The quarterfinals for the League of Legends World Championships were over. Four teams had qualified for the semifinals! They were flying to Brussels, Belgium, for the next stage of the tournament. The Summoner’s Cup was almost within reach, but their opponents were also getting stronger. Of the four teams left, three of them had an Emperor on their roster. And the fourth team might not have an Emperor, but they did have the Uncrowned Eighth!
Coming from Europe, fighting on their homeground for the title of World Champions and the Summoner’s Cup. Fighting for the glory of their region! It was Legend! Led by the Emperor Phoenix!
Coming from North America, fighting for relevance! Fighting for honour! Fighting for a win! It was the Korean Killers from Season! Led by the best Support in the world. Emperor Autumn!
Coming from Korea, defending their world title and going for a record third win in a row! Defending their title of best team in the world! It was SSK! Led by the best player in the world. Emperor Rake!
Coming from China, fighting against all odds! Chasing their dreams and the hopes of a region! David holding his own between the Goliaths! It was KG! Led by a God! The one, the only, Uncrowned Eighth Roundy Round!
On Monday, while Lin Feng and his school esports team were busy with the Shanghai 16 School Tournament, League of Legends fans all across the world were in heated discussion about the possible draws for the semifinals. There were three Emperor teams. And the fourth was KG. A team that had beaten Legend in the group stage. That meant there were basically four Emperor worthy teams. There was no easy win. Except that SSK was the impossible opponent. The one no one wanted to play against. SSK was untouchable. Rake was too strong.
Legend had a strong Midlaner in Phoenix who could carry the team on his shoulders, while Season had Autumn, a Support who could make his entire team play several times better than they usually could. His awareness. His ability to place the best wards and call the right fights were second to none. Both were terrifying teams to play against. But both had their own weaknesses that could be exploited. KG had shown that by beating Legend in the group stage. This bit of information was all that the KG fans needed to hold onto. Cling onto. And hope, pray, beg for their team to draw against one of these two for the semifinals.
However, life wasn’t fair. Riot Games published the semi finals matchups. They were what KG fans feared the most. The one thing they’d been collectively ignoring all day in the hope it wouldn’t become true. But it had. Any hopes of KG making it through to the finals were dead. Dreams collapsed. The disastrous news was that KG had to face off against SSK!
League of Legends World Championships Semi Finals:
Legend versus Season
KG versus SSK
A few hours earlier, Lin Feng and Su Xue arrived back home. It was already late and neither had had dinner yet, due to the awful timing of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament. So Su Xue put on her apron and turned on some music. She started humming to the sound while chopping vegetables and preparing dinner. All the while, Lin Feng bolted to his bedroom to work on his ‘anything but cooking’ homework.
It didn’t take long for the spices and meat and vegetables to come together in a hot pan, that delicious smell of food wafting through the apartment. Lin Feng was busy with his homework when the scent permeated into his room. He perked up and looked over his shoulder. The door was closed, but he could do something about that. He opened the door and peeked around the corner. Su Xue was setting the table. He forgot about the homework he was doing and rushed into the dining room, where he dropped down on his chair. Chopsticks in hand, he waited for her to sit down and give the ok.
Lin Feng attacked the food, striking it with his chopsticks and then chewing it to pieces before swallowing it down. Su Xue watched him with rapt attention, eating a little too. Nowhere near as much as Lin Feng, though. He’s really something else when food is on the table… She took another small bite and chewed on it for longer than necessary, watching Lin Feng. When she finally swallowed it down, she said, “Hey. Lin Feng. That childhood friend you were talking about. Is she real? Do you really call her Bunbun? Like, to her face?”
“Hmm? Oh. Yeah!” Lin Feng replied.
“What a…” Su Xue hesitated for a moment. Bunbun. It was a strange name. “What a cute nickname.” She fell silent for a bit, while Lin Feng worked hard on devouring all the food. Then, as curiosity got the better of her, she asked, “Where is she now? Are you two really so close? Why don’t I ever see you calling her then?”
“Oh, that’s because she’s also busy with school!” Lin Feng replied. “And, uhm, well, she’s still back in Hangzhou. That’s where I was too last year. I’ve only been here for a little while now. But yeah, it’d be nice to talk with her a bit more!” He grabbed his bowl of soup and started slurping it down. When it was empty, he put it back down and looked up at Su Xue. With pieces of food stuck to his lips and a wide smile, he asked, “Why are you so interested in her anyway?”
“W-what? Can’t I be a little curious about my little brother’s life?” Su Xue asked, curling her lips. She turned her head away from Lin Feng and looked out the window. The light from a lamppost shone in the distance. Why do I care? Is it because of how he talked about her? He seemed to really care about he— Her eyes went round. They shot open so wide that it almost looked like her eyeballs would roll out. Her mouth fell open a little. No. NO! I’m not jealous! You’re not jealous, Su Xue! It’s not true! She shook her head, flustered. No way! It can’t be! She’s just a little kid! Why would I be jealous about a little kid? I’m not jealous!
Lin Feng got up from the dining table to finish his homework, while Su Xue did some quick cleaning before returning to her bedroom and turning her stream on. Viewers flooded in the stream and then the chat. They laughed and joked with Su Xue, while she was playing a game. It was going decent. Well enough that her team was winning, but not so good that the game was over. Then, one of her teammates got caught out. The rest of the team rushed over to help. This was going to be important. If she won this teamfight, she’d win the game. If her team lost it, they’d be back to square one. It was then that Lin Feng decided it was the best time to walk into her room and sit down next to her. Her viewers noticed and lost all interest in the gameplay.
「HEYYY LLILLLL BROOO!!!!」
「Lil bro notice me pls!!!!1」
「Hey!!! How you doin’?」
Lin Feng waved and smiled at the camera. “Hey guys! Good to see you all! How’s everyone tonight?”
“Ugh!” Su Xue grunted. She glared from the corners of her eyes and grumbled, “Quit yapping! Can’t you guys wait until the game is over? I’m trying to focus here!”
Lin Feng laughed, only barely managing to cover his mouth in time to keep the sounds indoor. Then he zipped his mouth shut, winking towards the camera, and waited for Su Xue to finish her game. She won the teamfight. So it didn’t take long. Her team stormed down the mid lane and destroyed the nexus. So Lin Feng could finally unzip his mouth. He breathed in and out, as though he’d been starved of oxygen for days, and then said, “Haha! Woow! You played pretty well this game, huh?”
“Of course I did! Look at my score! 6/2/11! My Lucian is really good now! Here, see? I even deal the second most damage to champions! I can beat anyone below Diamond now!” Su Xue said, smugly.
For an odd change of pace, the viewers agreed with Su Xue. Her gameplay had impressed them, though the bar wasn’t very high with the level she started out at. Still, they took the time to type out a couple of compliments.
「yeah she was pretty okay today」
「She’s been improving steadily. I’m proud of her.」
「kek. she hasn’t fed for a while now…. pretty impressive when you compare it with a few weeks ago」
「The new and improved maid. MAID V2.0! What upgrades will version 3 have?」
Su Xue knew her viewers weren’t nice to her often. But they could be! All she had was to condition them to be nice to her! An easy way to do that was to reward them when they were nice to her! A real life Pavlov experiment! They’d just been nice to her, so she’d give them something special. She looked at the camera, smiling, and said, “Since you guys are so nice tonight, I’ll let you all in on a little something. I’ve seen the commentating videos, including the ones you guys linked me! And I like it. So I got a video editor to help with the production and Lin Feng here to help me with the gameplay. With my commentary, I think this can become something really fun!” She looked at the chat, her smiling growing wider. They’re going to be nice to me. Just wait, hehe!— Oh, right! She turned back to the camera and said, “Of course, I’m also trying hard to become a better player. When I’m good enough, I’ll commentate on my own gameplay!”
A healthy combination of caution and excitement flooded into the chat as the viewers shared their opinions on this grand reveal!
「no worries, just have lin feng do the gameplay. his games are more fun to watch anywayzz….」
「just focus on the commentary」
「I like this idea! It’ll help you get more popular! You can count on my support!」
「make sure to tell us when you’re uploading it, welll make it trend for you」
“Awesome!” Su Xue exclaimed. She grinned and continued, “I knew I could count on you guys! It’s really great having a bunch of diehard fans!” That was the wrong thing to say. All her hard work went down the drain. She was right back where she started a few minutes ago.
「diehard fans? LOLLL did you guys hear that???? hahaha」
「forrealllsss hahahhahahah!!! she thinks were here for her!!」
「hahaha this maid is hilarious. like she doesnt know were here for lil bro!」
「MAKE ME A SANDWICH!!!!!」
“Oh come on!” Su Xue said, exasperated. “Would it kill you guys to let me enjoy this moment a little? I’m not asking for much here. Just a few seconds would be enough…”
「SHIT! SHIT!!!! GUYS HAVEY OU SEEN?」
While Su Xue and her viewers were having another one of their arguments about her place in the stream, they were rudely interrupted by one message. Then a second one. And a third. This was the tsunami. The flood of messages that warned of something terrible. About some disastrous news!
「FUUUUCK! FUUCK! WHAT THE HELL!??!?!??」
「xue xue, have you seen the news yet?」
「EVERYBODY GO LOOK AT THE WORLDS WEBSITE」
「……..wrowrhwr GOD FUCKING DAMMIT WSJFRSFISBF」
Su Xue looked at the chat, bewildered. “Uh? What’s happened? Worlds? What?”
“Isn’t it a rest day?” Lin Feng asked. “Quarters finished yesterday.”
“Yeah. Semis are in a week. I’m not sure if the matchups are even announced ye–” Her mouth froze. It stopped forming words, shapes, anything, as she flicked her mouse to open up her internet browser. She started typing in the search bar, while asking her stream chat, “Wait! Did they announce semis already?”
Shanks No Swiping!
Shanks Thought: You guys know about shopping addiction? The words make you think of a person going out and bringing home designer bags and clothing all the time. But I think that kind of person only accounts for a small minority of people with shopping addiction. And because of that mindset, most people don’t realize they have a problem. At least I didn’t. Until it was far too late. And the biggest culprit for me falling into that phase was Amazon.
It was four years ago. I was offered six free months of Prime as a trial. I didn’t think much of it. The items I ordered would come faster, and I wouldn’t have to wait as long to get the games I ordered. At first, it was small things. Boxes of candy, snacks, yo-yos. Toys here and there. The act of purchasing something and receiving it at my doorstep not a day later felt great. I felt like I was finally in the future, in the modern world, the convenience of it felt empowering. And I kept chasing that high all the time. But it wasn’t the same. The little items weren’t enough. I needed to make bigger purchases.
So the items I ordered became increasingly high end. I started rationalizing my purchases with excuses like, “Well, I need a new pair of headphones anyway.”, “I can buy these sets of weights to get fit.”, or “I talk all day on the computer anyway, so I might as well invest in a good mic.” Before long, I was spending maybe $50 a month on Amazon purchases to upwards of $500+.
The audio stuff made the biggest dent in my wallet. I was buying stuff I had no clue how to use. Audio mixers, condenser mics, etc. The breaking point was one month when I ordered a preamp processor for $350. I was really giddy and excited for it to arrive. Up until now, even with all the audio equipment I’d been buying, my audio was still shit. At least it didn’t sound like what the audio quality I’d heard from all the Youtubers and podcasters I watched. So, I was convinced this was the item that would solve my problems and make my audio great. It didn’t. I knew it didn’t, but I didn’t want to believe it.
I’d spent over $350 on this thing, and it didn’t help me at all. I had all this fancy equipment but zero knowledge on how to use it properly. So, it was useless. Realizing that and looking at all the empty Amazon boxes piled up in my room finally made something in my head click. I had a problem. And so I learned an expensive lesson, all because I got swept up in the novelty of online shopping. Not the proudest phase of my life.
Sietse Thought: And this, little boys and girls, was the story of how LittleShanks ended homeless. He needed money for daily necessities. Food. Water. A roof above his head. But he didn’t care about any of that. That could come later. Another day. He wanted to lose some weight. Live the hard life for a few days. The excuses kept piling up, just to find that new high. That new special. It was never enough. Just one more item, because this one he really needed!
These days, he lives under the bridge in a town near you. He makes music with his expensive setup, though through wind and weather, the quality has gone down. It now sounds similar to a random $10 basic set from any random thrift store. Moral of the story? Don’t be LittleShanks. Be a responsible adult who places the important aspects of life at the top and realizes that fun can only come second for the large majority of us.