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The instant Flying Sword fell, Liu Xiaobie collapsed against his seat in a daze.
His adjustment after slowing his rhythm had become opening for the opponent. He had figured out this "correct" method with difficulty, only for it to be broken. Was this method not actually the best choice?
Liu Xiaobie now began to doubt himself, just like he had doubted himself when he had used his explosive hand speed time and time again and yet was unable to achieve victory.
Carrying this shock, he walked out of the player booth, offstage, returning to Tiny Herb's player area.
"You played well." His teammates tried to cheer him up, and Liu Xiaobie managed a weak smile. They patted him on his shoulders, but they didn't worry about him too much. It was normal to be disappointed and melancholic after a defeat. If he had come back in high spirits, that would be more worrying.
Liu Xiaobie sat in his seat. Lowering his head, he looked at his two hands.
His hands were still very warm, fatigued after the high-speed playing in that match, and they were still trembling nonstop. Suddenly, a cold drink landed in the palm of his hand.
Liu Xiaobie lifted his head and saw Xu Bin's face.
"Still feeling the aftertaste of that match?" Xu Bin chuckled.
Liu Xiaobie shook his head. There really wasn't too much of an aftertaste. It was just two players losing control of their hand speeds, making two different choices. One didn't care and continued to go wild, while the other recognized the problem and immediately corrected himself.
No matter how you put it, the second option sounded like the correct one. But the victory had gone to the one who continued to go wild.
"It's not a big deal if you lose a match. But don't lose your conviction with it!" Xu Bin said.
Liu Xiaobie was startled.
What was his conviction?
Liu Xiaobie looked at this player in front of him. Xu Bin hadn't even been in Tiny Herb for a whole season, he wasn't any more senior than him here, but he had integrated into Tiny Herb extremely well. And his playstyle was distinct and unique in the professional scene, a style that grinded away at time. Even the audience would become impatient watching him, so despite his skill, he wasn't a very popular player. Before he transferred to Tiny Herb, he always lost by a large margin in the All-Star poll.
Tiny Herb's stage allowed him to shine more, but he didn't abandon his usual style. This was his choice. No matter where he was, he would perform this style unwaveringly.
"Sometimes a choice isn't right or wrong. It just depends on whether or not you have the conviction to carry it out." As Xu Bin spoke, his gaze landed upon another person.
Wang Jiexi, captain of Tiny Herb. Ever since he entered the team, he was Tiny Herb's soul, a presence that every person here respected and admired.
When Liu Xiaobie had been unable to get the results he wanted with his early methods, he made changes with a determined resolve. Because there was this successful role model in front of him, he had complete faith that he could make these changes.
Wang Jiexi, the one called the Magician. But he threw away this title, and it wasn't until he changed many of his battle methods that he led Tiny Herb to its summit.
Wang Jiexi's story was the source of Liu Xiaobie's faith. It was what gave him the determination to change his style and make a breakthrough. But after this battle, his determination was now wavering.
This just showed that he wasn't determined enough. It also showed that he was far from mature enough.
The road was still long!
Liu Xiaobie cracked open the drink and took a long gulp.
By this time, Tiny Herb's second player of the group arena had taken to the stage.
Xiao Yun, Tiny Herb's Battle Mage, Euphorbia.
Tang Rou quietly counted in her head.
1v3. After that day, she hadn't made any speech on the matter. Even on a normal day at Happy, it was never brought up, as though it didn't exist. But in her heart, she hadn't forgotten this for even a second.
I have to complete this! Tang Rou didn't know how many times she had repeated this in her heart. And now, this was the final chance in her bet.
This was opponent number two, and Soft Mist had 57% health remaining.
To take down an opponent in the group arena and still have over half health remaining was generally an extremely pleasing result, but for Tang Rou, this was far from enough, because her goal was to take down all three opponents by herself. But now, after only defeating Liu Xiaobie, she'd already used up 43% of Soft Mist's health. This 57% remaining to her was a tired remnant.
To clash head-on with a player who relied on his hand speed, the burden on her own two hands was unimaginable. Added to the crazy intense training Tang Rou had undergone these past 35 days, it would take a toll on even the youngest and most fit people.
And now, she still had to face two opponents, one of whom was Wang Jiexi. Tang Rou had known for a very long time just how fearsome this opponent was.
But now, there was not a trace of fear in her heart.
Defeat the one before her, and then, Wang Jiexi. Her thoughts about Wang Jiexi stopped there, nothing more.
At the start of the second battle, Xiao Yun's message appeared in the chat. "Pretty girl, your show ends here."
There was a taunt in Xiao Yun's words. 1v3? In his eyes, it was just a show.
Xiao Yun had strong feelings of hostility toward Tang Rou. In the team, he had heard that Tiny Herb was interested in Tang Rou and wanted to recruit her, but she had unfortunately turned them down.
Tiny Herb already had a Battle Mage player, himself, Xiao Yun. And yet, the team was now looking at another Battle Mage player. Xiao Yun wasn't at the point where he needed a successor. The fact that Tiny Herb had their eye on her, did that mean that this girl was better than himself?
Such a conclusion wouldn't sit well with anyone. Towards the team, towards Tang Rou, Xiao Yun was rather dissatisfied. And now he had a chance to face off against her. Tang Rou had made that promise of quitting if she couldn't complete a 1v3 in five rounds or whatever, and it just so happened that he was in the fifth round, stuck right in front of Tang Rou.
Xiao Yun was rather excited. To be able to send this Tang Rou, this player who had threatened to replace him, out of the professional scene, it was his pleasure. But he didn't dare to underestimate Tang Rou. In fact, ever since hearing the news that the team had interest in recruiting Tang Rou, he had started paying a lot of attention toward her.
Tang Rou became a powerful competitor in his eyes. Any of her matches, any reports about her, Xiao Yun paid particular attention, so much so that his teammates thought that he was trying to make some advances toward this pretty girl.
"Advances, hell! She'd better hope she doesn't fall into my hands!" This is what Xiao Yun said to Zhou Yebai, one of his teammates with whom he was close. And now, Tang Rou really fell into his hands.
I won't let you have a good time!
Xiao Yun reaffirmed his determination and controlled his Euphorbia to walk out of the spawn point. Although Soft Mist only had about half health remaining, Xiao Yun still hoped to move strategically if possible, instead of meeting her charge directly. Even if he didn't like Tang Rou, he had to admit her ferocity. Direct attacks weren't his forte, he didn't want to use his weakness against her strength. But the problem was, this Windy Pavilion map had hardly any cover on it. There was no way to strategically move to launch a sneak attack. Xiao Yun was helpless and could only direct his character to charge forward. At the opposite corner, Tang Rou's Soft Mist was doing the same thing as always, rushing without any hesitation.
What advantage did he have over Tang Rou?
Imagining Tang Rou as his opponent, Xiao Yun had thought about this comparison consciously and unconsciously many times now.
Compared to Tang Rou, he was introduced to Glory earlier, he trained as a Battle Mage earlier, he became a pro player earlier, he played pro matches earlier. Even though he wasn't a very stable core member of Tiny Herb, he was still in Tiny Herb, this powerhouse that had won two championships. Even a casually discarded rookie from this team was picked up and treated like a treasure at Happy. To have a piece of land in this kind of team, this was already something of which to be proud. And a mere rookie wanted to replace him?
Xiao Yun grew angry.
He didn't care that this was just the subjective will of Tiny Herb, or that Tang Rou's refusal had in some ways helped him. He didn't dare express any of his feelings toward Tiny Herb, but this dissatisfaction accumulated in his heart until it finally found its target, Tang Rou, as though she had been the one who actively wanted to steal his position.
The more Xiao Yun thought, the more hatred and rage he felt.
Dragon Breaks the Ranks!
This was an opening move that Tang Rou liked to use, but in this battle between two players of the same class, it was Xiao Yun who used it first. Not only did he want to win, he wanted to win beautifully. He wanted to show his team that he was far superior to Tang Rou. Anything she could do, he could do better.
This Dragon Breaks the Ranks came very suddenly. But a powerful attack at the beginning rarely hit the opponent because the starting animation for such powerful attacks was generally more noticeable than the ones for smaller attacks. Tang Rou was now a skilled Battle Mage player, and as soon as she saw Euphorbia's pose, she immediately controlled Soft Mist to dodge. Even though Xiao Yun also immediately made adjustments, when his spear shot out, it didn't manage to land on its target.
Soft Mist dodge to the side, and after Euphorbia's powerful attack whistled by, Dancing Fire Flowing Flame leapt out.
Soft Mist's first attack in this round was rather plain.
Euphorbia immediately leapt backward, as though still carrying some remnants of the Dragon Breaks the Ranks. After avoiding this Sky Strike, his spear was already sweeping wildly toward Soft Mist.
From top to bottom, this was a Draconic Crusher, a level 50 Battle Mage attack. If this attack landed, the target was guaranteed to fall over on the ground. And the priority of a level 50 skill was much higher than low-level skills, so even if Soft Mist was able to adjust the angle of her Sky Strike, she wouldn't be able to parry this Draconic Crusher.
So Xiao Yun was completely confident. But Soft Mist's Sky Strike continued toward him.
Ridiculous, I'll flatten you!
Xiao Yun's mouse moved faster. The Draconic Crusher pressed down on Soft Mist and her Sky Strike.
The two spears met in the air, and the result was decided in an instant. The parrying effect of Sky Strike didn't seem to exist and was immediately smothered by Draconic Crusher.
What about Soft Mist? It seemed that this attack was too strong, so strong that she had no way of bracing herself against it, instead rolling to reduce the force.
But that movement wasn't necessary, Xiao Yun was very clear. The Sky Strike was just crushed by the Draconic Crusher, but there was suddenly a jump, and a Dragon Tooth leapt towards him like a viper.
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