The next day, we arrived at Los Angeles and got on a big bus right away. It was a sleepy ride until the team leader woke us up for a meal, which we finished in no time before going back to sleep again. It was so that we could adjust to the time difference and compete at our best. Starting tomorrow, the WEL internationals would begin, and the 32 best teams from all over the world would battle each other to decide the world champion!
We ate another meal at a Chinese restaurant beneath our hotel, but it tasted like western food no matter how Chinese they claimed to be. Lin Yixin, Stranger of Three Lifetimes, Warsky, Li Chengfeng and I loved spicy food, but the food here was anything but spicy, and the dishes were overly sweet for some reason. In a sense, it was almost revolting to eat.
After we returned to the hotel, I lay on my bed and forced myself to fall asleep. The competition would begin in 16 hours, so I planned to sleep for 10 hours before spending the remaining time preparing and scouting our opponents. It wasn’t like I didn’t want to head out and explore the city, but my spoken English was third-rate at best. He Yi had no such problems as a matter of course, but it didn’t feel right to make her my personal translator. She was the CEO of Raincube, the partner of Blue Star, and a future billionaire after all.
While I was trying to fall asleep, I recalled my brief conversation with Stranger of Three Lifetimes at the airport—
"You’re a true friend, Lu Chen. Thank you!"
"Am I? Does that mean I don’t need to return that 1000-mage party you borrowed me? Please, Momo…"
"Fine, but I have a condition. I want Ancient Sword Dreaming Souls to train me 1000 Dragonlight Cavalrymen in a month; a cavalry troop that belongs to Blazing Hot Lips and me alone. How does that sound?"
I didn’t hoard the Dragonlight Cavalry like a dragon. While it was undoubtedly the most valuable unit at the current stage of the game right now, it was nothing compared to a friend like Stranger of Three Lifetimes. Confidants weren’t limited to bros only. Sometimes, you could find them in a member of the opposite sex as well.
The next day, I was woken up very early in the morning.
"Wake up, Lu Chen! Two people in the China server became Divine Generals last night!" He Yi called out to me from outside the door.
The news had startled me to full wakefulness immediately. After I put on my clothes and opened the door, I found He Yi and Lin Yixin standing side by side. I asked them, "What happened? Who were the two people who became Divine Generals?"
Lin Yixin replied, "It’s Song of Ice and Fire and Farewell Song…"
"What the fuck? Didn’t they come with us to participate in the WEL? Where on earth did they find the time to become Divine Generals?"
"Well, they spent last night killing bosses to grind levels, and it so happened that they both ascended at the same time…"
I checked my phone and opened Heavenblessed’s official website. As expected, two new Divine General Skills were listed on the Divine General Ranking—
Protection of the Divine Flames: Summon the power of the divine and transform it into flames that protect oneself. Deal 5% HP damage to all nearby enemy targets per second. Skill effectiveness is reduced by 90% against bosses, and costs 5 Divine Energy Points per minute. Skill exclusive to Song of Ice and Fire.
Dark God Transformation: Summon the power of the gods and devils and resurrect the Dark God’s power in the user’s body. Greatly increase all stats and combat abilities for as long as the skill is active. Skill effectiveness depends on Tactics, and costs 10 Divine Energy Points per minute. Skill exclusive to Farewell Song.
Both skills were super good. Protection of the Divine Flames turned the frozen berserker into a flaming porcupine who burned anyone who got too close to him for 5% of their HP per second. What this meant was that he could stand next to a full health opponent and do nothing, and his Divine General Skill would burn them to death in 20 seconds or so. It was a most deadly skill in PvP battles!
Farewell Song’s Divine General Skill was pretty imbalanced as well. The name of the Divine General Skill, Dark God Transformation, was plenty cool already, but the actual effects of the skill were even better. Dark God Transformation enhanced all of Farewell Song’s stats and combat abilities drastically—which, from the sound of it, was very similar to Li Chengfeng’s Battle Soul Possession—and Farewell Song was already a world-class pro in solo combat in the first place. If the terrain was something like a forest, even I had to bring my full attention to bear and fight him seriously. Now that he was armed with Dark God Transformation, I had no doubt that he was now one of the top five duelists in China!
"I can’t believe they ascended before Gui Guzi, Eve, and Lian Xin. You’ve all met the requirements a long time ago. So sad…" I sighed.
He Yi shrugged. "I actually helped Yu Tong’s party to kill a boss last night, but I wasn’t lucky enough to learn a Divine General Skill. What can you do?"
Lin Yixin said, "You should go wash your face. We’ll wait for you at the restaurant, okay? The 16th-finals of the internationals will begin in just a couple of hours!"
Today was definitely one of those days where I had to put on my serious face. Yes, my team bested all opposition and became the national champion of China, but in a sense it was like stamping out all the stirring rebels in your country before declaring yourself the emperor—it wasn’t really something to be proud of. Beating the strongest teams in the world and becoming the world champion though, now that was an entirely different story. It was our dream to carve our guild’s name in the record books of Eternal Moon Corporation.
After I took a quick shower, I walked to the restaurant and joined the Chinese players who were already having their breakfast. Unfortunately, the food that was being served was stuff like tomato sauce, spaghetti and many more dishes that definitely were not very Chinese-friendly. Staring at a plate of spaghetti with a decidedly dissatisfied expression on his face, Li Chengfeng asked, "Er… Rose, can I order an egg fried rice or something?"
Rose replied, "Nope. Just put up with this for now."
Li Chengfeng complained, "I know I’m just an insignificant player here to participate in an insignificant friendly match, but I’m still their guest, dammit. What kind of food service doesn’t take the nationality of their guests into consideration?"
I whispered to him, "Chengfeng, I saw a shop selling dried fish on the opposite side of the hotel just now. When today’s match is over, we’ll buy some dried fish, chili sauce, cumin or whatever and barbecue them at a fireplace, okay?"
Li Chengfeng looked at me like he found his savior. "The vice leader is wise…"
He Yi shook her head at our antics as she sat down next to us with a plate of food. "You still need to eat something now, Chengfeng. It’s a bad idea to play on an empty stomach. Also, it’s not like the friendly tournament doesn’t reward you with anything. I heard that the champion reward for the tournament is 1 level and 1 Luck, which is a lot even though there won’t be any prize to draw."
Li Chengfeng exclaimed in pleasant surprise, "Really?"
"Of course. What’s the point of lying to you about this?"
Not far away, Farewell Song and Warsky widened their eyes at the same time. "Fuck, in that case we must win the friendly match no matter what. Don’t you agree, Stranger of Three Lifetimes, Luo River God of the Capital?"
The two girls looked up at the same time and said, "Be quiet. We’re eating right now!"
"Oh right, did they reveal the rewards for the internationals yet?" I asked.
Lin Yixin smiled. "We’ll know once we enter the venue!"
After breakfast was over, we made one last preparation, grabbed our gaming helmets and departed toward our destination.
The WEL offline matches were held in Los Angeles greatest e-sports stadium as a matter of course. By the time we showed up, there were already a sea of people waiting for their turn to enter the stadium. We lifted our chest badges and prepared for a hard fight ahead of us!
I looked up at a large display where the WEL internationals reward were listed—
17th to 32th: Level +2, Luck +2, 10000 EUR per player, and 1 chance to draw at best a Heaven-grade item!
9th to 16th: Level +3, Luck +3, 20000 EUR per player, and 1 chance to draw at best a Heaven-grade item!
5th to 8th: Level +4, Luck +4, 100000 EUR per player, and 1 chance to draw at best an Immortal-grade item!
3rd to 4th: Level +5, Luck +5, 200000 EUR per player, and 1 chance to draw at best an Immortal-grade item!
2nd: Level +6, Luck +6, 500000 EUR per player, and 1 chance to draw a Divine Armament–level item!
1st: Level + 8, Luck + 8, 1 million EUR per player, and 1 chance to draw an item beyond Divine Armament–level!
Everyone was speechless for a moment. A while later, Warsky let out a sigh of admiration, "Holy shit, Eternal Moon Corporation is practically flinging money at our faces! 1 million EUR per player for the champion team? That’s 8.3 million in RMB! Anyone who wins this will literally walk home a millionaire!"
But Farewell Song took a shot at his boss. "Boss, I dare you to find a champion team who isn’t a millionaire already..."
It was at this moment Rose pointed to the right and said, "Come on, our seats are over there. As you may have noticed, there is a vending machine not far away from our seats. Very convenient…"
As we moved toward our waiting area, hundreds of Chinese exchange students sitting behind our seats raised red banners with the words, "China must win!"
I grinned. "Fuck…"
However, Japan’s waiting area happened to be situated not far away from ours. There were two teams in their seats already, and one of them wearing a black sports outfit walked up to the handrails and shot us a thumbs-up from afar.
Warsky guessed, "Is he… praising us or something?"
Li Chengfeng snorted in disdain. "What are you, a child? Don’t you see what he’s doing?"
As expected, the Japanese athlete swiftly rotated his thumb downward into a universal gesture that was just as familiar as the thumbs-up. Enraged, Warsky immediately walked up to our side of the handrail and swore in the standard Zhengzhou dialect, "You want to die, you little bitch?!"
The Japanese athlete simply shot him a disdainful sneer and said in shaky Chinese, "Just you wait, China will be annihilated… people like you will never understand what competitive spirit means!"
At this point, Li Chengfeng and I were riled up as well, so we joined Warsky at the handrails and glared at the Japanese athlete. After I put a hand on Warsky’s shoulder and pulled him back slightly, I said, "Is that so? Then let us see who has the better ‘spirit’ on the battlefield. Try not to get slaughtered like a dog before you meet us in the finals, okay?"
The Japanese player’s face darkened. "Hmph!"
After we returned to our waiting area, Rose said to us in a soft voice, "Where is your impulse control, people? We’re in public right now!"
Warsky said, "I wouldn’t act like that if that bitchass Japanese didn’t act the way he did!"
Rose glanced at him and said, "Did you forget you’re here to participate in a friendly competition, Warsky? Where’s the friendliness? He barely even tried, and you fell for his taunt hook, line and sinker!"
That got Warsky to look embarrassed. "Who’s that bastard anyway?"
Sitting beside me, Lin Yixin let out a chuckle and hugged my arm a little. "You don’t know him, do you? If I remember correctly, he’s said to be the best swordsman in the Japan server, and that he met no match for three years straight. I think he’s called… well, I can’t remember his ID…"
He Yi added expressionlessly, "It’s Red Maple. He’s the number one player in the JGL, and he’s been a swordsman since Spirit of Grief. It’s said that he hit his peak in Spirit of Grief, and that he’s currently the strongest player in the Japanese server. He’s also in charge of a super guild, but I can’t remember the name…"
I replied carelessly, "Who cares? We mop the floor with him if we run into him later. It’s that simple!"
Warsky: "..."Previous Chapter Next Chapter