The next morning, Jiang Shaoyu went to eat in the national team’s cafeteria when he happened to meet Yu Mingxiang.
Yu Mingxiang walked over with a smile. “Ah Yu, have you decided to register for this year’s Asian Championship?”
In last night’s tactics group meeting, the team leader didn’t attend. Yu Mingxiang had heard about this from Anna. Jiang Shaoyu nodded and said, “Many newcomers in the national team don’t have any competition experience and it is easy to have problems if they go directly to the World Series. I will take them to gain experience first.”
“If you go abroad, you need a passport and visa. If you are certain about registering, I will help you go through the procedures in advance.” Yu Mingxiang paused before saying, “I checked. This year’s Asian Championship will be held in Tokyo, Japan and will last from August 1st to August 5th, five days. The hotel is generally arranged by the competition’s organizing committee. If we go there early or check out late, we will need to pay some additional fees.”
These trivial matters were actually very troublesome but Yu Mingxiang had been the leader of the national team before and handled the logistics work handily. Jiang Shaoyu handed it over to her with confidence. “I want to go two days in advance to adapt to the environment there. Then we will return to China the day after the competition ends, so we will stay for seven days. For specific matters, you and Anna can communicate with the organizers.”
Yu Mingxiang nodded. “Don’t worry, I will arrange it. For the matter of food… do you want to bring our own chef?”
Jiang Shaoyu asked, “Does the Asian Championship allow us to bring a logistics team?”
Yu Mingxiang wasn’t too sure. After all, she hadn’t participated in this competition before. She thought about it and said, “For the specific situation, I have to ask the organizer. I will tell you when I have an exact answer.”
Jiang Shaoyu hummed in agreement. He came to the window to get breakfast and sat down. “There is no hurry. There is still a month to prepare.”
Yu Mingxiang also grabbed a plate and sat with him. Jiang Shaoyu took a sip of milk before suddenly saying, “By the way, for the last national team, how did you celebrate the birthdays of the players?”
Yu Mingxiang was stunned for a moment before explaining, “The players of the previous national team only officially came to the base at the end of October. They trained for a month and went abroad to play in December. During the training, no one celebrated their birthday in November and we came home after only three days abroad.”
Ah Yu suddenly asked this question. Was it because someone was going to have their birthday soon? She opened her phone and looked at the information of the national team’s players. Then her eyes widened slightly. “Tomorrow is Hua Ran and Xia Li’s birthday! What a coincidence. They were born on the same day?!”
Jiang Shaoyu answered casually, “Yes. These two people have no tacit understanding at all in the game but they were born at the same time.”
Yu Mingxiang: “……”
Jiang Shaoyu had a copy of the information of the national team’s players, including their height, weight, birthday, star sign, hobbies, family members, etc. He had accidentally found out when looking through it before that Xia Li and Hua Ran both had birthdays on June 21st, at the very end of the Gemini period.
The style of the two people was also unique. There was a female alpha who didn’t hesitate to kill her teammates and a male alpha who ran around blowing up his teammates. They were Gemini born on the same day and were like long-lost twins.
Jiang Shaoyu said, “They both turn 18 tomorrow so I wanted to ask you. Do you want to organize a birthday party for them?”
Yu Mingxiang smiled. “Yes. It is better to surprise them!”
Jiang Shaoyu nodded. “Yes. Is there a cake store nearby? I have to trouble Sister Yu to order a cake.”
“I know a store and the cakes there are delicious.” Yu Mingxiang immediately took out her phone and ordered a large double-layered cake. She asked the store to write ‘Happy 18th birthday Hua Hua and Xia Xia’ and asked them to deliver it tonight.
In the afternoon, the players continued their usual hide and seek game with Old Chang.
Hua Ran’s gun arsenal was full of all types of skins while Old Chang’s ‘wardrobe’ had all types of clothes. He changed into white clothes and white hair on the City of Ice map while on the Rainy Night map, he changed into dark clothes and black hair… he was like a living chameleon.
The players played hide and seek with him and were simply very tired.
However, following Old Chang, everyone’s familiarity with the map was indeed increasing. Xia Li had the weakest map ability but she finally drew a decent ‘ghost drawing talisman.’ She could roughly trace the main paths on the map without looking at the computer interface.
Everyone was improving. The progress was slow but training was about accumulating over time, not overnight.
Every day was boring and repetitive training, but the players were very motivated. They treated the training software as a ‘boss’ to be killed.
Every time Jiang Shaoyu passed by the training room, he would hear the clear sound of keyboards being tapped in the room.
No one was lazy or distracted doing other things. Everyone’s computer screen was on the training software. Some people were practicing the map positioning while others were practicing shooting. Jiang Shaoyu’s ‘writing a self-criticism’ was still very effective and the group of players was obedient right now.
In the evening, Jiang Shaoyu called everyone together again and announced the news of participating in the Asian Championship.
“I decided to take you to participate in this year’s Asian Championship. This is the first intercontinental event that our national team has participated in. The level of the continent competition definitely isn’t comparable to the World Series. The players participating in the event aren’t the main forces of various countries. But don’t forget that our national team has never won a prize at a world competition. In the eyes of the foreign players, we are definitely the worst.”
This sentence made the players hang their heads in collective shame.
China’s Gun King event had indeed been too weak for many years and they also felt weak when stepping out of the country.
Jiang Shaoyu said, “This year, I hope that other countries’ inherent impression of us can be improved and you can play with a bit of style. For this Asian Championship, it is just for team training and gaining experience. It is just about the process, regardless of the result. The World Series at the end of the year is the highlight. Next, in addition to the daily training, you should pay attention to the daily team practice matches. We don’t have much time, understood?”
Everyone shouted in unison, “We understand!”
Jiang Shaoyu asked everyone to sit back and said, “We will continue with the practice match today but change the teams. The red team will have Pei Feng, Qin Xueyao, Xia Li, Mo Hantian and Shi Xiaobin. Old Lin will be the referee. The remaining five people will be the blue team and the map is City of Ice. We will play the Extreme Duel mode and it will be three games.”
Everyone immediately sat down according to the coach’s arrangement. Pei Feng’s group had no charger and could play double sniper. This was also the first time that Pei Feng and Mo Hantian officially cooperated.
Xia Li and Hua Ran were divided into two teams. Sure enough, there would be no more ‘hurting each other.’
The team’s training match was carried out in an orderly manner and there was the customary post-match review. Lao Lin was very serious as he slowly replayed the videos, analyzing and explaining to everyone. The players also watched and looked for their mistakes.
The Extreme Duel was very time-consuming and three consecutive games were played. It was almost midnight by the end of their review.
Jiang Shaoyu suddenly sent a message to the group: “@All members, come to the meeting room on the 3rd floor.”
Everyone looked at each other. There was an emergency meeting at midnight? Was the coach dissatisfied with everyone’s performance and was going to scold them?
Everyone turned off their computers and came to the meeting room on the 3rd floor in a nervous mood.
They pushed open the door and found that the room was dark. Just as everyone was wondering about it, candles suddenly lit up on the double-layered cake in the middle of the table.
The coaching staff were all standing next to the cake with smiles on their faces.
Jiang Shaoyu’s usually indifferent face also appeared much milder in the light of the warm yellow candlelight.
They heard him say, “June 21st is Hua Ran and Xia Li’s 18th birthday. It is midnight so happy birthday to the two of you.”
Hua Ran and Xia Li were suddenly stunned in place. Their brains were buzzing and they didn’t know what to say. Did Coach Jiang actually personally celebrate their birthday on the national team? It was even more exciting than winning the lottery!”
Unexpectedly, the busy Coach Jiang actually remembered their birthdays?
Xia Li’s eyes were slightly red and Hua Ran had a sour nose. The two of them looked at each other with mixed feelings.
Yu Mingxiang smiled and took the lead in singing. “Happy birthday to you…”
The others also sang along. The meeting room, where they were usually criticized every time they entered through the door, was full of unprecedented warmth.
The birthday song was sung and warm applause broke out.
“Happy birthday, Xia Xia and Hua Hua.”
“Hahaha, the birthdays of the two of you have a very tacit understanding.”
“You are finally an adult. Congratulations.”
Shu Chen was afraid of society but he saw Hua Ran looking at him and had to struggle to say, “H-Happy birthday.”
Hua Ran smiled. “Thank you! I am so happy to have so many people accompany me for my birthday!”
Xia Li was also flushed with excitement. “Thank you, Coach. Thank you, everyone! I never thought there would be someone else born on the same day, month and year as me. Hua Ran, should we take a DNA test? Maybe we are long-lost siblings?”
Hua Ran said unceremoniously, “Brother and sister? I’m definitely older than you.”
Xia Li said, “I was born at 1 a.m.”
“I was born at 12:50 a.m. It was 10 minutes earlier than you.”
“…Brother, you win!”
The group laughed. These two were simply the happiness of the national team.
Jiang Shaoyu pointed to the cake. “Come, make a wish and then cut the cake.”
The two of them stepped forward, clasped their hands together and made a wish: I wish that this year’s national team can achieve good results!
This wish was really a rare tacit understanding between the two of them.
After making a wish, the two people each took a knife and cut the cake. Yu Mingxiang turned around and turned on the light. In addition to the cake, there was a lot of takeout such as barbecue, kebabs and roasted vegetables on the table. It was very rich.
Jiang Shaoyu told them, “You are tired from training these days. Have a late-night snack.”
He looked at Hua Ran and Xia Li. “Congratulations on becoming adults.”
Hua Ran was a bit moved in his heart. He glanced at Xia Li and handed the cut cake to Jiang Shaoyu together. “Thank you, Coach Jiang.”
Jiang Shaoyu seldom touched such high calorie sweets but the two little ones handed it to him first and it was respectfully offered with both hands. Jiang Shaoyu had to take it and eat some.
Hua Ran and Xia Li distributed the cake to their teammates. Everyone ate the cake along with the meat skewers and celebrated the birthday in a lively manner. Hua Ran and Xia Li couldn’t help posting photos on Weibo.
“My birthday with the national team is super happy!”
“Thank you, Coach Jiang, thank you, everyone, I love you [hand heart].”
Netizens saw the photo of the two of them with the birthday cake and wondered, “Is the national team so harmonious?”
“I thought they would fight in the training camp!”
“The two of you actually have the same birthday? What a coincidence. During the game, there must be a tacit cooperation, right?”
“A male alpha and a female alpha, the two of you should just be sworn siblings!”
“Happy birthday to Hua Hua and Xia Xia, jiayou.”
Hua Ran was a newcomer and his popularity wasn’t high. Meanwhile, Xia Li was one of the few female alphas in the league and had a lot of fans. Her birthday Weibo post quickly transferred to the home page and some players who failed to enter the national team couldn’t help feeling envious. They also wanted to celebrate their birthday with the national team.
After returning to the dormitory in the evening, Pei Feng took out his phone and sent a private message to Jiang Shaoyu. “Master is really careful and specially prepared for the birthday of the players. Hua Hua and Xia Li are really touched and have completely become your brainless fans.”
Jiang Shaoyu said, “Your birthday is the 18th of next month, right? I’ll give it to you too.”
During their time with ACE, Jiang Shaoyu had once celebrated Pei Feng’s birthday and given him a delicate and small model of the ‘Balot sniper rifle’ out of the hope that he would play the game well. Pei Feng treasured this model and preserved it under a glass cover. Five years later, it still looked brand new.
Pei Feng looked back at the model placed in the TV cabinet of the living room and couldn’t help feeling a hint of warmth in their hearts.
During his time in ACE, Master was like a big patriarch. He was strict with Pei Feng but also carefully and gently took care of his little apprentice. When Pei Feng was young, he went from the capital to Xing City to learn from his master. He was thousands of kilometers away from home and wasn’t familiar with this place, but he never felt lonely.
It was because he had a master and his master was who he depended on.
Now he had grown up and became an adult. Could he turn around and become the person his master relied on?
Pei Feng smiled slightly and typed, “This time, I don’t need to trouble Master. For my birthday, I will treat you.”
Jiang Shaoyu said, “How can you treat me on your birthday?”
Pei Feng said seriously, “When I was young, you always took good care of me. You celebrated my birthday and gave me that gun model in order to encourage me to play well as a sniper. Now that I have the ability, I am no longer the little apprentice who needs your care. It is my turn to invite Master to a big meal.” He paused and sent another classic wavy line. “Is that okay, Master~~”
Jiang Shaoyu found that Pei Feng always emphasized he wasn’t the child from back then, but that he had grown up and had the ability… In fact, Jiang Shaoyu also knew that Xiao Pei was no longer the teenager from his memory but an adult alpha.
Jiang Shaoyu typed back, “Okay, it is your birthday. It is up to you.”’