On the other side:

During lunchtime, He Changkong did something out of character by waiting until the cafeteria was crowded before heading there.
This was quite contrary to his usual style.
However, Meng Yan, who went with him, didn’t think much of it.
While queuing for food, he commented, “There are quite a lot of people today.”

Apart from those, who played this game, there were around ten players specializing in other games of various sizes in the base, as well as various staff members.
Although there were different dining areas, they all had to queue together for regular meals.
During peak dining hours, the cafeteria was indeed quite crowded.

He Changkong responded with a “Hmm” and discreetly glanced around.
Then, he said to Meng Yan, “Weren’t you curious about what happened between me and Xiao Luan?”

He seemed to make a gesture to lower his voice, but in reality, he wasn’t speaking quietly.
To the onlookers, it appeared that He Changkong wanted to say something indirectly and was forced to speak a bit louder due to the noisy cafeteria environment.

In any case, the people around them overheard the conversation, and it seemed like something was going on between He Changkong and Shen Yanming.

Meng Yan, who had been leaning forward to look at the day’s dishes, pulled his head back upon hearing He Changkong’s question.
He gave He Changkong a perplexed look and thought, “What??? When did I want to know? Had something happened between these two?”

Meng Yan rapidly tried to recall.
Although Shen Yanming seemed to have gone out today, the “Gege tie tie” that he said to He Changkong before leaving the training room last night lingered in his ears, almost making him fearful of homosexuality.
Given this, what else could have happened? Could it be that in just one night, something significant had occurred between them?

Could it be that they had a big argument, and so today Shen Yanming angrily went back to his family’s home?

Startled by his own wild imagination, Meng Yan looked at He Changkong’s face, which went from confused to frightened, and asked, “What’s going on between you guys?”

He Changkong pointed to a corner of the cafeteria where there was a self-service beverage station, “Let’s talk later.
It’s too crowded here.”

Meng Yan said, “Fine…” Why is he suddenly building suspense?


Until they finished getting their food, Meng Yan still found it strange.
He Changkong was acting very unusual today.
He even voluntarily wanted to discuss matters related to his emotions—a point worth noting, as He Changkong was usually as tight-lipped as a clam.
It was a challenging task to get him to open up.

The two of them carried their trays to a corner.
Just a shelf separated them from the self-service drink station, and Meng Yan silently complained that there weren’t fewer people here.
People kept coming over to pour cola!

However, Meng Yan didn’t say anything more.
After they sat down, he took a few bites of his food and said, “So, spill it.
You said you wanted to talk.”

He Changkong: “Wait a moment.”

Meng Yan: “?”

After waiting for a while, He Changkong saw the new support player from the second team approach with five or six cups in hand.
He seemed to be helping other people get drinks.

It was at this moment that He Changkong finally spoke, “We fought.”

In another city, Shen Yanming, who was enjoying a pleasant conversation with Professor He, suddenly sneezed.


Meng Yan: “Huh?”

After overcoming his initial shock, Meng Yan forced himself to calm down.
He whispered, “You two are inseparable.
How can you still fight?”

He Changkong: “Yeah, I’m feeling a bit uneasy.
I don’t even want to play in the matches.”

Meng Yan’s eyes nearly popped out, “What!!! For fuck’s sake, get a grip, bro! It’s just a fight! Wait, is this your true personality? Are you turning into our class’s former Chinese language representative who skipped classes after breaking up with his boyfriend?”

He Changkong let out a sigh.

Meng Yan racked his brains and spewed some motivational nonsense.
He had noticed that He Changkong had been off lately during training these past few days, and now, hearing him say this, he wondered if He Changkong had been possessed.
Despite his lengthy speech, he realized that He Changkong wasn’t even listening.
His attention seemed to be somewhere else entirely.

Meng Yan was getting frustrated and was about to say more when He Changkong interrupted, “Alright, that’s enough.
Thanks, buddy, let’s eat.”

He Changkong saw the new support player who had been pouring water for a long time finally leave with multiple cups.

Meng Yan: “No, I was serious with everything I just said.
You can’t keep going like this…”

He Changkong smiled, “I was messing with you.
We didn’t fight, I’m not feeling uneasy, and I do want to play in the matches.”


Meng Yan was utterly bewildered, “Huh? No, you don’t need to feel embarrassed about stuff like this.
If there’s a problem, let’s solve it together.
Don’t keep it inside…”

He Changkong replied, “I’ll explain when we get back.
I was just confirming something earlier.”

He Changkong had started feeling uneasy since the day he received a text message from Xu Yun.

Although Xu Yun later claimed that she had discovered his relationship with Shen Yanming because she occasionally searched his name online, wasn’t the timing a bit too coincidental? The news about them had just surfaced online, and immediately after, Xu Yun had messaged him.

Especially the way she knew all about his match schedules and hotel arrangements… Of course, finding out where he booked a hotel isn’t something difficult, but even seasoned fans need to put in some effort to find out such details.
How could a middle-aged woman who knows nothing about the industry be so informed? Even if she was a local, it still didn’t quite add up.

And intentionally coming to the hotel the night before his match to mess with his mindset.

He Changkong recalled the post on the forum where the OP confidently stated that he and Shen Yanming would definitely be affected and perform poorly.
At the time, it seemed like just baseless rumors, but now, looking back, it felt as if the poster had known in advance that He Changkong would definitely have his mindset affected by something and perform badly, like say, being disturbed by his mother’s unexpected visit.

Driven by curiosity, He Changkong went back to that post.

The forum had an anonymous mode, but He Changkong knew a friend who was a forum administrator and could access the posting history of the same account.

Currently, forums require real-name registration, but unless a lawsuit is filed, even friends who are administrators can’t provide specific real-name information.
Plus, real-name information might be validated using someone else’s ID, so directly asking who posted something doesn’t work.
IP tracing is possible, but ordinary users can only trace to a city, which isn’t very useful.
Besides, if the other party used a proxy IP, the traced city might not be accurate.

So, to find out who posted, one must search for clues within the posts.

The other party was clearly cautious, even though they used an anonymous account, they also used a secondary account.
However, the forum assigns weight based on the activity level of accounts to prevent random posts, trolls, or spam.
Thus, secondary accounts must also post frequently to stay active.

Therefore, this secondary account had been posting irrelevant comments in various threads over the past month.

He Changkong wasn’t very hopeful as he scrolled through each comment one by one.
He scrolled for quite a while, long enough for Shen Yanming, who was playing on his phone next to him at the time, to ask why he was spending so much time on the forum.

Unfortunately, that night he hadn’t found any useful information.


He spent almost the entire night thinking.
Posting such a thread and causing a fuss wasn’t something done out of boredom.
Considering the tone of that post and Xu Yun’s later visit to cause trouble, the poster might have more plans, perhaps to gradually tarnish his reputation, or mess with his mindset step by step…

Of course, he could choose to ignore it.

To be honest, he did feel uncomfortable – saying this might be disrespectful – but whenever Xu Yun appeared before him, he would be reminded of his bleak childhood and adolescent years.
Just her presence alone brought back memories of a time when he couldn’t be happy.
Moreover, that day Xu Yun had brought an unknown truth with her – that his father was a deceitful gay man.

Following that, Xu Yun mercilessly berated him, even demanding that he break up with Shen Yanming.

At that moment, the overwhelming negativity exploded within him.
Thoughts of resentment and self-loathing filled his mind, and he wished he had never existed in this world.

Yet, these shadows dissipated entirely when he was with Shen Yanming.

He could still perform well in the matches, but…

He contemplated for a long time, feeling that if he performed well, the other party might come up with new ways to target him… But it was also possible that this matter might just fizzle out.
If he wanted to expose the person behind this, he would have to temporarily fall into their trap.

But to fall into their trap, he’d have to play badly.
If he truly performed poorly due to his mindset, it’s understandable.
However, if he could perform well but deliberately perform poorly, it was undoubtedly unfair to his teammates and against the spirit of esports.

He spent the whole night pondering, carefully considering every scenario.
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! 

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day

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

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like