Ring-ring… Ring-ring… Ring-ring…
Chu Fang grabbed his phone and checked who was calling him. It was the owner of an organization with business ties to the Shanghai Esports Association. The thought of finding out what the name of High School 13’s Toplaner slid to the back of his mind. He left his spot backstage and walked to somewhere a little more private, so that he could take the call and not be interrupted by the crowd of 500 cheering for that Toplaner. That Toplaner who he was sure he’d see more of. If not today, then in the quarterfinals. For there wasn’t a single doubt in his mind that High School 13 would beat Bright High and move on to the next round. And as if to confirm this thought, a single word blasted from the speakers.
The game wasn’t fun, not for the players from Bright High. It was their worst nightmare. The Jax was toying with them. He hunted them down across the Rift, slamming them back to the fountain with his lamppost. And there was nothing they could do about it. At 20 minutes, he grew to the invincible status. If they tried to fight him, even get near him, he’d kill them. Anyone squishy would fall to him. But since they hadn’t had the opportunity to buy some defensive items, all five of them were squishy.
Bright High tried to hunt him down. Again. Another 3vs1. Another failure. Lin Feng turned tail and ran. But he didn’t run for safety, he just ran around the map, waiting for them to make a mistake. Waiting for one of those chasing him to split away from the others. Then he jumped on the straggler. Killed them. And then went back to running around the map. It was painful to watch.
The players from Bright High were growing increasingly frustrated. Another Leap Strike. Another death. Jax again jumping from the only un-warded brush within sight. Annoyed. Angry. Furious. They couldn’t take it anymore! Not for another second!
“GOD FUCKING SHIT JAX! FUCK THIS GUY!”
“SCREW HIM AND HIS FAMILY!”
“AGAIN? THIS STUPID SON OF A BITCH!”
“I WANNA FUCKING KILL THAT STUPID SHITHEAD!”
“AARRGGHHHHHH WHAT IS THIS BULLSHIT? HOW IS HE EVERYWHERE? EVERYWHERE!”
Silent Reed shook her head and sighed. “This doesn’t look good for Bright High. They can’t do anything against this Jax. It’s really hard to watch. I think we all know how frustrating these kinds of games are when you’re on the losing team.”
“No kidding. He’s unkillable,” West Wind chuckled. “It doesn’t matter how many people go after him, they won’t kill him. He’ll just get away, while the rest of his teams punishes you. There’s no winning this. He’ll get to their nexus and end the game. A fed Jax is such a headache.” He paused for a moment to look up at the large screen. “Mhm. Looks like this game is about done. Bright High has basically given up resisting.”
Bright High hadn’t exactly given up. They were giving it their all. They were fighting for farm. For objectives. For kills. For anything and everything they could. But High School 13 was too far ahead. In every aspect of the game, they held the upper hand. Four of their players were pushing together in mid lane, while Lin Feng ran around the map, doing whatever he felt like doing. He could. No one could stop him.
Su Xue had forgotten all about her earlier nerves. Now, she was cheering for every play Lin Feng made. Everything he did ended with a kill or objective. It looked so easy when he did it. So simple and smooth that it made others wonder if it was even difficult what he was doing. She jumped up and cheered for him, only to be pulled back down by Zuo You. Sometimes even before she could jump up or cry out, Zuo You would move to stop her. And perhaps that was for the best, for what Su Xue wanted to shout through the venue the most was, “HEY HEY! SEE THAT JAX? YEAH? THAT’S MY LITTLE BROTHER!”
Weapons and spells slammed down onto Bright High’s nexus, the red energy within looking to break free. Its durability went down. Bright High tried to stop it, but the players from High School 13 would take a break from destroying the nexus to killing them whenever they tried to do something. In this fashion, the last bit of durability depleted. The nexus exploded and the red energy escaped. It was a victory for High School 13! They were up 1-0 in this best of three series!
High School 13 had to win one more game to qualify for the quarterfinals of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament! Everyone expected that Jax to pick another Champion that excelled at fighting and picking up kills. They even wanted to see that Jax put on another display! But they weren’t going to get that chance. High School 13 changed their roster for the second game. Lin Feng made place for Chen Ze.
Right after the information was passed on to the staff members, it was sent through to Silent Reed behind the caster’s desk. She forgot for a moment that her microphone was on. That everyone could hear her. She said, “Hoh? What? The Jax player is sitting out?” Realizing everyone had heard her confusion, she smiled and added, “We have a change in High School 13’s lineup! They’re switching Toplaners! The Jax is sitting out in the next game and someone else is taking his place!”
Somewhere in the crowd, Zeng Rui looked over his shoulder towards the caster’s desk and shook his head. Big whoppin’ surprise… Not. He knew this could happen. In fact, he was even expecting it. This thundering dumbass did the same in the last round… He needs to have his brain checked out. Zeng Rui looked at Lin Feng, who was walking down the stage with a spring in his step. He couldn’t spot the slightest trace of worry. Or anything of the kind. Overconfidence? It has to be. Does he think this game doesn’t matter or something? Lose one and then carry the next? Zeng Rui jutted his jaw forward and glowered. “Do you think you’re some superhero? Come swooping in to save the day when your team needs you again?”
“Eh? Why are you here?” Su Xue asked Lin Feng when he walked up to them. “Your game is almost starting. Was that caster girl right? Are you really sitting out? Why?”
“Uh, yeah. I’m sitting out.” Lin Feng nodded and sat down next to Su Xue. After the game had ended, he’d noticed the chair freed up, so he made the quick decision to come sit with his roommate. He looked at her, and Zuo You sitting on the other side of her, and said, “It’s fine. Our team is strong enough. They don’t need me to beat that Bright High team. Besides, it’ll be good for them to win a game without me.”
“If you say so.” Su Xue shook her head, but then grinned. She ruffled his hair and said, “You were fantastic last game! It’s good that you didn’t embarrass me!”
“I know, right? My Jax is amazing!” Lin Feng laughed, brightly.
Zuo You listened to the two, feeling the intense urge to disappear. She placed her hand over her face and scrunched back, biting on the inside of her lip. Then. She’d had enough. “Seriously! Come on! What is it with you two? One making a fool of himself up on stage, and the other in the crowd! I don’t want to be the third wheel in this relationship!” She breathed in, deep and long. Then blew it all out and turned her attention back on the stage. On the players from High School 13. On the ad-carry. She looked at the girl and— “Hey! Lin Feng? That girl playing ad-carry on your team, is she your girlfriend?”
Lin Feng looked over at Zuo You, bewildered, and asked, “Huh? What girlfriend?”
Zuo You gave him the stink eye and said, “Playing dumb? You know, the “not my girlfriend” girlfriend. That classmate you can’t shut up about. Or. Wait. Are you two still together? Or did she break up with you? Is that it? Well, don’t worry about it. That’s just what kids your age do. They race through relationships. A new one every week, sometimes even twice a day. It’s just part of being a teenager. But damn. She’s actually kind of cute. Almost as cute as Su Xue here was when she was still young.”
Su Xue’s eyes bugged out. She was used to getting this kind of abuse from her viewers while streaming, but not from her best friend! “Hey! When I was still young? What’s wrong with you! I’m still young! Screw you!”
Zuo You grinned, revealing her teeth. “Hohoho! Look at the little miss insulted here! Desperate to compare herself to a high school girl! Haha! Look at this, Lin Feng, these are her true colours. She’s a jealous one.”
Su Xue fingers flew as if they had a life of their own. Flew towards Zuo You and stabbed into her side. The side of her stomach, an especially sensitive area. One that often received laughter when tickled. She yelled, “Who are you calling jealous? Huh? HUH? Tell me! Who’s the jealous one!
“Hahaha! Ow! Mercy, mercy! It’s my bad! I was just joking around! Haha! You’re so mad! Doesn’t that mean I’m ri— Ow! Hahah! Okay! My bad my bad! I’m sorry!”
“Hmpf. That’s what I thought.”
The second game between High School 13 and Bright High started. Lin Feng watched it from the stands together with Su Xue and Zuo You, though he was for the most part preoccupied with chatting with the two girls. There wasn’t anything for him to worry about in the game. His team played fantastically. Even without him, they were great. It was what they’d been practicing for all this time! Chen Ze was no Lin Feng, but he played a very strong top lane and was even the player who made the first big play in the game. The play that tilted Bright High over the edge.
Bright High was pushing hard in bot lane. Tang Bingyao and Wei Dong were forced underneath their outer tower. But not before Wei Dong had placed a ward in the brush a little further in lane. A brush that wasn’t warded by Bright High. Chen Ze teleported to it with his Irelia. A 3vs2. His Irelia had a stun and Tang Bingyao’s Tristana had a jump. The lane was too long. Bright High couldn’t get away in time. Tang Bingyao picked up the double kill on her Tristana.
From those first two kills, the game snowballed in High School 13’s favour. They built up a gold difference that only grew larger. Up to 4,000 gold by the 15 minute mark and up to 6,000 gold another five minutes later. Most of that gold difference was between the ad-carries. Tang Bingyao was playing one of her best games. She got rewarded for it with a quadra kill that she picked up at a fight over the Dragon. It was such a beautiful play by her that the entire crowd went silent for a moment, before erupting into cheers!
The caster’s desk was helping with this. Silent Reed shoutcasted, “You go girl! Represent all female players! We’re also really good at the game!”
Bright High was still mad after the first game. They stepped with the wrong foot in this second game, and they were punished for it. From the start of the game, they were pushed back. They lost objectives. They gave away kills. It started slowly, but soon happened everywhere. There was nothing they could do to stop it anymore. After 32 minutes, their nexus exploded as did their dreams of making it to the next round in the Shanghai 16 School Tournament
High School 13 2 – 0 Bright High
Lin Feng ran down the stands and joined up with Ouyang and Ren Rou as they jumped up on stage to celebrate the win with the rest of the team. From out in the first round of the qualifiers last year to making it now to the quarterfinals! This was immense! This was huge! Ouyang jumped on Yang Fan and screamed, “WOOOOOOOO! WE WON! WE’RE GOING TO THE QUARTERS!”
Liu Yue hugged the two guys, with Wei Dong and Chen Ze doing the same. Lin Feng laughed and jumped into the hug circle, with only the two girls shaking their heads from the side. Ugh, boys. They grinned at each other and Ren Rou said, “Great work, Tang Tang! You really carried that game! That was amazing!”
Su Xue and Zuo You walked up on stage. They laughed while watching the guys hugging each other. The guys were still jumping around. They looked like a bunch of fools! But they didn’t care. They were just happy! Until Ouyang noticed the two women. His Ouyang Senses had warned him. “Wait!” he shouted, pushing himself free from the others. He turned to look at Su Xue and Zuo You. “Su Xue and…” He scrutinized the girl next to Su Xue. An unfamiliar face. He turned to Lin Feng, then pointed his thumb at Zuo You and asked, “Who’s she? Don’t tell me. Don’t tell me. Lin Feng. You bastard! Leave some for the rest of us!”
Dev Calls The Cops On His Neighbors
Shanks Thought: How many of you guys caught yesterday’s stream? I couldn’t because it was happening at 3 AM and I had to sleep. Anyway, I didn’t expect it to go the way it did. I expected to wake up in the morning to, “Hey, the stream went well last night. Everyone enjoyed chatting with us. It was good.” Not this:
Devshard: “Uh. So that was really awkward and I apologize. Unfortunately, I have no control over when my upstairs neighbors decide to engage in what sounds suspiciously like domestic abuse. Stream ended because I had to call the cops, and I don’t really want to start back up while they’re here and talking to the people upstairs.
But all in all, a strong showing for the Rise Team’s first scheduled stream. I swatted myself.”
Back To Shanks: Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. No way something like that happened. But everyone on Discord was telling me it was true. So I went back to my channel and checked the past broadcasts. There it was, the recording of the stream was barely more than 30 minutes long. I skipped right to the end when the incident happened.
Devshard was in the middle of a Teamfight Tactics game, thinking about the next unit he should put on the board and if he should reroll for more. Then, in the background, I hear some thumping. Okay, maybe the neighbours upstairs are moving furniture around. But it doesn’t stop. It continues. A few seconds later, I hear a woman wailing. She sounded like a freaking banshee. I’m growing increasingly concerned at how Devshard isn’t hearing any of this. No. He’s oblivious. His focus is solely on the game. He can’t even be bothered to interact with Chat.
But. Rejoice. After some more thumping, he finally notices. He takes off his headphones and stares up at the ceiling. A look of concern in his eyes. You can tell the cogs in his head are working as he rubs his chin, wondering what the hell is going on. You can hear some more thumping going around before one final bang tells him it’s time to end the stream and call the police.
I finish watching the video in disbelief. Staring dumbfounded for a good moment. Then I burst out laughing. I feel terrible. I’m not laughing at this poor woman’s plight, but at how ridiculous this situation is. All we wanted to do was stream to the small little community we’ve built up and talk about Rise. Never in a million years did I think we’d catch something like that. I know the degen force in everything we do from the thoughts to the Discord is pretty high, but I didn’t think it’d carry over to streams too.
P.S. If you’re interested, here’s the link to the clip: https://clips.twitch.tv/UglyAttractiveGoblinAMPEnergy