r>Ultimately, he decided that choosing the lesser of two evils was the better option.
It was better to deal with a known risk than to keep a hidden danger that might lead to a major incident.
He planned to make a mistake himself.
After everything was over, he would voluntarily explain the reasons and accept the punishment.
He would tell the organizing committee that he had displayed negative behavior during the match, apologize where necessary, and face the consequences.

He didn’t discuss this with anyone, not even Shen Yanming.
Primarily because him performing poorly had a reasonable explanation.
But if he revealed this, and the whole team intentionally played badly, the act might be too obvious, and they could risk being penalized by the organizers.

He wasn’t worried about losing.
Their team’s current strategy focused on He Changkong and Shen Yanming as the core players.
Shen Yanming’s exceptional plays often relied on his cooperation with He Changkong.
They were interdependent, and if He Changkong’s performance faltered, other teammates centered around Shen Yanming would struggle as well.
At this stage, their opponents were all top-tier, and a small mistake could lead to a total defeat.

In fact, this was actually one of their team’s issues.
He Changkong had brought it up before, but due to their consistent success, they hadn’t faced problems.
Although they talked about practicing different formations, they didn’t take it too seriously.
This somewhat inappropriate opportunity could make the team members more vigilant.

After the 0-3 defeat, as He Changkong had predicted, the online discussions grew heated.

However, the situation wasn’t too bad.
Even if some criticized He Changkong for playing too casually, the discussions were still within the bounds of rationality.

Things took an interesting turn after news about his recent “bad condition” leaked out.

He wasn’t someone who displayed his emotions easily.
Even if he were in a bad state, he would avoid causing trouble for others as much as possible.
But recently, he deliberately acted this way.
Pretending to be deadlocked in the training room wasn’t enough.
He seemed distant even in other public areas.

So, the forums started buzzing again.
People claimed He Changkong’s recent training performance had taken a nosedive, almost like he had given up on himself.

He Changkong temporarily borrowed permissions from his friend, the forum administrator.
He discovered that the original troublemaker was still the same anonymous poster.

At this point, he could roughly deduce that the poster might be someone from their base.
But there was no solid evidence.

Everyone had witnessed the last match, making the claims of the original post quite credible.
Initially, some in the thread had hoped that He Changkong could adjust his state well.
But after about a dozen more posts, a particularly infuriating fan comment appeared, one that would annoy even a sane person.

A self-proclaimed Kong fan started a thread.
Being a Kong fan wasn’t unusual, but what was exasperating was the way this person continuously defended He Changkong, saying, “Don’t you allow him to have bad days? When he played well before, I hardly saw any praise from you guys.
Heh, this is the nature of esports fans.
You demand every player to be perfect, like gods, in every match.
As soon as there’s a slight problem, you all start throwing stones into the well.” “No matter what you say, my brother is the best.
You’re just criticizing him out of jealousy.”

Immediately, people retorted, saying that the fan club dogs were at it again.
Who cares about the brother nonsense? Who the hell starts addressing someone as ‘brother’ in a gaming context?
The thread grew increasingly chaotic, and later participants started making snide comments, saying that He Changkong was just a popular face in the esports circle.
They said even uttering a word about him was unacceptable.

In short, this thread attracted a lot of negativity towards He Changkong.

He Changkong, using his administrator privileges, looked at the fan’s profile.
Although the posting ID and IP were different, none of the previous comments had any connection to him.
It didn’t match the profile of an overly loyal fan.

This was likely an account being used for trolling rather than a genuine fan.

It had to be said, it was quite effective.
It seemed like another round of online bullying was about to begin… If He Changkong’s mental state was even slightly fragile, he might actually break.

In his usual straightforward manner, He Changkong employed the most straightforward method.
He went through each of this newly surfaced fan’s post histories, one by one.

His persistence paid off.
He stumbled upon a reply from a month ago.

This person seemed quite talkative, constantly chatting on the forum.
If He Changkong had been a bit less patient, he might not have found this particular post.

The post didn’t reveal any private information.
It was just a casual share about their recent life.
The person mentioned, “Showing off the new badminton racket I got today,” accompanied by an image of the racket and the background of an ordinary-looking badminton court.

However, there was a banner hanging in the badminton court, only partially captured in the photo.
The words were something like, “…with a strong physique, …”.

He Changkong was quite familiar with that banner.

Because he had written those words himself, and someone from the base responsible for logistics had put it up.

The complete sentence was, “Without a strong physique, everything else is rubbish.”

Of course, his handwriting wasn’t particularly distinctive, it was simply neat and attractive, lacking any immediately recognizable features.
Also, the staff at the base had just asked him to do it casually, not publicizing it outside.
Only a few of his teammates might know that he was the one who wrote it.
Hence, no one could discern that it was the TMM badminton court from the post.
Maybe the person who took the photo didn’t even know… Moreover, this casual post had been rather neglected, with just a dozen or so replies.

Obtaining this information was crucial.
During his free time, He Changkong visited the security department, using the excuse of a stolen package to access the records of people entering and leaving on the day the post was made.

Badminton rackets are quite large, and their packaging is usually conspicuous.

On that day, two individuals had picked up packages of this elongated shape.
He Changkong strolled around the badminton court and realized that out of these two people, only one—a junior support player named Eyes—had been frequenting the badminton court.

This junior support was indeed young, not even 15 years old yet.
Originally, the club’s minimum recruitment age was 16, but faced with his strong desire to join and the support of his parents, along with Eyes’ decent performance, they made an exception to recruit him.
When he first joined, everyone had heated discussions about him.

Reflecting on it, He Changkong realized that he had been seeing Eyes quite frequently lately.
However, they were all playing the same game, trained in adjacent rooms, and even lived close by.
He Changkong hadn’t seen any issues with it.

But he needed one last confirmation.

He figured if it really was Eyes, he would try to follow his every move.

He Changkong spent another two days familiarizing himself with Eyes’ routines at the base.
Then, at a time when he knew Eyes would be going to the cafeteria, He Changkong deliberately said those words to Meng Yan, while in the queue for food, right when Eyes was also there.

That evening he opened the forum, curious to see if there were any new updates.

The original poster of the exposé had returned, this time saying: “Heard that a key player, the main support, is entangled in a complicated relationship.
It’s estimated they’ll keep underperforming.
Let’s have a rational discussion.
Can a player like this really continue to be a core member? (By the way, didn’t I mention before that dating affects the game? You didn’t believe it then, do you believe it now?)”

He Changkong thought, just as expected.

While He Changkong was intently reading the posts, Shen Yanming suddenly pushed open the door and entered.
He Changkong’s gaze shifted away from the screen, “Back already? Why didn’t you ask me to pick you up?”

“Hey, I’m not someone who can’t find their way around.
Why would I need you to pick me up?” Shen Yanming took off his coat.
He seemed like he wanted to flop on the bed, but hesitated and decided against it, “I’ll take a shower first.”

“Sure, go ahead,” He Changkong replied.

Shen Yanming then asked, “Aren’t you curious about what I did today?”

Playing along, He Changkong asked, “So, what did you do?”

Shen Yanming pondered for a moment, unsure of where to start.
He didn’t know whether what he heard today was good news or bad news for He Changkong, but regardless, he needed to share it with him.
He tilted his head, “I’ll go take a shower first, organize my thoughts, and then I’ll tell you later.”

Author’s Message:

The set rules and hidden rules here are: generally, if a player’s mindset is manipulated, they are very likely to play passively and intentionally lose.
In such cases, first-time offenders might be fined, and more severe cases could lead to suspension or similar penalties.
If it involves match-fixing for gambling or other financial transactions, it would result in a direct ban.
Kong falls into the former category here.
He knowingly and willfully does so, aware that what he’s doing is wrong, but it’s a strategy he has come up with temporarily to lure out the opposition, and he will take the initiative to take the punishment in the future QUQ

Thank you for reading! 

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