Chapter 399: Pre-match Confrontation

I stopped laughing like a heartless bastard before asking, "So, how much did you earn from this ad, Beauty Yi?"

"The branch president herself, Qin Yun, requested me to shoot this advertisement, so I earned a bit more than usual. 2.8 million RMB to be exact."

"Fuck, that’s a lot of money…"

"Hehe, I know right? Are you jealous?"

"Of course not. Treat me to a meal when this is over."

"Mn."

……

It was at this moment a beautiful girl holding a mic walked up the platform and smiled at everyone. "The annual feast of gaming is on us again, and the battlefield has moved on from ‘Spirit of Grief’ to ‘Heavenblessed’. Who Will Rise is a tournament co-organized by CGL and Eternal Moon where all the heroes of China gather at one place to fight for a golden opportunity. Tomorrow will be a wonderful day for sure, don’t you agree? Hello everyone, I am Fei’er, the special host hired for this event…"

Half of us at the table spat out our drinks when we heard the name "Fei’er”. She had been Eternal Moon’s primary host for three games in a row, and today she should be at least 30 years old. However, as if she was immune to the passage of time, she still looked as young and charming as she was many years ago.

"Next, we would like to invite the representative of VR gaming in China, Candlelight Shadow, Mr. Fang Zhuo to give his opening speech!" Fei’er did an inviting gesture, and everyone turned toward a certain direction. At a table, a young man rose from his seat, straightened out his attire and started walking toward the platform.

The young man was of course Candlelight Shadow. Unlike most people, he was wearing a modified military uniform. Apparently, he had gotten used to this attire after he returned from his studies in Korea.

After Candlelight Shadow took over the stage, he smiled confidently and said, "Honorable leaders and players, I am the founder of Candle Dragon, Candlelight Shadow. I am honored to be able to stand here and give my opening speech. As a member of China gaming, I feel a great responsibility to…"

A number of courteous remarks later, Candlelight Shadow started wrapping up his speech. "China’s servers had never been peaceful, but I wish that everyone would set down their prejudices and fight for our country when the Nation Wars begin. Candle Dragon swears to give their all to protect the players of China and steer our country toward victory! But at the same time, we would like to remind some foolish guilds to stop trying to block the unstoppable wheels of history. Candle Dragon has no desire to engage in unnecessary conflict, and we won’t back down from any challenge!"

It was at this moment Candlelight Shadow turned toward us and smiled arrogantly and disdainfully. "Since Candle Dragon has entered the China servers, we have crushed Soul Battle Robes, destroyed Snow Moon, and annihilated Fleeting Years. Frankly, your guild is of no threat to us whatsoever, heh…"

Practically everyone here was aware of the rivalry between Candle Dragon and Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls. However, no one expected the number one player of China’s VR gaming, Candlelight Shadow, to insult Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls in public. Moreover, it wasn’t the kind of petty insult that most people could just ignore and walk away.

Bang!

I hit the table so hard that the entire hall turned as silent as death in an instant. Then, in front of all the attending leaders, players and Eternal Moon employees, I rose to my feet and pointed a finger at Candlelight Shadow. "You really think that the banner of China will still be yours when the next CGL competition begins?"

It was a simple question, but it was enough to stun Candlelight Shadow to silence.

Candlelight Shadow and I were the only ones who were standing above and below the platform. Everyone else was whispering among themselves—

"WTF, man. Who is this guy? Where does he find the guts to challenge Candlelight Shadow?"

"That guy’s Lu Chen, you idiot! Don’t you see the two super beauties sitting next to him? They are Wind Fantasy and From Water!"

"Fuck, if he’s Lu Chen then… I suppose he does have the right to challenge Candlelight Shadow. He’s probably the only player in the entire China even!"

"Haha, this is interesting! The match hasn’t even started yet, but the air is filled with the scent of gunpowder already! I’m sure the battle between Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls and Candle Dragon will be a great one, hehe!"

……

Above the platform, Candlelight Shadow glared at me before saying, "We will see, won’t we?"

I smiled back. "Yes, you will!"

When I sat back down, He Yi shot me a look of praise. "Not bad, not bad. We may be weaker than Candle Dragon right now, but that’s no reason to lose our spirit!"

At the table next to ours, Xu Yang and Gui Guzi chimed in with a chuckle. "That was so cool, Lu Chen! Next time that bastard will think twice before he insult us like that! Let’s teach him a lesson tomorrow and tell him who’s the real boss around here!"

I nodded. "Let’s give it our all, everyone!"

"Mn!"

It didn’t take a genius to figure out that the atmosphere of the hall had turned awkward, courtesy of Candlelight Shadow and I, so Fei’er quickly retook the stage and said, "Thank you for your speech, Mr. Fang Zhuo. Next, we would like to invite the chairman of China Economic Union of VR, Mr. Tang Feng, to give his speech."

I tuned out the older man’s speech immediately. Whatever the chairman said, it basically had nothing to do with us players.

With the old man talk finished, the feast finally began.

All kinds of delicious dishes were placed on everyone’s tables in no time. Eternal Moon Corporation was never one to be stingy with their accommodation, food, and drink services because they were the best international gaming company in the entire world, and they had to maintain their image. This also meant that us players would be able to face tomorrow’s grueling battles in the best possible condition.

After Fei’er straightened her skirt a bit and got down the platform, she walked up to our table and smiled at us. "I know this table is full, but can I sit with you all?"

Li Chengfeng smiled back. "Of course you can. Please have a seat, miss host…"

Fei’er nodded happily and sat next to He Yi. She shot the guild leader a glance before starting, "From Water sure is young and beautiful. To think that someone your age is the Asia Region Vice President of GGS… when I was at your age, I had to work like a dog just for ten thousand RMB a month…"

He Yi giggled a little. "Nonsense, I’m the one who should be envious of you. Your job pays less, but you also get to enjoy a huge degree of freedom. I, on the other hand, have to attend meetings every day, and I get no freedom to myself at all."

"By the way, how old are you? You can whisper if you’re embarrassed…" Fei’er asked quietly with a smile.

He Yi shot me a complicated look before whispering back, "I’m 26 now…"

"I see…" Fei’er nodded.

Pursing my lips, I asked, "Eve?"

"N-nothing…"

He Yi turned away from me before smiling at Fei’er again. "I’ve been a fan of games even before I was employed, so I’ve followed Eternal Moon Corporation’s games since the launch of the first game of their epic series, Eternal Moon. Fei’er, you were the primary host for all three games, Eternal Moon, Spirit of Grief, and now Heavenblessed. Don’t you feel a lot of pressure your shoulders?"

Fei’er sighed. "Of course I’m tired. I’ve been wanting to marry myself off to a good man and enjoy life for a long time now, but I still haven’t found my destined partner yet. Hmph, if he does show up one day, the first thing I’m gonna do is to slap him across the face. It’s only right after all these years of waiting! And well… it wasn’t like I’ve never thought of retirement. I’ve been a gaming host for more than a decade, and I'm really tired to say the least. But what can I do? My boss wouldn’t let me quit, and my department manager Lost Leaf wouldn’t give me a long vacation. He even said he’s going to make me the host again for their fourth game…"

He Yi shivered visibly and muttered, "How inhumane…"

"I know…"

……

Fei’er barely got enough time to finish her drumstick before she had to return to the platform again. After wiping her oily mouth with a tissue, she ran back up the platform and grabbed the mike. "Everyone, it is time for the group draw to decide the fighting pairings for the Top 32 phase! All party leaders, please come to the stage."

We had never actually discussed this, but since I had the Famous General Skill "Martial God" I was tacitly recognized as our party leader. So, I walked up the stage to draw the lot with Lin Yixin in tow. Both of us were praying that our parties wouldn’t be in the same half. Our battle would only be legendary if we encountered each other at the finals!

"First, we invite the party leader of Snowy Cathaya, Wind Fantasy, to draw the lot…" Fei’er said with a smile as a thunderous clap broke from the crowd. In fact, there were players who were standing outside the venue just to watch her. The Fruit Knife Goddess was as popular as the sun in China, and when the people realized that she was even prettier than she was in the game, countless people clapped to show their excitement and support. A normal person would clap both their hands, but the people were too busy wiping their mouths with one hand to clap with the other. So, they opted to slap their own faces instead until it looked as red as the cheeks of a young girl in love.

Lin Yixin put her hand in the drawing lot and searched around for a bit. Then, she took out a white ball with the letter "E4" written on it. There were four parties in a group, so this meant that Snowy Cathaya was the fourth party of the fifth group.

Next, Fei’er said, "Lu Chen of Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls, please draw the lot now…"

Fei’er addressed me by my real name because I was a CGL Hall of Famer, and my real name had been made public ages ago. I didn’t win a thunderous applause like Lin Yixin did, but I definitely won the squeals of many beautiful women. I looked outside the windows and saw a lot of university girls from Shanghai. They were excited after they discovered that I was very handsome in real life.

I put my hand in the lot and searched around for a bit. A while later, I took out a ball with the letter "A1" written on it. The first party of the first group? If this wasn’t a sign of good luck, I don’t know what was! Also, thank goodness we weren’t in the same half as Snowy Cathaya!

The rest of the group draw proceeded in more or less the same fashion as Fei’er entered the draw results live into Heavenblessed’s system. Half an hour later, the complete groupings were displayed on the screen—

 

Group A

Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls VS Fate

Immortal Sword Inn VS Flower Room

 

Group B

Loulan In Midnight VS Seize The Throne

Dragon God Temple VS Heavenly Plan Palace

 

Group C

Heaven Melody VS Candle Dragon

Riverside Pavilion VS Seventh Heaven

 

Group D

Purple Lily VS Dream Of Tang

Othershore Flower VS Loyalty Above All

……

This was the first half of the grouping. It was incredibly exciting because Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls’ first opponent was Fate!

Fate was the fifth strongest guild on the Guild Ranking of China. They were very powerful as a matter of course, and their guild leader, Chosen One, was the 27th ranker of the CGL Hall of Fame. Sure, he was the last-placed CGL Hall of Famer, but he was still a great player in his own right. A bloody battle was almost certainly waiting for us tomorrow!

Besides that, another two powerful guilds, Purple Lily and Candle Dragon, were placed in the first half of the grouping as well. Purple Lily was ranked third, and Candle Dragon first on the Guild Ranking. Hmph hmph, the first half was where the gods were gathered for sure!

The second half of the grouping was just as exciting, however—

 

Group E

Hunting Moon Dynasty VS Gods of Destruction

Return of the King VS Snowy Cathaya

 

Group F

The Monarch Descends VS Snow of Frozen River

Zero Pitch Sonata VS Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls Second Seed

 

Group G

Soul Battle Robes VS Warsky Alliance

Mad Dragon VS Hegemon Palace

 

Group H

Dirge of War VS Snow Moon

Baidicheng VS Myth

……

The competitiveness of the second half was in no way inferior to the first. Snowy Cathaya, Warsky Alliance, Hegemon Palace, and Zero Pitch Sonata were all powerful parties, and even Snow Moon was in the run as well. All those who participated under that guild name were the successors of the legendary players who conquered the world of Spirit of Grief back then.

Of course, today it was a question if Snow Moon could even enter the Top 16. The players who founded their legend had retired a long time ago, and their successors were mostly noobs.

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