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Thornmail. A defensive item in League of Legends that had high armour and reflected a portion of the physical damage dealt to the Champion. It was the single, most important item of this game. Riven. Basically no damage, but still physical! Yasuo. A little bit more damage and also physical! Vayne. Slightly fed. A lot of damage. Most of it, again, physical. Every single Champion on the Red team was high on physical damage. It was a tactic that could do wonders in the early game but would also blow up in a team’s face if it reached the late game. In this game, Nasus was similar to a normal late game Champion by minute 15. It got to the point where he could 1vs5 the Red team.

There was no crowd control in the world that could stop Lin Feng’s Nasus anymore. He whacked a minion to the next life, and then another, constantly building up the stacks of his Siphoning Strike. There was no maximum to the amount of stacks he could get. So he whacked and he whacked, monsters and minions alike from 100 to 0. There was no skill involved anymore. All he did was run around, sometimes with Ghost, and whack anything he could whack with his cane. And when a player from the Red team was stupid enough to get in his way, he would just have to whack twice.

If the Red team wanted to turn this game around and win, they would have to look beyond just the game. There were no fair ways to turn this around. The only way to stop this Nasus was by getting him to disconnect. An attack on his internet connection, or maybe attacking the entire Korean client. Whatever worked to have this game end. Because if they played it to the end, the Blue team would win. It was that simple.

Zeal knew this, as did Ron. The two players from Hydralisk sat behind their computers next to each other, playing. Searching, frantic, for a way to win this game. At 24 minutes, Zeal was trying to get some farm in his Jungle. A costly mistake. He ran straight into the Elise. She was busy killing a monster camp. He wasn’t going to stick around to try and compete. So he pressed on the F key–Flash! His Vayne flashed away towards Red team’s base.

However, before Zeal could get back to base, a ward lit up with a pillar of light. Teleport. It could only be one Champion. Nasus. There was nowhere Zeal could go. Behind him was the Elise and in front of him the Nasus. The Nasus that cast Wither on his Vayne. The Nasus that threw down a ring of Spirit Fire and lowered his Vayne’s armour and magic resistance. The Nasus who raised his cane and then slammed down on his Vayne. He turned around. Maybe I can take the Elise down with me… It was a fool’s errand. The Elise had Rappel. She could jump up high in the sky and stay there for a couple of seconds. Seconds the Nasus could use to kill the Vayne. But it never got that far. Before Zeal could get to the Elise, Nasus’ cane came down on him again.

《You have been slain!》

“FUCK!” Zeal raged, slamming his fist down on the desk. His screen was grey. Again. “This fucking shit Riven! If she hadn’t fed this stupid Nasus, I would’ve… God fucking shit!” He gritted his teeth and slammed on the ENTER key. Then he started typing, and backspacing, and typing again.

“Stop, Zeal. We can’t win this,” Ron said, sighing. He shook his head and added, “Let’s just move on to the next game.”

“You want to surrender?” Zeal asked, surprised. He forgot about his anger at the Riven for a second and turned to his teammate. His friend. “You want to surrender in a Platinum game? A Platinum game!”

Lin Feng had his Nasus run towards Baron. He’d just killed Vayne, the only player on the Red team who was a little strong after picking up some kills in the early game. Then he turned to Su Xue and said, “See? Easy! We can Baron now! Then we can just storm down mid and end the game! Man, I’m playing so good!”

Su Xue didn’t really listen to Lin Feng. Her eyes were on the screen. The Vayne was spending an awful lot of time on the fountain. Su Xue loved seeing this, especially after his big words at the start of the game. She was beaming as she said, “Haha! Sweet! Serves that Vayne right for talking so much smack at the start of the game! Hey, Lin Feng, Lin Feng…” she tugged at his arm, “… go type something back in chat!”

“Sure!” Lin Feng replied. He hit the ENTER key and was about to type something in all chat, but paused. He hesitated, then scratched his head. “Uhm. What do I say?”

A silence fell over the room. They both wanted to say something witty, something funny, something so brilliantly stupid that it would make the Vayne erupt. But they couldn’t think of anything. Nothing came to mind. And then, in chat, a message appeared from the system. Four players on the Red team had agreed to a surrender vote. That was enough to surrender, but the fifth still had to make their choice. Su Xue’s eyes went wide. She pulled on Lin Feng’s arm and urged, “Hurry! Write something before the surrender goes through!”

“Uhh, ok.” Lin Feng shook his head trying to think, then wrote the first thing that popped up in his mind:

CN•Maple (Nasus):no zhuangbi?

“There!” Lin Feng said, laughing. He turned to Su Xue and added, “Perfect, right?”

Su Xue was speechless. She looked at Lin Feng and then back at the game, which moved to the victory screen. The chat disappeared. She sighed, helpless. “What the hell? Why would you type in pinyin? He’s Korean. He doesn’t speak a word Chinese… How is he going to figure out your ‘no show off’? This is so stupid.”

But while Zeal and Ron couldn’t understand what Lin Feng wrote, there were two others who could. Cup Noodles clutched his stomach, laughing, and tried to catch his breath. Then. “Hahaha!” He pulled himself. “Hahaha!” Together. “Hahaha! That guy! Oh my god. Hahaha! This is some next level trolling! Talkin smack in pinyin! Haha! Does he think they’ll understand just because it’s in English letters? Hahaha!”

Old Huang coughed, violently. He’d just taken a puff from his cigarette. Right at the moment the message appeared in all chat. He couldn’t stop the laughter, his face turning red from the coughing. He grabbed his water, but spurted it all out again. “Haha!” Another coughing fit. More time trying to pull himself together. Then he did. And chuckled. “Haha, it’s fine. What matters is that we won. I bet that Zeal is pretty fucking mad right now. That’ll teach him for talking shit! Haha!” He took a deep breath, finally. The smoke was gone from his lungs. He then looked at the post game lobby. More specifically, at the score of the Nasus. He shook his head and said, “Damn, a pentakill. That Nasus actually got a pentakill. He was so good. Dude, why can’t you be like him? I could actually use the footage if you were the one who’d gotten the penta. But now it’s pretty useless. I can’t really use this game at all. Sadly.”

“Yes! We can use this game!” Su Xue announced, overjoyed. She went through the recording. This game had it all! There was the rivalry between China and Korea, emphasized by the Vayne shittalking at the start of the game. Su Xue was making this video for a Chinese audience, so Lin Feng winning the game and shutting the Vayne up only made it a bigger selling point. The Platinum rank was acceptable too. But perhaps even more important, the icing on the cake, was the pentakill. A Nasus pentakill! Just being able to put the word ‘pentakill’ in the name of the video would draw in a ton of people!

Su Xue now had the gameplay for her video, but that was only part of the work. Next up, she needed to make the commentary. It was the second half of the video, making a whole together with the gameplay. If one was lacking, the other aspect would also look worse. The gameplay and commentary needed to flow together to build a coherent whole. To create something truly extraordinary. Su Xue wanted to do this. She wanted to make the best video she possibly could! But she hadn’t done any commentary before, except for the Worlds games on her stream. She looked at Lin Feng, thinking, then said, “I’ll have to do some more research on commentary. See how others do it with this kind of video. I have to do this perfectly. I don’t want to waste your gameplay. It took so much work just to get it.”

“It’s fine!” Lin Feng laughed, waving Su Xue’s worries away. “I’ll just play another game like this. It’s easy. I can do it. Don’t worry. I know what you want now, so it’s really no problem at all!”

“Ha. Since when do you have so much free time?” Su Xue snorted. She then smiled and said, “You’ve got school and the quarterfinals for your little tournament is soon. You have to prepare for that too. Don’t put too much on your plate. This is a great video. I just have to make sure that I don’t screw it up.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that. It’s fine. The Round of 16 isn’t even over yet,” Lin Feng said. He wasn’t at all worried about a lack of time. For League of Legends, he would make time! “There’s another two days before the quarterfinals matchups get announced. That’ll be really fun! I hope our next opponents are a little better! Then I can show off a bit of my skills! After the quarters, we got two more series to win, and then that trophy! Haha! That trophy will be ours!”

“Hmph. You sound excited. Way too excited for some kiddy high school tournament. Not like it’s Worlds or something actually cool…” Su Xue said, a little too eager to throw cold water over Lin Feng’s enthusiasm. It came across as disingenuous. She did care. A lot. But as he mentioned Worlds, her mind drifted to KG versus SSK. She sighed and said, “I hope KG beats SSK. It would be so cool to see them go to the Finals and then win it all. Can you imagine. Ah, I can already see God Roundy lifting the trophy…”

Reaching the quarterfinals of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament was a massive step forward for High School 13. A year ago, they went out in the first round of the qualifiers, and now they were in the main tournament, battling for the trophy! However, there were only eight members of the club involved. As for the others, the casual members who liked to come and play with other people from the school after classes, most of them had no clue how the team was doing. So Ren Rou had gathered them all to announce the good news.

The good news was that High School 13 could now say that they had one of the best esports teams in all of Shanghai! The members who until now only came by irregularly and were just looking for someone to play with, suddenly started paying attention to the club. To the main team. They wanted guidance and to play with the team members who could now call themselves some of the best players amongst all the high schoolers in Shanghai!

High School 13 was one of the best schools for esports in Shanghai! They stood on equal footing with the likes of Tonji Affiliated High, Shanghai International, and even Shanghai High! From nobodies to heroes! The members of High School 13’s esports team could finally raise their heads in public. When talking with their friends from other schools, they’d brag about which club they were in. How good their team was! These were the bragging rights their esports club had secured!

However, though Ren Rou managed to build up excitement. Though she got everyone riled up for the esports team, the reality of the situation wasn’t as glamorous. High School 13 wasn’t on the level of the top schools in Shanghai. Their win over Tonji Affiliated High could even be called a fluke. A mistake mostly on the part of their opponents. Not to mention how hard Lin Feng was carrying them. He didn’t just outright win games for them, but he also spent a lot of time teaching the team how to play the game, how to build up synergy, and so on and on and on. Without him, they’d be eliminated in the first round again this year, just like last year.

Then there was something else. A piece of news no one particularly liked hearing. The officials for the Shanghai 16 School Tournament had announced when the quarterfinals would be held. High School 13 knew the date and time. And that date and time fell together with another big event. An event that was far more exciting than some high school League tournament.

Ouyang shook his head and whined, loud enough for the entire room full of esports club members to hear, “Ahh, why! Why do we have to play next Wednesday? Shit! This is ridiculous! Why do these stupid organizers make us play on the same day KG play against SSK? Dammit!”

Shanks Cucked Himself in a Dream???

Shanks Thought: I’m going to write down as much of this dream as I can before it fades from my mind completely. So this is how it started. I’d fallen in love with the most beautiful woman. My dream-self had known her for a lifetime. She was the one. My Soulmate. That I knew in my heart of hearts. We were on a walk on the beach. Side by side. Chatting. Flirting. The feeling of her hand in mine. The chill in the air brushing past my cheeks. The early morning mist and the gentle crashing of the waves. It felt so vivid. So real.

Funny, isn’t it? That I can’t remember her face anymore. Nor most of the time we spent together. But the emotions still linger, smoldering like a dying ember in my heart. She was my world. Her smile was my light. Her presence my love and warmth. We come to a stop on the beach. She turns to me. I look at her. She smiles and says, “My parents want to meet you.” I smile back. “Sure.”

It cuts to me sitting on a couch. I’m in a living room. Her parents are sitting across the coffee table from me. I’m nervous. What if they don’t like me? What if they don’t approve of us being together? It doesn’t matter. I still love her, but I’d rather that we don’t deal with that drama. And then I feel a touch on top of my hand. A reassuring warmth. It gives me courage and confidence. I turn to her, expecting to see her smile. Instead. I see Devshard. And I wake up.

This is what I get for staying up after the stream last night. It was 5 AM. I should’ve gone straight to bed, and I tried. But I kept tossing and turning. So I got back up and hopped into a voice chat with Devshard and Sietse. Somehow the conversation turns to Devshard’s love life; his parents pressuring him to find a girl, marriage interviews, etc. I was delirious at that point. Running on empty fumes and the caffeine from the energy drink I had before had worn off. It was the perfect storm for Devshard to slip into my dreams, and the sneaky bastard did. I predicted this would happen too.

Sietse Thought: Shanks cucked himself in his own dreams again. Becoming somewhat of a recurring theme. I really feel like we should start a counter for this and get him a cake once he hits… I’m not sure to be honest. What would be a fair number? Like, this happens every other day to him, most of them with Devs being the reason the dream ends poorly for him. Like 100? When the counter hits 100, we have a special cake made for him that reads something like: “World’s Best Dream Cuckold!” No, that sucks, but I can’t think of anything better. What do you guys think it should say? And also, let’s start the count. Because the more I’m typing, the more I like the cake idea.

Dev Thought: I have no words. Absolutely none. Here’s what actually happened last night. I was up late working. Sietse just got up. He got on VC for updates, planning, and general editor talk. We finished that and we were just chilling. Having a bro moment where we talked about our lives, relationships, adulting and economics, just the usual mix of things you talk about with really good friends. An easy conversation. Then Shanks jumps in randomly and wrecks the whole thing. Asking me if my parents want me to get married, if they were looking around for girls to introduce me to, if I’ve spoken to any. I tried to include him in the bro talk. Then he talked about how he needed to also get married to continue his family lineage and other associated cringe things. Then we started working again. That’s all that happened. I don’t know where these delirious fantasies where Shanks cucks himself with me come from.

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