Saturday, May 28, 2016

God's Left Hand - Prelude: Chapter 7

So I forgot that it was Saturday. My bad guys :<.

Solo kept smiling while she walked over.  “What event?”
“Need for Speed.”
He’s amused. “Good event.”
Ai Qing chuckled.  “And what brings you here?”

“I heard there are several strong teams in this tournament.” Solo drank some coke. “I saw the video of your game, do you plan to sign on with any team?”
Suddenly she realized that it wasn’t a casual talk when he had asked Slide about her current situation.  Slide, who had witnessed the on-again-off-again relationship between her and Solo, was obviously leaning more on her side.  She shook her head. “Not at the moment.”

As he was about to say something, some reporters interrupted.  They had just discovered that here was a heavyweight gamer and all excitedly ran over to interview him.  Ai Qing stepped back a few steps to give him more room.
The reporters didn’t ask those routine questions for a change.  Instead, they kept asking him whether he planned to switch teams.  Whether he had received any invitations.  Or whether he would leave China.

Solo listened carefully to all the questions, then said, “this year, we have 3 players ranked among the top 10 individual players in Warcraft III.  I believe that number will increase in the future.  In 2003, China has officially declared videogame competitions as a sporting event.  Although we haven’t valued videogame competitions as much as Go or soccer like in Korea, our future development is very promising.”  He smiled politely and said, “and if everything goes as expected, I will not leave this team before I retire.”

“In Europe and US, Warcraft III is not as popular as shooting games.”  One reporter pointed out doubtfully, “some people even said that, in the future, Warcraft III will only be a recreational game in Korea and China. As the ranking number 3 player, do you feel like this is a concern?”
Solo was silent for a while, then said, “there is always a rumor that Blizzard Entertainment will  push out a new game.  If it’s attractive enough, I will be happy to try it out.”

Ai Qing watched the rare serious look on his face; all of a sudden, she felt that he was very far away.  
He’s no longer that 19 years old teenager of the past.

After quickly sending those reporters away, Solo sat down naturally and started chatting with Dt.  The two of them idly exchanged words; most of the time it was Solo who was asking the questions and Dt answering with one or two words or just agreed tacitly.  She could tell that they knew each other from before.
It looked like that young girl, Ai Qing’s roommate, was a die-hard fan of Solo.  During this whole time, she was looking at him with twinkling eyes.  After he was done talking with Dt, she chipped in, “Solo? You really are Solo?”
Solo nodded smiling.  “Yes.”
“You came here to seek out our captain?”
“You could say that.”  He drank some more coke and glanced at Ai Qing. “Also to see some old friends.  Only at these kind of important tournaments do we ever meet.  We don’t have much of a chance to see each other back home since everyone lives in different provinces.”
The young girl couldn’t quite understand.  “Can’t you meet with them at the Chinese Regional finals?”
“I happened to be out of the country at the time.”  He patiently explained, then turned to Dt.  “I checked the game schedules, DotA is on the last day. Do you want to play a warm-up game tonight?”
“Warcraft III?” Dt asked.
“Yes.” Solo laughed.  “Don’t forget we got to know each other because of the Warcraft III.  I’ll invite some friends, tonight.”
Dt didn’t answer right away, Solo quickly dropped three names.

Ai Qing felt those names were familiar, but she wasn’t following Warcraft III too closely.  It was Slide, who just walked over behind her, gasped.  “Such an impressive fighting lineup!  Those Koreans on the top ten list? I remember these three were last year’s number 6, 7, and 10?”
“It’s them.”  Solo didn’t deny it.  “WCG is organized by Koreans.  They always invite some professional gamers to come as special exhibition guests.  This year it’s these three; they should be here around dinner time.”
“How do you plan to play?” Slide was very interested.
Ai Qing was also curious.  Five of them, how did they plan to play the game?

“2 to 3.” Solo curved up corners of his lips, chuckled.  “Just for fun.”
This is Solo.  Although he is ranked number 3, it’s still quite daring to challenge the three top gamers just by team up with one another player who’s not even a Warcraft III contestant.
“What time?” Finally Dt showed some interests.

“10 o’clock.”