Tian Tian shook off his nerves and even smiled a little. And then what? If Lin Feng had asked him this right after HoG’s loss to SSK, he might’ve said something else. But not anymore. He thought back, back to minutes after the game, when the players from HoG walked off the stage, deflated. Nightsong and then Daybreak Hermes right behind him. He’d clapped. These two all time greats from the LPL had put on a phenomenal show. They’d given it their all! It just wasn’t enough this time. He’d clapped as they walked by and even mumbled a few words, “Y-you guys did great!” But they were lost in the crowd, never reaching anyone’s ears.
Nightsong did hear something. He looked at Tian Tian and smiled, pained. There was a pause in his step, a slight hesitation, before he stopped and walked up to Tian Tian. He put his hand on Tian Tian’s shoulder and, after a brief moment, grinned. “That wasn’t enough. You saw it. Fuck. Whatever, shit happens. I’ll piss all over them next year and show who can last longer. But this year is all on you now. You can do it, man. Make us proud.”
Daybreak Hermes had followed a step behind Nightsong. He’d put his arm around his friend’s shoulder and looked at Tian Tian. “What this dude here says. Make us proud. You can do this. Just like the Heca and Riven games.”
Tian Tian held the phone close to his ears. And then what? The answer was so simple. This was for the players! This was for the hopes and dreams of everyone who followed the LPL! This was for the glory of the LPL! But more than anything, this was for him! He took a deep breath and said, “Then we’re going to make it to semis!”
It was all on KG now! Hand of God was eliminated. They were the first seed from the LPL and most Chinese fans had vested their hopes and dreams on them. Now that they were out, these fans turned to KG. They acted like lifelong fans and flooded the online sphere with their presence. The added pressure was almost palpable. Even more so since KG had, in the eyes of many, the easiest way to the semifinals. Their opponent wasn’t an Emperor team. They only had to play a King team. Assassins.
Assassins was a team from the LMS. This was the League of Legends Master Series, a competition in which teams from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau competed. They were the best in this smaller region. And not just by a little. This was in part due to their Jungler. Read XIII. He was one of the best Junglers in the entire world, most known for his fantastic Lee Sin. His skills on Lee Sin were so good that many fans considered him the best player on the Champion! The only other player who could lay claim to this title was Orion, another King and Jungler for the Korean team Warrior.
There was a famous Taiwanese esports publication. They ranked all professional teams on their individual skills, teamwork and team synergy. In their rankings, 65 points was the score of a middle of the pack professional team. As for the best few teams in the world, those who were expected to make it to the quarterfinals and beyond at Worlds, they scored a minimum of 80 points. This was where Assassins ranked. Their individual players got them a score of 65. On top of that, they got another 15 points for teamwork and team synergy for a grand total of 80 points! They were one of the best teams in the world!
Lin Feng was talking with Fatty over the phone. The topic had shifted from some motivating words to Assassins’ Jungler. “I’ve been watching some games. That Read XIII sure has gotten a lot stronger!” He was Lin Feng, and he didn’t know how demotivating words could sound. His words were full of excitement. In his eyes, this was the perfect chance for Fatty to show the world just how good he was! He said, “Fatty, you can do it! Read was worse than you! You had one full rank on him! Now he somehow got this King title behind his name. That should be yours! You were better then and you’re better now! You just have to beat him for the rest of the world to see it!”
Tian Tian wasn’t quite feeling the enthusiasm in Lin Feng’s voice. He replied, “B-but he’s a Jungler… I’m a Toplaner! I-it’s like apples and oranges. You can’t just compare us. And he’s really good! H-he’s gotten so much better since Season 1.”
“Ah, who cares about that?” Lin Feng laughed. “All you have to do is win. You can do that. Easy. Just do like Eleven did! Eleven—” Eleven was the Jungler on Lin Feng’s team back in Season 1. It was a name he hadn’t said in a long time. One he didn’t intend to say out loud.
Tian Tian heard Lin Feng’s voice breaking off. He thought for a moment the connection died, but then heard his friend breathing on the other side. It was the name. He put two and two together, but didn’t know what to do with it. All he had were his words, and he wasn’t great at using them. The only thing he could think of was a fond memory, one he shared with Lin Feng. He said, “Y-yeah, yeah! Remember how we always made fun of their names? Eleven is better than Thirteen. Hehehe. That guy got so annoyed by it. It was great, hehe…”
It didn’t have the desired effect. There came no reply from the other side of the line. “U-uh… ‘Member XIII?” He stuttered a few more words. “Oh I ‘member!” Anything to get Lin Feng talking again. “That was fantastic.” But there came no reply. Lin Feng didn’t start talking again. So he stopped, holding the phone to his ear, not knowing what to do.
Lin Feng thought back to his road to Worlds in Season 1. His team was only one step away from securing the Asian wildcard. Their final opponent was the team Read XIII was on. It was a best of three series. The series came down to a difference in Junglers. Eleven outplayed Read XIII in both games, landing Lin Feng’s team a clean sweep. They qualified, while Read XIII and his team were sent home and could only cheer on Lin Feng’s team. Something they promised to do.
The two teams even made plans to meet up again in the next season. They’d had that much fun in the series! Read XIII was especially interested in this rematch. He wanted, needed even, a chance at revenge! With only this in mind, he started practicing. He trained and he trained to become the better Jungler, to become the better player. But the next year, Eleven had disappeared from the professional scene just like Lin Feng had. There was no revenge to be had for Read XIII. That didn’t slow him down. He kept working hard and had fought his way into the Seven Kings!
Lin Feng bit his lips, then finally said, “Hey, Fatty. After your games, I want to talk to you about something.”
Tian Tian held the phone closer to his ear. He smiled when he heard Lin Feng’s voice again and started nodding. “Okay!”
Lin Feng forced a smile on his face and hyped up his voice. “You have to win! You can do it! Just do it! I’ll do the same tomorrow in the next round of my tournament!”
League of Legends fans from around the world opened their favourite streams. So too did Su Xue’s viewers. They were looking for the best viewing experience of Day 4 of the League of Legends World Championships! The all Chinese team KG would face off against Assassins for a spot in the semifinals! To them, no one was better at analyzing than Lin Feng! Their li’l bro! But it wasn’t his voice that welcomed them. It was a female voice. The one that belonged to the maid. “Go KG! Go KG!”
「GO AWAY STUPID MAID」
「stop waving around that jerky like a fool……」
「lill brroooo, help us get rid of the maid pllssssssssss」
「Why does she always have to be here?」
「remember the games with just lil bro? Those were the days」
「she isnt goin to be givin that shit analysis talks again right」
This was how the viewers showed their affection with Su Xue. It was a game where they were offensive while she pretended to be infuriated. There was never a dull moment in the stream because of that. More importantly, right now, it helped to get the viewers’ minds off the game. To forget about their nervous anticipation. KG had to win. They just had to! It couldn’t be any other way!
Lin Feng sat next to Su Xue. His eyes were on the stream, instead of on chat. The camera panned over to the players from KG, showing closeups of their expressions. When Fatty came on screen, Lin Feng started smiling and balled his fist. You can do it! Come on, Fatty! Do it!
The Zenith Paris was full of excited fans. Even if the game didn’t feature a European team, that didn’t dampen their mood one bit. Everyone had found their favourites, many of them leaning towards KG after their phenomenal performance in the second week of the group stage. They were clapping their glow sticks together and cheering for the 10 players as they took to the stage and sat down behind their computers.
Tian Tian sat down behind his computer. He heard the fans in the background, cheering his name! Beads of sweat rolled off his forehead and trickled down his face. These were just 9,000 people. There were millions more watching online, counting on him to carry KG to the semis. He was the hope for the LPL. He was the only one who could do this! Closing his eyes, he breathed in deeply. The air filled his lungs. Then he blew it all out, letting the tension in his body go with it.
“I-i’m going to win! I will win! Win! Win! Win!” His eyes snapped open. Tian Tian looked up from his screen at the crowd in the arena. At all the people cheering for him! For his team! For all the people watching him play at home! For Nightsong and Hermes! For Lin Feng, and most importantly, for himself! He was going to win! No matter how hard it was going to be. No matter how strong Assassins played today! No matter how shit his team was today! No matter anything and everything! He was going to fight! He was going to never give up! And he was going to win! He looked at the screen and placed his hands on his mouse and keyboard. It was time to play!
KG and Assassins locked in their Champions. They loaded into the game and went with a standard strategy. There were no early level invades into the other team’s jungle, nor were there lane swaps. It was a pure matchup of skill. A matchup KG won. They pushed the different lanes, with top tower being the first to fall. Tian Tian kept putting pressure and forcing Read XIII, Assassins’ Jungler, to make trips up top. The rest of KG used this time to push their lanes. From there it was a methodical finish. Assassins’ Nexus exploded after 32 minutes.
This was the start that KG’s fans wanted to see! Assassins was a King team. KG only had God Roundy. But KG was the team dictating the pace of the game. There was no evidence that Assassins actually had a King on their roster. In the first game, anyways. The second game was a little different. It was a lot more even and at 35 minutes, KG tried to make the difference by trying to kill Baron Nashor without Assassins noticing. They did notice. Read XIII played Rek’Sai and was waiting around the edge of the Baron Pit. Waiting for that one moment. That one opportunity.
KG’s Jungler played Jarvan IV. He tanked Baron Nashor while his team killed it. His health was dropping, but there was no sign of Assassins coming to stop them, so he kept pushing. He kept pushing. And then a tunnel appeared on the map. It came from the other side of the wall. Rek’Sai clawed herself out of the tunnel and knocked the Jarvan IV airborne. She followed up with a quick auto attack to kill the Jarvan IV. Then she turned to Baron Nashor.