Chapter 48: OP Garlic Part (II)
Being a professional gamer sounds like a job others would yearn to have. To be able to support oneself and even gain fame and fortune through games, who wouldn’t want that?
In 2055, it had even become a socially accepted profession. Top talents in this industry had an influence equal to that of celebrity athletes.
The age range for professional gamers was between fourteen and thirty-five years old. Of course, there are experts who were even younger, it was just that they couldn’t participate due to some games’ age restrictions.
Generally speaking, professional gamers could be simply separated into two types: celebrity gamers and the average blue-collared gamer.
Generally, celebrity gamers would choose to retire around thirty years of age. They’d either end up playing during their spare time or withdrawing to become second-stringers. Basically, they were all preparing to enter the studio’s administrative level. Some would even switch to other professions related to the gaming industry. For example, commentators, referees, organizers, etc. Still, others, who’d earned quite a lot to fill their pockets, would set themselves up as business proprietors.
All who trod this path wished to become those kinds of celebrity gamers. However, many who started on this path from the moment they graduated from middle school, worked until their thirties and still didn’t obtain any amount of fame. As a result, they’d find some way to return to society (the non-gaming sort). You could say that these people had made a gamble with their youth and only they were clearest on how much they had won or lost themselves. These nonentity players were the blue collars of the industry. They were the backbone strength behind it all and, without their support, the studios would basically be unable to function. Celebrity gamers also needed their firm support.
One of the most frustrating things in this line business was the savageness of the competition.
Any game that was able to be a tremendous hit would inevitably have this “rivalry”. If, in a game, there was no way to let two players or two groups of players separate the stronger or weaker of the parties involved, the game wouldn’t attract any studio to join it, and the scope of players it appealed to would be extremely limited.
In regards to MMOs, it didn’t matter whether you were a PVP character or even just wearing PVE gear; things were still resolved by PK.
The most simple and straightforward way for a professional player to prove their worth could be summed up with one word——win.
Unfortunately, in this world, glory was fleeting. There was no such thing as a permanent general. No one can win forever.
Aging, the highs and lows of a person’s condition during competition, the decline of some game, and other such factors… all have caused countless former elites that were regarded as “gods” by the players to gradually fade out of sight. The number of people who were able to fully retreat were but a handful.
The more outstanding the Game Studios, the more cruel the competition. They always needed new and fresh young blood…. They needed a horde who were highly competitive, new people who possessed ambition and a fighting mentality….The kind of people that could drag such a lofty, god-ranked player down from their altar at any time.
Simply put—an ambitious genius. Such as… Heaven Swallowing Daring Devil.
This time Regulation Studio had invested in four labor force groups. There were ten people per group, with one to two celebrity gamers per group. The rest of them were mainly veterans: seasoned blue-collar players.
Heaven Swallowing Daring Devil was the only new player within these four groups who was under the age of twenty.
Regulation Studio had placed high hopes on him. Consequently, he was added to the list of the first players to enter Thriller Paradise. The group leader didn’t give him any tasks, so it was fine for him to just play according to his own whims. Who could have known that during his first time in the gamemode Massacre Game, he’d incidentally meet the three man group led by Fearless Brave One and kill them all in a manner that showed no consideration of his seniors, the punk…. It was quite fair to say that since he willfully carried out this sort of rash action, he deserved to be “sent on holiday” by the group leader.
Of course, Fearless Brave One also couldn’t be considered on the level of the “strongest”. Among the many celebrity gamers in Regulation, whether it was past gaming achievements, or reputation, he wouldn’t even be placed in the top ten. Although his group succeeded in seizing the title for first to reach Level 20 in closed beta, Regulation’s true strength was far more than just this.
The four groups presently could only be referred to as the “scouting squad”. The strongest players in the studio had only registered their accounts to reserve their usernames and haven’t gone online since. In other words… Regulation’s true experts hadn’t even officially been dispatched to this project at present. The studio executives had long ago made the decision to wait until Dream Corp had at least opened the currency exchange and charging service before deciding whether or not to invest those top talent reserves.
Having said so much, everyone might be a little speechless. How did you go off on that tangent there? What about Feng Bujue? What about Nooccar City’s Scenario?
Please relax, and I’ll return to the matters at hand in just three beats.
Speaking of studios, there was a studio member in Feng Bujue’s Scenario this time around.
Although he didn’t classify as a lofty big-name subordinate of Regulation, he was the kind I mentioned previously: a boss of a third-rate studio, simultaneously a manager of finance and a player.
Alright, I believe everyone’s guessed it already. That’s right, his Studio is called “Hyotei”.
In the real world, Atobe-sama was twenty-three years old and had just graduated from college last year. His dad ran a factory, so his family had a little bit of savings to help him set up…. In any case, the costs of opening a gaming studio weren’t high it was just renting a place and buying a few game cabins, that’s all. It, basically, wasn’t necessary to calculate the amount of manpower invested: his staff was completely composed of his friends from college.
Moreover, Atobe-sama currently only had a total of three people under his control. One of them was the one currently in the same Scenario as him,【Names Are Really Difficult to Choose】, and the other two were called【Choosing Names is Really Difficult】and【Really Difficult to Choose Names】, respectively. Even though Atobe-sama had been deadly earnest in the past, demanding his three buddies to use names like Kabaji, Osh*tari, and so on, he’d only been met with merciless refusal. When he threatened them with their wages, he was met with Aruba.
Contrary to the image they gave off, their Studio was also aware that they needed two alternating shifts. This was why they had split into two groups. Presently, the other two people were spending the time they weren’t in game to eat some midnight snacks.
Atobe-sama’s in-game appearance was that of an elegant, fair-skinned male with a lithe body. As a whole, there wasn’t much disparity when compared with his original appearance… just that his face was clearly altered.
Names Are Really Difficult to Choose was of medium build and slightly shorter than Atobe-sama. This person’s appearance was just like his name, giving off a kind of “indifferent about appearance” feeling. Not only did he not change his appearance to be more handsome, but he instead made himself appear bald, saying he’d like to experience for a bit what it was like to be bald in-game.
Atobe-sama’s Title seemed to be a vicious taunt from the System:【A Swordsman】. His weapon was a sword that looked just like the weapons specifically used by miscellaneous bandits in a Wuxia soap opera. Its grade was Ordinary, and it didn’t even have any attributes or special effects. At least it was a decent weapon.
Unlike Atobe-sama’s generic passerby-like title, Names Are Really Difficult to Choose’s title was very recognizable. Just four words——【Looks Strong, Actually Weak】. His bald and experienced image clearly contrasted with his Terror value performance. He didn’t even have a decent weapon. He only had two baseball bats and one rusty iron pipe in his inventory that he had picked up from who knows where….
Their luck wasn’t bad, since the place they landed was only about a block away from each other. As a result, they were able to quickly meet up.
Although these two didn’t look very reliable, they were actually still a little bit better than others. If they really didn’t understand a single thing about games, why the heck would they have opened a studio. Atobe-sama made a very appropriate decision: forget the mission for now, find a munitions store, and arm themselves before doing anything else.
One look at the situation in this city and it was immediately apparent that this was the American Empire—Land of All Corruptions—so it was very likely that there would be an arms store in the city. Even if there wasn’t any startlingly heavy artillery, and only regulation firearms (pistols, shotguns, rifles, etc.) and above all ample ammunition, it would all still be extremely valuable.
The two headed the same direction and frequently ran into wandering Blood Wolf Zombies in groups of two and three. However, these guys weren’t very threatening. If they couldn’t be bothered to attack, they’d go around them, and if the monsters couldn’t be avoided, then the two would just give them a knock to the head. Although, when they got within lunging distance, the creatures’ movement would abruptly accelerate quite a bit. But as long as they were a cautious and aren’t both surrounded closely by three or more monsters, then these guys were still very easy to kill.
After traversing past two blocks, Atobe-sama entered a phone booth. Lifting the phone, he found that the line wasn’t even connected. Actually, even if it was connected, he wouldn’t know who to call, maybe 911? His main goal in entering the phone booth was to obtain the telephone directory. After searching for three to five minutes, Atobe-sama succeeded in finding the nearest munitions store. He and Names Are Really Difficult to Choose (I’ve decided to call him Lil’ Name from now on) then sped up their pace, proceeding towards that place.
Several minutes later, they approached their destination but were met with an extremely strange scene.
The only things they saw were the corpses of about thirty Blood Wolf Zombies spread out all over. Each corpses’ head was smashed to a pulp, and their dead bodies led all the way up to the front door of the munitions store.
Unexpectedly, in the middle of the street before the store was a large cylindrical cooler with the Gatorade logo standing there in broad daylight. The cooler was filled to the brim with a red liquid and on the ground beside it were littered loads of empty plastic blood bags. The smell was so pure and strong that even humans could smell it from a long distance away.
Two stereos were arranged beside the “blood bucket”, loudly playing《March of the Matadors》. Judging from the marks on the ground, they were apparently dragged out from the music store across the street. A circuit box on the side of the road was broken open and there was no way to see inside it clearly. In any case, the stereos’ power cables extended all the way to there.
“What’s going on?” asked Lil’ Name.
Atobe-sama also had yet to make sense of what was happening, but he didn’t even have the time to respond, as he saw a Blood Wolf Zombie come flying out from a corner behind the blood bucket.
Immediately following it came a man soaked completely from head to toe in blood. In one hand he wielded a dagger, and in the other, a pipe wrench. Around each of his shoulders was a slanted strand of garlic bulbs. These two “garlic belts” crisscrossed at the front of his torso, forming an X-shape, had been dyed red by blood.
He stepped to the beat of the March of the Matadors, dancing like the Axe Gang in《Kung Fu Hustle》. It looked like he had something like chewing gum in his mouth, gnawing on some vague white thing…. He danced with quick and light steps toward the Blood Wolf Zombie, then lashed out in a crazy burst at the monster that had yet to get up, beating it until its bones shattered, muscles and blood splattering into the air.
After ending the creature, he seemed to realize something as he suddenly straightened up, whipped his head around, and just happened to spot Atobe-sama and Lil’ Name’s dumbstruck figures.
“Run!” “Quick leave!” After their eyes met Feng Bujue’s for all of two seconds, they both shouted at the same time and turned to run.
Feng Bujue also didn’t bother saying anything and broke into a run, giving chase. He actually really wanted to yell, “The heck you running for? I’m a player!” but since his mouth was full of garlic, there was no way for him to shout.
On the other side, as soon as he saw the harbinger of evil come chasing after them vigorously, Lil’ Name’s Terror Value shot up in an instant. He lamented to Atobe-sama while running, “We’re done for, we’re done for, we’re done for…. If this guy catches up to us, then we’re screwed. This is all your fault! Nothing was wrong, why’d we have to go look for a arms store? Sure enough, a mini-BOSS was stationed at the door!”
Atobe-sama turned his head around from time to time, glancing at the ever-encroaching Feng Bujue. “What does that have to do with me?! How would I know that the situation would be like this!” He turned back around for another look, “That said… it seems like this guy runs faster than us!”
“I’ve already known that for a while! It’s outrageously fast!” shouted Lil’ Name.
Feng Bujue, who was approximately twenty meters away from them heard all of their little exchange and thought to himself, “Bullsh*t. I, your father, am wearing【Knight’s Dance】and you little lambs want to compete with me in running?”
Who knew that at this time, the two people in front would suddenly have a mutual understanding and speak in unison, “Split up!”
At the next intersection, they split left and right, each going in one direction.
Feng Bujue cried out in alarm to himself, “These bástãrds still have some tricks!”
He also didn’t give it much thought and turned left, randomly chasing after one of them.
That one just happened to be Atobe-sama….
“Crap… we didn’t force him to hesitate at all!” Atobe-sama soliloquized, “Letting that damn baldy go and not chasing him despite him being such an obvious target. It’s only directly rushing at me; I must’ve been screwed over by my own dashing good looks.”
Eyes watching the pursuing Feng Bujue get closer and closer, Atobe-sama’s Terror Value climbed higher and higher. He knew that he’d probably get caught in the end. Instead of getting one-shot from behind by this mini-BOSS, he’d rather turn around and fight.
Having thought this, he suddenly stopped in his tracks, raising his plain sword and holding it horizontal in front of him. Then, he slashed at the incoming Feng Bujue.
“Eh?” However, when Feng Bujue rushed before him, Atobe-sama discovered that the blade in his hands wouldn’t move at all. His movement had been halted by the System.
Feng Bujue arrived before him and stopped, gasping as he glared at him, and intermittently wheezed, “I…haah…I…I am…your…haah…one of you! You【Beep——】!”
In the end, the word “Moron” was blocked by the System. Under normal circûmstances, Feng Bujue would be unable to even try to say this word aloud, but since he was beeped, it proved that he meant no insult whatsoever when he spoke, only meaning to tease the other.
“Hah?” Atobe-sama just slumped and sat on the ground, his complexion deathly white, and the corner of his mouth twitched. “Ah…ahh…s…sorry,” he apologized unexpectedly.
This would be after 9th grade, so most kids are around 14-15 years old when they graduate.
In case no one picked up on that, this is the author’s nice way of say that these players are the nameless grinders for the celebrity gamers.
Just in case there are any readers unfamiliar with the abbreviations: MMOs= Massively Multiplayer Online, PVP= Player Versus Player, PVE= Player Versus Environment, PK= Player Kill.
I unfortunately don’t have an English link for this, but the other name for this is apparently the Happy Corner. Where basically a victim is lifted, his legs spread open and then forced into a pole, smacking the, uh, happy place. The victim is either smack into the pole or forcibly ground into it. Here’s an uncomfortable picture for better depiction; you have been warned.
Vexed would like to point out that this is the author’s note. Not mine. even he is aware of when his jokes are too much