Excellent Era’s Season Three Championship Match with Tyranny trended on every major esports news site for weeks. Not only was it the climax of a rivalry that started from the first server, but it also happened to be the first time anyone had let anything slip about Ye Qiu’s mysterious personal life.
[One Autumn Leaf]: Look, this here is the difference between us.
[One Autumn Leaf]: You lack a strong helper by your side
[One Autumn Leaf]: How about transferring to Excellent Era, I’ll help you out!
[Desert Dust]: You can ask for my babysitting help without all this extra talk
[One Autumn Leaf]: Old Han! You think my offer is insincere?
[One Autumn Leaf]: Fine, let’s talk after I beat you
[Desert Dust]: Come
While brilliant technical plays and tactical foresight was appreciated by Glory fans, player gossip was something everyone could participate and weigh in on. So it was no surprise that this small exchange between the two captains became the centerpiece of discussion.
Fans were dying to know: what did Han Wenqing mean by babysitting ? Did Ye Qiu have an actual baby? Or was he talking more abstractly?
When the press asked Tyranny’s captain for clarification, Han Wenqing only replied, “Ask Ye Qiu.”
It was a response that made the interviewers want to cry. Everyone knew it was an impossible task - Ye Qiu didn’t accept interviews and skipped every post-match conference. But it’s not like they could complain about this, especially not to Han Wenqing’s stern face that silenced anyone who dared to make eye contact.
They were truly stuck between a rock and a hard place and could only drop the topic.
The only worthwhile information that came out was Han Wenqing’s confirmation that he had no plans to leave his team. However, not even this reassurance could stop the wild speculation that reignited when a fan spotted Han Wenqing over the summer break in Hangzhou carrying a child whose facial features looked strangely similar to Ye Qiu’s One Autumn Leaf.
In Han Wenqing’s defense, he hadn’t ever intended for anyone to see him go out with the child. It didn’t even occur to him that this was a possibility, because up until that day, no one except Ye Qiu and him had ever been able to see the child .
For the past three years, this had been their shared secret.
It was a phenomenon that defied logic: one day out of nowhere, a young child had suddenly appeared in front of Ye Qiu, claiming that Ye Qiu was the lucky human chosen to take care of a fledgling God.
Frankly, it sounded absurd and Ye Qiu’s first reaction had been to hand over the delusional child to the police. That was when he had learned that no one else could see nor touch the child but him. It was as if he were haunted by a ghost only he could hear.
By the time Han Wenqing had met Ye Qiu for the first time in person, Ye Qiu was already resigned to his fate as the lone caretaker to a freeloading god. They were both surprised when Han Wenqing commented on the small child riding Ye Qiu’s shoulders while wearing an impressive cosplay of One Autumn Leaf’s armor.
It wasn’t an easy story for Ye Qiu to sell, but there really was no other good explanation for a child who could magically change their appearance and remain unnoticed by everyone around them. A supernatural being seemed like an unbelievable explanation, but it was also the simplest one, and Han Wenqing was someone who appreciated a straightforward path.
He only had one question after everything was cleared up.
“A god of what?” Han Wenqing asked.
Ye Qiu smiled. “What else would it be?”
Ye Qiu loved Glory, and it loved him back just as much.
Everyone had been suspecting for a while that there was something going on between Ye Qiu and Han Wenqing. The evidence never stopped flowing, and the betting pools were loaded.
But no one, not even their teammates and managers, had suspected that their relationship involved a child .
“So you have a kid?” Tao Xuan asked tentatively. Tao Xuan was still receiving inquiries on this very matter even as he was speaking with Ye Qiu and Han Wenqing.
The child in question had changed their appearance to something more normal, keeping the same facial appearance but wearing a miniature version of Tyranny’s jersey. To others, it looked like a lot of care had been taken to order such a custom uniform, but in reality, it was just a whim brought into reality by powers that could not be explained.
“I’m their child!” The kid said confidently, eerie golden eyes imperiously challenging anyone to contradict the statement.
At this, Ye Qiu and Han Wenqing exchanged a single glance, both of them managing to maintain a stoic expression despite the unexpected declaration.
Then, Han Wenqing spoke. “Does it change anything?”
“A-Ah, well,” Tao Xuan started, fumbling his well prepared words in the face of Han Wenqing’s intensity. “People...people want to know.”
“There’s no rule in the Alliance saying I have to share my personal life,” Ye Qiu said.
Han Wenqing’s glare stopped him again. “No one needs to know. I’ll handle things on my side.”
“Ye Qiu,” Tao Xuan tried again, “At least let me know in advance if there’s some other giant personal secret you’re trying to hide. Like say...if you faked your ID and were secretly a girl.”
Ye Qiu looked at his long-time friend strangely, and for a brief second Tao Xuan almost believed in his own crazy speculation. Thankfully, it was quickly shot down.
“I am not secretly a girl.”
The truth was, contrary to the hottest gossip, Han Wenqing and Ye Qiu were not in a relationship. But they didn’t mind pretending for the sake of covering up the sudden visibility of what used to be their exclusive supernatural secret.
“I must be getting stronger,” Glory said to them cheerfully in private, now in the form of a miniature Desert Dust.
“Change back.” Ye Qiu wasn’t quite begging, but this was the closest Han Wenqing had heard him get. “If someone catches you like that, they’ll think we have two children.”
They told the full truth to only a handful of people. Su Mucheng was the first.
(“Will you play with me too?” Glory asked as their form subtly shifted into a different avatar. A small Dancing Rain leaned in to whisper, “It’ll be fun! We’ll destroy lots of things!”
Su Mucheng laughed and hugged the child close. “Of course. Those two aren’t the only ones who love you.”)
“So he wasn’t coming over to see just you, he was coming over to see both of you,” she commented absentmindedly while styling the hair of the squirming child sitting on her lap. With her debut coming up, they had to look their best. “That really doesn’t make it any less romantic.”
“He’s pretty reliable,” Ye Qiu agreed fondly.
“So you two are really…”
“Wildly in love? Deeply committed to a life of matrimony? Making out behind your backs?”
Everyone from both Tyranny and Excellent Era gaped at Ye Qiu’s brazenness. The problem was, Ye Qiu was so full of bullshit no one knew where it began or ended.
Han Wenqing’s side of the story was equally hard to crack. “Think what you want,” he said, and no one dared to ask more.
But it was hard to miss the way Han Wenqing casually steered Ye Qiu out of the room with a single possessive hand on his rival’s shoulder. And they would all have to be blind to not notice the amused affection on Ye Qiu’s face as he was led out for their usual post-match meal.
“Okay, I don’t buy the marriage part, but they’re at least fucking,” someone commented the moment the two left the room.