translator: Oyen editor: Ciel
In the twinkling of an eye, it was December 1st. The competition server officially opened at 10:00 in the morning.
In the audition stage, players were given the freedom to arrange their own schedule. It was only necessary to go online while the competition server was open, and finish ten matches daily.
Naturally, all the members of the Mojue team went online at 10:00, and logged on to the match area.
Shen He was most excited. After waiting for a moment in the Zhuge family division, a prompt popped up on the screen——you have been matched with your opponent, do you want to enter the competition room?
Was it even a question? Immediately pressing “yes”, Shen He entered the room, only to find that the competition venue was the simplest “Mingzhou City Challenge Arena”. Both players competed on a round red drum, with a diameter of over 50 metres, and a height of around 5 metres. Players were permitted to jump off the edges; to return to the top, they could climb the ladder on the side of the drum.
The opponent’s ID was 'Little Dumb Zhuge'. The upper left corner showed that the records of both players were at 0-0; no wins, and no losses.
Shen He took the initiative to write a message on the arena channel: “Hello!”
As this was his first opponent in the challenge arena, Shen He felt that it was only appropriate for him to greet the other side. As a result, as soon as the greeting was finished, a prompt popped up on the screen——because “Little Dumb Zhuge” has disconnected, “Drunken River” has won the match.
Stupefied, Shen He could only stare blankly. Before he could react, he had already been sent back to the waiting room.
Moments later, he was matched with another opponent and sent to a combat room again. This time, the opponent’s ID was 'I Am Not A Summoner', with a record of 0-0.
Shen He typed: “Hello!”
System: Because “I Am Not A Summoner” has disconnected, “Drunken River” has won the match.
Shen He: “………………”
What was lying down to win? This was truly lying down to win!
Liu Xiang was seated next to him. Happening to witness these scenes, she could not help but to laugh aloud. “Xiao He, your greetings are really poisonous; when you say hello to your opponents, they immediately disconnected.”
Li Muran added, “This sentence is a curse of disconnection.”
“I didn’t expect it either!” Scratching his head helplessly, Shen He pressed the preparation button and went on to enter the third game. This time, he didn’t dare type out a greeting, so as to not cause his opponent to disconnect. Instead, he summoned four mechanical chariots to encircle the other player, only for them to surrender immediately.
——With such opponents, could he even compete?!
Shen He, who won three games in a row, was not happy in the slightest. Li Muran could only try to console him. “After all, it is an audition game.”
“There are all kinds of messy situations in the audition stage,” Liu Xiang agreed, “how about finishing ten matches first?”
Nodding, Shen He continued to enter the game queue.
In the fourth game, Shen He finally met a more normal opponent, and deliberately slowed down his pace. Despite his opponent putting in their best effort, their level was pretty poor, and Shen He won in half a minute.
By the time Shen He had won six games in a row, he was already quietly complaining about the low level of the auditions. Next to him, Qin Mo abruptly stood, picking up his cup and heading out to pour himself some coffee.
Surprised, Shen He cried out. “Master, if you don’t respond for more than five minutes, you’ll be judged as offline and kicked by the system!”
Pausing momentarily, Qin Mo replied. “It’s alright, I’ve already finished.”
Shen He stared in shock. “Ah? You’ve finished ten matches so quickly?!”
“En.” Nodding, Qin Mo left the room in search of coffee. Almost immediately, Xiao Han followed with a quick declaration of “I’m done too”, and also walked out of the room.
A few seconds after, Liu Hong also stretched her arms, instructing: “When the fights are over, go back to the arena and play more qualifying matches.”
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.
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Xiao Han shrugged, plastering an innocent look on his face. “I just happen to be thirsty also.”
Qin Mo raised an eyebrow. “Then, if I were to go to the restroom, would you also want to follow?”
Xiao Han thought for a moment, before replying. “That’s not necessary, I’m not in a hurry for the time being.”
Smiling, Qin Mo made himself a cup of coffee, before waking aside to let Xiao Han access the hot water. Pausing at the doorway, he took a sip of the hot brew and commented lightly: “The audition were really too boring, the ten games played just now had little value.”
“With so many applicants, the audition will take at least one week,” Xiao Han commented. “It’s enough to just exercise our hands a little.”
Nodding, Qin Mo took another sip of his coffee. “Do you think Pei Yu, He Beiguang, and She He will make it to the finals?”
Xiao Han had finished brewing his tea. Looking at Qin Mo, he replied seriously, “At present moment, Xiao He has made the fastest progress. Unfortunately, the Zhuge family has many experts, so he’ll still need some luck to make it to the finals.”
Qin Mo frowned slightly. “Qiu Zongping was one of the people who came to see me in the game the other day. His account was only level ten; I initially thought that he borrowed a small account to visit me, but later he mentioned that he would be leading the team in Peerless Jianghu. Moreover, since that day, Zhao Xingchen’s account has not been logged into, which indicates that Wind Colour club has exchanged team captains. Xiao Chen has returned to Miracle to lead the team, while Qiu Zongping will form a double Summoner combination with Yuan Xi in Peerless Jianghu.”
Xiao Han had also assumed that Qiu Zongping used a small account to cooperate with Zhao Xingchen to set off the fireworks. Instead, contrary to expectations, Qiu Zongping’s small account had not only been upgraded to the full level, but had been equipped with gold-tier items. Qiu Zongping had also played qualifying matches with Yuan Xi and Xuewei—— obviously, Wind Colour club had made adjustments.
Unlike Liu Chuan, the manager of Wind Colour had no experience as an esport player, and was thus unable to consider many things deeply enough. When Yuan Xi requested to lead the Peerless Jianghu team, Yuan Xi must have assured him of good results. Based solely on Yuan Xi’s personal strength, the manager gave Yuan Xi the opportunity just like that. Recently, the manager listened to Qiu Zongping’s advice and replaced the captain, which was the wisest decision.
Thinking of this, Xiao Han could not help but to worry. “Since Xiao Qiu has also come here, then the goal you have set for Shen He will be more difficult to achieve. What are you going to do if Shen He doesn’t make it into the top three?”
Qin Mo remained silent for a few moments, before eventually speaking. “To him, if it really is impossible, then it is also an opportunity for him to grow up. I will still bring him to see master.”
“You’re soft hearted,” Xiao Han smiled.
In response to his gentle eyes, Qin Mo looked away, and lowered his head. Taking a sip of coffee, he murmured, “Shen He needs more encouragement after being rejected by all the clubs before. I just wanted him to enter the top three as a way of giving him a goal to strive for; it wasn’t saying that I won’t recognize him as an apprentice if he can’t enter the top three.”
Xiao Han’s eyes were warm, even as he placed an arm over Qin Mo’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, the little monkey won’t let you down.” Pausing for a few moments, he added, “As for Pei Yu and He Beiguang, I feel that there is still hope for Pei Yu to enter the finals. He Beiguang, on the other hand, is in a bit of a dangerous position. He plays the broadsword of Kuangdao Gate, which has the highest defense. It is the most suitable profession for the current team in Peerless Jianghu, but many teams also have experts in Kuangdao Gate. For Xiao He to squeeze into the finals may be a bit difficult.”
“I’ve thought of this for a long time,” Qin Mo said. “He Beiguang only needs to stand in front and protect the back row during the team battle, I don’t have high expectations for his 1-on-1 ability. Just take his participation in the competition this time as a chance to gain experience.”
The two chatted for a while in the pantry before returning to the training room.
The rest of the team’s matches were finished. Qin Mo checked their records; everyone had won all ten matches.
After the first day of the competition, half of the players were eliminated directly due to their poor performance.
In the next few days, no one met any particularly difficult opponents. Since the winning rate of that day needed to exceed 50% in order to allow them to progress, the system automatically summarized the record, before sending out messages to players who did not meet the requirements to inform them that they were eliminated.
For example, there were originally over 10,000 applicants for the Hanhua Sword Sect’s longsword flow. On the first day, more than half were directly eliminated; on the second day, half were eliminated again, which was repeated on the third day——the speed of elimination was truly ruthless.
After a few days, the original thousands of players from each sect were reduced to only a few dozen.
The level of people who made it to the later stage of the audition wasn’t bad, but it was not too difficult for Mojue team to achieve a winning rate of 50%.
With every day that passed, they were another step closer to the semi-finals.
The official announcement was made when the numbers from each sect were cut down to sixteen——the semi-finals had officially begun.
The semi-finals were divided into groups; sixteen players were divided into four groups of four (A, B, C, and D) to play a round-robin match. Each win earned them a point, while no point deduction was to be had for losses. Finally, the top two players in each group would enter the next round according to the number of points in their tally. In the second round of the semi-finals, the first in group A would play the second in group C. Groups B and D would fight against each other; the overall winners of both brackets would enter the national finals.
This round-robin mode was consistent with the rules of many international sports events, and avoided the unexpected situation of releasing the top players early as much as possible.
In the group stage, Qin Mo felt quite pressured.
The sixteen contestants who reached the semi-finals from the national auditions were either professional players of the major teams, or folk experts.
Within Hanhua Sword Sect’s sixteen-person bracket of the longsword flow, there were at least two teams from Sword Song, one of whom had to be Song Changdong, who Qin Mo had personally sent to Sword Song. Looking at the other players, one was from Huaxia, and another from National Grace; the rest were IDs from other regions. Although Qin Mo did not recognise any of them, their strengths had to be extraordinary.
February 12th happened to be the weekend. Under the expectations of countless people, the semi-finals finally began.
Due to the large number of round-robin matches in the first stage, the officials would only select some of them for the live broadcast. Peerless JIanghu officials had created a special channel for the event on the domestic esport live broadcast platform, which was well-known. Since there had been no live broadcast during the audition stages, players were excited to finally witness the matches between the top sixteen players of each sect. Even those who did not participate in the competition were excited to join the fun. The numbers of the online audience broke through six figures by 9:00am, and by the time the games officially started an hour later, the online audience had reached a million viewers.
For the first broadcast of the morning, the guqin players of Luoying Valley were selected. The match televised was between “Morning Breeze Lingering Moon” of the Interlude guild in Netcom district, and a great god of Telecom district 3, “Separate Their Own Way”. There were many fans on both sides, and the screen of the live broadcast platform was filled with shouts and cheers.
Qin Mo was not scheduled to play during this period of time, and happened to catch sight of the broadcast. Separate Their Own Way was by no means weak, but Morning Breeze Lingering Moon was definitely stronger, using continuous wave group attacks to suppress his opponent. The battle was fierce, but Morning Breeze Lingering Moon eventually won after three long minutes of fighting, causing a group of fans to worship the great god Xiaoxiao.
Next was a live broadcast of the Zhuge family’s bone fan flow competition. Qin Mo watched the broadcast closely, all the while studying the players’ data, secret books, equipment configuration, and tactics.
The bone fan flow was a pure melee style; when the fan was closed, it could be used to directly stab the opponent with the sharp tip, causing large amounts of damage. When opened, the fan could be used to slap the opponent’s face, causing a ‘dizziness’ effect for control. Alternatively, the open fan could be swung horizontally, slicing the opponent’s throat open with a sharp thorn, causing a ‘bleeding’ effect.
Among all the melee classes, the bone fan flow was a pure single-target style, without any group attack skills. However, its ability to stun the core and seckill a person was very strong.
This match was won by a player with the ID “Yellow River Flows Seawards”, who according to his information, came from the Frost Moon guild in Telecom district 3.
Immediately after that, the esport platform broadcasted a match from Group A of Xuanbing Palace’s long whip flow.
As Liu Hong was on the team, Qin Mo was very familiar with the double ring flow of Xuanbing Palace. However, he had only seen a few players of the long whip flow in the qualifying matches, and was unfamiliar with this cultivation route. Now that it was the semi-finals, the matches would be between the top players of the nation; naturally, Qin Mo ought to take the opportunity to carefully analyse the live broadcast.
The style of this flow was quite domineering, with a long attack distance and flexible operations. Not only could a wide sweep attack cause damage to an entire group, the whip could also be used to trap a player and throw them to a designated position. In a team battle, if the long whip player swept the healer away at a critical moment, or threw the core far away, the opponent team’s formation would be instantly destroyed.
After watching for only half a minute, Qin Mo came to a conclusion——this game was obviously a showdown between two top experts. Both players were impeccable in their positioning and field control, and the competition was fierce. Their weapons flew all over the place, yet both were not quite the same, one silver with thorns, the other a vivid, poisonous green. Still, the scene was extremely interesting.
Online netizens were also frantically commenting: “Group A of Xuanbing Palace is simply the group of death!” “Both great gods of Frost Moon are all in Group A, fighting a civil war ahead of time!” “God Jiang needs to work hard, it would be a disgrace to lose to your junior sister!” “Good luck to little sister; fight your senior brother well!”
Was it the Frost Moon guild of Telecom district 3 again?
Qin Mo couldn’t help but ask. “A-Hong, do you know these two people, ‘Three Thousand Miles Of River’ and ‘What Year Is It Today’?”
Liu Hong was also watching the live video o f the match. Hearing the captain’s question, she promptly replied. “I heard that both experts of the Xuanbing Palace long whip flow are from the Frost Moon guild. Their names are often mentioned in the Xuanbing Palace sect forum.”
At present, Qin Mo was only familiar with the situations of Telecom district 1 and Netcom district 1; the other three regions were unknown to him. Just now, a strong contestant from Frost Moon guild had won the bone fan flow match. Now, there were two Xuanbing Palace experts fighting in the civil war– Frost Moon guild was definitely not an ordinary online game guild. Most likely, they were an unofficial team, or perhaps a team under a club?
This pair of martial brother and sister from the Xuanbing Palace; whose apprentices were they?
Thinking about it for a moment, Qin Mo asked again, “In other competitions, are there any great gods who play the whip well?”
“The long whip flow play uses long-distance displacement to control the field,” Xiao Han volunteered. “Using a whip to throw people to a designated position requires the angle and distance to be well mastered. It doesn’t seem to match any of Miracle’s classes?”
Qin Mo was also very familiar with Miracle; naturally, he knew that there was no corresponding profession in the game, but since these two people were called martial brother and sister, they definitely had to have a master behind them. Thinking of this, Qin Mo turned to Liu Hong to ask. “If not Miracle, how about in Wulin?”
Lowering her head, Liu Hong considered the matter carefully, before she chanced upon the answer. “That’s right!” was her excited exclamation, “Wulin and Peerless Jianghu are games developed by the same company, and have similarities in their designs. The Five Poison sect of Wulin does indeed have a strong field control method of ‘Poison Whip flow’!”
Regarding matters of the Wulin professional league, Xiao Han and Qin Mo did not understand, but Liu Hong definitely would.
Qin Mo immediately asked, “Have you thought of a corresponding great god?”
Liu Hong nodded. “At that time, the great god of the Five Poisons sect was Su Shilun. He joined hands with Shaolin sect player Xiao Sijing to start the Seven Star Grass club. Xiao Sijing is a player just as famous as Dragon Song’s own Liu Chuan; perhaps you both have heard of him?”
Xiao Han nodded. “Not only have I heard of him, but I’ve even met the great god before. Liu Chuan and Su Shilun are both executive directors of the esport alliance, which had a meeting in Changsha once. Liu Chuan invited this old friend to visit the Dragon Song club. At that time, this great god knew that my family name was Xiao, so he asked where my ancestral home was. Liu Chuan laughed and said, ‘Don’t blindly acknowledge people as your family. Xiao Han is a mixed race child, he definitely doesn’t have anything to do with your Xiao family.’ Because of this, I actually went to ask my father where our ancestral home was, and he said it was in Nanjing.”
Qin Mo: “……”
Come to think of it, back when Xiao Han found him calling his home, didn’t Xiao Han ask him ‘what does ancestral home mean’, and with a serious face to boot? Wasn’t Xiao Han just deliberately pretending not to understand?!
Unaware of his slip up, Xiao Han continued to chat with Liu Hong. “So, you’re saying that today’s martial brother and sister from Xuanbing Palace are likely members of the Seven Star Grass club?”
“It must be so!” Liu Hong nodded her head firmly. “Su Shilun, the first generation vice captain of Seven Star Grass, took an apprentice named Xue Ke, who is the most powerful among the long whip players. After Xiao and Su retired, Xue Ke took over as the second generation captain of Seven Star Grass, and brought up many apprentices of his own. If my guess is correct, ‘Three Thousand Miles Of River’ and ‘What Year Is It Today’ should be Xue Ke’s apprentices, senior apprentice Chen Jiang and junior apprentice He Yue. I played against them in Wulin; they play the same way and cooperate very well.”
Qin Mo: “……”
Unexpectedly, this Peerless Jianghu game brought together the future generations of the Miracle and Wulin professional leagues.
The Seven Star Grass club had always been a strong rival of the Dragon Song club. Their intentions in sending this pair of martial brother and sister to Peerless Jianghu was obvious——they were going to fight for the championship!
The civil war battle of Xuanbing Palace was very intense, and was in a stalemate for the longest time; the blood volume of both sides were maintained at an even rate. In addition, there were many similarities in their fighting styles, which led Qin Mo to believe that Liu Hong’s conjuncture was almost certainly correct. After all, there weren’t many strong players in the new generation of Seven Star Grass players. This pair of martial brother and sister were selected by the club and sent to Peerless Jianghu, seemingly as the core of the Frost Moon team. One whip was terrible enough, to have two whips flashing around the stage would cause terrible damage to the opponent’s formation. Furthermore, the bone fan player ‘Yellow River Flows Seawards’ who had just won the group stage was also from Frost Moon team; he could use the double whip field control effect to find an opportunity, and seckill the opponent’s core in the front row.
In the live broadcast, the game was finally decided after ten minutes, with the junior sister being killed by ‘Three Thousand Miles Of River’ with the poisonous green whip.
After winning the group stage, he typed a few words on the public screen: “Waiting for you in the finals.”
What Year Is It Today sent a smiley emoji: “Okay! We can’t lose the games later!”
Three Thousand Miles River: “Good luck.”
The screen was filled with encouraging messages, such as “good luck junior sister” and “little sister kills her way to rendezvous with her senior brother in the finals”, which showed that they were very popular in Telecom district 3.
The fact that Three Thousand Miles Of River typed “Waiting for you in the finals” on the public screen after winning the competition showed that he was full of confidence in the strength of his junior sister, and that he believed she could make it all the way to the finals.
With the strength of these two people, it was definitely possible to meet in the finals after the group stage.
Thinking of this, Qin Mo asked, “Qingyue, could I perhaps make a request?”
Smiling, Zhu Qingyue replied, “Why so polite? Just say it.”
“Everyone else in Mojue have their matches scheduled later and cannot watch the live broadcast,” Qin Mo explained. “Please go to the live platform and download all the videos; we will need to carefully study the experts that have entered the semi-finals.”
Zhu Qingyue immediately nodded. “Understood.”
Xiao Han couldn’t help but sigh. “Seven Star Grass has also come, it seems like the competition in the league next year will be difficult!”
“The double long whip control of the field really is troublesome,” Qin Mo agreed. “Since these two are Xue Ke’s apprentices, the strength of Frost Moon team is definitely among the top tier teams.”
In addition, Qiu Zongping had personally come to lead the team from the Wind Colour club. The strength of the players sent by Huaxia and National Grace clubs were not too bad either, plus there were newly rising teams like Sword Song and Interlude… although Mojue team was luxuriously equipped, winning the championship was not guaranteed.
Shen He, who had been listening to everyone’s gossip, suddenly interjected: “What are you afraid of? We have the Twin Stars, sister Hong, and great god Qingyue!”
These words really comforted the other players.
Although the players sent by other clubs were strong, Mojue’s lineup was not bad either.
If the Twin Stars could win the championship in the All Sects Challenge Arena, Qin Mo and Xiao Han would have to accept the official invitation to the game company’s headquarters and receive the prizes. At that time, they would definitely meet with the experts of all the major sects. It was estimated that when the contestants of the other teams saw the Twin Stars together, they would certainly treat the Mojue team as the ultimate BOSS!