Rise Crew Reviews: League of Legends of Battle System

<League of Legends of Battle System>

Hey guys! It’s Shanks here and I found a doozy of a novel for us to look at together. Honestly, it was pretty hard deciding what kind of novel to go with for our first Rise Crew Reviews. I jumped between terrible romance novels to bad cultivation novels to plain smut. Then I was thinking, maybe I can learn something from the wise sages of the past? So, I went and searched for old esports novels until I landed on this one! Today, we’re going to check out one of  the predecessors to Rise–⁠League of Legends of Battle System.

The genre is esports. A relatively new genre? But really, it’s in the same category as regular sports stories. We’ll probably see elements like the protagonist wanting to be the very best, forming bonds and building friendships, and a big tournament arc the story is building up to. The formula is pretty overused by this point. But what matters is the execution, right?

So without further adieu, let’s get into the synopsis: 

“A no name passers-by, time and again the ultimate operation, a perfect mvp. He is the league’s number one master! Long-term dominate the national dress, Hanbok first! He hoisted all the king, abused professional players, eventually led the team to win the world championship, become the first ray of League of Legends! All this because of the emergence of a magical system!”

Dev: Okay. First things first. What does Hanbok mean, Shanks?

Shanks: No idea.

Dev: What does it mean in Chinese?

Shanks: It sounds more Korean than it does Chinese.

Dev: This is a CN webnovel, right? That means this is translated from Chinese, not Korean.

Sietse: The first sentence is clearly a diversion. The real information comes from the third one. There we learn that our main character sees himself as Hanbok the first. My guess is that he’s going to build a dynasty of people wearing national dresses. He will be hoisted up as king and abuse every professional player standing in his way, which is easier because he doesn’t need to pull his pants down; he just has to lift his dress up.

Shanks: I went and actually searched for the raws. Hanbok the first is a mistranslation for the Korean server, but this works too. I actually like it better this way. Matches the underlying theme of all the popular esports novels these days.

Dev: That’s what we’re missing in Rise. We need a real Yaoi element. Lin Feng is a nice shounen protagonist, but we need a spicy yaoi chapter between Nightsong and Daybreak Hermes. Or Ouyang and Liu Yue. That’s how we’ll get all the fujoshis to come read Rise!

Shanks: I could totally see a BL ship going between Ouyang and Liu Yue. The admiring kouhai and the uncool senpai trying hard not to show how uncool he is!

Sietse: We already have Shanks x Devs. Why would we need Ouyang and Liu Yue, or Nightsong and Hermes? Let’s just focus on the love that’s right in front of us here. On that note. Lin Feng dating League. Hear me out. League of Legends is the magical system. It’s come to life and blesses those it deserves worthy with its special touch. Guess it has to be male for a yaoi scene, sooooo LoL is male.

Dev: Why are you such a weeb, Shanks? God damn. Every time I try to pull the anime out of the novel, you ram it right back in. Like putting a chicken up a turkey’s ass for Thanksgiving. No one wants to eat a dead bird violated by another dead bird!

Shanks: We’re derailing here! Synopsis! Focus! What were we on again?

Dev: Yeah, yeah. Okay. So what I’ve gotten from this synopsis is that Hanbock over here was basically a nobody who played League of Legends all day. And then something happens that gives him a magical ability. I’m guessing he’s either transported into the game as a Champion or he’s got some way to see into the future or something like that. And this allows him to become the number one best player in the world, because he’s a filthy cheater.

Sietse: Plot armour isn’t cheating. Crowning yourself Champion is. And that’s clearly what’s happening here. Why else would he have to crown himself King first? And then he makes his servants call him the First Ray. Heck, going by webnovel logic, he bought the magical system in some dingy shop in a backway alley. Actually, it probably happened in a scene where someone else pointed out just how useless the item is—

Dev: Stfu Sietse! We’re supposed to be reviewing the novel here. Not writing another one of your shitty stories. Also, you guys remember when the idea for this was that we platform interesting novels or stuff from translation history? Now we’re just talking shit about Hanbock and this novel.

Sietse: Idiots can’t even get the name right. It’s Hanbok the First. Not Hanbock.

Shanks: In short, Hanbock the First Ray gets a magical system and becomes the best League of Legends player in the World. At least, that’s what we’ve gathered from this poorly translated synopsis. Let’s see if our guesses are right by reading the first chapter!

Chapter 1 – One Thousand Purchase System:

Shanks: Should we do a read along?

Sietse: I’ll read—

Dev: In 2016, Jiangcheng in March was lukewarm, an occasional breeze brushed by—WAIT! I corrected that. Let me try again:

“In 2016, Jiangcheng in March was lukewarm, occasional breeze brushed, but also make people feel a touch of comfort.”

Dev: I think this is a Haiku!
~Devshard proceeds to clap his hands while reading the first line to count syllables~
Dev: Look! 5-7-5!

Shanks: IT IS A HAIKU!

Dev: So what is Jiangcheng anyway?

Shanks: It’s a city in China. I think it gets mentioned in the next line. See:

“Jiangcheng is the provincial capital of Jiangsu Province, located in the eastern part of China, is a very prosperous city.”

Dev: Well. That’s helpful. I like that they take the time to set the stage for us in this whole thing. We know the year. 2016. We also know where we are, which is Jiangcheng. And we now know where Jiangcheng is in China. I can picture it clearly.

Shanks: I have never heard of Jiangcheng in my life.

Dev: I’m more Chinese than Shanks now, clearly.

Sietse: It’s a very prosperous city, Shanks. Shame on you. I’m sure your parents are greatly disappointed in you right now! Didn’t you get basic geography in elementary school? Also, water is lukewarm. Maybe this is an under the sea city. I never got underwater geography, maybe Shanks didn’t either… This might not be entirely on Shanks after all.

Dev: Right. Before Sietse continues writing another original story that we’re not supposed to be doing here, let’s get to the next line of this riveting story.
Shanks: I, uhh, got curious and Googled Jiangcheng. It’s not a city. It’s a district in a small city in the province of Guangdong. Prosperous my ass. It’s a fucking tier 3 Chinese city. That’s where all the old people go to die.


“In the east of Jiangcheng, a private room built in the early nineties, a young man, aged about 18, is lying in bed staring blankly at the not-so-damp ceiling.”

Dev: I really like how well this sets the stage. We start out in China. Then it narrows down to Jiangcheng. Then we focus in on the east of Jiangcheng to a private room built in the early 90s. You just don’t see that kind of descriptive setting in webnovels any more. I literally don’t know the last time we talked about a building and described when it was constructed. But moving on from that…

It concerns me that we’ve got a youth who is “approximately” 18 and he’s lying in bed staring at a not-so-damp ceiling. Why is the ceiling wet? Is this a case of powe—

Shanks: Power jizzing. That’s why the ceiling is wet. Why else would you be staring at the ceiling blankly? It’s that post-nut clarity.

Dev: Fun fact. Many cultures and forms of meditation utilize the post-coital state of clarity to enter into meditative trances. The entire discipline of tantric practices is based on that fundamental principle. Because you exert a lot of energy and all that, when you finish your body is in a state of total relaxation. And your mind is also calm. So you nut and then meditate to keep meditating longer. It’s a whole thing.

Sietse: It’s not so damp. No one said it’s wet. Why is it wet in your mind, Shanks? Also, that’s some pretty big distance against gravity he’s making there. What colour is your ceiling, Shanks?

Dev: We looked this up, Sietse! Turns out that the world record for long distance ejaculation is 18 feet. Shanks and I tried Googling to see how he trained himself to get it that far, but we’ve been unsuccessful in finding any information. My personal theory is based on the fact that the prostate has a muscular and membranous portion. I think our… champion over here used a series of smaller and smaller rubber bands to force his prostate to contract against greater pressure during ejaculation to get it super swol. And then he took the rubber bands off and unleashed his seminal kamehameha.

Sietse: Let’s just assume the ceiling is dry… And painted white, with normal paint. Why does it always have to get so dirty? Let the young man ponder on his age. Maybe his parents abandoned him and he really just doesn’t know.

Shanks: Alright, moving on—

Dev: You’re just going to jack the job of reading the chapter from me, Shanks? Without even asking? What an asshole.

Shanks: Alright alright, can I read the next line, Devs? I already did it once. Thought you were cool with it.

Dev: Now that you asked politely, sure. You can take the next line, Shanks.

Shanks: Okay! Moving on for real now. Here’s the next line, where we find out more about our protagonist:

“Zhang Huan, a young man, is a freshman at Jiangcheng University of Science and Technology. As a result of his early studies, he is now 18-18 months old.”

Sietse: I guess the one question we’re all wondering here is what 18-18 months means, and how his studies got him to this age. And what in the world this age is. My theory is that his science study led to him creating a wormhole project that transported him into an alternate reality with at least 19 months in a year. In an attempt to keep up with how old he is in Earth years, he started adding the number of months to his age. That makes him in his late twenties in Earth years. He’s an old man.

Shanks: I see no years in that line. He’s clearly “18 – 18 months” old. That’s simple math guys. He’s 0 months old!

Sietse: A little baby. We get to be there when he utters his first words! I wonder what they’ll be. Mom? Pops?

Dev: I’m starting to understand why basic undergrad classes that deal with math are so difficult for you, Shanks. He’s clearly 18 years and 18 months old. Or 19 years and 6 months old, for those of us that follow the normal 12 month calendar. ORRRRRRRRR… Wait. I think Shanks might’ve been onto something here. Maybe this is a math riddle, but he got the math incorrect. He’s [18 year  – 18 months] old. Or [18 years – 1.5 years], which leads us to him being 16 years and 6 months old! That’s where the early studies part comes in! He’s a Dougie Howser type character!

Shanks: Is that why there was an “approximately” earlier? Anyway, we’ve also completely glossed over the fact that we’ve been introduced to our protagonist and who he is. He’s Zhang Huan, a young man and freshman at Jiangcheng University of Science and Technology!

Dev: Very vital information, I guess. I’m wondering what happened to Hanbok?

Sietse: He isn’t Hanbok the First, yet. This novel would be kind of short if he already was the man/trap/king/First Ray he’s going to become. We’re here to watch his journey, not look at the finished product.

Dev: Sure! I guess that makes sense. Even though we’ve had a geography lesson and a math lesson in the first three lines of this novel and very little about League of Legends. Let’s go to the next line, Shanks!

Sietse: He’s just making sure you’re worthy of his story.

Shanks: Sure!

“Watch System …”

Dev: What?

Sietse: Here comes his super power! He can look under hot girls’ dresses!

Dev: What?

Shanks: …Yeah. I don’t know. Onwards! Maybe our answer lies in the next line! Go for it Sietse! You should read next!

Sietse: If I really have to. I mean… Uch. Fine. Here I goooooo.

“Zhang Huanping not learn at the moment, but love to play the game, that game is the most popular league of heroes.”

Sietse: Not learn at the moment sounds like he’s skipping his classes. And then the next part has me thinking he’s spending all his time playing video games. More specifically, League of Heroes. Whatever that is.

Dev: I think it’s saying that Zhang Huanping… wait. Who is Zhang Huanping? I thought our protagonist was Zhang Huan who is eventually going to become Hanbok? Anyways. So this Zhang Huanping guy, he doesn’t know it yet but he’ll eventually come to love playing the game League of Heroes. Which is the most popular game at the moment. I think. I could be wrong here though. Maybe Sietse is right and it means that he isn’t studying, and instead spending all his time playing League of Heroes.

 Shanks: Maybe that’s Zhuang Huan’s full name? I’m not sure. Let’s find out in the next line!

“Not long ago, Zhang Huan Gang played a League of Legends from an Internet cafe. In his middle of the mind, there appeared a weird ‘viewing system’ that enabled him to easily see through the fog of war in the game and observe the movements of players in the game and all eyes.

In addition, he can see the next five seconds with the ‘war system’, refresh again after five seconds, and then continue watching. If within five seconds of change, it will immediately refresh, rather than wait until five seconds to refresh.

And when the observation system possessed later, Zhang Huan clearly feel a lot easier with his brain, thinking ability rose a.”

Sietse: Random perspective shift. Now we’re following Zhang Huan Gang. And he’s playing League of Legends. So we’ve got three characters now. One lays in his bed and stares at his not so damp ceiling, the second loves to play the most popular League of Heroes, and this third one plays League of Legends. Is this a novel with three main characters, or do we get a rare insight in the head of a schizophreniac.

Dev: I’ve figured it out! Zhang Huan Gang refers to Zhang Huan and his Friends! His “gang”. His crew. His buddies. You know? Wait… the next sentence goes into what happened in his mind. So maybe Zhang Huan Gang is another character? I’m genuinely confused right now. But I don’t care. We know there’s a Chinese youth who jizzes onto his ceiling and likes playing League of Heroes/League of Legends. And now he’s got some kind of ESP that lets him see beyond the Fog of War in the game…

Oh. And he can see five seconds into the future. I have no idea what all the refreshing is about. My head hurts now. Devshard out.

Sietse: What if the guy on the bed is having a mad shroom episode and dreaming all of this? And he’s just seeing double, so he’s giving each version different names to tell them apart. That’s also why he thinks he can see in the future.

Shanks: I’m legitimately surprised you guys could parse all of that. What the hell does the whole refreshing five seconds mean? I have no idea. Also, he’s feeling easier with his brain? Was he uncomfortable with his own brain before? Maybe Sietse is right and he’s completely shrooming out

Dev: Shrooming out? Damn,  Shanks. That’s some hardcore druggie talk from you. Anyone actually ask you to do drugs with them before? Or offer you shrooms? Cause I’ve known you a long time now, buddy, and I definitely would not share my drugs with you if I decided to partake in such recreational activities.

Shanks: Yes, actually. When we were having pizza right before Godzilla. I refused, of course. I’m a good boy. But what does that have to do with the chapter?

Dev: … sure. I’m sure someone got shrooms and wanted you to get high before watching Godzilla. Totally believe that. Seems completely plausible. But anyways, Sietse and I can parse all of this together to come up with what it means because we have to do this with your translations every single day. REKT!

Sietse: Kinda wanna see Shanks getting high on shrooms to be honest. I tried to get him to try some drugs last year, but he kept refusing. Such a buzzkill.

Dev: Wait! You and Shanks walked around Amsterdam looking for a drug dealer? Really? That honestly sounds hilarious. I would pay money to watch a YouTube show of that. Just you guys walking around shady corners, freaking drug dealers out and confusing the shit out of vice cops.

Sietse: That’s the most retarded shit I’ve ever seen from Devs. No, dude. We’d go to a coffee shop, which you can find on nearly every corner of the big cities, and buy some drugs.

Shanks: You can’t blame Devs, Sietse. He’s American. His only experience with how people deal with drugs recreationally is watching people getting arrested on Cops. And Reno 911.

Sietse: Fun story, I had to process two guys who had 3 kilograms of weed plants stacked in their car. That’s just a bit more than legally allowed. But they were clueless about that and didn’t even think the cops would notice 3 fucking kilos of the stuff. This wasn’t packaged. These were full plants.

Dev: Devshard is a doctor. Who frequently deals with people who are overdosing in the ER, or thrown at the ER by the cops because they were high on the streets. Devshard also has to play the fun game of “Intoxicated or schizophrenic or in acute psychosis?” every single time these people come in. In summation, Devshard’s experience with drugs, drug dealers, and recreational drug use is far more extensive than a few TV shows. Oh! Fun fact! I threw 58 stitches on a drug dealer who got stabbed multiple times during a robbery or drug deal gone wrong or something like that. Nice guy. Super chatty while I was suturing him up. Unfortunately, I listened to none of it because I was concentrating.

Shanks: Fun story! A whole bunch of em. But I think we’ve forgotten why we’re here. It’s to review this novel, guys! So let’s move on. But I think if we keep going line by line, it’ll take forever for the readers to get through the first chapter. How about we fast forward and only comment on some of the funnier excerpts we find? We’ve got the basic setting down already, anyway.

Here, found one! A few paragraphs down! He’s back at it again!

“After the end of his teammates have sent to add a friend’s request, but Zhang Hwan did not have time to take care of them, go straight off the machine, hurriedly returned to rent a rental house not far from the school.”

Sietse: Our buddy Zhang Hwan… is having an identity crisis. He keeps coming up with new names. But this version of him, after winning a League game, has to get off the machine to rent a rental house. I’m just, so confused as to why he needs to hurry. Somehow, this seems to imply that this game got him the money he needs to rent a house. Why else the hurry? He’s late to rent, but finally got the money! So now he’s on a mad sprint to get a good place. In fact. What if the guy looking up at the not so damp ceiling is this Zhang Hwan after he bought a house? And that with this new house, he also got his first name change! From here on out, his name will just keep on evolving, until we get to the ultimate version: Hanbok the First!

Shanks: Interesting theory. But I can’t help but feel like we’re writing fanfiction here, at least that’s what trying to parse this story is making us do. I was with you up until the buying house part. But I think you missed the most important part. The not so damp ceiling! In his excitement from renting a new house, he jizzed ont he ceiling!

Sietse: We finally have an explanation for the jizz on the not so damp ceiling! EUREKA!

Shanks: Alright, alright, let’s read the next excerpt.

“Really blessing dependencies ah, just got the watch war system, Ah directly dropped a thousand, it is difficult to become the money is used to buy the system fails?” Zhang Huan sat bitter in the bed to think.”

Sietse: He bought the system! I called it! He bought the fucking system! He went to some dingy shop in a backway alley and bought himself this watch war system! Devs saying I was making this shit up… HA! After working on Mad Snail with Shanks, I’ve learned to channel my inner webnovel. I’m really good at guessing what’s going to happen next. Shanks and I would play this game in Rebirth Thief. I’d come up with some weird story and then a couple of chapters later and Shanks would say that’s too crazy. Then a couple of chapters later, we found out I was right all along. That was when I peaked.

Shanks: I was so confused by that line that I had to actually look at the Chinese. He didn’t buy the system. Zhang Huan is saying that this situation is a mixed blessing. He got his cheat system, but he also lost a thousand bucks. So it’s like paying $1,000 to buy the system.

Sietse: I don’t see how what Shanks says changes anything. He’s one grand down and now has the system that will magically fix everything. Kind of like Dwight buying the magic beans from Jim.

Shanks: I would chuckle at your reference. But I’ve never watched The Office before. But before I get flamed for not watching The Office. Next excerpt!

“Zhang Huan is typically less than despised father and mother, do not admit defeat, put it nice to say there is a character, ugly is a silly hang.”

Dev: I got this! Alright. So Zhang Huan isn’t like his Mother and Father. He despises them mildly. He doesn’t admit defeat like they do and perseveres in the face of obstacles! To put it nicely, he’s got way more character than they do. And because he’s got such great character, he doesn’t hang with ugly bitches. He thinks that’s silly. BOOM!

Shanks: Alright, so do you want to know what it actually says? I know you’re proud of your MTL-fu, but I think you may be stretching things here. Just a liiiiitle.

Dev: That’s what it actually says! Look, this is basically a word scramble. I unscrambled the words like a World War 2 era codebreaker to find the hidden meaning! The pearl clutched deep inside the oyster’s mouth!

Shanks: Okay, so what it actually says:

“Zhang Huan wasn’t depersate enough to call his parents for help yet. He wasn’t going to give up. To put it nicely, you could say he had character. To put it bluntly, he was a dumbass with no idea what to do.”

Sietse: Well, there we have it. A great Shanks original translation! And good for Zhang Huan! He doesn’t go to his parents to beg for money! He just plays Leagues and does shrooms all day, then complains how he never has any money and how unfair life is. Which, in his words, is having character. Shanks is onto something here, Zhang Huan is a dumbass.

Shanks: I’m really liking this segment where we have Devshard parse bad MTL in deep philosophical musings. But I think we should start wrapping things up. So, last one!   

“Because smart people know that rainy day, there must be a car to the mountain that is self-deception.”

Sietse: Smart people know. Rainy day. Car mountain self-deception. If you aren’t smart enough to understand that, then uhhh… You’re one of us. I’m also not smart enough to understand what the fuck this is all about. But it sure sounds deep. Then again, a lot of things sound deep when you’re high on shrooms. This main character is a mental nutcase I worry.

Dev: I fancy myself a bit of a philosopher, so I can say that this is a truly profound sentence. There is deep wisdom here. Possibly Buddhist in origin. You guys need to understand that there is profundity in the simple. Whenever we have a rainy day, or some kind of terrible circumstance or obstacle, there is always a mental vehicle waiting for us. A car, if you will. Or a train of thought that quickly takes us to and lets us get lost in an illusion. Some way that we deceive ourselves about how we can turn this bad situation into a good one. Or how we can find our way out of this… tribulation. That is the mountain that is self-deception. A personal and mental Erebor, if you will. And the higher you go up this mountain, the most distant you get from reality. Until you’re standing at the very top, and the only way to get back to the real world is to jump off and plummet down to the Earth. But no one has enough stones to jump from that high up.

Real talk, that one line redeemed this entire chapter for me. There’s enough thought in that one sentence that I could meditate on this for months.

Shanks: The actual translations–⁠

“Smart people plan ahead. Only idiots believe in, “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there .””

Concluding Thoughts:

Shanks: So in summary, we’re introduced to the protagonist of the story, Zhang Huang/Zhang Huangpin/Zhang Huang Gang/Zhan Hwan, who is a 18-18-month freshman student in the Jiangcheng University of Science and Technology. He’s a League of Legends addict, who gained a special ability when playing a League game one day. It allows him to see through the fog of war and see 5 seconds into the future in a game. He’s poor and can’t afford rent. Oh, and one thing that we didn’t get to is that his only friend in school is another student called Lin Feng.

I’m kind of sad that we didn’t get to it. But there’s not much we could’ve worked with besides, “Oh, look! His best friend has the same name as the protagonist in Rise! Maybe they’re the same person!”

Sietse: My concluding thoughts won’t be about the novel, but of the guy translating it because I think Shanks has touched on the story enough in his summary. The guy who translated this was someone learning English and doing it in an interactive way. As much fun as we have poked at his translation, I do think this is a great and fun way to learn a new language. I kind of wished he’d kept going, so that we could watch him improve. According to Shanks, this guy wasn’t using MTL to translate either. He was really trying and for that I give him big kudos. Dude, keep on rocking! At the end of the day, that’s what most of us in this webnovel translation scene are doing. For me personally, it’s really cool to look back at the first ever chapter I did together with Shanks and then fast forward to now. There’s such a big difference between where we came from and where we are, and that’s really cool and rewarding to see (even though Devs likes to say we haven’t improved at all; but who cares about that, right?).

Shanks: I’m curious if I would have picked this novel over Rise. Probably not. The whole cheat system that lets you see five seconds in the future and the fog of war rubs me the wrong way. I know it’s fiction and meant to be a power fantasy. But the protagonist is just cheating his way to victory.  There’s no difference between him and a scriptor/hacker basically, except that he can’t get caught. I’m interested in reading a few more chapters to see where the author takes this concept, though

Sietse: To add on what Shanks is saying about the dude cheating. It’s going to become pretty damn apparent he’s cheating somehow. The game devs might not be able to prove how he’s doing it, but they’ll know he’s doing it. Everyone will know he’s doing it. So I don’t doubt for a second he’ll be banned from the game. Boom! Game over! Fin!

Dev: Alright. I take issues with this sort of plot from a foundational perspective. Because there’s no actual conflict in it or growth. I’m not entirely surprised that the translator for this novel dipped out after five chapters, setting translation quality aside. The plot and premise for this novel is flawed. No one wants to read the story of how a guy who has a cheat/hack/magical gift manages to use that gift to get to the top of a competitive game. There are limits to how far that can go. What happens next to build tension? He’s in the middle of an important game and the cheat system stops working? The game developers catch onto the fact that something is abnormal about his performance so they ban his account and he has to start over from the beginning? Or maybe he finds someone with the same exact magical cheat as him, so there’s an entire game that happens with two players playing five seconds into the future the whole time?

The problem with this cheat is that it creates a very boring introductory phase while he’s climbing to the point where he’s facing players who are so good at League that they can beat him even with his cheat. He’ll be playing games that he actually cannot lose at for hundreds of chapters, which will bore readers. At that point, the author’s going to end up in a corner where he’s gotta do something to keep interest and build readership. So he’s going to upgrade the cheat from 5 seconds to 10 seconds. And then he’s going to have to keep falling back on that crutch. Eventually, he’s going to end up at a point where the upgraded cheat now sees an entire game into the future. And that’s when he’s only at the Challenger level. He’s going to finally end up at the World Championships against a Faker-type character and see three games into the future when he’s playing the first game.

No tension, no real conflict, and the cheat item gets to a point where suspension of disbelief is completely broken. That’s the problem with this entire story. It just isn’t well thought out enough to be executed properly. Which leads back into my point about this translator giving up. Even if his English was flawless and he could actually translate, this story would not have gotten any traction. Or retain a readership for the long term.

There are just too many flaws with this story to make it viable. You could make the argument that it might’ve had a chance back in 2017 when there weren’t so many novels around. But even in a market with high demand and low supply, this one just does not meet the bare minimum standard to survive.

Chapter 290 – Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

Just because An Xin wasn’t at the cybercafe for practice that didn’t mean Team Shanghai could afford it to slack off. Zeng Rui decided on a strategy and the four members sat down behind their computers. But they all knew something integral was missing. The glue that kept the parts together. An Xin knew where to gank, and arrived exactly when she needed to. She was the helping hand in many teamfights, always with a calm and confident smile. Now they had to play with a complete stranger who most likely didn’t have any of these qualities.

Junglers were the metronomes of their teams. And Team Shanghai looked lost without their Jungler. Zeng Rui worried about An Xin’s health. Not just for her wellbeing, but also for the effect her absence had on the team’s preparations going into the next round of the Winter Collegiate Cup. It was similar for Tang Bingyao and Zhang Hao, who were comparing every move of the replacement Jungler with An Xin. And this stranger in their Jungle wasn’t anything like An Xin. He lacked the pressure, the awareness… he lacked everything that made a Jungler good.

There was only one player on Team Shanghai that didn’t seem all too caught up in An Xin’s absence. Lin Feng. He was playing out of his mind. Team Shanghai went into five matches and came out victorious each time, and all because of him. His Zed, Lissandra, Orianna, Fizz, and Twisted Fate all achieved the Legendary status. He stomped on the mid lane and then roamed across Summoner’s Rift. The lanes that were losing suddenly found themselves with a few kills and breathing room. Double and triple kills were the norm for Lin Feng, one penta kill even blasting across Summoners Rift! Lin Feng was singlehandedly winning the games. He didn’t even need his teammates.

Zhang Hao threw his hands up in the air after the fifth victory. “Fuck!” he exclaimed. “I played like shit again! Fuck!” He grimaced before turning to Lin Feng and saying, “Damn dude. You’re playing out of your fucking mind today! These games are all about you carrying us. Fuck I’m bad!”

“Hehe, thanks!” Lin Feng replied, scratching the back of his head. These guys were just Master on the Ionia server. This isn’t enough to challenge me. It’s nothing like the games from last night…

Zeng Rui stared at Lin Feng and shook his head. He’s insane today! Every time I thought he couldn’t possibly carry any harder, he just had to prove me wrong. What got into him? It was… The thundering dumbass carried every single game! I played ok. Just. O. K. And he carried so hard! He is so much better than the rest of us… He plays so aggressively, but it always works. And he knows it will. He turned to look at the empty chair, the one An Xin was supposed to be sitting in, and grimaced. This reminds me of what you told me, BunBun. He’s only getting back in form. He’ll only get better. He forced himself to relax his shoulder and take a deep, long breath. At this pace, the thundering dumbass is going to be too good for any of us… I’ll be useless to him. No. I won’t let that happen. I need to work harder. He chewed on his lips and mumbled under his breath, “I hope you’re okay. We need you.” He then looked back at Lin Feng, who was grinning and his usual jovial self. He doesn’t look worried at all. Is BunBun not all that sick? I really hope I’m worrying for nothing.

Lin Feng laughed with Zhang Hao and Tang Bingyao, he chatted a bit with Zeng Rui, and the team had a long discussion about how to move forward. But he didn’t particularly care, because it wouldn’t change anything for him. They were going to win the Winter Collegiate Cup. That was where his line of thought ended and he started thinking about his other goals. Ones that put actual pressure on him, like reaching the Top 5 on the Korean ladder. The pressure is actually helping me! One was right! I really had to push myself a bit more! This university tournament wasn’t enough. How I played last night. And even today! It’s One’s push that got me into the right frame of mind! And I’m already feeling better! This is so much easier! But I can’t slip up. I can’t become lazy or complacent again. Realistic and hardworking. If I get distracted, I’ll be right back where I started. That’s why… He glanced at An Xin’s empty chair. That’s why I can’t let it bother me that you’re not here. I want you to be here. I need you here! But I also need to play. I need to win and get better!

Lin Feng walked home together with Tang Bingyao after practice. He lagged a little behind her, watching as she carefully stepped over the cracks in the pavement. Why isn’t she hopping? And why is she so quiet and looking at the ground? Is it because she wasn’t playing her usual game today? Maybe I should tell her that we won anyway, so it’s fine? Would that help…?

Tang Bingyao suddenly stopped walking, causing Lin Feng to almost walk into her. She turned her head and looked at him, then asked, “Why were you playing so well today?”

“Hu-what?” Lin Feng replied, surprised. He scratched the back of his head and continued, “Oh, well, that’s because I was always good at the game.”

Tang Bingyao shook her head and said, “That’s not what I meant.” She chewed on her lips, briefly considering how to rephrase the question, and then asked, “Everyone is worried about BunBun. It reflected in our gameplay. But you didn’t play any worse. You played better than usual. Are you not worried about her…?” Her eyes went wide when she heard how her question came out and she shook her head. I didn’t mean it like that! I didn’t mean to make it sound like I’m accusing him of not caring! That’s not what I’m doing! I’m just… I don’t know! Please don’t be mad! “I… I didn’t mea—”

“No, it’s not that,” Lin Feng interrupted. He looked down at the pavement and breathed in deeply, grimacing. “I’m worried. I’m worried about BunBun.”

Tang Bingyao tilted her head and asked, “Then why ar—”

Lin Feng cut Tang Bingyao off with a wave of his hand and said, “But BunBun’s health and League practice are two separate things. I’m worried about her, but that doesn’t mean I should drop everything else and stop functioning. I need to focus on what’s right in front of me. At the training, that was League. If I can’t even do that, I’ll just end up disappointing myself and everyone I care about. Including BunBun.”

“Mhm, I get that,” Tang Bingyao said, nodding. I know that’s the rational approach. But that doesn’t help with this sick feeling in my stomach! How do you ignore that? Do you not feel it? It’s pushing up to my throat and I can’t do or think! “Mhmm, I get that. I do. But…” She chewed on her lips and tried to find the words.

Lin Feng smiled and assured, “BunBun is a lot tougher than you’re giving her credit for. Don’t worry about her. She’s always been super healthy! You won’t get her down and you never have to worry about her! She’ll be here smiling and happy and playing the game with us again in no time!” Keep smiling. Show her that you’re confident. Don’t let her know that you worry. BunBun, please tell me you’re alright. Tell me I’m wrong and that you’re healthy!

“Mhm, ok,” Tang Bingyao replied.

Lin Feng looked at her and then at the strangers passing by. My gameplay today was just a result of what happened the other night. The muscle memory was always there. I was really good back then. I just had to find that state again. One helped me with that. The extra pressure is helping me get back in that state of mind that helped me get to the world finals four years ago. They just don’t know that I was always this good, so it looks more impressive. But it’s normal, for me anyway. He chewed on his lips and started walking again, staring off into the distance. But why do I keep telling everyone that BunBun is super healthy? Has she always been? I… Dammit why can’t I remember this!? I should remember this. It’s about BunBun! I need to be there for her! Just like she’s always there for me.

Lin Feng shook his head and felt the knot in his stomach tightening. You’ve always been there for me! Always. From the moment we first met, you had my back. You stood up for me when I didn’t. You helped me through everything. I could always come to you. You can’t be sick. It’s just not possible. It’s not. Please don’t be sick. You can’t be sick! I want you to be here! I want to see your smile and help me out when I don’t understand something! He closed his eyes and was surprised to feel something wet at the corner of his eyes. He breathed in deeply. You have to be alright, BunBun. No matter what, you have to be alright! You just have to be! You are! You always are! You’re always super healthy! Yeah! He exhaled and looked over his shoulder at Tang Bingyao. He said, “BunBun is always healthy! She’ll be fine! You don’t have to worry about her! She’ll be okay!”

Lin Feng arrived home just as Su Xue put the steaming dishes for dinner on the table. She dragged him to sit down and try out her latest attempts at a delicious meal. But he wasn’t feeling it. He played with his chopsticks and took a couple of small bites. Why do I think BunBun is always fine? That’s wrong, isn’t it? She’s always there for me, but… There was something. Why can’t I remember it? What was it? He placed down his bowl and chopsticks and knocked himself on his head a couple of times. “Remember it. Stupid brain, remember it,” he mumbled.

Su Xue watched Lin Feng hitting himself and raised her eyebrows. What’s got him down tonight? My food isn’t that bad, is it? No it’s not! And he eats anything. Her eyes suddenly went wide. Please don’t let it be another episode… She looked at Lin Feng and asked, “What’s wrong tonight? Is my food that bad?”

Lin Feng scratched the back of his head and said, “No, the food is good. It’s just… I feel like I’m forgetting something. Or can’t remember it? A memory from years ago…”

“Oh,” Su Xue muttered. She looked at him and joked, “Isn’t that normal for you? You forget everything! I had to glue the house keys to your forehead! You’re the goldfish!”

Lin Feng shook his head slowly and mumbled, “No, no. I think it was something important.” He got up from his seat and said, “Let me help you clean this up.” He didn’t wait for her answer as he gathered the bowls and brought them to the kitchen. Then he wandered off to his bedroom and let himself fall down on his bed. What was it? Why can’t I remember what it was?

Lin Feng lay on his back and stared up at the ceiling, feeling the touch of his phone in his hand. I should remember what it was. She always has my back. It’s the least… He grimaced. It’s not coming back. I’m just going to call her! He brought the phone in front of his face and dialed An Xin’s number. Then he placed the phone to his ear and waited for the call to connect.

“Hello?” An Xin asked.

Lin Feng hadn’t realised how tense he’d been all day, until his body relaxed when he heard her voice. She sounds fine! See? She’s fine! There’s nothing to worry about! She’s always healthy! “Hey, BunBun! It’s me! Lin Feng!” he replied.

An Xin giggled and said, “Of course it’s you! I could see when you called! Did anyone ever tell you how dumb you can be? But what’s up?”

Lin Feng scratched his forehead and answered, “Well, nothing I guess… You weren’t at school or practice today and everyone was worried. They wanted to know if you were okay, but didn’t want to bother you at home…”

“It’s fine! I’m fine. Don’t worry,” An Xin said. She briefly hesitated before explaining, “I was just feeling a little under the weather. You know how my mom and dad get. They overreacted when I told them and they had me stay home. I wanted to come to school in like the third period, but they made me stay home. Apparently they even called the school to request sick leave…”

“Oh! Yeah, the teacher told us! So that’s really all there is?” Lin Feng asked, pushing back his worries with a grin. His voice grew excited with each next word. “So nothing is wrong? You’re fine? You’re really fine! Everything is ok! You’re always healthy!”

An Xin giggled and replied, “Yep! I’m in perfect health! I might be back in school tomorrow already! And if I don’t, I’ll be at practice. Talking about practice, how did that go without me?”

“I did super well!” Lin Feng exclaimed, excited. An Xin had successfully diverted the topic. Lin Feng droned on about how he’d carried the games and how the random Jungler was a terrible player. Then he briefly talked about how the others played and finally he told her about how they were in Group A and how they had to play against Zhejiang University in one of the next few rounds.

“Zhejiang, huh?” An Xin remarked. “We’ll have our work cut out for us then. Zeng Rui thinks we’re playing them in the quarterfinals?”

“Yeah! That’s what he said!” Lin Feng replied. He grinned and continued, “It’s going to be easy! We’re going to stomp them and qualify for the main tournament! We just have to win the quarterfinals! There are no semis or finals! Top 4 go to Nationals! AndAndAnd I’ve gotten a lot better too!”

An Xin smiled and said, “Oh? Is that so? You sound really confident.” She giggled and continued, “If you don’t go Legendary next game, you’ll have to treat me to dinner as punishment!”

“It’s a deal!” Lin Feng exclaimed, patting his shoulder. “Oh! Did I tell you about my call with One yet? I don’t think I did. Hmm… Right! So One called me the other day and I answered. He made me play in Korean solo queue on his old account! I have to climb all the way to the Top 5 on it! Cool, right!?”

An Xin asked in surprise, “He wants you to climb to the Top 5 on the Korean solo queue ladder?”

“That’s what I just said, yeah!” Lin Feng replied, laughing. He then added, “But he gave me CN•HOOK2! I can’t just get to the Top 5. That’s not good enough! I have to get Top 3 or first place! I have to make One proud!”

An Xin smiled and remarked, “You sound more and more confident with every word. How far do you think your ego can inflate?”

Lin Feng completely misheard An Xin. How far to him meant how far up the ranked ladder. He pumped his fist in the air and said, “I’m going to hit the Top 5 easy! One asked me to do it and I won’t let him down! I’m going to hit the Top 5 and then continue for the Top 3 and first place!” He suddenly stopped rambling and added, “Right! One told me that Five really misses you. Asked if you could give her a call sometime.”

“Five?” An Xin asked in surprise. “I haven’t talked to her in so long. Yeah. I’ll call her. Of course! Just send me her number and I’ll give her a call tonight!” She then changed the topic back to League of Legends and advised, “You’ve got the right mind. But you need to focus on the meta Champions! Fizz, LeBlanc and Twisted Fate are all the rage right now. And Anivia is also popping back up again. Pick or ban them. You shouldn’t give them to the opponent, even if you want to practice against those Champions. You have to play this seriously, or you’re going to end up doing stupid things!”

Lin Feng listened to An Xin giving him advice, nodding along to everything she said. I know all of this! I could be playing ranked now! BunBun is fine! I don’t need to worry about her! She’s helping me again. This is how it should be! Everything is alright! Everything is… She changed the topic. He scrunched his nose and ruffled his hair. Why did she…? Something is wrong.

An Xin hadn’t stopped talking. “The Korean pros usually get on after 10 P.M. That’s when they get home from practice with the team. You should play before then to have an ea—”

“BunBun,” Lin Feng interrupted.

An Xin paused and asked, “Yeah?”

“You’re not lying, right?” Lin Feng asked. “You’re really alright? You’re not lying to me, are you? Is everything okay? Are you doing ok? Is there anything going on I should know about? Please tell me! I want to help you!”

The line went silent. An Xin didn’t have a reply to the question.

Chapter 289 – Mr.Lin, I Don’t Feel so Good…

Lightless grinned when he saw the endgame lobby. He won and more importantly he gained 13 League Points! Hum, would’ve really liked to see that game last a little longer. Playing with that Lissandra was really nice! I want to do that again! He clicked on CN•HOOK2’s profile and sent a friend request. A couple more games tonight would be nice. And maybe some more tomorrow… Some duo queues with him and my rank will go up fast! That’ll be great! Hum… What’s taking him so long? He canceled the friend request and sent it again. Maybe he just didn’t see it…

Five minutes came and went. Lightless sat behind his computer in the dark gaming room from Dark Glory, waiting. Just waiting. Why isn’t he accepting my friend request? Everyone always wants to add me! I’m the best mid in China after Hermes! He should want to add me! Why isn’t he… Lightless clicked through CN•HOOK2’s profile page, but that didn’t help either. He grimaced and mumbled, “Everyone always wants to play with me!” Hum, he just didn’t see my friend request. He just didn’t see it. Our synergy was too good! He’ll want to play with me! He canceled the friend request and sent it for a third time. Come on, just look at your friend requests and accept it!

The clock ticked deeper into the night, but CN•HOOK2 wasn’t accepting Lightless’ friend request. And Lightless did not enjoy that. He chewed on his lips and shook his head. He just doesn’t see it. He just… Hum, I really wanted to play a couple more games with him! Our Mid-Jungle sync was insane! That never happens! Just a few more games. Please add me! ACCEPT! ACCEPT!

Lightless clicked around, refusing to go into another game on the off-chance that CN•HOOK2 was going to accept his friend request. After browsing around the profile page in the League client, he found himself going to a League of Legends statistic website and searched for CN•HOOK2 there. His jaw dropped down and he moved closer to the monitor, blinking away the exhaustion of a long day of League. The most played Champions on CN•HOOK2’s account were Thresh, Blitzcrank, Annie and Leona. These Champions had one thing in common. They were all Supports. Holy shit! What? What are all these wins? How the fuck is this possible! Hum? Why are all these Champions Supports? Only the last few games are mids. Is he a Support main? Don’t tell me that he’s a Support main… His Mid is so good!

“Impossible. Impossible,” Lightless mumbled as he clicked on a random match history. Hum? He’s playing with another CN prefix player here… He clicked on another match history and found the same name. He’s duoing a bunch with this CNDancingShoes? Ad-carry and Support… Hum… That makes it less crazy. Just a bit. Maybe… If he’s duo queuing then I guess it’s possible to win this much. They just both have to carry really hard. Still really damn impressive, but not as impressive. Yeah. It’s not that impressive to win every game in duo queue! I can do that too! Screw him and this stupid friend request! He canceled the friend request, and then sent it again. Dammit! I just want to play another game with you!

Lightless moaned and complained for another couple of minutes, mindlessly browsing the League statistics website. But the more he looked through CN•HOOK2’s account, the better he started to feel. The initial knock to his ego subsided. This guy is beating all the high level players on the Korean server! Duo queue or not, that’s really impressive! I wonder who those two are. Hum… CN•HOOK2 and CNDancingShoe, I probably know them. Hermes and Nightsong? They could maybe pull this off? But… He scrunched his nose and scratched his forehead. Why do I feel like even those two aren’t good enough? No, no. They can! They’re good enough to do that. Yes. Hermes and Nightsong. Has to be the two of them. Even though Hermes doesn’t play on the Korean server… But it’s the only explanation that makes sense! Yes! He grimaced and shook his head. It didn’t make any sense to him. None of it.

Between Lightless and FatMelon’s viewers, there were more than a hundred thousand people wondering about the identity of CN•HOOK2. But none of them would link it to Lin Feng. They could find out that the name was one of the aliases One used all those years ago. But at this point, it could be anyone behind the monitor. And Lin Feng wasn’t intent on helping these people figure it out. After he finished his last game of the night, he shooed Su Xue out of his room. School was starting in only a couple of hours and he still wanted to get some sleep. He didn’t even bother to brush his teeth, taking his clothes off haphazardly and throwing himself down on his bed.

The alarm rang and buzzed Lin Feng awake only a few hours later. He pushed his eyes open, groggy, and stretched out long. “Uch, too early. I wanna sleep,” he complained, slamming down on his alarm until it finally stopped making a sound. Then he turned around to get another few hours of sleep. He closed his eyes and smiled. Just a little longer. A few more

The door to Lin Feng’s bedroom swung open. Su Xue stood in the entrance wearing her pink Jinx pyjamas. She held a meat cleaver in her hand and rhytmically rapped the dull side of the blade against her palm. “Are we getting up, or do I need to help you again?” she asked.

“I’m going! I’m going!” Lin Feng yelped. “I’m up already! I’M UP!” He jumped from his bed and threw his clothes on. His normal hairstyle was the fresh out of bed style, so he didn’t see a reason to put more effort into that. He rushed to the bathroom and brushed his teeth, then grabbed a sandwich before running out of the door and to school. But at the corner of the street he paused and looked back up at the apartment. He grinned and mumbled, “I’m really good at dodging cleavers too!”

The first bell rang when Lin Feng bolted into the classroom. He said a quick apology to the teacher and sat down at his desk in the back of the classroom. “Hey,” he said to Ouyang and then he turned around to An Xin’s desk and repeated, “Hey!” Huh? Where’s BunBun? She’s never late…

The teacher started the class, demanding everyone’s attention. She reminded the students that the college entrance exams were coming up and that this was the most important test in their lives. That they absolutely couldn’t let anything or anyone distract them right now! And Lin Feng took that to heart. He turned his attention to the teacher following the Tang Bingyao approach. I’ll earnestly listen to everything the teacher says! That works for Tang Tang, it’ll also work for me! I’m really good at imitating people too! It was his only option to get a good score. Because between the Winter Collegiate Cup, the Korean ranked ladder and streaming with Su Xue, there was practically no time to also do his homework.

Most students in Senior Class 7 didn’t share the same devotion as Lin Feng. They were distracted by the empty desk in the back of the classroom. It was strange to call in sick so close to the college entrance exams. This was the single most important test in their lives! It decided if they were going to become professional cleaners or doctors! Yet An Xin was apparently sick enough that she gave up on these valuable few hours of class! Quiet whispers buzzed through the classroom. Their messages were largely similar. “Where is BunBun?”

The teacher asked a question, pulling everyone’s attention back to the front of the classroom. It was a difficult one. The kind that Tang Bingyao or An Xin would usually answer. But An Xin wasn’t in class. Her warm, soothing voice wouldn’t sound out from the back of the classroom. Nor would the students get to hear her happy laughter during the breaks. She wasn’t there to answer their questions in between classes either. It was quiet in the class. No one answered the teacher’s question, not even Tang Bingyao who was glancing over her shoulder at An Xin’s desk.

“An Xin called in sick,” the teacher finally said. “Her mom said she’ll be back in two days. Now, can someone please give me the answer to my question?” She paused briefly before adding, “Focus! This is important!”

It was early in the afternoon. The winter sun rose over the buildings, casting its golden glow into Senior Class 7’s classroom. It reflected off the dust particles fluttering in the air and pushed away the cold air. Students were fighting off the drowsiness, listening to their teacher drone on and on about English Literature. Snoring sounds occasionally rang out, until the teacher caught Ouyang sleeping. He received a lecture on going to bed on time and how paying attention in class set him up for a bright future.

The teacher turned back to face the chalkboard. She grabbed some chalk and wrote down how weird the word weird was spelled. It was so dull that even Tang Bingyao was finding it difficult to keep her focus on the lecture. She chewed on her pen and tilted her head at an angle where she could both look at the teacher and glance at An Xin’s desk at the back of the classroom. What’s going on with BunBun? Yesterday she couldn’t even grab some paper and now she’s sick? Something is wrong. Something has to be wrong. But what? Why won’t she tell us? Is she afraid? What can I do? Mhm

“OUYANG! WAKE UP!” the teacher yelled, waking everyone up. “If I hear you snoring one more time, you’re going to the principal’s office!”

“It wasn’t me!” Ouyang argued, the sleep crust thick on his eyelids. He quickly wiped it away and added, “I’m paying attention! I am! You were talking about weird being weird!”

“You got lucky,” the teacher said. She shook her head, exasperated, and turned back to the chalkboard. “Nevermind. Let’s go on with the lecture.”

Ouyang grinned and nudged Lin Feng with his elbow. He leaned in closer and whispered, “Did you see that, bro? Got out of that nicely, huh? I’m Challenger at sleeping in class!”

Lin Feng blinked a couple of times, trying to stay awake himself. He looked over at Ouyang and nodded a couple of times before turning back to look at the chalkboard. Weird. Yes. Weird is weird. Right. That’s where we were…

Ouyang nudged Lin Feng again and nodded at An Xin’s desk. He whispered, “What’s going on with BunBun anyway? She sick? She looked fine last night. What do you think? Did she just sleep in and get her mom to call in sick?” He glanced at the teacher, making sure she wasn’t glaring at him again, before continuing, “She even joined us at dinner last night! I mean, she wasn’t all that talkative or anything, but no one is always. Right? She looked perfectly healthy! When did she get sick?”

Lin Feng ruffled his hair and mumbled, “Don’t know.”

“Didn’t you bring her home last night?” Ouyang asked. He pricked his finger in Lin Feng’s side and continued, “Did she tell you something? Do you know something? The bro code states that you can’t hide anything from a fellow bro! If you know something, you have to tell me! Wait, wait! She wasn’t feeling great! That’s what she said right before leaving! She must’ve told you more, right? Tell me what she said!”

Lin Feng scratched his nose and stared at An Xin’s empty desk. Something felt wrong last night. But she said she was fine… She said she was fine! I left her at the subway station… But her mom called the school, so BunBun got home safe. She didn’t look fine. That’s why I kept asking! But she wouldn’t tell me! What can I do when she won’t tell me what’s wrong? I can’t do anything if she won’t tell me! He grimaced and shook his head. “I don’t know. She told me she was fine. Just tired…” There was something more going on! Even I could tell! But what is it? Why wouldn’t she just tell me? And what is this stupid feeling in my stomach? Am I hungry…? He ruffled his hair again and focused his attention on the chalkboard. I’ll call her to check up on her later. Maybe that’ll help my stomach…

The dismissal bell rang and the students from Senior Class 7 packed their bags and left the classroom, except for the players from High School 13’s esports team. Yang Fan swirled around in his chair, while Ren Rou and Tang Bingyao walked over to Lin Feng from the front of the classroom. All of them looked at An Xin’s empty desk and then at Lin Feng.

“Maybe she caught a cold last night when going home,” Ouyang suggested. “It’s been really cold outside, but the sun makes it feel warm! Maybe she just wasn’t dressed properly and got cold! Detective Ouyang has cracked the case!”

Yang Fan shook his head. He adjusted his glasses and said, “Doubt it. She didn’t look sick yesterday and she had plenty of layers of clothes on. But she did say she wasn’t feeling too great at dinner last night.”

Ren Rou nodded and said, “If it’s not a cold, then it has to be something more serious, right? What if she’s really sick…” She looked at Lin Feng and asked, “Do you know something? Is she… physically healthy? Like, is there something we just don’t know about? Something that happened years ago and is still bothering her or something? Do you know something?”

Lin Feng shook his head and replied, “No. She’s never been sick a day in her life!” He paused and scrunched his nose. Never? That doesn’t feel right. She has been sick… Has she? Why can’t I remember? It feels like I’m forgetting something…

“How about we visit her?” Tang Bingyao asked.

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and argued, “I’m not sure if that’s the right approach. We don’t know what’s wrong. Who knows, maybe she really just needs rest. What if we go there and interrupt her rest? She’ll need to recover longer! Let’s not do that to her.”

Ren Rou nodded and added, “What Yang Fan says. But we can’t do nothing either. How about…” She turned to look at Lin Feng and asked, “Lin Feng, how about you give BunBun a call? Ask her if she’s alright and tell her that we’re all worried about her and want to know if she’s ok. Then let us know what’s going on, ok?”

Ouyang jumped from his chair and threw an arm around Ren Rou. He then turned back to look at Lin Feng and said, “What Rou Rou says! You and BunBun have been friends forever! She has to tell you! Just ask her and then report back to us! That’s the broway!”

Lin Feng scratched the back of his head, watching Ren Rou slap Ouyang away, and finally said, “Yeah. Okay. I’ll give her a call.” I was going to call her anyway. I hope she’s okay. But… Why do I feel like I’m forgetting something? I should know this… He chewed on the inside of his cheeks. I feel like I know what’s going on with her. Dammit, Lin Feng! THINK! What is it?

The next round in the Winter Collegiate Cup was only a couple of days away. Team Shanghai was still a new team that above all needed time for the individual players to grow closer and come together as a team. So even though An Xin was home sick, Lin Feng and Tang Bingyao met up with Zhang Hao and Zeng Rui at the cybercafe. They would simply have to focus on the aspects of their game that didn’t rely on An Xin’s Jungling.

“Where is An Xin?” Zeng Rui asked. “Did she have to go to the toilet?”

“She’s sick,” Tang Bingyao replied, frowning.

Zeng Rui looked at his three teammates, and then at the empty chair and the fifth computer that was turned off. He grimaced slightly before saying, “That’s not great. I received the information for the Round of 16. It’s a bit different from the previous round. There are four groups, and two teams from each group move on to the next round. We’re in Group A together with Zhejiang University…”

“Shit!” Zhang Hao cursed. “Do we have to play them right away? What are we going to do without BunBun?”

“No, not right away. But we’re facing them soon enough,” Zeng Rui answered. “As for your second question…” He looked at his teammates and sighed. I don’t know… But we need her. The most likely situation is us having to play Zhejiang in the quarters. They’re going to make it to Nationals or we are. We need to be ready for them. And we can’t prepare for that without BunBun! We need her here for this! What are we going to do if she doesn’t get better in time? Do we need to find a replacement! We already don’t have a lot of time and I still gotta deal with the thundering dumbass! He chewed on his lips and grimaced. Shit! This is really bad. Really fucking bad!

Zhang Hao slumped back in his gaming chair and mumbled, “I just hope BunBun is going to be okay. But it’d be nice if we could also win, you know?”

Zeng Rui massaged his temples and took a deep, calming breath. He said, “We have to do our best. Four or five of us, we have to play our best and give it our all!” He turned to Lin Feng and added, “Make sure to call her. We need to know what we’re up for. If she isn’t good to play, we’ll have to find a replacement asap.”

Lin Feng nodded and said, “I will call her tonight! And I’ll let you guys know! Don’t worry too much, you’ve still got me! I’m really good at carryin—”

“Too,” Zeng Rui finished the sentence. “Yeah, yeah, we know. But we need our coach and Jungler to win. Just call her and find out how she is and when she’ll be back.”

Lin Feng nodded a bit slower than before. I know… I know. Just trying to lighten the mood a little. I’m sure she’s okay. She has to be! She’s BunBun! She’s always there for me! We need her now, so she’ll be there for me again! It’s how it always goes! It’s how it has to go! He took a deep breath and said, “Okay. I will.”

Chapter 288 – You’re the Beat to my Heart, the Oxygen to my Lungs and the Whisper to my Soul

FatMelon leaned forward in his gaming chair and was just short from shoving the microphone into his mouth. He play-by-play commented on the fight in the bot lane, “Blue team’s Nami and Jinx are stunned by Leona’s ultie! Red team’s Irelia is teleporting in, in, in! She’s there! And now she’s on the Nami hacking away with her blade! That’s an Equilibrium Strike! The Nami gets slowed right after the stun disappears! AND THE JINX FLASHES THE ZENITH BLADE!”

SSIIIIIIICKK!!!!! Hwo did she dodge that? Aaaaaaaaahhhh Im losing tittt!!11!
sheee llivveeesssssss WTTTTFFFFF HOWWWWWW

FatMelon wasn’t a very high level player and the gross of his viewers were stuck in Silver or Gold. They hadn’t the faintest idea about the intricacies of a high level fight. All they saw was Jinx flashing away to dodge Leona’s Zenith Blade, and for that they celebrated. But Lightless wasn’t sharing in their happiness. He clicked down on his mouse with a little bit more aggression, unconsciously hoping it would make his Lee Sin run faster, and cursed, “No, idiot! Why Flash? Jarvan is just going to knock you up now and kill you! What a stupid panic-flash!”

The Champions on the Rift couldn’t feel the emotions of their Summoners. Lee Sin ran at the same speed as before and couldn’t reach the fight faster than Jarvan IV. Lightless was forced to watch as Jarvan IV threw down his Demacian Standard and struck out at it with his lance–Dragon Strike! The two skills connected, making Jarvan IV dash forward! The Jinx was out of range, but a Flash fixed that. Jarvan IV carried all the momentum with him and threw Jinx up into the air! He followed up by casting Cataclysm, leaping at Jinx with such force that he terraformed the earth around her into an arena!

ded jinx jinx is ded, kek
wtf! Did you guys see that J4 flag toss flash combo! In-fucking-saaaaaaannneeeee!!!!!

Bowie was playing Lucian. The gank in the bot lane in large part his handiwork, coordinated by him through a series of pings. Those pings right now were focused on the Jinx as he shouted at his computer, “Focus the ad-carry! Get that Jinx! Get her!” His teammates couldn’t hear his shouts, but his pings got the message through. Irelia ignored Nami and dashed at Jinx, while Jarvan IV kept stabbing at Jinx with his lance!

“Just a little more! Just a bit!” Bowie mumbled, his fingers gliding over his keyboard. Lucian raised his two relic guns and fired a beam of Piercing Light at Jinx! His passive skill Lightslinger activated. He aimed at Jinx and fired a doubleshot! Then he dashed forward, relentlessly pursuing after Jinx, and raised both guns for another doubleshot!

You have slain an enemy!

rip jinx….. Lightless too… he too late
darius and lightless both late to the fight… go figure. NOOB JINX!
why did jinx not save her flash?????? Stupid nubs…

“NOOOOO!” FatMelon cried out. He panned his camera, searching for Lee Sin and Darius. “They’re too late! Nami is still in the middle of the lane! Lightless has lost the damage dealer! HE HAS LOST THE DAMAGE DEALER!”

FatMelon was about to go into an explanation why this play was so detrimental for Lightless’ team when he noticed that the Blue team didn’t give up. He quickly pushed the microphone closer to his mouth and continued, “Lightless hasn’t given up! He’s going in! Safeguard to the Nami! He’s next to Leona! AND HE’S HIT HER WITH A SONIC WAVE! HERE IT COMES! ROOUUUUNND HOOUUUUUSE KIIIIICK!”

After Lightless used Safeguard to dash to Nami, he activated Sonic Wave followed by Dragon’s Rage! His Lee Sin marked Leona and then struck her with a powerful roundhouse kick! She couldn’t keep her feet on the ground, flying off into the distance! Jarvan IV was right behind her. Leona hit him with such force that he was hurled up into the air! It didn’t slow her down. She flew further and crashed into Irelia and Lucian, knocking both of them up into the air!

FatMelon felt beads of sweat popping up on his forehead. He quickly wiped them away, money signs shining in his eyes. “FOUR PEOPLE! HE HIT FOUR! FOUR WITH ONE ULTIE!” he exclaimed, his viewers flooding the chat with similar messages. His throat felt dry, but he ignored it. These high hype moments were when he made the most money! He grinned and shouted, “Now’s the time! Send your gifts! Give your power to Lightless!”

The viewers reacted straight away. They threw their money at FatMelon in the form of subscriptions, donations, and gifts. A hundred thousand people emptied their pockets, lost in the hype! This was the kind of excitement they came to see! And somehow, FatMelon always managed to deliver! He always found the most impressive games and the best plays.

Leona was still marked by Lee Sin’s Sonic Wave. Lightless activated the second half of his Q skill. His Lee Sin dashed at Leona and then slammed his palm down on the ground! A Tempest of qi swept out around him, striking all four Red Champions and permeating into their bodies! The rogue energy wreaked havoc and Crippled them!

Darius strode over into the bot lane and swept out with his axe to Apprehend Irelia and Lucian! They were caught by the axe’s hook and pulled towards him. He then grabbed his axe with both hands and channeled all his power into a wide swing! Decimate! He spun around and cleaved through the air. But Irelia and Lucian Flashed away before the axe could cut them.

chase em!!!!!
blood for the blood gods, skulls for the skull throne!
we gunna win this un!

FatMelon didn’t consider himself a good player. But after watching so many high elo games, he did believe that he had some understanding of what was going on. He looked at the fight and then read his chat. He shook his head and said, “No. Lightless should give up. That’s still a 3vs4! Red team’s cooldowns will be down soon and then they’ll just kill the Nami and then Lightless and Darius. Look, Lightless has stopped attacking. He’s going to ba—”

“WaitWaitWait!” FatMelon exclaimed. He saw the pings and flicked his camera upriver. Lissandra was moving down the river and closing in on the bot lane. “Lissie is coming! LISSIE IS HERE! We have to fight it! Go in, Lightless! GO IIIIIIIN!”

dat timing!!!! GOOOOOO LISSIEEEE!!!!
get the killllssssss!!!! WOOOPP WOOOOPPPPP!
Where’s that idiot who always has his idioms ready? GIMME A STUPID IDIOM!
somethingsomething… lost fight won fight, harharhar
It’s like having a mattress right under you when you fall over trying to squat on the toilet and take a shit!
xDDD youre the hero we need but not deserve

Lightless smiled when he heard the pings. He glanced at his minimap and confirmed what he already suspected. This Lissandra is great! Hum, always there when you need her! I should have her tryout for Dark Glory! We’d be great together! I’ll even go back to the Jungle! He grinned and shook his head. Can’t believe I’m about to say this… He’s playing better than I am. The thought came as a shock to Lightless. He shook it away and focused on the game. Lissandra was in the bot lane and about to engage. He just had to follow up and help her secure the kills. I’ve played so many games in Korean Challenger. But I’ve never met anyone like her. CNHOOK2… What a player!

Lin Feng’s Lissandra sent forth an ice claw! It carved a Glacial Path across the Rift, until Lissandra appeared on the far end of it. She intercepted the retreating players from the Red team! Her appearance was too sudden. No one reacted before she flung her arms up into the air, calling forth the ice around her and slamming it into the four Red Champions, rooting them with the Ring of Frost! She followed up with her ultimate! A Frozen Tomb of ice shot up from the ground below Lucian and locked him up inside!

Lightless had his Lee Sin chase after Red team’s Champions, using the dash from Safeguard to close the gap faster than Nami and Darius could. “Nice going!” he shouted at his screen. “Let’s clean this up, Lissandra!” He didn’t care that she couldn’t hear him. He was just feeling great. The synergy he had with Lissandra was something he didn’t have with anyone else. It’s like she knows exactly what I want to do, and then she helps me do that! She’s always there for me! Hum… This is great! He grinned and threw out a sucker punch to knock the health out of Leona. This is the feeling!

Lin Feng’s Lissandra packed a ton of damage after her earlier kills. Her ice magic froze the life from Lucian! An Ice Shard then slammed into Irelia and depleted the last of her health! The smaller chunks of ice knocked into Jarvan IV and claimed his life! Only Leona was still alive. But she was caught out between two enemy Champions with no skills available to escape. She ran towards her outer tower, but fists and ice magic whittled her health down until there was nothing left. Her corpse fell to the ground well before ever reaching the outer tower.

You have slain an enemy!
Double kill!
Triple kill!
Quadra kill!

Lin Feng grinned and said, “That’s a win in the bot lane! Didn’t you say something about the bot lane?” He turned to look at Su Xue and laughed. Then he opened his mouth and nodded at Su Xue to feed him another bite of chicken cutlet.

Su Xue felt numb, dazed, shocked! She grabbed some food and shoved it into Lin Feng’s mouth, her mind going haywire. He got a quadra in Korean Challenger… A QUADRA! Oh my god… Oh my god! A quadra! She fed Lin Feng more chicken cutlet and shook her head in disbelief. “A quadra, you actually got a quadra…” She looked at the food in her hand and the rest on the desk. Then she grabbed it all, including what she’d bought for herself, and fed it to him. “You deserve this! I’ll go and make some more! You eat it all up! Eat it!”

The more than a hundred thousand people watching FatMelon’s stream lost it. They absolutely and completely lost it. They expected a brilliant performance from Lightless. That was why they’d tuned in. But they got so much more than just a Lightless show. The Chinese Lissandra in the mid lane was putting on a clinic!

Hahaha! This is the best! Two Chinese players hard carrying in Korean Challenger!
I know right! Who said China has no talent!? KOREA HAS NO TALENT!!!!
were gonna be best region!!!!
Lawl. Suck that cocky shitheads! china>>>>>>>koreascrubs
cant believe how hard theyre carrying, just wow
lissie and lightless needa duo queueueu!!!!!

It wasn’t just the viewers having a good time watching the stream, Lightless was also having a good time playing the actual game! The more he played together with Lissandra, the more fun he was having! He was playing Lee Sin, who was a strong early game Champion that fell off hard in the mid to late game. His real prowess lay in the ability to set up for his teammates. To work together and seize opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist. But to do any of that, he needed teammates who understood him. This Lissandra understands me! I’m stuck with players who don’t know what to do half the time. Some follow up halfheartedly. But it’s so rare to find someone like this lissandra… this CNHOOK2, he just knows exactly what to do! he plays so incredibly well!

Lightless chuckled and mumbled to himself, “I wonder who this guy is. CN•HOOK2, hum… I know it from somewhere, I must. Just, I don’t remember. Who is it?” He wanted to send a message in team chat again, but held himself back. He hasn’t replied to anything yet. Probably doesn’t want to reveal who he is. I’ll let him have that and just enjoy this game. He nodded and smiled. I really want to know who you are though. But… Having fun in this game is still more important. I’ll bug you after the game! We can chat then!

Lin Feng didn’t care about the stream that Su Xue sometimes showed him on her phone, nor what Lightless was typing in chat. He was playing this game with two goals on his mind and he wouldn’t let his focus from that waver. The first goal was the one he’d given himself. To push himself and keep getting better. And then there was the task One had given him. He had to reach the Top 5 on the Korean ranked ladder. I can’t let One down! And I can’t let anyone think poorly of the name CNHOOK2 either! I’m going to hit the Top 5 and then keep climbing! This name deserves to stand at the top! That’s what I’m going for!

CN•HOOK2 was one of the names that One used for his secondary accounts. This was completely different from how Lee Dojae gave Han Seho the online handle Rake. Lin Feng didn’t take over the CN•HOOK2 account to carry on the legacy of a name. Because to him and to One, names didn’t matter. He thought back to a conversation he’d had with One years ago. A legacy isn’t about something flimsy like a name. It’s about the spirit that’s hidden behind it. Don’t try and be me. Be you. You’ll create your own legend, just like I have, and everyone will know you for it.

Every time that Lin Feng thought back to that conversation, his heart started racing again. One has always believed in me. He still does! He says I can create my own legend! I will do that! I’ll keep pushing myself and get better! His eyes blazed with an unquenchable fire. This little challenge? Getting to the Top 5? Easy. Consider it done. I’m going to be doing so much more! I’ll be a legend!

The game was still moving forward. Team Lin Feng was destroying Team Random Koreans. Lin Feng’s Lissandra was so far ahead that he had both the damage and the health to kill everyone who came at him. And when the Red team tried to play around him, he just chased after them. He helped his teammates and played in near perfect sync with Lightless’ Lee Sin. Most of all, he was having a good time.

Lightless was in a similar state of mind. There was no real pressure for him when he played in solo queue, nothing like the pressure he felt in professional games anyway. But there was usually the problem of teammates who didn’t know how to play with him. This Lissandra did know how to play with him. He played without hesitation and knew that Lissandra had his back. And that brought with it a kind of joy he rarely felt. He smiled and played. He had the time of his life! Until the 20th minute. The Red team was so far behind that when the ability to surrender opened up, they took it with both hands. Lightless’ camera was pulled over to the Red Team’s base just in time to see their nexus explode. A blue victory crest floated up on his screen.


Lightless only noticed now how he was sitting on the edge of his seat. He let himself fall back in his gaming chair and just stared at the monitor for a good couple of seconds. “We won…?” he mumbled. “We already won…?” Games almost never end this quickly! These Korean Challengers never give up! Why did they have to give up now… He frowned and shook his head. “Would’ve been nice if I got to play a little more. This was a fun game.”

「EZGG! hahaha! We won!
LOLLOOLOLOLOL 20min ff hahahahha
what a motherfucking game!
shit that was satisfying!!

FatMelon shook his head, laughing, and said, “You guys got it all wrong! Those Koreans weren’t noobs! They’re some of the best players out there! It’s just that our two Chinese players were the real stars! They were just way more awesome! We kicked those Korean butts!”

yep yep, we’re just too awesome!
hahaha! Lightless and that cnhook2 were 6666666666!
the mid-jungle synergy was off the wall!

“I’m still curious to find out who that is, though,” FatMelon mumbled more to himself than to his viewers. But this question was also something his viewers had been trying to answer. Now that the game was over, they could finally focus their attention on CN•HOOK2 and figure out exactly who he was!

Hey, didn’t somebody say they were going to look up CNHook2’s profile?
anyone look him up yet????
Where are the streamdetectives!?!??!?!?

Chapter 287 – A One Sided Bromance is no Real Bromance

An enemy has been slain!

Lightless was in the middle of clearing a Jungle Camp when the message sounded out in his ears. Hum? He moved his camera to the mid lane and found Lissandra clearing Red minions on top of Orianna’s dead body. What happened? He rubbed his chin and mumbled, “That Liss got a solo kill on Ori? How did she do that? Ori still had her Flash…” He shook his head in disbelief and added, “Must’ve really caught her off-guard. Crazy.”

The people watching FatMelon’s stream hadn’t missed what happened in the mid lane. FatMelon was interested in the Lissandra from the very start. Another Chinese player on the Korean Challenger ladder meant another business opportunity for him. So when he noticed Lissandra engaging on the Orianna, he pivoted his camera away from Lightless and showed his viewers how Lissandra butchered Orianna. His eyes went wide in shock over the next couple of seconds. This Lissandra is so good! He grinned and exclaimed, “Oh my god! Did you guys see that? Did you guys see that? HOLY SWEET MOLY!”

whittle ori down. throw some ice at her. kill her. EASYYYY PEEASSSYYY LEMON SQUEEEZYY
bloody hell, mate! The way Lissie over there used her ultie, like a friggin tomb of ice!!!!
Mad props to that liss! She knew exactly how much damage she had and linked that perfectly together with her CC!!!
thats one for the boooks!!!!! SICK!!!! play. fucking mental! X.X”

FatMelon nodded along to his chat while quickly working his software to pull up a replay of the fight. “Let’s look at this one again! This deserves some extra attention!” he said, grinning. This’ll help me set up for following that Lissandra! Everyone is going to want to watch her! I just gotta hype her up properly!

“Here we go!” FatMelon exclaimed to the camera. He then focused on the replay and reacted to the plays, “Lissandra hits Level 6 right there! See how the Orianna is already low on health? But that doesn’t matter when Liss flashes in!

“Frozen Tomb! WOOOO! Liss uses her ultimate to seal Orianna in a tomb of ice! Orianna can’t move or do anything, while Liss just keeps on firing ice magic at her! Damn! This Chinese Lissandra is gooooood!

“Oh! Orianna flashes away! But… THE LISSANDRA SAW IT COMING! Hahaha! She cast her only movement skill, Glacial Path, in the right direction! Orianna flashed towards it! This was too easy for Lissandra! But damn, what a play! WHAT A PLAY!”

that final ice shard was soooooo bm! Hahahah XDDDD

FatMelon watched the response in his chat and grinned. His eyes read money. Lots and lots of money. This Lissandra is so good! It’s like I’m dreaming! CNHOOK2, eh? You’re going on the list! I’ll make sure you get a few highlights, especially if you keep playing like this! It would be even better if I can figure out who you are… Just imagine if you’re someone like Hermes! I’ll get hundreds of thousands more viewers! He turned to look at the camera and said, “What an amazing guy that is… I really wanna know who he is! Do any of you have a clue?”

sounds familiar… but im not sure…
psure that’s a dota smurf… shit it’s been like 10 years…. So long
a dota smurf?!
European pancakes >>>>> shitty american small obese pancakes

Su Xue jumped from her chair in Lin Feng’s bedroom and shouted, “That was great! You just solo killed a Challenger! A Korean Challenger!” She reached for Lin Feng’s shoulders and shook him back and forth. “A KOREAN Challenger!” She smiled. I knew he was good. But. But. He’s beating Korean Challengers! Korean Challengers! Oh my god! Oh my go She suddenly noticed the half eaten chicken cutlet on Lin Feng’s desk. He hasn’t finished his food? Since when doesn’t he… Oh! He’s too focused! I can help him! She reached for the chicken cutlet and stuffed it into Lin Feng’s mouth, saying, “Here! Eat this! You need to keep your energy up! Eat. Eat!”

Lin Feng kept his eyes on his monitor. He opened his mouth and let Su Xue stuff it full with food, but he didn’t let it distract him. His breathing remained calm and steady and his hands never stopped moving. “Tasty,” he said.

“Good! Eat it all!” Su Xue replied, smiling. I can help him! I just need to help him stay in the zone! Maybe I should get a portable potty in case he needs to… She shook her head and looked at the food again. There isn’t too much left and he’ll need all the energy to stay on his game. She chewed on her lips and then said, “How about this! If you get more kills like that, I’ll prepare you something else!” He’s beating Korean Challengers! Oh my god! Oh my god!

Lin Feng was slightly distracted. Food was a big part of his life. His eyes remained on the screen but he asked, “Do assists count?”

“Yes, yes! Assists count!” Su Xue exclaimed. She leaned closer towards the screen to get a better view and continued, “Just show me more amazing plays! And win the game! Win it! I wanna see you win!”

Lin Feng nodded slowly. I need to win. I’m going to win! All the way to the top of the leaderboards! And I’m also getting food as a reward! This is great! He grinned for a brief moment, but then the focus returned. Focus. Stay focused.

Lin Feng’s Lissandra pulled far ahead of the Orianna, both in terms of creep score and kills. It came to the point where there really wasn’t any value for Lin Feng to stay in the mid lane any longer. So he started to look around the map, searching for opportunities to help his team grab a bigger advantage. His camera stopped on the top lane.

Blue team’s Darius was being pushed in by Red team’s Irelia. Lightless’ Lee Sin was moving up the river to help his Toplaner out. Lin Feng searched around the map. Where is their Jungler? If he goes top… He’s going top. I’ll go top. Lin Feng had his Lissandra push out the minion wave in the mid lane and then sneaked up the river. Every few seconds, he moved his camera up towards the top lane to see how the gank was progressing. Knew it.

Lightless’ Lee Sin and Darius chased after Red Team’s Irelia. But rather than retreating to her outer tower, she waited for Lee Sin to throw his Sonic Wave before jumping on Darius! She dodged the skillshot and then attacked Darius with Equilibrium! Her blade hacked down into Darius and stunned him! Right then, Jarvan IV rushed out of Red team’s Jungle into the top lane and flag tossed at Darius and Lee Sin, landing the double knock up! He followed up with his ultimate skill–Cataclysm! He leaped up at Darius and then slammed down into the ground with such ferocity that the earth terraformed into an arena! All four Champions were locked up inside!

Lin Feng couldn’t help himself from grinning. They’re making it too easy for me! His Lissandra arrived in the top lane and cast Glacial Path! A claw of ice broke through the earth and moved towards Jarvan IV’s arena! Lin Feng pressed down on the E key again to activate the second part of this skill. His Lissandra blinked towards the ice claw, arriving right between Irelia and Jarvan IV! Ring of Frost! She raised her arms with a sudden ferocity, calling forth every particle of ice hidden within the ground. They wrapped around the Jarvan IV and Irelia and rooted them!

“Another frozen corpse,” Lin Feng mumbled, his finger pushing down on the R key–Tomb of Ice! Pillars of ice shot out of the ground and immobilized Irelia! The ice wrapped around her skin and drained away her health. All the while, Lissandra attacked Jarvan IV with Ice Shard. They exploded on his armour, smaller bits and pieces smashing into Irelia behind him!

Lin Feng was purposely switching between attacking Irelia and Jarvan IV. The double is mine. I’ve got enough damage. Doesn’t even matter what the other two do. He glanced at Darius and Lee Sin. Just hope they’re not going to try and kill steal this… Doesn’t matter. I got this. He smiled and pressed down on his Q key for one fine Ice Shard. The attack slammed into Jarvan IV again, before the remaining bits and pieces drained away the last of Irelia’s health. One attack, two kills.

An enemy has been slain!

Double kill!

Lin Feng didn’t stop to celebrate. He pinged on the outer tower while having his Lissandra clear the Red minion wave that was marching into the top lane. His two teammates understood the message. They helped him kill the minions and then the three of them attacked the outer tower.

Lightless’ Lee Sin followed right behind Lin Feng’s Lissandra. The player in question sat behind his computer in Dark Glory’s headquarters, smiling. This guy is awesome! It’s so refreshing to play with a Midlaner like him! Reminds me of playing with my teammates! I don’t need to say a thing, he just knows what I want to do! Hum… I just have to follow him and I… I can actually… He shook his head and chuckled. I feel like I can trust him. Trust someone in a solo queue game. Kind of ridiculous… and funny. He shook his head again and pressed down on the Enter key.

CN•Wuguang (Lee Sin):Good job, Lissandra!

There was again no reply for Lightless. But where it was a conscious choice the previous time, this time Lin Feng didn’t even see the message. Su Xue was stuffing him with more chicken cutlets and telling him how great he was, and he was just trying to keep his eyes on the game. In this process, his happy-go-lucky approach resurfaced a little. He grinned and let go of his mouse to pound his chest. “This game is in the bag! See? I told you I’m really good at roaming too!”

The Red Team had lost the mid lane and also the top lane after Lin Feng’s roam there. Blue team’s Darius got the advantage he needed to pressure the Irelia away from the minions. But the same couldn’t be said about the bot lane. The Red team was dominating that part of the map. This was in large part due to Bowie, the ad-carry for the Red team. He was a famous player on the Korean solo queue ladder who was currently ranked 116th, but he’d peaked in the Top 50! More impressively, he was scouted by a team in the NLB, the second division in Korea!

Bowie sat behind his desk grumbling quiet complaints at his monitor. His Lucian was 2/0/1 and up 26 CS on Blue team’s Jinx at only 10 minutes into the game. Yet he was losing. More accurately, his team was losing. It’s that guy again! He’s… Bowie gritted his teeth. He’d recognized the name CN•HOOK2 in the loading screen and knew his team was in trouble. I thought he was a Support! But… He did play a couple of Mage Supports… He took a deep breath and then mumbled, “Frick!”

There weren’t many players Bowie remembered in solo queue. Most just weren’t good enough to gain his attention. But CN•HOOK2 was one of few exceptions. “CN•HOOK2 and CN•DancingShoes, I remember you two. The Botlaners who rekt me!” He glared at the Lissandra and complained, “I thought you were a frigging Support! What are you doing in the mid lane!?” He’d played against CN•HOOK2 more than a week ago. It was just a single game, but he still got goosebumps when he thought back to that match. They were so good… So frigging good! They rekt me in the bot lane! I couldn’t do anything against them! They were just so in sync. It was… frigging friggity!

Bowie forced himself to calm down through long, deep breaths. But images from that lost game against CN•HOOK2 kept appearing in his mind. And it wasn’t just that game… I looked them up! They had so many wins! I had to double and triple check! Frigging insane! How the frig do they keep winning? I got recruited by an NLB team, and I’m better than any LPL ad-carry… Including that frigging Nightsong! Who the frig can they be? Why can’t I find any information about them? He shook his head, frustrated. They could make it all the way to the Top 10 on the ladder with the way they were playing! How can they not be pros!?

“Why is CN•HOOK2 not playing Support?” Bowie mumbled to himself. He scrunched his nose and complained, “And why is he winning so hard in the frigging mid lane!?” This is frigging stupid! I can’t let him win this game! I’ll splash some red on all those green victories of his! Maybe they’re Koreans with some sick humour? No. No one would be that stupid! We can’t let anyone with that prefix get to the top of the Korean ladder! I’m going to stop him right here! He gripped his mouse tightly, focusing on pushing away Blue Team’s Jinx in the bot lane. I just need to focus and pull really frigging far ahead! Really frigging far! Because that stupid Lissandra already is. Darnit!

Bowie tapped himself on the head and grumbled, “This is going to be a hard one. But I’m not going to let some Chinese nobody beat me again! Or a professional player, who cares? I’m going to beat him!”

Su Xue tapped on Lin Feng’s shoulder, worried. She pointed at the minimap in the bottom right corner of the screen and said, “Red team’s bot lane is winning really hard! I think they’re pretty good! You need to stop them! If they get any further ahead, you’re going to lose!”

Lin Feng shook his head and replied, “It doesn’t matter if their Botlaners are doing good.”

“Because you’re too far ahead?” Su Xue asked. Oh! His Toplaner is also ahead! And Lightless is playing Lee Sin! She moved around in her seat in excitement and said, “Oh, oh! Is it because your Toplaner is really strong? And with the Lee Sin, you guys can kill the Lucian at the start of the fight! Is that it?”

“Yeah!” Lin Feng said. “Lee Sin is pretty good. And we’ve got a nice synergy going on!”

Su Xue rolled her eyes and replied, “Of course he’s good. That’s Lightless! He’s the best player of Dark Glory! You should be happy that he let you go mid!”

“Uh, no,” Lin Feng retorted. “I picked Mid. He didn’t have any say in it.”

“That’s even worse! He’s a famous Midlaner!” Su Xue exclaimed.


FatMelon’s stream went from following Lightless’ journey in Korean solo queue to fanboying for CN•HOOK2. Everyone wanted to know who this mysterious player was, but they didn’t want to take their eyes away from the game either. FatMelon was just like his viewers, forgetting to even check his chat most of the time.

this lissandra is awesome
lissie has best awareness and roams! 666666
where the effin ff did this lissandra pop up from? Did anyone confirm if this is that smurf from the DotA guy?

“WaitWaitWAIT!” FatMelon suddenly exclaimed. He held his hands up and shushed his viewers. “Bot lane! Bot lane!” He moved his camera and focused on the teamfight that broke out in the bot lane 14 minutes into the game.

Red team’s Leona got the jump on Blue team’s Botlaners with her ultimate. She called down a Solar Flare that slammed into Lucian and Nami, stunning both of them! In the brush at the bottom side of the bot lane, a pillar of red light descended. Irelia was teleporting in! And Jarvan IV was charging down into the bot lane from the river entrance!

Lightless had expected the gank in the bot lane and was already on his way. He pinged his Botlaners to let them know that he was only a couple of seconds behind them!

FatMelon took his spot as commentator. He grabbed his microphone and placed it against his lips, shouting, “A huge fight in the bot lane! Lightless is almost there! Darius is teleporting in! IT’S GONNA BE A 4v4!”

lightless best JUNGLER IN KOREA!!!!!!
Gawd… soooooo boring!
Tomb Raider King is so much better than this shit…
has the advantage of a god-tier translator like MiracleRifle!
Not this Shanks scrub >.>

Chapter 286 – You’re a Thief; I’m no Thief!

There were different kinds of streamers. Some relied on their good looks, others on their gameplay, and still others on the gameplay of others! FatMelon belonged to this last category. He kept close tabs on when professional players were in solo queue and would then spectate their matches. His current stream was following CN•WuGuang who was better known as Lightless Heart, the Midlaner for the LPL team Dark Glory. He was widely accepted as the second best Chinese Midlaner, only behind Daybreak Hermes, and his team had made it all the way to the playoffs in the previous LPL season. Dark Glory almost even made it to Worlds, but lost that hope to Dust.

FatMelon glanced at his viewer count. It had stabilized at well over 100,000 viewers after the previous game. Perfect! I could get like 300k if I show Rake, Moon, or one of those guys. But there are others already doing that. I’d have to be better than all of them. I was the first streamer who specialized in following Chinese players on the Korean server though. Hehe! Best to stick to this. It’s more than exciting enough! Look at Lightless here! He’s ranked 176th on the Korean server! That’s basically the highest out of any Chinese player! Now just to hype it up a bit more…

FatMelon winked at his camera and said to his viewers, “We’re going to see another game by Lightless Heart! He’s still playing on the Korean server! Will it be another stunning victory? What Champion will he pick in the mid lane this time? STICK AROUND AND FIND OUT!”

Lightless was freaking awesome last game!」 
yo no kidding, even the korean challengers cant do anything against our pros」 
WTF was that teamfight shit though? FUCKIN NUTTY !!!!!
shittin good what you mean, yeah? My lord those dudes over there in the Korea land are so much better than us!
Their solo queue is, anyway. Ionia is shit next to that!
DEFFEFUCKINGNIVETILY higher quality than on Ionia !1!1!!!

FatMelon read the response he got in chat and grinned. His plan when he started streaming had worked. Chinese fans were fed up with the Korean players claiming they were the best in the world. But it was also a widely accepted fact that the Koreans were the best in the world right now. And that the Korean server was the most competitive in the world. That also meant that there was nothing more exciting to many Chinese players than seeing their fellow brethren lay waste to Korean opposition and rising up the ranks in Korean Challenger!

Individual skill, roams, teamfights, coordination… These Koreans are better at everything. FatMelon shook his head. There was no point in worrying about this. I should be happy! It’s getting me all the viewers I could ever want! I’ve got more than a hundred thousand people tuning in when I stream just to watch Chinese pros play on the Korean server! He took a deep, long breath and read through his chat messages again. A hundred thousand people all came here to watch me spectate a game! I’ve made it big! I am a success!

FatMelon kept an eye on Lightless’s account. Queue in Challenger could take several minutes, which gave him all the time he needed to really hype up his audience for the next game. He pulled up the Korean ranked ladder and scrolled down to 176th. “Just a bit more till he finds a game, guys! While we’re waiting, let’s take another look at the ranked ladder! You all saw how he jumped to 176th after the previous game! But look at this! If we assume he gets the same LP again, he’s going to jump up all the way to 174 if he wins again! Imagine that! We’re going to have a Chinese player ranked 174th!”

Just as FatMelon was about to continue with another tidbit of information, the queue popped for Lightless. FatMelon clicked on the spectate button and his stream showed Champion Select. CN•WuGuang was third pick on the Blue team.

Hey ! Look at first pick!」 
Whaaaaat! Check the summoner name!
holy shit11111 weve got more challengers/////////

FatMelon was an entertainer. He cared more about the response in chat than about the actual game itself. And right now, his chat was losing it over the player who had first pick. He looked at the name and raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Is that another pro?” he mumbled to himself. I don’t know who he is. I don’t think that’s Hermes’ name… Hmm… He does have the CN prefix. Has to be Chinese. He looked at the camera and said, “Looks like you guys are right! Another Chinese player! But I haven’t the faintest clue who this is…” He shook his head before adding, “Maybe it’s a new alt account. The account does look pretty new. It only just got to Challenger. Who knows! But this is great news! It means we have another Chinese player climbing the Korean ranked ladder!” He smirked. Great for my stream! I found him first! I’ll get so many views from this!

maybe it’s hermes alt???
you think? WHat i heard was that hermeS doesnt play on the KOrean serever…..
maybe its some troll korean making fun of us……..
NO WAY! He has to be Chinese! HAS TO BEEEE!!!!!!

The headquarters of the Dark Glory gaming  organization was located in downtown Shanghai. It was already deep into the night, but the lights were still on in the gaming room. More specifically, one monitor illuminated the room. Lightless sat in his gaming chair with his feet on the edge of the seat. “One more game. This is the last one,” he mumbled to himself. He was currently sitting in Champion Select and looking at the names of his teammates. His eyes narrowed and he muttered, “CN•HOOK2… I don’t think I’ve seen that name before. Have I? Maybe I have… He looks Chinese… I wonder who…” He looked around the dark room, then shrugged and pressed down on the Enter key. No point in guessing when I can just ask him.

CN•WuGuang:Hey first pick. Do I know you?

Lightless Heart waited. And he waited. He’s banning Champions… Maybe he didn’t see it? I mean, why wouldn’t he even reply? He’ll reply. Hum… He’ll reply.

“Look at the chat! LIN FENG! LOOK AT THE CHAT!” Su Xue screamed right next to Lin Feng’s ears, jabbing at the screen with her greasy finger. “Tell him! Say something! He’s a real life pro! Oh my god! I can’t believe you get to play with a real life pro! This is so cool! Say something to him!”

Lin Feng scratched his cheek and said, “I mean, what is there to say? I don’t know him. That’ll be the end of that conversation. So why bother?” He shrugged and started browsing through the list of Champions. Who shall I play? Hmm… I could go for something like LeBlanc. But that’s dangerous in first pick. And I don’t really feel like it. What to play… Oh! His cursor landed on Lissandra. She was an Ice Mage with high damage and powerful crowd control skills. I’ll pick her! He clicked on the icon and then locked her in.

“W-what did you just do?” Su Xue mumbled, staring at Lin Feng in horror. Then she smacked him on his head and shouted, “You stole mid lane from Lightless! YOU STOLE MID LANE!”

“What the! Oww! That hurts!” Lin Feng complained, rubbing his head painfully. “I didn’t steal anything! I’m first pick! That means I get to pick whatever I want! I don’t even know who he is! Why would I trust him to carry from the mid lane? No. The only one I trust in the mid lane is me! So I’m going mid!”

“Isn’t talking, hum?” Lightless mumbled to himself.  “Guess he isn’t who I thought… Oh well.” He shrugged and was browsing through a list of Midlaners, considering which one he wanted to play, when he noticed CN•HOOK2 locking in Lissandra. His eyes widened in surprise and he slowly nodded. “Another mid main, hum? Okay, okay.” His surprised expression morphed into a smile. “I guess that narrows the scope down a bit. I should be able to guess who he is… Just need to see him play a bit first.”

Lightless waited for his turn to pick and read the team chat. Every role was claimed except for the Jungle, so he limited his search to Junglers. I haven’t played around in the Jungle much after the changes in the team… Should be fun to show off what I can do. And I guess it won’t hurt to brush up my Lee Sin a bit, hehe. That’ll also give me a good vantage point to watch this CNHOOK2 a bit more. Hum… Just gotta camp the shit out of mid lane. He locked in Lee Sin and adjusted his Summoner Spells, runes, and masteries while waiting for the game to load up. “He must have reached Challenger only recently. I would’ve ran into him before otherwise. Who has been playing a ton of ranked lately? Or who hasn’t, I guess. Hum…”

hooooly shit who the fck is this HOOK2!!!????!
is he fcking blind!?!??!/1?
wooooooow he actually stole mid from lightless :OOOOOOOO does he think he’s a better mid or something
Watch him feed. If he feeds, I swear…. FUCK I WANNA SEE LIGHTLESS MID!

FatMelon had completely different thoughts from the people posting messages in his chat. He shook his head and said to his camera, “I think you guys are jumping to conclusions here! Who knows how good this CN•HOOK2 dude is? He did make it all the way to Korean Challenger! And look at his match history! It’s almost all wins! Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt!” Let’s do that, hehe. Maybe it really is Hermes! I’ll get rich!

FatMelon shook his head and threw that thought away. Hermes doesn’t play on the Korean server. Don’t get your hopes up! He turned his attention back to the Champion Select and shifted the topic away from CN•HOOK2 and back to Lightless. “Look! Lightless is Jungling! We’re getting to see him in the Jungle again! His Lee Sin is great!”

Lightless Heart was originally a Jungler before making the switch to the mid lane midway during the previous season. He was just far more talented in the mid lane, and the opportunity presented itself after some internal tumuld in Dark Glory. It’d worked wonders, with the team going further than ever before and only just failing to qualify for Worlds. But that wasn’t to say he was a bad Jungler. Anything but. His skills in the Jungle were right up there with the best Chinese Junglers.

FatMelon latched onto this tidbit of information and hyped, “We all remember Lightless’ Jungling skills! Let’s see if we can get any cool Mid-Jungle combos! Some real Chinese synergy! I can totally see those two carry the game together!”

idk…. still think it would’ve been better to have lightless on mid
Seriously! Who the fuck does this hook2 guy think he is? WHy the fuck would he steal mid????
fking noobs! IM SO PISSED RIGHT NOW!!!!
Maybe fatso streamer dude is right and this hook guy knows what he’s doing…
I hope… but dude. what are the odds of that happening????//
pls gimme a good game! Plsssss im staying up late for this!

Su Xue tugged on Lin Feng’s sleeve and asked, “Hey, hey, are you serious? This is Korean Challenger! Not Ionia… If you lose your lane, people are going to rip you to shreds! You know there are always people watching these games! Here, watch!” She grabbed her phone and went to HuyaTV. There she quickly found FatMelon’s stream, which was showing the Champion Select that Lin Feng was in. “See!? And there are a hundred thousand people watching! They’re going to eat you alive! You can’t just snatch mid from a real pro! Oh no, I can already see the clips online…”

Lin Feng just shrugged and grinned. He said, “It’s fine. You don’t need to worry. I’ll carry this game! I’m really good at carrying games too!”

Su Xue looked at Lin Feng and saw the pure confidence in his gaze, felt it in his words. She took a deep, long breath and browsed through the comments on FatMelon’s stream. Most of them were talking about how CN•HOOK2 was going to feed. But if Lin Feng is this confident… Maybe I should believe in him? I can just watch, and if something does happen, I’ll be here for him. Yeah. I’ll make sure nothing happens to him! I’ll be here for him!

Lin Feng felt the weight of his mouse in one hand and the brief resistance from the keys against the tips of his fingers. He closed his eyes and took a slow, deep breath in. I can do this. You’re wrong to worry, Su Xue. A few hours ago? Maybe. But not now. I’mm good enough to carry in Korean Challenger. I am right up there with the pros. He breathed out and opened his eyes again. Laser focused. Nothing could distract him. Every second he was finding a little bit more of his old self. I’ll be back where I was, and then get better! An inferno of confidence blazed in his eyes as the loading screen appeared on his monitor.

Team Lin Feng (Blue) vs Random Koreans (Red)

Top lane: Darius versus Irelia
Jungle: Lee Sin versus Jarvan IV
Mid lane: Lissandra versus Orianna
Ad-carry: Jinx versus Lucian
Support: Nami versus Leona

Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!

The game started without much fanfare. Lin Feng’s Lissandra and Red team’s Orianna were both control mages that needed items to deal damage. So they placed their main focus on last hitting minions. But that didn’t mean they forgot about each other. Orianna’s Ball kept flying at Lin Feng’s Lissandra, and he kept dodging it. All the while, he fired back shards of pure ice. His health remained high, while Orianna’s health started dipping a little bit lower with every exchange.

Lin Feng’s Lissandra took the lead and forced Red team’s Orianna to retreat back to her outer tower. But she had enough skill to make sure Lin Feng couldn’t freeze the minion wave. It pushed towards Red team’s outer tower, forcing Lin Feng’s Lissandra to move further and further forward if he wanted to get last hits on the Red minions.

Su Xue sat next to Lin Feng on the edge of her seat, biting her nails. Her eyes shifted all around, beads of sweat popping up on her forehead. Top! Top! What’s happening in top? Are they doing ok in bot? And where is Lightless!? Oh, he’s in the Jungle. But he isn’t ganking! What if J4 is ganking? Where is J4? JARVAN! Her eyes went wide and she shouted, “Careful! Jarvan IV has to gank a lane soon! He might come mid!”

“I know,” Lin Feng replied calmly. His eyes were trained on his screen as he kept pushing the minion wave towards Red team’s outer tower. That’s why I’m pushing. To make Jarvan gank in the mid lane. He just needs to hurry up. Where is that guy… He glanced at the gametime. Three minutes in. It should be now. I just need to push a little bit more.

Red team’s Orianna let herself be pushed in, waiting patiently for the Jarvan IV to come and gank. And when the Jarvan IV arrived in the brush right above the mid lane, she made her move. She ran forward and commanded her Ball to attack Lissandra! This was also the cue for the Jarvan IV, who charged into the midlane and dashed at Lissandra with his flag-toss combo!

Lin Feng’s eyes narrowed. The change in movements from the Orianna gave the gank away before it happened. He shifted his attention towards the top of the lane, from where the Jarvan IV appeared. Focus. Calm. Wait for the flag. He had his Lissandra wait for Jarvan IV to place down his Demacian Standard, and then dodged the knock up from the flag-toss combo by side stepping it. His finger gently pressed down on the Q key–Ice Shard! Lissandra gathered magical particles of ice into a sharp chunk and hurled it at the Jarvan IV! It smashed into him, damaging and slowing him!

Several pings resounded in Lin Feng’s ears. Lee is finally here. About time. Jarvan IV was right on top of his Lissandra after dashing at him with the flag toss combo. This opened up Lissandra’s second skill for use. Ring of Frost! A wave of piercing cold energy exploded out around Lissandra! Everything caught within was frozen stiff! Red team’s Jarvan IV was rooted!

The Red minions were all fighting Blue minions at Red Team’s Outer Tower. Jarvan IV stood completely out in the open in the middle of the lane. Lightless’ Lee Sin punched the air, sending a discordant wave of sound flying forward! It connected with Jarvan IV, revealing him. Lee Sin activated the second part of the skill, Resonating Strike! He dashed at Jarvan IV, giving him a quick kick, and then slammed his palms down onto the ground! Cripple! A blast of foreign energy penetrated Jarvan IV through the soles of his feet and slowed his movement speed!

Jarvan IV panic-flashed. His health was down to the last few percentages and one more skill would kill him. But that also meant flashing in this situation was the wrong decision. Both Lissandra and Lee Sin still had their flashes up and could chase him whenever they wanted to. But they didn’t need to. Lin Feng’s Lissandra ran after Jarvan IV and quickly got in range to cast an Ice Shard. Still hampered by the slow, there was nothing Jarvan IV could do as the chunk of solid ice slammed against his armour and sheared away the last of his health.

First Blood!

fckkkkkkkkkkk that was a nice turn around」|
holy shit, r we sure those two aren’t duoing? That was so liit!
that was so sick! SO SICK! SUPER SICK!

FatMelon clapped his hands and shouted, “That was great! PERFECT! HA! We found ourselves a new great Chinese player on the Korean server! Did you guys see the Lissandra root to let Lightless Q in!? It felt like they were on voice chat! Maybe they’re duo queuing! What do you guys think? And! And! Jarvan IV Flashed away! Hahaha! He flashed! He flashed! Liss and J4 didn’t flash! He did! They didn’t!”

Lightless’ reaction was almost similar to that of FatMelon and his viewers. He hadn’t expected much from CN•HOOK2. All he noticed at first was the Lissandra putting herself in a dangerous situation. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that Jarvan IV was coming for a gank. But it was the way in which the gank played out that caught Lightless by surprise. Hum… That Lissandra never looked out of control. Like she’d planned that all along. Interesting… He chewed on his lips and finally mumbled, “Is he an old Lissandra main maybe?”

Lin Feng nodded and evaluated, “This Lee Sin is pretty half-decent! That was some super okay follow up there! Not bad! Not bad at all!”

Su Xue rolled her eyes and replied, “Duh… He’s a professional player! His team plays in the LPL! And he saved your ass! If he didn’t come to help you out, the Orianna wouldn’t have backed right away and you would’ve died!”

Lin Feng waved this accusation away and concluded, “Nobody cares about what might’ve happened! Only what happened matters! I got first blood! The rest is irrelevant! And from now… I’m good. I won’t need any more help.” He smirked. I’ll show everyone just how good I am. All one hundred thousand of them! This Orianna is just another player that isn’t Rake! I will beat her. I’m going to stomp her so hard that she’ll uninstall the game! And then I’ll carry the game!

Chapter 285 – One More Game!

Lin Feng didn’t queue up for a ranked game right away. This is One’s smurf! One ranked on it! I… His hand trembled slightly. I need to know. His mouse moved away from the play button and towards the profile button in the top right corner. He clicked and a new page loaded. It showed the recently played matches. Lin Feng’s eyes went wide in shock. So many wins! They’re all wins! Wins everywhere! It’s green, green, GREEN! It’s a Challenger account! How is he getting all these wins!? Lin Feng scrolled through the recent match history, a perfect field of 10 wins. Wait, huh? Annie? Thresh? Why is he playing Supports? What’s going on? One is a Midlaner! He scrunched his nose and moved his head back, confused.

Lin Feng opened up his browser and went to a League of Legends summoner statistics website. There he typed ‘CN•HOOK2’ in the search bar. Come on, show me already! Why is it taking so long!? Go faster! Faster! Ah! The page loaded and showed him a detailed analysis of the games played on the CN•HOOK2 account.

Some of the most impressive statistics appeared on Lin Feng’s monitor. CN•HOOK2 was a relatively new account that played all its games in duo queue together with an account called CN•DancingShoe. Lin Feng recognized this name right away. He knew it almost as well as he did CN•HOOK2’s. Five! That’s Five’s account! One is duoing with Five! They’re playing together! Oh… Now I’m playing on this account, so they can’t duo… But One gave it to me! I have to try my best!

Lin Feng scrolled through CN•HOOK2’s statistics. Wow! One still has it! There are so many wins! He’s winning everything! How isn’t he Top 1 Challenger yet? All these wins! There were a total of 90 games played in duo queue. And nearly all of them were victories. It was only once the account hit Challenger that a couple of losses started appearing. But even then, One and Five were climbing fast! They’re so good! If the Koreans knew about them, they’d be shitting their pants! One will pound them hard! He’s the best! All those analysts saying Korea is the best, they don’t know One! He’s still at the top! He’s still so good! He… He… 

Lin Feng took a long, deep breath. He browsed through the statistics website for another 10 minutes, letting the reality of the situation settle in. This is such a strong account. It went straight to Challenger in only 73 games! That must be like a record! And even in Challenger he barely loses anything! I can’t screw that up! I won’t! Lin Feng balled his hand into a fist, his eyes blazing in determination. I’m going to make One proud! This account is going to go on a massive win streak! I refuse to lose even a single game! Top 5? SCREW THAT! He pumped his fist in the air and shouted, “Watch me climb, One! I’ll make you proud!” He then tabbed back into the League client and entered the queue.

“Hmm, what to play, what to play,” Lin Feng mumbled to himself. I can’t play Support like One has been doing. If I want to carry and reach the top of Challenger, I need to carry. So I’ll play Mid. The queue popped and he entered Champion Select. He smiled as he went through the practiced motions of banning and picking Champions. I’m going to go mid every game and carry! For One, and for myself.

Lin Feng was on the loading screen, waiting for his first game to start. He’d locked in Yasuo, one of his best Champions right now, and had to play against an Ahri. “Let’s see what rank you are,” Lin Feng mumbled while tabbing out of the League client and looking up the Ahri’s statistics. Master? That’s all? I’m playing against a Master Mid? My Yasuo is getting better. There’s no way a random Master can test me. This game will be easy! He smiled and tabbed back into the game.

Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!

At 4 minutes: Lin Feng’s Yasuo received the help from his Jungler Jarvan IV to pick up first blood on Ahri.
At 6 minutes: Lin Feng’s Yasuo picked up a solo kill on Ahri.
At 8 minutes: Lin Feng’s Yasuo roamed to the bot lane, where he worked together with his Botlaners to secure a kill and an assist.
At 10 minutes: Lin Feng’s Yasuo followed after Ahri who was trying to help her Jungler gank the top lane. He turned the gank around singlehandedly, picking up two kills and an assist. His score was a staggering 5/0/2 with a 96 creep score!

Lin Feng’s teammates were getting carried so hard by Lin Feng that they used a combination of Korean and broken English to write a couple of messages in team chat. They thanked him for carrying them and even gave him a couple of compliments, which was quite an achievement. Koreans rarely ever had anything nice to say about Chinese players on their server. But Lin Feng didn’t care about any of these messages. They weren’t worth his attention, because they didn’t mean anything. He was stomping on a Master player. That was still too easy for him. Just this much doesn’t mean anything. I need to play against Challengers! Against the top Challengers! And so he kept playing, laser focused on the game.

At 20 minutes: The outer and inner towers in the mid lane were already destroyed. Lin Feng’s Yasuo pushed up the lane all the way to the inhibitor tower. The Red team’s Ahri and their Jungler Rek’Sai were defending it. Lin Feng’s Yasuo attacked the Red minions twice with Steel Tempest, a storm quietly brewing at the tip of his blade. Then he unleashed the tornado onto the Rift! It blew through Ahri and Rek’Sai, knocking them both up into the air!

“Last Breath!” Lin Feng shouted. His Yasuo blinked to Ahri and kept both Red team Champions suspended in midair. He attacked with a flurry of slashes before slamming them back down to the ground! The damage was massive! Two more auto attacks finished Ahri off and a Steel Tempest did the same to Rek’Sai. Then Lin Feng destroyed the inhibitor tower followed by the inhibitor.

At 24 minutes: Lin Feng’s Yasuo destroyed Red Team’s Nexus with the help of his teammates. The energy contained within the crystal exploded outwards and morphed into the victory emblem. The all chat blew up with compliments for Lin Feng from his teammates, and salty messages from his opponents about reporting the Ahri for feeding. Lin Feng ignored all of this. He clicked out of the game and checked the League Points he gained for his win. 17 LP! The focus disappeared from his face, making place for his usual grin. I’m really good at gaining LP to— He stopped himself and forced the grin away. This was an easy game against a weak Midlaner. I need to stay focused.

Lin Feng was so focused on the game that everything else around him disappeared. There was only him and his Champion. He played a second game. His lane opponent was a little bit better this time around. They were Challenger and playing Fizz. But Lin Feng still crushed them all the same. He knew the ins and outs of Fizz. Nothing this Korean Challenger threw at him could surprise him. It took him 32 minutes to close the game out. His teammates were impressed with him again. He’d hard-carried them to victory.

The third game followed quickly after the second. And it played out in much the same fashion. Lin Feng’s opponent in the mid lane was a Challenger who played an assassin type Midlaner. Those were simply in the meta, so it came as no surprise to Lin Feng. But he excelled at exactly this type of Champion. He went with Ahri this game and shut Red Team’s Yasuo down. Then he stomped the other lanes and carried his team to a win. It was his third victory of the night.

Lin Feng slowly took a deep breath and then yawned. He stretched out long and rubbed his eyes. What time is it? He glanced at his phone and nodded in surprise. Two in the morning? Those games didn’t take that long, did they? I got school tomorrow. I should probably… But I also kind of want to play another game… Just one moHmm? He looked over his shoulder at the door. There were footsteps on the other side, followed by a soft knocking sound.

“Lin Feng?” Su Xue whispered. She knocked on the door again and then pushed it open. She poked her head through the opening and looked into Lin Feng’s bedroom. “Are you still up, Lin Feng? I saw the lights—” Su Xue pushed the door open, revealing her pink Jinx pyjamas, and looked at Lin Feng sitting behind his desk. She said, “Why are you still up? Don’t you have school tomorrow? Do you know what time it is? It’s almost 2 A.M. young man!” She glanced past Lin Feng at the screen of his laptop. “League?” She narrowed her eyes and continued, “You’re still up because you’re playing League? You little addict! Turn that off and go to bed! I don’t want to spend all morning tomorrow trying to wake you up! I swear, I’m gonna use the sharp end of my cleaver on you one day!”

Lin Feng leaned on the back of his chair and said, “But—”

“To bed or a beating! Your choice!” Su Xue interrupted, glaring at Lin Feng.

Lin Feng scratched the back of his head and mumbled, “Oh, uhm, I’ll go to bed… in a bit.”

“Did I stutter?” Su Xue asked. She wagged her finger and ordered, “You’re turning off your laptop and going to bed right now, young man!”

“Ah, come on! Don’t be like this!” Lin Feng complained. I just want to play one more game! I’ll wake up fine in a few hours! He turned his chair around and blinked a couple of times, imitating An Xin’s puppy eyes. He then placed his hand together in front of him and begged, “Please, please! Just let me play one more game! One more game! That’s all I’m asking you!”

Su Xue stamped her feet on the floor and yelled, “You’re an addict! You’re acting like an addict! You know that real professional players value their rest! A good night’s sleep is…” She shook her head in frustration. STOP LOOKING AT ME WITH THOSE DAMN PUPPY EYES! I NEED TO BE MAD AT YOU! She pinched her eyelids shut and yelled, “TO BED WITH YOU!” But she couldn’t stop herself from opening her eyes and glancing at him. Damn those puppy eyes! She chewed on her lips and finally caved, “Fine. One more game. But this is your last game! No more excuses after this!”

“Okay! I promise! This’ll be my last game!” Lin Feng exclaimed, excited. I’m feeling good and focused! This is how it should be! Just a few more games! I need to feel this state! Get back into it! I can’t quit now! This is gonna be goo— His stomach growled and rumbled.

Su Xue rubbed her forehead and shook her head. “Jeez, what’s gotten into you? Even your stomach is protesting against you playing this much! Fine, fine, whatever. I guess you’re hungry, right? Let me just call for some late night delivery. They’re used to staying open late just for you anyway…” She sighed to herself. I finished my stream… Might as well stick here and watch him play his last game. Then I can also make sure that he actually does go to bed. Uch… Tomorrow is going to be terrible. How will I get him out of bed in time for school? I’m not his mom, dammit!

Lin Feng was a habitual late night snacker. It was so bad that the local chicken shop stayed open late just for him. It didn’t take more than five minutes before the doorbell rang. Su Xue got up and went to pay for the chicken cutlet, octopus balls and soda. When she got back to Lin Feng’s room, she sat down next to him and looked at the League client. Lin Feng was already in the queue. He should get into a game in no time! And knowing him, he’ll carry it to a win in 15 minutes! It’s okay. He’ll be in bed before 3! She smiled and said, “Alright, let’s eat.”

“Ok!” Lin Feng exclaimed, grabbing the chicken cutlet and sinking his teeth into the tender meat. He swallowed it down and was about to take a second bite when he looked up at Su Xue. He said, “They’re really fast these days!”

Su Xue shook her head and said, “That’s because I paid extra for express delivery! And probably because they keep a portion ready just for you. We order almost every single night! You do know eating this late is bad for your health, right? We really need to stop doing this!”

Lin Feng ruffled his hair and asked, “Is it? I didn’t know.”

“Yes it is! You don’t eat 12 hours after breakfast! That’s just common sense!” Su Xue countered. She sighed and rubbed the back of her head. I’m too young to be a mother… Why do I feel like I’m his mother? He’s 19! But he acts just like a little kid most of the time! She shook her head and said, “You kids don’t seem to care about your bodies at all! I’m surprised you’re still alive sometimes…”

Lin Feng reached for the octopus balls and popped one into his mouth. He sunk his teeth in the crunchy outside, and then he yelled! “AAAH! HOT! HOT! HOTHOTHOT!”

“Are you stupid?” Su Xue screamed. She grabbed the soda and clicked the can open, all the while complaining, “I told you to be careful! I always tell you to be careful! But nooooo, you have to go and get your tongue burned! Here, drink this!” She pushed the can to his lips and tipped it slightly to let the cold liquid flow into his mouth. “SLOW DOWN! Slow it! You’re going to choke! Oh my god! How stupid are you!”

“The soda is good! Thanks for feeding me!” Lin Feng said, grinning again. He then grabbed the chicken cutlet and took another bite from it. “Mhhmmm! Delicious!!”

Su Xue shook her head, but knew better than to argue. She kept glancing at Lin Feng, making sure he didn’t do anything else that required her intervention, then grabbed her own chicken cutlet and nibbled at it. “It is good,” she mumbled. “Just… I’m going to get fat if I keep eating this with you…”

Lin Feng swallowed another big bite and briefly paused to say, “You can just not eat it and give it to me…”

“Like it’s that easy!” Su Xue complained. She turned her head to look at Lin Feng and whined, “You don’t get how hard I have it! I smell this delicious food every night, so of course I’m hungry! I want to eat it! But then… Then I look at the new up and coming streamers.” She shook her head and grimaced. “You know that 90% of them are female? And they’re all really pretty! They must be using some kind of filter, but still. It’s so unfair! They’re getting all those views with their looks! I’m working really hard here to create something special and they just come barging in with their boobs fitted in clothes three sizes too small!”

“You’re losing viewers?” Lin Feng asked, surprised.

“NoNoNo! I’m doing good! I’m still getting more viewers. But still!” Su Xue exclaimed. “I should be getting more!”

Lin Feng grinned and looked at his League client. The queue still hadn’t popped, something that wasn’t strange. There were only a few hundred this high on the ranked ladder. The game needed to find 9 of them at the same time for a match. “Oh!” he suddenly said. “How are your videos doing? Going any better yet?”

The gloominess disappeared. Su Xue sat up a little straighter and a smile blossomed on her face. She said, “Yeah! I was just about to tell you about that! The second video got a much better reception than the first! There are still some idiots who don’t like it and the usual trolls and flamers in the comments. But who cares about them? There are many more who like my videos!”

Lin Feng swallowed another piece of chicken cutlet and shrugged. “There are always flamers and trolls. Best to ignore them. You shouldn’t worry about them. Just keep making more videos! You’ll find an audience who loves them!”

Su Xue nodded and replied, “I won’t let the trolls get to me! No worries! Not like I can let that happen! I want to become the biggest streamer in China, remember? There’ll always be trolls…” She shook her head and looked at Lin Feng’s monitor. “What’s got you all pumped up to play tonight anyway? Are you in your promos or something? Is that why this queue is taking so long?”

Lin Feng scratched the back of his head and said, “Oh, I’m in Challenger. There aren’t any promos.”

Su Xue nodded along, nodded, nodded, and then her eyes went wide and her mouth fell open. “CHALLENGER? Did you just say Challenger!? This is the Korean client! I thought your account wasn’t in Challenger yet! How are you in Challenger already? This is so unfair! How did you get to Challenger this quickly!? I look away for one second and you’re suddenly playing in Challenger? This is so unfair! No! I don’t believe it! You’re lying! You have to be!”

Lin Feng shrugged and opened his profile page. He then pointed at where it showed his rank. “See? Challenger. I’m not lying to you.”

“W-w-w-w-w-w,” Su Xue muttered. W-w-w-w-when did he get to Challenger? She grabbed Lin Feng by the shoulders and shuffled him around, yelling into his face, “Tell me! When did you get Challenger! There are like only five Chinese players in the Korean Challenger! AND THEY’RE ALL PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS! When did you get there! Are there 6 now? Are there? Tell me! TELL ME!”

“Eh, what? No, no,” Lin Feng replied, shaking his head. “I didn’t get to Challenger myself. A friend lent me his account.”

Su Xue blinked a couple of times and then slowly repeated, “A friend lent it to you…?”

Lin Feng nodded and added, “Yeah, he wants me to get it to the Top 5.”

The way in which Lin Feng was talking was far too casual. Top 5 on the Korean ranked ladder was something even the best professional players from China couldn’t achieve. They were lucky just to get into Challenger! That was what Su Xue had read online, anyway. She stared at Lin Feng’s laptop and back at him again. “W-w-w-w…” She grabbed her soda can with trembling hands and downed cold liquid. Then she took a deep breath and asked, “What did you say?”

Lin Feng looked at Su Xue. What’s got her all worked up? Maybe she didn’t hear me? “I said,” he repeated slowly, articulating every word overly clearly. “I need to climb to the Top 5 of the Korean ranked ladder.”

Su Xue’s mouth fell open. She closed it with her hand, only for it to fall open again when she moved her arm away. She then felt her own forehead before reaching out and feeling Lin Feng’s forehead. Something is wrong. Either I’m really, really sick and losing it… Or he is! That has to be it! He stayed up too late too much and now he’s sick! His mom is going to kill

“What are you doing?” Lin Feng cut in.

“I’m trying to see which of us is running a fever!” Su Xue replied. There’s no way I heard that correctly! Top 5 in Korea? There hasn’t been a Chinese player who managed to get to the Top 10! This is ridiculous! Something is going on here! Who has the fever! She wanted to reach out and feel Lin Feng’s forehead again, but was stopped by Lin Feng shoving her away.

The queue had popped. Lin Feng’s gaze became serious and he said, “Enough. I need to focus.” He didn’t listen to Su Xue complaints and focused on Champion Select. He was first pick on the Blue team. That meant that he could ban three Champions. Hmm, who do I ban? I could… He shook his head before the thought could even take shape. Three random Champions. I need to practice against the best! He banned Skarner, a rarely played Jungler. Then he glossed through the list and banned Cho’Gath, a Toplaner and sometimes also a Midlaner. People rarely ever touched him. And finally he also banned Galio, a Support Champion who was in dire need of a rework.

Su Xue took the time Lin Feng used to go through banning three Champions to look at who else was on his team. Maybe I’ll r— Her mouth fell wide open. She pulled on Lin Feng’s shoulder and shouted, “OH MY GOD! CN•WuGuang! THAT’S CN_WuGuang! You know who that is? Do you? Do you!? That’s Lightless Heart! LIGHTLESS HEART!” 

Lin Feng pushed Su Xue’s hand away, annoyed, and asked, “Who is that?”

Chapter 284 – This is the Dream Life

The illustrious person known as One was a 28 year old man living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He’d bought a small villa on the outskirts of the city where he lived together with the woman of his dreams. Just the thought of her awoke that warm, happy feeling in his stomach reaching up to his heart. He was napping on the couch in his living room, vaguely listening to the sounds coming from the television. The faint sound of a door creaking suddenly clapped in his ear like thunder. He shot up straight and ruffled his puffy hair to look somewhat representable. Then he looked over his shoulder at her and smiled. I love you.

Five had wrapped a white bath towel around her chest and was brushing her long, black hair. “Hey, sweety. Anything fun on tv?”

The words didn’t register. One just stared at Five and counted his lucky stars. It’s like God put an Angel on Earth just for me. You’re perfect. How you look and who you are. There’s nothing else, no one else in the world as perfect as you are. I didn’t believe perfection existed, until I met you. On that day, I wanted to give you my heart. I wanted to tell you everything and give you everything! You have no idea how happy I feel just to be near you! He bit on his lips and shook his head a bit, smiling. “Hmm?”

“The TV,” Five repeated, nodding at the large television affixed to the wall. “Is it fun?”

“Oh, that,” One replied. He scratched the back of his head and laughed awkwardly. “Uh, yeah, I guess?” He glanced over his shoulder and then quickly back at Five. He looked into her dark obsidian eyes that were so bright, and he smiled. He just smiled. Smiled and stared into her eyes. You’re perfect in every way! But your eyes, your eyes are something else entirely. There is such a strong life shining in them! I just… Nothing is difficult when I look into your eyes. I just want to take you in my arms and hold you! “You’re as pretty as the first day I met you,” he said before even realising he did.

Five giggled and said, “I was going to ask your opinion on some new clothes I bought the other day, but…” She placed her finger on the rim of her towel, just above her breasts, and seductively moved it around the edge. Then she winked and moaned, “But it seems you’re more interested in something else.”

One breathed saliva down the wrong hole. He lurched forward, coughing loudly into the couch. Fuck I love her! His eyes teared and his lungpipe hurt, but he forced the coughing down. He looked back up at Five, smiling again, and said, “Please… You know that I love everything you wear! And that I also love it when you don’t wear anything at all!”

“You smooth criminal!” Five replied, giggling. She blew One a kiss and added, “Pointless to ask your honest opinion anyway. You’ll say anything to get laid!”

One and Five weren’t just looking to spend the rest of their lives together, they’d already spent a short lifetime together. The two met each other on the competitive stage of DotA, where they fought together on the same team. They quickly became the most famous esports power couple in the world. Two legends at the game. And when One eventually took the crown of best in the world, Five was right beside him. She was his Queen, not just in name but also in merit. She was the best female DotA player and had, just like One, eventually received a place in the Esports Hall of Fame.

Five let One coax her into sitting down next to him. She wrapped the towel a little tighter around her, her buttocks planted firmly on the soft leather of the couch. I should get changed. He’s just looking for some… And he’s dirty! I’m finally clean after a nice shower… I’m not going to get dirty again! “Nope! Not happening!” Five said decisively when One reached over to kiss her. “When was the last time you showered!? I… I think I should go and put some clothes on!”

“What? I showered this morning! Here, smell! Don’t I smell great?” One said as he leaned over again, planting his lips on her. They’re so soft… He moved his hand along her side and reached lower, but she quickly slapped him away.

“Nope! Not happening,” Five repeated.

“Awww,” One replied. He then grinned and threw his arm around her shoulders, looking back at the television. The two sat there like that for a good few seconds, until One said, “Right. I called Lin Feng the other day.”

“Lin Feng?” Five asked, surprised. She turned to look at One and said, “I haven’t spoken with him in ages! How is he doing these days? You said he was playing again a bit, right? How’s that going?”

One smiled and explained, “He’s doing alright. A bit slow, but that’s okay. He’s trying to find his old form again, just isn’t going about it too fast. So I gave him a little push. You know, my Korean account we sometimes play on. I’m kind of excited to see what he’s going to pull off on that.”

“A little push? Your Korean League account?” Five said, her eyes growing wider. “We got your account to Challenger! What, are you going to tell him to get to the top of the ladder and play a few games against Rake!?”

“Exactly!” One replied, laughing.

Five giggled and asked, “You sure that’s the reason? It has nothing to do with you being so bad that you need me to carry you? Was it too embarrassing to ask me for help?”

One rubbed his nose and grimaced. “Well, uhm, you know… That’s just not fair! We duo queue! I’m just as valuable! Plus, this is for his own good. He’ll never catch up to that Korean kid if he doesn’t challenge himself a little. And come on, he’s pushing himself by playing some university tournament… He isn’t going to learn anything there!”

Five watched One in silence as he argued why the little push he gave was all in Lin Feng’s best interest. She eventually nodded and said, “Sounds like you know what you’re doing. Eh, he’s a good kid. If anyone can do it, it’s him.”

One laughed and said, “We’ll see, we’ll see! Right now I’m just hoping he can stay in Challenger. It would really suck if my account drops back down to Master. Took us way too long to get to Challenger…”

“You know…” Five said. She winked at One and continued, “If you’re so worried about your account dropping ranks, how about you give him my account. It’s also in Challenger. Doesn’t that sound like a good plan? Yeah! Come, let’s call him and tell him the good news!”

“No, no! He needs my account!” One quickly countered. He leaned a bit closer to Five and continued, “I gave him your number and told him to give it to BunBun. She should call you soon. I’m sure you can find someone to carry your account.”

“BunBun? How is she?” Five asked. Then she giggled and added, “Those two are still together, huh?”

One nodded and said, “They are. Even on the same team! And she’s playing on the team too this time. Just…” He looked at the television and mumbled, “Just for some reason she’s playing in the Jungle… Hey, hun. My memory is pretty bad these days. Was BunBun a Jungle main?”

“Jungle? No, I think that was her least played role. Why would she be playing in the Jungle?” Five replied, equally puzzled.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” One mumbled in response. “It’s strange. I wonder why she chose to play in the Jungle. There must be a reason for it, I guess?”

Lin Feng had returned to the restaurant after seeing An Xin off. There he enjoyed another hour of entertainment with his friends before going home together with Su Xue. When they got to the front door of the apartment, Su Xue opened it because Lin Feng had forgotten his keys again. He quickly brushed past her and said, “Thanks, Su Xue! I’m going to do my homework!”

A lot of Lin Feng’s free time went to playing League of Legends. But he never forgot to do his homework. The first thing he did every day after coming home was blitzing through his homework. It didn’t matter to him if he lost sleep over it, or if he missed out on some League of Legends because of it. He had to finish his homework first. This time that meant studying for an upcoming Mathematics test and writing a short story for his English Literature class.

It was already nearing midnight when Lin Feng put his pen down. “Finally! That took long, but…” He looked at his homework. It was all done. “I’m really good at doing homework too!” He grinned and then closed the document he had open on his laptop. League of Legends… The shortcut for the League of Legends client was the first thing that drew his attention on the homescreen. I should get started on that. I’m going to need all the time I can get if I want to complete One’s challenge.

Lin Feng connected to the internet through a proxy server and opened the Korean League of Legends client. Then he took out his phone and opened his WeChat conversation with One. There, as promised, was the account information. I wonder what account One got me. Did he really climb to Challenger himself? Of course he did! He’s One! Lin Feng typed in the information and logged in. The League of Legends client loaded him to the front page. He looked at the right top corner where it showed the Summoner Name.


CN•HOOK2! Lin Feng had prepared himself for the possibility that this was One’s account. But this account was so much more than just a random account One boosted to Challenger! CN•HOOK2 was the online handle of One’s second account back when he played DotA competitively. Everyone back then knew that it was One’s account! And they might still! I have to do the name proud!

Lin Feng’s eyes were wide and his stomach twisted into a tight knot. His breathing was short and raggard. One gave me his account! This is really his account! I promised One to get his account to Top 5. But… This is his account! This isn’t just some random account or some random name… This is his name! His name! Lin Feng felt his heart smashing into his ribcage, his mind as messy as the hair on his head. His name. I promised to get his account to Top 5 Challenger. But this is really his account! He has given me his name! I’m playing on his account! I’m the legend… I can’t let him down. I can’t, absolutely can’t let him down. Lin Feng stared at his screen, a fire blazing in his eyes. I won’t let him down. Top 5? Screw that! This account is going to the top of the ladder! I’m going to be the best!

Chapter 283 – A Facade Masked by Celebration

Zuo You looked around the table at the members from Team Shanghai and the few other people she remembered from the Shanghai 16 School Tournament. They’re Lin Feng’s friends. I don’t forget faces. Her job back in her old role was to suck up to people. And she was very good at it. She smiled and nodded at herself. All right! Time to get this party started! I’ll show these kids why the boss used to pay me so much money! She glanced at Tang Bingyao and An Xin. And we need to celebrate a little extra for you two. Girls beating those competitive boys! I love seeing that! Serves those dumbasses right for saying girls can’t play games! Shut them right up! You two were fantastic!

“Hiiiiiiiiii!” Zuo You said, drawing everyone’s attention. She stood up and raised her glass, a large pint of beer, and said, “Today was a great day! We saw Tang Tang and BunBun here carry you guys to the next round, once more proving that girls are just as good as guys!” She winked at Tang Bingyao and An Xin and added, “Did Lin Feng tell you girls I’m a diehard feminist? And I’m also a League addict! I love nothing more than to see girls do good at League! Watching you two play today was a dream come true! It was fantastic!”

Lin Feng looked from Tang Bingyao to An Xin and back to Tang Bingyao. He then mumbled, “I think I played really good too…”

An Xin glared at Lin Feng and was about to say something, but Zuo You was faster. “You were also great! Your Fizz gave me flashbacks to that time you helped me out with my coworker! And you looked so much better! But anyway…” She raised her glass a little higher. “I just wanna congratulate all of you on a well played series! GRATS!”


Everyone raised their cups and drank them empty! One big swig, as was tradition! The alcohol flowing through their veins boosted their social skills, opening up a night of fun and laughter! That was how Zuo You had imagined it, anyway. She glanced around the table, confused. Why did they all order soft drinks? Aren’t they 18? Why don’t they get the good stuff? I’ve never had to socialize with… sober people… “Uhh…” She briefly hesitated before asking, “Why are you guys all drinking soft drinks? Aren’t you all legal? Don’t tell me you guys don’t like beer. You know there are other alcoholic drinks, right? If you don’t like beer, you can just get some wine or even something sweet like a breezer…” She trailed off, stopped by the wide-eyed looks of horror around her.

Ren Rou and Ouyang were shaking their heads, terrified. “No! NO!” was what they were trying to say without spelling out the words. It was their best attempt to keep the booze away from Tang Bingyao without telling her to her face that she was not a fun drunk. Everyone felt like this, all in their own ways trying to convey the message to Zuo You. The memory of Tang Bingyao’s birthday party was still fresh in their minds. And they knew for a fact that they enjoyed her company better when she was sober.

Lin Feng scratched the back of his head and looked around the table. Why is no one saying anything? Oooooh! They’re playing a game of ‘don’t say the words’! He grinned and nodded at Zuo You, grabbing her attention. He then pointed with his eyes at Tang Bingyao and said, “Bad stuff happens when the alcohol comes out.” He pointed with his head at Tang Bingyao and continued, “We’re not drinking!”

Zuo You scrunched her nose and looked at Tang Bingyao. She asked, “Bad stuff? What does that even mean? Is Tang Tang bad with the alcohol? Or…?”

“Not just bad!” Lin Feng exclaimed, forgetting all about the game. He shouted, “She’s terrible! You don’t know what happened last time! But it was terrible! She became this completely weird pers— AJJHHH!” He abruptly turned to look at An Xin and yelled, “BunBun! What did you hit me for!?”

Tang Bingyao slumped back in her seat, trying to hide from the others. They can have alcohol if they want. I can just not have any. Mhm. What happened at my birthday party that they don’t want to drink with me anymore? Why are they all looking at me? Did I do something… She bit on her tongue and wanted to disappear. It wasn’t that bad, was it? I just… Lin Feng had to carry me home, but… Oh my god, he had to carry me to his place. Her face heated up. She scratched her forehead, trying to hide her embarrassment behind her arm, and mumbled, “N-no! It’s… It’s… I just…”

Tears wetted Tang Bingyao’s eyes. She inhaled sharply, trying to draw them back. Don’t cry. Don’t let them see you cry. She chewed on her lips, the inside of her cheeks and her tongue. Her stomach was tied in a knot and she really wanted to get up and run away. I can’t run away. No running. Mm-mhm. I can’t look at them again then. They’re still my friends. She took a deep breath and finally said, “I just had a little too much last time we drank. Mhm.”

Zuo You looked at Tang Bingyao and then at the others around the table and shouted, “What’s wrong with you people? Socially inept freaks!” She turned back to Tang Bingyao and smiled warmly. “Hey, Tang Tang. Don’t worry about it. That happens to the best of us. It’ll be a fun story in a few years. Here, come, have a drink and let’s just have fun! Ignore those insensitive assholes!”

The waiters brought the food out and with that came the return of the lively atmosphere. The delicious smells made everyone forget about Tang Bingyao and alcohol, and even Tang Bingyao herself sat up a little straighter again. But it wasn’t until Lin Feng grabbed a chicken wing that everything returned to normal. He clutched it tightly, then punched it up into the air and declared, “We’re going to win the Collegiate Cup!”

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and analysed, “This is the first time high school teams are competing. If you guys win, that means you’ll become the first ever high school team to win a university tournament.”

Ouyang nodded and said, “Yeah, yeah! Our bros are gonna win this! They’ll be the first high school team to win the Collegiate Cup!”

Zhang Hao took a big swig from his drink, pineapple flavoured, and said, “We’ve already reached the Top 16 at Regionals. I think the only two teams who can stop us now are Zhejiang and Fudan. We’ll win against everyone else!”

“TTSSSSSSK!” Zuo You replied. She giggled and continued, “Have some confidence! I saw you play today. Fudan and Zhejiang are shit! You guys can totally beat them! And it’ll be super fantastic when Tang Tang and BunBun carry you to Nationals!”

Lin Feng quickly chimed in, “And me! I’m really good at wrecking university teams too! Who cares about their names!?”

Zeng Rui felt the nagging throb at the back of his head again. She’s just as bad as he is. They’re like some overconfident twin-duo-something… Thundering dumbasses… He took a deep breath and explained, “Zhejiang University and Fudan University are strong teams. It’ll take a lot of careful planning to beat them.”

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses again and said, “You’re right. They’re very strong. I’ve watched some of their games. But I’ve also seen you guys play. I think you guys stand a good chance. It’s winnable.”

“Of course it’s winnable!” Ouyang shouted. “These are our bros! They’re the best! It’s gonna be an easy win! HOORAH FOR OUR BROS!” He raised his glass and drank it empty.

An Xin hadn’t said much of anything all night. She looked around the table and smiled. They’re all happy. That’s good. But I… She gritted her teeth and took a long, deep breath. This is too much for me right now. “Guys…” She waited for everyone to look at her before continuing, “I’m… I’m sorry. I’m not feeling great. I think I’m going to go home and get some rest. You guys celebrate. I’ll see you all tomorrow. Goodnight.” She got up from her seat and grabbed her stuff. Then she looked at everyone, an apologetic expression on her face, and said, “I…” She paused and took another deep breath before continuing, “I’m sorry.”

Everyone looked at An Xin in surprise. They hadn’t even really noticed how absent she’d been until now.

“Are you okay? Get some sleep.”
“Yeah, go home and rest a bit. I hope you feel better in the morning.”
“Do you want me to call you a cab?”
“Is there anything we can do for you?”

Su Xue looked at An Xin. She looks a little pale. Is she really ok? She chewed on her lips and listened to the others wishing An Xin a speedy recovery. No. We can’t just let her go home like this. She nudged Lin Feng, who was sitting next to her, and whispered, “Hey, bring her home. Make sure she’s ok.”

Lin Feng felt Su Xue nudge him and vaguely heard what she was saying, but wasn’t really paying attention to it. His eyes were locked on An Xin. What is this feeling? Why do I feel like I should… He chewed on his lips and rubbed his stomach. What did Su Xue say…? He turned to look at her and finally connected the dots. Bring An Xin home. That’s what I’m feeling. “Hey, BunBun?” he asked. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

An Xin raised her eyebrows, surprised. Him? She smiled at Lin Feng and said, “Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just been a long day. I need to rest a bit and I’ll be as good as new!”

“Oh, okay…” Lin Feng replied. I can’t let her go home like this. It feels all wrong. I’m going to send her home! He got up from his seat and grabbed his own coat. “Hold on. I’ll bring you home!”

An Xin paused. She turned to look at Lin Feng, confused. You’ll bring me home? Did you just decide to bring me home all by yourself? That’s so not you… But it’s a nice change. She smiled and briefly considered it, but then shook her head and said, “It’s nice of you to offer. But there’s no nee—”

“I’m bringing you home,” Lin Feng cut her off. He put on his coat and wished the others a good night.

An Xin bit on her lips. I don’t want… She shook her head and closed her eyes. “Fine. Fine.” She allowed Lin Feng to grab her arm and walk her out of the restaurant.

Tang Bingyao watched this happen from her seat at the table. She hadn’t said anything through this entire scene, except for a quick goodnight. There was no jealousy that led her to act like this, but rather worry. Something’s wrong with BunBun. I saw her hand tremble when she took that piece of paper from Zeng Rui. That really happened. She’s not okay. She’s lying about something. What’s wrong? Is there something I can do? Mhm. I’ll have to ask. When I get her alone, I’ll ask. Mhm!

It wasn’t far to the subway station, which was where An Xin wanted to go. Lin Feng offered to call her a cab multiple times, but was quickly shut down each time. When they arrived in front of the subway station, An Xin stopped and tried to pull free from Lin Feng’s arm. She smiled at him and said, “It’s okay. You brought me far enough. I can go the rest of the way by myself.”

Lin Feng nodded slowly, but didn’t let her go. He looked at her and asked in a tone that was far more serious than he usually spoke, “BunBun. Are you really okay?”

An Xin forced a smile and nodded. “Idiot. I told you I’m okay. I’m really, really, really okay. Ok? I’m just a bit tired.”

“Really? Why does it feel like you’re lying to me then?” Lin Feng asked, doubtful.

“Lying? Since when can you tell when someone is lying?” An Xin asked sarcastically. Please let me go. Please.

Lin Feng glanced past this attempt to change the topic and repeated, “Are you really okay?”

“Yes I’m sure! Drop it!” An Xin said, annoyed. Drop it and go!

“Really?” Lin Feng asked again. Something is feeling wrong. Why does this feel wrong? Can I really let her go alone? “Really?”

“REALLY! REALLY! REALLY! I’M FINE!” An Xin yelled, quickly becoming very angry. I can’t hold this up! GO AWAY!

Lin Feng chewed on his lips and looked An Xin up and down. He finally asked, “Really?”

I need to look strong. An Xin suddenly stood very straight. She raised her fist and smacked Lin Feng on the head. “You’re an idiot! I said I’m fine, so I’m fine! Now I’m going to go before I miss my train. Stop following me! Goodnight!”

Lin Feng rubbed his head in pain, but didn’t leave. He took a deep breath and said, “Alright. Alright. Call me if anything happens. Please.”

“Don’t worry, don’t worry. I know. I’ll call you if anything happens. Now go!” An Xin said, shooing Lin Feng away.

Lin Feng let An Xin push him away. He walked a few steps away from the subway station, but then stopped and turned back around to look at An Xin. He said, “BunBun. I’m serious. Are you really okay?”

An Xin looked at Lin Feng, the dark of the night hiding the tears popping up in her eyes. I’m not. She chewed on the inside of her cheeks and blinked away a tear. He looks actually worried. I should tell him… No. No. She shook her head and said quietly, “Really. Please don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.”

Lin Feng nodded and then turned around and walked away. This feels wrong. This feels all wrong. But I can’t force her if she doesn’t want me to stay. It’s just… He stopped after only taking three steps and turned back around again. An Xin was walking down the stairs into the subway station. He called out after her, “BunBun? Are you sure? Are you really okay?” But she didn’t answer him. She kept walking until she disappeared from his view.

“I’m just worried about you,” Lin Feng mumbled, scratching the back of his head. “I’m just worried…” But An Xin was gone. She won’t like it if I go after her. She’ll just smack me and tell me to go away… He pursed his lips and, though his stomach was moving around and twisting tightly into a knot, he walked away.

An Xin glanced over her shoulder, searching for Lin Feng. He left. Good. She finally let the tension on her body drop. Her hand started trembling violently and the world swirled darkly before her eyes. She leaned against the wall and tried to stay on her feet. That was too much. I pushed myself too far. I shouldn’t have let him come with me. I just need to… I need to rest. She let her knees relax, falling semi-controlled to the floor. There, she leaned against the walls and closed her eyes. I just need a bit of rest.

It was late at night and she was in a subway station. An Xin knew she couldn’t sit here for long. So after only a couple of seconds, she forced herself back to her feet. Every movement of her body cost her a lot of energy. Drops of sweat appeared on her forehead. Just keeping it together was asking a lot from her. She took slow, deep breaths, trying to stay calm. The sound of a train arriving came from deeper in the station. I need to hurry to catch the train… A bead of sweat rolled down her face. She felt it make its way around her eye and down her cheek, before rolling over the edge of her chin. It fell to the ground and she reached her hand out.

There was the faintest sound of the drop of sweat hitting the palm of her hand. But in An Xin’s mind it sounded like thunder. It echoed and it smashed against the walls of her sanity. It was a painful reminder of the situation she was in. Her heart trembled. Just this much is already pushing it. I don’t know how much more I can… She bit on her lips, fresh tears watering her eyes.

Chapter 282 – I’m Okay

There were a lot of universities looking for a spot at the main tournament of the Winter Collegiate Cup. And only a limited number of spots. But to give everyone a chance, the tournament went through local divisions in seven different regions before moving on to Regionals. To fit all of this into the schedule, the tournament officials were forced to move through the different phases at a very high speed. Only days after the local divisions ended, the numerous university teams gathered together to play the first round of Regionals. The format was a 32 team bracket which played down until there were only four teams remaining.

It’d take a few days to get through the first round of Regionals, but that didn’t stop every team in East China from attending Day 1. This was a rare opportunity to watch their potential future opponents play. They could see the team dynamics off the Rift, as well as how their rivals played together on the Rift. From how they argued inside their soundproof booths to how their Champions moved in the game.

There were two teams in the East China Regionals that were so much better than the competition that their spot in the main tournament was almost guaranteed. They were Zhejiang University and Fudan University. This made the fight for the other two spots at the main tournament that much more frantic. But in this edition of the Collegiate Cup, it didn’t stop there for East China. Rumours had started spreading that there was another team that was distinguishing itself from the competition, stepping up above everyone else. They were voted online as most likely to clinch a spot at the main tournament! And it was a team no one expected; the high schoolers from Team Shanghai!

The footage of the local divisions had made its rounds around the various competing universities. Everyone had seen how Team Shanghai had two girls on their roster, and how they stomped on their opposition in their local division. It was this combination that confused the university teams here today. They didn’t really know what to expect from Team Shanghai. So in an effort to be ready for anything, they all paid special attention to Team Shanghai on Day 1 of the East China Regionals.

The venue for the East China Regionals was similar to the one at the East China Medical School, where Team Shanghai had played its first two rounds. University students and League of Legends fans had gathered on the stage and were watching the first series of the day with one eye and the players from Team Shanghai with the other.

“You see them sitting there? What do you think?”
“I don’t know… I saw the replays but it’s just hard to believe it was them. Ya know?”
“It’s going to be really damn annoying if they are that good… That’s another spot gone!”
“We got lucky to get this far. But, uch, I really wanna make it to the main tournament now…”
“Fat chance with Fudan and Zhejiang taking two of the spots.”
“And Team Shanghai… Those kids over there. I really wonder if they can replicate their performance from their local division. They were bloody good!”
“Let’s hope not. Let’s hope not.”

The players from Team Shanghai sat together at the front of the venue, close to the soundproof booths. They were looking around, catching almost everyone in the venue looking at them rather than at the large LCD screen displaying the first series. It was very off putting and Zhang Hao especially made more than a few comments about it, complaining that it felt incredibly creepy to have everyone staring at them. He finally had had enough of it and turned to look at the others. He said, “I really want to win this. That’ll make them stop looking! I hope—”

“Don’t worry!” Lin Feng interrupted, laughing. “We’ll win this! I’m really good at carrying too! The mid lane is mine!”

An Xin curled her lips and said, “Egomaniac.”

Tang Bingyao nodded and added, “Mhm. You’re shameless.”

Zeng Rui looked at Lin Feng and felt a throb at the back of his head. He’s going to give me a headache again! What’s wrong with him? Where does he get his confidence from? We’re playing a strong team today! We need to be on our A-game! He narrowed his eyes. And I’m going to be the one carrying. He said, “Don’t get ahead of yourself. We’ll see who plays best.”

The last few days had been different for Team Shanghai. The trust that was lacking before was slowly seeping into their game. And with that trust came a newfound confidence. They were a team that was preparing to win the Winter Collegiate Cup, a sentiment even Zeng Rui dared to speak out loud! Yet right now they were still in the qualifiers. They all agreed that none of these teams could make them try. Not really, anyway. And they were eager to prove that, both to themselves and to each other.

The first opponent Team Shanghai had to beat at the East China Regionals turned out to be a familiar name. It was East China Medical School. They had reached the Top 8 at Regionals in the previous edition of the Collegiate Cup and were looking to improve on that achievement. They’d trained very hard the last couple of months and had made several improvements to their roster. The two best of three series in the local division went as expected for them. They were easy wins. Now they were looking to continue that streak at Regionals.

But the East China Medical School had the misfortune of facing Team Shanghai in the first round. They were put under immense pressure from the first minute in the first game all the way until the last second of the second game. Team Shanghai was simply the better team in every aspect of the game.

Lin Feng dominated the mid lane throughout the series. He pushed his lane opponent around and grabbed up solo kills on several occasions. One time, he even got close to picking up a penta kill in a fight he started all by himself. The other two lanes weren’t doing any worse. Zhang Hao was crushing his lane opponent while Zeng Rui was setting Tang Bingyao up for double kills every couple of minutes. And whenever  East China Medical School tried to send their Jungler to help a lane out, An Xin matched his movements and made sure that Team Shanghai came out ahead.

The audience didn’t know what they were seeing. They expected some kind of spectacle, but the kind where two strong teams were fighting each other for all they were worth! This wasn’t anything like that. This was a one-sided stomp. There wasn’t a second in the series where it looked like East China Medical School had any chance of getting even a single kill.

“BEJEBUS! How good are those kids!?”
“WOOOOOOO! Uh. Why am I cheering for them? PLEASE LOSE!”
“WOOT WOOT! GoGo Lin Feng! If anyone can, YOU CAN!”
“This is just silly. How good are they? My god…”
“They’ve got that third spot. Everyone on their side of the bracket is properly fucked.”
“Can’t believe our team is losing to some high schoolers…”

The regular audience weren’t the only ones impressed by how Team Shanghai was playing. Even the players from Zhejiang University and Fudan University nodded in respect. They knew a good team when they saw one. There wasn’t a doubt in their minds that Team Shanghai was going to qualify for the main tournament, which placed them in a peculiar situation. On the one hand, they wanted the East China region to do well. Training together with Team Shanghai was a logical next step. Yet at the same time, they also needed to prepare a strategy against Team Shanghai in the event they had to play each other at the main tournament.

Su Xue had brought her good friend, and video editor, Zuo You with her to watch Team Shanghai play in the first round of the East China Regionals. After Team Shanghai won their first series, the two girls walked up to Lin Feng and greeted him. Zuo You did this by waving her arms around, her bright red hair distinguishing her from everyone else at the venue, and shouting, “Good job, kiddo! That looked pretty damn good!”

Su Xue curled her lips in disapprovement and said, “Don’t be so nice to him. It’ll go straight to his head!”

Lin Feng ruffled his hair and argued, “I did almost get a penta with my Fizz. I deserved that compliment!”

Su Xue wanted to say something, get into a typical argument with Lin Feng, but stopped herself. Let’s not do this in front of his friends. She smiled at the other four players from Team Shanghai that approached and said, “Congratulations on that win! It was really nice! I loved that triple kill you got Tang Tang! Oh! I was thinking that we should celebrate this victory with some food!”

“Great idea!” Zuo You exclaimed before Lin Feng could. She grabbed her purse and waved it in front of Lin Feng, adding, “Let’s GoGoGO! It’s my treat! You guys deserve it after that performance! We need to celebrate this win! Come!”

“YEAH! BROS! FOOD!” Ouyang shouted from a short distance away. He pushed himself through a few people until he arrived next to Lin Feng. He then raised his arms and continued, “Us bros need to celebrate this massive win! And we can’t turn Zuo You down either! Bros gotta give their bro’s chicks face! Isn— AAAJJJ!”

Ren Rou grabbed Ouyang by his ear and pulled him away, saying, “I’m sorry for this swine’s behaviour. Please forgive him.”

The other old teammates and classmates from Lin Feng also arrived. Liu Yue was at the front of them. He’d heard the words food and quickly pulled out his phone, which he now held in front of Zuo You’s face. “Here! LookLookLook! There’s this really good restaurant! It’s right around the corner! See these reviews? They’re all super woot woot! I’ve been wanting to go forever! Wanna go here?”

Zuo You looked at Liu Yue and giggled. “Sure. Sounds good. You lead the way. We’ll go have our celebratory dinner there!”

“WOOT WOOT!” Liu Yue shouted. He stuffed his phone away and started leading the way, saying over his shoulder, “Keep up! Keep up!”

Zeng Rui watched Liu Yue running away. Seriously, how do I always get in these situations? I need to go over the footage from today’s games… And I just know I’m not going to have time for that because they’re going to drag me along. Again! He glanced at Lin Feng, who was talking with Su Xue and trailing after Liu Yue. The thundering dumbass will look over his shoulder and go, Oh, ZengZeng… He grimaced, hating himself for using the nickname, and shook his head. Screw it! Celebrating every win it is! No point in trying to argue with him. He caught up to An Xin and matched her speed. “Hey, BunBun,” he said. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get anything done. He smiled and turned his head to look at her. “I came up with a plan for Champion Select last night. Six different team comps fit into it. Can you take a look and tell me what you think?”

An Xin looked at Zeng Rui and replied. “Sure. I can do that.”

Zeng Rui nodded and handed An Xin a sheet of paper that was scribbled full with letters and drawings. “Thanks. Here.”

An Xin reached out to grab the paper and touched it with her fingers. Zeng Rui let go, expecting her to have it. But she didn’t. The sheet slid from An Xin’s grasp and fell to the ground. “Oh, sorry! My bad!” Zeng Rui quickly said. He reached down to grab it, but An Xin beat him to it.

“It’s fine,” An Xin said, reaching out to grab the paper from the floor. “It’s my fault.” Come on. Not now. Please not now. She gritted her teeth and tried to pinch the paper between her fingers. But that only made her hand tremble. The sheet of paper slipped through her fingers again. Please! She closed her eyes and reached out with her other hand too. Just work for me. Grab the paper. Please.

Tang Bingyao had been walking behind An Xin when the piece of paper fell. She stopped walking and tilted her head. Why did she drop that? Mhm, probably nothing. She shrugged and was about to walk around An Xin when she noticed it. An Xin’s hand trembled. Tang Bingyao narrowed her eyes. Why is her hand trembling? She can’t grab the paper? What Her eyes went wide. She can’t pick up the paper! She crouched down next to An Xin and put an arm around her friend’s shoulder. She asked worriedly, “BunBun, are you okay? Do you need some help?”

An Xin bit on her lips and pinched her eyes closed. She ignored Tang Bingyao and focused as hard as she could on her hand. Please! She pinched the sheet of paper with everything she had and finally managed to hold on to it. Why does this… She grimaced and quickly put the paper away in her pocket. Her hand relaxed again. An exhausted breath escaped her lips. She could feel Tang Bingyao standing beside her and Zeng Rui in front of her. Act natural. You’re okay. Just tell them… She opened her eyes and smiled. “Don’t worry, Tang Tang. I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m okay, really.”

You’re lying, was what Tang Bingyao wanted to say. But she stopped herself after glancing around. Zeng Rui stood next to them and Lin Feng had stopped walking too. If she’s trying to hide it… She’s trying to hide something. What is she… Tang Bingyao bit on her tongue and nodded at An Xin. I won’t say anything. That’s your choice. Her stomach heavily disagreed, but she pushed herself to say, “Mhm… Okay. If you say so.”