and assassin. The name’s super cool too.
Windy Rain: LOL look at all these poor rejects. Though Mumu, I’m trusting you to get some stories of Windy Rain to the kids – I'll send you my logs and fanfics later.
Cloud Piercer: Challenge
Empty Waves: Captain says that he really wants to challenge Old Ye too, but is worried about the atmosphere
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: Just do it.
Troubling Rain: +1
Empty Waves: +2
Windy Rain: +3
Flying Sword: +8
Delilo: +9 (o.O Did Tiny Herb bet on how many rookies would challenge Old Ye after Mucheng?)
Boundless Seas: +10 (OMG they totally did)
Desert Dust: +11
Immovable Rock: +12
Dancing Rain: +14
Windy Rain: Mumu voted – that's a yes! Drag that guy out of retirement, Zhou Zekai!! All rookies on deck!! (I want more Ye family fluff!!)
Troubling Rain: Gathering all Blue Rain rookies. Prepared for battle.
Crying Devil: Wu Yuce’s been ready since Season 5 started.
Cloud Piercer: 😊
Empty Waves: Captain had also been ready for a long time.
Pan Li jolted as his earpiece woke up and he heard his superiors shout at him to continue the show. He shook his head out of his daze (Su Mucheng, God Ye, kids, that fight, all the information and questions) and out of the warm familial atmosphere left by the four who completely threw him off balance in his job before welcoming the next rookie.
“Umm... So who would you like to challenge?”
“I-I would also like to challenge Senior Ye Xiu!! I-If that’s okay with him!! Please!!”
Pan Li was never going to recover from this All Stars Weekends – innocent seeming young rookies or not.
Ye Xiu half-planned to refuse and the kids, a bit tired from the excitement and exposure to the pressure of an audience, were the same, but good kids they were – they pouted and tugged his sleeve in urgency when the rookie’s hopeful voice included the magic word ‘please’.
“Daddy, daddy, he really wants to fight you!!”
“He said please.”
“You’ll do it right, daddy?”
Ye Xiu breathed deeply and huffed wryly. “Looks like we’re going to be here all night.”
Five Seasons of All Stars, Ye Xiu, three time champion and so-called Battle God, was pretty sure that he’d never get a break from the Rookie Challenge. He was pretty sure that he was somehow the most challenged professional despite all the others they could choose from, especially if they wanted to see how they compared to someone of their own class (which should make this really a problem for him because not many chose Battle Mage) (but most rookies apparently wanted to challenge ‘the best’).
Ye Xiu sighed.
“Should I drop you all with Mumu?”
Both kids instantly clung harder to him and Ye Xiu had this answer. Still affected by Ye Qiu’s absence, and now in this unfamiliar atmosphere, there was no way they were going to let go of him.
“Alright, let’s go crush some rookies.”
Wang Jiexi huffed in amusement as he watched the introduction that Ye Xiu actually showed up to and the star-eyed awe of the rookie that it was actually happening. In a sense, the rookies were really lucky this time. When he was a rookie, he himself had challenged Ye Xiu and he still had no idea what the other looked like and never spoke them him outside of the playoffs’ in-game chat.
Now, however, it seemed that Ye Xiu didn’t care about his anonymity and media exposure anymore – and thus was actually properly accepting challenges, encouraging (and teasing) rookies, and answering questions.
It could be though that the kids were forcing him to.
After all, after many times of Autumn Tree back off from ending a battle in an instant with completed combination attacks, there was no doubt that the kids were influencing him behind the scenes.
“Um, Senior Ye, why are you prolonging the fights?” A rookie asked with a gulp before sputtering. “I-I mean, I’m really thankful for all the chances to continue and keep testing my Sharpshooter against you and I learned so much, but--”
Ye Xiu abruptly interrupted him with a laugh, “Calm down, rookie. I’m not offended at all – and the answer’s actually really simple. Normally, I’d beat you in a minute flat, but in the fight against Mucheng, A-Ming and I came to an agreement that it’s not bullying if I let you live for at least five.” Ye Xiu snickered as A-Ming held up ten fingers sulkingly, but insistently to his face in reminder of what she argued for. “So I figured I can show you how many times I could beat you in that time instead~”
“Senior Ye!! You’re still so good!! Why did you retire?! Is it because of--”
“Awww, I once heard a senior say that you don’t exercise so I thought I might be able to beat you after you held up the kids for a while, but looks like I’ll lose no matter what~”
“Wow, crafty – looks like we could have a new master tactician in the future, hahaha~!”
“U-Um, canyoutellmehowyougotyourAPMsohigh?!” One rookie stammered and shouted, eyes full of hope now that he saw the God Ye answer almost all the questions asked to him so far. Being someone not so far off from Yu Wenzhou who was known for his slow hands, he always wondered if there was a secret to improving it. Did he have a chance? How was God Ye so good--
Ye Xiu blinked before smirking, “I’m just that awesome--” The rookie’s heart fell before lifting up again when the little girl in his arms shouted just a little after, “Piano!!”
“Xiu-Xiu always told us that we can’t quit playing piano if we want to get better at playing games like him!!” The girl affectionately called A-Ming recited cheerily before looking back at Ye Xiu smugly with witty eyes. “Unless it’s all a lie and we can--”
“Nope!” Ye Xiu instantly happily chirped, bopping his head against the little girl’s, having no free hand to poke the mischievous and now pouting girl. “Wasn’t lying, A-Ming, and while you caaan quit if you want to, not going to force you to do anything, let me remind you this: when do you think my hands are faster? When I play Flight of the Bumblebees for grandma or when I play with Autumn Tree like just now?”
“...flight of the bumblebees... like twice as fast...” The girl conceded, grumbling downcasted as she whined. “But the teacher’s so boring--”
Ye Xiu barked with laughter, “Is she now? Looks like I’ll need to ask her to up the difficulty of the songs you’re learning~”
“Wha--NO!! Xiu-Xiu, no!! Bad Xiu-Xiu!! Then I’ll have less time with you!! And this isn’t fair – you said you weren’t going to force us yet you’re-- you’re working against us like Papa!”
“Sorry, A-Ming, my brother’s foolish, but I got to agree with him on this one – and I wasn’t really lying.” Ye Xiu’s golden eyes glowed and curved in mirth, “Here, not forcing you – just letting you figure it out on your own again. My A-Ming, when do you think was the first time your dear Xiu-Xiu ever touched a game in his life?”
“...” Ye Ming opened her mouth and then closed it, brows furrowing and then head tilting and confusion completely emanating from her expression. “Xiu-Xiu...” She started slowly. “...did Grandpa throw out all the games in the house in anger when you left?”
Ye Xiu snickered.
“Really?! There was nothing?! Not even a single board game?? But you’re like the best--”
“Piano.” Ye Xiu said as if it was the only answer in the world. If his hands were free, he would have held them up carelessly in a ‘take it or leave it’ gesture.
Ye Ming pouted. “Okay, Xiu-Xiu. I’ll keep playing.” She surrendered sulkily before looking up with curiosity in her eyes, “But Xiu-Xiu, when--?”
“15. It’s kind of a funny story; I really hadn’t told you it before—? Well, that can’t be; it started when this—ah.” Ye Xiu blinked as he looked up, remembering where he was. Looking at the silent audience, lone announcer, and the rookie who seemed extremely fascinated and intrigued, Ye Xiu grinned, “Almost forgot we should be heading down by now. Anyways, there’s your answer.”
Many people burst out into sputters, trying to get out words to stop the guy, get him to just stay so that they can keep listening, but Ye Xiu was already off in his own world with his twins, leaving the stage, and they did have a program to run and it wasn’t like Ye Xiu was going to stop for them.
Han Wenqing watched quietly as all the matches passed by – as his long-time rival talked, joked, teased, encouraged, and played.
When he first heard about Ye Xiu’s sudden retirement, he had been extremely angry. How dare his rival leave him long before the end without even a word or sign? How dare they not have at least one last good fight in the alliance? Why was he going?
Han Wenqing had thought about it for a long time. He tried messaging the elusive man, he read through countless speculations and the posts of his fellow pro players in the chat, he thought back to the years before, wondering what happened, where did things go wrong, what was going on in the man’s head...
And in hindsight, the things he realized weren’t happy. He didn’t realize until he actually thought about it that his friend was actually suffering on his own team, unable to play his best for two years because of petty-minded people who didn’t deserve to be pro players. He didn’t realize that there were things that could be bothering his mysterious friend who constantly even shamelessly joked and played around, who always seemed to be happy and well off... but inwardly actually was a normal human being with multiple problems and things outside of Glory bothering him.
Han Wenqing decided from there to be more open, less bothered about the retirement, whatever caused it... And upon reflection, he realized though he really wanted to play against Ye Xiu, against him who was the real face of Glory... all he really wanted now was to know if Ye Xiu was happy. Forced into retirement or not, Han Wenqing just wondered if the man was doing fine, was happy despite having retired.
Watching the man finally in the open, laughing and smiling brightly, he quietly decided that he was and that was good.
There was also no denying that Ye Xiu was getting happier, shining brighter the longer he was standing on that stage he was always meant to be on playing the game that they both gave their youth, their all, their hearts to.
“Yes. I have already rescheduled tomorrow’s portion.” The vice captain smiled knowingly and Han Wenqing grunted in gratitude. “Excellent Era has still yet to get back to me, but I’m sure that will be prepared in time as well.”
There was probably nothing better to draw his rival, to wake him up than a battle between Desert Dust and One Autumn Leaf.
“Ah! It’s Little Zhou this time. You’re in this conspiracy against me too~?”
Zhou Zekai pinked as he nodded, but declared. “The Best Gunner.”
Ye Xiu’s eyes widened before teasingly asking, “If I had One Autumn Leaf with me, would you challenge me for the title of Battle God too?”
Zhou Zekai’s eyes glowed as he nodded and Ye Xiu grinned, holding out his hand.
“Alright. May the best gunner win.”
At the end of a long intense fight, God against God, Zhou Zekai rubbed his eyes and felt like he wanted to cry. It wasn’t fair. He wished he got into the game earlier, joined Glory earlier to have been able to fight against the legend more often.
The battle ended with his firm loss despite his better equipment.
He, the Great Gunner, lost to the one who used to play as Battle Mage, to the Battle God who wasn’t going to play on the professional scene anymore.
He wasn’t going to be able to challenge Ye Xiu like this anymore.
He desperately wanted to ask that question, to understand, but knew from how the other avoided and refused all questions regarding his retirement that it wouldn’t be answered.
Leaving the playing area and entering the stage, he decided to just let things end on good, amiable terms.
He blinked and couldn’t help but smile though when both kids, unlike with all the other rookies, finally left Ye Xiu’s side, running up to him and gazing up at him in utter awe despite his loss.
“You’re so awesome, mister!! I never saw Xiu-Xiu work so hard for a win before!!”
“Hey.” Ye Xiu chuckled at Ye Ming’s betrayal as she finally let go of her uncle’s pants (Ye Xiu really had no strength left to carry them) to tug at Zhou Zekai’s pants with wide bright golden eyes. Ye Ming didn’t care as she emphasized.
“It was so cool!! He was really sweating when you both were fighting close combat and Gun Fu is like Autumn Tree’s specialty!” Ye Ming snuck a glance back at Ye Xiu before whispering loudly but secretly, “You should have stuck to long range actually – Xiu-Xiu's Sharpshooter style and Autumn Tree’s weapons were based around the concept of Gun Fu.”
Zhou Zekai blinked and Ye Xiu snorted as he really did hold a hand over his heart this time, jokingly gazing down at his little niece. “Betrayed by my own niece – are you going to hand over all my secrets now?”
“He was so close!!” Ye Ming pouted.
“Are you so sure about that? Might I remind you who used to be a pro?” Ye Xiu’s golden eyes sparkled and Ye Ming’s brows furrowed as the four year old was really forced to think about her claim. Ye Xiu laughed after a half minute of silence, teasingly, indulgingly ruffling her black hair before offering a smile to Zhou Zekai, “She’s right. It was a close game. And the guy who designed Autumn Tree used to always say that you couldn’t call yourself a true Sharpshooter if you lose the instant it’s close combat. Good game, Little Zhou.”
Zhou Zekai startled out of his stare and thoughts, nodding. “Senior too.” And faintly blushing at his shy awkwardness. “Thank you for the game.”
Zhou Zekai stood in silence, sweating as he knew he should start moving off the stage, but couldn’t bring himself to. As seconds passed, he realized that the little girl was looking up at him and then realized that his senior also hadn’t moved yet too. Looking up, he widened his eyes at Ye Xiu’s questioning... and then softening eyes as if the other saw what he couldn’t say.
Ye Xiu chuckled, “You know, we’ll be around all weekend, Little Zhou. If you want, we can play again and I can teach you some cool tricks."
Ye Ming whipped her head towards her uncle in surprise and then in excited glee and bounced, beaming up at Zhou Zekai now that the other had permission. “You have to come! You have to come!” And then gasped before shouting, “You have to come join us tonight. Xiu-Xiu was going to take us--”
“If you say all the locations we’re going to be at, I’m not taking you to any of them.” Ye Xiu drawled, watching Ye Ming turn to him in horror with amusement. But Ye Xiu was definitely not going to let any of his privacy be invaded upon more than necessary after years of dealing with crazy people, fans, reporters, too crazily large of a crowd, and again, crazy people. One of the downsides of being born into a multibillionaire family was that kidnapping protocols and the like really were necessary – and part of the reason he was able to survive on the streets until he met Su Muqiu.
Ye Ming closed her mouth in a pout, but didn’t complain, having been taught about the Ye rules regarding privacy and safety a long time ago, and instead gave puppy eyes to Zhou Zekai.
“Please please please, A-Ning's going to bring Yan Yan--”
“Are we collecting Glory pro players now? Is this what we’re doing? And what makes you think he’s coming for sure?”
“Shush, Xiu-Xiu.” Ye Ming didn’t skip a beat. “And Mumu’s the most convincing person in the world.” Not even when she declared that just as if she was declaring that the sky was blue and humans need air to survive.
Ye Xiu snickered as he held his hands in surrender to that argument.
Privately, Tiny Herb agreed and shivered when Ye Xiu easily conceded to that claim.
Also privately in the hearts of many, Su Mucheng’s position as goddess, last boss, and hidden mastermind also settled.
Especially because she was the one who instigated Ye Xiu’s reveal and the whole Rookie Challenge chaos that was the most awesome yet incredibly wholesome thing they’ve ever watched. They came to see heart-stopping battles, the struggles of the next generation to overthrow the old, and thrilling challenges and they couldn’t even be mad when they got tooth-aching, heartwarming fluff and sass along with God Ye’s curbstomping instead (though that last battle with Samsara’s Zhou Zekai more than made up for everything with how intense and amazing the fight between two Gods were).
Anyways, no one dared to underestimate or undermine or hate Su Mucheng anymore. She was too awesome – the hero the Glory fandom needed but didn’t deserve.
Yang Cong also held his hands up in surrender, eyes gleaming in amusement as he turned to his fellow 301 Degrees team. “Sorry guys. Looks like I have no choice.”
Although they had plans, his teammates snickered as well commenting in mock sympathy for becoming Ye Qiu’s kid’s ‘toy’ -- though inwardly smirking for one-upping the others and a bit jealous because seriously who didn’t want to spend time with and get to know the most elusive cryptid of Glory and possibly have unlimited fights against and lessons from. In addition to being God Ye’s own kids’ favorites, that was something to brag about to others for generations, something all the pro players would fight for.
Yang Cong grinned when he caught Huang Shaotian throw a middle finger at him from the distance.
Even before the kid said that, he was already planning on letting the two hunt him down for autographs and games, but it felt good to have that point repeated when surrounded by the others.
Needless to say, even without the pleading, Zhou Zekai was already convinced. In fact, even if the girl didn’t ask, if Ye Xiu didn’t offer, he was sure that he’d have eventually found himself pleading – having not wanted to leave the other’s presence yet.
Zhou Zekai beamed as he got Ye Xiu’s number off stage in private, nodding solemnly in promise to never share it no matter what.
In the end, Ye Xiu plays 9 matches in a row, beginning with Tiny Herb’s Su Mucheng and ending with Samsara’s Zhou Zekai. He wins all of the matches within ten minutes (but of course, never within five because that’d be bullying according to his girl) with the exception of Zhou Zekai who lasted twenty and managed to dent a large amount of Ye Xiu’s Autumn Tree’s HP, cementing his position as the Great Gunner worthy of inheriting the God Level Account Cloud Piercer.
Ye Xiu’s position as Battle God is cemented as well by the fact that he won 9 matches in a row and even won against a God Level Account with a Sharpshooter Account unlike his usual Battle Mage One Autumn Leaf after having defeated 8 pros and carried his heavy two four-year-old twins in his arms between matches for more than an hour.
It made many wonder about Excellent Era – who was going to inherit God Ye’s One Autumn Leaf? Who was worthy of inheriting it and not failing his predecessor’s legend?
And with how Ye Xiu’s condition hadn’t deteriorated at all, many wondered why the Battle God had retired at all.
It was a conundrum, but many were more than satisfied at seeing God Ye’s skills again and more than happy to see his face, his kids, his interactions with the rookies, and a glimpse into his personal life. In fact, barely any Glory fan got to sleep that night as they continued gossiping and fanning for hours about the things they learned, citing that it was the best All Stars Weekend yet.
Troubling Rain: WHERE IS HE?!
Windy Rain: @Dancing Rain @ Dancing Rain @ Dancing Rain You’re inviting me too, right?? I’m your best friend, right?? MUMU, YOU HAVE TO LET ME SEE THE KIDS. YOU HAVE TO LET ME HANG OUT – I WANT TO SEE WHERE XIU XIU IS TAKING THEM TOO.
Dancing Rain: Sorry, Yunxiu, but I’m not allowed to compromise regarding the kids
Dancing Rain: That said, Yan Yan, please try to enact your assassin skills in RL haha
Scene Killer: [thumbs up]
Scene Killer: Got the text.
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: ? What about Little Zhou?
Empty Waves: Captain already disappeared. I’m glad that Senior Ye seems to have translation skills too. Have fun, Captain. If possible, get an invite for us next time.
Cloud Piercer: 😊
Delilo: Is Tiny Herb not allowed to see the kids too?
Flying Sword: HAH Tiny Herb’s allowed to see them... but today was a little too much excitement for them so Old Ye and Mumu wanted a smaller crowd.
Flying Sword: I’ll definitely make sure to become their favorite when we meet though.
Scene Killer: lol
Flying Sword: It’s not over yet! Our Mumu knows where they live.
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: Snort. If that doesn’t sound creepy, then I don’t know what is. If I had a kid, I’d definitely never let any of you near them.
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: I’m surprised Huang Shaotian and Chu Yunxiu aren’t saying more. Where are they?
Flowing Clouds: Huang Shaotian is in a weird mixture of utter fury and of utter depression at being ignored and not having Senior Ye’s number
Flowing Clouds: He’s also mad that he wasn’t a Rookie this year to be able to impress the kids and get invited.
Dark Forest: Captain’s depressed about everything. The shock of information overload, betrayal, and neglect was too much.
Boundless Seas: OMG Guys look, someone’s figured almost everything out: [Link to Ye Xiu]
Boundless Seas: Fans are scary, but shit this whole time YE XIU WAS THE HEIR OF A MULTI-BILLIONAIRE
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: WAIT, WHAT??
Windy Rain: WHAT??!
Dark Forest: Ah, Captain’s back.
Troubling Rain: WHAT WHAT WHAT – SERIOUSLY?? OMG SERIOUSLY WTF OLD YE
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING PLAYING GAMES?? OMG LOOK AT THIS: RICH BOY, NAMED HEIR OF CEO OF MULTIBILLION GOLDEN LEAF CORP AND OTHER CORPS – NO WONDER HE HID HIS FACE. OMG LOOK AT ALL THE AWARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS; WHEN THE HELL DID HE FIND TIME TO PLAY GLORY??
Desert Dust: [Glares]
Immovable Rock: Ahem... This is shocking, but that Ye Xiu revealed himself now shows that there is nothing shameful or wrong about a known heir leaving home and making a living as a professional gamer of Glory. While his privacy was invaded and his personal history is mostly out, I’m glad to know that he didn’t retire because he ‘found a better job’, but he retired only because his twin... because he needed to take care of his twin’s kids. Watch your wording.
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: Aw, shit, I didn’t meant that. Sorry. I didn’t mean to make light of him being a pro gamer though seriously WOW Old Ye, I didn’t know he loved Glory that much. And how is he still so good at everything else – he gamed for more than five years, skipping college, and somehow still knows enough to run a company and flourish WTF. And wow, I do kinda feel bad that it’s all out without their permission because no wonder they both didn’t say anything
Life Extinguisher: Senior Ye really is impressive. Though should we take this as confirmation that he isn’t coming back @Immovable Rock @Swoksaar
Immovable Rock: ...I suppose so. As Su Mucheng said, for now, it’s pretty certain.
Immovable Rock: Though I would like to bring up a former conjecture now that we know his history and current situation... I am 99% sure that Ye Xiu is Lord Grim.
Troubling Rain: …...I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU OLD YE. HOW CAN SOMEONE LIKE YOU DRESS WELL, PLAY AWESOME MUSIC, LIVESTREAM GLORY FOR NOOBS, AND HAVE A HOBBY OF DRESSING UP DOGS. AND WTF I FOLLOWED YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT WITHOUT KNOWING YOU EVEN USE SOCIAL MEDIA WTF WTF WTF
Windy Rain: +1 (There are too many things to comment. I’m going to sleep. Maybe this all will just be a crazy dream.)
“They’re all really blowing up in there.” Ye Xiu couldn’t help but notice as the cellphones of three pro players vibrated noisily. Besides the occasional peek, they all mostly ignored it though to chat with the two kids.
Yang Cong secretly inwardly squealed with immense pleasure at his little fan as they talked about ninjas and assassins. Being the captain of a not so famous Glory pro team and often sacrificing his real playstyle for the benefit of the team, he was used to being in the shadows of others like an assassin. He didn’t mind it, but until now, he didn’t realize how much he also had desired and enjoyed the admiration of someone who understands his style, the innate beauty of the silent stealth classes, and wanted to be like him. If Ye Xiu asked, this was a kid Yang Cong didn’t mind babysitting for free for.
It helped that when in a smaller group, the shy boy actually was more talkative than Zhou Zekai and that, being Ye Xiu’s nephew and a kid genius (what does the Ye family feed their kids??), the kid knew what he was talking about and could follow along.
Zhou Zekai was also happy, admiring Ye Xiu and basking in his presence and the promise of future fights as well as enjoying the conversation with a girl who didn’t find him boring but rather understood him having a shy brother a little like him.
Ye Xiu watched the kids in happiness while Su Mucheng took pictures and once in a while showed him the more funny or interesting reactions of the Glory pro chat. While Ye Xiu was a bit miffed about the theories, research, and speculations already growing in the Internet, Ye Xiu was not ignorant to how the Ye Family would always be under the observation of the masses. It was one of the reasons why he never showed his face as a pro before. It was one of the reasons why he cared a lot about the privacy of the kids much like his father had for them. It was something that would always be there... and he supposed it was good that it was mostly positive for now.
Ye Xiu huffed.
“...No. No way. Seriously?”
“Seriously.” Yang Cong grinned as he stretched out his arms. “Ye Xiu said that they’re currently working on improving it so that people could buy and install it in their own homes. Like you thought seeing the projection technology that appeared in the stadium for the first time was awesome, but standing within it surrounded by the beautiful landscapes of Glory and your own avatars? It was something else.”
“You lucky bastard.” His teammates cursed.
“That’s so cool!”
“GAH! I wish I was there!!! Why couldn’t little Ning love me??”
“I can’t believe it was Ye Xiu’s corporation that made the projection technology and donated it to the alliance!!”
“That’s not all. They’re currently working on developing virtual reality technology – and we got to test some of the prototypes today. They still need a lot of work, but Ye Xiu said that the first models might appear within five years!”
301 Degrees gaped before exploding into excited shouts and demands for more stories.
Everyone in Samsara and 301 Degrees ignored the Glory pro chats that continued to burst with summoning demands as they stared at the raw pictures and videos Su Mucheng eventually shared with their captains (with a warning to not share any copies of things not already shared on social media by Ye Xiu and her): which began casually with pictures of them chatting in a sleek large black limo and then eating macarons and ice cream, and then turned into extremely amazing pictures and videos of them interacting with their Glory avatars and being surrounded by famous Glory landscapes, and then testing other cool technologies, and then ended with them all in a fancy hotel room PvP-ing each other.
The Internet exploded when most of the pictures and videos (any without confidential technologies and without anything too personal) (edited if necessary) ended up on the Ye Family’s Weibo with some links to uploaded Youtube videos of Glory projection explorations and of PvPs.
It was the Youtube videos that caught the most attention as all gaped at how the new projection technology introduced in the Tyranny Stadium for the All Stars Weekend could be used in a non-competitive setting... And as all gaped upon realization that Ye Xiu was Lord Grim – and watched as both Yang Cong and Zhou Zekai took turns fighting against the 26 accounts of Ye Xiu (24 classes, Autumn Tree, and Lord Grim) in the Fixed Arena, winning against many (differences in equipment, skill points, and available moves due to low levels) (the v. cleric battles were a joke shared between opponents) and losing against most (unbeknownst to outsiders, Ye Xiu did teach them little things here and there, tactics and tricks and what not). They also cooed over the videos in which Yang Cong’s Scene Killer played with Ye Ning’s ninja (Yang Cong sharing little tricks to Ye Ning in return for Ye Xiu’s lessons) and Zhou Zekai fought with Ye Ming in the Arena with different imposed handicaps to give the four-year-old girl a shot (Su Mucheng’s favorite was the kitten gloves; Ye Xiu’s was when the Sharpshooter was only allowed to use three fingers) (they let him use Ye Xiu’s Sharpshooter account so as to not ruin Cloud Piercer’s record with losses as the handicaps got harder and funnier).
Ye Xiu yawned, having been the one to edit most of the videos, used to video editing after months of uploading things for the Ye Family and Lord Grim accounts (his mother actually sat both him and his father down for a very thorough lesson when they eventually decided to start being more active). It took a few hours to go through all the raw videos, edit, and compile them into videos for the public to watch for fun on Youtube. Having finished, he got up to check on the kids who slept with Su Mucheng in the bedroom a few hours earlier and then stretched before falling horizontal on the couch which already had a blanket Su Mucheng had given him before turning in with the kids.
It was kind of amazing to him still... how a year ago, he would never imagine doing all these things with any pro player besides Su Mucheng. Even with her, he was sure he would be hesitant. And yet... here he was inviting pros from other teams (granted it was for the kids) to hang out, eat together, play, and have fun. And even posting it for others to see.
"Times really do change.” Ye Xiu snorted in incredulity, but let himself fall asleep before thinking too much. He yawned again. The day really had been super busy.
“This isn’t fair!!”
Many pro players burst into tears as they stalked the Ye Family and Lord Grim social media accounts after they were made aware of pictures and videos of the time Yang Cong and Zhou Zekai had with Ye Xiu, Su Mucheng, and the kids were being shared. Everything looked so fun – they wanted to play with new tech and the kids too. They also wanted to test their avatars against all of Ye Xiu’s 26 avatars and play Glory with the kids too.
Huang Shaotian pouted as he watched the video compilation of highlights from Yang Cong doing what Glory Fans were calling The Ye Xiu Class Challenge. Originally, they wanted to name it The Ye Xiu Challenge – but then the video compilation of highlights from Zhou Zekai using Ye Xiu’s Sharpshooter to fight against Ye Ming’s Battle Mage with increasingly difficult or funny handicaps appeared and almost everyone unanimously decided that that was The Real Ye Xiu Challenge because of how ridiculous yet impossibly fascinating it was to watch.
Almost everyone wished they could be there to watch live, even though most of the individual original videos were also posted with the edited video compilations.
Huang Shaotian decided it was time to team up and call for help.
“Captain!! You have to find a way to get into Ye Xiu’s hotel this weekend!!”
Glory fans everywhere were living. There was too much content for the fans that they actually felt like they were dying from excitement, squealing, and adrenaline rushing awe.
301 Degree fans profusely thanked Ye Ning for supporting Yang Cong and getting them so much content on him outside of Glory... and also for proving to the Glory world that he really was more awesome than most people thought. Scene Killer, who though an All Star was very relatively unknown when compared to the other All Stars, really didn’t do any worse than Great Gunner, Best Rookie Cloud Piercer in The Ye Xiu Class Challenge. (The 301 Degree PR team praised Ye Xiu for giving them so much attention, positive publicity, and new fans.)
Samsara fans screamed at the sight of their beloved Zhou Zekai play with a just as adorable little girl – and then at the two challenges that he did that night. The challenge with handicaps also gave them so much awe (even if his opponent is a little girl, how was he still winning this one?) and fanservice (Zhou Zekai is wearing kitty paws!!) (I never thought I’d see him with fake nails – thank you so much goddess Mumu) (look at him rock those sunglasses!) (OMG look at all of them try to scream directions to our poor blindfolded baby – I never thought I’d ever see the day when both Yang Cong and Ye Xiu are shouting like maniacs ‘to the left to the left, wait jump – Barrett Snipe!!’) (it’s a spinning Zekai... Zekai is spinning) (OMG that’s genius – who thought of making him play while only being allowed to look at the screen through a mirror). Many people regardless of whether they played Glory or not watched just because of the memes that instantly came out of it.
(Ye Xiu stared in amusement when the Glory Developers sent him an email regarding inventing and designing new random funny handicap modes for PvP Arenas. Upon realizing that he was Lord Grim, they also thanked him for drawing attention to the game lore – something many people ignored in favor for the PK and Wild Boss aspects of the game due to the attraction of the GPA. He himself was an offender... but having kids taught him how to enjoy the game for the story -- and Glory lore gave him so many bedtime stories for the kids when he ran out of books to read.)
Finally, Excellent Era and Ye Xiu fans everywhere were adoring everything about Ye Xiu that came up. The response to his appearance was intense, much like a dehydrated man finding an oasis in a desert. Hours passed and people were still screaming about his first appearance in the Rookie Challenge. Everything related to him were receiving spikes in visitors – from the Ye Family Weibo to his wiki to things related to Golden Leaf and Glory Couture to Lord Grim (many screamed when they realized that he had been livestreaming and posting music renditions and originals that had millions of views this whole time) to any Glory related website as forums and articles about him shot to the roof and crashed many servers. That there was now proof in the form of the Lord Grim account and The Ye Xiu Class Challenge that Ye Xiu was genuinely capable of playing all the classes like an All Star only cemented his popularity and fame as the Battle God, Glory Textbook, and Legend of Glory.
Ye Guang had called him in the morning recounting how apparently many young rich children had approached him as soon as they saw news of his identity on their phones, citing their extreme awe that he was the father of God Ye and how it would be great if he could convince their parents to let them do a few years of professional gaming to. The old man boomed with laughter as he also reported that visitor traffic to their webpages had increased and many people had anonymously donated to the projection technology and Glory-related technology projects, especially after the videos he posted of them using it. All the developers were in high spirits at the huge influx of funds and were working harder than ever to complete them. Many also asked if they could meet his son after realizing that they had been working for God Ye’s father the whole time, finally understanding why the stoic traditional CEO was so interested in a game no matter how popular it was.
Ye Minghua also called him, beaming as she too recounted being able to brag to many of her friends about him. She also informed him that they sold out of every single Glory Couture item available – even the highly expensive limited-edition avatar doll sets were all gone when the kids unknowingly advertised them on television.
“You really do best when you do you.” His mom had teased before hanging up and Ye Xiu was out of words.
All Stars Weekend events were typically in the evening so Ye Xiu found himself sleeping in for the first time in months. He blinked blearily when he woke up to Su Mucheng watching over the kids who quietly drew on pieces of papers so as to not disturb him.
After getting ready, Su Mucheng beamed as she asked if he had any plans with the kids. Since everything was so last minute, he actually didn’t really -- having had scheduled everything with the kids in the minutes before the Rookie Challenge as they waited for All Stars to begin.
Su Mucheng beamed,
“Then, this time, let’s go meet my team!!”
Ye Xiu glanced at the kids who furrowed their brows in thought as if trying to remember something that was only half-clicking in their heads before nodding.
Ye Xiu arched his brow, but said nothing.
“AHHH!! IT’S THE MEANIE!! YOUR TEAM WAS THE BAD FRIENDS!!”
Ye Xiu laughed as he gleefully realized that yes, they did remember Fang Shiqian and the first impression they had of the team.
“Mucheng...” Xu Bin weakly spoke through his hands as he heard Ye Ming’s shout play once again. Su Mucheng burst into laughter again, wiping the corner of her eyes, as she stopped the looping video she took of the meeting.
“Sorry, sorry, just--”
“We get it.”
“So did any of you have plans?”
Ye Xiu’s grin was still large from amusement. Although the kids both realized that the first impression was a mistake from a misunderstanding and that both their uncle and aunt were really okay with the team and thus were happier and more open to interact, it would take hours for him to forget that shout from his little niece.
Wang Jiexi eyed him knowingly and a bit disgruntedly, but decided to forget it for now and shake his head.
“No. We usually do our own thing, but...” Wang Jiexi had thought for a long time what he was going to say to the other. They weren’t exactly friends, having never hung out before, but at the same time... there was really no other feeling to describe the fellow competitors – the rivals and fellow lovers of Glory. And thus, he thought it was best to just be honest. “It had been a long time and we all wanted to see you.” Ye Xiu’s eyes widened at the utter sincerity in the words and Wang Jiexi smiled that the sentiment had come across to the oblivious, socially elusive man. “The kids are a bonus.”
“...I see. Well, sorry to disappoint you gamers, but kids happen to be very fond of outdoors. And there happens to be a zoo near this city...”
“Walking. Sun. Animals. Oh the horror.” Liang Fang rolled his eyes as he helped Ye Ming twirl in the air.
“The zoo! It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the zoo!” Liu Xiaobie beamed, easily agreeing to the suggestion. Wang Jiexi half-thought it was to also gain Ye Ning’s favor because of how bright Ye Ning smiled upon hearing where they were going. “I’m fine with that! Though can we please please please see that cool place you took Yang Cong and Zhou Zekai too? Like I mean it’s fine if it’s not possible, but please--”
Ye Xiu laughed as he felt like he had another kid to take care of. “It’s not a museum. There’s people working right now. You’d have to come at night.”
“We’re free at night.” Liu Xiaobie instantly said and, though it was a quick response, no one denied, looking eagerly at Ye Xiu and the retired pro huffed in amusement.
“Alright, but there are rules.”
“We can follow rules.”
“And no inviting anyone else.”
“We can do that too.”
“...you really are the Flying Sword aren’t you?” Ye Xiu laughed, but didn’t pull back his offer. Readjusting Ye Ning who was in his right arm to his left arm, Ye Xiu pulled out a phone. Soon, a limo appeared and Fang Shiqian deadpanned, finally speaking up from his depression from the kid’s first shout.
“You really are the heir of the Ye Family.”
Ye Xiu chuckled, “Is it really that surprising?”
“YES.” Fang Shiqian emphasized, but never raised his voice, having learned his lesson on how to behave around kids. “Seriously -- how the heck did you go from heir of Golden Leaf based in B City to professional gamer in H City? Did you run away or something?”
“I thought you wanted to keep your sanity.”
“My sanity will be at peace once all the questions are answered because your life is a drama and the holes in it are currently being filled with all sorts of outlandish things that could actually happen because it’s you.”
“You say some of the nicest things sometimes.” Ye Xiu snickered. He paused dramatically before grinning. “I ran away.”
“I knew it.” Fang Shiqian threw his hands up. “Tell me everything.”
“Oh oh, I want to hear the story again, Xiu-Xiu!!”
Fang Shiqian relaxed, having known he didn’t really have the right to hear it all... but the kids apparently knew (so it couldn’t be that big of a deal to say) and wanted to hear it (thankfully; he really did want to know).
“...How are you possible?”
Su Mucheng snorted, snickered, and then couldn’t help but burst into laughter.
“What the heck? Your life is a drama.”
Quietly, all of the wide-eyed Tiny Herb team agreed.
“Xiu-Xiu, Xiu-Xiu, next can you tell us the story of how you defeated your first Wild Boss? Please, please, please?”
“You’re impossible.” Fang Shiqian whispered, but didn’t dare interrupt the ‘next story’ when Ye Ming and Ye Ning were so excited and enraptured by Ye Xiu as he blinked, but coughed and indulged them with another tale. Ye Xiu was actually good at telling stories it seemed – but that he didn’t need to exaggerate to make them interesting just really said something about everything he did. Fang Shiqian really stared at him in disbelief.
Dancing Rain: @Scene Killer Yan Yan, A-Ning wanted me to send this to you:
Dancing Rain: [Red Panda pouncing on another from behind]
Scene Killer: 😊
Scene Killer: Tell him I said thank you. It’s a very cute ninja.
Dancing Rain: I did [thumbs up]
Windy Rain: What. This is so cute, but ??
Flowing Clouds: ??
Delilo: That really is so cute. Are you at the zoo @Dancing Rain?
Dancing Rain: 😊
Windy Rain: ...YOU ARE. Mumu, why are you doing so many things without me?? I’m harmless. I’m innocent. I’ll be good. Please convince Ye Xiu to let me see the kids.
Dancing Rain: …
Dancing Rain: Ye Xiu asked if you’re going to post any pictures, videos, art, fanfic, RPF, or other similar thing about the kids.
Windy Rain: It hurts my heart, but I promise I won’t.
Troubling Rain: WAIT WAIT WAIT – I NEVER DONE ANY OF THOSE THINGS. ASK FOR ME TOO--
Dancing Rain: @Windy Rain I’ll send you our location in DM
Windy Rain: YAY!!! You’re the best, Mumu!!
Windy Rain: Sorry, Li Hua, but I’m going to have to abandon you all.
Dark Forest: Have fun, Captain. Thanks, Mucheng, for letting her go. She was really down this morning.
Troubling Rain: AFAEOIFNACOEIASDFGHJLK
Dancing Rain: @Dark Forest Thanks for letting her go alone (And it wasn’t my intention)
Windy Rain: It’s okay!! I understand!! I’m just glad to finally meet the kids!! Do they have anything they like?? I can totally grab a souvenir or snack along the way~~
Dancing Rain: ...Ye Xiu might actually get mad if you do that. My team has been competing with each other since this morning and the kids already surpassed the limit
Troubling Rain: TINYHERBISTHEREWTFWHYWONTYOULETMESEETHEMDGANDSLFVAFDS
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: Yikes.
Windy Rain: ...oof, they’re going to crash. Wait, [gasp] can we have a Glory party time while the kids nap at Ye Xiu’s?
Dancing Rain: !!
Dancing Rain: I’ll ask 😊
Immovable Rock: Will the kids still be okay to come for tonight?
Dancing Rain: [squints] …...........................yes?
Immovable Rock: It was an innocent question. Don’t worry about it too much.
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: Mmhm. (But I’m down.)
Windy Rain: Mmhm. (Ooh, I have a feeling... Same 😊 )
Crying Devil: Mmhm. (But how are you going to get that?)
Vaccaria: Mmhm. (Well, I’m sure EE wouldn’t mind. It’s bought by Golden Leaf.)
Delilo: Mmhm. (You’re kidding. I thought--)
Flying Sword: Mmhm. (Subsidiary.)
Aweto: Mmhm. (Though Ye Xiu still had nothing to do with it.)
Swoksaar: Mmhm. (The parents then?)
Flawless: Mmhm. (Well, that we really don’t know.)
Carved Ghost: Mmhm. (I call bullshit.)
Dancing Rain: Mmhm. (@Immovable Rock What makes you think I won’t tell Ye Xiu and ruin all your plans?)
Immovable Rock: The kids wouldn’t want to miss anything.
Dancing Rain: …...Mmhm.
Aweto: Shit man, you just very narrowly escaped death.
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: That it’s Fang Shiqian saying this makes me very concerned.
Huang Shaotian throws up his arms when Lord Grim livestreams multiple Tiny Herb members, Chu Yunxiu, and Su Mucheng attempting The Ye Xiu Class Challenge.
A video compilation for each individual appears as well as the two new playlists named The Ye Xiu Class Challenge and All Stars Weekend Season 5. There are already a lot of videos in the playlist of other pro players not him. He smashes his keyboard.
“That’s it! I’m just going to hunt him down. They can’t all be assassins.”
“Don’t you guys ever get tired of challenging me?” Ye Xiu asks in amusement and they all give him, certified workaholic and Glory addict, a look.
Point made, Ye Xiu returns to defeating his third Tiny Herb member in a multitude of classes. Idly, he wondered if his fights with Yang Cong and Zhou Zekai made it seem too easy. Unbeknownst to him, each and every pro player wanted to challenge him anyways as soon as he made it clear that he was open to it – not everyone having a chance to literally fight all 24 (25 with Lord Grim) classes expertly played (though all of them besides Autumn Tree weren’t maxed out in level) in a row to truly see their strengths and weaknesses against different classes in a clear-cut manner. It was an opportunity any tactician worth their salt would see the value of.
Oblivious to the thoughts of others though, Ye Xiu hummed as he continued playing while Tiny Herb offered to help level his avatars and offer materials to make the challenge even more difficult.
Even if it was a Fixed Arena, only Ye Xiu could beat a bunch of professional Glory accounts at least more than half the time with lower levelled avatars that rarely had Silver Equipment. He took longer than he would with a professional account, but that he won most of the time still made the feat so impressive. Wang Jiexi stared at the highly talented man in exasperation.
The former Excellent Era wasted him. The world did too. He could have done so much – it wouldn’t be a far cry to say that Ye Xiu, had he had some good teammates, would have won more than three championships.
Wang Jiexi huffed, deciding to take the opportunity to let his whole team experience The Ye Xiu Class Challenge so that they could identify and improve upon their weaknesses. That Ye Xiu changed his style based on classes to maximize their skills also gave him a better understanding of class strengths and tactics. Idly, he wondered if he could get Ye Xiu to help coach them once in a while since the other was in B City.
Then he remembered his idle comments on how this was his first vacation in a while and how he didn’t have much free time to rest and decided not to ask.
Wang Jiexi idly noted that the way he operated his Lord Grim-related Sharpshooter account and Autumn Tree was slightly different. He remembered Ye Xiu’s comment about Autumn Tree having a designer and wondered about how Autumn Tree was the closest to God Tier of all his accounts (those accounts having obviously been recently created – probably since the start of his retirement).
Could it be that Autumn Tree was also the account of Su Mucheng’s late blood brother?
Tiny Herb fans beamed at the latest challenger videos to come out with Wang Jiexi doing better than both Scene Killer and Cloud Piercer... though those two admittedly did a lot better than others in Tiny Herb. Misty Rain and Excellent Era also cheered. Though Su Mucheng transferred out, she was still popular and dear to all Excellent Era fans – all understanding her desire to be close to Ye Xiu while he was taking care of kids and his twin brother was recovering from the car accident.
Other Glory team fans excitedly wondered if their favorite pros were going to appear as well.
They also collectively squealed at the zoo pictures that appeared under the Ye Family Weibo.
Fans also squealed when they saw Ye Xiu appear with Team Tiny Herb – Ye Xiu thinking about it... and then realizing for certain that the kids and him couldn’t sit and hide in the audience anymore with how famous their faces had to be for now. Team Tiny Herb happily welcomed him to their seating area last minute so that none of the Glory pros could bother them until it was too late.
Ye Xiu lifted his brow in pleasant surprise when one of the mini games was a trapped filled maze. Zhang Xinjie definitely had a hand in it with all its clever use of terrain, traps, and mini monsters to hinder Jiang Botao, Xiao Shiqin, and four audience members. The kids loved it.
Chu Yunxiu did High Jumps with some of the audience while Qin Muyun operated the Targets mini game where they had to shoot multiple moving targets of all kinds.
Ye Xiu quite enjoyed the kids’ awe...
Until he stared in disbelief when right before the Player v. Pro Battle began, Pan Li announced that there was a special surprise for one of the audience members... and then revealed the challenge from Han Wenqing’s Desert Dust to... his One Autumn Leaf.
It was only when he caught his surprise face on the projector screen when he was able to refix his composure. Shooting a glare at the snickers of the pro players around him who definitely were in the know, Ye Xiu huffed, glanced at the kids who immediately jolted and clung to him (Tiny Herb inwardly slumped that the kids still wouldn’t feel safe left alone with them) (Su Mucheng wasn’t surprised – it was more like the kids were afraid that Ye Xiu would disappear like Ye Qiu unintentionally had) (though the twins really did intrinsically not trust anyone except the Ye Family even if they won any Ye’s approval or consent) , and then at his former rival who gazed at him fiercely.
“Ah... Old Han... you...”
Ye Xiu felt helpless as he got up, but inwardly he couldn’t help but feel the scorching heat building up in his heart.
“How did you even get One Autumn Leaf to come?” Ye Xiu couldn’t help but ask, first thing upon entering the stage with his kids.
“We explained. They happily lent it.” Han Wenqing, man of few words, simply said and Ye Xiu stared in disbelief, but gazed at the silver card given to him in wonder. Lord Grim and Autumn Tree and even each of his new accounts were definitely dear to him, growing more and more so with each time he played them whether alone or with the kids... but One Autumn Leaf was really... had always been his greatest creation, his personal dream, his legacy... his treasure filled with all the hopes, memories, and love of Glory from the game’s foundation to his runs with his best friend to the glorious championships to now.
"Old Han, you...” Ye Xiu began upon looking up before shaking his head and teasing. “They must have thrown it at your wallet face.”
Han Wenqing huffed, crossing his arms. “It was over the phone.” Han Wenqing then casually spoke. “The rookie’s here.”
(Many gasped at the confirmation that there was a successor in plan and Excellent Era, subject to many changes these past months, wasn’t ending.)
“Qiu Fei?” Ye Xiu blinked (what was with people and surprising him this weekend, Ye Xiu, the cause of many screams, break downs, and gapes within two days, thought) and then grinned teasingly. “Huh, guess I should invite him for some last-minute coaching – Old Han, you want to come over too to be some target practice?”
“I thought you wouldn’t ask.” Han Wenqing scoffed though his smirk gave away his response. “Are you sure I won’t scare him away? Though I wouldn’t mind warming up for next season using you as some extra training.”
Ye Xiu’s smirk grew, golden eyes blazing, “I think we should see once and for all who’s the real warm up.”
The match ended with a draw, but no one cared as the entire audience couldn’t stop screaming at the fight between two rivals that had defined most of Glory. Even Tyranny fans, which overwhelmingly were present in the Tyranny Stadium of their home base, couldn’t help but blubber at the amazingly tense and close fight and at the thought that they might never be able to see their Gods fight like this again.
At the end of the match, Ye Xiu couldn’t stop grinning – his idiot rival the same.
“You’re coming back.” Han Wenqing demanded, no declared with all certainty. And Ye Xiu stared before feeling laughter burst from his heart. He chuckled before nodding earnestly.
“I suppose I am. Might be in your last season, but Lord Grim definitely deserves to appear at least once.”
Han Wenqing nodded, having always thought that Ye Xiu’s style suited the Unspecialized ever since he saw those videos. It wouldn’t be the same as One Autumn Leaf... but while he was always Desert Dust, his rival had always been Ye Xiu no matter what.
“Good.” Han Wenqing met his gaze firmly before pointing at the card Ye Xiu was half-awkwardly holding. “I’ve returned it to Excellent Era. This time, give him to your successor yourself.”
The fans screamed. Desert Dust, One Autumn Leaf, The Successor?, Return of the God, and even HanYe trended. Glory was happy.
“Hey, you two are quiet today.” Ye Xiu couldn’t help but bounce the two in his arms nudgingly. Ye Ming and Ye Ning refused to look at him, burying themselves in his chest. “A-Ming? A-Ning?”
“....daddy, we’re sorry.”
Ye Xiu froze in the hallway before placing them on the ground so that he could really look at them and they him. Their teary golden eyes wanted to shy away, but he firmly drew their gaze and spoke.
“Hey, none of you have anything to be sorry about. None of this had ever been your fault and I have never and will never blame or hate you. Even if I never appear as a pro again, I will still never change or regret it... because I chose you two. And I chose you because I love you. Far more than anything else in the world.” Hugging them, he whispered. “Ye Ming, Ye Ning, and Ye Qiu, you all are my real treasures I wouldn’t abandon for the world.”
They teared and hugged him back, crying and telling him that they love him too.
Dancing Rain: Ye Xiu?
Lord Grim: Kids tired themselves out. Tell the others that we’re going to have to postpone everything until tomorrow.
Dancing Rain: Oh, okay. I’ll make sure to let them know. Are the kids okay?
Lord Grim: Yeah.
Su Mucheng sighed in relief, having an idea on what happened when she saw them holding Ye Xiu tightly instead of staring at Han Wenqing in awe like they did for Zhou Zekai. She smiled softly though that her brother had definitely handled it and comforted them and was probably going to sleep in a cute cuddle-pile in a few minutes.
Dancing Rain: That’s good. Send them my love too.
Lord Grim: 😊
Lord Grim: Ah, you can invite the other pro players for tomorrow night too. If they want to come.
Dancing Rain: They most definitely do want to come.
Dancing Rain: And sure! I’ll let them know 😊
Dancing Rain: Though what made you change your mind?
Lord Grim: ….......I just don’t want any more surprises.
Su Mucheng laughed (and ignored the curious looks of her teammates who watched her continue texting on her phone). Her oblivious older brother definitely finally realized that he was extremely loved and cared for by their fellow pro players.
It was probably a good thing too. Huang Shaotian’s eyes and Yu Wenzhou’s smile among many other dangerous examples were getting quite scary.
Dancing Rain: I’ll make sure to give them a few warnings.
Though probably not as scary as she and he could be if poked the wrong way.
Dancing Rain: @Vaccaria @Angelica @Aweto @Flying Sword @Bamboo Leopard @Flawless @Windy Rain @Desert Dust The kids are asleep. Any and all plans tonight will be postponed to tomorrow. \(^-^)/
Windy Rain: Awww, are they okay? I did think they were really quiet today, but...
Dancing Rain: They’re fine. They just tired themselves out too much today.
Windy Rain: Okay, I hope they rest well~
Vaccaria: I’m glad they’re doing alright. I was worried when Senior didn’t come back.
Flying Sword: +1
Bamboo Leopard: +3
Dancing Rain: Thanks you all 😊
Dancing Rain: Oh, and though there are some ground rules, Ye Xiu said that everyone who wants to come tomorrow night are welcome to.
Troubling Rain: FINALLY!!!!! SERIOUSLY I THOUGHT YOU TWO WOULD NEVER SAY IT WHICH IS A REALLY JERK MOVE – BUT FINALLY!!! I KNEW YOU ALL COME THROUGH!!
Dancing Rain: I don’t know what you are talking about [smirk]
Troubling Rain: SAFROMEVAOARASDFADJGK
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: You know, I have to give the guy credit. This is the longest I’ve ever seen Huang Shaotian go without cursing or even referencing to one.
Immovable Rock: @Dancing Rain Do you need a headcount? Or any help preparing and scheduling arrangements?
Qiu Fei stared at the text from his senior, the former captain of Excellent Era he once so admired and respected. Always, he had thought of catching up, of fighting alongside, of even beating the renown Battle God... but never had he thought that before it all happened, his senior would retire and One Autumn Leaf would be left as his.
But here he was, witnessing the many changes to Excellent Era as a company and a team and being chosen and trained to take on the mantle of the Battle God’s most infamous avatar by Ye Xiu himself over video-calls and in game once the other had heard about the changes done in his absence, the successor that had been chosen from the training camps.
With how busy he was with training individually and with the team, he wasn’t planning to go to All Stars but he did – and his fists clenched as he saw the fight between legends, the legend he was to inherit. Despite the display of the great difference between him and Ye Xiu though, he couldn’t help but feel his heart inflamed as he promised his senior that he wouldn’t disappoint Ye Xiu’s legacy, his fans and his avatar and himself.
And his heart thumped in excitement at the prospect of finally being able to see his teacher in person again, to be directly taught by him, to be formally acknowledged and given One Autumn Leaf by him.
Ye Xiu laughed when the puppy from the training camps he used to help out in Excellent Era eagerly came to the door of his hotel (albeit awkward at how high-end the entire place was; Ye Xiu didn’t particularly care for image but Ye Guang did and didn’t want anything but the best).
“Qiu Fei!! I know you must’ve been scared off, but you’re going to beat Old Han one day!”
“I wasn’t scared off!” Qiu Fei protested and he huffed as he realized that he forgot how his mentor loved drawing aggro. “I know I’m going to do it.”
Ye Xiu grinned at the confidence. “Good. That’s the first step. Now let’s see how much progress you’ve made in the time I couldn’t see you. By the way, how are the others I sent you doing?”
With the disappearance of practically the whole team of Excellent Era, the greatest lack of the team was obviously the lack of pro players. Qiu Fei and Wen Li had been selected from the training camp, but there was still a need for at least six more players who could play on the competitive level – high enough so that Excellent Era could keep its position in the Pro League and avoid relegation.
After playing in the game with countless different players though, Ye Xiu had found a lot of talent and recruited, offering a huge sum of money and occasional coaching to bolster their decision and confidence in the basically very new team.
Bao Rongxing a Brawler who loved following him whenever he was online, Qiao Yifan a passionate player with ambition despite his low self-esteem, Mo Fan who he pestered, An Wenyi the Tyranny fan he practically bought (he snickered at having brought one of Zhang Xinjie’s greatest fans into the rival team ), and Wu Chen who decided to transfer to help Excellent Era stay afloat after spending most of his prime in Everlasting which had disbanded after relegation (Ye Xiu smiled, having admired the steadfast loyalty to one of his earliest rival competitors who still stayed with the game)…
Each of them were good people Ye Xiu happily supported, sponsored, and coached.
Finally there was Tang Rou, his father’s business friend’s daughter who challenged him to a game of Glory upon the jokingly made instigation of her father and, upon losing, threw herself into the game, constantly challenging him when he can and then the others in Excellent Era when she joined with the promise of battling other professionals in the game she was starting to love and obsess over.
Outside of the team, there was Luo Ji as well. While a rookie in Glory, the kid was a genius... and a very stubborn person who at first bothered him a lot because of all the ways Lord Grim would completely surpass his expectations. Ye Xiu happily pointed him to Guan Rongfei and the Excellent Era technical staff for a part time job – and now, despite almost all of the current team being rookies, Silver Equipment for them were being developed in an unprecedentedly fast manner as the two geniuses lowered level requirement stats, discovered new ways to successfully use different materials and upgrade equipment, and found many hidden details of the game through mathematical modelling.
Excellent Era really wasn’t going to disappear yet.
And it was kind of funny because all of the team was associated with Lord Grim and the large-scale wild boss hunts that he sometimes led the team or even the guild on in ‘innocent’ livestreams... and yet no one knew about them yet.
Glancing at his niece’s Swoksaar doll, he hummed as he thought about another person the team could really use. Although they were all really good for rookies and were slowly getting built together, and though Wu Chen definitely had enough experience to be a captain... it would be really nice if they could all have the guidance and experience of a commander too.
Ye Xui laughed. “Qui Fei, I’ll do you the favor and not upload that.”
Qui Fei grumbled as he took a break and drank his water. The Ye Xiu Class Challenge looked a lot easier than it actually was. He sighed as he still had a long way to go.
Ye Ming and Ye Ning pouted as they watched the silver account card permanently exchange hands, but said nothing, quietly watching over the proceedings.
“You’ll do good, Qiu Fei.”
“Yes!” Qui Fei trembled. “I won’t disappoint you, Ye Xiu. Take care of yourself.”
Ye Xiu grinned as he sat with Tiny Herb again, stretching his legs and arms and making a big show of relaxing. Ye Ming and Ye Ning sat near him with at least one part of them in contact with him at all times.
“So this is what it feels like to actually be like one of the audience.”
“Careful there, Old Ye. Someone might just call you up again.” Liu Xiaobie teasingly shot back, but half-thought that if someone ruined this scene of utter peace for the kids, he might actually get mad on Ye Xiu’s behalf. They were so cute, leaning on their uncle in their chosen comfortable positions like that.
Tiny Herb as a whole also snickered and Wang Jiexi’s eyes gleamed as he offered.
“Since you took my spot in the Rookie Challenge, I can take yours in any of the challenges to come.”
“I’ll help too if he’s already in the challenge~” Xu Bin nodded, having not been chosen as an All Stars this year and definitely able to play as back up.
To the disappointment of many, Ye Xiu was not called up from the audience again.
To the great immense pleasure and thrill of everyone, all the fights this competition were extremely intense as everyone played their best, trying to one up each other to impress the twins.
Su Mucheng laughed in amusement, fanning the flames by posting videos of some of the twins’ reactions and awe.
And then everyone was excited when they all finally got to talk to Ye Xiu and the twins (though they carefully made sure to not overwhelm them to avoid losing visiting privileges in the future), play with developing technology and the projection tech, and then hang out in the hotel – all gaping at how big and elegant it was, capable of fitting them all in (none of the pro players that came to All Stars wanting to miss out).
To Ye Xiu’s exasperated amusement, many challenged him to the Class Challenge though he limited it to the actual All Star players due to the lack of time. Others played with the kids, wanting to up the challenges Zhou Zekai did against Ye Ming which were still trending and heavily talked about even after days. With Huang Shaotian in the room, it wasn’t long before even more ridiculous handicaps began appearing. No one held him back, instead offering their own ridiculous ideas, having too much fun messing around with each other.
“Old Ye! Old Ye! You have to edit it so that my challenge is the most popular!!”
“Hm... So your APM is double when you play piano? Was piano the reason why your hands are so fast?”
“Are you still calculating things, Zhang Xingjie? Just stop thinking and have some fun!!”
“I don’t see how those two things are mutually exclusive.”
“Hey, hey, does anyone know how to play with their toes?? That’d be totally crazy to watch!!”
“Hey, I’ve been wondering this. Why do you guys even have cat gloves?”
Although the kids fell first, the games went on even into the wee hours of morning, all of them gamers used to playing long hours and staying up all night (though there were some that left early like Zhang Xinjie who had a schedule, the players who booked flights leaving the day after All Stars, etc).
Ye Xiu huffed as he watched Huang Shaotian actually finally lose his energy for once in his life, “You don’t do this to all the retired pros, do you?”
“That’s different, Old Ye.” Huang Shaotian slurred as he rubbed his sleepy eyes, tired from all the excitement, shouting, and games. “You’re different. We really missed you. You’re like Glory.”
Yu Wenzhou smiled as he supported his vice-captain. “I agree. We may have never talked much outside the games, but it’s hard to imagine Glory without you, Senior. Or you not playing Glory. Your retirement really took all of us in surprise... but it’s good to see that you’re still doing well. I hope your brother wakes up soon and you return back to Glory. Those two wishes being separate of course.”
“...thanks, Little Yu... Good luck on the next season. Give a good fight.”
“Thanks, Senior Ye. Sorry for Excellent Era and Tiny Herb, but Blue Rain’s going to win the next championship.”
Ye Xiu laughed, “We’ll see about that.”
“Old Han. You’re still here. Go home. You still have a lot of things to do. I know All Stars’ take a lot of cleaning up.”
Han Wenqing stared at Desert Dust who still appeared on the computer screen. Ye Xiu’s eyes softened, feeling sentimental about that character too. Five years. Even longer was their rivalry which started from the first server.
Ye Xiu finally sat down. “You know... I used to have a best friend. He’s Su Mucheng’s brother, Su Muqiu. When Glory came out, we both fell in love with it and wanted to become professional players for it. I had One Autumn Leaf. He had Autumn Tree and Lord Grim...” Ye Xiu snorted softly, “With the introduction of awakenings, there was temporarily no point to the unspecialized class anymore so he gave that account up despite having studied and placed so much of his hopes and dreams into it. And later, he wanted to be stronger and made Dancing Rain to play competitively... He died before it ever happened though. And though Dancing Rain and Autumn Tree have appeared on the stage... Lord Grim... the one that held the most of our dreams hadn’t yet... so I will return back.”
Clasping his hand on Han Wenqing’s shoulder, he grinned. “Just like your time is far from over, my time’s not up yet either, Old Han. In the meantime, show the rest of those rookies that they’re still not ready to establish their own legend yet for us veterans, Old Han.”
Han Wenqing snorted. “Of course.”
The latest pictures and videos of everything the pro players did in the aftermath of All Stars broke the Internet several times over. Some fans cried as the collection of All Stars attempting the Ye Xiu Class Challenge was complete and everyone could see their favorite players against God Ye’s 26 accounts. There was also a lot of debates and arguments between fans over which player was the best using the video compilations as evidence for their claims as well. Ye Xiu ignored them, instead occasionally amusing himself with the overwhelming positive response from all the handicap challenges, pro player shenanigans, and projection technology demonstrations.
Golden Leaf Corporation was seeing a rise in shares, donations, and fame. No one cared about the background of the kids, instead fawning over them and their interactions with the pros. Ye Xiu had steadily and decisively revealed and introduced himself to the world such that there wouldn’t be an identity issue in the future. And... Ye Xiu got to experience the most fun he had in ages and realize something about the group that he never had in his five years as a pro.
The original Excellent Era team members all teasingly asked why they weren’t invited and why he never told them he was the son of a multibillionaire, but also overwhelmingly welcomed him to the social world and told him that they were glad he was having fun.
It was in these good spirits Ye Xiu attended the rest of the parties and events he was originally supposed to and made his debut as the Ye Family Heir.
Even in the seasons to come, many would quote that Season 5 All Stars was the best All Stars.
Time passed and the new Excellent Era was introduced – and most would be shocked by the bunch of rookies, Blue Rain’s former Captain Wei Chen, and Everlasting’s Wu Chen. And the Glory accounts that, despite mostly being new, were nearly maxed out in skill points, levels, and had at least one Silver Equipment. Wei Chen would grumble about how Ye Xiu was shameless for luring him by putting a bounty on himself and drawing him with a lot of money and the best technical staff he had ever seen for a team. Luo Ji, their substitute, would faintly redden and turn his head away, though pleased for all the research and development he got to do with Wei Chen’s skill points research, the materials that Excellent Era raked in, and really other geniuses to work with.
All Excellent Era fans were enthused, most having already seen them in action due to the Lord Grim livestreams and being in the same guild when doing guild raids together.
Despite being extremely new to the scene, Excellent Era would make it to playoffs, losing only to Tiny Herb – making many fans joke that former Excellent Era Su Mucheng herself was the reason for the current Excellent Era’s failure, not hesitating at all to crush her former rookies. It was all light-hearted though with Excellent Era and Su Mucheng still remaining in good relation as seen when Su Mucheng praised all of them for doing so well on their first try.
Although a bit disappointed for failing to take the championship, Wei Chen was extremely happy for doing so well with a team of rookies against many veteran pro players as well. And for defeating his own former team (something which caused Glory fans everywhere to call Season 6 the Season of Betrayal). Although Wei Chen was highly glad for Blue Rain’s growth and each member of his former team, it was extremely satisfying to realize that he could still beat the younger generation (he beat Yu Wenzhou who he had once lost to three times before passing on Swoksaar) and to get payback for all the times Huang Shaotian annoyed him.
Although he still wasn’t anywhere near the level of Ye Xiu, Qiu Fei was also extremely happy that he didn’t disappoint either his mentor or the fans – everyone recognizing that he really did have the potential to wield One Autumn Leaf and become the best pro Battle Mage in the future. Becoming the best Battle Mage overall was another question, but no one blamed him because Ye Xiu really was just God Ye – and his tactical knowledge and APM far exceeded even many of the other Gods of Glory.
Although Ye Xiu was only able to make it to the finals, having been extremely busy that season, he was more than happy to watch them battle it out and then to take them out to celebrate their runner-up position.
Excellent Era hasn’t ended yet.
[One Autumn Leaf, Soft Mist, Steaming Bun Invasion, Windward Formation, and 10 others have been added.]
Windy Rain: There he is! The new One Autumn Leaf!! And all of the new Excellent Era and other rookies!! Welcome!
Troubling Rain: GAAAH, THIS WILL NEVER FEEL THE SAME. NEW OAL WILL SAY SOMETHING ROOKIE-LIKE AND I’LL BE LIKE WTF OLD YE AND THEN REMEMBER OH IT’S NOT OLD YE
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: I totally get you. Shameless old man to star-eyed, innocent rookie – the gap is too huge.
One Autumn Leaf: ...um, I don’t know what to say.
Troubling Rain: IT’S HERE!!
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: My eyes!!
Flowing Clouds: It’s an imposter!!
Boundless Seas: omg this IS so weird
Dancing Rain: You’re all overreacting. Don’t pay attention to them, Qui Fei. You’re fine.
Deception: Are all Glory pros so weird?
Over time, Ye Xiu’s 26 accounts had also been slowly and steadily levelling up to the max as well during all his free time with the kids and before his sleep at night... Such that the Ye Xiu Class Challenge became a lot more difficult to attempt – something that was realized when the new videos of the new members of Excellent Era attempting the Ye Xiu Class Challenge came out and all gaped at the new things Ye Xiu could do with his new skills and equipment.
As if to mark the difference, there was a new playlist named The Ye Xiu Class Challenge 2, which everyone desperately wanted to see all the All Stars attempt again.
Each Class of the fan-termed Autumn Leaves Lineup (ALL) were now at their highest level and ready to better kick player asses.
Although Excellent Era was still based in H City, both Excellent Era and Tiny Herb sometimes had the privilege of visiting the Ye Family mansion, Ye Xiu, and the kids (air fares paid for EE). It was something highly envied upon by other pro players and people around the world as cute photos and videos would sometimes make it onto social media.
Especially when the teams took pictures with Little Dot dressed up as their captain. That instantly won the hearts of almost everyone, even people who didn’t play Glory.
Months passed by again and for the first time in years, Ye Xiu is looking forward to the All Stars Weekend.
And yet, also for the first time in years, Ye Xiu doesn’t go... and he’s not mad. No... Instead, he’s crying and extremely happy.
“A-Ming, A-Ning? Are you crying? Did Brother do anything to you?”
“...Foolish brother. It’s not me. You were the one who made them cry.”
“What do you mean—wait, are you crying?”
One Autumn Leaf: Um, Su Mucheng? Do you know if Senior Ye would be at All Stars?
One Autumn Leaf: @Dancing Rain?
Troubling Rain: @Dancing Rain?
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: @Dancing Rain?
Cloud Piercer: @Dancing Rain?
Empty Waves: @Dancing Rain?
Immovable Rock: @Vaccaria @Aweto @Soft Mist?
Vaccaria: Ah, sorry, kind of busy right now, but I’m not in the know.
Aweto: Team Tiny Herb is trying to find Dancing Rain too.
Troubling Rain: WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??
Windy Rain: OMG Did Mumu get kidnapped? Wait NO, did the kids get kidnapped??
[Many people begin writing but someone makes it in time.]
Soft Mist: EVERYBODY DO NOT PANIC.
[There are a lot of backspacing.]
Soft Mist: Phew.
Troubling Rain: @SOFT MIST @SOFT MIST @SOFT MIST WHAT IS GOING ON??
Soft Mist: ...wait. Ah.
Soft Mist: Um, I really shouldn’t be telling you.
Troubling Rain: SOFT MIST WTF!!!
Soft Mist: No really. I shouldn’t have known either, but I was on the phone with my dad who was finishing a meeting with Ye Xiu’s dad and—ack.
Immovable Rock: Did something happen to the family?
Windy Rain: Soft Mist PLEASE. You’re scaring me right now.
Soft Mist: Er, you don’t need to be scared. Or worried. It’s good news.
Windy Rain: The ambiguity of that does not make me confident.
Soft Mist: No, really, it’s good news.
Soft Mist: And @One Autumn Leaf @Vaccaria I’m pretty sure Su Mucheng’s not going to look at her phone or appear for a few more days. And Ye Xiu’s definitely not going to All Stars this season. Don’t challenge him.
Windy Rain: ….[squints]
Vaccaria: Okay. Thanks for letting us know.
One Autumn Leaf: ….okay. (???)
Troubling Rain: URGH SERIOUSLY WHAT DOES THAT MEAN??? WHY CAN’T YOU RICH PEOPLE EVER BE CLEAR ABOUT ANYTHING??? JUST SAY IT!!
Soft Mist: It’s just personal. And please don’t disturb them at this time.
Troubling Rain: ASFAGHFSLKJ
Troubling Rain: YOU WILL NOT STOP ME THIS TIME
Swoksaar: @Immovable Rock
Troubling Rain: ??
Immovable Rock: According to the above information, it is highly likely that we have nothing to worry about. There is either another child that appeared or Ye Xiu’s twin brother woke up.
Troubling Rain: YOU’REKIDDINGASFDSF VEFAWEWCAWLAWNOKSDFHDLALHIECANKJ
Troubling Rain: OMGYESCDSAFLADSFJKLFVARFEANKROJDIVCXK
Troubling Rain: OLDYE’SCOMINGBACKI’MSOEXCITEDTHETWINISHEREHE’SAWAKEYESYESYESYESYES@SOFTMIST@SOFTMIST@SOFTMISTPLEASECONFIRM
Soft Mist: …...............................sigh. Yes.
Cloud Piercer: O.O [Super happy shocked face]
Flowing Clouds: NO WAY – YES!!
Boundless Seas: It’s a miracle!!
Flying Sword: He’s back!!
Empty Waves: Captain says that he is super happy for Senior Ye.
Vaccaria: I’m glad. That’s really good news.
Windy Rain: YES!! THIS IS SUCH GOOD NEWS!! I'M SO HAPPY FOR THEM.
Aweto: Hmph. I guess we really don’t need to look for Su Mucheng anymore.
Soft Mist: Really though, don’t disturb them. Leave them alone.
Han Wenqing smiled when he saw the news on both the pro chat and then, days later, the Ye Family social media wherein the entire family is finally in the picture – everyone huddled together, smiling brightly at the camera.
Ye Qiu stared at the hundreds of pictures and videos on their family social media and on the secret collection of even more content that his mother and adopted sister took and gave him to update him on the past year that he missed. His eyes widened when he read about his brother’s retirement (his brother gave up his dream for him and took care of his kids) and about the many things his brother had done while he was in a coma. Helped the family business, negotiated important deals, opened new branches, hired many talents who were currently developing innovative and futuristic technologies, attracted a lot of sponsors and donors, became a legendary Glory livestreamer (his eyes crinkled in amusement that his brother couldn’t be pulled away from that game for too long and in relief that he didn’t cause his brother to lose everything), and fathered his children, giving them the best of the best.
Ye Qiu also stared at how close-knit the family became, something he never quite known was possible. His father’s visage even softened noticeably in pictures throughout the year and was now even seen hugging his grandchildren (grandchildren he once thought his father was ashamed of). Not to mention, he now had a sister. A sister his entire family and now the business world acknowledged as theirs.
So many things happened.
Ye Qiu closed his eyes and opened them to still see everything being there and fell back in incredulity, in bubbling laughter, in hope. He couldn’t wait to go back home and really see it all happen.
“Brother... Thank you.”
Ye Xiu’s eyes widened before he grinned and bumped shoulders with him. “No problem, little brother. Now hurry up and come home.”
Everyone screamed when Season 7 came and Ye Xiu was back, announcing that he would be going back and forth between Excellent Era and Golden Leaf Corporations for this year while Ye Qiu was recovering and settling back into his former position, and expected to focus on Excellent Era the next. For Season 7, Ye Xiu joked, his team was welcomed to make him the Substitute or kick him out altogether if they felt that he was gone too much to be a main part of the team. Some who took it literally cried, writing long posts to Excellent Era to forgive him and not let him leave ever again.
Wei Chen snorted at his antics, already shoving the Captain position to him, grumbling that he was too old for it. Wu Chen smiled as he focused on the training camp, also feeling his age (which wasn’t hard for the both of them when they were surrounded by youthful faces of rising rookies with promising talents). Together with Ye Xiu, they joked that it wasn’t long before they were all overthrown and kicked.
Over the Internet, Glory fans everywhere were rejoicing and beginning to comment on how Season 7 was going to be intense, especially because Tiny Herb could possibly establish their own dynasty with a third consecutive championship and because Ye Xiu and Su Mucheng, now infamously known official siblings and former Best Partners for two years, were on opposite teams of last season’s finals. As if to feed the flames, both of them were jokingly sending comments to each other over social media that the other was going down.
[Lord Grim has been added to the Glory Professional Players Chat]
Dancing Rain: Welcome back, Brother!
Windy Rain: WELCOME BACK WELCOME BACK WELCOME BACK [party poppers]
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: You’re finally here. Geez, you took forever, old man.
Troubling Rain: YOU’RE BACK!!! LET’S PKPKPKPKPKPK.
Lord Grim: What am I doing here? Don’t you normally add people after the first match?
[Lord Grim has left the group.]
[Troubling Rain has added Lord Grim.]
[Lord Grim has left the group.]
[Dancing Rain has added Lord Grim.]
[Lord Grim has left the group.]
Windy Rain: Gasp.
Troubling Rain: [shookeye]
[Desert Dust has added Lord Grim.]
Desert Dust: Stay.
Lord Grim: ...
Troubling Rain: YEAH WTF. EVEN AS A JOKE THAT WAS TOO MUCH – STAY STAY STAY YOU JERK. STUPID OLD YE. DON’T YOU EVER LEAVE AGAIN. NOT EVEN WHEN YOU’RE OLD AND WRINKLY. THE BUSINESS WORLD DOESN’T DESERVE YOU. THEY’RE EVIL – STAY AWAY FROM CAPITALISM AND WORLD GREED –IT'S NOT WORTH IT OLD YE.
Flowing Clouds: You nearly gave him a heart attack by leaving, Senior.
Receding Tides: Huang Shaotian was tearing.
Bullet Rain: You have to stay.
Lord Grim: Oh. Really? Ok, then. Lol. I didn’t know you missed me that much.
Troubling Rain: WTF WTF WTF I WAS NOT CRYING.
Swoksaar: He was. ^-^
Troubling Rain: CAPTAIN!!
Boundless Seas: Anyways! You’re back!! Never leave again, Old Ye!! It was terrible without you! I don’t know how I missed someone who probably only posted two lines in his whole time in the chat group, but I did and I don’t want to feel that feeling again!!
Negative Nine Degrees: It was really chilling.
Flying Sword: It was. Don’t ever leave, Old Ye.
Flowing Clouds: Shut up! You don’t deserve to say that, Tiny Herb. You had him in B City. Old Ye, don’t ever abandon us. Our gods cannot abandon us. QAQ
Lord Grim: So much drama.
Delilo: They learned from the best. ^-^ (Welcome back, Ye Xiu.)
Vaccaria: Welcome back, Senior Ye.
Immovable Rock: Welcome back, Senior. You will not be using Leaf Heralds the Autumn then?
Lord Grim: Thanks you all.
Lord Grim: And ah, no. Those 24 guys were really for the kids. Even before I retired, I’ve always intended to end with Lord Grim 😊
Lord Grim: I guess it was fate for me and One Autumn Leaf to separate haha
Windy Rain: I... is this backstory??
Lord Grim: Besides, there’s already two Battle Mages so the team would be really unbalanced if we add one more LOL
Windy Rain: Wait, Senior Ye – go back!! I want to hear more!
Lord Grim: ‘Sides Leaf Heralds the Autumn’s name is almost the same as One Autumn Leaf – it'd be really confusing if both existed together.
Windy Rain: SENIOR PLEASE >.<
Lord Grim: Though it’d be really funny to hear the commentors during the fights haha. “And yi ye zhi qiu just--” “which one??”
Windy Rain: OLD YE BACK BACK
Lord Grim: Or at the press conference: “so why did you name it so similar” "well, actually, funny story, when I was trying to create my first avatar, there was this little girl
Dancing Rain: BROTHER!! I WAS JUST 12!!! DON’T REMEMBER THAT.
Lord Grim: Ah, whoops, laughed too hard and pressed enter too early. Anyways--
Lord Grim: Oh.
Lord Grim: Ok.
Windy Rain: WAIT, FINISH THIS STORY TOO!!
Windy Rain: WHHHY AREN’T YOU TYPING??
[Lord Grim has recalled a message.]
[Dancing Rain has recalled a message.]
Windy Rain: Wait, no!! Don’t you both dare – Someone tell me they screenshotted this!!
Windy Rain: You can’t just ignore me, Senior Ye! I know where you live!! AND MUMU, WHAT HAPPENED?? I PROMISE I WON’T LAUGH
Dancing Rain: Wow, how funny. I can just imagine commentor Pan Li stumbling over the names
Dancing Rain: What a tongue twister
Troubling Rain: You two are horrible, horrible people.
Windy Rain: MUMU
Troubling Rain: OHMYGOD HERE I WAS. JUST FOR ONCE LISTENING TO A STORY INSTEAD OF TALKING WHEN I COULD TALK BECAUSE I HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY AND YOU DON’T EVEN FINISH THE STORY! BOTH STORIES!! WTFWTFWTF OLD YE – I'M SO GOING TO PKPKPK YOU – DON'T YOU THINK I’LL EVER FORGET THIS. AND YOU! SU MUCHENG! IT’S NOT SCREENSHOTTED BUT IT’LL FOREVER BE IN MY BRAIN. EVIL WON’T EVER GET AWAY WITH THIS.
Flowing Clouds: This is actually pretty evil. Like Captain’s reading this and not even bothering to stop Huang Shaotian.
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: I’m actually in agreement with this. Like wow, @Excellent Era @Tiny Herb, how do you live with this?
Aweto: With lots of practice. [deadpan]
Soft Mist: Well, if you look clearly, Ye Xiu was honoring his little sister’s wish, so there’s nothing really wrong about this.
Troubling Rain: YOU RICH PEOPLE AND YOUR SECRETS. I FINALLY UNDERSTAND THAT CORPORATISM IS A DARK AND EVIL AND CORRUPTING INFLUENCE THAT SHOULD NEVER BE TOLERATED. FIGHT ME, TANG ROU, I’LL PKPKPKPKPKPK ALL YOU RICH KIDS.
Soft Mist: [private arena room information]
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: …
Windy Rain: …
Crying Devil: ...
Little Cold Hands: You fell into her trap card. Tang Rou always wants to fight.
Steamed Bun Invasion: Oooh, me too!! [private arena room information]
Lord Grim: LOL My team is filled with aggro-pulling little monsters. That said: If no one enters, let me know Little Bao. I’ll join you.
Steamed Bun Invasion: Thanks, Senior! Let’s fight!!!
Dazzling Hundred Blossoms: ...As expected of the team with the biggest aggro-puller jerk around.
Lord Grim: Ah, Wei Chen?
Windward Formation: [snorts] They mean you, dumbass.
One Autumn Leaf: Wait, Senior Ye, I am so curious
“...Is he wearing a suit under his Excellent Era jacket?” Fang Shiqian gaped as Ye Xiu followed behind his team to their next match which was in a few minutes while texting hurriedly on his phone.
“Oh, there was this important meeting a few hours ago that Ye Qiu couldn’t go to because he forgot he had to do an important medical checkup.” Su Mucheng casually revealed, watching her brother in amusement. “Luckily, it was in this city. Ye Xiu just got off the car coming back from it.”
“You mean, he literally switched with his twin, finished whatever work needed to be done, got here just in time for a match, and is probably going to win it? Is this guy real? How is he possible?”
Su Mucheng’s smile reached her eyes. “He’s Ye Xiu.”
Wang Jiexi shook his head at his team’s antics, instead choosing to focus on the match that was to come. Ye Xiu did, in fact, lead his team to victory.
“That Unspecialized account under Glory Textbook God Ye’s control has got to be cheats.”
“He’s too good! He should be wearing kitty paws as a handicap.”
“QAQ I miss this so much. God Ye please show more of your skills. Forget Golden Leaf and keep leading EE.”
"This is so cool... I missed his Master Tactician skills so much. I'm so glad he's back QAQ"
The audience watched in awe as the season continued with intense battles as if the gods themselves had descended for war, until finally, the final battle came and Excellent Era won against Tiny Herb, the team gaining a fourth championship under their belt.
Although everyone was impressed by Lord Grim and Ye Xiu's tactics and skills, all realized in the end that it really had been the team holding Ye Xiu back in Season 4 and 5, and why Ye Xiu always said that Glory really wasn't meant to be a single player game.