He Changkong pondered for a moment before saying, “We aren’t close, but we had some interaction before.
Actually, you should know him too.”

This time, Shen Yanming was somewhat surprised, “I know him?”

Of course, he knew him.
Players with higher rankings and distinctive playstyles were well-known among the community.
Moreover, they had discussed this person before.
So, He Changkong saying “know” didn’t seem to imply this.

Could it be another player? If that’s the case, why didn’t He Changkong mention it directly last time?

However, now wasn’t the time to delve into this matter because they quickly found opponents, and the match was about to begin.

Their opponents were also familiar faces.
After entering the room, a player with the ID xxl_westx2 immediately started shouting in the public channel—although there was no voice function in the channel, this westx2 player used exclamation marks excessively, making it seem very noisy.

[xxl_westx2]: Chaos? Confusion?

[xxl_westx2]: Luanzi ge!!!!!!

He Changkong said, “He immediately recognized this ID as yours.”

Shen Yanming didn’t hesitate to praise his former good friend, “Xixi is really clever; after all, he’s my good brother, following my lead.”

In passing, he also praised himself.

He locked in the character he wanted to play and then started chatting warmly with Zhang Xixi in the public channel.

[tmm_chaos]: Xixi, long time no see.

[xxl_westx2]: Long time no see.
So, you’ve really made it in.

[tmm_chaos]: Went into the game world =.=

[xxl_westx2]: By the way, there’s something I want to tell you.
When will you accept my friend request on WeChat! Let’s be friends!

[xxl_westx2]: We agreed to become friends and play solo together, but you’ve been ignoring me! [/angry]

The public channel’s chat was visible to everyone, and He Changkong was speechless for a moment, “Good brother?”

More like plastic brothers.1plastic brothers: Fake brothers

However, knowing that someone else also had a hard time getting Shen Yanming to accept their friend requests somehow made He Changkong feel a little psychologically balanced.2psychologically balanced: sense of relief or comfort

Shen Yanming casually checked his newly added contacts and found one he had overlooked.

That day, when he went to watch the match, people added him both at the venue and backstage.
There were so many friend requests that some verification messages got buried under the pile.
Normally, he didn’t think much about Zhang Xixi, nor did he need to contact him.
As a result, he had forgotten about their agreement to play solo together.

Feeling a bit awkward, Shen Yanming typed quickly in the channel.

[tmm_chaos]: The verification message expired.
Add me again later, let’s finish this match first.

Both sides completed their team compositions, and when the countdown ended, they entered the game.
Before they officially set off, He Changkong asked, “How did you get acquainted with Zhang Xixi?”

Shen Yanming tilted his head, “I’ve forgotten too.
Maybe we used to solo together frequently, and after playing for a while, we became familiar with each other.”

“In that case,” He Changkong continued, “Do you want to solo with me later?”

Without thinking much about He Changkong’s sudden invitation, Shen Yanming instinctively responded, “Of course! Hammer me, Gege!”

Meng Yan, who was also in the same training room, couldn’t stand the vulgar language anymore, “Ding Jiang, are we going to endure this mental pollution from Luan Jiang forever?”

Pudding added, “Enough with the chit-chat, someone is coming from the three o’clock direction.”

Focused on training, time flew by quickly.
They finished the afternoon’s free practice and then had a training match with another team from a different region, as they had arranged before.
After finishing the last match, it was almost time to end the session.
Shen Yanming grabbed He Changkong again to have a solo match.

The battle was fierce, and he lost three out of four matches.

After each game, they would do a brief review, and He Changkong pointed out some small issues that Shen Yanming hadn’t noticed when playing by himself.

Moreover, Shen Yanming wasn’t entirely dominated in those matches either.
There were times when he almost got a counter-kill, but unfortunately, he fell short by a little.

Therefore, even though he lost more than he won, Shen Yanming became more eager to play.
He learned something from each match and since he had a bit of a gambler’s mindset, he always thinks that he might win the next one.

However, when he thought about playing a fifth match, he glanced at the time and realized it was already midnight.
So, he swallowed back the words “let’s play another” that were about to roll off his tongue.

For him, midnight was still early, but he knew He Changkong had a regular schedule—so regular that he didn’t seem like a gamer at all, or even a typical young person nowadays.
Midnight was the beginning of the night for some people, but for He Changkong, it was time to go to bed.

Shen Yanming understood the importance of sustainable development; he couldn’t exhaust his Kong ge on the first day of training; there would be plenty of time in the future.

Thus, although he was reluctant, Shen Yanming said to He Changkong, “Is that all for today?”

He Changkong had no objections, “Okay.”

Shen Yanming got up and stretched his muscles, “Are you planning to rest now, ge?”

He Changkong took off his headphones and stood up as well, “Yes.
Are you going back too?”

Shen Yanming sat back down with a smile, “I don’t sleep so early, I’ll play a little longer.”

He Changkong didn’t say much either.
Most of the team members in the base stayed up late, even if they weren’t training; they would be engaged in other activities until the early hours.
Some would sleep around 1 or 2 am, while others might stay up until 3 or 4 am.

Lightly patting Shen Yanming’s shoulder, He Changkong reminded him, “Don’t stay up too late.”

Shen Yanming answered loudly, “Got it!”

After watching He Changkong leave, Shen Yanming turned his attention to the other two who were still in the training room.

He spent a lot of time playing on the professional server with He Changkong and even had training matches.
Although there were no major issues, there was nothing outstanding either.
He could only say that he didn’t drag the team down.
Moreover, during the subsequent solo matches, he also noticed a few areas that needed attention.

Of course, the coach praised him a few times after watching their practice, and from the coach’s attitude, it could be inferred that they all believed performing steadily in a championship team without major mistakes and being able to coordinate with teammates for other maneuvers was already commendable.

However, Shen Yanming felt it was still not enough.

Strength was a relative concept.
Shen Yanming knew he was among the top players, but there was still a gap between him and the true pinnacle.
He couldn’t lose his ambition just because he had surpassed most players, nor could he become complacent just because his teammates could carry him.

The qualifying matches were approaching, and he had already wasted quite a bit of time.
Now, he would have to seize every moment and try to improve as much as possible

—After all, He Changkong must have paid a considerable price to secure his spot in the starting lineup, something Shen Yanming couldn’t fathom.

He could already imagine the storm that would ensue when the roster was announced, with bloodshed in the comments section of the official social media.
If he doesn’t perform well, it would bring immense pressure to the team.

Shen Yanming first glanced at Pudding and passed him over.
Being a semi-disabled player, it would be better not to trouble him.

Then, Shen Yanming shifted his gaze to Meng Yan, asking, “Yan Jiang, are you up for a passionate one-on-one?”

Meng Yan: “…”

Pudding chimed in, “Is it because I’m not standing tall enough? Why didn’t you ask me if I wanted a passionate one-on-one?”

Shen Yanming explained, “You should get your beauty sleep.
If you don’t, your face will break out, and you’ll gain weight.
Then, when you put on makeup, you’ll have to pile on tons of powder on your face, and you won’t be able to fit into your skirts…”

Meng Yan exclaimed, “How do you know all that?”

Shen Yanming replied, “My mom often complains about these things at home.”

Pudding was successfully frightened by the explanation, so he quickly packed up and left.

In the end, only Meng Yan, the designated “tool man,” remained to accompany Shen Yanming for a few solo matches.

They played until two or three in the morning, and Meng Yan couldn’t hold on any longer, so he left first.
Eventually, the training room was left with only Shen Yanming.

He was still quite energetic, so he entered the professional server alone again.
Although it was late at night, there were still players from other time zones queuing up.

And so, they played until the break of dawn.

While others saw the morning sun and felt refreshed, Shen Yanming felt drowsiness surging up as he watched the rising red sun.
He finally turned off the computer, extinguished the lights in the training room, and once again wandered around the base early in the morning.

This time, he didn’t make it to the entrance of the dorms before he ran into He Changkong on the small path outside.

From a distance, He Changkong waved and called out to Shen Yanming to stop, and as they got closer, he asked, “Did you stay up all night again?”

Shen Yanming even noticed a slight furrow in He Changkong’s brow.

Sigh, it was like getting caught doing something naughty by a teacher in school, except now it was getting caught by Kong ge.
There was no escaping being caught red-handed.

However, this couldn’t be considered a bad thing either.
When he first joined the professional team in his previous life, he trained even harder than now.
He would spend almost eighteen hours a day in the training room, which was normal.
Players who wanted to push themselves and improve would add extra training.

Shen Yanming should have been able to confidently voice his thoughts, but when faced with He Changkong’s expression, he suddenly felt guilty, as if he had done something wrong.
In the end, he could only promise, “I’ll definitely sleep earlier tomorrow.”

He Changkong didn’t fall for it, “You’re probably thinking about avoiding the time I go out for a run tomorrow, so that we don’t bump into each other.”

Shen Yanming replied, “…I never expected Ge to be so proficient in mind reading.”

He Changkong sighed, “Go back and get some sleep.
I’ll call you for lunch.”

Shen Yanming felt like he had been granted amnesty.
He thought He Changkong would say more, but he was surprisingly let off easily.
He ran back to his room at full speed, took a quick shower, and went straight to bed.

This kind of life continued for several days.
Drawing on his experience of outwitting teachers at school, Shen Yanming made sure to prevent He Changkong from asking Meng Yan and the others about his whereabouts.
At one or two in the morning, he would return to the room with the others and, after showering, slip back to the training room when everyone else was silent.

He would then slip back again in the early morning around five or six when He Changkong hadn’t gotten up yet.

He felt like he was sneaking around like a thief.

However, sometimes he got too immersed in his matches and lost track of time.
One day, he was matched with a formidable player from another region.
After playing together as teammates, he couldn’t resist challenging the player to a solo match.
They played for so long that the other player eventually said they had something to attend to.
Shen Yanming bid them farewell with a “bye-bye” in his broken English before reluctantly logging off.

But when he checked the time, it was already nine o’clock!

Shen Yanming was alarmed.
At any moment, He Changkong could be arriving to start his training.

Panicking, he thought about what to do if he ran into He Changkong.
Should he say he was an early riser too?

…But that would be too fake, and He Changkong would definitely see through it.

However, perhaps through sheer luck, when Shen Yanming stayed a little longer in the training room, He Changkong didn’t show up.
When he packed up and left, he didn’t run into anyone.

Feeling both relieved and jittery, Shen Yanming felt like a true thief as he tiptoed through the corridor.
Suddenly, he heard footsteps.

He thought that the inevitable had finally arrived and braced himself to bravely admit his mistake to Teacher Kong… He just hoped not to get caught next time.

He looked towards the direction of the approaching footsteps, but it wasn’t He Changkong.

It was the staff member who had brought him in originally, accompanied by a non-mainstream-looking guy with thick bangs.

Well, he couldn’t say much about others being non-mainstream while sporting his own head of white hair.

The non-mainstream guy noticed Shen Yanming and looked up.
Shen Yanming finally saw his face clearly.

He gave Shen Yanming a shy smile and greeted him in an unusual accent, “Ni, ni hao.”3Ni, ni hao: “泥,泥嚎”(Ní, ní háo), that’s he way he talk, but it’s supposed to sound like “你好” (nǐ hǎo), which means “hello”

Shen Yanming: “!!!”

Shen Yanming was shocked and exclaimed, “Sunday??”

The non-mainstream guy’s adorable little eyes widened, going from squinted to slightly wider, “You know me?”4You know me?: “泥认识窝?”(Ní rènshí wō?), which supposed to sound like “你认识我?”(Nǐ rènshí wǒ?) that means you know me?

Shen Yanming: “…”

Sunday, translated directly as “sun” and “day,” was equivalent to ritian5ritian: “日天”(Rì tiān).

This legendary Liu Ritian turned out to be the same Sunday that Shen Yanming knew!

In that instant, Shen Yanming felt like he had a revelation.

He understood everything now.

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

1plastic brothers: Fake brothers2psychologically balanced: sense of relief or comfort 3Ni, ni hao: “泥,泥嚎”(Ní, ní háo), that’s he way he talk, but it’s supposed to sound like “你好” (nǐ hǎo), which means “hello”4You know me?: “泥认识窝?”(Ní rènshí wō?), which supposed to sound like “你认识我?”(Nǐ rènshí wǒ?) that means you know me?5ritian: “日天”(Rì tiān)

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