editors: celtic & juurensha
The lights left no shadows on the sandbox table, making it appear as bright as day.
The miniature audition map was set out under a glass cover, spanning an area of about two pool tables.
Half an hour before the curfew, Wu Jin was still changing angles, adjusting the parameters of the sandbox table, and observing the changes they caused over the whole map.
Half hills, half grassland.
When the wind speed reached 33m/s, the lower reaches of the river would overflow its banks, crests of waves appearing and breaking, landslides occurring on all three hills. The soil under the forest of broad-leaved trees was loose, while the ground under the conifer trees was hard… In a state of extreme cold…
A series of notes were quickly marked down in Wu Jin’s notebook.
It was the same map, but completely different playing conditions could be created simply by changing the game system.
If he was right, the audition had been PVP (player against player), while the elimination match would be PVE (player versus environment).
The overall rhythm of the game had changed from players fighting each other to dealing with a disastrous environment, and the scarcity of resources under the ‘law of the jungle’ would increase dramatically.
Wu Jin suddenly remembered the popular online games from a thousand years ago.
In PVE instances, players would be faced with instance bosses whose attack and defense stats were countless times higher than their own, but following the principle of fairness in a game, there was usually some kind of rule that could be followed in order to win.
If it was possible to find the rules for this game––
Wu Jin’s gaze landed on the single ‘mathematics’ entry in the timetable, then moved to ‘firearms’.
Even before planning to lay down in the woods to seriously focus on drafting up a series of plans, he had better prevent himself from being shot to death first!
Wu Jin let out a heartfelt sigh.
A week passed by in a flash.
Red was still conscientiously helping Wei Shi punch in. Caesar was immersed in his over the top, sticky sweet video calls, asking his sugar mommy, ‘am I your cute little rabbit’ every day, to the point where even Wei Shi’s gaze seemed to suggest that he was looking at a mentally deficient whenever he looked at Caesar.
Their other roommate––Silver Thread Roll’s Thin Fire, came and went like a shadow, and could occasionally be spotted doing live broadcasts to his fans in the woods.
Wu Jin came to a sudden realization, “He… and the Silver Thread Roll sniper Thin Water have similar names…”
Zoe, who was to one side, said coolly, “They’re brothers. Thin Water sends out on average three Star Blog posts a day to draw in votes for Thin Fire, and he even sent over some of the rich fans from his live broadcasting channel in order to help him build momentum.”
Wu Jin was surprised.
Zoe added another sentence, “He’s going the same style route as Thin Water, useless but damned coquettish.”
The summer breeze blew gently as Thin Fire stepped out of the woods, deliberately lowering his voice and making it more appropriate for his male god character settings, “Darlings, did you think of me, hmm?”
Wu Jin’s hair stood on end.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Thin Fire was still going, “Thank you XX Love Spreads Fire for the Large Treasure Sword. Hm? I won’t rap today, but singing is fine, what do my babies want to hear…”
Ibf delmxis qeiifv Qe Alc jkjs, “Mgfjx! Olaaif Qlamt, lucbgf tlw. Xbbv ybsr vbc’a qijs klat qfbqif ilxf tlw!” Lf mbcalcefv ab lcragema tlw, “Ktlr lr Vlinfg Ktgfjv Ebii’r ragjafus. Ktfs rwjrt tjio bo atflg rlz wliilbc rqbcrbgrtlq offr lcab wjgxfalcu, jcv atflg olgra gfdelgfwfca obg agjlcffr lr jikjsr ibbxr, jcv atflg rfmbcv…”
He paused all of a sudden and turned back to look at Wu Jin, who was always a sight that pleased the eyes.
The most attractive face––was actually in our White Moonlight!
If Little Witch started live streaming––
The live broadcast room would probably become crowded in mere minutes!
In the first week of the Crosson Show show, Wu Jin basically only rotated between the training rooms and his dorm room.
After removing the aiming compensator, Wu Jin’s aim was once again erratic, but his shooting speed had steadily increased. During the gun class on the ninth day––Caesar, who was clear on Wu Jin’s weak foundations, stared so hard his eyeballs almost popped out.
Wu Jin’s shots during the fixed target shooting practice averaged in the fifth ring, no misses.
Zoe, a professional sniper, was also visibly surprised, but became utterly convinced it wasn’t a fluke after looking through Wu Jin’s training records.
“Nine days, forty hours of fixed target shooting practice, twelve hours of dynamic target practice, nine hours of tactical evasion––” Zoe looked at Caesar, “We also have classes during the day. How many hours of sleep is he getting at night?”
“This…” Caesar was in a daze, “Normally, we don’t see Little Witch returning to the dorms…”
Zoe sighed lightly, “This little friend is working too hard.”
At the end of the gun class, the trainees left the room one after another.
Crosson Show’s program producer came in through the back door, borrowing a lighter from Blood Pigeon for his cigarette, and the two of them squatted on the ground, creating clouds of smoke as they watched the playback.
“What do you think of Contestant 300012?” The program producer asked out of the blue.
Blood Pigeon was surprised, “What?”
The producer gestured at the screen with his cigarette, “The docile looking one.”
Blood Pigeon nodded. He obviously had an impression of this person; after a short delay, he blew out a smoke ring, “Not bad.”
The producer chuckled. Based on Blood Pigeon’s standards, ‘not bad’ meant ‘quite good’.
He pinched his fingers to create a clip of the video. “Do a close-up of Contestant Wu’s training time and his notebook… What brand of mineral water is that on his desk? Not a sponsor?! Put a mosaic on all the branding! They shouldn’t even dream of being in the same frame as Little Witch without paying hundreds of thousands of credits!”
The program producer’s cheeks were ruddy with excitement as he slid Blood Pigeon another glance, “Contestant Wu has pulled in quite a lot of investment for our program. Do you want to take a few trainees with you for your interview on the variety show? Bring along Little Witch?”
Blood Pigeon shook his head, “You should know that I don’t pick trainees based on their commercial value.”
The producer smacked his lips, “… Hey, it’s a trainee talent show, but you’re still focusing on picking out the next League champions. Little Witch’s ability might not be there yet, but his attitude is clear for everyone to see. He’s diligent and willing to endure hardships. Won’t he be playing in the League sooner or later?”
Blood Pigeon opened his mouth, “With his qualifications, he’ll rank somewhere in the top half.”
Top half, not peak.
Blood Pigeon had been a professional player for twenty years, retired for twenty years, and had brought up countless trainees. Wu Jin wasn’t the one with the best talent for guns, but he was one of the most diligent.
He appreciated Wu Jin’s attitude; this kind of trainee could often go further than the rest.
But the survival shows were far more brutal than anything these trainees could imagine.
Amongst contestants, the gap in talent was something that couldn’t be filled in by future efforts alone.
If it had been twenty years ago when he was first looking for contestants to join the League, he would have considered Wu Jin. But it was now twenty years later, and he only wanted to bring out someone who could obtain a League championship.
As soon as the program producer heard ‘top half’, he already understood. He sighed lightly, “Alright. In that case, tell me, which of the trainees in this class can catch your attention?”
Blood Pigeon: “Wei Yan.”
“Ah, R-Code Entertainment.” The producer thought for a moment, “When that matter came to light before, their stock price dropped a lot. Out of the three S-ranked trainees, only Wei Yan is left, and those human rights organizations are staring at them every day…”
Blood Pigeon shook his head, “I already said, I just want a champion.”
Other than that, nothing else needed to be taken into account.
The producer made a sound of acknowledgement, “Anyone else besides Wei Yan?”
“Silver Thread Roll’s Thin Fire, White Moonlight’s sniper. And that redhead––” Blood Pigeon momentarily couldn’t recall that contestant’s name.
The producer was amused, “Yo, I remember now. That D ranked trainee. Very eye-catching. He has a wild style; looking at the situation, he probably came from the underground ** competitions.”
Blood Pigeon nodded, “His talent is not bad. And the person who trained him up––”
He paused slightly, “Their strength is at least not inferior to mine.”
The program producer was so shocked that he nearly dropped the cigarette butt.
The only math class in the two week curriculum finally arrived.
The classroom was full of mournful wailing as the trainees were forced to somehow squeeze out brain capacity from their muscles in order to memorize formulas, but Caesar was still unable to distinguish the difference between derivatives and division even after the class was over.
Wu Jin couldn’t bear it anymore and stuffed his own notes into his teammate’s hands, letting him borrow them, then took his terminal with him to go back to the sandbox room.
Caesar grumbled and muttered as he copied half of Wu Jin’s notes, then suddenly remembered something:
“Hey, Little Witch, don’t forget about tonight at eight o’clock––”
He looked around and realized that there wasn’t even a shadow by his side.
Within the deserted sandbox room, the smart camera lit up and began to flash as soon as Wu Jin came in, making quick turns around him as he snuck in.
Wu Jin touched the camera in greeting, then sat down in front of the map.
Twenty-four hour elimination match.
Extremely harsh living environment.
Plus the new hints he had gotten today:
The two hour math class hadn’t been about the modeling that Wu Jin had previously guessed. Rather, it had been more focused on number theory. That was to say, the ‘rules’ in the elimination match could be quantified numerically, with only a few possible or even just a single solution.
In the quiet sandbox room, only the scratching sound of the pen nib moving against a notebook could be heard.
Wu Jin’s eyebrows had drawn together slightly, his amber-colored eyes projecting a soft light.
It was impossible to infer the exact model of the elimination match from the current conditions he knew––but there was no harm in memorizing the contours and features of the map.
In the silence, the terminal suddenly beeped several times.
Wu Jin glanced at the terminal screen that now showed, ‘Your subscribed program will begin broadcasting in 2 minutes’.
Wu Jin was just about to dismiss the notification when he abruptly remembered that he seemed to have only subscribed to one talent show.
The Crosson Show.
One episode a week, starting on schedule every Sunday.
Zoe had specifically told them that since everyone from White Moonlight was like a family, they all had to meet up and watch it together.
Wu Jin stood up in a flurry, left the sandbox room, and rushed towards Zoe’s dorm room.
At 8:01PM, Wu Jin was still struggling to climb up the stairs in the South Tower. On his terminal, the program title screen had already finished showing, and the first episode of the Crosson Show after the evaluation match officially began.
The screen was dark.
The tick-tock sounds of a clock rang out.
The lights came on, and the screen brightened, showing a very familiar trainee dorm room.
The trainee in the bed rolled over, revealing soft little curls and delicate red cheeks.
––The originally calm scrolling comments suddenly boiled with frantic comments!
At a private base several dozens of cosmic units away.
The young man who was watching TV on the sofa sat up abruptly, his eyes blank with surprise, “This is the Crosson Show? I didn’t pick the wrong channel, right? What a rare beauty, a rare beauty of a human being––my god, can I still sign up now? Or call Silly Red back and go in his place instead––”
His companion coughed lightly and gestured for him to look behind him.
The youth slowly turned his head back, and his body went rigid, “Bro, Brother Wei, you’re here too… ah.”
Wei Shi’s eyes swept to the screen, his face expressionless.
Juurensha: WS? You’re not at the training camp?
Celtic: tsk, tsk. Underestimating Little Witch, haven’t you bothered to look at his improvement speed?