Tap tap… “Hello? Excuse me?” The host was the most expensive low budget one. But he did grab the crowd’s attention. Everyone stared at him as a wave of silence washed over the venue, with only the sounds of shoppers in the background. “What an exciting two games! Tonji Affiliated High beat High School 4 in their best of three series with a score of two wins to zero losses! They’re through to the semifinals. I’m excited to see how far they’ll make it.” He gauged the response from the crowd, cautiously optimistic. A deep breath to calm the nerves. He blew out. Into the microphone. The sound amplified and blasted through the speakers, followed by a loud beep. Now he did have everyone’s full attention, and annoyance. “S-sorry! Uh, next up! Next up is the series between Bright High and High School 13! Two teams with great qualifiers! Let’s give them a warm welcome!”
The crowd started cheering as the two teams walked up on stage. So too Su Xue. Her eyes were laser focused on High School 13’s team. She spotted Lin Feng and jumped to her feet. Waving her hands above her she yelled, “Lin Feng! Over here! I’m over here! Do your best! You can do it!”
498 pairs of eyes turned to Su Xue. There were more than a few guys in the crowd. Most everyone here was a guy. They looked at Su Xue. They stared at her and started smiling. There was a twinkle in their eyes as they forgot the stage and the teams playing. And that was the wrong thing to do. Zuo You thought so, at least. She glared at every guy ogling Su Xue and herself and locked in on the most disturbing. The most lecherous. The biggest perverts.
“What are you looking at!”
“Never seen a pretty girl before?”
“Is this the first time getting out of your mom’s basement?”
“You wanna keep those eyes? Doesn’t look like it!”
“You disgusting shit!”
Zuo You got her message across. The guys that got called out shriveled back into their seats, their faces burning a deep red. A girl had talked to them! An actual girl had talked to them! Zuo You shook her head, a shiver running up her body. “Yuck!” She then leaned towards Su Xue and whispered into her friend’s ear, “Hey hey, could you please not do that again? Did you see those disgusting guys looking at us? Yuck!”
“Huh? Why do you care? We’re here to cheer Lin Feng on. Why shouldn’t I cheer for him?” Su Xue asked, bewildered. She didn’t even notice the gazes, not like Zuo You had. Her eyes were on the stage, on Lin Feng and his teammates walking up to their computers. She clenched her fist and pumped the air. “Lin Feng! Lin Feng! You can do it! Show them how good you are!”
The subject of Su Xue’s attention, Lin Feng, turned around and looked up into the crowd. It wasn’t hard to find Su Xue. Everyone was looking at her. His face lit up and he said to his teammates, “Oh, she’s here! Look, over there!” He then gave Su Xue a thumbs up and shouted, “Don’t worry! I’ve got this game in the bag!”
Zuo You lowered her head and grabbed her hair, shaking. “My god. Are you sure you two aren’t family? Maybe one of those separated at birth cases?”
Some staff members for the Shanghai 16 School Tournament had gathered below the stage to watch the games. Their job was to get everything ready for the game, not to watch over the matches. Right now, they could kick back for a bit. Until the game ended. The girl in the crowd cheering and the boy on stage replying to her. They saw it happen and started laughing amongst each other.
“Oh wow, that kid sure is confident, haha!”
“He is the man of steel, nerves! Hahahaha!”
“That kid is pretty full of himself. I wonder if he’s got any skill…”
“Way more fun if he sucks! Hehe. He’ll just disappear in shame then. Can you imagine?”
Chu Fang looked at the members of his staff around him and smiled. The preparations were all going well, and his subordinates were having fun. More importantly, the contestants were also having fun. It was great to see kids at this age have that unbridled confidence in themselves. A rare quality. He looked at the young man on High School 13’s team. Huh? He scrunched up his face and looked again. This time a little more closely. Where do I know him from? He looks so familiar. He even sounds… His face shook. His whole body shook. His eyes went wide and he was now staring at the young player. “No way…” he muttered. “This can’t be. I must be seeing things. Why would he… No. Probably just sounds and looks and acts and does everything the same… Right?”
The Shanghai 16 School Tournament had its very own commentator desk, similar to the official Chinese broadcast for Worlds. The Shanghai Esports Association had invited two guest commentators to cast the games. Both of them had achieved some online fame and as a result were regularly invited for semi-professional tournaments like this one. They sat behind their commentator desk, watching the venue and the games.
West Wind was a somewhat famous streamer. Someone who could really put on a show. He noticed the commotion in the crowd—it was hard to miss—and laughed, “Haha! What a lucky kid! He seems to be the, hmm… player for High School 13! What do you think, Silent Reed? Love interest or big sister?”
Silent Reed was the second guest commentator. She worked for the Breaking Esports media company and sometimes dabbled in casting competitive games. A real busy bee. She looked at the woman in the crowd and then winked at West Wind. “I don’t know, West. She’s a looker though. Whoever gets to date her is one lucky guy!”
“That player looks real confident too.” West Wind looked towards the players from High School 13. Towards Lin Feng. Then he looked over his notes before turning back to Silent Reed. “Looks like his name is Lin Feng. I think? Don’t hold me to that! But, haha, he does not look one bit worried. Did you just see him give her the thumbs up? What a hero! I’m already loving him! Haha! I want to see him play!”
“This might become a really interesting series!” Silent Reed said, excited. She pointed down at her notepad and continued, “High School 13 somehow beat Tonji in the qualifiers! We just saw how good Tonji is. That’s kind of hard to imagine, right? But it really says so. Right here!” She paused a moment for dramatic effect. Then she introduced the other team. “Then we got Bright High. They made it all the way to the Round of 16 last year and were strong again in the qualifiers this year! We might have a real match on our hands here!”
“Wow! Really?” West Wind exclaimed. “From the sound of it, these are two very strong teams! I’m excited to see what this series will bring us!”
The two commentators turned to the stage and fell silent, taking a moment to observe both teams. The players from High School 13 and Bright High had already taken their places behind the computers. Everything was set. The large screen above the stage lit up and showed Champion Select. West Wind was the first of the two to pull his gaze away from the stage and back to his work. “Well, it looks like we’re in Champion Select already. This game is about to get underway. I hope everyone here is as excited as I am to see who’s going to win this!”
Lin Feng sat back in his chair and looked at his teammates sitting next to him. An all too familiar sight. He cracked his knuckles and said, “Do your best, guys. Don’t worry about the rest. I’ll carry this game from top lane.” He then let his teammates choose the Champions they wanted to play, rather than telling them what to do.
High School 13 versus Bright High
Top lane: Jax versus Fiora
Jungle: Rek’Sai versus Lee Sin
Mid lane: Syndra versus Orianna
AD-carry: Lucian versus Jinx
Support: Alistar versus Blitzcrank
West Wind looked at the large screen above the stage. At the Champion portraits in the loading screen. He clicked his tongue and said, “Jax versus Fiora, huh? That should be a fun battle to watch. I’m predicting non stop action up in top lane!”
Jax wasn’t what he’d been a few patches ago, but he was still a very strong Champion. A true dueling master! But Fiora was the Queen of Dueling and held a reputation for being invincible in the late game. An unstoppable force meets an immovable object! It could go either way. Or neither. It all came down to skill. Fiora had Riposte which allowed her to block all crowd control and even stun any Champion trying to stun or root or bind or do anything to her! Then there was Jax with his Counter Strike. He would swing his lamppost above his head, dodging all attacks. Anyone in range when he stopped would be knocked into a stun. A game of cat and mouse, Jax and Fiora both being the cat and the mouse, depending on the situation.
《Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!》
High School 13 and Bright High loaded into the game. Nine players didn’t feel the need for any fancy tricks. They wanted to play their best game. The best way they knew how. But Lin Feng had something a little different in mind. Instead of going top lane, he went to the Raptros Camp in his bottom side jungle. A long distance away from top lane. The jungle monsters spawned and he started attacking the wraiths. All the while, the Fiora was in top lane, waiting for the minions to arrive.
At the caster desk, West Wind nodded, impressed. “This Jax knows a trick. Nice. He’ll clear the Raptors Camp, recall back to base to buy health potions and then teleport up to top lane. It’ll give him a slight experience advantage that should see him hit Level 2 first.”
“Yeah! Nice play by the Jax,” Silent Reed agreed. “Those health potions especially will be so important. It just means he can play a little more aggressive. He has more health! If he plays this right, he can pull quite the advantage from this trick.”
That was exactly what happened. Lin Feng cleared the Raptors Camp, then recalled back to base. He bought a few health potions and then teleported to one of his minions already in top lane. He was only one minion away from hitting Level 2. So when he appeared in the middle of a pack of low health minions, his next move was obvious. One auto attack. A big smile on Lin Feng’s face. “Let’s go! Fight me Fiora! Fight me!”