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598 Who’s In Charge? Part 2

 When someone lost, anything they said would sound like nothing more than excuses.

In the players' spectator area, when Li Muqiu saw Liu Zilang delivering the final sniper shot to kill Satan and win the match, he nearly jumped in excitement.

However, a moment later, he sobered up in the face of his current situation.

The smile at the corners of his lips vanished, and his face darkened instantly.

Li Muqiu had the sudden realization that they were no longer in the same team.

This hard-fought victory had nothing to do with him...

...

After SKK and C9 had left the stage one after the other, only Liu Zilang was left on the three-tiered stage with two long rows of players' seats.

He was the sole survivor!

The audience all around, having recovered from the shock and confusion earlier, blessed him with fervent cheers that enveloped him from all sides, as if he were a newly-crowned king!

"Haha, I knew it! Shifu is the best!" Misaka Mikoto, sitting at the front rows of the audience seats, said as she clapped enthusiastically.

Wang Qianqian, sitting next to her, watched Liu Zilang being showered with the cheers. Her smiling, narrowed eyes were twitching slightly. No one could tell what thoughts were brewing in her mind...

Meanwhile, in a residential apartment in the Jianghai district of Hua Xia.

It was around six in the morning. Zhang Xiaotong had joy written all over her little red face as she watched the familiar figure on the screen being interviewed.

'Did my cheering work? It must have!' She thought.

She pulled out her phone and hesitated as she pondered whether she should send another "(ง•̀_•́)ง" to Liu Zilang.

...

After the routine interview, the tournament was paused for a short break.

Soon after, the curtains rose on the final match of the squad tournament.

Twenty-four teams entered the stage from both sides, one after the other, showered by the cheers of countless people in the audience.

The four players of SKK entered the stage with an indiscernible calmness on their faces. Even Vivian's usual gaiety was nowhere to be seen. It felt as though a different team of players had replaced them, giving off a different aura.

The threatening pressure was not only felt by the teams around them, but also by the audience!

If you were to say that, in the previous two matches, SKK gave the impression of a group of travelers going on vacation, then in this match they looked like a team of soldiers ready to sacrifice their lives on the battlefield. All of them seemed like they were desperate for blood this time!

On the live Western commentary platform.

"I feel sorry for team SKK today. They only came second in both matches so far. I feel this is an unacceptable result for such a legendary team."

"I'm afraid so. However, SKK has been giving off a different aura than what we have been seeing so far. I believe they have boosted their fighting spirit. This match will bring us far more exciting moments than what we would expect."

"Another team that I feel sorry for is Se7en. To think that back in those days they were comparable to SKK. However, the team today is a bright pearl coated with dust, with none of the glamors of days gone by."

"I know that there are many fans of Se7en present here. I'm sorry to say this but I'm not putting too much hope on them bringing home any chicken dinners tonight. I can only wish them good luck, and play their best in this final match of the day."

"By the way, Vic Liu has got to be the player with the most surprises so far. He used to be a captivating player in international-level tournaments back in the days. Today he single-handedly brought his team forward, his results surpassing what he did before!"

"Indeed. Alright, our competitors are all in their seats. The next match will start soon."

As the commentators continued to talk, the lights in the arena grew in intensity and shone in all directions.

On the four big screens on the stage, the caster turned their camera on the teams with notable performances during the last match.

Some of them played it cool and tried to look casual, while others made funny faces for the camera.

The crowd sent waves of cheers in response!

In a short while, the rumble of an airplane was heard from a distance.

The final match of the first tournament day had finally begun!

The stage lights dimmed. On the four giant screens on the stage, an airplane was seen flying in from the distant horizon.

"Alright, to everyone tuning in. Let's take a look at the flight route this match."

"Oh! That's an interesting route. The airplane is coming in at three o'clock from the right side of the map, and has a near level flight path, exiting the map on the left at about nine o'clock."

"That's right. It looks like a knife slicing the entire map into two equal halves."

"Well, other than Sosnovka Military Base to the south, players should be able to reach any other point on the map without much difficulty if they jump early."

"Indeed. The utilization rate of the resources on this map should be high, and that also means that the teams won't have to fight each other in the early stages of the match."

"Oh! A team jumped! Let's take a look at who they are... it's IG! This team made the same choice as the last match to jump at Lipovka."

"Wait a second. It seems like there's another team jumping off at Lipovka as well. It looks like they're picking a fight with IG."

On the tournament's big screen, a four-man squad was seen leaping out of the airplane as it passed by Lipovka, a town situated next to the coastline.

At the same time, another four-man squad appeared next to them. This team was TSM.

As one of the premier esports teams of North America, they were not to be taken lightly.

However, after the previous two matches, their standings were only one rank above Se7en, coming in fourth from the bottom.

This goes to show how even in a competitive game like PUBG, multiple random and unpredictable factors affected a team's performance. Even if you are one of the top-tiered teams in North America, it is not impossible to be left behind in an international tournament.

Did they become newbies?

Not necessarily.

Situations in matches evolve like chain reactions.

If you put two teams on different points on Erangel Island, the outcome will be very different.

In a North American tournament, if TSM encountered another team...

Splat!

They would be the ones deciding their fate.

In an international tournament, if TSM encountered another team, for example, 4AM in the Military Base in the last match...

Splat!

Their fate was decided by 4AM.

In that sense, TSM's rankings in this international tournament should not be compared to their performance in the North American preliminaries.

After the first two matches, the morale within TSM was rather subdued.

Their current ranking meant that for them to have any hope of touching the trophy, not only would they need to clinch the chicken dinner this match, they would also need the current top five teams to not score any points.

This match was not just an uphill battle for them, but a battle starting at the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

Seeing team IG next to them, TSM did not falter nor cower.

Instead, they steeled their determination and dove head down at full speed!

...