143

What’s His Name?

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“HEY! Talk! Start talking!” a voice boomed into West Wind and Silent Reed’s earpieces. They were hired to do a job, and that job wasn’t to sit in a daze and keep their mouths shut. It was to talk. To never close their mouths. To lead the people in the venue and at home through the games! That was the job of a shoutcaster!

“Uh oh, right,” Silent Reed mumbled. She shook her head and looked back at the large screen above the stage, thinking back to that Jax play. He flashed away. Then jumped back. Didn’t he… The dots connected and she started talking into her microphone again, “Didn’t the Jax do the same thing for his first blood? Remember how he flashed away and then Leap Striked back onto the Fiora?”

West Wind looked to his side, towards Silent Reed, surprised. “Huh. Hmm. You’re right. It does look kind of similar. I mean, last time it was in the middle of the lane and this time it was over a jungle wall, so it’s not exactly the same. But yeah, you’re right. A different place but the play itself is almost identical. That Lee keeps getting played, hehe.”

The people in the crowd turned towards the commentators. Those two were right! They had seen this play before! This Jax had done the Lee Sin dirty once at the start of the game. And now, a few minutes later, he did the Lee Sin dirty again! There was no being nice, considerate, or anything of the kind. This Jax was just toying around with the Lee Sin, making him look a fool! And he was the fool, especially the second time. He should’ve learned his lesson the first time around.

The Lee Sin player from Bright High couldn’t take it anymore. God fucking fuck fuck shit fucking shit! He mashed down on his mouse, full of power, as if he were trying to kill it. Smother it! God fucking fuck fuck fuck fuck! He raised his other hand up above his keyboard, a little higher than usual, and slammed down. Down on the D. His Lee Sin flashed over the wall and after the Jax. You little piece of… This was the last time the Jax would do him dirty! He was going to put an end to this right now! The Jax was almost dead. One roundhouse kick to the face would seal the deal. I’ma kill you, you fucking shitstain!

However, Lin Feng still had his teammates. More specifically, a Jungler and Midlaner. Liu Yue and Yang Fan had started walking towards top lane the moment it became clear what was going to happen up there. Now, with the Fiora and Orianna already dead, they finally arrived. Not too late. Not too early. But precisely when they were needed. 

Yang Fan had his Syndra conjure a Dark Sphere under the Lee Sin, dealing magic damage to him. Then he activated Scatter the Weak. The Syndra knocked the Lee Sin and Dark Sphere backwards. The Dark Sphere hit the Lee Sin again, activating the secondary ability of Scatter the Weak. That was to stun any Champion hit by the Dark Sphere. Then, timed to perfection, the Rek’Sai dug a tunnel and Unburrowed underneath the Lee Sin. This time, the Lee was knocked up, but the result was the same. The Lee Sin was immobilized. He couldn’t do anything as the Syndra cast her ultimate–⁠Unleashed Power! She bombarded him with her Dark Spheres, claiming the kill. All the while, Lin Feng had his Jax stand off to the side, taunting the Lee Sin for failing to kill him.

《An enemy has been slain!》

“Awww, man!” Lin Feng whined. The Lee Sin was dead. His Jax got an assist. He was now 7/0/1. “Just one more kill. All I needed was that one kill, and I would’ve been Legendary…”

Yang Fan rolled his eyes, then adjusted his glasses. “Really? You’ve already got so many kills. You just picked up two in a 1vs3! How are you still not happy? Ah, forget it. Just don’t go doing anything stupid. We don’t want to give them the bounty on your head.”

Lin Feng laughed, uncaring. “Don’t worry about me. They can’t catch me. I’m really good at saving my own hide too!”

High School 13 versus Bright High. The game wasn’t over yet. Not officially, at least. But there wasn’t much hope left for Bright High. Yang Fan was doing well in mid lane on his Syndra, despite his opponent being Diamond 2. As for bot lane, Tang Bingyao was 1,500 gold ahead of the Jinx. This was half an item worth of gold. A difference that was noticeable in fights. As if it were a 6vs5. In this particular game, it was even worse. Top lane. Lin Feng’s lane. The disparity up there was so big that it was hard to say anything positive about the Fiora. It looked like she wasn’t intentionally feeding yet. But that was about it.

The other teams competing in the Shanghai 16 School Tournament who’d come to observe these games started at the large screen. They followed the game. Followed every move High School 13 made. Made mental notes. Anything and everything they noticed. High School 13 was good. Really good. If they wanted to beat them, they’d have to really try. Play their best. So it was important to find potential weaknesses right now. Then, if they were unfortunate enough to end up having to play against High School 13, at least they knew where to start forming a plan from.

In this game against Bright High, High School 13 looked like a genuine contender for the title. They were the dark horse of this edition. It was so impressive that even the players from Shanghai High School started whispering amongst each other, worried. They’d watched High School 13 a week ago. But the High School 13 this week looked like a different team. They were so much better, it almost felt like they were dreaming. Against this team, they might actually have to try!

One of the few players who wasn’t affected by this showcase of power from High School 13 was Zeng Rui. He sneered when he heard the whispers from his teammates. Fools. Fair. High School 13 was stronger than he expected. Better than anyone initially anticipated. But just because they were better, that didn’t mean they were good. Their Botlaners were half decent and their Toplaner was good. But other than that, they were a weak team. They might luck their way to the semifinals, but they’d never make it to the finals.

Zeng Rui shook his head. There really wasn’t anything to worry about. Might as well get matched up against them. We just have to put a little more effort shutting that thundering dumbass down. The rest is easy. High School 13 wasn’t strong enough. The only team that scared him was Shanghai International. Last year’s runners up. They had a strong team, rivaling his own. Hmm… He glanced in his notebook at the information he’d written down on High School 13. Seems like Shanghai International knocked them out last year. Maybe they got particularly unlucky in their qualifiers. Who knows…

Chu Fang was watching the match, which wasn’t particularly interesting. The winner was obvious, to everyone. High School 13. He looked at the 10 high schoolers fighting it out. At the other high schoolers from other teams watching the games. That used to be me… He thought back to his early days. His introduction to the massive online battle arena genre. He started in DotA and when League of Legends released, made the switch. Since then, he’d played this game. Though, over the last several years, he’d noticed his reflexes and mechanics falling off. His old rank was near the top of the ladder in high Diamond. But these days, he’d be lucky if he didn’t drop down to Platinum.

However, even when he played DotA, he never belonged to the very best. He was very good, but not good enough to make it professionally. If those players, the ones who dominated the DotA scene back in their days, had made the switch to League of Legends. If they were willing to step out of retirement and reignite their competitive spirits. Chu Fang shook his head. They’d be Kings and Emperors. No one could stop them. They’d dominate the scene. Such a pity…

Chu Fang knew his own skills, or lack thereof, and had made his peace with it. But that didn’t stop his love for esports. He just had to find a different way to be involved. And he had. His current job put him right in the middle of the scene and he absolutely loved it. When he looked at these young kids playing to the best of their ability right now, it felt like he was looking at a younger version of himself. His dreams of making the big leagues. His dreams of competing for the highest titles and awards. His thirst and desire to win in the Finals of the World Championships and every game before and after it!

The world kept revolving. The faces on and around the stage would change. With the developments in technology, the game would keep evolving. But there was one constant. One thing that would never change. Something Chu Fang recognized in himself and his peers back when he still played. And something he recognized in the players he was watching right now. It was the competitive spirit. The never give up mentality. To always keep fighting no matter how impossible the odds!

Chu Fang shook his head, shaking off the memories of old, and focused back on the game. On two players in particular. They were the only two of the 10 players who had some semblance of talent. He might not be the player he once was, but he’d learned how to spot talent. These two definitely had it. That special spark about them. The flair in their game. It stood out to him like a bright light, blinding him.

He watched the Lucian. A female ad-carry. It was rare, but not unheard of. She was playing incredibly well. But she also still had a long way to go. Then there was the Jax. That Jax was different. He didn’t just have talent. He was playing above and beyond everyone else. The outplays in top lane, and even that kill in mid lane, they were the one in a million plays for most people. A stroke of luck that happened once in their careers. They’d jump up to their feet and forget about everything else. But not this Jax. He made the first play and laughed, calm. Relaxed. Then he went in with the same conviction and only made better plays. There was never a shred of uncertainty. Chu Fang smiled. This Jax had real talent. “Right,” he said to himself. “What’s his name?”

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How To Be A Sietse Thundercock 202

A Treatise of Dating Advice #2 By: Sietse Thundercock, PHD

Last night, something special happened. I learned that girls are scary again. Now I know this is a pretty normal phase most kids go through. When they’re young. Kindergarten young. Turns out, not everyone grows out of this phase. Even after growing up, they still find girls scary. Or at least, they still don’t dare to approach them or talk to them. Even when they have a crush on that girl. Even when their entire body is screaming at them to please talk to the girl. Ask them out on a date! And then there’s a second subset of people. They do manage to talk to the girl, but conveniently omit the part where they tell the girl they like her. Then they tell their friends they’re stuck in the friendzone. This post is for all of you.

People aren’t scary. Girls are people just as much as guys are people. They have dreams. They like to prank. They’re no different from you or I. Of course, this is very much the same vice versa. This isn’t higher science. Everyone knows this. So then why is it so difficult to talk? A normal conversation about a random subject you feel like talking about in that moment. Because you’re stuck in your head. Worrying. Doubting. Fearing. “What if she doesn’t think this joke is funny?” “What if she doesn’t like this tv show I’m totally in love with?” “What if she likes the winter while I love the summer?” “What if…” I could go on. The examples are endless. “Maybe she’s busy, I don’t want to bother her.” You don’t know until you ask. Until you engage that conversation.

Now, I hope I’ve made it clear that you have to engage the conversation. Just talk about anything. It really doesn’t matter. For all I care you talk about how big the sun looks today and that you wonder if it’s going to crash into the Earth. Literally anything. Stop talking in your mind. She’s not in your mind. You can’t look into her head. Stop guessing how she might react. Talk to her. TALK. I’m reiterating this, because I’ve learned yesterday how difficult it seems to be to take this first hurdle. A normal conversation between equals. Between friends. Between two people who want to get to know each other a little better. No one is going to learn anything about you if you’re stuck talking to yourself in your mind. So send that message! Get that conversation rolling! And again, the subject doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. Talk about what you want to talk about!

So you’ve sent her a message. Maybe she’s even replied and you’re now in an actual conversation. How do you show her that you like her? Simple. Guys and girls, again, this isn’t higher rocket science. It’s very fucking simple. You tell them. “Hey, I like you, would you be interested in getting some coffee with me tomorrow sometime around 3 PM?” Make it specific. Tell her when, where, and what. You want to have something concrete. Because if you ask, “Hey, wanna do something sometime?”, nothing will come of it. “Hey, wanna destress after your exam on Friday with some of this awesome food I’ll cook for you? How about 7 PM, just the two of us.” If you don’t tell her that you like her, how will she know? Are you expecting her to be an alien who can look through time and space into your head?

I hope this gives you guys and girls a good starting point. There are two more things I need to get off my chest. Being “friends” for months, while all you want is to get into her panties, is not being friends. You’re being a terrible human being. If you’re going to be her friend, be her friend. If you like her, tell her and ask her out. If you can’t get yourself to tell her that you like her and end up being friends, holding ulterior motives, grow a pair and apologize to her. No one deserves fake friends like that. One more thing. Because not everyone seems to realize this. There are seven socializing days in a week. Sunday through Saturday. Not three, like a certain someone thought.

If you have more questions, need help finding your confidence, or just want to hang out with the rest of us, join our Rise Community Discord server! We’re friendly and only sometimes bite!

Rise Discord server: https://discord.gg/8yMQqta

P.S. Not a medical doctor. Nor does the PHD stand for doctor of Philosophy.

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