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In the end, Tang Rou was unable to complete her promise of a 1v3 within five rounds. Chen Guo couldn't muster even the barest of smiles, but when Tang Rou returned, she was still able to smile at all of them, just like after her losses in all of the previous group arenas. That smile was to let them know that they didn't need to worry for her. But if they didn't worry now, when would they? Five rounds had already passed, there were no more chances!
Seeing how Tang Rou was still wearing such a smile, Chen Guo only felt more miserable. She wanted to go up and say something, but she didn't know what she could say. Tang Rou quietly sat back down in her seat, and her face finally revealed a trace of exhaustion. 35 days of crazy training, and a frenzied performance in every match. This time, facing the powerhouse Tiny Herb, she defeated two opponents in a row, but in the end, she fell so swiftly at the hands of Wang Jiexi.
Was everything already over?
Chen Guo felt a numbness in her nose. She looked at Tang Rou, whose head was lifted, staring at the replays on the screens, just like normal. They were all displaying shots from her match that had just ended.
Ye Xiu stood up, but he didn't say anything to Tang Rou. He still followed the progression of the match and said something to the next player who was about to go onstage. Chen Guo was right next to him, and yet she couldn't hear a thing he said.
Happy's second player in the group arena was Steamed Bun, a player that many people thought shared some traits with Wang Jiexi. This time, facing Wang Jiexi, he lost speedily.
Two opponents defeated consecutively, yet Vaccaria had barely lost any health. The audience's eyes were wide.
Everyone had been focused on whether or not Tang Rou could complete a 1v3. But now, it was actually shaping up to be a total reversal like this?
Amidst everyone's guessing, Fang Rui went onstage…
In the group arena, Tiny Herb won.
The dead silence in the crowd only belonged to Happy's reporters. The Tiny Herb fans supporting their away team were thrilled, excited, and screaming crazily. Even Pan Lin, in the middle of the broadcast, was nearly incoherent.
"This… This is truly…" Pan Lin tried to organize his words. "Just when Tang Rou defeated two Tiny Herb players and everyone was wondering whether or not she could create a miracle, Wang Jiexi, Tiny Herb's Captain Wang Jiexi, the Magician Wang Jiexi, with a crisp and clear 1v3, tells everyone: impossible! Tiny Herb maintains its record of never being 1v3'd! Wang Jiexi is truly one of the most reliable players in the Alliance! An awe-inspiring reversal!"
The excitement of the Tiny Herb fans conquered the entire stadium.
Tang Rou failed her 1v3, and the opponent pulled off a 1v3 to reverse the situation and win the match. One could only imagine how low Happy's spirits were.
How would the upcoming team competition play out? Very few people could concentrate on this question, as everyone was still worrying about Tang Rou's future. On the other hand, after Wang Jiexi's 1v3 to win back the group arena, Tiny Herb's morale reached its peak. With this shift, in the end, Happy lost the team competition to Tiny Herb as well. The match ended, 2 to 8.
To be honest, Happy losing to Tiny Herb wasn't any big news. The most attention-grabbing part of this match was Tang Rou's promise of completing a 1v3, and this too was a large reason why the live broadcast chose to show this match. And now, the dust settled. The reporters had all already gathered at the post-match press conference, discussing in a chaotic manner, some regretful, some gloating.
Esports Time's Ruan Cheng, of course, would not miss this press conference. It could even be said that he was the star of this conference. Right now, he acted like a victor, delightedly moving through the crowds of reporters, chatting with some here and some there, leaving the sound of his hearty laughter throughout.
"Are you happy?" Ruan Cheng suddenly heard someone speak up beside him. He turned his head and saw this person glaring right at him.
"Seeing such a talented player forced to leave the professional scene for a reason like this. Are you happy?" When Ruan Cheng turned toward him, Chang Xian spat out this sentence word by word, syllable by syllable.
He was the reporter closest to Happy, but among all of these people, Chang Xian was still just a junior. His identity and position couldn't compare at all to Esports Time's senior writer Ruan Cheng. But at this moment, Chang Xian mustered his courage and hurled this question at him.
"Haha," Ruan Cheng laughed. "Everyone needs to take responsibility for their choices, and I'm pleased to see a player meet such a result after their own arrogant words and actions. Of course, I prefer to see that she learns a lesson from this, corrects her shortcomings, and continues to improve. Something like this wouldn't actually force her to retire, no? Haha."
"You're exactly right, take responsibility for your choices. Everyone's very willing to accept a sincere apology!" Another reporter who disapproved of Tang Rou's actions came to support Ruan Cheng's opinion.
Seeing these seniors pretending to be innocent and sympathetic, Chang Xian truly felt disgusted. These people always put themselves on the moral high ground, casually pointing fingers at other people, as though anything that didn't fit their views was automatically wrong. They spoke as though this were all for Tang Rou's good, but Chang Xian was clear, they just wanted to see Tang Rou embarrassed, see this strong and tough player bow her head before them, thus proving the authority of their right to speak.
Chang Xian didn't want to see Tang Rou lower her head before these guys, but he was even less willing to see Tang Rou quit the pro scene like this.
"They're here, Happy's people are here." After this shout, all of the reporters took their positions. Ruan Cheng smiled and organized his appearance. With all the attitude of a victor, he prepared to thoroughly enjoy this evening.
Ye Xiu, Fang Rui, Chen Guo, and Tang Rou, these were the four people from Happy that came for this press conference. The reporters were quietly delighted, since they had worried earlier that Tang Rou simply wouldn't attend. But now, it seemed this girl was quite magnanimous! Not bad, lower your head! Apologize!
As long as you come with the right attitude, everyone will gladly accept it.
Although everyone was eager to jump right in, seeing the four Happy members take their seats, in the end they all turned toward Ruan Cheng. After all, this whole affair was his creation. At this time, they had to give him face, let him complete this topic.
"Ahem!" Ruan Cheng of course wouldn't pass up this opportunity. After the signal that he could begin, he gracefully stood up to ask a question. "It's a great shame that Happy was in such condition, only to suffer such a reversal." Ruan Cheng was in no hurry, and said these perfunctory opening words.
"Yes, it's a shame," Ye Xiu answered.
"It's a greater shame that Miss Tang Rou failed to complete her 1v3 by just one step." Ruan Cheng smiled as he hit upon the topic at hand.
Tang Rou sat on the panel. Contrary to everyone's expectations, she didn't appear to be in a rush to examine her mistakes, nor did she show any sign of disappointment or loss. Like every other time she had appeared in such a press conference, she simply sat there, upright and proper.
What was the meaning of this?
More than a few reporters were already having second thoughts.
To be honest, not many people really took this very seriously. Tang Rou, with her looks and skill as a player, had an immeasurable value in the pro scene. There was really no way to strictly enforce this so-called promise. But for the sake of the team's most immediate interests, at this point, they had to smooth over their public relations somehow, right? Even if they used the reasons Ruan Cheng had exposed earlier, "for love,""for the team,""for the supporters," or other such arguments. Or if they really had nothing else, even a reason like "to generate interest" could very well be brazenly announced!
But, with this calm and stability in front of them, as though this whole situation didn't exist, what was she planning to do? Was she pretending to have amnesia?
Everyone looked at Ruan Cheng. Stop playing around, get to the point!
Ruan Cheng was also beginning to have doubts in his heart. At this time, this player seriously didn't have any intention of lowering her head? What an infuriating person!
Ruan Cheng's mood worsened, and so he picked up the pace.
"If I've counted correctly, this is now the fifth round since your promise of five rounds. Although Miss Tang Rou only missed it by one step, the 1v3 was not completed. It seems that, Miss Tang Rou, you said earlier, if you couldn't complete a 1v3 in five rounds, you would quit?"
Ruan Cheng had initially intended for Tang Rou to stand up of her own volition to admit her wrong and beg forgiveness, but now, she was just sitting motionless at the panel, as though she would completely ignore the topic if no one brought it up. Ruan Cheng couldn't stand it any more, and so he directly dug up the promise.
Instantly, everyone's gazes swiveled to Tang Rou.
Tang Rou smiled. "Quit? I don't agree. Go on."
I don't agree, go on?
What was that?
The reporters were instantly in an uproar. Even Ruan Cheng was stunned. Chang Xian hadn't expected Tang Rou to do this, either.
Refuse to lower your head, but refuse to quit as well, what can you do?
Chang Xian hadn't expected that even this pretty girl would have delinquent tendencies. To put it bluntly, she was admitting that she was breaking her word? This this this… She was completely destroying her reputation!
A promise, no matter in what context, held significance. The words you said, the water you spilled, you could find this or that ridiculous excuse, but in the end you needed to find an explanation to give yourself a place to stand.
But Tang Rou wasn't standing on anything, she just gave that sentence: I don't agree.
If the player didn't agree, there was truly no one who could force her to quit, so this reason was very strong. But to do this was to burn your image and reputation to ashes. Having a good appearance couldn't save you. Character, integrity, those were forever a person's most important traits.
"You don't agree?" This response caught Ruan Cheng completely off guard. His voice had gone strangled, he had no idea how to go on. "You… you shameless!"
He couldn't hold back, Ruan Cheng just couldn't hold back. To directly hurl such insults was of course frowned upon, and these writers often had to use very roundabout ways to insult someone. But in this moment, he truly couldn't hold back anymore. This was shameless. No word could describe this more accurately.
"You can say what you will," Tang Rou said. "I will continue as always. Thank you."
Thank you? What the fuck! The reporters were instantly enraged. Are you trying to make fun of us?
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