Before Ye Shaoyang even got a chance to respond to the coach, the other two 'bosses' sent him messages as well.
I Don't Look Good In Drag: [Hello, Xiao Bai. I'm the player Nie Cheng from Tianhuan. Hahaha, welcome to Tianhuan! I've already cleaned out the dorm for you. Captain Chi says you'll be bringing a cat. Welcome, welcome.]
I'm Not A Baobao: [Photo.jpg Hi, Xiao Bai. I'm Tianhuan's support A-Ning. This is a picture of your dorm room. We've already cleaned it up for you. You don't have to worry about anything. Captain Chi is a very good person. If you have any questions at all, you can ask him anytime.]
Ye Shaoyang was speechless.
He hadn't imagined that the old teammates of Tianhuan would give him such a warm welcome. Nie Cheng and Song Yu'ning had already retired, but they were still keeping an eye on changes to Tianhuan's player lineup. That proved that they also had very deep feelings for this team. Perhaps, to them, Tianhuan wasn't just a team—it was their family, and the home of their hopes for many years.
Ye Shaoyang swiftly answered their messages.
[Thank you, Nie-ge.]
[Thank you, Ning-ge.]
[After I join the team, I'll carry on your unfulfilled dreams and work hard to achieve them. ^_^]
Nie Cheng felt a soreness in his nose as soon as he saw those messages. He held back his tears and gave Chi Shuo a resounding pat on the shoulder as he rasped, "You guys, good luck in the next season! Although A-Ning and I won't be competing with you next year, we'll be diligently watching every single game Tianhuan plays."
Chi Shuo nodded. "I know."
He picked up his cell phone and wrote a message to Ye Shaoyang: [Have you finished packing?]
Ye Shaoyang answered: [Finishing up right now. Oh, that's right. I have some things that aren't too convenient to take on a plane. Can I have them shipped to the team and ask Captain Chi to sign for the packages for me?]
Chi Shuo instantly knew what he meant. He asked: [Is it the stuff for your cat?]
Ye Shaoyang sent Chi Shuo a screenshot of his shopping cart from an online store. He wrote: [That's right. Litter box, pet food bowls, pet water dispenser, and a case of canned food, which'll be enough for Xiao Bai for a week. I can buy the rest once I get to the team.]
Chi Shuo: [That's no problem. Have it shipped to the team, and I'll receive it for you.]
He sent the team base's address and his recipient information to Ye Shaoyang, and Ye Shaoyang placed the order right away. The pet supply shop he was ordering from just so happened to be located in the capital. They could offer same-day delivery once he placed his order.
Chi Shuo added: [I heard from our coordinator that we've already booked a flight for you, to arrive tomorrow afternoon at five. Is that right?]
Ye Shaoyang: [Right.]
Chi Shuo: [I'll go with our coordinator to pick you up from the airport.]
Ye Shaoyang: [Sounds good. See you tomorrow!]
After talking to Chi Shuo, Ye Shaoyang opened up the messages from Coach Chen and Zhao Xin'an again.
Ears: [Our Jingzhe is one of the most renowned domestic teams. We made it to the world championships in S8. Our captain Fang Zhengqing is a world-class mid laner. If you come to our Jingzhe, you can be Captain Fang's successor.]
Fang Zhengqing was Jingzhe's captain, and his condition was currently very good. He certainly wouldn't retire. Jingzhe's reason for reaching out to Ye Shaoyang, as expected, was to find a successor to raise up for Fang Zhengqing. Once Fang Zhengqing did retire, Ye Shaoyang could step into his position as mid laner.
Jingzhe wasn't wrong to come up with a plan like that. If Ye Shaoyang had still been younger, Jingzhe really would have been an excellent choice. But he was already twenty-one years old. Wait for Fang Zhengqing to retire? No, sorry. He would prefer not to.
Ye Shaoyang tactfully refused: [Thank you for acknowledging me, Coach Chen. But I don't wish to be a substitute player. Jingzhe has Captain Fang, so it would be very difficult for me to play in games. So I'm very sorry, but I won't be coming to Jingzhe to try out.]
Coach Chen froze. He hesitated for a moment, then asked: [So… you want to be a starting player?]
Ye Shaoyang: [That's right.]
Coach Chen was dumbfounded. He couldn't help but mutter, "A newbie who's never played in an official game before wants to enter a famous team and be a starting player right away? He really has the guts to say that?!"
Fang Zhengqing smiled and said, "This person is pretty interesting."
Coach Chen thought it over for a moment, then swiftly typed out another message to try to convince Ye Shaoyang: [You're still a newbie, there's no need to debut as a starting player right away, right? If you pass the skill trials, we can make you the captain of our second-string team. You can play a year in our minor leagues, then enter our main team. This is a necessary process for new players in many teams.]
Ye Shaoyang: [I'm very sorry, but I don't wish to be the captain of a second-string team. I'd still like to be a starting player. ^_^]
Coach Chen was speechless.
They really weren't going to be able to negotiate? If they brought Ye Shaoyang in as a starting player, what about Captain Fang? They would have Captain Fang sit on the bench? Jingzhe's fans would kill them!
Coach Chen felt a splitting headache coming on. It looked like there was simply no way for Xiao Bai to come to Jingzhe.
Next, Ye Shaoyang opened up the chat window with Zhao Xin'an.
Frontline Reporter #18 had sent a huge flood of messages.
[Our Beimu is a long-established team. We were established ten years ago. Our current captain Zhao Xinping is a super cool alpha jiejie. She likes you a lot!]
[We run a two-lane system at Beimu, with a fighter and marksman in the top and bottom lanes, or two fighters to cut through the enemy ranks. We actually have a lot of different team comps! Last year, me and my sister were even named the world champions in the doubles category. You don't need to doubt our strength, right? Everyone knows that Beimu is super strong on the outer lanes. So, we want to find an awesome mid laner too.]
[Xiao Bai, I've really been watching you for a long time! Back when you played against Brother Fish in that promotion game, I was watching. And I've been watching your stream ever since. I think you're super awesome, and a super good fit for our Beimu's lineup!]
[So, do you want to join us? We can turn into a team that's powerful on all three lanes, and charge towards the world championships?]
If Chi Shuo hadn't already reached out to him, Ye Shaoyang really might have considered joining Beimu.
Beimu was indeed very suitable for him. In the top lane, they had Zhao Xin'an—the most aggressive top laner in the league. His personal strength was truly immense. In the bottom lane, they had the calm and wise Zhao Xinping-jiejie. She could push towers with her marksmen, and she could cut into the enemy's back line when she played fighters. If they added a very stable mid laner and became a team that was strong in all three lanes, they would truly be unparalleled.
However, a team with three cores would also encounter a big problem—the division of resources.
As a new player, would Ye Shaoyang be able to claim as many resources from the map as the Zhao twins? Absolutely not.
Beimu had always run a support jungler. In the first half of the game, all the resources from their jungle would be given to the top laner Zhao Xin'an. In the second half, all the resources would be dedicated to Zhao Xinping. Then what about the middle lane? If Ye Shaoyang joined Beimu, he would most likely be turned into a support mid laner who mostly played control-type mages. His priority would be to guard the mid lane tower. The ones in charge of finding a breakthrough point to win games would always be the two players on the outer lanes.
If Ye Shaoyang joined Beimu, then Beimu really would have a chance of becoming champions. However, the glory of getting triple kills and quad kills would always fall to the Zhao brother and sister. Ye Shaoyang would only become known for being a 'stable' player in the middle lane; it would be very hard for him to take the spotlight from there.
So, all things considered, Tianhuan was still more suitable to him.
He really loved playing assassin mages, after all. An assassin mage wouldn't fit well in Beimu's strategies. If his assassin mage collapsed on the middle lane, the rest of the team would collapse as well. And since Beimu's jungler was used to playing in a support capacity, the player wouldn't be nearly as sharp and aggressive as Chi Shuo. If Ye Shaoyang wanted to gank, Beimu's jungler might not be able to keep up with him.
Zhao Xin'an wasn't known as a chatterbox alpha for nothing. In the blink of an eye, he sent another message: [If you pass the tryouts, our team's bosses are willing to be super generous. They'll give you three million yuan right off the bat. That's the highest salary offered to newbies in the league!]
[Back in the day, those super strong rookies that came out of Star City's training camp—Chi Shuo, Fang Zhengqing, and the others—all got this amount when they were newbies! Three million for a newbie is the kind of treatment that's given only to the cream of the crop from rookie training camps.]
[How about it? Are you moved?]
Ye Shaoyang was speechless.
Three million was the highest salary offered to newbies in the league. Tianhuan was willing to give him five million now, plus a five million yuan bonus later. In addition to that, the prize pools of the domestic championships and world championships would all be divided among the players.
Ye Shaoyang could now truly feel how deeply Tianhuan valued him. Chi Shuo had asked Captain Ming to come out of retirement to convince the shareholders. The contract Tianhuan had offered him wasn't a contract for newbies at all; it was the same treatment a top-tier player would have received.
Ye Shaoyang thought deeply for a moment, then typed back: [Thank you to Team Beimu for acknowledging me. I'm very sorry, but you were just a step too late. I've already signed with a team. I can't go back on my word.]
When Zhao Xin'an saw that message, he sprayed a mouthful of coffee all over his screen. He immediately swore: [Fuck, fuck, fuck! You're lying to me, right?! How could there be any team that's faster than me?!]
Ye Shaoyang: [I have no reason to lie to you.]
Zhao Xin'an's pupils were quaking. He typed: [You really signed?! With which team?!]
Xiao Bai: [The contract is confidential. I'm sorry, I can't say. ^_^]
Zhao Xin'an showed their WeChat conversation log to his jiejie.
Zhao Xinping furrowed her brows faintly, then coldly mused, "Which team is in such dire need of a mid laner that they moved even faster than us?"
Zhao Xin'an scratched his head. "Some second-string team, probably? Anyone signing a player to their starting lineup couldn't possibly move this fast. They would have to hold a board meeting and discuss with the coaches and all that. Of all the teams in the pro league, we're the only ones in need of a new starting mid laner, right? We already acted fast enough! But look at this fucking mess… Xiao Bai has already been signed."
Beimu's coach hurriedly said, "If he's signed to a second-string team, ask him how much his penalty fee is for breaking his contract. We can pay that for him and poach him."
Zhao Xin'an quickly wrote: [How much is your penalty fee?! If you sign with us, our Beimu will pay your penalty fee for you!]
Beimu was genuinely thirsting for someone with Ye Shaoyang's talent. Their mid laner was retiring. If Ye Shaoyang joined them and meshed well with the team, they could immediately let him play as a starter next season.
Unfortunately, Ye Shaoyang had a better option—Tianhuan.
Ye Shaoyang answered: [I don't plan on breaking my contract. Thank you all.]
Beimu's coach was suffering from a splitting headache. "It looks like he really did sign!"
Zhao Xin'an mournfully beat his fist against his desk. "God damn it, why did I send that recording into the group chat back then? If we'd just kept it secret and watched it ourselves, wouldn't that have been better?!"
But ultimately, after Zhao Xin'an uploaded the video of that King-rank promotion game to the group chat, every team in the league had taken notice of Xiao Bai. It was like he'd found a treasure chest in the jungle, but instead of secretly hiding it away, he marked it on the map and hollered, Everyone! Come look, quick! There's a treasure chest here!
Was there anyone dumber than him?
Zhao Xin'an was about to end himself.
Zhao Xinping patted her didi's shoulder and said, "There's no need to be so depressed. It's not like our Beimu can't survive without him. We still have a few months until the next season. We can search slowly."
Zhao Xin'an sighed heavily. "Ai, that's our only option."
Jingzhe and Beimu both assumed Xiao Bai would be joining a second-string team, where he would be playing as a starter. They assumed that was why Xiao Bai had tactfully rejected their offers. They couldn't have imagined he would have gone to Tianhuan.
Because Tianhuan wasn't in need of a mid laner. Tianhuan already had their steady, stable mid laner Qu Jiang, who rarely ever made a mistake.
These teams definitely couldn't have imagined that Tianhuan would fix what wasn't broken and shift Qu Jiang over to the position of support. How could they have known that Tianhuan would debut a brand new mid laner without any experience in the professional league, and that Tianhuan would pay this newbie like he was a top-tier player?!
Only Chi Shuo knew.
Xiao Bai was worth it.
Other coaches could only see Xiao Bai's surface-level achievements—eight nationally ranked heroes, with a few falling in each category of mid laner. He was probably someone who could play professionally.
But they didn't know about Xiao Bai's 5 S-ranked skill trial results, and they didn't know about his top-tier game sense.
They'd missed out on this treasure chest.
And as a result, Chi Shuo had stolen away the most precious gem hidden within.
Chi Shuo happily enjoyed a night of pleasant dreams.
At around noon of the next day, a guard at the base contacted Chi Shuo to let him know he'd received a package. Chi Shuo personally went downstairs to pick it up. As expected, it was the litter box, food bowls, and canned cat food Ye Shaoyang had ordered.
The teammates who saw Chi Shuo carrying three big boxes upstairs couldn't help but curiously wonder, "What did Captain Chi buy? And he bought so much?"
Cheng Xing's sharp eyes spotted a kitty cat logo on the side of one of the boxes. He said, "He probably bought cat food! My master asked if anyone had cat allergies in the group chat a few days ago, right? I think he's planning to adopt a cat!"
His teammates all piped up with surprise.
"Is Captain Chi serious?"
"First Captain Fang, and now Captain Chi is going to be the #2 pooper scooper in the league?"
"I wonder what kind of cat Captain Chi is going to get. I wonder if we'll be able to pet a cat every day from now on?"
Chi Shuo put the packages away in his room. Then, at four in the afternoon, he set out for the airport.
The plane landed at exactly five o'clock. Chi Shuo received a message on his cell phone: [Captain Chi, I'm here. Xiao Bai's carrier was checked as luggage. I'll go pick it up now. It'll probably take ten minutes or so.]
Chi Shuo wrote back: [Okay. The team car will be waiting for you at exit E.]
A little over ten minutes later, Chi Shuo spotted a tall young man striding over in his direction. The man was carrying a white suitcase in his left hand and a pet carrier in his right hand. The cozy glow of the afternoon sun illuminated his face, highlighting his pale skin and warm smile.
Through the crowd, their eyes met. The corners of Chi Shuo's lips quirked up of their own volition. He swiftly approached and helped Ye Shaoyang take his suitcase. In a low voice, he asked, "Did you have a smooth trip?"
"Mm," Ye Shaoyang said. "I packed last night and slept through the whole flight, until we landed."
He lifted the pet carrier higher and said, "Xiao Bai, say hello to Captain Chi."
There was no telling whether or not Xiao Bai actually understood, but Xiao Bai did obligingly give a mewl.
Chi Shuo didn't actually like these furry little pets. But today, he found himself thinking that Ye Shaoyang's cat was very appealing. It was curled up in a fuzzy little ball of white fur, with a pair of chocolate-colored ears sticking up. It looked very sweet and cute.
Chi Shuo led Ye Shaoyang to the team car and made the introductions. "This is Tianhuan's lead coordinator, Tang Can. We call her Can-jie. She's in charge of team logistics. If you have any questions about your living conditions, you can ask her. Our driver is Liu-shifu. If you need a ride anywhere, you can find him."
Ye Shaoyang politely extended a hand. "Hello, Can-jie. Hello, Liu-shifu."
Tang Can excitedly looked towards his cat carrier. Her eyes were practically glittering. "This cat is so cute!"
Ye Shaoyang smiled slightly and said, "Its name is Xiao Bai. Xiao Bai will be relying on Can-jie's care in the future."
"No problem!" Tang Can laughed merrily. "When you guys are busy with training, you can leave feeding the cat to me!"
Chi Shuo opened the door to the back seat and led Ye Shaoyang to climb into the car. Ye Shaoyang placed the cat carrier beside his feet.
On the road, Tang Can began to dutifully introduce Team Tianhuan to Ye Shaoyang. She gave Ye Shaoyang a map that she'd printed out in advance, which showed the dorms on the third floor, the training rooms and meeting rooms on the second floor, and the cafeteria, coffee bar, gym, and such on the ground floor. This helped Ye Shaoyang gain a basic understanding of the team.
The streets were lined with towering skyscrapers and meticulously curated swaths of trees. Everywhere they looked, the imposing grandeur of the nation's capital city could be seen. Ye Shaoyang held the map of Tianhuan's base in his hands and gazed out through the car window to take in this unfamiliar city. He was incomparably excited—he would soon start his new life in this city.
After joining the team, he would no longer be able to call himself Xiao Bai, because his cat was named Xiao Bai. His teammates would get confused very easily.
In his previous life, as the captain of Team GD, his official in-game ID had been GD-Lieyang.
Then, from today onwards, his name would be Tianhuan-Lieyang.
Chi Shuo's name was Tianhuan-Shuoyue.
The sun and the moon, as a mid/jungle duo?
Not bad. Not bad at all!
Lieyang x Shuoyue, a couple's name. Everything is meant to be.
烈阳 (lièyáng): Meaning 'intense sunlight', and using the 'yang' from Ye Shaoyang.
朔月 (shuòyuè): Meaning 'new moon', and using the 'shuo' from Chi Shuo.
In Chapter 2 of the raws, Ye Shaoyang was referred to as Captain Sunshine in his previous life. (Sunshine in this case was specifically written in English, so this wasn't a translation choice.)
The translation will continue to use Lieyang when '烈阳' shows up in the text, and Sunshine if 'Sunshine' shows up in the text.