KG stood with half a foot in the quarterfinals of Worlds! This win over Legend had secured that. All that was left to do for them was to play the wildcard team and win. But that shouldn’t be an issue. Even when KG was at their worst, only a week ago, they’d still beaten the wildcard team. The only other development that could rock KG’s boat was if Legend screwed up in their last game against Flash. If they lost, there would be a three way tiebreaker between Legend, Flash and KG. Anything could happen in a tiebreaker. But Legend had never lost to Flash. There was nothing to suggest they would start losing now. Their loss against KG was a momentary setback, nothing more. Flash would be easy pickings for them!
The players from Hand of God had watched the KG versus Legend game in the VIP viewing area. Hermes and Nightsong were sitting together, chatting about the last game in Group A. They were rooting for KG, of course, and were happy to see Roundy make it to the next round. Hermes nudged Nightsong and said, “I don’t think that tiebreaker is happening, man. Legend has never lost to Flash. Ever. Never ever. I don’t see it suddenly start happening now.”
“Yup, you’re right! Flash is fucked! No way they beat Legend. Nope. Don’t see it happening. That’s an Emperor team. We did it back at MSI cause we have me! But Flash doesn’t! I didn’t think KG could do it either, but I guess some of my big dick energy must’ve rubbed off on Roundy back at the buffet!” Nightsong patted himself on the back and smirked. “You see, that’s why you should feel lucky to have me. I’ve got a way of making the impossible possible.”
“Sure sure. It had nothing to do with Legend underestimating KG. Oh, and definitely nothing to do with Roundy playing out of his mind, right?” Hermes grinned, elbowing his friend in the side. “Still, Legend really dropped the ball this time. They disrespected KG, and Roundy walked all over them for that. I guess they figured Demon would always beat Roundy and didn’t play for otherwise. Roundy really carried the hell out of that game.”
“Told ya!” Nightsong laughed, proud of his self-imagined contribution. “It’s all me! Roundy wouldn’t have solo carried those games if it wasn’t for me!”
“Yep, yep. All you. Like you keep saying.” Hermes shook his head and grinned. His friend was an idiot. “You know. If Roundy keeps playing like he is, he’ll probably take Chris’s spot and become one of the Seven Kings. I don’t think it even matters how KG ends the tournament. He just has to keep playing like he is.”
Nightsong looked at his friend and winked at him. “Or he might displace you, who knows! But whatever. It’s good that KG is finally winning their games. The LPL needed this. This is good for all of us! We also gotta make it to the quarterfinals!”
Hermes chuckled and said, “That’s the spirit! Yep. We were the first to qualify in the LPL. It’s up to us to show everyone that we’re the best team in China! So we better kick some asses!”
The players from KG and Legend had left the stage. It was empty while the stadium announcer was hyping up the crowd for the next game, while replays of both teams appeared on the giant LCD screens above the stage. Hermes and Nightsong looked at it, watching themselves play. Their opponent was North America’s COG. This was a winnable matchup. They waited until the little videoclip came to an end and a picture of the five players appeared. Then they got up from their seats and walked up the stage with their teammates, waving at the cheering crowd.
In Week 1, Hand of God had beaten COG. It was a resounding victory, but it didn’t paint the full picture. COG had a King on their roster, just like HoG. However, unlike HoG, their King had to sit out last week. Due to circumstances, he couldn’t play. But now he was ready. Back with a vengeance. COG finally showed up with their strongest lineup! This game would be a battle between Kings! On one side was Daybreak Hermes in the midlane and on the other was Seven, North America’s best Toplaner!
The crowd in the Wembley Arena was clapping and cheering. This game was no battle between Emperors. This game was also not the previous game. It didn’t hold the excitement. The thrill. But that didn’t mean this wasn’t a match the people looked forward to. This was a battle between Kings! Two of the best players in the world would go toe to toe! Anything could happen and they were excited to see what this game would bring!
While Hand of God and COG got into their match, the fans cheering their names, Tian Tian had retreated to a bathroom stall backdoor. His bathroom stall. But instead of hiding away in it, he left the door open, cuddling a phone with both hands. He had tears of joy in his eyes as he dialed a number and waited for the other side to pick up. When they did, the floodgates opened. Through the tears and joy he started rambling, “L-lin Feng! Lin Feng! I did it! I promised you and I did it! I won! W-we beat Legend! I-t was really cool! I won!”
Tian Tian was using his mentor’s phone. His mentor who was also in the bathroom, listening in on the call. He watched Tian Tian caressing the phone and weeping, and shook his head. “I must’ve been really drunk when I decided to help him… What did I think? Fatty… He’s such a crybaby! Even when he’s happy those tears flow. How did I ever think he could follow in my footsteps?”
There was a moment of silence. Tian Tian’s mentor looked over. Tian Tian was listening, his mouth hanging open a little. He was nodding, vigorously, every few seconds and sometimes mumbling a few words. Then he used his sleeve to wipe his eyes dry and said, “Yeah! B-both games! We won both of them!” His face started shining. It could light up the darkest room. Full of pride he was. “I carried both games! Y-you should’ve seen it! I really did it! I didn’t let you down! First I played my Heca. Y-you need to go see a replay. I landed a 5 man ult! I hit all five of them! … Yes! Also on that Chris, haha! It was really cool! And, and then in the second one I went with Riven. I-i knew it would take something special. So, so, so I did! I went for it! And it worked! It was so cool! We won and I got a perfect game against Legend!”
Tian Tian’s mentor smiled. He looked at this young man who he’d given so much attention to. This kid who’d given him so many sleepless nights and headaches. A foolish crybaby. But this same kid. This same crybaby… Fatty had just shown the entire world one of the best top lane performances ever seen in League of Legends! This was the level he knew his pupil could reach, at minimum. The Seven Kings were nothing for Fatty! All he had to do was get a little more consistent. Once he did that, his eyes would be on the Four Emperors. Though, it was a little bit early to be thinking about them. A few good games wouldn’t see Fatty enter their ranks.
The Four Emperors, huh? Tian Tian’s mentor thought back to the days he still played competitively. He’d lived and breathed esports. He’d stood at the top and seen it all. He’d fought with the best, and against them. I suppose we weren’t all that different back then compared to these Four Emperors.
Number 4: Moon. Midlaner for Fate. Competing in the Korean LCK.
Number 3: Phoenix. Midlaner for Legend. Competing in the European LCS.
Number 2: Autumn, Support for Season. Competing in the North American LCS.
Number 1: Rake. Midlaner for SSK. Competing in the Korean LCK. Best player in the world.
Tian Tian’s mentor and his friend in Hawaii, both of them were invested in the LPL. More specifically, they were invested in Tian Tian and Lin Feng. Rake was the catalyst that led to Lin Feng quitting the scene. This still left a bad aftertaste. Everytime Tian Tian’s mentor heard the name, or saw the man play, he got a little annoyed. He didn’t like this Rake one bit. But it didn’t matter if he liked Rake or not. Fact of the matter remained that Rake was an exceptionally talented player. The best in the world. There was no one who could beat him. Not right now, at least.
“The next three years will be Rake’s golden years…” The words rang in Tian Tian’s mentor’s head. Those were the words an old friend had said to him last year, when SSK won the Season 4 World Championships. “The only thing that can stop Rake is if his team falls apart. There’s no other team, or player, who can contest against him right now. Maybe they lose a game after a crazy patch. But other than something extreme like that, I don’t see anyone else winning over them.”
League of Legends was already five years old. From a small game primarily played in North America, it was now a worldwide phenomenon. There were tens of millions of players, if not more. But a player from all the way back in Season 1 was still the best. He started playing in Korea when the queue times for games were long because there weren’t enough people yet. But since that first edition of Worlds until now, no one had appeared on the professional team that could beat him. The only person who came close was Lin Feng. But that was so long ago, it didn’t really count anymore.
Lin Feng, huh? Tian Tian’s mentor looked over at his pupil. Tian Tian was still holding his phone as though he held the most valuable item in his hands, listening to what Lin Feng was saying on the other end of the line. He smiled. No one was invincible. There was always a higher hill to climb. And there was an opponent who could challenge Rake. Maple. The kid who at only 15 years old had challenged and fought through the rounds in Worlds until finally losing in the fifth game of the Finals. He was the first and last player to ever give Rake a real difficult time. But Maple had quit. If he wanted to play again, he first had to get back into the game. He had to prove to everyone all over again how good he was. If he could do that. If he could fight through everything thrown his way and get back to where he once stood. Then, and only then, would Rake finally have to fight, really fight for his position on the throne!