Shen Yanming only slept for four hours.
No one disturbed him; he set his own alarm, and when the time came, he forcibly pulled himself out of his dreams and jumped out of bed.
After a quick wash-up, he grabbed something to eat and hurried to the training room.

Inside the training room, everyone was already there, practicing at their own pace.
When Meng Yan and He Changkong finished a round, they heard some movement and looked towards the door.
They appeared surprised when they saw Shen Yanming, and Meng Yan spoke up, “Luan Jiang, why are you up? Your Kong ge specifically told us not to disturb you.”

Upon hearing Meng Yan’s remark, He Changkong also shifted his gaze to Shen Yanming.

The young man still seemed a bit groggy.
His usually round and lively eyes were half-closed, making him look like a wandering soul.
But upon hearing Meng Yan’s words, Shen Yanming seemed to inject some vitality into himself.
He opened his eyes a bit wider and happily bounced to the back of He Changkong’s seat, resting his hands on the top of the gaming chair, “I just missed my Kong ge,” he said with a smile.

Of course, He Changkong didn’t think Shen Yanming really missed him; he probably just missed his computer.

Shaking his head disapprovingly, He Changkong said, “You didn’t get enough sleep.”

“It’s okay, I’m well-rested,” Shen Yanming replied with an unconvincing yawn.
Afraid that He Changkong would continue to dwell on the matter, he quickly changed the subject, “What are you guys playing?”

As he asked, Shen Yanming glanced at everyone’s screens.
Apart from the main team’s starting players who were present, Sunday was also present.
However, Sunday seemed deeply engrossed in the intense battles on his screen, paying no attention to what was happening around him.

After observing for a while, Shen Yanming saw that Sunday and his teammates from the international server had just scored a double kill and were preparing to join the rest of the team at another location.

Finally, Sunday’s attention shifted to Shen Yanming, and he greeted him, “Hey, you are here, Luan luan zhi.”

Obviously, others had already introduced Shen Yanming to Sunday.

Since arriving here, Shen Yanming always found it hard to assert his seniority in terms of age.
When he played with the second team or the youth training team, it was easier, and he could sometimes act like the big brother, but most of the time, he hung out with the older members of the main team.

Now that he finally had someone younger than him, he wanted to flaunt his seniority.
So, he imitated how others would pat his head and placed his hand on Sunday’s head, saying, “No big, no small.1No big, no small: there is no significant age difference Why call me Luan Luanzi? Call me Oppa.”2Oppa: “欧巴” (ōu bā.), 오빠 (oppa) a Korean term used by females to address an older brother or a male friend who is slightly older.
It implies a friendly and affectionate relationship.

As he said that, he secretly felt satisfied.

Sunday responded, “Luan Luan Hiong~”3Hiong: supposed to be 형(Hyeong) used to address an older male, typically by a younger male.

Shen Yanming didn’t understand, “What does Hiong mean?”

He Changkong explained, “It’s a way of calling someone ‘Brother.’ Oppa is used when teasing someone.”

“Wow, Kong Oppa,” Shen Yanming mimicked, “You even know Korean!”

He Changkong: “…”

Shen Yanming launched a mental attack, “Oppa~ Saranghae.”4Saranghae(사랑해.
): 撒浪嘿”(sā làng hēi, means I Love you

He Changkong: “…”

Meng Yan rubbed his goosebumps, “You damn gay, that’s enough.”

Feeling satisfied with being called ‘ge,’ Shen Yanming removed his hand from Sunday’s head.
When Sunday went to join the team fight, Shen Yanming saw the IDs of other players and was surprised, “Damn, it’s General and Frank!”

These two were players from the Korean region, and they belonged to the BW team, which Sunday would later join.
BW had always been a strong team, and in the past two years, they had been competing with TMM for the top spot.

Pudding, sitting opposite, helped explain, “Kong Jiang used someone who can play with the BW players as bait to lure Ritian in because Ritian seems to have a blind admiration for Frank.”

Shen Yanming had heard something about this in his previous life.
It was said that Sunday joined BW because he admired Frank.
Such situations were not uncommon; many young players had their idols, someone they admired, wanted to get close to, and even surpass in the future.
So they chose to walk the same path as their idols, determined to chase after them on that road.

TMM’s players and the BW members were rivals in the arena, but they often had friendly practice matches offstage.
He Changkong agreed to play a few solo matches with the newcomers from BW, while Frank promised to join Sunday for a game when he had the time.

Thinking about it, He Changkong’s approach was a bit cunning.
Sunday had signed a short-term contract here, and unless something unexpected happened, he would eventually return to BW.
If everything went as planned, Sunday would become a member of BW again, and naturally, he would play with Frank.

It seemed like Sunday was getting the better end of the deal, but in reality, that wasn’t the case.


Shen Yanming also wanted to play with these two players.
In his previous life, by the time he made a name for himself, one of them had already retired, and the other was semi-retired with low match appearances, so he didn’t have much contact with them.

But now was a rare opportunity! Frank is a world-class mage, and his support is also quite strong.
Of course, Shen Yanming really wants to play with them.

Shen Yanming howled excitedly, “I also admire Frank blindly, and I want to play with them too!”

Sunday looked delighted, “Let’s play together in the next round.
You also like Frank.
I’m so happy!”

Shen Yanming happily ran to turn on his computer.

Pudding raised an eyebrow after hearing their conversation, “Luan Jiang, do you blindly admire everyone?”

Shen Yanming was taken aback for a moment.
He did like quite a few players, basically anyone strong.
Of course, he couldn’t say that he blindly admired them; it was just playful banter.

The person he truly admired blindly was also here in the room, watching him.

So, Shen Yanming quickly changed his words, “It’s not like that.
My Kong ge is the best! I’m just playing around with others, I’m not serious.”

Although Sunday couldn’t understand the entire sentence, he grasped the general meaning.
With his limited Chinese, he struggled to say, “No, Frank ge is the best!”

Shen Yanming’s computer was now ready, and he quickly opened the game, “Kong ge is the best.”

Sunday wouldn’t relent, “Frank ge.”

Shen Yanming, “Kong ge.”

Sunday, “Frank!!!”

Shen Yanming was surprised, so competitive? No wonder he argued with people online!

Shen Yanming wouldn’t back down either, “He Changkong is the best, strongest, and most handsome in the world!”

“…Stop messing around,” He Changkong intervened in this inexplicable battle, “We play different positions; there’s no point in comparing.”

Shen Yanming immediately deflated, but he still muttered, “Even with different positions, we can still compare.
You, the all-around puzzle player, are undoubtedly the strongest.”

Sunday angrily retorted, “Then don’t play with us!”

Shen Yanming wasn’t childish enough to engage in a pointless verbal battle with a little kid.
Following up on Sunday’s words, apart from genuinely thinking He Changkong was more skilled, he was also teasing the kid.
Seeing that he had upset the kid, he dropped the act.
He wouldn’t miss the chance to play with skilled players, so he said, “…Xiao Dayday, Oppa was wrong, please let me play with you guys.”5…Xiao Dayday, Oppa was wrong, please let me play with you guys.: ……小dayday,欧巴错了,please让me跟you们一起play。(……Xiǎo dayday, ōu bā cuòle,please ràng me gēn youmen yīqǐ play.)

Pudding was full of question marks, “What kind of sandwich English is this?”

Sunday, who was also provoked earlier but now understood Shen Yanming’s mixed English and Chinese, calmed down and felt a bit childish.
He apologized, “I was just kidding, come quickly, Luan luan hiong~”

Right after they finished their match, Shen Yanming joined their team.

Frank went with his nanny, leaving Shen Yanming to team up with Sunday.

Shen Yanming didn’t often pair up with tanks; he usually stuck with nanny.
Nanny provided support in terms of output enhancement, healing, and sustain, while tanks helped absorb damage.
It felt different in a way.

Moreover, Sunday was quite skilled.
At the start of the game, he typed a string of Korean characters in the chat and then struggled to explain, “You use White Wolf, so I told them to secure kills for you.”

Shen Yanming understood clearly.
White Wolf’s ultimate ability relied on accumulating fighting spirit through kill counts, which meant that the more kills he secured, the higher the damage output of his ultimate ability would be.
In the past, when using White Wolf in matches with other players, his teammates could decide whether to give him the kills or not, as they also needed kills to level up.
Additionally, White Wolf’s ultimate ability required predicting enemy paths to maximize damage to as many enemy units as possible.
If he had secured many kills but ended up hitting only one enemy with his ultimate ability, it would still be a loss.

However, Sunday really trusted Shen Yanming that much, as he was practically securing kills for him all over the map.
As a result, in the late game, Shen Yanming’s Little White Wolf’s damage was incredibly explosive.

Moreover, he showed great dedication, blocking every damage he could, leaving himself battered and bruised but still maintaining a healthy Little White Wolf.

The gaming experience was superb, and after finishing one match, Shen Yanming couldn’t help but want to play another.

He sighed with emotion, “So, this is what it feels like to play with an excellent tank.”

After another match, Shen Yanming still hadn’t had enough and began to exchange praises with Sunday, “Dayday is not bad, I even want to play with you after changing roles.”

Sunday grinned happily, “Luan Luan hiong, amazing.”

Taking advantage of the situation, Pudding added, “Indeed, it’s also very comfortable to play with our tank.
Let you experience the warmth of fatherly love.”

Shen Yanming was about to respond when He Changkong spoke up, “…Do you want to duo queue with me later?”

Meng Yan laughed, “Hahaha, someone is eager.”

Shen Yanming: “???”

Although it was nice to play with others, it still couldn’t compare to playing with his exclusive nanny.
Shen Yanming immediately agreed with He Changkong, “Queue, queue, queue!”

This went on for a while.
Shen Yanming’s daily schedule was forced to change.
Every night around eleven or twelve, He Changkong would take him back to their dorm when he had to leave.
In the morning, after He Changkong finished his morning run, he would go and wake Shen Yanming up.
Shen Yanming tried running with He Changkong for a few days, but he was lazy, so he gave up after a couple of tries.

Everything proceeded smoothly.

During their practice breaks, they were even dragged to take promotional photos.
The photographer teased them while taking their pictures, “Your team’s average looks are pretty high, and a few of you have colorful hair.
Those who know will recognize I’m photographing esports players, but those who don’t might think I’m shooting an idol boy group.”

Shen Yanming took all the compliments in stride, “We invest in grooming our players, you know? Anyone who comes here will become more and more handsome.”

The photographer then said he wanted to take some duo shots and asked them to pair up on their own.

The staff brought a gaming chair, and the photographer had He Changkong sit on it, with his legs elegantly crossed and hands resting on the chair’s armrests.
Shen Yanming leaned against the chair with his body turned sideways.
Both of them wore crowns in the style of the game “Return to the Throne” and were draped in a small cape resembling the King from the game.

Both of them gazed firmly in the direction of the camera.

After finishing the shoot, Shen Yanming went to the photographer to preview the samples and couldn’t help expressing his delight, “So handsome! Send me a copy after editing; I want to use it as my wallpaper.”

Pudding teased him, “You’re so narcissistic.”

Shen Yanming defended himself playfully, “It’s mainly because Kong ge is even more handsome, you know?”

After the promotional photoshoot, the photos were quickly retouched, and not long after, the lineup for the second round of the regular season was announced through the official account.

Esports Club: The second round of the regular season of the Ninth Return to the Throne Professional League in the Chinese region is about to begin.
TMM’s starting lineup: Assassin Chaos, Mage Nightmare, Healer Kong, and Tank Pudding.
Substitute members: Assassin NMC, Tank Sunday.
We look forward to the new miracle creators bringing us more wonders, let’s go! [Image][Image]

As soon as this Weibo was posted, controversy erupted and flooded in as expected.

There was hardly any approval among the top comments.

– Are you guys crazy??? Chaos is that Luanzi ge? Even if he’s good, should a newcomer start in the first match?

– Has your coaching team lost their minds? What kind of stupefying soup did you drink to let an inexperienced rookie start in such an important match?

– Nightmare as a mage??? Are you kidding? Did you squeeze out the veteran players just to make room for the newcomer? Nightmare has been working diligently for you for so many years, and this is the result? I could understand if you brought in a top-notch assassin to replace him, but who is this guy? Seriously?

– Does TMM have no one else left?

– Two years of championships, and now you’re acting all high and mighty? Let’s see how you crash and burn this year.

– Seriously, is Luanzi ge some sort of precious treasure? Kong went straight to the live broadcast and recruited him, and now he’s starting immediately after joining the team? And it really looks like he’s the exclusive healer.

– I’m just speechless…

– If the coach can’t handle it, better change the coach and stop ruining our well-performing championship team.

– The promotional photos look great, but what kind of lineup is this? Why don’t you just quit playing matches and create an esports boy group for quicker money?

Of course, Shen Yanming saw all these comments too.
There were a few back-row comments like “We should give the newcomer a chance” and “Luanzi Ge’s performance seems promising, maybe he can create new opportunities.” However, these voices were too weak and were instantly drowned out by the opposing comments.

He had anticipated all of this.
Putting himself in the shoes of an uninformed ordinary player, he could understand why they were concerned.
If he were in their place, he would have been puzzled too.

But human hearts were made of flesh, and even though he had received a lot of negative feedback before, compared to those, these comments seemed much milder, but no matter how he see them, it was still somewhat displeasing.

He was reading these comments after finishing practice and lying back on the bed.
He was planning to close the page and find something else to change his mood when a message from He Changkong came in.

It seemed like He Changkong anticipated that Shen Yanming would read the comments and might feel a little down.

[kong_]: Don’t mind what others say.
You know you’re capable, and that’s all that matters.

Shen Yanming hugged his pillow and rubbed his face against it.

Even though their rooms were just a wall apart, they still chatted like this, which was oddly amusing.

[Independent Wild Goose6Independent Wild Goose: “特立独行的大雁” (Tè lì dúxíng de dàyàn)]: Of course! A man must be capable!

There was something Shen Yanming had been curious about but hadn’t asked He Changkong yet.
In fact, he shared the same curiosity with some of the players.

[Independent Wild Goose]: So ge, what magic potion did you give to the coaching team that made them willing to let me start right away?

Thank you for reading! 

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day

If you like reading my translations, do consider supporting me with ko-fi

1No big, no small: there is no significant age difference2Oppa: “欧巴” (ōu bā.), 오빠 (oppa) a Korean term used by females to address an older brother or a male friend who is slightly older.
It implies a friendly and affectionate relationship.3Hiong: supposed to be 형(Hyeong) used to address an older male, typically by a younger male.
): 撒浪嘿”(sā làng hēi, means I Love you5…Xiao Dayday, Oppa was wrong, please let me play with you guys.: ……小dayday,欧巴错了,please让me跟you们一起play。(……Xiǎo dayday, ōu bā cuòle,please ràng me gēn youmen yīqǐ play.)6Independent Wild Goose: “特立独行的大雁” (Tè lì dúxíng de dàyàn)

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