Together Forever is finishing up this Tues evening/Wed morning (N. America/rest of the world). Squid is taking over its posting time, which means the next update for it will be Fri evening/Sat morning, followed by next Sunday to fill Peanut’s usual posting slot.
Well, things eventually have to move out of the gaming world. She just never thought it would be so fast.
Chapter 5 – Professional Gaming Organization?
Several consecutive days of staying up through the middle of the night left her simply exhausted and beat.
When she exited the game at four o’clock, she finally mustered up the courage to probingly ask grunt the next time he would be online. grunt’s answer: “Not certain.” Very shortly, he left the game in a flash.
… She hadn’t even had the chance to ask him for some time off. She would not be able to go online for two days.
Four in the morning. All around, it was still. Her parents were still fast asleep downstairs.
She, however, needed to start packing her luggage to leave. She had a seven o’clock flight somewhere to go participate in a winter festival. The organizer was providing one night’s accommodation, so it was a perfect opportunity for her to get together with a local friend there. She made herself a warm cup of honey water while also carefully looking over the promotional material she was holding. Very soon, her gaze was drawn to the name, Tempest of the Sealed Chamber.
Her eyes lit up.
The entire journey, she fixedly read the description given for Tempest of the Sealed Chamber, all the while planning that she would have some of the staff members whom she knew introduce her. She absolutely had to find a way to be introduced to the in-charge person from that gaming company to see if she could possibly guest cosplay one of the characters in the game.
He liked that game so much… What if, one day, her cosplay photo suddenly appeared on its title screen?…
Oh no, why were her hands feeling all tingly?…
There was a faint blush in her cheeks. Fiercely rubbing her palms together, she continued to cram herself amid a cluster of flight passengers and wait for the baggage from her flight to be delivered out.
CA3901. Again, not her flight…
She took a glance at her mobile phone. It was still early. She was simply worried that if the time was too late and she had to rush over, there would not be enough time for her to warm up her voice. That would be embarrassing…
When she slipped her phone back into the pocket of her down coat, she suddenly noticed that across from her, there were several men with tall builds, all wearing red and white, striped down jackets, like a team uniform for a group of athletes.
Had she run into a basketball team? Or a football [soccer] team? As she speculated, she, out of curiosity, looked them over a couple more times.
Those people were one by one carrying away their suitcases when someone gave a cry of “Leader, we’re good.”
“Oh.” The man who had been behind everyone else, sitting on his luggage the entire time while he played with his mobile phone, stood. Not bothering to even raise his head, he continued to play with his phone as he turned around and walked toward the exit.
She gaped after them. Right as she was about to take a step, the baggage conveyor belt all of a sudden began to move.
One after another, luggage was sent out, and with sounds of thunk, thunk, they fell onto the belt… Tong Nian truly felt her heart was breaking, able only to watch helplessly as those people, one at a time, stepped outside and moved far away from her until the view of their backsides disappeared from her sight…
He was an athlete?
Tong Nian absentmindedly made wild guesses. Only when her silver suitcase passed by in front of her did her attention snap back. Hastily picking up her suitcase, she walked outside with brisk strides the entire way, trying to catch up to them. At the very least, she needed to see what the logo was on their team uniform, aaaah…
She had not expected that outside the airport, it was already empty, with no one in sight.
The end result was, because of this chance encounter, she spent the entire event in a daze. Aside from during the opening performance when, stepping on stage, she had reflexively slipped into form and sang the song, Emptiness, the whole time, even after she had walked off the stage and her fans were dashing over to thrust at her mound after mound of little gifts, she was half a beat slow and out of form.
“Your Squidie Highness.” Blueberry, her good friend and also the person in charge of the closing performance of the event, teased her quietly, “Your cold, haughty aloofness has reached new levels, eh.”
“Huh?” Tong Nian gazed bewilderedly at her.
With a “pfft,” Blueberry burst out in a giggle. “I won’t tease you anymore. Oh, you. Last time, when you were reciting all those IELTS [International English Language Testing System] vocab words, you were so absorbed in it you forgot to stand up to thank your fans, and then you got badmouthed. Have you forgotten about that?”
… How could she forget? She had secretly cried at home about it for two days…
“Do you know what sort of competitions or matches are going on here these days? A basketball game? Football game? Or maybe… don’t professional athletes all have to train?”
Blueberry was stupefied by all the questions. Rubbing her on the head, she asked, “Have you mixed up your dimensions? Why is an online singing diva concerned about basketball games?”
Sighing, Tong Nian blew rather glumly at her bangs, at a dead end with no ideas.
“Oh right, that Tempest of the Sealed Chamber that you were just asking me about, I think that game is having a pro-level tournament these next few days.”
“Huh?” Tong Nian’s eyes were once more glazed with confusion.
“It means, professional gamers who play video games have started a new round of competitions for this year. My hubby is a fan of eSports, and he specifically came here with me to watch the tournament. It’s at… three o’clock?” Blueberry raised her wrist and took a glance. “It’s started already.”
“Professional gamers…” Tong Nian continued digesting this new term. All of a sudden, an epiphany flashed in her mind. “Just like athletes, they wear a team uniform?”
“Of course they do. They’re particularly proper. On top of that, the true, high-level pro gamers’ earnings are especially high. Supposedly, there’s one team there today where, in the last half a year, the prize winning for each person was… 800,000?”
It should… not be… that incredible, right?
It was as if she had found hope, and wagging her tail, she begged Blueberry to call her husband to ask whether there was a team with red and white team uniforms. And the answer really was “yes!” “Then let’s go.” Tong Nian immediately stood. “I want to watch the tournament.”
“I can’t go.” Blueberry poked her in the forehead with a pointer finger. “Your Squidie Highness, I need to wait until the entire exposition ends to do the closing performance! How about this? I’ll give my hubby a call and have him give you the address. You go yourself.”
And so, she, the guest performer for the opening act, just like that, disappeared from the exposition. Dragging her luggage, she did not even have time to go to the hotel where she would be staying, and based on that unfamiliar address, she found her way to a small stadium. She wandered around in front of the main entrance for a long time until she finally found a ticket scalper and bought an entrance ticket. It was only after she had gone in, had breathlessly taken a seat, and was staring at the picture of a fierce match on the large screen that she at last felt that she might really have found the right place.
But after scanning her gaze everywhere, she found that there were no red and white uniforms at all…
Where would they have gone? …
“There’s no one sitting here?” a voice suddenly asked from behind her. “If there’s no one, I’ll sit.”
Tong Nian instantly bristled. Turning around, she stared gapingly as the man, who had already removed his jacket and was wearing a black, short-sleeved shirt, swung his leg over the seats from the row behind and sat down in passing beside her.
That pair of extremely dark, extremely bright eyes swept over to where she was. Raising the corner of his lips, he said, “Where’s your boyfriend? Didn’t come?”
“You specifically came to watch the competition?” Gun glanced down at the luggage by her feet.
“You’ve forgotten me?” Gun tentatively asked, thinking he had frightened the girl.
“Don’t be afraid. I’m just purely here to say hi.” Why did Gun feel as if, every time he ran into this little girl, he was able to give her a big scare? He once again re-examined himself, then decisively stood up. “Enjoy watching. I—”
Abruptly, he halted.
A small hand had already taken ahold of the hem of his clothes…
 By “dimensions,” Blueberry is referring to the 2-D world (online world) vs. 3-D world (world of “real life”). Tong Nian is an online singer of Japanese songs as well as into cosplay, all things of the 2-D world (refer to footnote  of chapter 1), while basketball is something belonging to the 3-D world.
1 of 1 Prologue
5 of 49 Chapters
0 of 1 Epilogue