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Cocky Dumbass

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Shanghai High School! The Champions of last year’s Shanghai 16 School Tournament! And this year wouldn’t be any different! Their lineup was as strong as ever, with two Diamond 1s, two Masters, and a Challenger team captain! His name was Zeng Rui, a name every high schooler in Shanghai had heard of! Beyond that, Tiny Teacup was his Summoner’s Name. This name reverberated through the Ionia server. Famous in the entire region for his outstanding Support skills! He was objective, logical, and meticulous to a fault. At any given time, he kept track of more than two dozen variables! They included ward placement, skills and summoner cooldowns, enemy experience, health, and damage potential! Some even called him mini Autumn, since that was his idol. Or so people said. How much of all this was actually true, no one knew. They only knew Zeng Rui from hearsay. None of them ever had the opportunity to play with or against him. So they made up stories about the guy who was undoubtedly the best player in all of Shanghai’s high school scene!

However, one thing was definitely true. Zeng Rui was a really good Support. Playing only this role, he’d fought his way up the ranked ladder all the way to the top 10 players in the Ionia server. When he played solo queue, he always queued up with and against famous and professional players. This was a one of a kind form of experience. No one here doubted that he’d eventually make his breakthrough into the professional scene.

The Jungler from Shanghai High School followed Zeng Rui’s gaze and looked at Lin Feng and Ouyang who were creating quite the spectacle. “I think those idiots are from High School 13.”

“High School 13?” The Toplaner scratched his chin, thinking hard where he’d heard the name before. “Oh! You mean tho–”

“Those are the guys that won all three of their games in the first round of the qualifiers. They topped their group by beating Tonji Affiliated High. High School 3 and 7 weren’t their match either,” Zeng Rui finished the sentence for his Toplaner. Then he nodded towards his Jungler. “I see. Understood.”

The Jungler laughed, resisting the urge to give himself a pat on the shoulder, and said, “As expected of the boss! You even bothered to research that crappy team! That’s some real dedication right there!”

“Crappy team?” Zeng Rui shook his head. “No. A team that beat Tonji Affiliated High does not qualify as crappy. They’re someone we need to pay some extra attention to.” His voice was steady and calm as if none of this bothered him. Just another point on his checklist. And that much was true. He wasn’t someone to lose his head to pride or arrogance. The objective truth was the only thing he cared about. His team was the best team here. That was a simple fact. But in the same breath, High School 13 was a team they had to pay attention to. It didn’t matter that High School 13 was one of the worst performing teams last year. This year. This edition of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament was all that mattered right now.

“Anyone who clings onto yesterday and refuses to look at today is a fool,” Zeng Rui stated. This was his catchphrase. A few words of wisdom he shared with anyone who’d listen to him. He looked over in the direction of High School 13 again, rubbing his temples in contemplation. “Hmm. They’re in the first group. Their opponent is North High. We’ll go and look at their game.”

The clock ticked away until it struck 1:30 PM. The organizers announced the matches and on which isle of computers each match would take place. There was a short scuffle as the 40 players who were playing and everyone else who was looking to spectate a particular game found their way to the isles. High School 13 was among them. They raced to the computers they’d be playing on and sat down behind their monitors, changing the height of their seats and looking over their computer settings. Their lineup was somewhat of a surprise. At the last minute, Lin Feng had decided to swap with Wei Dong. Ouyang was struggling really hard to keep it together, and by playing as Support he could offer Ouyang the mental support he needed while not drastically changing the game plan.

Lin Feng looked over at Ouyang, who looked back at him, and patted his chest. “Don’t worry! You got me! We’ll win this! Easy!”

“B-but you’re just playing Support…” Ouyang muttered, terrified his possible mistakes would cost his team the game.

“Relax! I got this! I’m really good at Support too!” Lin Feng laughed. He then noticed a small crowd forming behind them from the corners of his eyes. Just a few at first, but as he turned to look at them, more and more arrived. “Hoh? Looks like we’ve got a pretty big audience again today!”

The people in the crowd weren’t here because this was such an exciting match. High School 13’s opponent was North High, a school who hadn’t made it to the main tournament last year. And after their performance this year in the first qualifiers, no one really believed these guys could make it through. High School 13, however, was a completely different story. They were this year’s dark horse. The underdogs who’d popped up out of nowhere, beating one of the favourites for the title! Everyone wanted to know what this team was all about.

Chen Ze looked at the crowd until his eyes locked on a group of five. His eyes went round. He knew them! They were the players from Shanghai High School! He turned to Lin Feng and said, “Hey, Lin Feng? You see those guys over there? They’re the team from Shanghai High School…”

Yang Fan followed Chen Ze’s gaze and locked onto last year’s Champions. He started nodding and forgot to stop. Rocking back and forth with his head, he said, “Are they here to watch us play? We really did draw a lot of attention last week.”

“The Shanghai High School? Those guys you keep talking about? The big Champions from last year?” Lin Feng asked, looking over at the five players the rest of the team was already looking towards.

Yang Fan was still nodding, but at least remembered to adjust his glasses. “Yeah. You see that guy in the middle? That’s their captain, Zeng Rui. He reached the top 10 Challengers in the Ionia server. There’s some rumours an LSPL team tried to recruit him, but he rejected them. He didn’t even let them make an offer.”

Ouyang’s mouth fell open. He stared at Zeng Rui and said, “D-damn! Really? Now that’s a Challenger! It’d be so cool to play with someone like him. So cool…”

“Hey! I’m also a Challenger! We’re playing together!” Lin Feng protested.

Ouyang laughed. The stress left his body for a moment and he just laughed. “Ha! I meant a real Challenger. Not whatever you are. Get an account to Challenger first, then we can talk.”

“Eh, I guess you’re right,” Lin Feng agreed. He couldn’t keep leaning on his old rank. It meant nothing anymore. He’d have to get a new account and get it up to Challenger! As for Shanghai High School watching their game, he wasn’t too bothered. He waved his hand and said, “Don’t worry about those guys. We’re taking first place this year! When we fight that little Challenger Support, we’ll crush him just like we crushed everyone else! Isn’t that right, Tang Tang?”

Tang Bingyao tilted her head. She looked Lin Feng in the eyes. They looked confident, to her at least. Then she nodded, “Mhm!”

Ouyang looked at Lin Feng and Tang Bingyao before turning back to his screen. The nerves that had left for a second came rushing back. His teeth started chattering. He bit down, trying to stop them. Then a shiver went through his whole body. His stomach felt funny and he just couldn’t sit still. “Dammit! H-how are you guys so confident? We still gotta win this game first!”

North High versus High School 13
Top Lane: Darius versus Rumble
Jungle: Lee Sin versus Jarvan IV
Mid Lane: Twisted Fate versus Ziggs
AD-carry: Tristana versus Twitch
Support: Morgana versus Zyra

North High and High School 13 approached this game completely differently. On the side of North High, there was a Twisted Fate in the mid lane, who could use his ultimate to reveal everything in the fog of war in a large circle around him and teleport to any location within this circle. When combined with the Jungler, this could create for some terrifying ganks in the early game! As for the late game, the extra information of where the other team was could prove vital. Then there was High School 13 who chose a group of Champions with powerful area of effect ultimates. If North High huddled up too closely together, they’d get blown up before a fight could even start!

The players from Shanghai High School had walked around the isle of computers and were now watching over the shoulder of the players from North High. From here, they could somewhat make out the faces from the players from High School 13. The Jungler tapped on Zeng Rui’s shoulder and whispered, “Boss, that support for High School 13 played mid and top in the previous two games. Looks like he keeps changing up his position.”

Zeng Rui nodded. He looked at the members from High School 13 one at a time, trying to extract as much information from their expressions as possible. Lin Feng sat at the end of the line. He was the last person Zeng Rui observed. “Mhm. He played Zed in mid and Riven in top. He dealt the most damage to Champions in both games. His engages were good, his teamfights were good. He successfully plowed through the enemy backline.” Zeng Rui paused for a moment, trying to piece the information together. “So he also plays Support? I wonder if he’s an all-rounder. Hmm… Interesting. Definitely interesting.”

“Oh, oh! Let’s do our best, guys! Watch me carry this game!”

Zeng Rui was physically repulsed. He watched Lin Feng make his announcement. Heard him make the announcement so loudly that even people outside on the streets could hear him. So he really thinks he’s going to carry his team, eh? Then he noticed the other players from High School 13, saw them trying to hide behind their screens. His right eye twitched in response to the visceral cringe of the situation and he said, “Scratch that. He’s just a cocky shit. And a thundering dumbass.”

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Shanks' Halloween Story

We’re continuing with the Halloween story time. This chapter’s scary story will be by me, Shanks!

—————————————————————————————

Shanks storytime:
I don’t believe in the supernatural, normally. But I have had stuff happen to me that I still can’t explain today. It was Halloween 2013. Me and two friends decided to gather at my place after school for a scary movie marathon. We huddled around my bed with blankets and pillows over us and watched stuff like the Ring, Ju-On, the Exorcist, and Insidious.

By the time we finished watching all the movies, evening had rolled around and we were spooked. But we were also running on that endorphin rush that comes with being scared shitless and we wanted to keep chasing that high. So, one of us comes up with the brilliant idea of testing to see if there was actually a ghost in my house.

Before this, I’d always maintained to my friends that my house was haunted. It was an old house that was built back in the 40s. I assumed it had a lot of history, though I never bothered to check. The floorboards creaked a lot whenever you stepped on them. The walls were dirty beige with the paint peeling off. And I’d always get this feeling like I was being watched.

Especially at night. My bedroom is on the second floor and in order to get from there to the bathroom, you have to walk across a long narrow hallway. And on the way back, you’re greeted with a view of the staircase leading down to the first floor—along with the opportunity of seeing something that should have no right to be there at the bottom.

I dreaded going to the bathroom at night. But sometimes nature calls and you can’t avoid it. On one of these nightly treks, I actually did see something. It was a blurry, cloud of white mist—about the size of a person, just hovering at the bottom of the stairwell. I blinked for a second and it was gone. That was the first incident.

Another time I had my girlfriend over. She’d just finished using the bathroom and called out to me from the hallway. “Hey! What are you doing down there for?” I was in my bedroom at the time and I of course answered back asking what she was talking about. Then she went strangely silent and came back to my room a moment later, looking kind of spooked. After calming her down, I asked her what happened. And she told me she saw someone standing at the bottom of the staircase, and she thought it was me. That was incident two.

You can easily see why I’d have it in my head that the house was haunted by this point.

So, when my friends and I decided to play Ghosthunter that night, it was already pitch black. We’d closed all doors, shut the blinds, and covered up anything that would let the light in. All prep work for the scary movie marathon prior. We walked out of my room, across the hallway, and stopped at the top of the staircase. Still giggling about how stupid this was. Then we looked down and called out, “Helloooo! Anyoonnne thereeeee?” No response. We could’ve ended it there and gone back to my room. But we weren’t satisfied so we called out again. Still no response. At this point, we’d figured third time’s the charm. And if nothing happened, that just proved my house wasn’t haunted. So, we called out one last time.

And then I saw it. A floating ball of flames. It appeared at the bottom of the staircase and started floating up towards us. I immediately booked it.  I ran straight for the bathroom with my two friends following behind me. One managed to get in with me on time, but the other didn’t and I slammed the door in his face. Realizing what I’d done to my poor friend a split second, I opened the door and quickly let him in. Then we turned the lights on and stayed there in the bathroom until my dad got home.

And as expected, my dad didn’t believe us and brushed us off for being stupid. But we all knew what we saw and confirmed it with each other. Me and the friend who managed to get in the bathroom first saw the same ball of flames. The other friend who had the door slammed on him, though, said he saw a glowing green skull.

I lived in that house for another year before moving out, but nothing else happened after that. My best explanation is that what we saw was ball lightning. But I really don’t know. I still have a skepticism for the supernatural, but I’m not going to outright deny it either. Though, I’d be totally down to spend a night in a haunted castle with Devshard and Sietse.

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