“Oh, yes, that would be great. What time will you be reaching Suzhou tomorrow?”
“I’ll be reaching Suzhou at around nine in the morning. How about we meet at that cafe in Shiquan Street at ten? Can you also bring Lu Chen and Beiming Xue along?”
“Okay!” He Yi didn’t waste any time in agreeing to the meeting, but she added something after that. “However, if you want to sign us to a contract, you’ll need to sign Murong Mingyue as well.”
The other party hesitated for a moment before she laughed and said, “That’s fine as well. A party needs at least four people after all. I agree to that condition.”
“Okay, then I’ll see you tomorrow!”
He Yi ended the call and looked up to see the three of us staring at her with shocked expressions on our faces.
“Lenovo wants to sign us?” I asked.
He Yi nodded with a slight smile on her face. “But I have this feeling that they really only want to sign two people, and that is you, Lu Chen, and Beiming Xue. Mingyue and I are merely extras that come in a package deal.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Eve, you’re already among the Top 20 players in the champion arena, so no one is carrying you into the team. Sis, on the other hand, is definitely being carried onto the team.”
“WTF! You ass!” Murong Mingyue punched me from behind before she laughed and said, “Can’t you leave me some dignity!?”
He Yi and Beiming Xue covered their mouths and laughed at our charade.
The four of us quickly drove to the nearest buffet place and started our feast. After we finished off the seafood, we began to talk about what we were going to do next as we nursed our drinks.
“We should go and participate in the team arena later. Don’t bother with your ranking in the champion arena for now. We need to prioritize getting our team arena rankings up as well.”
I looked at He Yi and Murong Mingyue. “Sis, your ability to win 1v1 duels is very limited. You should focus on your 2v2 battles with Eve. Once the two of you have established a deep understanding of each other's quirks, tendencies, and idiosyncrasies, you’ll be able to display the full might of the Priest + Magic Knight pairing, one of the most ridiculous pairings in the game. Eve, you just need to be able to pull the opponent’s fire without dying yourself. Given your attack power, most teams in the team arena won’t be able to do anything to you and even breaking into the Top 10 isn’t a pipedream for you.”
He Yi nodded her head. “Mn, I got it. I’ll work hard. I won’t go to any of the meetings at the GGS Shanghai branch over the next few days. I’ll just focus on grinding the arena. It’s time to go for broke! I’ll just ask them to send me the meeting minutes afterward.”
Murong Mingyue retorted in a sarcastic voice, “You really do fit your role as vice president, huh…”
He Yi simply laughed at the remark.
It was at this time that Beiming Xue, who had been flipping through the news on her phone, suddenly let out a soft yell. “Woah! Did you guys see the news! Something big has happened in the gaming world!”
“Oh? What happened?” The three of us were taken aback by her sudden yell.
Beiming Xue’s eyes were fixed on her phone as she read it out to us. “TCL, one of the premier companies in China, has decided to create a gaming club. They’ve signed the CGL Hall of Famers Candlelight Shadow, Tempest Shadow, Blue Sky Scar, Transient Smoke and Clouds, and God’s Dance for an outrageous amount of money…” 
I sucked in a deep breath before saying, “Damn, TCL really knows how to make an entrance. I didn’t think that a huge corporation like TCL would actually make their move this fast. No wonder Lenovo called us just now. Tsk tsk, TCL swallowed up the five War Gods of Candle Dragon just like that. I wonder just how much money they spent to accomplish something like that. But with this signing, TCL squad will have many powerful warriors and skilled generals. They’ll surely be one of the invincible battleships in the tournament scene.”
Beiming Xue pursed her lips before she smiled and said, “Let me check just how much money TCL spent to sign Candlelight Shadow and his gang…”
After a few minutes, Beiming Xue laughed and said, “I got it. According to a small but reliable news site, TCL signed them to a one-year contract. Candlelight Shadow’s annual salary is twenty million RMB a year, while Tempest Shadow, Blue Sky Scar, and Transient Smoke and Clouds were all signed to ten million RMB deals. God’s Dance managed to get a slightly better deal than the rest of the team and her salary is at twelve million a year…”
He Yi’s small mouth dropped open as she said in an incredulous voice, “TCL really does know how to make a splash! Just recruiting those five professional gamers will cost them a cool sixty-two million dollars a year! That’s insane…”
I shook my head before I replied, “Maybe spending this money is worth it. After all, Candlelight Shadow is the most popular gamer in China and he even has the moniker ‘Martial God’. Just the money they will make from a year of tournaments and marketing will be enough to recoup their outlay. Besides, when Candlelight Shadow went to South Korea to study, he was originally known as South Korea’s ‘Starcraft Emperor’. He’s really famous in that country too. TCL has actually killed two birds with one stone here. It was an excellent piece of business, really.”
Murong Mingyue nodded her head in agreement. “Yeah, Lu Chen is right on the money. TCL’s move to sign the five War Gods of Candle Dragon can definitely be considered a masterstroke.”
I cleared my throat before saying, “It honestly looks like Lenovo is very serious about signing the four of us to a contract. I mean, they’re even willing to send someone down from Beijing just to meet us tomorrow. So what kind of terms should we ask for? What should be the deal breaker for us? Because this concerns how much we will earn in a year as professional gamers.”
He Yi let out a silvery laugh and said, “We should support state corporations like Lenovo, so we won’t ask for a ridiculous amount of money. But we can’t shortchange ourselves too much either. Lu Chen’s price on the open market definitely won’t be any less than ten million. Any less would be putting his title as Little Heavenly King to shame. Beiming Xue’s contract also can’t be any less than eight million, because I honestly don’t think you’re inferior to Transient Smoke and Clouds in any way. As for Mingyue and I, we don’t really care.”
“Yeah, let’s finish grinding the team arena and talk about it again. Let’s win as many matches as we can before going to sleep. Let’s get up at nine and discuss this again.”
Now that dinner was over with, it was about time to challenge the team arena with Beiming Xue!
I went online and appeared in Sky City. I saw Beiming Xue was running toward me with the Blazing Shadow Bow in hand. She smiled and said, “Big bro, party me…”
I added Beiming Xue to my party and activated Martial God before I opened up the arena interface. I chose the team arena option and the leaderboard popped up as well. To my utter surprise, I saw that the team ranked first on the board was Stranger of Three Lifetimes and Eyes Like Water. I’d never expected the players of Vanished God City to show up like this and take first place in the team arena. However, the players who challenged the champion arena were all coming for that crown right now. Stranger of Three Lifetimes might not be able to hold on to that top spot for too long.
Light flashed in front of my eyes and we were teleported to one of the arena waiting rooms. The two of us looked out of the window to see countless arenas scattered across the area. We would soon be participating in endless battles in these stadiums.
“Are you ready, Beiming? I’m about to start looking for a match…”
“Yeah, I’m good to go. Big bro, let’s begin!”
“Okay! Go, go, go!”
I smiled at her as I pressed the “Find Match” button. Not even a second passed before we heard the ringing sound of the system notice.
System Notice: Hello, your team has been successfully matched with players “Nine Hells” and “Hotspring”! The battle will commence in 5 seconds!
We were teleported into the arena after that. Okay, there were two fighters standing in front of us. One was a Level 117 magic knight and the other was a Level 116 wanderer. Both of them were mounted on identical mountain rams. I’ve seen these mounts before because there were quite a few players in Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls who were riding on these things. They were significantly lousier than the Fireblade Warhorses, but they were better than nothing. As Dark Steel–grade mounts, they still added a significant amount of stats and it was better than running on the ground like a trooper.
Beiming Xue’s battle senses were extraordinary. She had immediately flown backward and raised her bow the moment she entered the arena. Her beautiful blood-red eyes were fixed on the other team and she looked as if she was ready to let fly.
I didn’t bother to say anything. I simply raised the Heaven-stealing Sword high in the air and charged at the enemy team. I rushed toward Nine Hells and I waved my hand in the air. My God Binding Art howled in the air as four divine weapons fell from the sky and bound Hotspring in place.
Mn, the God Binding Art had a rather long channeling time, so it was pretty useless against experts like Moonkiss and Luo River God of the Capital. They would dodge this skill about 90% of the time. However, it became a cheat code in my hands when we were up against noobs like these.
I smashed straight into Nine Hells, causing the magic knight’s mountain ram to bleat frantically. As his eyes widened in shock, my Heaven-stealing Sword shot toward him, a spiraling cone of indigo energy swirling on its tip. My attack pierced through his shield and broke through his defenses. But I wasn’t done yet! I immediately followed that Universe Break with Burning Blade Slash. Three blazing crescents of sword energy crashed into my opponent and four damage numbers flew up above his head as the flaming energy ate into his body.
Even a top magic knight like Gui Guzi might not be able to survive if I hit him with my full combo of Universe Break + Burning Blade Slash, so this second-rate magic knight in front of me didn’t stand a chance! Nine Hells toppled down from the back of his mountain ram with a dull groan. He had been killed in a single round of combat.
A look of complete and utter shock appeared on Hotspring’s face. Even though he was still bound by the God Binding Art, the wanderer’s eyes widened into saucers as he yelled, “What the hell! That’s way too insane! He killed him in a single combo? Nine Hells has 24000 HP!”
I couldn’t help but chuckle at Hotspring’s exclamation. Just my Universe Break alone had nearly one-shot him. In this day and age, a magic knight needed to have at least 30k HP to face someone like me. If not, he was shit out of luck.
On the other side, Beiming Xue was strumming the Blazing Shadow Bow. More than ten arrows whistled through the air as she unleashed Spiraling Arrow Blade + Evil Spirit Volley combo. Most of the arrows nestled inside Hotspring’s chestplate. Even though the wanderer was also a rider,his HP and Defense were a fair bit lousier than an average magic knight’s. There was no way that he could withstand Beiming Xue’s attacks. He let out a wail of misery and soon followed his companion in death.
It was our complete victory!
We had a really easy time in our first team battle together and we had ended in less than fifteen seconds! I had one-shot the magic knight with a single charge and Beiming Xue had killed the bound wanderer with a single combo as well. Our teamwork had been on point.
After we were teleported out of the arena, Beiming Xue’s lips curved up into a smile. “Big bro, you’re so powerful. That God Binding Art is really incredible as well! Once you bind an opponent, it makes it so much easier for me to hit them with my Evil Spirit Volley…”
I laughed. “Yeah, it’ll be really easy for us at the beginning, but once our ranks have risen high enough and we start meeting opponents like Farewell Song, Laughing At The Heavens, and Dominating Heaven Blade, the success rate of my God Binding Art will start to fall dramatically. We can’t put our hopes on this skill. All you need to do is to match my movements. I’ll charge in and kill the enemy while you kite them. That is the royal road of winning these 2v2 matches.”
Beiming Xue nodded her head with a face full of smiles. She replied in a cool and confident voice, “I got it. I’ll work hard to become the strongest two-man team with big bro! We definitely will!!”
I gave a heavy nod of my head and started looking for another match. Soon after, I continued to kill noobs with my pretty little sister. Since there were players who had been participating in the team arena since this afternoon, it was quite hard for us to meet any strong teams. We were basically sweeping aside all of the noobs that were matched against us. However, I didn’t keep using the same tactic all over again. I also tried using the “Icy Cyclone Domain + Evil Spirit Volley” tactic with Beiming Xue, and we also tried to use Shock Arrow to raise the success rate of God Binding Art. Another tactic I tried was to use Thousand Ice Slash + Sword Boomerang to draw all the fire toward me. All of these synergies we were testing out would become weapons for us to use against stronger opponents in the future!