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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Kneeling beside the sea of people, leaving himself open to ridicule in this miserable, cruel city…
Da Luo was okay with not knowing about whatever had happened before. He didn’t really want to know if Shui Mo and her ex-boyfriend had gotten together at some point over the past few days…
He only cared about now, and forever.
He watched Shui Mo, looking for any hint or clue in her expression. How he hoped that look of surprise would gradually turn to delight, and then she would accept him.
However, he couldn’t find anything besides panic and consternation.
Suddenly, she turned and fled.
Making short steps on high heels, she vanished into the crowd right away, so that he couldn’t even watch her go.
Da Luo was stunned. He hadn’t expected this.
People continued to stream past, giving him looks of pity or amusement. He felt foolish kneeling in front of nobody, now that Shui Mo was gone.
Da Luo hadn’t noticed himself wandering off, but before he knew it, he was getting on the subway train, on his way back to where he belonged.
Inside his pocket, his handphone began to ring. A flicker of hope lit up his heart, and he hurried to answer it.
“Da Luo…” Shui Mo’s voice was subdued, pitiful to hear.
“Ah, was I too sudden with that? I guess you didn’t know how to respond,” Da Luo said, by way of apology.
“No, no… I was really moved by that—really. No one’s ever been so genuine, so kind to me, like you have… and you even proposed to me with all your heart.”
“What, then?” Hearing her tone, Da Luo felt an awful premonition welling up inside him. The next thing she was about to tell him would leave him utterly devastated. He wanted to hang up before he had to hear it.
Was he about to receive the legendary ‘That’s so sweet, but no’?
He used to joke about it, but now it was his turn.
“I’ve seriously thought about marrying you. It’s just, I don’t know why… when I saw you getting down on one knee in front of me, it was too much for me. I’ve had some time to collect my thoughts, now. Maybe I’m a bit too frivolous a woman… there are so many things I want, to the point that, well… I could even betray my own heart, for a petty bit of gain.”
Shui Mo was chewing on her lip as she said this. It was such a difficult thing to talk about, especially to someone who liked her—someone she held very dear to her heart.
For her to be saying it anyway, it suggested that the person she was telling this to would soon no longer be a part of her world.
Da Luo wasn’t stupid, just young and inexperienced with love. He just tried his best to do whatever he believed was right.
With Shui Mo, it had been love at first sight. When she was being harassed on the subway, he’d chased him away in a fury that was uncharacteristic of him.
After getting her number, he racked his brain for something to talk about, some reason to meet up.
It was obvious that she was used to a lifestyle that was vastly different from his own. One bottle of perfume for her cost him more than half a month’s salary. Shouldn’t he know well enough to keep away from her?
Heh… If he couldn’t give a little more for the sake of the girl he liked, if he didn’t dare to get involved in her life, wasn’t prepared to give her the life she expected, wasn’t able to fulfill her needs… then how would he ever earn her favor?
Da Luo had been doing his best. If it still wasn’t good enough, then there was nothing to be sorry about.
Still, thinking back on this past year, all the times he’d spent together with Shui Mo—times filled with excitement, anticipation, and happiness—it caused his stomach to churn with searing acid. It seized his heart, caught in his throat, and brought tears to his eyes.
He didn’t pay much attention to the rest of what Shui Mo had to say. She was basically just trying to console him.
In short, it was stuff like: She thought he was a good man, but she didn’t feel she herself was good enough for him.
She said she preferred men with ambition, not guys like him who toiled all day but didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.
Indeed, after hearing that last one, Da Luo realized he didn’t really have a clue what he was doing here, in this city.
“No matter what, I truly appreciate everything you’ve done for me. The problem lies with me. Maybe I should have told you this sort of thing earlier, but the truth is that sometimes I can’t sort out my own feelings towards you—that is, until you proposed to me. So… goodbye.”
And with that, Shui Mo ended the call.
Da Luo slipped the handphone back into his pocket. He didn’t notice when the train arrived at his station.
Like a walking corpse, he followed the crowd out of the subway, and was greeted by the dying light of the setting sun.
Looking out across the pot-holed streets and crumbling buildings, he remembered the opulent lobbies and soaring skyscrapers of Century Avenue. Over here, people mostly wore the plainest sort of clothing; back there, it had been brand-name stuff all the way down to the socks.
‘I prefer guys with ambition. Maybe you’ve been so busy that it’s kept you from looking further, finding a real goal for yourself.’ These words kept banging around in his head, leaving bruises everywhere.
Had all his hard work been so meaningless?
Toiling endlessly day after day, then training long into the night, all for the sake of being able to see her on the weekends—treat her to a meal, take her out on the town, have some fun…
“Da Luo. Da Luo?” Suddenly, there was a hand on his shoulder, and he heard a familiar voice.
He stood there for a long while before noticing he was in the presence of three people. He regarded them placidly, without any trace of feeling.
“Da Luo, what’s the matter?” Lin Dong sounded anxious.
“It’s… nothing. I just want a moment to myself.” He looked at Lin Dong and Yu Luocheng, but didn’t say anymore, and continued with heavy, plodding steps back to his small, simple house.
“But—” Neither Lin Dong nor Luocheng were finished with him, but Da Luo had already gone inside and shut the door, cutting himself off from the rest of the world.
Luocheng stood staring at the tightly shut door. “Did something happen with Shui Mo?”
“Most likely. Who knows how badly Da Luo’s been hurt, this time. I’ve checked up on Shui Mo’s background and residential records. She’s not exactly an unsullied angel. I thought that she really liked Da Luo, but then…” Lin Dong shook his head and sighed.
(Translator’s Note: I think in China even visitors to your hotel room will have to submit their passports and full identification to the reception counter. Even so, it’s kinda creepy that Lin Dong can access such information on Da Luo’s girlfriend…)
“Da Luo is probably aware of it himself, but he still resolved to keep working hard, re-invent himself, and make her his,” Qianqian said quietly, “Rather than just giving up over something like that.”
“So what do we do now?” Lin Dong wondered.
“Let’s just wait here,” Luocheng suggested.
There was dead silence in the house.
Da Luo sat on a chair, staring aimlessly at his computer screen.
He liked computers, and gaming.
When he quit pro-gaming, his heart had died, and nothing excited him anymore.
When Shui Mo came into his life, he’d come alive again. He’d found a real purpose, something to look forward to. She was what had pulled him up from his lackadaisical ways, and motivated him to work as hard as he could.
He’d considered that he might find disappointment in the end, just like this. But now that it had really happened, the feeling was unbearable. He was crushed. Each breath he drew was excruciating.
He felt like he had nothing left, now. He thought of the dull and dreary labor ahead of him, and the gentle, playful voice he’d never hear again…
For a very, very long time, Da Luo remained lost in his thoughts.
He slowly lifted up a hand to look at it—this hand, worn coarse from moving construction materials all day.
He was still clutching a slip of paper.
His head swam with confusion. Thinking back, he vaguely remembered Lin Dong stuffing this into his hand, wanting him to look at it.
What was there to see?
Da Luo laughed bitterly. That man had done the same as Shui Mo, utterly laying waste to his hopes and dreams. He crumpled the paper up, and tossed it into the bin.
Unbidden, the memories of the past began to return to him.
A simple bungalow, five shirtless men banging away hard at their mice and keyboards. Together, they wolfed down the food Xiao Bei got them. Together, they took their first ever flight out of the country. They stood on stage before the whole world, beneath a deafening storm of cheering.
In particular, he remembered countless fans crying out for the Lone Gull. It had been an unimaginable honor, a crowning moment of glory he’d never forget all his life long.
As the reverie continued, Da Luo inexplicably stirred, and retrieved the piece of paper he’d just thrown away. Slowly, he unfolded it.
It contained two strings of numbers, and the name of a region: It was an account number and password, in the Ionia server.
His computer was already on. Bewildered, Da Luo summoned up the login screen, and entered the listed credentials.
Selecting ‘Ionia’ caused the logo to flare, and there was a resounding boom that somehow caused the heart to quicken, as though his dying heart had received a powerful shock from a pair of chest paddles.
He was logged into the account now, but he still didn’t understand what was going on. It looked like a perfectly ordinary account.
He laughed at himself and reached over to close the client window, but on a sudden impulse, he opened up the Match History instead.
Ezreal, the Prodigal Explorer. Win Rate: 100%
Kennen, the Heart of the Tempest. Win Rate: 100%
Vayne, the Night Hunter. Win Rate: 100%
In bright green text: Victory!
Ranked: 2,260 LP!
Da Luo took in these unbelievable records, absolutely confounded.
Twenty-six consecutive victories… This was an account with twenty-six straight wins!
The highest record of consecutive victories in Ionia was twenty-five.
A flash of realization hit Da Luo like a lightning bolt.
He was quite aware of how unbelievably difficult it had to have been to win twenty-six games in a row.
There were so many elite ‘League of Legends’ players across the nation, but this was the first time anyone had ever achieved such a feat—and it had been accomplished barely a few days ago, around the time that he’d told someone about it.
They’d done this for him: Twenty-six consecutive victories, in just a handful of days.
Just a moment ago, he’d been remembering all the laughter and tears from those days when he used to play professionally. He’d thought that those feelings would fade, as time passed.
But when he discovered the truth of this account, the indescribable emotions that welled up inside him moved him uncontrollably to tears.
When Shui Mo turned him down, he’d still been able to hold back his tears.
When Shui Mo revealed those harsh realities to him, he didn’t cry, he’d held on.
But this tiny little game account had burst the dam wide open. He was weeping openly now, sobbing big blubbering tears that converged into twin rivers pouring down his face!
(Translator’s Note: Yeah, bros before Mo, and all that. Although I’ve taken any number of jabs at this author, he managed to turn the handing over of a free game account into such a dramatic event. Proof of a master.)
The door suddenly opened.
Da Luo stood in the doorway, looking at Luocheng and Lin Dong with damp eyes. The black circles under their eyes were still clearly visible, evidence of having slaved away for several days and nights over this account.
“Da Luo…” Lin Dong began. Luocheng was looking at him as well.
Da Luo suddenly threw his arms wide, and caught Luocheng in a fierce hug.
“Captain. I… ah… This is Da Luo, and…” His words were all in a jumble, sniffling like a child. “No—This is Lone Gull, and I’m back in the team!”
Lone Gull was back!
He didn’t lack purpose or direction.
She just had no idea of how he’d once had the whole world at his feet!
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