Translator: Nomyummi Editor: Nomyummi
The entire stadium was filled with applause. This sort of finale made all those spectators who were hoping to witness a miracle feel that their journey was completely worthwhile. Applause, screaming, the host, having only just gotten the chance to ask one question, couldn't continue amongst this noise. He had to wait a full minute for the noise to die down. The host hurried to grasp this opportunity, throwing out a second question.
"Next is a question about you, personally. As the ex-captain of Excellent Era, winning this match, I think many people are curious as to what your feelings are right now."
This question was like a signal and the entire audience immediately fell silent. The MC's words weren't exaggerated at all; everyone was immensely curious about this topic.
"Nothing really. To me, victory is the most important," Ye Xiu said mildly.
"Then is there anything you want to say to Excellent Era?" The MC was obviously unsatisfied with Ye Xiu's answer. He wanted to hear something more juicy regarding the relationship between the two.
"Continue to work hard," Ye Xiu's answer was still as calm as ever.
The MC gave up on that train of thought and could only continue with the next question. "There's another thing everyone is curious about. In the past, you never revealed yourself to the public, but how come you've changed this habit with your return?"
"Heh, no reason in particular. I guess I was just going with the flow," Ye Xiu replied nonchalantly.
The three successive questions hadn't elicited any interesting information and the MCcouldn't accept this! He just really couldn't. He wasn't some randomly assigned newbie, he was a very professional Glory reporter and had interviewed countless pro players. He knew which Glory pro players were hard to deal with in media. However, after these three questions, the MC understood; friends in the media, don't think for a second that Ye Xiu accepting interviews is a boon. There's probably going to be another player placed on the list of impossible-to-interview players.
"Alright. Next, let's welcome the chairman of the Glory Alliance, Mister Feng Xianjun, to hand the trophy to Team Happy, as well as the certificate of qualification to the pro league!" Seeing that the award ceremony preparations had finished, the MC didn't continue the interview. Out of the four questions, three were directly at Ye Xiu personally and were topics that were popular prior to the match.
Feng Xianjun walked up the steps and onto the stage, smiling in a relaxed way and coming to shake the hands of every member of Happy and congratulate them.
In Happy's lineup, there were two that were familiar faces for Feng Xianjun.
"You can still play?" When shaking Sun Zheping's right hand, the chairman intentionally used more strength than necessary, smiling.
"Not much, but it's still enough." Even facing the chairman, Sun Zheping was still the same as ever.
Feng Xianjun smiled, nodding, and ended the conversation there, continuing down the line to shake hands. Wei Chen was a player from the first two generations and back then, Feng Xianjun wasn't the chairman yet, so they weren't really too familiar. They conversed normally before he finally arrived in front of Ye Xiu.
"I shouldn't have expected anything less from you," Feng Xianjun said, shaking Ye Xiu's hand.
"Heh," Ye Xiu chuckled, "You didn't write the wrong name on the certificate, did you?"
"You should be careful to not write the wrong name yourself," Feng Xianjun retorted, smiling.
The quiet conversation went unheard by anyone else. Outsiders only saw their peaceful smiling faces. Then Feng Xianjun turned and grasped the trophy, handing it to Ye Xiu.
Ye Xiu accepted it and raised it high as the crowd exploded into applause once more. The MC loudly announced the champions, but in truth, the value of the Challenger League wasn't in the trophy, but the beautifully printed certificate Feng Xianjun then handed over.
The qualification certificate to the pro league.
With this, it meant that Happy had the right to enter the pro league next season, and that was what everyone was truly fighting to take..
Champions of the Challenger League? That was never the final destination, but a starting point, one that started from this very certificate.
Ye Xiu accepted the certificate and saw Team Happy printed there. The certificate had been prepared long ago, but the team name was only printed after the final result had been revealed. Happy's other members had already clustered around and Feng Xianjun stepped to the side, letting them share their joy and leaving the celebrations to them. Tonight, they were the main characters. ...
As for those side characters who had failed, they wouldn't be completely ignored. Feng Xianjun then went over to Team Excellent Era and gave a few words of comfort and encouragement. As for the reporters, they were already looking at Excellent Era like tigers watching their prey. They had already prepared who knows how many questions, waiting to launch them at Excellent Era. They had already been told that this Challenger League match had a press conference afterwards. Never had this been arranged for the Challenger League before. It was clear how much importance the Alliance placed on this year's Challenger League match in comparison to the past. However, the reality was less grandiose: not enough popularity. However, this year, with the topic of Ye Xiu versus Excellent Era, they had arranged for time to gossip afterwards.
The first to appear at the press conference was Team Excellent Era. The manager Cui Li, as well as Sun Xiang, Xiao Shiqin, and the other Excellent Era players all attended the press conference, sitting on the stage dumbly. No one initiated conversation. They were all silent.
There was complete silence and the reporters were looking at each other as well.
Losing the Challenger League was probably even worse than losing the championship match, especially for a powerhouse team like Excellent Era. The reporters felt sorry for them, but their professionalism wouldn't allow them take mercy on Excellent Era just because they were sorry for the loss. After sitting in mournful silence with Excellent Era for half a minute, some reporters probably felt that they had met a quota for their sympathy and raised their hands to ask questions.
The members of Excellent Era were still sitting there numbly. In the end, it was an Alliance news manager who began to choose reporters to ask questions from the side.
"During the match, Su Mucheng suddenly declared that she and Excellent Era were over and sat on Happy's side of the bench. Could you explain why this is? Is there any bad blood between Su Mucheng and Excellent Era?" Upon asking the first question, the reporters had chosen a difficult question for Excellent Era.
However, they were all people who had experience with worldly situations. Cui Li glanced at the reporter and said without emotion, "Su Mucheng is still a member of Team Excellent Era and Excellent Era will convene with the players before making decisions regarding their futures. Before then, there's nothing to say."
"Then may I ask how Excellent Era convened with Ye Xiu when he announced his retirement? From the match today, I doubt that anyone would believe that Ye Xiu is a player who should retire. He's in a surprisingly good state that doesn't lose to any of Excellent Era's players." The question that followed hit an even sorer spot for Excellent Era. This was a problem that Excellent Era's PR had wanted to disperse. Since Ye Xiu refused to accept interviews, it had made things convenient for Excellent Era. It was more or less whatever they said that goes.
Yet now this old can of worms had been reopened after the finale of the Challenger League. When Ye Xiu had originally announced his retirement, everyone wanted to know the reason. However, since he was a very private person, no one was able to gain first hand knowledge from the man himself. Excellent Era was their only source of information to gain this information from. Under this situation, it was easy for Excellent Era to guide the discussion. They had to first cover up the truth of Ye Xiu's retirement and then mix in the truth of Excellent Era's slipping performance. That Ye Xiu's skill was slipping had been a logical excuse. With Ye Xiu's habits, quietly retiring wasn't unexpected. The fans might be sorrowful, but they still accepted this truth.
They had thought it had all blown over. Who would've expected that Ye Xiu would build up another team from scratch after leaving Excellent Era and then fight them in the Challenger League?
This wasn't something Excellent Era had planned for. After creating a lie, they could only weave more lies around it to prevent it from falling apart. It was a good thing that Ye Xiu refused to appear in public, so Excellent Era held the reigns of the discussion.
Ye Xiu had never come out to say anything. Even after qualifying for the offline matches in the Challenger League and accepting some interviews, he had never expressed any form of concern towards these problems. Even so, upon seeing Ye Xiu accepting an interview for the first time, Excellent Era had panicked. They made preparations of all sorts of public backlash, but it was all for nothing. What they worried about was nothing to Ye Xiu.
Even now, Ye Xiu still didn't say anything.
However, he won the match.
Nothing was more convincing than this. You say Ye Xiu's skill has slipped? Then defeat him if you can! He had beat Excellent Era with a grassroots team. Never mind not being able to see any slips in his ability, even if his ability had slipped, no one would believe it after seeing such a conclusion.
Had Ye Xiu's state worsened to the point of needing to retire?
No one was more clear on this than Excellent Era.
The reason they wanted Ye Xiu to retire was precisely because they knew that Ye Xiu was still skilled, terrifyingly so. They wanted to give up on Ye Xiu, but were afraid that Ye Xiu would be a threat to them after becoming an opponent. They took more than they were given, and the situation had spiralled out of control.
Now, with this powerful reality as evidence, this question was like a knife's edge for them.
Even worse, Ye Xiu no longer refused the media and soon enough, he would be sitting in this exact same place, facing the same reporters, and possibly answering the same questions.
The days of being the only voice in the discussion had gone and would never be back.
When Excellent Era had wished Ye Xiu would walk onto the stage and get close to the media, promoting the team and himself, Ye Xiu had refused.
Now, when Excellent Era hoped that Ye Xiu could continue keeping his head down and refuse the reporters, he decided to stand up.
He hadn't said anything yet, but just the fact that he was willing to accept interviews caused Excellent Era to feel like they were sitting on pins and needles. Then, that last victory was an even stronger, clearer slap to the face.
"Manager Cui? Team Leader Cui?"
In his trance, Cui Li seemed to hear a voice calling out to him. He wanted to respond, but his body was no longer in his control.
"Doctor, is there a doctor here? Call an ambulance, someone's fainted!!" The press conference descended into chaos.