A tall skyscraper loomed menacingly. Emblazoned on it was the exquisite design of a fox, gigantic and glamorous. It was the district’s landmark: the Silverfox club, one of the top national competitive game clubs.
In the club’s building, within the furthest of the members’ dormitories, thick cigarette smoke filled the air. Two people silently drew from the cigarettes in their hands. On a normal day, they would not have touched a cigarette, let alone smoke till their eyes watered.
“Are you really leaving?”
Zhou Hong’s eyes were slightly puffy. “Maybe there’s still leeway for the situation to turn around. Let’s wait a bit more. Skyroad is about to release this year too. It’ll be an epoch-making game. The club from South Korea introduced two huge foreign helps. It’s bound to be worth doing. Can’t you stay?”
“If I stay, what does the club have in plan for me?”
I stubbed out my cigarette, a pained smile on my face. “Allow me to continue as a reserve player?”
“The brass’s temporary decision…is to continue to use Lin Tu’s tactics core. I know it’s not fair to you, but—but if you stay, there’ll be hope, no?” He pleaded.
I shook my head brusquely. “Forget it. Since the last season, the old staff of Silverfox have been leaving one by one. Lin Che has left, Zhou Tian has left. Even if I stay, I’ll be pushed aside like before.”
“You won’t be. You’re the last horseman; the nation’s greatest horseman!” He clenched his fist.
“Today marks the final day of the contract.”
I hefted my sorted knapsack and the Skywarp‘s game helmet before tossing the team uniform coat over my shoulder. The group badge of the jacket flickered as it dangled from my back. “Zhou Hong, thanks for sending me off.”
Zhou Hong bit his lip.
The familiar corridors of the club building were empty, save for the handsome figure of a man. He was wearing the captain uniform of Silverfox.
Lin Tu, crowned as one of the big five tactics core of the nation, as well as the captain of Silverfox. He had brought Silverfox into top 8 for the world nationals.
“You’re really leaving?” His voice was flat.
I shot a final glance at him, before averting my gaze from him and leaving.
Lin Tu’s raised his voice, his tone filled with self-confidence. “I admit. Silverfox was single-handedly carried by you into golden league. However, I’ll still say this to you: your tactics core is already old. It is impossible for a person to live forever in former glory. Face reality.”
I did not reply, stiffly walking past him.
A second voice called out. I did not need to look back to recognise the speaker. A lonely figure appeared around the corner, donned in the team uniform dress. Su Xiran, the team leader of Silverfox, the very same person who took me into Silverfox. Her voice quavered as she spoke. “If you really must leave, then tell me, where do you plan to go?”
“Anywhere works.” I paused and said quietly.
“I heard that you just announced an indefinite retirement from gaming. Skyroad is about to be released. Will you return?”
The instant I left the club’s building, I deeply breathed out. How long had it been since I had felt this light-hearted?