How are they? Are they doing well? What happened to them? Lin Feng found himself thinking about his old teammates a lot these days. He’d lay awake in bed at night, wondering about them. But just like he had with Tian Tian, he’d been the one to cut contact and ghost them. He had no idea what they were up to through his choices, his actions. In his calls with Tian Tian, they laughed and joked and talked about Worlds. He went along with it. They were good moments. But what he really wanted was to ask about his old teammates. Tian Tian would have the answers for him. However, it was a lot more difficult to ask this question than he’d expected. The words were on the tip of his tongue. He wanted to say them. He wanted to know how they were doing! But every time he opened his mouth to ask the question, the words refused to come out. He was afraid of what Tian Tian might say if he brought the topic up.
I ignored their calls. That was all me. Lin Feng wanted to talk to his old teammates again, if only to hear their voices one more time. He wanted to know that they were doing alright! But he didn’t know how to get back in touch, how he could face them again. Even over a phone call. Even the simple question of, “How are you?” felt like a monumental task. Back in Season 1, when they were on the same team, he counted on them to have his back and they counted on him to have their back. And then he walked away. He left them behind and didn’t even look back. Through their shouts. Through their frantic and worried calls. Through everything they tried to find out what was going on with him, he left. He broke the one sacred rule. He didn’t have their back.
I betrayed them… Lin Feng hated himself for it. He wanted to kick himself, curse in the mirror, or steal that one Delorean from that crazy kid and old man. Instead of sharing the cup of sorrow and letting his friends support him, like he would’ve for them, he ran away. Away from them and away from his problems. He bit his lips and looked down at the ground. I betrayed them… He’d tried to justify his actions. To come with an argument for why what he’d done was the right thing. But the harsh reality was that there was no argument. No justification. Nothing that could support his actions. He’d broken The Bro Code. He’d done the one thing no one should ever do. He’d turned his back on his friends and those who cared about him. I betrayed them.
Why… Why? Lin Feng knew that what he’d done was selfish. He was the most selfish person to ever walk this Earth! Yet when he reconnected with Tian Tian, when they heard each others’ voices for the first time in four years, Tian Tian wasn’t mad at him. Tian Tian was just happy to hear his voice again. Why didn’t he call me out? Why wasn’t he angry? Lin Feng didn’t know how to react to the fact that Tian Tian wasn’t mad at him. The guilt in his heart only grew stronger and so did the intense self-loathing. He was just holding back. He’s probably afraid I’ll run away again if he says something. He knew it! What he’d done was unforgivable! Tian Tian had to be mad at him! Lin Feng genuinely believed he deserved to get yelled at, ripped a new asshole. From one bro to the other. It needed to be said! He’d feel so much better! But the question was if it would make Tian Tian feel better. He didn’t know if it would. It didn’t seem like it. From what he’d noticed so far, Tian Tian was just happy to have his old friend back.
Lin Feng breathed in, deep and long, and then let it all out. He forced a smile and looked back up at his computer screen. His hands, that were below the desk, balled into two fists. It’s time I stop being such a whiny baby! I made my choice! I have to face the consequences. Whatever they are. Next time I call with Fatty, I’ll ask him about the others. I will! I WILL!
「wtf is wrong with lil bro?????????」
「He looks hella outa it man」
「DID THE MAID POISON HIM??!??!」
「hey lil bro you ok bud? you look kinda pale? maybe lay down a bit?」
「YO MAID go take care of lil bro!!!!」
「I’d also feel sick after eating so much… Did you guys see the pile of food he worked away???」
Su Xue turned to look at Lin Feng. His face was pale and he looked like he’d just puked. She placed her hand over his forehead and asked, “Are you ok? Is something wrong? Don’t tell me you caught a fever. I told you to put warmer clothes on! It’s getting cold at night. You have to be more careful with your health!”
「Go to bed, lil bro! You’ll feel better in the morning!」
「It’s already the middle of the night, man! We get it. Just get some sleep.」
「don’t worry about us… we’ll survive another evening with the maid…. if we have to」
「I’m already putting cheese in my ears for protection!!!!」
Lin Feng scratched the back of his head and then smiled at the camera. “Oh, I’m fine. Don’t worry about me! I was just lost in thought for a bit there. Thanks for the concern, but I’m really fine!”
Su Xue flicked Lin Feng’s ear. “Oi! That’s all? You had me worried here for nothing! Why would you do that to me?” Then she ruffled his hair and turned back to the chat. Her eyes narrowed. They locked down on a specific kind of comment. There were many in the chat that thought they were being funny. “Where is the cheese in the ears guy? Step out! Show yourself! Let me ban you out of this channel! My voice is angelic! Screw you all!”
「Cheese in the ears? Who said that? I didn’t hear anything about that. Did you guys?」
「no no, me neither…. Maybe she’s seeing things again!」
「hey look! the next match is starting!!!! IT”S DUST!!! LEZZ GOOOOO」
「Ohhhhh h its duusstttttt!!!! GO DUST! GO DUST! WINN!!!!」
The previous three games of the day were exciting, to an extent. But none of them had really grabbed the attention of the viewers. They were all games between other regions. This next game, on the other hand, featured Dust! The third team from the LPL after Hand of God and KG! It wasn’t going great for Dust. They were in a group with two Korean teams and had ended Week 1, as could be expected, with one win and two losses. They were on the brink of being knocked out. The only way to stay in it was to beat at least one of the Korean teams. They had to! For their fans! And then the viewers saw who Dust was up against in the first game. All hope was gone. This game was lost. Dust could never win against SSK. No one could.
All across the world, Chinese fans gave up. There were even those who turned the stream off and went about finishing their homework or focusing on their job. Anything was better than watching Dust getting their ass handed to them by SSK. There were a lot of strong teams and most of them could face off against each other for a match that could, in theory, go either way. But there were exceptions. SSK was one of them. With a King and the number one player in the world, they were a force no one could beat. All hope was lost if you had to play against them. It didn’t matter how people tried to spin it. Dust would lose. There wasn’t a single doubt in their minds.
SSK had it all. The number one player in the world. There wasn’t anyone who could even get close to shaking his position, not even the other three Emperors! Then there was the King. Another phenomenal player. The other three players that rounded out the team couldn’t be looked down on either. They were all at the top of their game and played together with absolute perfect synergy. Leading this group of freaks was a famous veteran coach and a strong team of analysts. They were the perfect team.
Lin Feng saw the matchup and directly said, “Dust is going to lose this match.” There was no hesitation in his voice, no second to think about it. He didn’t even consider Dust winning the game. It was too ridiculous an idea, even in his mind.
The game played out as anyone would’ve expected. Lin Feng gave some good analytical insight, but there was no need to build up the hype. There was no hype to this game. SSK played a clean game. At 25 minutes, they’d destroyed two inhibitors and gotten a 9,000 gold advantage. This was something no one could come back from. In the last three minutes of the game, SSK just had a little fun. They ran around the map, looking to pick up kills and even going so far as to camp Dust on their fountain, letting the Nexus survive for a few extra seconds.
Rake was the MVP of the game. His Xerath ended the game with a score of 11/0/6. He’d made full use of the long range of Xerath to shoot down the players from Dust even when they were hiding underneath their own towers. No one was safe from him. It was a display of absolute domination! The strength of the Emperor!
「… hows anyone supposed to beat him」
「this was fucking hopeless……」
「dust got crushed and left in the dust」
「OOFF that was hard to watch」
「Let’s give Dust a big F, guys!」
Su Xue knew, just like the others, that Dust was going to lose. But there was a big difference between losing and whatever this game was. Dust got stomped so hard that she wasn’t angry with them. She just felt bad for them. “Jeez! That Xerath was way too good. Right, guys?”
Lin Feng didn’t say a word. He’d reverted to his quiet self, staring at the screen, staring at that one name. Rake. He’s stronger. The Rake that Lin Feng had just watched was so much better than the one he remembered from Season 1 that there really was no comparing the two. If he were to face off against this Rake, he’d lose miserably. It wouldn’t even be a game. He dug his nails into his palm and bit down hard on his lips. It was hard to admit. He really didn’t want to admit it. But it was also the truth. He was the second-fiddle. There was no beating this guy, not right now at least.
I have to become strong! I have to fight! Lin Feng stopped worrying and instead redirected that emotion into motivation. Rake was strong. But he was also really good at the game! He just lacked training. Rake had four years on him on that front. So he had to work hard and catch up. His breathing calmed down. I will. He came to the decision he should’ve come to a long, long time ago.