Chapter 312 – All By Myself, Don’t Wanna Be…

It was the 10th minute of the game. Tang Bingyao’s Jinx was using her rocket launcher to bomb down minions from afar, and even then she was being incredibly careful not to get caught within Leona’s range. She stood under her tower in bot lane with Zeng Rui’s Nami next to her, who was healing her while also threatening Zhejiang University’s Botlaners with Aqua Prison. This was enough to keep Sun Ruinian’s Lucian and the Leona from tower diving, until Evelynn showed up.

Zhejiang University’s Leona flashed forward and cast her ultimate skill! A Solar Flare came down from the sky and slammed down on top of Zeng Rui’s Nami! It stunned her! But it missed Tang Bingyao’s Jinx. She’d Flashed away when she saw Leona’s Flash animation. And she didn’t look back. She ran straight for her inner tower and even there didn’t stop running.

An ally has been slain!

The game announcer’s voice echoed in Tang Bingyao’s head. She bit on her lips and panned her camera back towards the outer tower. Zeng Rui’s Nami lay dead next to it. Zhejiang University’s Botlaners and Jungler had killed him and were now attacking the outer tower. I can’t defend it! Mnh-mnh. But we can’t just give it away either! Where are… She panned her camera to look across the map. BunBun is in the top half of the Jungle and Zhang Hao doesn’t have much health. I can’t really bother Lin Feng either. He’s playing against a pro! A pro! I’m gonna have to… Her shoulders dropped and she breathed out loudly. I’m gonna have to give up on the tower and focus on farming. She looked back at the bot lane and watched Zhejiang University destroy the outer tower, after which they turned their attention to the Dragon.

The Blue Team has slain the Dragon!

Rollfire grabbed the microphone and placed it to his lips. He shouted, “Sun ‘Samsara’ Ruinian is doing it again! A perfect towerdive! A kill, a tower and the Dragon! Zhejiang University is killing it!”

“Nice work, Samsara!”
“Show them who’s boss!”
“Zhejiang to the main tournament!”

Silent Reed looked at the audience and then at Rollfire. Gloating asshole! Why does he have to be right!? She grimaced but then leaned towards her microphone and said, “Zhejiang is playing this game really well! Team Shanghai’s bot lane is having a really hard time! And that’s only gonna get worse now that Zhejiang’s Botlaners have the first Dragon buff which gives them more attack damage and ability power!”

Team Shanghai spent the next six minutes of the game playing very defensively. Zhang Hao’s Darius hid underneath his tower and took a beating from Gnar. His tower’s health was dropping and it wouldn’t take much longer before it fell into ruin. But there wasn’t anything he could do to stop the Gnar. He wasn’t confident in winning the 1vs1 and there was always an invisible Evelynn who could be waiting for him to engage right next to Gnar. This threat also extended to the bot lane. When Team Shanghai didn’t have vision on Evelynn, she could be absolutely anywhere on the map!

An Xin glanced at her teammates in the soundproof booth before turning back to look at her monitor. She sighed. I’m playing Lee Sin and I’m having less of an impact than the Evelynn… I’m the worst Lee Sin. She shook her head and said over the team’s voice chat, “The Dragon is spawning soon. We need to do something before this game goes completely out of our control. Let’s try and fight for it.”

Zeng Rui nodded and replied, “We can’t back down from this!”

It was the 17th minute when the Dragon spawned. Team Shanghai returned to base to stack up on wards and spent the rest of their gold to increase the quality of their items. They then ran towards the Dragon pit through their bot side Jungle. Once they got in the river, Zeng Rui instructed where to place down wards. More importantly, he told them when to place the wards. He kept the team closely together and made sure that Zhejiang University couldn’t get the jump on them.

Zhejiang University was taking a similar approach. The game had moved into the teamfight phase and the first real teamfight could determine the rest of the game. No matter how far Team Shanghai was behind, one bad engagement from Zhejiang University could see them get right back in it. So Sun Ruinian took the lead in warding and firing skillshots at Team Shanghai, following the same approach as Zeng Rui.

“It’s gonna happen. It’s gonna happen any minute now!” Rollfire shouted into his microphone. He was sitting on the edge of his seat and leaning over the caster desk, staring at the screen. Win this, Zhejiang! Kick those little asses and beat the Shanghai Stupid Organization!

Silent Reed glanced at Rollfire and shook her head. He looks like some evil villain… She giggled and then said into her microphone, “Zhejiang has the better items, but I believe this fight can still go either way! Whoever gets the right engage is well on their way to winning this fight and then the game!”

The situation inside the game grew progressively tense with the second. It was two minutes since the Dragon had spawned. Both teams had placed every ward in their inventory and had cleared away as many wards from the other team as possible. Right now, they were facing off in the river. Zhejiang University was moving around above the Dragon pit and Team Shanghai pushed out from the Red team’s Jungle.

There was only one Champion on the Rift who could fire high damage skillshots from a distance, and that was Shi Hang’s Ezreal. Ezreal gathered energy at the tip of his hand and turned that into a damaging bolt! Mystic Shot! He fired in the general direction of Team Shanghai and hit Tang Bingyao’s Jinx! Or Zhang Hao’s Darius! Team Shanghai’s Champions were gathered so closely together that it was practically impossible for him to miss. He kept firing at them, making full use of the skills short cooldown period, and forced Zhang Hao’s Darius and Tang Bingyao’s Jinx to use their health potions.

Zeng Rui gritted his teeth and said over the team’s voice chat, “We can’t keep getting hit by those Mystic Shots! We’ll be forced to back before we even fight!”

Tang Bingyao nodded and replied, “Mhm, sorry. I’ll dodge better.”

Zhang Hao grimaced and said, “Yeah, sor—”

“WATCH OUT!” Lin Feng exclaimed. He spammed the red warning ping on the map and shouted, “LEONA!”

Zhejiang University’s Leona flashed forward. She then raised her sword up to the sky and called down a Solar Flare! The sun shot a pulse of fire down that slammed into the center of Team Shanghai’s team! Tang Bingyao’s Jinx and Zeng Rui’s Nami were caught at the center. They were both stunned! Zhang Hao’s Darius and An Xin’s Lee Sin were also caught in its range, but were far enough away to only get slowed.

“Fight!” Shi Hang commanded over Zhejiang University’s voice chat.

Zhejiang University’s Gnar had built up his rage meter. The small yordle suddenly grew several times in size and became a monster with sharp fangs! A mottled burst of light wrapped him up and carried him into the middle of Team Shanghai’s team! He jumped up on its hindlegs and then swept his claws over the ground, growling, “GNAR!” The immense force knocked everything back! Jinx, Nami and Lee Sin were hurled against the wall along the river! Stunned on impact!

“Kill them!” Shi Hang commanded over Zhejiang University’s voice chat. He then pressed down on the R key–Trueshot Barrage! His Ezreal jumped up in the air and drew a bow from pure energy! An arrow fell on the string and gathered a yellow, destructive energy around it. Ezreal let the string go. The low whistling sound of the arrows was followed by a powerful barrage of energy that swept over Jinx, Nami and Lee Sin!

Zhejiang University’s Evelynn ran straight towards the three stunned Champions from Team Shanghai and cast Agony’s Embrace! Shadow spikes erupted from the ground and pierced Jinx, Nami and Lee Sin! All the while, Sun Ruinian’s Lucian ran from the backline towards the action and even used Relentless Pursuit to close the gap.

Lin Feng’s eyes narrowed when he saw Lucian running forward. His fingers hovered over the keys he needed and he glanced at everything else that was happening in the game. This is all I can do. He took a deep, long breath, then pressed down on the Q key–Urchin Strike! Fizz dashed through Lucian and struck out with his Trident! A fish then spun around the trident. Chum the Waters! Fizz hurled the fish at Lucian! It started swimming around its target, a portal to the deep blue opening up beneath it!

“FIZZ IS GOING IN! HE’S GOING IN!” Silent Reed cried out from behind the caster’s desk.

“HOLY SHIT! Why isn’t he backing? BACK DUDE! BACK!”
“OMG! I can’t watch this! I CAN’T!”

A Champion has been slain!

Double kill!

“Fizz can engage all he wants. Zhejiang has already won this!” Rollfire shouted into his microphone. He grinned and added, “Look at that beautiful double kill from AyDeeCee! WOOOOOO!”

A Champion has been slain!

Team Shanghai’s Jinx and Nami were the first to die. An Xin’s Lee Sin followed shortly after. It was then that the portal to the deep blue opened completely. Megalodon smelled the bait and jumped out of the water! He slammed Sun Ruinian’s Lucian up into the air and bit into his health bar!

“Careful, Sun!” Zhejiang University’s Support exclaimed over the team’s voice chat. He hovered his mouse over Fizz and cast Zenith Blade! Leona cast a projection of her sword at Fizz!

Lin Feng narrowed his eyes. Playful. Fizz planted his trident into the ground and hopped onto the pole, temporarily becoming untargetable! Leona’s Zenith Blade shot past him! He then pushed off the pole and fell back towards the ground right on top of Lucian!

Sun Ruinian’s eyes were wide in shock. A cold shiver ran up and down his spine! He slammed down on his keyboard! FLASH! FLASH! A mottled flash of light wrapped Lucian up and carried him through space and time before spitting him back onto the rift a short distance away! Yes! He sighed loudly, relieved.

Lin Feng’s lips curled up. He pushed down on the D key. Didn’t Shi Hang warn you? Oh well. Fizz followed after Lucian and fell down right on top of him! The splash damage ripped through Lucian’s health bar! Fizz then struck out with an auto attack.

You have slain an enemy!

An ally has been slain!

Lin Feng furrowed his brow and glanced at the rest of the teamfight. They’re all dead. HaoBro also died. We lost. We’ve lost this teamfight! Dammit! We lost! I only got a single kill! He shook his head. NO! It’s not over! I’m still alive! I’m going to carry the shit out of this teamfight! He looked at the Champions from Zhejiang University and locked onto Evelynn. HaoBro at least did a number on her! I’ll get her first!

Across the stage in Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth, Sun Ruinian fell back in his chair. His screen had turned grey. I fucked up! Shit! I should’ve never flashed there! What if I’d flashed… What if… Shit! He panned his camera to look at the rest of the fight. At least we’ve won this one. Fuck! How did that Fizz Flash right on top of me there? How the fuck did he do that!?

“Kill that Fizz,” Shi Hang said over the team’s voice chat. His Ezreal gathered destructive energy with his glove before firing the Mystic Shot at Fizz! And the rest of his team followed his example. Leona, Evelynn and Gnar all unloaded their abilities onto Fizz!

Lin Feng watched all the attacks flashing on his monitor, about to slam into his Fizz and kill him! He waited for a brief moment. Then he activated the item Zhonya’s Hourglass! Golden grains of sand wrapped around Fizz and froze him in stasis! He became invulnerable and untargetable! Skills flashed through him, but nothing struck!

“Oh snap! Crazy timing on that Zhonya’s!”
“Is he gonna do it?”
“No way, right? Maybe?”
“His skills are still on cooldown though…”
“I don’t know… But he might…?”

A golden Fizz stood lonesome in the river. Four enemy Champions had gathered around him, waiting for the golden grains of sand to disperse. Lin Feng gazed at his screen, completely focused. Zhonya’s is wearing off. Eve is the best target. Urchin Strike is off cooldown. A couple more to get Playful/Trickster back. Seastone Trident and Ignite are there. I can kill her and then I need to somehow dodge… a lot.

Lin Feng chuckled and shook his head. He knew. The effects from Zhonya’s Hourglass wore off. Zhejiang University started firing skillshots at him again! But he still made the first move. Fizz dashed through Evelynn and struck out with his trident–Urchin Strike! He then activated Seastone Trident! A blue aura wrapped around the weapon, empowering it and adding a bleed effect to his auto attacks! He followed up with an auto attack and Ignite! The three sharp points from the trident pierced Evelynn and caused bleed damage, while the unquenchable flames from ignite started burning on her skin!

A massive boulder slammed into Fizz! It was Gnar’s Boulder Toss. That was followed quickly after by Ezreal’s Mystic Shot! The damaging bolt of energy slammed into him! Fizz managed to get another auto attack off on Evelynn before the Shield of Daybreak from Leona stunned him. Gnar’s claws sliced through his health bar, as did Leona’s sword! And Ezreal’s energy attacks shocked away what little health he had left.

You have been slain!

Blue team has scored an Ace!

Lin Feng watched his screen lose its vibrant colours. A dull grey replaced it. But he kept his eyes on the monitor. On Evelynn. Focused. The bleed effect from Seastone Trident claimed another hit on her health, followed by the continuous damage from Ignite. It’s enough. It’s fucking enough! It’s, not enough… He grimaced. The last tick from Ignite killed Evelynn, but he couldn’t find any happiness in the game announcer’s voice booming across Summoner’s Rift. We lost the teamfight. I wasn’t good enough to win it…

Double kill!

“WOOOOO! ZHEJIANG WITH THE ACE! ZHEJIANG WITH THE ACE!” Rollfire exclaimed into his microphone. His voice boomed through the venue and was responded to with an eruption of cheers! A symphonie of screams and shouts rocked the venue!

Silent Reed watched the LCD screen and bit her lips. Zhejiang University is so good! How are they so much better? Why couldn’t Team Shanghai be that good? She shook her head and grabbed the microphone. She then waited for the sound in the venue to die down a bit before saying, “Lin Feng fought really hard for that double kill! But in the end, it wasn’t enough. Zhejiang University has shown us how much more important teamwork is than individual skill! They claimed an ace on the back of a perfect engage! The way they work together so seamlessly, it’s hard to see anyone beating them!”

Team Shanghai still had some hope of turning the game around before the teamfight at 19 minutes. But after getting aced, that all changed. There was a heavy silence in their soundproof booth, only interrupted by Zeng Rui giving an order every now and then. But he knew just like the others that this game was over. We don’t have the team comp to turtle, our defensive Champions aren’t nearly strong enough to stop an engage from Zhejiang University, and there’s really nothing we can do to turn the tides here. The thundering… Lin Feng can’t even turn this around. He’s carrying us so hard, and we’re fucking up. Fuck! He shook his head and frowned. It’s an official tournament game. We can’t make it to surrender. But all I really want to do is move on to the next game. It’s still a Best of 5. If we can use the break to figure something out, then maybe…

Team Shanghai kept playing. Lin Feng picked up a couple more kills, somehow finding players from Zhejiang University out of position wherever he went. But his Fizz couldn’t 1vs5. The rest of his team was defending the base and were getting towerdove constantly. Inhibitor towers fell, followed shortly after by the inhibitors. Super minions spawned and marched down the lanes. And it was in the 27th minute eventually that Zhejiang forced the final push. They attacked Team Shanghai under their Nexus towers and scored another ace.


Chapter 311 – Hello Darkness, Where are my Friends?

“IT’S HAPPENING IN BOT LANE!” Rollfire screamed into his microphone. He leaned over the edge of the caster booth, looking at the audience down below, and continued, “Sun Ruinian has been poking Jinx down! He’s forced Nami to blow through her mana! This is it! Eeey!”

Silent Reed bit on her lips and looked at the large LCD screen above the two soundproof booths. Come on, Tang Bingyao! She forced a smile to her lips and said into her microphone, “Team Shanghai can still get out of this! There’s no gank coming. They just need to see that they can’t push their luck he—”

Zhejiang University’s Leona landed a Zenith Blade on Tang Bingyao’s Jinx! The solar image of her sword took solid form and Leona dashed forward! She then bashed Jinx with Shield of Daybreak! Stunned! Sun Ruinian’s Lucian dashed at this opportunity with Relentless Pursuit! He then raised both guns and fired a doubleshot at Tang Bingyao’s Jinx! He followed up with Piercing Light!

Jinx didn’t have a mobility skill, making her very vulnerable to opponents like Leona. Tang Bingyao had to rely on her positioning and reflexes to dodge the skill shots. When she failed to do that, she needed her Support. But Zeng Rui’s Nami had spent all her mana healing Jinx everytime she took poke damage from Sun Ruinian’s Lucian. Right now there was nothing Zeng Rui could do. He gritted his teeth as he made the decision to retreat. He clicked away from the fight and said over the team’s voice chat, “Stall them.”

Tang Bingyao didn’t hear Zeng Rui in time. She’d been pressing down on her D key repeatedly, waiting for the stun to break. I’ll get out! Mhm! I’m gonna survive this! The stun broke and she flashed in the direction of her outer tower. Zeng Rui’s message finally got through to her. Shit! I’m gonna survive! She clicked next to her outer tower and did everything she could to survive. She blew her summoner spell Heal and took the shortest route to the outer tower! But Sun Ruinian stuck to her. He perfectly matched her movements and found the openings to hit her with auto attacks. Her health dropped until there was nothing left.

You have been slain!

Tang Bingyao closed her eyes and fought back to urge to slam her fist on the desk. Killed again! It’s my fault again! I lost the previous game and now, now… He’s so good! Why is he so good? She opened her eyes and looked at the dull grey colours on her monitor. Her eyes went wide. No. No! She had tried to escape, but in doing so drew Zhejiang University’s Botlaners towards Zeng Rui’s Nami. They were now towerdiving her. Leona is tanky enough to survive the energy shots from the tower and Sun Ruinian has the damage. Zeng Rui has no mana… I should’ve known! I should’ve known! That’s why he told me to stall! I killed him! A double kill! I gave Sun Ruinian a double kill!

Double kill!

Zeng Rui grimaced when his screen turned grey, but he held his breath. Right before Lucian’s doubleshot had killed him, he’d recovered enough mana to cast Aqua Prison. The bubble flew through the air and splashed over Leona! She was wrapped up inside the bubble and lifted off the ground, suspended within the outer tower’s range! Come on! Let it be enough! The energy shots from the tower smashed into Leona and drained away her health! Please!

But the effects from Aqua Prison didn’t last long. Leona was falling back to the ground. Zeng Rui was biting hard on his teeth and his eyes were as wide as they could be. Two more! TWO MORE! Another energy shot slammed into Leona and knocked her down to a sliver of health. But she’d regained control of her body and was now running away. She’s going to get away…— His mouth fell open. Oh my god… Yes! Thank god! Zhejiang University’s Leona got blocked in her escape by a Red minion, causing her to stay inside the outer tower’s range just long enough for a final energy shot to hit her.

You have slain an enemy!

“It’s a dou-dou-dou-double kill!” Rollfire cheered.

Silent Reed chimed in, “Wooooo! What a fight! And Team Shanghai even got a kill back at the end! Such a clutch Aqua Prison!”

“Sun Ruinian better ad-carry than Nightsong!”

“But what about that Jinx that got caught out again?” Rollfire asked, shaking his head.

Silent Reed nodded and said, “Yeah. That was unfortunate for them.”

Wei Dong turned his head to look at the casters and frowned. He then turned back to his friends from High School 13 and said, “It was… They’re right… We’re only 7 minutes in and Lucian has already picked up a double kill. It’s going to be so hard for Tang Tang…”

“Don’t be down!” Ren Rou fired back. She looked at him and added, “We’re going to win this one! Positive vibes! Positive energy!”

An Xin breathed in deeply and watched the bot lane. They’re both dead. Lin Feng can get all the kills he wants, we can’t do anything if the other two lanes lose. I need to do something! She moved her camera to the top lane. Zhang Hao is low on health, but… But… She pursed her lips and had her Lee Sin run towards the top lane. Gnar isn’t at full health either. If I play this right, I can help Zhang Hao win this fight! 

Lee Sin ran into the top lane from the river entrance. Just like a few minutes earlier, he dashed at a minion with Safeguard and then slammed his flat palm down on the ground! A tremor shook the earth, revealing everything directly surrounding Lee Sin! But Gnar had used Hop to jump away. An Xin responded to this by running past the minions until she had a clear line of sight and then activated Sonic Wave! Lee Sin pushed his fist forward. A discordant wave of sound shot at Gnar and revealed him!

“BunBun, careful!” Zhang Hao shouted over the team’s voice chat. But An Xin had already activated Resonant Strike. Her Lee Sin dashed at Gnar just as Evelynn appeared for a countergank. Damn! I gotta go help her! I have to save her! He gritted his teeth and then had his half-health Darius run into the lane.

An Xin looked at the situation. Health wise we’re about the same… About. But Gnar’s rage meter is filling up. He’ll become unkillable in a couple of seconds. She bit on her lips and breathed in sharply. We can’t win this. We need to escape! She glanced at Zhang Hao and said over the team’s voice chat, “Don’t come! Back off…” The strain from judging the situation to warning Zhang Hao was too much for her body. Her vision started to spin with small pecks of darkness appearing everywhere. She closed her eyes and then opened them again.

Zhang Hao shouted over the team’s voice chat, “Get away, BunBun!” He then had his Darius charge into the fight and used Apprehend! Darius swept up Evelynn and Gnar with his axe’s hook and pulled them to him!

Gnar’s rage meter was filling up quickly. He needed just another two seconds. His Evelynn Jungler bought him that time by casting Agony’s Embrace! Spike shadows shot up from the ground beneath Darius and Lee Sin! They struck for a ton of damage and also hampered their movement speeds! That gave Gnar the time he needed to land one final auto attack and fill up his rage meter.

Gnar was a small yordle with a small health pool, until he became enraged. Then he grew into a terrifying monster with a massive health pool! Mega Gnar grabbed a loose boulder from the ground and tossed it at Darius and Lee Sin! He then followed up with his ultimate skill. GNAR! He swiped out with his claws over the ground and threw everything around him against the wall along the top lane! Several minions were caught and died on impact! Darius was flung against the wall and stunned! Only An Xin’s Lee Sin escaped. She’d Flashed away at just the right time.

An Xin had her Lee Sin run away towards Red team’s outer tower, panning her camera over the fight. I killed him. He was fine and then I came for the gank. I pushed him into engaging and now he’s dead. If I was my normal self, we would’ve won this fight. If I was half my normal self, I would’ve used my ultimate to kick Gnar and Evelynn away! But I’m not! Dammit I’m not! My hand hurts, I feel sick to my stomach and now Zhang Hao is dead because of me! Why now? Why does this have to happen? I just want to play this stupid game! Just let me play!

An ally has been slain!

An Xin’s Lee Sin arrived underneath the outer tower and Zhejiang University didn’t chase after her. She pressed down on the B key to recall back to base and then closed her eyes. FUCK! Why did it have to flare up tonight? Why couldn’t it wait another day!? I just… I just want to play! I want to help the team win. But right now, right now I’m costing them the game… She grabbed onto her mouse hand and pinched it. Work you stupid thing!

Zhang Hao scratched the back of his head and said, “Sorry guys, my bad. I got a little stupid there. It won’t happen again.”

It’s not your bad, it’s my bad! But I can’t say that. An Xin bit down on her tongue to keep herself from telling everything that was going on with her. We’re going to lose. I’m pushing myself so hard! I’m nauseous, feeling dizzy and I’m playing like shit! And we’re also losing! Bot lane is done, top lane is done too now! It’s just Lin Feng! He’s the only one! We can’t win this with just him! We’re, we’re losing because of me… If only I could stop this stupid hand from being stupid! She closed her eyes and clenched her fists. I need to calm down. I need to calm down.

At 10 minutes, both Midlaners had all their skills off cooldown. Lin Feng glanced at his minimap and spotted Evelynn passing over a vision ward. Bot. She won’t be here in time. He then looked at the other two lanes. Everyone is in their lanes. No one can interrupt us. He finally turned his attention back towards Shi Hang’s Ezreal. We’re in the middle of the lane. This is gonna be tricky. But I’ve got the damage. I got this!

Lin Feng had his Fizz walk up to a minion and last hit it. He then moved to another one, inching closer towards Shi Hang’s Ezreal until he was in range to cast Urchin Strike! Fizz dashed through Shi Hang’s Ezreal and attacked with his trident! He followed up with Chum the Waters! He pushed his trident forward and threw a fish at Ezreal!

Shi Hang narrowed his eyes and pressed down on the E key–Arcane Shift! His Ezreal teleported a short distance away! The fish landed on the ground behind him and a portal to the deep sea started opening up. Too obvious, Maple! I expected better ofFuck! Lin Feng’s Fizz had leaped onto the pole of his trident with Playful. He’s going to jump on me! Where do I Flash to? What will he not expect? Maybe if I just back!

“Is he going to…?”
“No way, right? Right?”
“I mean…”

Lin Feng’s Fizz was falling back to the ground with the second half of his skill, Trickster! You’ll show me. You’ll show… Ha! Lin Feng saw the direction in which Shi Hang flashed and followed right after it. His Fizz appeared underneath Blue team’s outer tower and splashed down on Shi Hang’s Ezreal! Ignite! Seastone Trident! Lin Feng’s fingers glided over the keyboard and he clicked on his mouse at exactly the right moments to start and cancel the animations of his auto attacks.

Fizz tore through Ezreal’s health bar! The unquenchable flames from ignite burned on Ezreal’s body and blood flowed from the wounds left behind by the Seastone Trident! But Shi Hang remained calm. He cycled through his own skills and relied on Ezreal’s auto attacks to whittle down Fizz’s health bar as well. And though he didn’t pack the same damage as Fizz, the outer tower’s energy shots made up for that difference.

You have been slain!

You have slain an enemy!

“One for one in the mid lane!” Rollfire yelled into his microphone. He shook his head, incredulous, and added, “This kid is going ham on the former pro! He doesn’t show any respect! He just goes in and he actually picks up the kill!”

No one in the audience was concerned right now with what Rollfire had to say, or what Silent Reed added afterwards. Everyone was on their feet, screaming support for their favourite team! The esports club members from Zhejiang University yelled that only their Shi Hang could’ve made such a clutch comeback after getting jumped on by a Fizz! Friends and teammates from Team Shanghai were shouting back that Lin Feng had the skills to push around a professional level Midlaner! And all the other people were jumping in the stands cheering for the incredibly high level plays in the mid lane!

Inside Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth, Shi Hang leaned back in his gaming chair and sighed loudly. He then shook his head and mumbled, “It’s been forever since I was pushed this far.” He grinned and glanced past his teammates at the soundproof booth on the other side of the stage. You’ve still got it, Maple. You do.

Lin Feng wasn’t taking his death as calmly as Shi Hang was. His eyes narrowed ever so slightly and his breathing was uneven. He inched closer to the edge of his seat and tightened the grip on his mouse. They were all small adjustments, but they were the kind he usually never made. He didn’t have to, because in the last few months he’d never once been forced to really try. My teammates are losing and even An Xin isn’t turning it around! But we need to win! We can’t lose this! I promised to win the Collegiate Cup, so I have to win it! But we’re not going to win like this. We need something more! What we need is the old me! I need to do more! I know I can carry harder and I have to start doing that! I’m gonna carry this game way harder!

Chapter 310 – Who Needs Teamwork When You’ve got the THUNDERCOCK!

Tang Bingyao’s death in the bot lane allowed Zhejiang University to breach Team Shanghai’s base. They took the inhibitor tower and then the inhibitor. Super minions spawned from the Red Nexus and charged through the bot lane to Team Shanghai’s base, making it that much more difficult for Team Shanghai to defend. Worse even, the super minions marched down the lane furthest away from Baron Nashor. Zhejiang University made full use of this, manipulating the minion waves in such a way that Team Shanghai had to choose between giving up on their base or on Baron Nashor.

The game was 34 minutes in when Zhejiang University, boosted by the Baron Buff, attacked the mid-inhibitor tower. Their minions were empowered and their own stats were also increased. Rumble fired The Equalizer on top of the tower, six rockets lighting the ground up in a blazing inferno! He forced Team Shanghai back and opened the way for Zhejiang University to push forward! And they never stopped pushing. They took down the mid inhibitor and then the top inhibitor! Red super minions spawned from their Nexus and marched down the lanes, pushing into Team Shanghai’s base!

Team Shanghai tried to put up a last stance at their Nexus towers, but they didn’t even have the strength to stop the Baron Buff empowered minions. Zhejiang University walked all over them, picking up a double and triple kill before destroying the Nexus Towers and finally the Nexus! The crystal shook and trembled under the barrage of attacks, until the first cracks started showing. Blue energy kept within the Nexus slammed against the cracks and then broke free! It twisted and warped to form a victory crest for the Red team.


The crowd erupted in cheers! But no one was as loud as the esports club members from Zhejiang University! Their hero was carrying them to a win, and they wanted everyone to know how much they respected him!

“SEE? SEE!? I TOLD YOU! Shi Hang is gonna carry us!”
“With him and Sun Ruinian, there’s no one that can beat us! We’re going to win the Regionals and then we’re going to win the main event as well! Zhejiang University is going to be the best League uni in China again! Just like 4 years ago!”
“I feel a little bad for the kids… HAHA! Who am I kidding? I FEEL FUCKING FANTASTIC!”
“One high school team down, two to go! This is our tourney!”
“It’s so cool that Shi Hang is back! I hope he’s going to come by the esports club again too!”

Most people in the audience, led by the esports club members from Zhejiang University, were losing themselves in celebration! But there was a small subsection who only clapped a bit. They sat slumped in their chairs, looking around at the people shouting and screaming. Pained. Lost. Defeated. Shi Hang’s appearance had put a damper on their hopes of seeing Team Shanghai make it to the main tournament. Ren Rou had forbidden them to give up. She’d told them to keep believing! But in the face of overwhelming strength, they found their confidence waver.

Liu Yue fell back in his chair and muttered, “Zhejiang is just too strong.” He threw his arm around and complained, “Why did they allow Shi Hang to play? He’s a former pro! Everyone knows it’s unfair! And we just saw it… Lin Feng can’t beat him. Even Lin Feng isn’t that good!”

“The hell are you talking about!?” Ouyang shouted. He pointed at Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth and continued, “Didn’t you see his double kill!? He’s just as good as AyDeeCee! Hell! My bro is better!”

“Yeah!” Wei Dong agreed. He nodded and added, “Lin Feng’s Varus was great! He was at least as good as AyDeeCee’s Ahri!”

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and said, “He was staying even with Ahri. But that was already very impressive. We didn’t lose this game because of him. We lost this game because Zhejiang University outclassed us as a team. Whether we like it or not, Zhejiang University has individually better players who’re also better together as a team. There isn’t anything we can do to magically change that. Unfortunately.”

There was a heavy silence in Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. Zeng Rui glanced around him at his teammates. They’re all in their own world. Even the thundering dumbass looks like he’s actually thinking about something! Whatever that might be… He massaged his temples, a slight throbbing at the back of his head. I guess they all know. There’s nothing we can do. No matter how much I want to be positive and win this, we just aren’t good enough! That’s the simple reality of the situation! It isn’t fun to admit, but someone has to. He glanced at Lin Feng again and grimaced. He did hold out against AyDeeCee, that was a nice surprise. But the rest of us? We all lost. The Rumble had a bigger impact on the game compared to Zhang Hao, as did the Rek’Sai compared to BunBun… Leona somehow was super on point with her ults as well… She did more for Zhejiang than I did for us. Someone who is B grade was better than me. That’s what happened. And Sun Ruinian… I mean, I knew it from the start. Tang Tang just isn’t at that level yet. She has the talent, but she needs a lot more time to realise her full potential.

Tang Bingyao had put her elbows on the desk and was leaning her head in the palms of her hands, hiding the tears she was fighting back. Don’t cry! Don’t make it worse than it already is! You played a terrible game!! You’re the reason we lost! She bit tightly on her lips and closed her eyes. If apologizing did anything, I would! But they’re just going to say that it’s fine. It isn’t fine! We lost because I fed that Vayne! It was my fault! She scrunched her nose and sucked in a sharp breath to stop the tears from flowing down her cheeks. Don’t cry! Don’t cry! It will only make it worse! And if you want to apologize, do it by showing them in the game how sorry you are! By beating Sun Ruinian! Actions speak louder than words! Mhm! They do! She sat up a little straighter in her chair and took several long, deep breaths. Yes! She forced a smile and wiped away the tears in her eyes.

The silence in the soundproof booth weighed down on An Xin like a heavy boulder. She wanted to do something about it, but she knew that she couldn’t. She tried to grab the water bottle next to her but her right hand wouldn’t work with her. Come on, stupid hand! WORK! She breathed in sharply and closed her eyes. Then she gave up. She reached over with her other hand and took the bottle. Her right hand fell limply by her side. She took a large gulp from the bottle and let the water wet her dry mouth. She then put the bottle back, a single tear escaping through her closed eyelids. I can’t even hold a stupid bottle! Why is it flaring up so much today? Can’t it just leave me alone for a bit!? I need to play this series!

An Xin leaned her head back against the gaming chair, exhausted. It required her full attention just to have her hand do what she wanted it to, not to mention the general feeling of unwellness and dizziness on top of that. I’m sick and it’s not getting better. I can’t keep doing this! But I won’t let them worry! Not now! Later. I’ll tell them later. Maybe. Right now I need to focus on the game! She bit on her lips. I need to focus on my own gameplay. I can’t also coach them and pay attention to everything they’re doing. If I want to finish this series, I need to limit my gameplay to just me. She breathed in long and deep before sighing loudly. I need to lower the strain on my hand and recover while I can. But I can only do that if… She nodded at herself. Lin Feng will have to take over. We’re gonna need him to step up.

When An Xin opened her eyes again, she noticed that Zeng Rui, Tang Bingyao and Zhang Hao were all staring at Lin Feng. She grimaced. They know it’s up to him. They know. She then forced a smile and said, “We’re gonna need you—”

“It’s fine,” Lin Feng said. He looked up at An Xin and then turned his head to look at the other three. He grabbed his mouse with one hand and placed his other hand on his keyboard. He repeated, “It’s fine.” There wasn’t his usual grin nor was he cracking jokes that only he found funny. He rolled his shoulders and looked at his monitor, then said in the most serious tone they’d ever heard him talk in, “It’s fine. That was only one game. We’re going to win the next one.”

The second game in the best of five series between Team Shanghai and Zhejiang University got underway. The teams switched sides for this game, with Team Shanghai playing on the Red team and Zhejiang University on the Blue team. Both teams were clear on the Champions they wanted to ban. It only took a couple of seconds each time to ban Mordekaiser, Yasuo, Zed, Rumble, Vayne and Thresh.

Both teams quickly locked in their Champions, until it was the fifth and final pick for Team Shanghai. Team Shanghai knew Zhejiang University’s complete lineup, they knew they were up against an Evelynn in the Jungle. Lin Feng turned his head to look at An Xin and asked, “What are you waiting for? Pick your Lee! He fits our team comp and he counters Evelynn!”

An Xin gritted her teeth and moved her mouse to hover over Lee Sin’s summoner portrait. I can hear you, you stupid goldfish! But I don’t know if this is smart… She glanced down at her hand and moved the sleeve of her sweater a little further over it. I want to help him! If I can’t even play Lee, I might as well step out and let Liu Yue play for me! She closed her eyes and clicked on Lee Sin. “Yeah, I’ll play him,” she replied over the team’s voice chat.

Zhejiang University and Team Shanghai had both locked in their Champions. They had a minute to make any last minute changes to their Runes, masteries and Summoner spells before the game moved to the loading screen. This was when the game started playing on the large LCD screen above the soundproof booths, showing the lineup to the audience!

Game 2 of the East China Regional Quarterfinals
Zhejiang University (Blue) vs. Team Shanghai (Red)

Toplane: Gnar vs. Darius
Jungle: Evelynn vs. Lee Sin
Midlane: Ezreal vs. Fizz
Ad-carry: Lucian vs. Jinx
Support: Leona vs. Nami

Rollfire leaned towards his microphone and said, “After the last game I think we all want to focus on the mid lane again! AND LOOK AT THAT! AyDeeCee has brought out his mid Ezreal!” He paused for a brief moment to laugh and then continued, “Mid Ezreal is really strong and really difficult to pull off! But if anyone can pull it off, AyDeeCee can! I’m confident he’ll give us a good show!”

“We can’t forget about Fizz either!” Silent Reed shouted into her microphone. She turned to look at Rollfire and said, “I casted this Midlaner in a different tournament and saw him play on Fizz there! Let me tell you something, his Fizz is good! In fact…” She paused briefly, smiling. I’ll use your stupid ass pause, ass. “I don’t recall a single game he lost when playing a magic assassin! He’s an absolute monster with them! I can totally see him win this matchup!”

Rollfire looked at Silent Reed and raised an eyebrow. He replied, “You’re quite liking the Fizz pick, ey? I believe you, I believe you. That Lin Feng is a great player! I think we can all agree on that. He’ll make it professional if he keeps developing like this, I fully believe that! But we’re playing a team game and he picks Fizz!” The corners of his lips curled up into a mocking expression. He continued, “His Varus was great, but his team let him down. Now he picks Fizz. It kind of feels like he’s thinking of solo carrying this game! And I mean, I’d be all for that! Show me those skills!” If you have them, which you don’t. AyDeeCee will kick your ass! Hehe!


It was silent again in Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. Everyone was looking at Lin Feng, who had his eyes closed. He had his hands on his mouse and keyboard and the game music from the loading screen was playing in his ears. Game 1 was a loss. It was disappointing and we maybe could’ve won it. But it’s over. It’s time to move on and focus on Game 2! I now know how they play and how good Shi Hang is! He hasn’t gotten any worse! He took a deep, long breath. But I’m also getting back there! And I was a lot better than him! Maybe he’s just the opponent I need right now! So what if he’s a bit better than me right now? That just means I have to try a bit harder!

Lin Feng opened his eyes and smiled. All I can do is try my best, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do! I’m going to win my lane and pin him down under his outer tower! Sparks flashed in his eyes as his smile crept up into a wide grin. This is a best of five series! One loss means nothing! I’m going to win this! And I’ll let everyone know exactly how good I am! He said over the team’s voice chat, “We’re gonna win this. Let’s go!”

“Yeah! Let’s go!” Zhang Hao replied. But he was the only one. An Xin, Tang Bingyao and Zeng Rui hesitated. They looked at Lin Feng and then back at their monitors. They eventually nodded.

The mood in Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth was completely different from Team Shanghai’s. They had Shi Hang back on their team and he’d helped them win the first game. It only underlined their beliefs that with him on the team, no one could beat them! They were leaning back in their gaming chairs and joking about how they were going to end the second game within 20 minutes. That joke specifically set Shi Hang off. He glared at the Jungler, who’d made it, and said, “You little shit! Don’t get complacent now!” He then turned to look at the rest of the team and continued, “Team Shanghai won’t go down that easily! We had to fight hard for that first win, and it’s only going to get harder! Focus on the damn game or we’re going to lose this!”

Shi Hang ignored the apologies from his teammates and focused back on his monitor. On Fizz’s summoner portrait. The anger vanished from his face and was replaced with a smile. Fizz, huh? Looks like you’re going to go all out! I’ll happily return the favour in kind! He smirked. I like your idea, Maple. Snowball mid and win the game. It often works for you. But don’t think I’m gonna let you get fed! Try me!

Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!

“Looks like we’re starting the game with a regular lane set up!” Silent Reed said into her microphone. She watched the large LCD screen, which focused on An Xin clearing Red Team’s Blue Bluff Camp with the help of Zeng Rui and Tang Bingyao. She continued, “The Junglers are focusing on clearing the two important camps first! The Blue and Red Buff camps!”

Liu Yue sat in the stands next to Ouyang and Chen Ze, scrunching his nose. He scratched his neck and asked, “Why isn’t BunBun invading? What’s she going to the Red Buff for? She always invades with her Lee Sin! And she’s playing against an Evelynn! This is such an obvious invade!” He chewed on the inside of his cheek and knitted his brows. I’ve watched her play almost daily for the last month! She loves to do the Level 2 invade! It’s her thing! Why isn’t she doing it now? Am I missing something? No I’m not! She’s playing against Eve! What the fuck! That’s such an easy kill! Why isn’t she going for i

Ouyang slapped Liu Yue on the shoulder and said, “The hell do you know! You clearly haven’t paid enough attention to all the times brophina taught you how to Jungle!” He pointed at Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth and continued, “They’re playing Zhejiang! You know that, right? They’re crazy good! Odds are that they know the Level 2 gank is coming and are preparing to counter her! She saw through that and is making their effort go to waste! Have some faith in our BunBun! She’ll stomp them!”

“I guess…” Liu Yue replied. He then turned his attention back to the large LCD screen.

The game was three minutes in. An Xin had killed the Red Brambleback and claimed its buff. Boosted by the Blue and Red Buff, she roamed to the top lane. Zhang Hao’s Darius was having a hard time against Zhejiang University’s Gnar. He was sitting underneath his tower and even there he couldn’t get a lot of farm. Gnar just kept auto attacking him from a distance. It’s like Zhejiang is daring me to gank top! Sure, I’ll take first blood!

An Xin’s Lee Sin ran through the tri-brush below the top lane into the river. There she walked up into the lane and cast Safeguard on a minion right next to Gnar! Lee Sin dashed to the minion and then slammed down on the ground with an open palm–Tempest! A shockwave spread out around him to locate all nearby opponents! But Gnar had already Flashed away. An Xin ran after him, past the minions until there was a clear line of view between them. She then aimed her mouse at Gnar and activated Sonic Wave! Lee Sin pushed out with his arm, sending a discordant wave of sound flying after Gnar!

Zhejiang University’s Gnar had opened up quite some distance between himself and Lee Sin through the Flash. Then he saw Lee Sin running after him and knew the Sonic Wave was coming. He shook his head and chuckled. Too obvious, too damn obvious. He waited for Lee Sin’s animation and then Hopped away.

“What great timing for a gank!” Rollfire exclaimed from behind the caster desk. He then leaned forward, smiling, and added, “But this Lee Sin really needs to work on her mechanics a bit more. You can’t miss those skillshots if you wanna play Lee!”

“Yeah…” Silent Reed added. She looked down into Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth and frowned. I’ve seen her play Lee at the Shanghai 16 School Tournament. She’s way better than this! What’s going on with her? Is the pressure getting to her? I hope she can find her normal form soon…

“SHIT!” Ouyang yelled through the venue. He threw his arms up in the air and complained, “That was so close! Why does this Gnar have to have those ninja reflexes!?”

Liu Yue glanced at Ouyang before turning back to the screen. He scratched his nose and knitted his brows. That didn’t seem very great… He shook his head. I’m probably just too used to seeing her hit everything! Ouyang is right! He nodded and said, “Such a shame! I thought she had first blood in the bag there!”

Inside Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth, An Xin slumped back in her gaming chair a little. She pretended to feel a scratch on her right hand, just so that she could steady it with her left. Then she sighed and said over the team’s voice chat, “Sorry, Zhang Hao. My bad.”

Lin Feng barely registered how An Xin didn’t invade at Level 2 or how she failed her gank in the top lane. His complete focus was on the mid lane. Shi Hang’s Ezreal was a ranged Champion, meaning he had a relatively easier time in the early game to get some poke damage in while also last hitting minions. But Lin Feng refused to give last hits away for free or play defensively. He worked hard on manipulating the minion wave and had it slightly push his way.

The Blue minions were ever so lightly thrown off by Lin Feng’s intervention, and ended up attacking a caster minion. Its health dropped and Shi Hang’s Ezreal was forced to take several steps forward if he wanted to get the last hit on it. Lin Feng narrowed his eyes, waiting for the exact moment that Ezreal’s auto attack animation started. Then he targeted Ezreal with Urchin Strike! His Fizz dashed through Ezreal and stabbed out with his trident!

Zhejiang University’s Evelynn had taken her normal Jungle path, from the Blue Buff Camp down to the Red Buff Camp and then into the river. From there she could go to the bot or mid lane. But at Shi Hang’s order he went to the mid lane. And right as he arrived, Fizz jumped in on Ezreal. He grinned and mumbled, “Perfect!”

Lin Feng was in the middle of three Blue minions. Shi Hang’s Ezreal had teleported a short distance away with Arcane Shift and now Evelynn also jumped on him. He grinned. Want me to run? No Chance! He sat up a little straighter in his gaming chair and counted cooldowns. Where is the Mystic Shot? Where is thThere! He cast Playful! His Fizz leapt up and stuck his trident into the ground. He leaned on his trident, juggling his balance, and briefly became untargetable!

Shi Hang narrowed his eyes. His years of experience playing at the highest level of League combined with his knowledge on Fizz kicked in. He’s not backing off! That crazy bastard is going in for the kill! If he’s going in… He glanced at his health bar. He knows he can do the damage! The Fizz was already coming down, which was the second half of his E skill. Trickster! He was going to splash onto the ground and deal damage! Shi Hang smashed down on his keyboard. FLASH AWAY! His Ezreal disappeared with a flash of mottled light.

Most players would Flash away towards the safety of a tower. But Shi Hang knew that and knew that Lin Feng’s Fizz could follow him there and kill him. That was why he didn’t Flash away towards his outer tower, but to the side where Evelynn was! This, in turn, was all predicted by Lin Feng. He pressed down on the D key and shouted GOTCHA!” His Fizz flashed after Shi Hang’s Ezreal and splashed on the ground right on top of the two Champions from Zhejiang University! The damage from Trickster cut sharply into Ezreal’s health!

“FUCK!” Shi Hang exclaimed. He frantically clicked away and glanced at his skillbar. Everything’s on cooldown! Dammit! He saw right through that! Now I’m away from my tower and slowed!

Rollfire was shoutcasting the fight in the mid lane play-by-play. But just when he was lauding Shi Hang for a phenomenal Flash, Lin Feng’s Fizz followed up. His mouth fell open and his eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. What the hell… HOW!? How? How…? 

“One beautiful Flash got followed up by another!” Silent Reed exclaimed, taking over from Rollfire. She pushed the microphone against her lips and shouted, “Fizz is still on the Ezreal! This has to be first blood! It has to be!”

“Oh my god… Oh my fucking god! Did he just…? He just… HE FUCKING FLASH-FOLLOWED!”

Lin Feng grinned, clicking in a fast rhythm on Ezreal. Every good Fizz picks up their first kill at Level 3! If you can’t even do that, don’t play Fizz! This is my kill! He activated Fizz’s third main skill, Seastone Trident! A blue aura wrapped around his weapon, empowering his basic attacks and adding a bleed effect to it! Evelynn attacked him, as did Ezreal, but neither had crowd control skills and he still had more than half of his health remaining. First blood is mine! You ain’t getting away! He targeted Shi Hang’s Ezreal with Ignite! An unquenchable flame blazed to life on Ezreal’s skin, burning away at his health bar! Bleed damage from Fizz’s empowered auto attack stacked on top of that!

Shi Hang recognized he wasn’t going to survive. He tightened the grip on his mouse and said over Zhejiang University’s voice chat, “Kill him! We need first blood!” He kited through the minions, trying to break open a gap between his Ezreal and Fizz. Shit! He’s gonna get me! He added, “Don’t let him survive!”

Lin Feng had his Fizz strike out with his trident for a second and a third time! Ezreal’s health was dropping sharply and soon reached critical levels. Trying to escape? Don’t think so! Lin Feng was sitting on the edge of his gaming chair, clicking on his mouse faster and faster! His Fizz chased after Shi Hang’s Ezreal, ignoring the damage he was taking from Evelynn. His screen blinked red! Fizz had dropped below 20% health! Kill! Fizz stabbed out with his trident!

First Blood!

You have been slain!

A low buzz went through the venue. The audience had been sitting on the edge of their seats during the fight in the mid lane. Some were already up on their feet. But when the game announcer’s voice blasted through the venue speakers, everyone jumped! They roared, their voices slamming against the wall before being knocked back at them! And they went on to beat that sound with an even louder wave of thunderous cheers!


It wasn’t until a good bit later that the initial burst of cheers died down far enough for Silent Reed to make herself be heard again. She was jumping with excitement and screamed, “WOOOO! I knew his Fizz was good, but oh my god! OH MY GOD! He outplayed AyDeeCee! HE DID IT AGAIN! JUST LIKE IN GAME 1!”

“She’s right! Shit! It’s like I’m watching an LPL match!”
“Look at my arms! LOOK! I’VE GOT GOOSEBUMPS!”
“That kid is stomping AyDeeCee! HOW IS HE STOMPING AYDEECEE!?”
“He’s better than Hermes! Calling it now! He’s better than Hermes!”
“Who recorded it? CLIP IT AND PUT IT UP ONLINE!”
“That Flash, holy shit! THAT FLASH! Did you guys see that? OH MY FUCKING GOD!”

Rollfire’s mouth hung open, dazed speechless. There wasn’t a single thought in his mind, just pure shock. Everything about that play by Fizz was perfect. The representative of the Shanghai Esports Organization had outplayed AyDeeCee. A cluttered mess of images flitted before his eyes, reminding him of how Team Shanghai’s Midlaner had played in the Round of 16. Wh… Ho… Uh…

On stage in Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth, the Evelynn player kicked against the back of his desk, frustrated. He bit on his lips and then said over the team’s voice chat, “Sorry, cap. I didn’t expect him to do that. Shit! He got first blood! If only I had—”

“Nah,” Shi Hang interrupted. He turned his head to look at the Jungler sitting next to him and smiled. He said, “Don’t worry about it. You played that well.” He turned back to look at his monitor, grinning. You son of a bitch! You got me! I knew it was coming and you still got me! Damn you!

Sun Ruinian glanced at Shi Hang sitting next to him. What’s gotten into him…? But then he quickly shook his head and focused back on the bot lane. Another time. I need to focus. I can’t let him down!

Lin Feng’s screen was a dull grey. There were a few more seconds until he respawned, so he panned his camera to take stock of the other lanes and the Jungle. He shook his head. Still not enough. They need me! I need to pressure him more and snowball faster! He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, allowing the air to completely fill his lungs. Three, two, one. He breathed out and his eyes shot open, determination blazing in them! So that’s what I’m gonna do! I’ll show everyone just how good my Fizz really is!

When Lin Feng’s Fizz returned to lane, he started working on manipulating the minion waves again. He very delicately made them push towards his outer tower, forcing Shi Hang to overextend if he wanted to get the last hits. The fifth minute turned into the sixth. Another minion wave arrived in the mid lane. I’m gonna hit Level 6 soon. He glanced at his minimap. Leona is missing and Eve can be anywhere. But that doesn’t matter. I just have to land my skills and get the kill! 

Several Red minions were ganging up on a Blue melee minion. Lin Feng had his Fizz walk towards it, smiling. Such an obvious feint if you know it! But he’s preparing to gank me, so he shouldn’t know! He arrived next to the minion, which also placed him within range to cast Urchin Strike on Shi Hang’s Ezreal! Fizz dashed through Ezreal, striking out with his trident! Right then, the melee minion died and Fizz leveled up! Lin Feng learned Chum the Waters and threw it at Ezreal!

A small fish stuck to Ezreal and swam around him, a portal to the deep ocean opening up beneath him. Shi Hang cursed, “Shit! 5 seconds!” He activated Arcane Shift! His Ezreal teleported a short distance. But the fish stuck to him, as did Fizz with Playful/Trickster!

The portal opened up completely. The small fish was bait for Megalodon! The massive monster jumped out of the water and knocked Shi Hang’s Ezreal up into the air! Lin Feng’s Fizz followed up with Seastone Trident empowered auto attacks! The combination of damage decimated Ezreal’s health bar!

You have slain an enemy!

“Kill him!” Shi Hang exclaimed over the team’s voice chat. He then shook his head and looked at his dull grey screen. Again. He got me again! I’m dead without Flash. But we were setting up for a gank anyway, and he blew through his skills to get me. Evelynn and Leona will get him. This isn’t much of a setback. We’re both losing out on minions and experience. Just that… Just that he has two kills and I have zero. He grinned and turned his head to look at Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. He mumbled, “Nice work, Maple.”

“What?” Sun Ruinian asked, confused. He glanced at Shi Hang and added, “Did you say something to me?”

“No. No, it’s nothing,” Shi Hang replied. He chuckled and added, “Focus on the game.” He then turned to look back at his monitor. Well, you did make one thing pretty clear, Maple. I can’t deal with your Fizz. But you can’t deal with my teammates. They’re killing you again. We both got two deaths. He shook his head, laughing. 5 seconds. If you’d engage 5 seconds later, I would’ve gotten the kill! But you’re still dead. You might’ve even gotten away if my teammates didn’t show up. Heh, that brings me back. He glanced across the stage again at Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. You handpicked your teammates back then. They were all phenomenal. I wonder, did Chu Fang let you do the same this time? Did you handpick this team? I hope they are. He chuckled again. I really want to see how good they are now! Let’s see who’s got the better team!

Chapter 309 – Look at my Skills, My Skills are Amazing!

Zhang Hao was just about jumping in his chair, barely keeping his attention on his monitor. He had his Lissandra retreat to her outer tower and then recalled back to base. He finally couldn’t hold it in any longer. He threw both of his fists up in the air and shouted, “YOU GOT THE DOUBLE! SWEET!” He leaned forward to look around An Xin at Lin Feng and continued, “That was such an awesome turn around kill! The way you sidestepped the Charm and then Flashed the Rek’Sai! It was, it was… WOW!”

“I was sweating for you there!” Zhang Hao exclaimed. He shook his head and laughed, his heart slamming into his ribcage. “That was so tense! I thought for sure you were dead like five times!” He kept shaking his head, incredulous. Lin Feng is playing against a pro! I thought for sure he was going to lose! How the fuck was he going to win against an actual, real life, former pro! But he is! HE’S WINNING! Holy shit! He just outplayed a professional player! HE OUTPLAYED A PROFESSIONAL PLAYER! He clenched his fist and shouted, “You outplayed a professional player, dude! Oh my god! You outplayed AyDeeCee!” You’re amazing! Shit, you’re so amazing! What was I even worried about? You always win! You even stomp pros!

An Xin watched Zhang Hao losing it and giggled. She winked at Lin Feng and said, “He’s right, that was a nice job. You didn’t even need me for that one.”

“Mhm! Good job!” Tang Bingyao chimed in. She then glanced at Lin Feng, her lips curling up and forming small dimples in her cheeks. Her eyes started beaming in a mix of envy and joy and tinges of red painted the tips of her ears. I knew you could do it! You always do it! Mhm! You’re the best!

Zeng Rui turned his head to look at Lin Feng. The thundering dumbass went and did it, somehow. That was way too risky. If he’d died, we’d have lost the game right then and there! But it’s always like this. He does the weird shit that can lose us a game! It just always works out for him… He always makes it work. He shook his head lightly and said, “Well done. Keep it up and we can win.” He then turned his attention back to his monitor. His Alistar had just arrived back in the bot lane. Top is doing well, mid is doing better again and bot, well we’re sort of even right now. Plus we got the Dragon! Can we actually win this one? We might…

Lin Feng was usually the first to congratulate himself for a good play. He always jumped on any and every compliment that came his way. More often than not, he’d even complain when people didn’t give him the recognition he felt he deserved. But not right now. The compliments flew right by him. His eyes were locked on his monitor. On Ahri. Her corpse disappeared from the mid lane. She’s respawned. He bit on his lips and then said over the team’s voice chat, “Thanks, but it’s not enough. Shi Hang is way better than this.”

Team Shanghai had a good couple of minutes in their first game against Zhejiang University. Each lane had found some manner in which they picked up a kill to fight their way into the game. But that was far from enough. Zhejiang University was one of the best teams in the entire Winter Collegiate Cup. They had the better Toplaner and the better ad-carry. More importantly, their team had been playing together for years, and Shi Hang switching in didn’t change much in that regard. He was more than good enough to adapt to his teammates at this level of play.

At 11 minutes, Zhejiang University’s Jungler found his way to the top lane to help Rumble pick up a kill on Lissandra. Zhang Hao had grown too confident after his own kill and especially after watching Lin Feng pick up the double kill in the mid lane. He overextended and couldn’t retreat to safety before his health bar bottomed out. The top lane started shifting back into Zhejiang University’s favour.

At 13 minutes, Shi Hang’s Ahri pushed the minion wave in the mid lane and then roamed to the bot lane for a gank. Zeng Rui and Tang Bingyao were late to react. They were forced into a rushed retreat. Tang Bingyao’s Ezreal used Arcane Shift into Flash to blink a large distance and also had to blow Heal just to survive. And even then she only survived because Zeng Rui’s Alistar sacrificed himself by Headbutting Sun Ruinian’s Vayne away. Zhejiang University killed Alistar, then went on to destroy the outer tower in the bot lane before turning their attention towards the Dragon and killing it.

Rollfire sat at the caster desk with the biggest grin possible on his face. He couldn’t be happier with how the game was developing. Those stupid representatives are losing! HA! Now to play it… He breathed in deeply and then sighed loudly into the microphone. He waited a brief moment before saying, “That was a perfect roam by AyDeeCee, exactly what we expected from a professional player! There’s just nothing Team Shanghai can do about him. He’s too good.” He shook his head, then grinned and added, “Though it has to be said that Varus should’ve reacted a little faster there.”

Silent Reed scrunched her eyebrows when she heard Rollfire’s last remark. She turned to look at him and then asked, “Reacted faster? What?” She was so surprised by his comment that it took her brain a moment to process it. Then she shook her head and explained, “Varus is a Champion that has to farm and scale up, like we discussed before the game. He’s nothing like a high mobility assassin like Ahri who is known for roaming around the map and getting kills.” She quickly pulled out her phone again and opened the Baidu page detailing Varus before adding, “Varus has to do two things. Push the lane when Ahri disappears and put pressure to make her come back. Then he also has to warn his teammates that she’s missing from the lane. He can do that with a ‘careful’ ping or by warning them over voice chat.”

“You read that out perfectly!” Rollfire said, laughing. “That guide is really helping you out, ey?” He chuckled for a bit before adding, “Varus indeed wants to scale up to be ready for teamfights and for sieging the opponent’s base. But he can’t just let the Ahri run free either. And this isn’t just any Ahri. This is AyDeeCee!”

Lin Feng stared at his monitor, frowning. I can beat Shi Hang all I want, but I need to beat their entire team. Maybe I can do that in a solo queue. It is what I basically did at the Shanghai 16 School Tournament… But Shi Hang, no, he’s far better than any other Midlaner I’ve played against recently. He isn’t some average player. He’s good. I can’t carry this game 1vs5 with him on their team. He chewed on his lips. If I want to beat him, I need to throw all my attention to the mid lane. I won’t have the spare bandwidth to look at the other lanes and help them out too.

The mid lane was full of action. Lin Feng was fighting Shi Hang and pushing him back. But then Shi Hang would roam the map, find Tang Bingyao or Zhang Hao slightly out of position, and pick up a kill. Every time he leaves, he comes back stronger. I can push. But I can’t help Tang Tang and Zhang Hao survive his roams. Varus just isn’t the Champion for that! How can I help them…?

Lin Feng panned his camera across Summoner’s Rift. But he was forced to focus back on the mid lane. I can’t. I just can’t take my focus off the mid lane! I need all my focus here to beat Shi Hang! He gritted his teeth, frustrated. Then he narrowed his eyes. I promised them to leave Shi Hang to me. I’ll win the mid lane. That’s what I told them I’d do, so that’s what I’ll do! There just isn’t more I can do. The rest is up to them. He forced a smile on his lips, though his eyes didn’t show joy. It’s not like they’re bad either! They’re my teammates and I fully trust them! They can win! Yeah! I trust them and they can win! I just need to trust them!

The third Dragon was spawning in the dragon pit at 19:45 minutes. Both teams started setting up their wards in the river a minute earlier. But it was Zhejiang University who dictated when and where the wards were placed. They were moving around as five and pushing Team Shanghai around, keeping them far away from the Jungle entrance across the dragon pit.

The scoreboard read 6 kills for Team Shanghai to 8 for Zhejiang University and the gold difference was only 2,000 in Zhejiang University’s favour, but the game wasn’t anywhere near as even as this score would suggest. The 2,000 gold discrepancy came almost completely down to Sun Ruinian and Tang Bingyao. Vayne was strong and had hit her power spike, while Tang Bingyao’s Ezreal was struggling to get the items needed to start becoming a threat.

Ouyang sat on the edge of his seat in the stands. He was looking from the large LCD screen above the stage, down to the soundproof booths, before turning his head to look up at the casters. And finally, fidgeting with his fingers, he turned to look at his friends. He asked, “They’re setting up for a teamfight, right? We’re getting into the teamfight phase of this game. This is gonna be it, yeah?”

Yang Fan nodded. He pushed his glasses up the rim of his nose and replied, “It indeed looks like it. And it’s not looking too great for our team. Tang Tang is too far behind Sun Ruinian. And BunBun spent quite a bit of time helping Zhang Hao, but they failed to keep Rumble down. His ultimate will hurt. Lin Feng is basically the only one who’s really strong right now. And even he is only just as strong as AyDeeCee…—”

“Come on, guys! Don’t be so down!” Ren Rou exclaimed. She looked at the long faces around her and continued, “This is Lin Feng we’re talking about! He carries every game he plays! He’ll carry this teamfight! And I’m sure BunBun will have something special planned! Tang Tang will also definitely find a great angle to deal damage! We’re going to win this!”

Yang Fan chuckled and shook his head. He replied, “I want to believe you. I really do. But the facts are telling a different story.”

At 20 minutes, Zhejiang University had gathered up as five on the Red Team’s bottom side Jungle. Team Shanghai was waiting for them just down the river. Both teams were walking back and forth, searching for an opening to engage. Zhejiang University’s Leona suddenly flashed forward and raised her sword up to the sky. She called down a Solar Flare! The flash of brightness from the sun slammed down on the Rift! When the explosion settled, three stunned members from Team Shanghai were revealed. Jarvan IV, Alistar and Lissandra.

Rumble followed up on Leona’s engage with The Equalizer! He clicked a button on his mechanical suit and fired six rockets from the missile launchers on his back! They arced through the sky and exploded in a straight line on the ground, right on top of Leona’s ultimate! Jarvan IV, Alistar and Lissandra were engulfed in a wall of flames that damaged and slowed them!

Shi Hang had his Ahri move along the long wall separating Red team’s Jungle from the river. He watched the action happening in the river and grinned. Where are you going, Ezreal? He activated Ahri’s ultimate skill. Spirit Rush! Ahri dashed through the Jungle wall into the river and appeared right in front of Ezreal! She blew Ezreal a kiss, a magical heart manifesting in the air and smacking against Ezreal! Charmed!

Everything in the world disappeared before Ezreal’s eyes, except for Ahri. She became his everything! His knees felt weak as he stumbled in her direction. Fox-Fires hit him and burned his skin, as did the unquenchable flames from Ignite! But he didn’t feel pain, only love. The Orb of Deception punched through him, sapping the life out of him! Then it turned around behind him to hit him for a second time, but he didn’t even know this was happening. He only knew he wanted to be closer to Ahri.

Spirit Rush! Shi Hang pressed down on the R key for a second time. His Ahri dashed back across the wall into Red Team’s Jungle. He panned his camera to look at the Ezreal, whose health dropped down to single digits. The last tick from Ignite will do that!

You have slain an enemy!

The other players from Zhejiang University charged out from their Jungle and engaged Team Shanghai! Rumble and Leona clashed with Jarvan IV, Lissandra and Alistar, while Rek’Sai dug a tunnel underneath them to arrive right in front of Lin Feng’s Varus!

Lin Feng narrowed his eyes and cursed, “Crap!” He punched down on his R key! Varus raised his bow and fired Chains of Corruption at Rek’Sai! The two purple glowing ribbons wrapped around Rek’Sai and rooted her to the ground! Then they started multiplying, searching for other Champions to jump to. But there was no other Champion from Zhejiang University in range. Varus followed up with Hail of Arrows! More than a dozen arrows rained down on Rek’Sai and blighted the ground beneath her!

All the while, Sun Ruinian’s Vayne fired silver bolts at An Xin’s Jarvan IV. There was nothing Team Shanghai could do to stop him. Ezreal was already dead, Lin Feng was being blocked by Rek’Sai, and the other three Champions were still stunned. Every third bolt, the silver rings around Jarvan IV detonated and dealt true damage! His health dropped quickly and it wasn’t long before he collapsed dead to the ground.

You have slain an enemy!

Sun Ruinian’s Vayne picked up the second kill of the fight right as the stun from Solar Flare finally wore off. Zhang Hao’s Lissandra cast her ultimate skill on herself! Ice spires shot from the ground and encased her in a Frozen Tomb! The freezing coldness healed her while it damaged the nearby Champions from Zhejiang University. Sun Ruinian’s Vayne and the Leona were quick to escape its range, but Zeng Rui’s Alistar made sure that Rumble couldn’t run away. He combined Headbutt and Pulverise to close the distance and then slam Rumble up into the air!

A Piercing Arrow suddenly shot through the air and pierced Rumble! His health dropped by a third! The freezing temperature also continued to bite into his health bar! Zhejiang University tried to save their Rumble, but Zeng Rui was running interference with his Alistar. Sun Ruinian’s Vayne and Shi Hang’s Ahri decimated Alistar’s health bar, and Zhang Hao’s Lissandra did the same to Rumble!

Double kill!

You have slain an enemy!

The root from Chains of Corruption wore off. Rek’Sai could run at Lin Feng’s Varus again, though the blighted ground hampered her movement speed. Lin Feng kited Rek’Sai, retreating into Blue team’s Jungle. He glanced at the fight in the river. Zhang Hao is the only on

Double kill!

They’re all dead. I can’t turn this around. Best I can do is kill this Rek’Sai and escape! Lin Feng focused on Rek’Sai, attacking her while also running back towards the inner tower in bot lane. Rek’Sai had a large healthpool, but Varus’ Piercing Arrows did an astonishing amount of damage! Her health dropped, yet she clung to him in a desperate attempt to slow his escape. Lin Feng shook his head lightly. You’re not nearly good enough for that! 

Lin Feng panned his camera to check where Ahri, Vayne and Leona were and then quickly focused back on Rek’Sai. He jumped back and forth, calculating exactly how much space he had to maneuver around. Vayne is going to get here first. She’d kill me. A bit faster! His fingers glided over his keyboard. His Varus pulled back the string on his bow and charged up another Piercing Arrow. Lin Feng suddenly narrowed his eyes. Her cooldowns! He had Varus turn around and ran towards Rek’Sai! Right then, Rek’Sai dug a Tunnel! She passed underneath Lin Feng’s Varus and Unburrowed behind him! Good! Now back! He had Varus turn around again and released the Piercing Arrow that was still charging. The thick, massive arrow pierced Rek’Sai!

You have slain an enemy!

The audience erupted into deafening cheers! They clapped their hands, stamped their feet and screamed their lungs out! The ground was shaking, the glass from the soundproof booths trembling and spit was flying through the air!


“WOOO! What a great fight! That was a work of art!” Rollfire hollered into his microphone. He grabbed it from its stand and shouted, “Zhejiang University’s engage was perfection! The way they combined the Leona ultimate and Ahri nuke on Ezreal… WOOOOOO! They’re really bringing their A+ game today!”

“That Ahri killed the fight before it even started!” Silent Reed chimed in. She shook her head for a bit and then added, “I’m surprised Team Shanghai still managed to pick up two kills there. They fought back well after such a disastrous start!”

Rollfire laughed and replied, “Two irrelevant kills! Rumble was already behind. He wasn’t worth much. And Rek’Sai did her job, being a meat shield and making that Varus irrelevant! Zhejiang University won it all there! And now they also got the Dragon on top of that! WOOOOO! What a fight!”

Silent Reed glanced at Rollfire and pursed her lips. He’s loving it. The asshole is loving it! It makes me want to hate it! She shook her head. Don’t be so weak! He’s casting! Do the same! Cast the game! It’s a good game! She smiled and said into her microphone, “Zhejiang University pulled themselves into a massive lead there! All they have to do now is end it!”

Lin Feng pressed down on the B key. Blue circles started burning around Varus, rising up around him before carrying him back to the fountain. He knitted his brows and turned his attention to the gamescore. 8-12. They got four kills there. Tang Tang died again too! He clenched down on his mouse. There was nothing I could do there! Tang Tang was dead before the fight even started, and the rest got caught by the Leona ult! Dammit!

They know I’m the only threat on the team right now, so they’re staying far away from me! Lin Feng closed his eyes, pressing the P key to open the shop and buying items in practiced motion. They sacrificed Rek’Sai, knowing full well she could keep me busy until the end of the fight. I couldn’t do anything to help Tang Tang, or the others! Shi Hang and Sun Ruinian aren’t stupid. They just hang back and make sure I can’t root them with my ultimate! He took a deep, long breath. Besides, Shi Hang is good. He can Flash out of my ultimate if he’s watching out for it. I’d need ZengZeng to get a good knock up on him… 

Lin Feng opened his eyes and pressed down on the Tab key. It showed more detailed information about the 10 Champions on the Rift and the current state of the game. He scrunched his nose and slowly shook his head. They’ve got so much engagement potential with Leona, Rumble and even Ahri. And what do we have? A Jarvan IV? ZengZeng’s Alistar? That’s nothing compared to what they have! We’re falling behind and we can’t really force what we want to force! He bit down on his tongue and let his shoulders drop a bit. I actually have to really try. We might not win this game! I haven’t felt like this in years!

Tang Bingyao sat next to Lin Feng. She didn’t notice his reaction to the teamfight. Her mind was focused entirely on her death at the very start of the fight. I’m not good enough! That was another misplay by me! How many is that now? Three? That’s what’s costing us the game! It’s me! I’m the reason we’re losing this! She bit down hard on her lips, frustrated and dejected. My Ezreal is completely useless! He doesn’t deal any damage, even when he’s alive!

No! Stop this! Mnh-mnh! Tang Bingyao shook her head and gritted her teeth. Don’t blame the Champion! It’s not his fault! I’m the reason! I’m just not skilled enough! If I was, I would’ve gotten an advantage in the early game, bought a defensive item to survive Ahri’s burst, and then carried the team to a win! This could’ve been completely different if I hadn’t given away those kills at the start! Now Vayne is far too strong for me. I can’t do anything right! I’m… I’m dragging them down again…

Worst of all… She closed her eyes and fought back the urge to scream out her annoyances. Worst of all, I don’t even know how to come back! What am I supposed to do in this situation? I can’t just sit back and take it, right? Do I force something? What can I force? How would I even start with making a comeback here…? She opened her eyes and turned to look at Lin Feng. What would you do?

Tang Bingyao looked at Lin Feng, with An Xin sitting next to him on the other side. But she didn’t see An Xin struggling. Didn’t see how An Xin’s hand was trembling. Didn’t see the pain written on An Xin’s face. And An Xin was struggling. After her screen turned grey, she closed her eyes and focused on her breathing. In, and out. In, and out. She tried to relax and let the tension slip from her hand, but that just made the trembling worse. She quickly placed her other hand over her mouse hand and glanced at the others around her. They didn’t see. They didn’t see. Now come on, stupid hand! Work! She put more pressure on her hand, trying to get a strong grip on the mouse, but right then a sharp jolt shot up from her hand. She winced in pain and bit her lips.

Tears welled in An Xin’s eyes from the pain. Her stomach pulled into a knot as she glanced at her teammates again. I can’t tell them. I can’t show them that something is wrong! We’re in an important series. They’ll just get distracted by it and we’ll lose! I won’t let that happen! She turned her head to look at Lin Feng and noticed the deep frown on his face. You’ve been through so much already. I won’t let you suffer any more! I won’t let you worry about me! I know how much you’ve sacrificed and I also know how you’ll do anything to help your friends! You’re an idiot like that! That’s why I can’t tell you. I won’t tell you… I can’t tell anyone!

An Xin lowered her head, letting her long hair fall over her face and hide the pain in her eyes. Lin Feng is counting on me. I can’t let him down, not now! She flexed her stomach to pull the knot out and pinched the tears out of her eyes. It’s just a small flare-up. I can fight through it. This is nothing. You can do it, An Xin! She breathed in deeply, gathering all the pain, worries and frustrations, before letting it all out in a long sigh. It’s not going to be great. It’s going to hurt. But I won’t give up now! He’s counting on me! So what if my hand is trembling a bit? I can overcome this!

An Xin forced a smile onto her face and threw her hair back over her shoulders. She then turned her head to look at Lin Feng and said over the team’s voice chat, “Lin Feng.”

Lin Feng turned to look at An Xin, finding her smiling at him with her familiar smile, and asked, “Yeah?”

“It’s now or never. This game is hard, but it’s not over yet. The next teamfight has to be ours, though. That’s why we need to find it and play it on our terms!” An Xin explained.

Lin Feng scratched the back of his head, hesitating for a brief moment, and then grinned. He balled his hand into a fist and said, “No problem! I’ll force a teamfight!”

Rollfire didn’t expect Team Shanghai to have the mental fortitude to fight back after the lost teamfight at the dragon pit. He’d expressed as much to the audience, who mumbled their agreement. But as he was looking at the large LCD screen, he recoiled in surprise. “Huh?” he muttered into his microphone. He then shifted around in his seat a little and noted, “Looks like Team Shanghai still has some life in them. That Alistar is looking for something!”

It was 21 minutes into the game, a minute after the dragon fight. Tang Bingyao’s Ezreal was in the bot lane, farming minions at her inner tower. But Zeng Rui’s Alistar wasn’t with her. He’d followed Zhang Hao to the top lane. There he hid in a brush and waited for Zhejiang University’s Rumble to get in range. Rumble didn’t see the gank coming. He was caught completely off guard when the Alistar jumped from the brush and slammed him up into the air with Pulverise! Zhang Hao’s Lissandra followed up on Alistar’s crowd control with Frozen Tomb! Ice spires shot from the ground and locked Rumble up! She then cast Ice shard! Chunks of ice slammed into Rumble!

You have slain an enemy!

“NICE!” Silent Reed exclaimed. She giggled and added, “We can’t underestimate Team Shanghai just yet! Don’t forget that Zeng Rui is an A- player! He’s right there at Sun Ruinian’s level!”

Rollfire nodded and said, “That was a nice roam by Alistar. Unfortunate that their carries don’t have that kind of awareness…”

The game clock kept ticking. Lin Feng fought against Shi Hang in the mid lane, his Piercing Arrows becoming progressively more accurate. At 22 minutes, he forced Shi Hang’s Ahri to retreat back behind her outer tower and recover her health. That was the moment Lin Feng had been waiting for. A grin spread on his face, reaching from one ear to the other. He glanced at An Xin and shouted over the voice chat, “BunBun, follow up!” He then pressed down on the D and R keys! Varus flashed past the outer tower and fired the Chains of Corruption at Ahri from point blank range! He rooted her to the ground!

“Got it,” An Xin replied. She chewed on her lips, glanced briefly at her hand, and then focused her complete attention on the game. He needs me. I’m going to be there for him!

Varus was a Champion who relied on his long range to bring down a Champion’s health bar. He preferably never got in range of his opponent. So when the audience saw Lin Feng flashing towards Shi Hang, ignoring Red team’s outer tower, they shifted in their seats and their eyes went wide with shock.

“Da fuck is he doing!?”
“Man, so aggro!”
“HOOOOOOH! Will you look at that!”
“Maddening! Varus is cray-cray!”

Silent Reed could almost feel the doubt in the air. She glanced at the stands where everyone in the audience had something to say about this engage. But she’d seen enough games from Team Shanghai and previously High School 13 to know they weren’t ones to tilt. She focused on the minimap and spotted Jarvan IV running through Red team’s Jungle. “Oh, oh!” she exclaimed, pointing at the large LCD screen. “The Jarvan IV is ganking! That’s why he engaged! It’s a gank!”

The Chains of Corruption rooted Shi Hang’s Ahri to the ground. An Xin gritted her teeth and activated Jarvan IV’s ultimate skill–Cataclysm! Jarvan IV leaped at Ahri and then smashed down on her with such force that he terraformed the earth into an arena! He then brandished his lance and struck at Ahri with the sharp end! All the while, arrows permeating a baleful energy struck Ahri, ripping away at her health!

Shi Hang pressed down on his R key. “Break already!” he mumbled. The root from Chains of Corruption kept his Ahri immobile. Her health was dropping quickly and he needed to dash out with Spirit Rush fast if he wanted to survive. Dash and stop Varus! BREAK! The root wore off. Shi Hang’s Ahri dashed out of Jarvan IV’s Cataclysm. She then briefly turned to look at Varus and blew him a kiss! A pink-red heart manifested in the air and flew towards Varus!

Lin Feng grinned. His Varus was underneath Red Team’s Outer Tower. It had targeted him and fired the first energy shot already. If he got Charmed, he’d die. But that was also why he fully expected the Charm to come. He was already moving out of the way before the animation even finished! The large heart blew past him and missed him completely. All the while, An Xin’s Jarvan IV used Ahri’s animation to jump on her with a flag-toss combo and knock her up into the air!

Shi Hang’s eyelid twitched. What!? She’s playing faster than before! Was she hol— FUCK! His Ahri was still in the air and out of his control when a claw of ice came tearing through the ground!

“I’m also here to follow up!” Zhang Hao announced over Team Shanghai’s voice chat, grinning. He pushed down on the E key for a second time to jump towards the ice claw that was right next to Shi Hang’s Ahri. He then moved his mouse over the Ahri and activated his ultimate! Ice spires erupted from the ground and pierced Ahri, locking her up in a Frozen Tomb!

Zhang Hao laughed and shouted, “You’re dead!”


Lin Feng grinned and said over the team’s voice chat, “Great timing, HaoBro!” He had his Varus move past the outer tower and towards the Jungle entrance. There was a small opening there where he was still in the lane and in range to attack Ahri, but where the tower couldn’t hit him. He linked his skills together with Zhang Hao and Jarvan IV, paying careful attention to Ahri’s health bar. Frozen Tomb is almost wearing off, still a bit of health left… He chuckled, his fingers gliding over his keyboard.

Varus raised his bow and pulled back the string. He aimed up in the air and let go. More than a dozen arrows flew through the air before raining down on Ahri! Varus followed up with a quick auto attack. Then he pulled back the string of his bow with more power than before. A thick, massive arrow appeared. The winds started howling as more power gathered around the bow. Then the Piercing Arrow shot through the air and pierced Ahri!

You have slain an enemy!

Zhang Hao grinned and said over the team’s voice chat, “Great engage, Lin Feng! That was so cool! I saw you going and just knew I could make it in time!” The adrenaline was pumping through his veins and he was going mad with pride. He laughed loudly before adding, “We stomped that pro! Serves him right for getting careless around us!”

Lin Feng grinned and replied, “Yeah! Serves him right! Now let’s take their towers!”

An Xin smiled and nodded along to Lin Feng and Zhang Hao’s excited conversation, hiding the stabbing pain in her hand. How much longer can I hold on for? That flag-toss combo hurt so much… I can’t do that too much. She glanced at her hand and forced herself to breathe in deeply. But I’m not going to sit here and whine! I came to play, so that’s what I’m doing! She breathed out and focused her attention back on her monitor. I don’t know how much longer I can do this for. But I’m going to make the most out of every second!

Across the stage in Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth, Shi Hang rubbed his neck. He looked at his dull grey screen and sighed. Seems like they have more on their team than just Maple. I got a bit carried away with my match against him that I forgot about the others. Time to stop doing that. We need to win this game. He turned to look at Sun Ruinian and said over the team’s voice chat, “Looks like they’re really thinking about coming back into this game. Like we’re gonna let that happen. SunSun, let’s end this game!”

Sun Ruinian looked at the minion wave in the bot lane. He’d pushed it out before recalling back to base and now Tang Bingyao’s Ezreal was attacking it. She’s still trying so hard. Gotta commend her for trying even after being so far behind… He then nodded and replied over the team’s voice chat, “Got it. Lemme get this Big Fucking Sword and we can end it.”

At 25 minutes, the fourth Dragon of the game spawned. Team Shanghai and Zhejiang University got into position to fight for it. But Zhejiang University was clearly stronger. They pushed Team Shanghai down the river and back into the tri-brush going into their Jungle. It was the perfect chokepoint for Leona to cast her ultimate. A Solar Flare slammed down onto the brush and stunned An Xin’s Jarvan IV and Zeng Rui’s Alistar!

Team Shanghai tried to fight back. They unleashed all their skills on Leona, who was the first from Zhejiang University to jump into the fight. And they did deal enough damage to kill her. But not before the rest of Zhejiang University’s team arrived. Zhejiang University simply dealt far more damage and shredded through Jarvan IV and Alistar’s health bars. They could push for more kills, the three surviving Champions from Team Shanghai already retreating, but decided to instead take the Dragon. That was going to give them the bigger advantage.

Lin Feng shook his head, forced to have his Varus run away again. It’s like the previous teamfight all over again. We’re just not strong enough. I can’t carry these kinds of fights… He panned his camera around the map and kept shaking his head. There’s nothing we can do here.

Zeng Rui stared at the different shades of grey on his monitor. Caught again. It’s just too difficult! Ahri and Vayne are fed. And then they have Rumble and Leona! There’s just nothing we can do about it! He glanced at Tang Bingyao who was sitting next to him. Her Ezreal still hasn’t hit his power spike yet either. She just keeps running after the facts. All the farming she did just isn’t enough! Vayne is too strong. It’s just… It’s all against us in this game. He bit on his lips before finally saying over the team’s voice chat, “We’re going to turtle. Fight only under our towers and grind this game out.”

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and analysed, “We’ve got Alistar, Lissandra and Varus. They’re all great for defending a tower! And then there’s also Ezreal. He isn’t great, but he’s okay! I can see what our team is going for here and it might work!”

“Yeah! Our bros are gonna win this one!” Ouyang cheered. He clenched his fists and added, “Watch them make the comeback!”

Wei Dong pointed at the large LCD screen and said, “Look at that! Zhejiang tried to attack the tower in the top lane but is now backing away! Lin Feng’s Varus is really dealing so much damage with those Piercing Arrows!”

“They might really do it!” Liu Yue exclaimed. He moved to the edge of his seat, wrapped his hands around his mouth, and shouted, “TEAM SHANGHAI! WOOT WOOT!”

Yang Fan traced his finger across the frame of his glasses. He frowned and said, “I’m not so sure. There, see that? Zhejiang University is pushing the different lanes. They’re going to keep switching between those lanes and will look for an opportunity.”

“They won’t find one!” Ouyang exclaimed. He laughed and added, “Those are our bros up there! They’re way too good to screw up like that!”

“YEAH! We’re winning this!” Liu Yue chimed in.

The friends and teammates from Team Shanghai started building up their own confidence, pointing to the LCD screen and explaining to each other just how their team was going to pull a win out of this game. Their arguments were fueled by passion. It wasn’t long before their attention was on each other, and not on the large LCD screen. They completely missed as the game reached 27 minutes. They completely missed Sun Ruinian Condemning Tang Bingyao’s Ezreal against the inhibitor tower. And they only realised Tang Bingyao got caught out again when the game announcer’s voice boomed through the venue speakers.

A champion has been slain!

Chapter 308 – Real Pros can Slow Time to Dodge Skillshots

Qiu Yijie was the Midlaner for Fudan University. He sat at the front of the venue in the player seating area and glanced over his shoulder at the crowd behind him. Everyone had shifted their attention to the large LCD screen that was showing the fight in mid lane. It was the showdown between Lin Feng from Team Shanghai versus Shi Hang from Zhejiang University! And the audience made it very clear who they believed to be the better of the two. Qiu Yijie turned his head away from the crowd and listened to what his teammates were talking about.

“So that’s what a professional Midlaner looks like…” Fudan University’s Support muttered.

Fudan University’s Jungler nodded and added, “My gawd! I’d choke so hard if I had to play against AyDeeCee! He’s contesting Varus for every CS!”

“You guys are wrong about one thing,” Qiu Yijie interjected. He shook his head and grimaced before explaining, “I’m an A- Midlaner, right? Means I’m basically the lowest possible pro. Sorta. Shi Hang over there? AyDeeCee. He’s not A-, or A at all! They look at him in percentages. He’s the best of the best in China! You compare him to the likes of Lightless, maybe even Hermes! Don’t make the mistake of thinking about AyDeeCee like some random Midlaner from the LSPL… That’d be dumb.”

Qiu Yijie ignored the stares from his teammates as he turned his attention back to the large LCD screen above the two soundproof booths. They consider me at the level of a pro. But what the fuck would I do against him? My Ahri stinks next to his! He nodded and concluded, “Seems like Shi Hang hasn’t stopped playing the game all these years. He might not have played professionally, but there’s no way in hell he’s still this good after just straight up quitting! He probably practiced hard in the solo queue to keep some of his skills. We gotta be careful. He’s still right up there with the best!”

Fudan University’s Jungler looked from Qiu Yijie up to the LCD screen and then back at Qiu Yijie. The cap looks way serious! He exclaimed, “Oh shit! My gawd! Kiddy Lin Feng bashed his head into a rock solid wall this time, ey? He can be whatever grade he wanna be, AyDeeCee is better! That’s right, right?”

Qiu Yijiye nodded absentmindedly. His eyes were locked on the LCD screen. On Varus. He knitted his brows. Gotta give it to that Varus, he’s playing great. Don’t think I could hold my own against AyDeeCee after giving away a kill, but he’s up there doing it! Too bad that won’t be enough. He’s still playing against one of the best pros ever. You don’t come back from a deficit against them. They’re too good to let that happen! Unless, unless you’re not just having a really good game on your Varus and are actually better than Shi Hang… He clicked his tongue and shook his head. Nah, that’s impossible.

Rollfire shook his head, incredulous. What is this Varus doing? He’s practically asking to get his ass kicked! He grabbed the microphone from its stand and said, “Shi Hang is using his kill advantage to pressure Varus, but Varus isn’t having any of it! He’s trading blow for blow!”

“That’s right! He’s playing this very cleverly!” Silent Reed jumped in. She pointed at the LCD screen and continued, “See how he’s hiding behind the minions? Ahri can’t Charm him like that! And whenever he uses his skills, he last hits minions and also attacks Ahri! All in one go! It’s brilliant!”

“But he’s a kill down,” Rollfire argued. He shook his head again and added, “He’s playing far too aggressively for someone who’s a kill down! If he keeps this up, he’s just gonna give another kill to AyDeeCee! He needs to sit back and scale up!” He turned his head to look into Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. What kind of idiot are you!? You have no mobility! NIL! ZILCH! ZERO! And you’re playing against an Ahri! Her ultimate skill gives her three dashes! THREE!

But Lin Feng wasn’t comparing Champions in this manner. He knew that each Champion had its strengths and weaknesses. Mobility was just one of many variables. He stared at his monitor, laser focused. Each minion’s health appeared before his eyes. He knew how much damage his minions dealt and how many seconds he had before he had to last hit the next minion. He glanced at Ahri. She still has 15 seconds on her ultimate. Flash is down a bit longer. Enemy Jungler hasn’t shown himself in a bit… Too obvious! I got this! He grinned and inched towards his monitor. He tapped his fingers on his keyboard and grasped his mouse a little tighter.

Across the stage in Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth, Shi Hang was almost jumping with joy. He smiled and felt his heart thumping in his chest. Most players would’ve given up after that first kill. Even most pro’s would’ve! But not only are you still fighting, you’re even contesting me for lane control! This really brings me back… He smirked. What did we always say back in the day? Sometimes, all the mid lane comes down to is guts!

You were the best. No question. Shi Hang glanced at the soundproof booth from Team Shanghai. You were the invincible laner! You have no clue how happy I am to see you still got that fire! He shook his head and grinned, tingles rapping against the back of his neck and down his shoulders. I watched you play at Worlds. I was cheering you on when you played against Phoenix in the semis! Fuck! Just thinking about it has my heart racing all over again! The way you crushed him was something straight from some fairytale!

Shi Hang breathed in and then sighed loudly. It’s too bad. That was then. Right now, all I see is the spirit. It’s not enough. You need to have the strength to back it up. Show me that you’ve still got that too! He glanced at his minimap and noticed Rek’Sai pathing towards the mid lane. Time to turn this up another notch. He looked at Varus and smiled. Don’t let me down, Maple. Show me more. I don’t want to beat you just like this. I want a real fight!

At 9 minutes, the Red minions were pushing into Blue Team’s outer tower in the mid lane. Shi Hang glanced at his health bar. Half health. That’s fine. Then he looked at Varus. Specks of green jumped into being around him. He’s also at half health and he just popped his last health potion. Good, good. He finally turned his attention to the Red minions, isolating one specifically. Its health was low and it was slightly more towards the back of the minion wave. He’ll have to run forward a bit to get it. That’ll be when I engage.

Shi Hang placed his index finger on top of the R key and ever so lightly pushed down. His mouse was hovering over the Red minion he had isolated. He didn’t have to wait long. Lin Feng’s Varus ran forward to get the last hit. Shi Hang pressed down and activated Spirit Rush! Ahri dashed towards the minion, an essence bolt coalescing next to her before shooting at Varus! She then raised her hands to her mouth and blew Varus a kiss!

“IT’S THE ENGAGE!” Rollfire cried out. He clutched his microphone and shouted, “AHRI IS ENGAGING! AHRI IS ENGAGING!”


The casters and the audience lacked the insight and awareness required to see this play coming. They saw the Rek’Sai pathing towards the mid lane and were expecting her to lead in a gank, but that was all. To someone like Lin Feng, though, it was painfully obvious the engage was coming. He knew exactly where Rek’Sai was, a ward he’d placed earlier in the Jungle revealing her. She dug a tunnel underneath the Jungle wall towards him. He smirked, just smirked. Really? You really think I’ll fall for this again? I thought you knew me better than that, Shi Hang!

One would never stop laughing at me if I fell for this again! Time slowed down in Lin Feng’s eyes. He stared at the monitor, calculating exactly where the Charm would land and where Rek’Sai would Unburrow to try and knock him up. His mouse was already moving towards the optimal location. Then he clicked down on his right mouse button. Gotcha! Time resumed at its normal pace. Varus lowered his bow, cancelling his auto attack, and started running again.

Shi Hang’s Ahri arrived in front of Lin Feng’s Varus. A magical heart manifested in the air and flew towards him! But it flew to where Varus was preparing to auto attack, and not the three steps to the left which he’d taken since! The Charm missed its target!

Silent Reed lunged towards her microphone. She pressed it almost into her mouth and shouted, “HE DODGED IT! HE DODGED THE CHARM!”

“Oh my god, how!?”
“Holy shit! He dodged it!?”

“Rek’Sai is coming in hot!” Rollfire exclaimed. He leaned closer to his microphone and added, “She’s gonna Flash! There it—”

One mottled flash of light was followed up by another! Rek’Sai appeared right beneath where Varus had been only a moment ago and Unburrowed! She clawed her way out from underground and smashed against the air! The knock up intended for Varus missed! He had escaped with a Flash towards his outer tower!

Rollfire’s mouth fell wide open. The microphone slipped from his hand and clattered on the caster desk, a sharp ring blasting through the speakers! But no one in the audience seemed to notice. Their eyes were on the large LCD screen and their mouths were just as far open as Rollfire’s.

“H-he dodged that too!?”
“Both? He dodged both? How!”
“I didn’t even see the Charm coming!”
“D-did he… Did he predict all that?”
“God. He’s a god! HE’S A FUCKING GOD!”
“He’s really just a high schooler? Really? HIM?”
“What the… How? Just how?”

Shi Hang’s eyebrows twitched and his scalp tingled. There was no time to think. Everything was happening too quickly. But in that exact moment, he knew he fucked up. Oh shit, oh shit, OH SHIT!

Lin Feng was completely prepared for the gank when it happened. He knew exactly how he was going to play it. There was no delay between his plays, from dodging the Charm to flashing the Unburrow to now casting his ultimate skill! His Varus raised his bow and fired Chains of Corruption! Two ribbons of baleful, blight energy rushed straight at Ahri! They wrapped around Ahri and rooted her to the ground! Then they started searching for another victim. Rek’Sai was within their range. The Chains of Corruption duplicated, a second set firing from Ahri at Rek’Sai, rooting her too!

Shi Hang’s Ahri had arrived within the outer tower’s range when she dashed at Lin Feng’s Varus. The idea was to dash back out after unleashing her full damage combo and claiming his life. But now she found herself rooted. She was unable to activate the second dash from Spirit Rush. Blue Team’s outer tower had locked onto her and was charging up for an attack. Then an energy shot fired at her! This was followed by Varus unleashing his full damage combo! 

Shi Hang’s eyes were wide open. ShitShitShit! He clicked away and smashed on the R key, frantic! He watched Varus raise his bow and fire a Hail of Arrows. They rained down on his Ahri, as Varus was already charging up for his next attack. Piercing Arrow! A thick, massive arrow releasing a blightful aura shot at Ahri! SHIT! The arrow pierced Ahri and dealt a devastating amount of damage!


Lin Feng glanced at his minimap. He’d pinged the Ahri and told Tang Bingyao to cast her ultimate at the moment of engagement. Shi Hang’s Ahri still had a bit of health remaining and there was less than a second remaining on the root from Chains of Corruption. But Lin Feng had calculated all of that. That was why he needed the help from Tang Bingyao’s Ezreal. More specifically, he needed Ezreal’s Trueshot Barrage which was already flying across the map. The crescent-shaped beam of energy sped into the mid lane and cleaved through Ahri and then Rek’Sai!

The root wore off. Ahri still had a fraction of health remaining. She activated Spirit Rush and dashed away! But not before the large ball of energy that had gathered at the top of the outer tower fired at her. Nor before Lin Feng’s Varus targeted her with a final auto attack. Ahri activated the third and final dash from Spirit Rush, trying to get even further away, but the energy shot and auto attack followed after her. And then they hit her.

You have slain an enemy!


“Good job!” Zeng Rui cried out over the team’s voice chat. He then nodded at Tang Bingyao and added, “You too!”

Tang Bingyao smiled and relaxed the grip on her mouse a little. “Mhm! Thanks!” She breathed out in relief and mumbled to herself, “YES!” It hit! She suddenly noticed how her heart was slamming into her ribcage and how her hand felt clammy and sticky. Beads of sweat had popped up on her forehead. She glanced at her teammates, who were all focused on their monitors, and quickly wiped her face dry.

Lin Feng didn’t hear Zeng Rui congratulate him nor did he notice Tang Bingyao’s glance. His complete focus was on the game. Shi Hang’s Ahri was dead, but the Rek’Sai was still in front of him. The female monster had a little more than half of her health remaining. He moved his cursor over her and clicked the right mouse button. Varus raised his bow and fired an auto attack.

Zhejiang University’s Jungler focused his attention on Lin Feng’s Varus. He’s half health and he didn’t have too much HP to start with anyway. He glanced at his inventory and smiled. Plus I’ve got my boots and I’ve finished my first defensive item. I can kill him! I’ll get revenge for Shi Hang! He had his Rek’Sai run at Lin Feng’s Varus! She charged forward and tried to attack, but Varus kited his way backwards through the minions. Goddammit! How are those stupid minions not slowing him down? WHY ARE THEY SLOWING ME DOWN!? He narrowed his eyes and clicked on Varus again. Attack him for fucks sake! Stupid minions!

“What the fuck? He’s playing Varus! How’s he kiting her like that?”
“He’s playing Varus like he’s some kind of Vayne or Draven! Nuts!”
“He’s doing it damn perfectly though! Look at that! That Rek’Sai must be tearing his hair out!”
“Holy shit! He’s even using the minions to block Rek’Sai! Haha! This is insane!”
“What is this kid? That’s a fucking textbook example of perfect kiting!”
“A monster! He’s a fucking monster! He killed Shi Hang!”

The outer tower fired an energy shot at Zhejiang University’s Rek’Sai just as she finally got in range of Lin Feng’s Varus. Her high health helped her tank it. She then activated Queens Wrath to boost the damage of her next three basic attacks and chomped into him with Furious Bite! Varus’ health dropped sharply and fell below 10%! Rek’Sai followed by striking out with her claws for a second auto attack!

“What?” Zhejiang University’s Jungler suddenly exclaimed. His eyes went wide and he muttered, “He still had Heal?”

Varus’ body lit up with a green rejuvenating glow! His health jumped back up to 30%! He then pulled away from Rek’Sai and lifted his bow, firing another auto attack! The outer tower was supporting him from the rear. It had charged up another energy shot and fired it at Rek’Sai!

Zhejiang University’s Jungler knew he couldn’t kill Varus anymore. He’d die first to the tower. So he gritted his teeth and had his Rek’Sai run away from the outer tower. Varus kept firing auto attacks at her, but she had enough health left to tank through those. More importantly, she had a higher movement speed. She got out of the tower’s range and then out of Varus’ range. I got out! At least I got— His eyes went wide. Varus had raised his bow. The arrow resting on the string was charging up with a brilliant crimson light! NO! SHIT! NO! Dodge and weave! Dodge and weave! He had his Rek’Sai move left and then right again. She went a bit more to the right and then straight. Right, left! Dodge and weave!

Lin Feng was breathing calmly behind his monitor. His finger was pressing down on the Q key, charging up Piercing Arrow. Its range increased faster than Rek’Sai could run, and soon she fell within his attack range. He moved his mouse a little to the left and then a little to the right. He paid attention to the rhythm in Rek’Sai’s dodge and weave tactics. Then he smiled and let go of the Q key.

The fully charged Piercing Arrow shot from Varus’ bow! The winds howled as it pierced through the air, heading straight for Rek’Sai! It was as if she were being pulled towards it! She turned left at the last moment and walked straight into the arrow’s path! It slammed into her and knocked life out of her!

Double Kill!

The entire venue was silent. Everyone, from the people in the audience to the staff members backstage, were staring at the two lifeless corpses on the various TV screens. The esports club members from Zhejiang University sat with hunched backs and their mouths wide open. Even the casters didn’t know what to say or do. Silent Reed had never casted a game with real big names before. She was thrilled to cast Shi Hang winning. But she never expected the famous professional player to die. She was opening and closing her mouth, trying to say something. That was still a better reaction than Rollfire. The shock was so much for him that he slumped back in his seat, except that he was already sitting on the edge. When he leaned back, his buttocks moved forward and off the chair. The loud sound of flesh hitting wood rang out through the venue.

A lone voice suddenly erupted from the audience, reverberating through the roof of the venue. “HOOOLY FUCKING SHIT! THAT WAS AMAZING! WHAT A MOTHERFUCKING GODLY VARUS! WOOOOOOOOOOO! LIIIIIN FEEEEEEEENG!” Ouyang had jumped to his feet, his hands wrapped around his mouth for extra volume. “YOU STOMPED A PROFESSIONAL PLAYER! WOOOOOOO!”

Ren Rou’s first instinct was to slap Ouyang and shut him up. But that wasn’t what she did. She looked up at him and smiled. Then she jumped up from her seat and punched her fists up into the air, yelling, “LIIIIIIIN FEEEEEEEENG!”

Ouyang looked around at his friends who were just sitting, numbly staring at the LCD screen. He shook his head and then grabbed Liu Yue and Yang Fan by their shoulders. He shouted, “CHEER FOR THEM!”

It was the shove the friends and former teammates from Team Shanghai needed. Not just Yang Fan and Liu Yue, but all of them found themselves getting up to their feet. They stamped down on the ground in a steady rhythm, threw their arms up in the air, and shouted, “WIN FENG! WIN FENG! WIN FENG!”

Little by little, the people in the audience started to find their bearings again. It wasn’t long before they all jumped to their feet and started cheering. The ground shook and their voices blasted against the thick glass windows of the soundproof booths, making them tremble!


The players from the other six teams still competing at the Winter Collegiate Cup forgot to cheer entirely, deaf to the thundering sounds slamming into them from behind. They stared at the large LCD screen, stunned speechless. Then they turned to look at each other. For a rare moment, there was no separation between the various teams. They were all looking at each other, searching for the one amongst them who could explain what just happened.

“Zhejiang University had the perfect gank there. How did he do that? He walked out of Ahri’s Charm! I didn’t even see she was going to jump on him there, but he canceled his auto attack to dodge it! How did he see that?”

“I don’t know… It, it looked perfect! I thought the Varus was dead. I… I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense. It just… It doesn’t add up! How, how did he know? How did he dodge all of that? And that Heal at the end? Just, what the fuck!?”

“Who the hell is that kid? That isn’t some random A grade. There is no fucking way in Heaven or Earth that a fucking A grade Midlaner could make that play happen! Just how fucking good is he!?”

There were only a few people in the entire venue who knew who Lin Feng was. Shi Hang was one of them. He stared at the dull grey colours on his monitor, watching Varus farm minions on top of his Ahri’s corpse. Fuck yeah! He grinned and suddenly felt warm tears in his eyes. FUCK YEAH! That was the real you! Welcome to the game, Maple! You were the one I wanted to play against! Now show me more of this! Make me fight! Make me give it my all! He balled his hand into a fist and clenched it tight. “Fuck yeah!”

Chapter 307 – I’m Not Salty, YOU’RE SALTY!

Tang Bingyao stared at her screen, lost. I misplayed that, but Sun Ruinian is just so good. Mhm, far better than me… She closed her eyes and focused on her breathing. I knew he was better. I’m only B grade and he’s A-. Zeng Rui explained it all to me. Within a grade it’s possible to jump around. My awareness, teamfighting ability and some other things are at B grade or lower. Only my mechanics and laning ability are good enough that I can play against B+ grade players. But I need to be good at everything to get to B+ and from there I need something extra to get into the A grade rankings. Mnh-mnh. I’m nowhere near that. Sun Ruinian is just too good for me right now. She slumped back in her chair and opened her eyes. Her screen was still a dull grey, the last few seconds of her death timer counting down.

Sun Ruinian is even better at the things I’m good at. What did I expect? Helping Lin Feng? I can’t even beat this guy! The dull grey colours vanished from her screen and the vibrant greens and blues jumped back in. But Tang Bingyao wasn’t back in the game yet. Enough! If I want to help Lin Feng, I need to be better! Mhm! She bit on her lip and forcefully nodded once. She then sat up straight again and tightened the grip on her mouse. Back to lane and, uhm, how did I screw up?

The fight scene played before Tang Bingyao’s eyes again as her Ezreal walked back to lane. Leona tried to jump on me with Zenith Blade. I saw it coming so I used Arcane Shift to jump away. Ah, yeah, that was my first mistake. Jumping away was fine, but I jumped toward the wall when I knew I’m up against a Vayne. How could I make that mistake!? She breathed in and then blew her frustration out in a short burst. That was the screw up! Sun Ruinian got the angle for Condemn. And from there I was perma-stunned. Leona flashed on me, exhausted me, stunned me before Condemn wore off… She glanced at Zeng Rui before quickly turning her attention back to her screen. Her Ezreal was almost at the outer tower in the bot lane. He tried to save me. But I screwed up. There was nothing he could do there. He must be upset…

Zeng Rui was also replaying the fight scene, considering the implications from his point of view. This sucks. He shook his head almost imperceptibly. Tang Tang isn’t even playing poorly! She’s maybe even better than usual! But Sun Ruinian isn’t just good. He’s really good! He’s… Zeng Rui closed his eyes and bit on his tongue. He’s better than I considered in my prognoses. I fucked up in my preparations. There aren’t many amateurs, if any, who can play Vayne at the level he’s displaying right now. He opened his eyes and narrowed them. But I’m also very good. I can adapt to this. Bot lane will be ours. Still, that doesn’t change my real worry… He panned his camera over to the mid lane just as Ahri engaged Varus again. His hands started trembling as a chill ran up and down his spine. Shit! I’m only watching it and I get the chills! He isn’t just A+, he’s a real professional! Dammit! This is ridiculous! How could they let him play? He’s a pro!

Zeng Rui turned his head to look at Lin Feng. The thundering dumbass… I don’t think I’ve ever seen him this focused. Usually he has some stupid comment ready when I look at him. He chewed on his lips and fought back the nausea he was feeling in his stomach. I actually feel sick from the nerves! This game is all coming down to him! If he can’t hold his own against AyDeeCee, if he doesn’t beat the actual professional player… He blew out the breath he didn’t even realise he’d been holding. We need him to beat AyDeeCee if we want to win this series!

Silent Reed held the microphone close to her mouth and analysed, “That bot lane fight was really something. Sun Ruinian is so good! The way he used his mechanics and reflexes to pick up that kill there…”

Rollfire smirked and replied, “He’s practically a pro! It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if a professional team comes knocking for him after this tournament is over. But for this game specifically…” He paused briefly, grinning, then added, “A Vayne getting early kills is a death sentence. Team Shanghai is done for in the bot lane.”

“Mid lane might be decided soon too!” Silent Reed exclaimed. She pointed at the large LCD screen that was focused on the mid lane and continued, “It’s 8 minutes in! Ahri and Varus both have their ultimates. One of them has to use it soon, right!?”

It was as if Shi Hang was waiting for Silent Reed to say this. He glanced at his cooldowns and then at the lane. The Blue and Red minions were fighting each other in the middle of the lane. Varus was standing behind them. His Flash is still on cooldown and mine is coming up in a few seconds. I have to time this right. A few seconds, that’s all I have. Two, three…

Shi Hang pressed down on the R key and activated Spirit Rush! Ahri dashed forward, a burst of fire flying at Varus and striking him. There were still minions between them, so she jumped a second time, arriving right next to Varus! Varus raised his bow and fired his ultimate skill at her–Chains of Corruption! Two glowing purple ribbons flew through the air, twisting around each other and releasing a dark glow. Shi Hang smiled, his finger pushing down on the D key. Ahri flashed through the Chains of Corruption and then blew a kiss at Varus!

A magical heart manifested in the air and slammed into Varus! He was charmed! Shi Hang followed up with Ahri’s full damage combo! His Ahri targeted Varus with Ignite, the unquenchable flame sticking to his body and burning away at his health! She then cast Fox-Fires, three honing blue flames appearing around her. They locked onto Varus. Ahri continued with Orb of Deception! She commanded the orb that floated by her side to slam into Varus! Orb and fire intertwined and combined to shear away at Varus’ health!

Shi Hang grinned. Got you now! He theatrically lifted his left hand up before pushing down on the R key to activate the third and final charge of Spirit Rush. His Ahri dashed away from Varus, an essence bolt appearing by her side. It locked onto the nearest Champion within range. That was Varus. The essence bolt flew towards him. It couldn’t be dodged or blocked.

You have slain an enemy!

Rollfire jumped up from his seat and leaned in close to his microphone, screaming, “AyDeeCee picked up the kill! It’s a solo kill in the mid lane! AyDeeCee has done it! He killed the kid from Team Shanghai! WOOOOOOO!”

“HE DODGED THE VARUS ULTIMATE!” Silent Reed shouted. “That’s why he didn’t engage when he hit Level 6! He wanted to wait for Flash! Oh my god! That’s some next level plays!”

Rollfire turned his head to look at Silent Reed and grinned. He pulled the microphone from its stand on the desk and placed it close to his mouth. He said, “Of course they’re next level plays! A real professional player is making them! WOOOOOOOOO!”


But not everyone in the audience was excited to see Shi Hang pick up the kill. Team Shanghai’s friends and former teammates had slumped back in their seats, their fears of Lin Feng losing coming true. But also the other competing teams in the player seating area were quiet. They were all staring at the large LCD screen, grimly. One of them eventually said what they were all thinking, “How do they expect any of us to beat that…? Fuck! Why don’t they just give Zhejiang University the trophy right now!?”

Lin Feng stared intently at his screen as it lost its vibrant colours and turned to a dull grey. His Varus collapsed to the ground, dead. He’s good. Way better than I expected. But that’s fine too! The fire blazing in his eyes intensified. He grinned and rolled the tension out of his shoulder. He’s playing really good! GOOD! I wouldn’t want it any other way!

A single kill could open the flood gates, it could break the camel’s back, it could end the lane. The victor could push his advantage, force his opponent to play defensively, force his opponent to make mistakes, force his opponent to fall further and further behind until they were powerless to fight back! But it didn’t have to go like that. A single kill wasn’t necessarily enough to decide who would win the lane. When Lin Feng’s Varus returned to the mid lane, he didn’t hide behind his tower nor did he let Shi Hang’s Ahri toy around with him. He focused on his control over the minions, making sure they never fought too far from his tower. And he landed the last hit on every single one of them.

Shi Hang sat behind his computer in Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth, smiling. He pushed with his Ahri to exert his will over the minion wave, trying to make them crash into Blue team’s outer tower. But Lin Feng’s Varus fought back. Maple, Maple, Maple… It’s good to see you’ve still got that unshakable confidence! The worst thing a player can do when they’re behind is tilt. We all know that, but it also still happens. Even to the best of us! But when you stay calm, there is always a chance to get back into it. You need to hold strong, patiently farm and wait for the opening to strike back. But you know all that! His eyes narrowed and he smirked. Your only problem is that you’re playing against me. The me right now is good enough to not give you any opportunity to get back into this game! And you can’t rely on me underestimating you either! I know exactly how good you are. Still. Still I wonder if you’ll find a way. He grinned and glanced through the thick glass of his soundproof booth to where Team Shanghai was sitting. I’d be sorely disappointed if you don’t at least try.

Tang Bingyao’s Ezreal lost a lot from her death in the bot lane. Not only did Sun Ruinian’s Vayne get the gold from the kill, he also managed to make Ezreal lose two full minion waves worth of gold and experience. And he used that gold and level advantage to take complete control of the lane. Tang Bingyao tried to fight and take back control, but all that achieved was her missing last hits on minions and becoming progressively annoyed with herself.

Zeng Rui glanced at Tang Bingyao and then said over the team’s voice chat, “Stay calm, Tang Tang. Just play it safe. We’ll win this.” He looked back at Sun Ruinian’s Vayne and his Leona Support. That Leona is B- grade. I knew he wasn’t good. That is our opening in the bot lane. But we won’t get to use that if Tang Tang tilts. She needs to calm the ef down! She’s playing Ezreal! It’s so easy for her to escape, as long as she doesn’t stick too close to the walls… He added, “Avoid the walls.”

Ok, situation update. Zeng Rui panned his camera across the lane. They’re in complete control. Vayne has the item and level advantage, nothing we can do about that. Leona is looking to engage on Tang Tang, and she might find that opening if Tang Tang really starts tilting. So I can’t engage Vayne, because I have to be there to Headbut Leona away before she can get on Tang Tang. That locks me down, but I also have to place wards or leave ourselves susceptible to ganks… He breathed out loudly and moved his camera around the lane again. What’s there we can use? How can we buy some breathing room? The minions are pushing. They’re going to hit our tower. Then we’ll have to push…

It was looking like the bot lane was going to slip so far out of Team Shanghai’s control that Zhejiang University would win the entire game just by pushing the bot lane down. But right then, arriving precisely when she meant to, An Xin said over Team Shanghai’s voice chat, “Bot, get ready. I’m coming from their Jungle. We’re taking down the Vayne first.”

An Xin pulled Zeng Rui from his thoughts and brought him back into the game. He glanced at his minimap and then ordered, “Tang Tang, get ready.”

Tang Bingyao nodded and replied, “Mhm! I’m ready!”

Zhejiang University was pushing hard in the bot lane, pressing Team Shanghai back against their outer tower. This left them open and vulnerable to ganks. So Leona had worked together with Sun Ruinian’s Vayne to set up a wall of vision high up in the river and in Team Shanghai’s bottom side Jungle to warn them early about potential ganks. Neither of them, however, expected An Xin’s Jarvan IV to find her way undetected into Red team’s bottom side Jungle. She ran between the trees, past the Blue Buff Camp and Krog Camp until she arrived in the tri brush right behind Zhejiang University’s outer tower.

The large LCD screen was showing the game in spectator mode. Everyone in the audience could see An Xin’s Jarvan IV sneak her way into Zhejiang University’s Jungle, somehow dodging all the Red wards. So did Silent Reed. She leaned in towards her microphone and said, “Wow! Are you all seeing that? Look at Jarvan IV! He’s got some kind of sixth sense! How did he avoid all of those wards!? Zhejiang University doesn’t have a clue he’s there!”

Rollfire nodded and in a rare moment of consideration for Team Shanghai chimed in, “It’s like she’s playing the game on spectator mode! The way she dodged those wards is showing a really high level of awareness!”

The play was set. An Xin was ready. She glanced at bot lane, where Zeng Rui and Tang Bingyao had been pushing Sun Ruinian’s Vayne and the Leona back after letting the minion wave collapse into their tower. This was enough to make the two from Zhejiang University vigilant. But not vigilant enough to expect a gank from behind them.

An Xin said over Team Shanghai’s voice chat, “Go in now.” She then had her Jarvan IV walk up to the corner of the jungle closest to the bot lane. There, she flashed over the wall of trees and boulders. The outer tower briefly targeted her, but not long enough to fire an energy shot.

Zeng Rui’s Alistar flashed forward and then targeted Sun Ruinian’s Vayne with his Headbutt into Pulverise combo! Alistar aimed his horns at Vayne and then launched himself at her! He smashed into Vayne with such immense force that she was knocked off her feet and started flying backwards! But right then he balled his massive hands into fists and smashed them into the ground! He pulverised the earth and the resulting shockwave knocked Vayne up into the air!

Tang Bingyao’s Ezreal fired a Mystic Shot at Vayne! The damaging bolt of energy sheared away at Vayne’s health! Then she spotted Leona raising her sword. It was the start of the animation for Zenith Blade. She activated Arcane Shift! Ezreal teleported towards Vayne and sent a honing bolt of energy after her!

“Retreat! BackBack!” Sun Ruinian shouted over Zhejiang University’s voice chat. I’m dead. My Flash is on cooldown. GET OUT!

An Xin’s Jarvan IV flag-toss comboed on Vayne, knocking him up right as he was about to fall back down to the ground. Ezreal fired auto attacks that bit into Vayne’s health bar, and Alistar smashed his big fists into Vayne. Zhejiang University’s Support knew he couldn’t save Sun Ruinian. He clicked on his outer tower and flashed. Leona blinked a short distance and ran the rest of the way. She was halfway towards her outer tower when Zhejiang University’s Support heard the voice announcer screaming into his ears.

An ally has been slain!

“Nice kill, Tang Tang!” An Xin complimented.

“Yeah, nice work,” Zeng Rui agreed. He then pinged on the Dragon pit and added, “Let’s get Dragon!” He didn’t wait for an answer as he had his Alistar run up the river and into the Dragon pit, where he started clearing wards to take away vision from Zhejiang University.

An Xin’s Jarvan IV and Tang Bingyao’s Ezreal followed right behind Alistar. The three of them engaged the Dragon. It fought back, spitting fire at them. But the three were more than strong enough to take it down. Zhejiang University didn’t try to contest. With Leona having blown her Flash to retreat and Vayne dead, they didn’t have the strength to fight for it.

The Blue Team has slain the Dragon!

Zeng Rui breathed out in relief. After Tang Bingyao had given away a kill, he’d started to worry more and more and more. Every small mistake suddenly started looking big, because Sun Ruinian was making the most out of it. But we bided our time and found our way back into it! We’re almost back to even now! Tang Tang is getting that second chance! She can’t screw this— He shook his head. No, that’s not right. We can’t screw this up.

“YES! That’s it, Tang Tang!” Ren Rou exclaimed, throwing her arms up in the air. The crowd around her was doing the same. She looked at them, a feeling of weightlessness rising up from her stomach and swirling at the lower end of her ribcage. People are cheering for us! They’re saying Tang Tang and BunBun are playing good! Even that guy caster said it! Everyone is finally supporting us! A smile blossomed on her face. She glanced at her new friends from Shanghai High School hugging each other and dancing, yelling Zeng Rui’s name. She then turned her head a little to look at Ouyang and Liu Yue. They’re so loud that Tang Tang and BunBun might even hear them!

Ren Rou clapped and joined her friends around her in a ‘Team Shanghai’ chant. Yang Fan, Wei Dong, Chen Ze… Everyone’s here. It’s like we’re part of the team! We’re the hardcore fans! She giggled, quickly moving her hand to cover her mouth. Uh? She noticed a section of the crowd from the corners of her eyes who weren’t cheering. They sat on their seats, staring at the people around them. Aren’t those the guys from Zhejiang University? Oh my god, they’re so mad! They’re so mad! That makes this so much better! She tugged on Ouyang’s shirt and said, “Look at them over there! They’re so mad!”

Ouyang turned his head to look at Ren Rou and then followed her outstretched hand to the esports club members from Zhejiang University. His excitement morphed into schadenfreude. He started laughing and tapped Liu Yue on the shoulder. He then pointed at the club members from Zhejiang University and shouted, “LOOK AT THOSE GRUMPY FACES!”

The audience had just quieted down a bit, making Ouyang’s shout sound that much louder. They all turned to look at him and then followed his outstretched arm to look at the esports club members from Zhejiang University. A couple of people started grinning as whispers and murmurs sounded through the crowd.

Zuo Cheng turned his head to look at Ouyang and narrowed his eyes. He said, “Yeah, yeah, your Jarvan IV gank was good. I’ll give you that!” He then snorted and amped his voice up before continuing, “So what? A kill and a Dragon. Big fucking deal! Vayne is still better than Ezreal. Vayne outscales Ezreal. And maybe you didn’t get the memo, but we’ve got a former pro in the mid lane! We’ve got this game in the bag!”

Chapter 306 – A Dance, A Waltz, A Duel Between Masters

Shi Hang stared at his monitor. He’d just had his first exchange with Lin Feng, and he was surprised. I can hardly tell you took a four year break! Prediction, reaction, animation cancelling… you played that perfectly! It’s like back then! All those idiots talking about Goalie being so good. They’re all stupid! This. This right here is what it’s all about. This focus is something you don’t even see consistently in the LPL! He nodded and smiled. This is exactly why I wanted to play you. For this feeling in my stomach! The thrill of the fight! I’m all tense from just that one exchange!

The last couple of years were all about university for Shi Hang. He’d played League of Legends casually, but never with the focus or attention required to play the game at the highest level. It was only after facing Lin Feng again that he found that old state of complete focus. That place where nothing existed except him and his opponent. The smile on his face grew brighter and he nodded happily. I’m impressed! Nice work, Maple! It’s a good thing I was expecting you to be, well, you! I could’ve died there if I’d played it differently! There was a spark in his stomach, a moment of lightness, the thrill. But this is just the beginning. This is going to become more and more intense! I’ll slowly ramp things up a notch! Let’s see how much of your old form you’ve gotten back, Mr. Former #1 Mid in China!

The audience expected a dull early laning phase in the mid lane, and so voiced their surprise when Shi Hang and Lin Feng went at each other from the get-go. They mumbled to each other how Varus was supposed to farm up and scale in the early game, and that it was the easiest to do that by playing defensively. Some argued that maybe Lin Feng wanted to show off against Shi Hang. And for all they were concerned, he succeeded in doing that. Shi Hang was a former professional player and one of the best Midlaners China had ever seen! He was supposed to pull ahead right from the start. But the first exchange in the mid lane ended in a draw. Confused and surprised shouts rang throughout the venue.

Back in the game, Shi Hang’s Ahri and Lin Feng’s Varus leveled up. They unlocked their second skills and used that to up the tempo of the lane. Ahri’s magic was flying through the air, barely missing the minions and accurately hitting Varus, who in turn fired his arrows. They too blew past the minions and pierced Ahri! Every next wave they pushed harder, searching for the limits. And then they hit Level 3. Their dance evolved into a Waltz as they unlocked their third main skills.

Lin Feng’s Varus raised his bow and pulled back the string. There was no arrow resting on the string, but when he let loose 13 sharp red bolts flew up into the air! The Hail of Arrows rained down on Ahri, blighting the land under her and slowing her movement speed! Lin Feng then smashed down on the Q key–Piercing Arrow! Come on! Varus raised his bow and pulled back. A thick, massive arrow was fired at Ahri, smashing through a magical heart that was flying towards Varus and penetrating its target!

Shi Hang hadn’t tried to escape the range from Hail of Arrows, because it also presented an opportunity. Varus was briefly stuck in animation. Shi Hang’s Ahri stepped ever so slightly to the side to find the perfect angle and then cast Charm! She blew a kiss. A magical heart took shape and flew between the minions before smashing into Lin Feng’s Varus, charming him! Varus walked lovestruck towards Ahri, blind to the Orb of Deception piercing through him and the three flames from Fox-Fire bombarding him!

Varus’ health bar dropped. But he was an ad-carry while Ahri was a mage. There was a distinct difference in how they dealt damage. His damage relied far more on auto attacks than hers. The effects from Charm wore off. He’d walked towards Ahri under its effects and was now standing right in front of her. He raised his bow and fired an auto attack! Shi Hang’s Ahri turned around and ran towards her outer tower. He chased after her and kept shooting arrows. By the time Ahri reached her outer tower and Varus was forced to retreat, both Champions had lost about half their health bars.

“What a fight! They hit all their skillshots! THEY HIT ALL THEIR SKILLSHOTS!” Silent Reed exclaimed from behind the caster desk. She caught her breath for a brief moment and then continued, “The mid lane is getting really heated! We’re only four minutes into the game and we’ve already seen a game worth of action in the mid lane!”

Rollfire gritted his teeth, then grabbed the microphone and said, “Shi ‘AyDeeCee’ Hang pulled ahead early in that exchange—”

“And Lin Feng made it even again!” Silent Reed finished the sentence. She pumped her fist into the air and shouted, “What a fight! What a fight! This promises so much for the rest of the game! Can you imagine!? 30 minutes of pure action like this! WOOOOOO!”

Rollfire just nodded to this. He glanced at the audience and chewed on his lips. They can all see it. We’re all feeling the same way! How can AyDeeCee not be winning this already!? He’s the pro here! HE SHOULD BE WINNING THIS! Rollfire turned his head to look at the large LCD screen. Varus and Ahri were still alive, exchanging blow for blow. I know you retired a few years ago. But come on! You were a professional player! Don’t tell me you can’t beat some stupid high school representative from the Shanghai Stupid Organization! Kill that stupid kid! Show them why you were a real pro! People called you the best Midlaner in China for fucks sake! Do you really expect me to believe that that stupid kid is just as good as you, a former pro!?

The audience only wanted to see the mid lane. Lin Feng’s Varus and Shi Hang’s Ahri were exchanging damage quicker and quicker. More impressively, they were timing their movements so accurately that they always had just enough time to switch targets at the last second to land a last hit on a minion and keep their perfect creep score going.

“Look at them going! Oh my god! I thought the early game was gonna be boring! It usually always is with a Varus! But those two clearly didn’t get the memo! Look at them going ham! They’re going fucking ham! My god, I’ma piss my pants!”

“How does that even work? Even when that Varus gets Charmed, he doesn’t miss minions! It’s like they magically stop dying when he gets Charmed! How are they playing this good? It’s like I’m watching an LPL game!”

“It’s like they’re on the same wavelength, man. Look at them going at it full aggro! They’re both just pushing and last hitting and pushing and pushing and man I can’t fucking breathe anymore! There’s just too much action!”

The people in the crowd unconsciously shifted forward in their chairs until they sat at the edge of their seats. They held their breath and stopped blinking, showing undivided attention for the game playing on the large LCD screen. Lin Feng and Shi Hang just kept upping the aggression. And each time they did, they lessened the wiggle room. They were playing to the maximum potential of their Champions, only one small mistake away from dying. But the two players didn’t look worried in the slightest, they looked excited even.

In Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth, Lin Feng sat behind his monitor. He was in a great mood, grinning brightly. You haven’t let me down, Shi Hang! Or do I call you gramps? You are kind of old already! I thought that might make you worse, but it didn’t at all! Your grading is still at like 80%! Maybe a bit higher even! This is exactly the kind of game I wanted to play! Thank you!

At 5 minutes, the Red minion wave in the mid lane pushed towards Blue team’s outer tower. When they arrived within the turret’s range, it came to life and targeted the nearest minion. A powerful ball of electricity shot towards the minion, just as Lin Feng’s Varus raised his bow and nocked a thick, large arrow. The Piercing arrow shot from the bow and pierced the minion, killing it before the energy shot could, and then kept flying until it struck Ahri!

Shi Hang’s eyes went wide. I can’t believe you fell for that! He shook his head once and then tapped on the E and D keys. E was Charm. The animation of Ahri blowing a kiss in Varus’ direction started. But before it could finish, Flash activated. It carried her a short distance through time and space, placing her to Varus’ side. There were no minions between Ahri and Varus here. A magical heart flew straight towards Varus!

“AHRI’S GOING IN!” Rollfire cried out on the caster desk. He watched the Charm land on the Varus and then continued, “That’s the former pro for you! He used the animation from Piercing Arrow against Varus! WOOOOO!”

Lin Feng’s Varus fell in love with Ahri. He couldn’t see danger anymore, the strong desire to be close to Ahri pulling him towards her. From the side, Red team’s Rek’Sai dug a path into the mid lane and towards Varus. Then she flashed towards Varus, who was still under the effects of Charm, and Unburrowed! She clawed her way out from underground and knocked Varus up into the air!

Shi Hang’s Ahri unleashed her full combo on Varus! She started with Ignite, the unquenchable flame sticking to Varus and burning away at his health bar! Then she summoned three Fox-Fires that floated around her and searched for a target. They found that target in Varus, flying towards him and shearing away at his health! And Ahri finally commanded the orb by her side to fly out towards Varus and then back to her. The Orb of Deception sapped Varus’ health!

Silent Reed grabbed her microphone and placed it against her lips. She shouted, “First blood! This is going to be first blood for AyDeeCee!”



Zhejiang University had engaged Lin Feng’s Varus underneath his outer tower. Shi Hang’s Ahri was sticking to the outer edge of the turret’s range, but Rek’Sai was within its range. An energy shot fired at her! Her health dropped, and right then An Xin’s Jarvan IV arrived from behind the outer tower! She threw her standard down behind Rek’Sai and struck out towards it with her lance! The flag-toss combo saw her dashing at Rek’Sai and knocking her up into the air!

Jarvan IV, Rek’Sai and Varus were stacked on top of each other. It was hard to target Varus, who finally broke free from all the crowd control. Ahri hit him with an auto attack, and then he Flashed away. Varus reappeared behind his outer tower, far out of range from Ahri and Rek’Sai, with a mottled flash of light!

Liu Yue jumped up from his seat in the stands and cried out, “Nice save, BunBun! WOOT WOOT!” He turned to look at Ouyang and said, “I love her jungling! We can learn so much from her! Do you get how she does that? She’s always right there! I wish I was that good!”

Ouyang clapped and cheered for An Xin’s timely arrival to save Lin Feng. He then turned to look at Liu Yue and replied, “I told you, bro! BunBun is the best Jungler! Zhejiang will never get past her!” He jabbed Liu Yue in the side with his elbow and added, “You should watch closely how she does that! Maybe you can learn a thing or two from brophina and apply that to your own game! Just imagine how cool it’d be if you had her awareness!”

Ren Rou rolled her eyes and shook her head. She looked at Ouyang from the corners of her eyes and asked, “I thought you were also a Jungler? What, are you suggesting you don’t need to learn from BunBun? Last night’s games would suggest differently…”

“Rou Rou!” Ouyang exclaimed. He stared at her wide eyed, then scratched the back of his head and laughed awkwardly. He explained, “Well, you see, that’s… That’s… Uhmm… That’s because I know my limits! I’m not talented enough! Right, right! BunBun is too good! A normal pleb like me can’t learn from her! I’m just not good enough for that! Us normal plebs need to know our limits!”

The moment that Shi Hang saw the Jarvan IV appear from behind the blue team’s outer tower, he said over the team’s voice chat, “Retreat. We can’t kill Varus with him here. The tower shots are too strong.” He clicked towards the middle of the lane, his Ahri following his commands. Then he moved his camera back to Blue team’s outer tower. Red minions were still clashing against the tower, allowing him to see the last ticks of Ignite eat away at Varus’ health. He shook his head. It’s not enough. One more tick… Yeah. He’s got 109 health remaining. Unfortunate that the Jarvan arrived. We would’ve gotten first blood otherwise. That Jarvan… He narrowed his eyes and moved his attention away from Varus and towards Jarvan IV. I miscalculated. My focus was entirely on Lin Feng. I forgot about An Xin, I forgot BunBun is also playing. I knew she was a good strategist and analyst, but I never really saw her play. He breathed out loudly through his mouth. Should’ve seen this coming. Her Jungling skills are pretty good. That save wasn’t luck. She knew. I’ll have to keep that in mind.

Across the stage in the other soundproof booth, Lin Feng leaned back in his gaming chair and theatrically put the back of his hand against his forehead. He exclaimed, “Whew! I almost died there!”

An Xin glanced at Lin Feng and said over the team’s voice chat, “Don’t forget who you’re playing against. He won’t let you get away with stupid slip-ups!”

“No worries!” Lin Feng replied, laughing her concerns away. He suddenly stopped and scrunched his eyebrows. Then he turned to look at An Xin and said, “Though you were a little later than I expected there. If you’d EQ-Flashed we could’ve gotten the kill on Rek’Sai. The tower was even helping us!” He chewed on his lips and frowned. Did I miscalculate that? I knew Rek’Sai was coming, but BunBun was right behind me. We both knew the gank was coming! I figured she was just waiting for the right time to engage. Why was she late? She’s always on time! This is so unlike her…

An Xin pursed her lips and closed her eyes. Why can’t he be stupid and clueless when you need him to be…? She opened her eyes and forced a smile onto her face. She then shook her head and said, “Forget it. Just play more safe from here on out. The lane is going to be a lot more difficult now.”

Rollfire sat behind the caster desk with a satisfied smile. He leaned back a little and said into his microphone, “AyDeeCee used his Flash there, but that’s a small price to pay for forcing Varus back to base. Team Shanghai’s Midlaner is gonna lose a wave and a half worth of gold and experience, which means he’s going to reach Level 6 after AyDeeCee.” His lips curved up a little higher and he narrowed his eyes before adding, “That means we might see AyDeeCee jump straight in for the kill at Level 6!” He leaned forward and looked over the rim of the caster box into Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth. That’s a former top pro right there! He didn’t get the kill, but he got all the advantages! He’s got the initiative in the mid lane and he can pull that into a win now!

I hate it when he’s right! Stupid asshole! Silent Reed glared at Rollfire and shook her head. But he’s right this time, dammit! She took a deep breath and then said, “You’re completely right! Team Shanghai’s Midlaner is in a tough spot right now! And when AyDeeCee hits Level 6, Varus is going to be in a world of pain!”

Liu Yue looked from the casters back to the large LCD screen and muttered, “He’s too good. How is this fair? Why would they let a former pro join this tournament… Lin Feng is just going to lose if it keeps going like this…”

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and analysed, “Lin Feng is playing really well. He was actually keeping up to AyDeeCee until that gank. But that gank is the only reason the mid lane got to this situation. Maybe if BunBun can get a good gank off, we’ll see it turn even again. Wh—”

First Blood!》

Ouyang jumped to his feet and pulled Liu Yue up with him. He pointed at the large LCD screen and shouted, “HaoBro got the kill! WOOOOOO!”

The old teammates from Zhang Hao also jumped from their seats and threw their arms in the air. They shouted and cheered for the kill in top lane. Zhang Hao’s Lissandra, with the help from An Xin’s Jarvan IV, had picked up a kill on Zhejiang University’s Rumble!

“Good job,” Zeng Rui said over the team’s voice chat.

An Xin smiled and nodded in agreement. She added, “That was a good play, Zhang Hao. Nicely played!”

Zhang Hao scratched his nose to hide his joy, embarrassed. He replied over the team’s voice chat, “Thanks. But it was all thanks to your gank, and I think their Toplaner underestimated me!”

Lin Feng laughed and shouted, “I knew HaoBro was the bes—”

An ally has been slain!

“Huh? What happened?” Lin Feng asked. He panned his camera to the bot lane and saw Tang Bingyao’s Ezreal dead on the ground. “Tang Tang?”

Tang Bingyao gripped her mouse tightly and bit on her tongue. Her stomach twisted into a knot and blobs of black started spinning in front of her eyes. I misplayed that so hard! I gave Sun Ruinian’s Vayne a kill! The one game where Lin Feng needs me to step up, and I make a bad play! Why couldn’t I just do it right!? Just this one time!

Chapter 305 – An Old Fox Need Learn No Craft

Stands were erected in a half circle around the main stage. Two soundproof booths stood on it, each equipped with five computers, and there was a small area between the soundproof booths. This was where the evening’s host stood with a microphone held in his hand. He waited for the audience to quiet down and then announced, “The first game tonight is Zhejiang University versus Team Shanghai!” Boisterous roars rang out throughout the venue in response, forcing the host to pause. He clapped and smiled, and then when the audience had calmed down again continued, “Zhejiang University needs no introduction. Joined by former professional player AyDeeCe—”

The audience lost it. They went absolutely wild, screaming and shouting Shi Hang’s name. And in response Shi Hang waved to the audience and led his team up the stage. He nodded at the host with an apologetic smile and then had his teammates line up in front of the soundproof booth. They bowed towards the audience and then turned their attention to the host.

“This year is a little special for the Collegiate Cup,” the host said into his microphone. “Not only is this the first Winter edition, this is also the first time that high school teams have been invited. One of those high school teams is playing here tonight. They are the representatives of the Shanghai Esports Association! Let’s give them a warm welcome! Here is Team Shanghai!”

A small section of the audience cheered and shouted words of support, but most remained silent. That, however, quickly changed when Shi Hang started applauding for Team Shanghai as they made their way up the stage. The crowd went wild in a second round of feet stomping and screaming! The venue rocked and even the voice booming through the speakers couldn’t get a word in.

Team Shanghai lined up in front of the other soundproof booth. They looked out at the crowd and bowed in respect to thank everyone for coming out and supporting them. Then everyone turned their attention back towards the host, except for Lin Feng and Shi Hang. The two old friends, while turning their heads to look at the host, noticed each other. Their gazes locked. Lin Feng grinned and waved. There was a short delay, but then Shi Hang’s lips parted into a smile that reached from one ear to the other and he nodded in reply.

Zhejiang University’s Support noticed Lin Feng waving and then Shi Hang grinning and nodding. He scrunched his eyebrows in confusion and whispered to Sun Ruinian, “Does Shi Hang know that kid?”

Sun Ruinian glanced at his Support and raised his eyebrows a bit, just enough to get the message across. Shh! Not now! He then smiled and looked back at the host. This is not the time. But, but, damn! I also want to know! Why wouldn’t Shi Hang tell me? I suppose he has a good reason for that. Yeah, we’ll find out eventually. Now we have to focus on the game. We’re going to have to beat Team Shanghai. And Shi Hang made it sound like that’s not going to be easy… I wonder why…

Shi Hang heard the whispers next to him and felt the many eyes staring at him. Everyone knows me. I’m the former pro who’s come to help his team win the tournament. If only they knew… He glanced back at Lin Feng, who was now talking with his teammates. If only they knew how ridiculous Team Shanghai’s lineup is. Between their Jungler and Maple alone, they’ve got a team that can win this entire tournament! And then people say I’m the bully! He laughed and shook his head.

The host finished announcing the match and instructed the two teams to enter the soundproof booths and get ready for the games. Shi Hang nodded and walked his team into the booth. He sat down behind the middle computer, which was where the Midlaner always sat. He looked at his Jungler and Toplaner to his right and Sun Ruinian and his Support to his left. They all look happy and relaxed, even Sun Ruinian doesn’t look all that worried. I told him this wasn’t going to be easy! I should’ve told them about Lin Feng, about Maple. Should I have? I don’t know. But this definitely isn’t the time to scare the ever living shit out of them. He sighed loudly and then nodded at Sun Ruinian and said, “You’re in charge here. Go with whatever plan you had in mind, I’ll adjust to it.”

Sun Ruinian looked at Shi Hang and chewed on the inside of his cheeks. He’s not looking chill, or calm. He was worried from the start. Shit. Shit! A knot twisted in his stomach and pulled tight. We’re overlooking something here! Why won’t he tell us what it is? Could it be…? He turned his head to look across the stage at Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. Does it have to do with Lin Feng? Shit, worrying now isn’t going to do us any good! He shook his head and turned back to look at his teammates. He said, “Alright, let’s go with our original plan. Time to win this series!”

Shi Hang left Sun Ruinian and closed his eyes to block everything out for a couple of seconds. I finally get to duke it out with Maple again! I’ve had to wait for four years, but here we are again. I’m getting a chance to play against him again! He hasn’t played in years and he probably isn’t the same player he was back then, but he’s still Maple! He wouldn’t dare to disappoint me! His eyes flashed open! The uninterested bordering lazy expression was gone. He grabbed his mouse with one hand and placed the other gently on his keyboard. Show me the real Maple!

The players from Zhejiang University and Team Shanghai were preparing for their best of five series, which created a brief moment in which the audience wasn’t cheering until their lungs gave out. They looked through the thick glass windows into the soundproof booths and watched Shi Hang. Someone suddenly shouted, “Damn! Never thought I’d get to see Shi Hang play again! I still remember his games from four years ago! Yep, that’s right! I started getting into League because of Shi Hang! There were posters all around campus about the Finals, so I went to watch. Let me tell you guys something. His ad-carry was freaking ah-mazing!”

“Wasn’t his ad-carry only pretty decent?” someone else in the audience asked. “I heard he got way better after switching to the mid lane. And he’s playing in the mid lane today too, right?”

The student from Zhejiang University nodded and replied, “He got way better! And now we also have Sun Ruinian who is an A- ad-carry! We’ve basically got two freaking pro level players on our team! This Winter Collegiate Cup is ours! We’re unbeatable!”

Team Shanghai’s friends and classmates from Shanghai High School and High School 13 were also at the venue to watch the series between Zhejiang University and Team Shanghai. They looked in the direction of the two people talking and grimaced. It was a rare moment where all of them were linked together by the Broforce through their shared emotional state of horror.

Ouyang finally couldn’t keep his mouth shut any longer. He rapped his hands on his knees and complained, “Ahh, CrapCrapCrap! Why did AyDeeCee have to sub in? We’re fucked! It’s over! This is so unfair for Lin Feng and the gang! They’re getting cheated here! How are we supposed to beat AyDeeCee? This, this i—”

“Stop freaking out!” Ren Rou admonished Ouyang, slapping her palm against the back of his head. She glared at him and said, “The game hasn’t even started yet! Stop being so negative…” She turned to look at the others before continuing, “That goes for all of you! Let’s give them some positive vibes!”

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and said, “I’ll root for them. But winning? They might have stood a chance if Shi Hang didn’t sub in. But with him playing…?”

Ren Rou wanted to argue and fight back against what Yang Fan was clearly implying, but the strong sense of defeat coming from all around her made her pause. She looked at the three from Shanghai High School. Their heads hung low and they were biting on their lips and clenching their fists. She leaned in a bit closer and could hear them repeat the same few words. “So unfair. This is so unfair.” She looked at the others from High School 13. They’re all down. They’ve all given up. She looked at the stage and into Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. I hope they haven’t given up. You guys have to fight!

Loud laughter rang out from a different section of the stage. Ren Rou turned her head to look at where it came from and spotted a familiar face. Zuo Cheng? The previous Midlaner from Zhejiang? What’s he laughing abou

“We’ve got this! We’re going to the main tournament!” Zuo Cheng exclaimed for everyone to hear. He looked around the stands and continued, “Shi Hang never stopped being a monster at the game! We’re finally going to get to watch him play! This is so cool! We’re going to see the team captain crush Team Shanghai!”

The game moved to Champion Select. Zeng Rui’s gaze was locked on his screen, grimacing. We’re going to have to play against AyDeeCee! He actually, he actually stepped in! This was outside of my calculations. It’s ridiculous! They shouldn’t allow a former professional player in a university level tournament! But they have. We’re going to have to play against him. Lin Feng will have to play against him. And the thundering dumbass has apparently played against him before. He should know how to play against him. He turned his head to look at Lin Feng and asked, “Are there any specific bans you want?” 

Lin Feng shook his head and answered, “It’s fine. You can stick to the original plan you and BunBun came up with. Just leave Shi Hang to me.”

Zeng Rui stared at Lin Feng for a couple of seconds, but eventually nodded. Maybe this is the only way to do this. If Lin Feng can really beat AyDeeCee… I don’t see another way, except for trusting… Zeng Rui closed his eyes and shook his head. It’s the only way. I have to trust him. Why is this so difficult for me to trust him? He grimaced and then turned his attention back to the Champion Select, instructing over the team’s voice chat, “Alright, here’s what we’re going to do. Ban Jinx, Yasuo and Thresh…”

The two casters for the Quarterfinals of the East China Regionals were Silent Reed and Rollfire. The Shanghai Esports Organization initially didn’t invite Rollfire back after his embarrassing performance during the Fuzhou Tech versus Team Shanghai series in the Round of 16, but were forced to call him at the last minute. Their first choice got sick 30 minutes before the start of the series and Rollfire was the only caster available in such a short timeframe. So he found himself back at the caster desk together with the inexperienced Silent Reed.

Rollfire glared at the large LCD screen, steaming with rage. If I didn’t need the money and exposure, I would’ve never accepted this! Those idiots from the Shanghai Esports Organization only had me as a back up? I deserve so much more than this! I’m a second rate caster! They should’ve invited me first! Not that other idiot! And now I have to fucking cast their stupid representative team again with this stupid bitch who wouldn’t even talk to me! Arrghhh! He looked at the names of the players up on the screen. At least I get to cast AyDeeCee. That’s the only positive take away from this! Casting a real professional player does fit my status as a second rate caster! I hope he crushes Team Shanghai! Fuck the Shanghai Esports Organization!

Silent Reed glanced at the caster sitting next to her. Why him again? I thought they said I didn’t have to cast with him again! He was so useless! She bit on her lips and then turned her head to look up at the large LCD screen. I’ll just ignore him. That’s what I should’ve done last time. I’m just going to cast the game and make it fun for the audience! Just like Westwind would’ve! She smiled and said into the microphone, “Both teams have picked their Champions! We’re moving into the loading screen. Let’s take a closer look at which Champions are on the Rift in this first game of the best of five series between Zhejiang University and Team Shanghai!”

Game 1 of the East China Regional Qualifier
Team Shanghai (Blue) vs. Zhejiang University (Red)

Top: Lissandra vs. Rumble
Jungle: Jarvan IV vs. Rek’Sai
Mid: Varus vs. Ahri
Ad-Carry: Ezreal vs. Vayne
Support: Alistar vs. Leona

Rollfire grabbed his microphone and said, “The lane we all care about is clearly the mid lane! This game is the return of a real former pro! AyDeeCee is playing Ahri on the Red team! She’s a Magic assassin with a ton of mobility! There is so much potential to outplay your opponent with a Champion like that. It’s gonna be good. Varus on the other hand…—”

“Varus is also a really good Champion!” Silent Reed interrupted. She’d quickly opened a search on Baidu on the Champion and read from that, “He was initially meant to be played as an ad-carry in the bot lane. But we’ve seen him being played more and more in the mid lane! He isn’t an S-tier Champion, like Fizz or LeBlanc, but he’s still a solid pick with strong poke and great wave clear! What Lin Feng wants to do is farm up and scale in the early game. Then, when the mid game hits, he wants to use the long range on Piercing Arrow to snipe down enemy health bars from far away!” She quickly scrolled down the Baidu page before continuing, “If he gets fed, Varus can two shot frail targets with Piercing Arrow! And on top of that, he also has one of the most powerful crowd control ultimates in the game! It’s called Chains of Corruption! He fires the chains at one Champion, and then they jump to nearby Champions, chaining all of them to the ground!”

“You’re correct, very correct,” Rollfired agreed. Then he grinned, though his eyes were spitting fire, and added, “Those are indeed all the strong points for Varus! But you can’t forget to mention his one big weakness! He has zero movement abilities! That makes him very vulnerable, especially to ganks! And when you’re up against a former pro that might bite you in the back, that’s a dumb choice of Champion. AyDeeCee just has to shut Varus down early and this game will be a 5vs4! Varus won’t be a threat. He won’t have the attack damage to snipe down any health bars!”

Silent Reed nodded and said, “That’s what I wanted to end with. Varus is weak against early ganks and he’s also not great against high mobility targets. His arrows shoot in a straight line. Ahri can jump around them with her ultimate skill, and also use her ultimate to jump on him. It looks like AyDeeCee has the clear Champion advantage in this matchup.”

Rollfire glanced at Silent Reed and smirked. I didn’t even have to say it. She knows. Varus sucks in this matchup! Which means I’ll finally get to see these stupid kids lose a game! This is sweet justice! That Lin Feng kid carried his team through the Round of 16, which was completely ridiculous! Fuzhou Tech should’ve beaten him! But now he has to face a former professional player. He’s going to get destroyed! The green flames of misfortune blazed in his eyes. Lin Feng might be a good Midlaner, but he’s no match for Shi Hang! He’s going to lose this so badly! And I get to cast it! I get to tell everyone that the Shanghai Esports Association’s representatives are getting stomped! This is just perfect!

“Varus into Ahri? What the fuck is Team Shanghai thinking?”
“They’re screwed. Screwed I tell you! Shi Hang’s going to beat him so hard!”
“I wonder if it’s a misclick? Maybe Team Shanghai wanted to play something else? Like Viktor?”
“You might be onto something there! What idiot plays Varus into an Ahri? That’s just asking for trouble! It makes way more sense if that was supposed to be Viktor!”
“He’s gonna get eaten alive… That Varus is going to get fucking eaten alive!”

Most people in the audience were just confused by the choice of Champions in the mid lane. A small section of the crowd burst out laughing. They were the members of Zhejiang University’s esports club. When they saw the lineup for the game, they turned to each other and congratulated their team for winning Game 1. They all agreed that Shi Hang was going to stomp Team Shanghai in 20 minutes or less!

And then there were the friends and classmates from Team Shanghai. They had slumped back in their seats and given up on the first game. The laughter coming from Zhejiang University’s section in combination with what the casters were saying was enough to convince them that their team was going to lose. Ren Rou looked at the long faces around her. They all look so nervous and anxious just because of what others are saying. But when has our team ever lost!? We need to have some fate! She bit on her lips and looked at the large LCD screen. I want to cheer them on, it’s just… Lin Feng has to play against AyDeeCee…

Lin Feng looked over the rim of his monitor at the stage. They’re probably talking about my Varus pick, because it’s a bit off-meta right now. But what do they know! A real pro can make any Champion work! I’ll show them how strong Varus is against Ahri! He then glanced across the stage at the other soundproof booth and grinned. Shi Hang, I’m not back where I was. I don’t even know if I’m good enough to beat you yet. But that only makes this more exciting! Show me everything you’ve got! The voice announcer sounded in his ears and he turned his attention back to his screen. It’s time to play!

Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!

Team Shanghai and Zhejiang University opted to go with a normal start to the game. The Botlaners moved down to the bot lane and the Toplaners to the top lane. But all attention was focused on the mid lane. Varus walked out from his base and towards his outer tower, while Ahri did the same from the other side of the map. They waited underneath the safety of their towers for the first minion waves to arrive.

At 2 minutes, six Blue and six Red minions charged into the mid lane and started exchanging blows at the exact center of the map. Lin Feng’s Varus and Shi Hang’s Ahri both learned their Q skills, respectively Piercing Arrow and Orb of Deception, then moved forward. But rather than attacking each other, they started running around the mid lane. They moved back and forth and left and right, feeling each other out and establishing their zones of control. All the while, they kept their eyes on the minions and fired auto attacks at them when they were at their last stretch of health.

Lin Feng looked at Shi Hang’s Ahri and observed every minute change in her play. He smirked. You’re playing far safer than I remembered. You’re not going easy on me, are you? He then forced the smirk back and focused on the dying minions. Just like the Ahri, he got successful last hits on all three melee minions, leaving only the three casters from both sides alive. Lin Feng had his Varus take a small step forward, feigning focus on the caster minions to get a shot off at Ahri. But Shi Hang had seen through it and had his Ahri move back.

“Piercing Arrow!” Lin Feng mumbled. The longer this skill was charged, the greater the distance the arrow could travel. But Lin Feng was very close to Shi Hang’s Ahri. He pressed the Q key and let go right away. Varus raised his bow and fired a thick, massive arrow that pierced through the caster minions and flew straight at Ahri!

Shi Hang narrowed his eyes and, rather than dodging, responded with Orb of Deception! Its range was slightly larger than the minimum range of Piercing Arrow. The orb that always floated by Ahri’s side suddenly flew forward, straight at Lin Feng’s Varus! It smacked through him, taking a bite out of his health bar! Then it continued a short distance before turning around and flying back towards Ahri. On its way back was Varus again! But Lin Feng knew this was coming and animation-canceled the recovery of his Piercing Arrow to move out of the way.

Both skillshots hit their target. Lin Feng’s Varus and Shi Hang’s Ahri lost a small chunk of health. It looked like a simple exchange that could be seen at any level of League of Legends. The two players simply exchanged skill for skill. But Lin Feng and Shi Hang sat up a little straighter in their chairs. A smile played on the corners of their lips and they gripped their mouses a little tighter. This short exchange gave them far more information than anyone else could glean from it. It confirmed to them that, even after so many years away from the professional scene, they both still possessed the instincts and senses of a top level professional player!

Chapter 304 – This is Gonna be Good

Zhejiang University had convinced Shi Hang to play for his esports club in the Winter Collegiate Cup! A former professional player stooped down to play with amateurs! The news spread through the channels and sent everyone in East China into a massive uproar! There were many questions about the authenticity of the news. But with the tournament organizers delivering the news, there wasn’t much to argue about. Shi ‘AyDeeCee’ Hang was going to play at the Winter Collegiate Cup!

“I can’t believe Zhejiang University actually did this. Shi Hang’s playing? Really?”

“I know right? Fucking unbelievable! Since when are pros welcome!? What’s next, God Roundy is going to play for his university? Just imagine! The Collegiate Cup would become stupid! The organizers should’ve never allowed Shi Hang to play!”

“AyDeeCee did quit way back in like Season 2, or was it 3 already? I don’t remember. Anyway, he hasn’t played at the highest level for years. Maybe the organizers took that into consideration? That has to be it, right? They can’t start accepting real pros to play at this tournament?”

“It’s all fun and all, but what about the other teams? Just look at Team Shanghai! Those kids worked their asses off and showed some really promising performances to make it this far. It was always going to be hard for them to beat Zhejiang University. But now with AyDeeCee? It just became impossible. Geegee, I guess…”

People in the audience had called their friends and posted on social media when the news of AyDeeCee playing for Zhejiang University was released. It didn’t take more than 15 minutes before a new flood of people looked to push their way into the venue. All of them wanted to watch the man, the myth, the legend! Shi Hang! Founder of the Zhejiang University esports club! Most valuable player of the first edition of the Collegiate Cup! Victor of the first edition of the Collegiate Cup! University player gone professional! The accolades were too many to count. Shi Hang hadn’t just won a lot of games, he had won the hearts of all university students in China! And now, after three years of absence, they got the opportunity to watch him play again!

The venue filled up. All the seats were taken, the stairs were full and even more people were pushing their way in through the entrance. They didn’t even care about finding a seat anymore. The large LCD screen above the stage was high enough that it could be seen from anywhere in the large hall and big enough for everyone, even those at the very back of the hall, to clearly see what was going on.

 “Can you believe how lucky we are? Shi Hang got 81% by the Chinese Esports Organization! 81%! That’s fucking mental! And now he’s playing at a uni tournament! Shit we’re lucky!”

“What do you mean, 81%?”

“How do you not know this? Noob. Whatever. That’s the grading system the Chinese Esports Organization uses for professional players. Basically, our whole system with the C, B, A grading, right? Well that’s just for amateur players. The real high level pros are beyond A+ and then you start looking at this percentage thing. Daybreak Hermes, yeah? He’s 87.5%!”

“So AyDeeCee or Shi Hang is almost as good as Hermes? Doesn’t that put him like right below the Seven Kings? What the fuck is someone like that doing at a university event? That’s kinda stupid if you ask me.”

“Now you get it! That’s what we’re all saying! It is stupid! But at the same time… We’re going to get to see Shi Hang play again! A real pro player dude! We’re gonna see him play! WOOOOOOOOO!”

“I don’t get what’s so exciting about it… Why would a pro do this? He’s bullying Team Shanghai! Those kids worked so hard and now they have to play a pro? What the fuck!”

“Eh, whatever. Who knows why a pro does things? I don’t. I’m just here to enjoy the games and then hopefully some drama!”

The other teams competing sat in stunned silence after the news was revealed. They forgot to do anything while the audience behind them exploded. But finally some started talking. Players expressed their frustration with Zhejiang University. They complained that it wasn’t fair to field a former professional player and that it was bad sportsmanship. Many more started discussing how this change was going to affect Zhejiang University’s team. They agreed that without Shi Hang, Zhejiang University was a solid B grade team, maybe even B+ grade. But with Shi Hang in the mid lane, they argued that Zhejiang University could reach as high as A grade. Not just because of Shi Hang’s skills as a Midlaner, but also for his skills as the team’s captain. He was said to lift the level of his entire team up with his presence alone!

Everyone in the player seating area eventually turned their attention to Fudan University’s team. Aurous, a former team member from Fudan University, had made it as a professional player and was currently on the main roster of an LPL team. The intention from the teams was clear. They wanted Fudan University to contact Aurous and have him contact Shi Hang to figure out what was going on. It didn’t take much pushing. Fudan University wanted to find out the truth as much as the others. Their team captain sent Aurous a text message, and Aurous replied that he was on the case.

Aurous was in the middle of a League game when he received the text message. He wanted to ignore it and focus on the game, because his team was losing. But from the corner of his eye he caught a few keywords. He scrunched his nose and scratched his neck. Shi Hang is playing where? What? He glanced at his monitor, which was a dull grey and would be for another couple of seconds, and then reached out for his phone and read the string of text messages. Shi Hang is playing in the Collegiate Cup? Wut? Did he lose it? He looked at his screen again. His team was losing across the board. The game was still winnable, but it would take a lot of effort and even that might not be enough. He shrugged and mumbled, “Screw this game.” Then he hit the Enter key and typed /surrender. The vote went four against one. The game camera panned to his Nexus and he watched it explode.

Aurous barely noticed the Defeat message on his screen. His eyes were trained on his phone as he was scrolling through his list of contacts, searching for a name he hadn’t thought about for quite a while. He finally found it and pressed the call button. Then he placed the phone to his ear and waited for the call to connect.

Shi Hang accepted the call shortly after and said, “Yo—”

“What the hell, dude!” Aurous exclaimed. “The hell? You’re actually playing in the Collegiate Cup!?”

“Yeah,” Shi Hang replied. Then he casually added, “I’m at the venue right now. Playing in a bit.”

Aurous fell silent for a brief moment, caught off-guard by the calm reply from Shi Hang. He finally shook his head and shouted, “The hell are you doing!? You’re a former pro! What the hell are you doing at that stupid tourney? Are you drunk? Is that it? Did you wanna bully some noobs because you drank too much? Seriously, wake the hell up! You’re a former pro! Just, just don’t.”

Shi Hang chuckled and replied, “So what if I’m playing again? Whatcha you gonna do about it? Hey, I know! How about you go and play for Fudan! You’re still studying there, right? It can be like old times again! But if you’re not up for it, I’ll just bully your little noobs! It’ll be fun!”

“Fuck off! Seriously, what’s going on? Why are you doing this?” Aurous asked through gritted teeth. Shi Hang is one of the laziest bastards I know! There’s no way he’d play just because. What the hell is he thinking? He breathed in and closed his eyes. What could possibly have him join the uni team to play at that tournament? He breathed out and said, “We’re friends, right? Be straight with me. Why are you playing?”

There was another silence. Aurous even checked his phone after a couple of seconds to make sure the call was still connected. But then Shi Hang’s voice finally came through the small speaker. “Sorry, I can’t say. I’m helping someone keep a secret. Well, I think I am. Anyway, I can tell you this. Come and watch, or even sub in for Fudan University, because you’re not going to want to miss this. It’s gonna be good.”

There were 20 minutes to go before the East China Regional Quarterfinals would officially start. The tournament staff was running around backstage, double and triple checking everything. Chu Fang watched them move about, a clipboard in his hand. And everytime someone came up to him, he checked the next thing off his list.

“Lights good!”
“Audio check!”
“Stream is live!”
“Internet is stable!”
“All four teams playing tonight are backstage!”
“First two teams will go up on stage in five minutes!”

Chu Fang looked down at his list. We’re good to go. The guys have done a great job! He looked down at a monitor to his side that showed the livestream. It gave a good view of the crowd, sometimes zooming in on someone who’d dressed up as a League of Legends Champion. Two casters were talking in the background, hyping on the audience by telling them about the match-ups. This is all looking great! Even that guy is doing good right now! He grabbed his walkie-talkie and said, “Good work, everyone! I’ll treat y’all to dinner after the games are over tonight!”

“Boss, you’re the best!”
“Free dinner! Awesome!”
“Can we go to the sushi bar around the corner?”

Chu Fang smiled as he looked back down at his clipboard. In big bold letters at the top of page two it read the first series of the day. Zhejiang University versus Team Shanghai. Shi Hang versus Lin Feng. I wonder if Fang Hao is right. Is Shi Hang really going to make a comeback because of Lin Feng? His eyes glazed over as he recalled his conversation with Fang Hao a couple of hours earlier.

Chu Fang walked into Fang Hao’s office to report on the developments at the Winter Collegiate Cup. He looked at his boss, who was working on one of many piles of documents on his desk, and said, “The only big thing to report is that Zhejiang University sent in the paperwork for Shi Hang. Looks like he’s going to play for them. He knows Lin Feng is playing for Team Shanghai.”

Fang Hao looked up from his work and asked, “Shi Hang is actually going to play again? That’s a surprise.”

Chu Fang nodded and continued, “He is. I seriously started to believe he was done with League. It’s been three years since he retired from competitive play. I really thought he was throwing everything he had into his studies. But it looks like he couldn’t stop himself from coming back after he learned about Lin Feng.”

Fang Hao laughed and said, “Graduating school isn’t a bad choice for most people. It gives them a career path and is far more secure than trying to become a professional player in any sport, really. But…” He briefly paused to turn his head and look out of the window. He then continued, “But there’ll always be some who dare to abandon the safe route to chase their dreams. Shi Hang is just like Lin Feng in that regard.”

“Wait,” Chu Fang said. He looked at his boss, searching for the meaning behind the words. Just like Lin Feng? The only thing that can mean is… His eyes widened and he asked, “Do you really think… Are you really saying—”

“Yep!” Fang Hao replied, laughing. He looked at the sun high up in the sky and continued, “AyDeeCee is just like Lin Feng. They’ll both be looking to make their comeback. The LPL is going to become a lot of fun very soon.”

Chu Fang was pulled back to the present by his walkie-talkie. A member of staff had a question. He answered and then let his mind drift again. Fang Hao thinks AyDeeCee is going to make a comeback… I really want to see that! Him and Lin Feng were so talented! There just wasn’t as much money in the scene when they were crushing it, not to mention that they were still really young back then. But they’re a bit older now! Even if they haven’t played competitively for years, they’ve got the talent to make it back to the top!

Another thought struck Chu Fang. He furrowed his brows and looked up at the ceiling. So many people quit the competitive scene after Lin Feng left. AyDeeCee is just one of them. But there’s also Silent and Autumn just to name two. What if they’d come back? And we have Eleven who’s doing random stuff in the LSPL, but what if he came back to his old form? What if all the talented players from then came back for a second round? Just thinking about it! A smile blossomed on his face before crumpling again. It’s such a shame AyDeeCee and Maple are playing each other right now. This could’ve been the Championship game! They shouldn’t have played each other until the very end! What are the other games going to look likeWait! Lin Feng will have to show off just how good he is if he wants to win this! Everyone will finally get to see just how good he is! If he makes it to the next round, no one can underestimate him anymore! The other teams are only going to try harder and maybe we’ll see a few more familiar names step up! This could become very interesting! He grinned and mumbled, “This is gonna be good!”

Team Shanghai was waiting backstage for the tournament officials to send them up on stage. But when the tournament official walked up to them, it wasn’t to tell them about the start of the game but about a change in Zhejiang University’s lineup. He told them that Shi Hang was replacing Zuo Cheng in the mid lane. This elicited a strong response from Team Shanghai.

Zeng Rui slumped back in his chair, staring at the tournament official in disbelief. Is that why I got that uneasy feeling the other day? Because of AyDeeCee filling in? Why is this happening? This isn’t fair! He was a professional player! How do they expect us to beat him!?

Zhang Hao’s reaction was fiercer. He jumped to his feet and shouted at the tournament official, “What the shit! This is stupid! How can we beat a former professional player?” He then shook his head and fell back in his seat, mumbling, “We’re fucked. It’s over. Shi Hang is playing… We were going to lose anyway. Zhejiang University was the better team, and now they’re like a professional team. What do they think we are? We’re just high schoolers! Playing at the university level is enough to push us! But winning against a real pro? That’s just impossible! It’s over. It’s over… We haven’t even started playing, but it’s over. It’s so over! This is so unfair!”

Tang Bingyao bit on her lips and glanced at Lin Feng. AyDeeCee is a mid main. Lin Feng is going to have to face him. She nodded at herself. Mhm! I promised that I was going to stand shoulder to shoulder with him! He wasn’t going to carry me, we’re supposed to carry together! Now I can prove that to him! I have to beat Sun Ruinian and help him beat AyDeeCee!

A giggle sounded, breaking the tense atmosphere. The players from Team Shanghai turned to look at An Xin. She covered her mouth with her hand and winked at Lin Feng. She said, “Well, this is all your fault. It only seems fair you have to deal with it.”

“His fault?” Zhang Hao blurted out. This sentiment was shared by Tang Bingyao and Zeng Rui, their expressions of confusion saying more than words ever could.

But Lin Feng didn’t look surprised or confused. He grinned in his excited way and said, “So he came out of retirement just for me?” He started laughing before adding, “Wow! I never expected he would actually do that! He’s giving me a ton of face! I’ll make sure to thank him!”

“Are you crazy?” Zeng Rui asked, his eyelids twitching. What is wrong with him? This is even crazy for him! Doesn’t he realise how absolutely fucked we are? Shi Hang played in the LPL! He was the best Midlaner from China in the early seasons! Everyone knows how good he is! Why doesn’t the thundering dumbass realise how fucked we are!? He glared at Lin Feng and gritted his teeth. So what if you beat him a couple of games in solo queue way back in Season 1? That doesn’t make you the better player!

An Xin stopped giggling. She looked at Lin Feng, waiting for his eyes to meet hers, and asked, “Do you think you can win against him? Are you up there yet?”

Lin Feng pursed his lips but then shook his head and replied, “I’m not up there yet.” He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. I’m far from it. But this is the best test I could dream of! He is exactly the kind opponent I need to be playing against! His eyes flashed open and blazed with determination! He nodded at An Xin and said confidently, “But I’m going to play against him and give it my all! You guys worry about the rest, leave him to me!”

Chapter 303 – Everyone Fights Against Their Own Struggles

The soft yellow glow of a table lamp shined down on the dark wood of a desk. Zeng Rui sat hunched over his notebook, scribbling down everything he believed could help Team Shanghai get an edge over Zhejiang University in the next round of the Winter Collegiate Cup. There was a clean layout in his notebook. He started with a basic strategy, after which he would delve into the strengths and weaknesses of the different team members within the specific strategy. And then he’d continue with opportunities and solutions to potential problems. He gathered far more information than they’d ever use.

Zeng Rui put down his pen and fell back in his chair, exhausted. He slowly massaged his temples to fight the light headache pounding at the sides of his head. I’m exhausted. Mentally drained. Why is this so much more complicated than my homework? He glanced at a different notebook neatly placed at the corner of his desk. I spent two hours after dinner working on my homework, from 7 to 9. I felt fresh. It was easy. And then I spent two hours working on… this. He shook his head and grimaced. Draft phase, early game map rotations, team comp synergies, general play… I’ve looked at everything! I know Zhejiang University’s strengths, I know how they play when they win a lane and also what they do when they’re losing a lane! I have more information on them than most professional coaches would bother with!

Zeng Rui shook his head and sighed loudly. My research into our opponents is why we’ve been doing so well in the Shanghai 16 School Tournament. I was prepared for everything! But there’s a massive difference between preparing for a game against Shanghai International or Zhejiang University… Zeng Rui closed his eyes and mumbled, “Hah, Zhejiang University, Zhejiang University…”

Zeng Rui flipped back a couple of pages and then traced his fingers over the many lines of his writing before stopping on one particular section. Team Shanghai’s weaknesses against Zhejiang University. Tang Tang is a B grade ad-carry and Samsara is an A- grade ad-carry. The solution is simple. I have to make up for that difference and help Tang Tang stay even in the lane. Difficult, but doable. He traced his finger over the next couple of lines detailing exactly how he was planning to help Tang Bingyao and references to different team comps and scenarios. He finally stopped on the next weakness. Zhang Hao in the top lane. He’s a good player at the high school level, but there’s just something missing when we look beyond that. He’s a C+ grade at best. That’s just not good enough. Zhejiang University’s Toplaner is a B grade player. There really isn’t anything we can do about that. BunBun can babysit him, but that won’t help the team as a whole. We’re going to have to accept that the top lane is lost. The other lanes just have to do better.

Zeng Rui turned the page of his notebook and searched through his work until he found a header that read ‘Team Shanghai’s strengths’. He frowned and moved his lips around. The thundering dumbass. How good is he exactly? I still don’t know. A grade or better. But that’s good enough for now. Zhejiang University’s Midlaner is much weaker than that. If we play around Lin Feng, we have a real shot at winning this series. It’ll just come down to whether he can carry hard enough to make up for Zhang Hao’s loss in the top lane. But that should be easy enough, so long as he doesn’t do something crazy again like that idiotic Zed engage against Fuzhou Tech! He got so lucky with that one. Lucky that we were there!

Anger blossomed in fiery tendrils from within Zeng Rui’s stomach and burning its way through his body. He closed his eyes and shook his head. Calm it! Nothing good comes from acting on impulse! Lin Feng is carrying. We win. The end. He forced a smile and went to the next strength. BunBun. Her I can trust. She’s basically the best player on the team. Not just for what she does during the game, but more than anything how she helps us outside the game. The way she coaches and the trust she builds up with the others… With her on the team, I think we have at least a 70% chance of bringing this series home. Maybe even more if the thundering dumbass plays his best game!

But why do I feel like I’m missing something? Zeng Rui rubbed his stomach and scrunched his nose. He glossed over his work again and reverified every bit of his analysis. It’s right! Everything is here! I even have a section on the possibility of AyDeeCee stepping in! I doubt he will, but it can’t hurt to consider the possibility. It’ll be hard, but BunBun said Lin Feng could beat him. Then why, why am I feeling like this? Why does it feel like something is wrong? He suddenly grimaced and shook his head. Is this what it means to be nervous? Is that it? Am I just nervous about our match against Zhejiang University? He shook his head again. No. That’s not it either. BunBun. Why am I thinking about her again? She hasn’t been on her A-game since she got sick, but she’s still really good. Well, most of the time anyway. Hmm… He scratched his chin and looked out the window behind his desk. She has been acting a little strange. There have been a few things here and there. She’s just good at hiding it. Is something wrong with her? That could become an issue…

The An family had an apartment in one of the highrise buildings in the center of Shanghai. An Xin sat in her room that had a beautiful view of the city. Moonlight spilled in through the open window and cast a shadow behind her. She was calmly staring at her monitor, which showed the end game lobby of a League of Legends game. Then she took a deep breath and closed her eyes. The corners of her lips dropped and her head fell ever so slightly forward. Another loss. I just can’t play like I used to. My Lee Sin is… isn’t what it used to be.

An Xin was playing on her Korean account, hovering between Master and Challenger. By all rights, this was a very high ranked account. But it wasn’t anywhere near where An Xin felt like she could be. She opened her eyes and sighed loudly. “It’s just not enough,” she mumbled to herself. Then she clicked to the endgame lobby and looked at her statistics. It’s just not enough. I’m nowhere near where I used to be! This game would’ve, should’ve been a win! I made six minor slip-ups and two major mechanical blunders! I can’t make those if I want to play at the highest elo! This isn’t even near my top either… At most, at most I’m playing at two thirds of where I was before.

Four years ago, when Lin Feng took his break from League of Legends, An Xin continued playing. She played for years and became one of the best players on the ranked ladder. Not just in China, but also in Korea. She had fought her way all the way up to the Top 10 at one point. But since her name didn’t have the Chinese prefix, no one knew. That all happened before she was diagnosed. Back when she could still fully use her hand. An Xin opened her eyes and looked at her mouse hand. It was slightly trembling and just holding onto the mouse put a strain on her body. I was so good, far better than most professional players! I played against the best players in the world all the time and beat them! But then, then this happened. She threw her hand up in the air. And now I can’t even get close to my mechanical skills from back then! I’m practically useless like this…

An Xin had never told anyone about her achievements in League of Legends. She enjoyed the anonymity. Even Lin Feng wasn’t aware of just how high she’d climbed. But that was all in the past. She struggled to pinch her mouse, the veins in her hand pushing through her skin. They even look dead! She pinched her eyes closed and sucked back the tears. They look grey and sickly! Why won’t my body send more blood there!? Stupid body! She kicked against the back of her desk, frustrated. I’ll never get back to where I was! I won’t be that good again, just because my body won’t function like it should! This is so unfair!

The tears were becoming hard to hold back. An Xin stood up from her gaming chair and jumped on her bed. She grabbed the blankets and wrapped them around her, then buried her head into her pillow. This is so unfair! Why does my body have to be this stupid? Can’t I just have a normal body? I just want to be healthy! Why can’t I have a chance to play League like I know I can!?

Zhang Hao balled his hand into a fist and punched up into the air, shouting, “Yes! Another win!” He grinned and felt his entire body trembling from excitement. “Phew! That was so close! But I won it! That’s another 13 League Points!” He clicked on his profile and looked at his match history. He’d played three games tonight in Ionia Master. The first was a loss, but the next two were both victories. He nodded and said, “Sweet! I’m doing great today! At this rate, I might finally get to Challenger!”

The excitement quickly died down when Zhang Hao said that last word. Challenger. He’d been dreaming for years to reach that high on the ladder. But it was too difficult. He wasn’t good enough. I need to get better. The team depends on me not screwing up! That’s bad enough. Even Tang Tang is quickly getting a lot better than I am! I’m still only a C+… If I don’t improve to a B grade player, what can I really do for the team? I’m just going to hold them back! He gnashed his teeth and mumbled, “I don’t want to be the weakest link! The others are all training so hard to win, and then there’s me! They’re getting better and I, I’m just not. I’m Master while they’re all Challengers! I need to become a B grade before our game against Zhejiang University! One way or another!”

Every time he said their name, Zhang Hao felt a massive pressure weigh down on him, suffocating him. Zhejiang University. He pursed his lips and pushed back against every fiber in his body that was screaming at him to give up. They’re the last opponent before the main tournament! We have to make it to the main tournament! We won’t lose because of me! I’m not going to let that happen! He suddenly shouted, “I want to win! I want to win so badly!”

Zhang Hao pressed his hand against his chest, feeling his heart beating in rapid excitement. We’re playing to win the whole tournament! Winning! He tried to calm himself down a bit by regulating his breathing, but just the thought of winning a tournament of this magnitude had his heart smashing into his ribcage. He chewed on his tongue and entered the ranked queue again. His eyes burned with determination as he vowed, “Zhejiang’s Toplaner is B grade. I’m C+. I’m going to become a B- grade player before we play! I’ll show everyone that I’m not the weak link! I’ll help the team and at the very least I won’t lose my lane! I’m going to beat that guy!”

Tang Bingyao pushed the door to her bedroom open and walked in. It was a small, almost empty room. Her bed was to one side and had seen better days. There was some wear and tear in her sheets that revealed the yellow mattress and pillow, and the only thing remotely eye-catching was a pink cartoon bear blanket. Just that the colours were faded. Next to her bed stood a wardrobe, missing a drawer and one door and standing at an angle. The last piece of furniture in her room was her desk. It was empty except for an old lamp and a Jinx figurine.

It’s so cold. Tang Bingyao shivered as she walked over to her window. It was closed, but she could still feel a breeze slipping through the cracks. I really need to do something about this, sometime… She chewed on the inside of her cheeks as she closed her curtains, which didn’t really close anymore because a part of the rails was broken. She then took out her pyjamas from her wardrobe before curling up in her bed and hiding under her blankets. Hmm, I need to save up for a new mattress too, but the blanket is still nice and warm. She smiled a bit as she pulled the blanket up to her chin.

Tang Bingyao stared up at her ceiling, patches of paint only partly connected to it. Also that… Mhm. She closed her eyes and focused on other things. I finished my homework, so that’s all good. Grandma took her meds and is in bed. I’ll make her a nice breakfast in the morning. She took a deep breath, nerves slowly grabbing a hold of her. She started scratching her neck and chewing on her tongue. We’re playing against Zhejiang University next. I have to play against Sun Ruinian next. He’s so good. But we need to win this tournament! How am I not going to feed against him? He’s so much better than me!

The sounds of a car slamming the horn followed by sirens came from outside Tang Bingyao’s bedroom. She pulled the blanket over her ears and tried not to think about that and instead about the upcoming quarter finals match against Zhejiang University. I’m going to lane against Samsara! And I don’t care how good he is, I’m going to beat him! Mhm! She clenched her blanket in her iron grip, fighting back the anxious, almost nauseating feeling in her stomach. I don’t want to be a burden to the team and Lin Feng! But it’s more than that. I want the team to lean on me! I want to be the carry! I want to help Lin Feng win!

The thought of his name was enough to flush Tang Bingyao’s cheeks red. The last hints of coldness were blasted away by the sudden heat Lin Feng’s name carried with it. She reached her arm out from underneath the blanket and searched for something on the floor, relying completely on touch. It was her very own ‘nightstand’. When her fingers wrapped around something cold and hard, she smiled. She traced her fingers around the edges before holding the item up right in front of her face, the weak moonlight burning through her curtains enough illumination to make out the rough shape of it. I love this Draven keychain. Mhm! I’m going to fight for you! I’ll show everyone how good I really am! Samsara has nothing on me! With you by my side, I’ll always win! For you… For you I want to win. You trust me. I won’t let you down. I don’t care who we’re playing next, or how good they are, I’ll give it my all. All for you.

Tang Bingyao held the Draven keychain with both hands and placed it close to her chest. She smiled and nodded at herself. I’m not going to let you drag me along. I’ll stand on my own two feet! Mhm! I’m going to stand by your side and pull my weight! And together we’re going to win it all! First up Zhejiang University, then the Collegiate Cup, and after that whatever game you want to win next!

The quarterfinals of the East China Regionals were being held exactly seven days after the Round of 16. The eight teams gathered at the venue again, as did the many fans that were hoping to witness some high quality gameplay. Every round was a direct elimination. And every next round, the matchups were bound to get more exciting. This was especially true for the quarterfinals in East China. Zhejiang University was taking on Team Shanghai, who were a far stronger team than the fans originally expected.

The audience was loudly discussing and arguing about the potential outcome of this best of three series. Many said that Zhejiang University was the strongest team, while Team Shanghai used a combination of skill and luck to make it as far as they had. But there were others, led by Ouyang, who noted that everyone kept underestimating Team Shanghai and that Team Shanghai kept proving them wrong. But this discussion took a sharp turn when a tournament official walked up on stage with a microphone and announced, “There has been a change to Zhejiang University’s roster. Shi Hang is replacing Zuo Cheng in the mid lane. Zuo Cheng will stay on as a substitute.”

“It’s not April 1st, is it?”
“Are they for real? Is this for real? AyDeeCee is going to play?”
“Oh my god, Zhejiang University actually did it? They’re going to let a professional player on their team? What bosses!”
“AyDeeCee is playing? We’re going to get to see AyDeeCee? SWEEEEEEEET!”
“What the… Do they have no shame?”
“Hahaha! Can you believe it? They fucking recruited a professional player to beat a high school team!”