Just like a few weeks ago, High School 13 played on the same day as KG! However, that was where the similarities ended. This time, the games wouldn’t be played simultaneously. There would be no Lin Feng and Tian Tian finding the same wavelength, wreaking havoc on the opponents with their Rivens. Due to the time zone difference, KG wouldn’t play until it was 11 PM in China. High School 13 would’ve finished their quarterfinals series by then. If they hurried home, they could even catch the start of the KG versus SSK series. But many people weren’t going to hurry. They’d choose to watch one or the other. And the KG versus SSK series was a lot more interesting and exciting than some high school tournament.
Ouyang had gathered up with the other members of the esports club main team. All eight of them were here, watching Ouyang as he threw his hands up in the air and wailed, “Why! Why can’t we play a day later? Or earlier! I want everyone to come cheer us on! They have to come for us! I want to show off how good I’ve become!”
Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and looked at Ouyang for a long, never-ending second. Then he sighed and shook his head. “So that’s what you were getting worked up about. The attention.”
“No shit!” Ouyang snorted. He pushed his chest up and clenched his fist. “Last year we had nothing to be proud of. That spy really screwed us over. We could’ve made it to the main tournament if it wasn’t for him, and then. Then…” He looked past Yang Fan, standing opposite of him, and at the wall behind. He stared at it, then shook his head. “We had nothing to brag about last year. But this year? This year is different. We made it to the quarters. The quarters! Yang Fan, we’re in the quarterfinals of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament! Don’t you think it’d be really cool if the other club members come and watch us play? Watch us win? Maybe we can even get the whole school to come! All the cute girls will see how cool I am! Can you imagine?”
Ren Rou looked over at Ouyang. She shook her head and scrunched her nose. This little piece… She breathed in, long and deep, gathering all her frustrations. Then she breathed out. He’s right. It would be cool. She sighed and shook her head again before saying, “Hahh… I hate this. Why do you have to say something that makes sense? But you’re right. It would be cool to have the other students come and cheer us on. This is a pretty big deal for the club. I suppose we could make some flyers and hand them out, or maybe just tell everyone we know about it. Some word of mouth can do miracles. It might even help to build up the popularity of the club.”
Last year we didn’t even tell Mr. Zhou. Ren Rou smiled. Mr. Zhou was in charge of club activities. He could help them get the word around school. She looked at the others until she reached Lin Feng. Here she paused. She looked at their new teammate, her new friend. It’s all thanks to him. She nodded towards him and then said, “Let’s ask the club members to come and watch us Wednesday. I’ll make an announcement for it, and it’d be great if you guys could build some hype up as well. If we make it to the semis, I’ll inform Mr. Zhou. He can help us get the whole school to come and cheer for us! It’d be awesome if they’re there, cheering us on when we win the tournament and lift up the trophy!”
Making it to the Finals. Having the whole school cheer them on. Beating Shanghai High School or Shanghai International or whichever team they’d be up against in the Finals. And then lifting that trophy. Realizing their dream. Making history for their school. Their minds went wild. It actually sounded plausible! They were almost there! Only a few more steps! Perhaps they could really do this! Maybe! Maybe! Maybe Lin Feng was there to curb their enthusiasm. He put up his finger and said, “Hey, guys… Uhm. It sounds good and all. Just. We aren’t even in the semis yet. We have to keep working really hard to get there. You guys can’t start celebrating now. Celebrate when we’ve won.”
Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and nodded. “Lin Feng is right. We need to focus on our next match. There is nothing beyond that if we don’t win.”
Liu Yue bit on the inside of his lips, holding his tongue. He glanced over towards Ouyang, fighting back the urge. But Ouyang wasn’t saying it. Ouyang was staying quiet. So he jumped onto the table in the middle, cupped his hands around his mouth, and shouted, “WE CAN DO THIS! THE TROPHY IS OURS! HERE WE COME!”
High School 13’s esports team had been so invested that it’d taken away all attention from the rest of the esports club. But it was still that. A club. They had a large number of members, students who loved to share their love for League of Legends. The club wasn’t just about the main team. It was about creating a community for like-minded individuals to enjoy playing the game they loved together. Now, Ren Rou had a good excuse to put some of the bigger plans on the backburner. The Shanghai 16 School Tournament was the most important thing on her schedule right now. But that didn’t mean she could forget all about the club. Smaller and recurring events would still take place. So, with the exception of Lin Feng who had better things to do with his time, the other players of the main team joined the other club members in playing friendly 5v5s, or giving pointers to people in 1v1s.
Tang Bingyao was of the same mindset as Lin Feng. It wasn’t worth her time to teach these random club members. She hadn’t joined this club to be friendly with them. The only reason she joined was because there was a prize for winning the Shanghai 16 School Tournament. Besides that, she’d rather spend her time working on ELO boosting orders than spending time with the club members. However, unlike Lin Feng, she didn’t make herself scarce fast enough. She stuck around just long enough to grab Ren Rou’s attention. The club president walked up to her and grabbed her by the arm. “Come, Tang Tang! You can’t leave now! You’re our poster girl! You see all these first years here? They’re all here for you!”
Tang Bingyao, she was the fairest of them all! To the first years, anyways. Tang Bingyao was the prettiest girl in the club by popular vote. On top of that, she was also the best ad-carry of the club! This was enough for these League enthusiasts to fall in love with her. So when they got a chance to learn from their Princess, they swarmed around her, their pubescent bodies raging with hormones.
“You’re so pretty! Add me on League!”
“I love you! Please go on a date with me!”
“Your Draven is so good. Can you help me with my Draven?”
“Can you add me on League, please? I wanna play a game with you.”
“Would you like to have dinner with me tomorrow? My mom is cooking meatloaf!”
“I’m a Support main! Want to duo queue? Just add me on League and we’ll play!”
The guys of the main team stood together off to the side. Basically no one came up to them. Chen Ze shook his head and said, “What’s wrong with these kids? Were we this thirsty too?”
Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and looked over at the club members pushing and shoving just to get closer to Tang Bingyao. He shook his head, stunned. As did Wei Dong. He added, “I don’t think we were…”
Ouyang clicked his tongue and chuckled, amused. “These idiots, hehe. There are so many girls at this school. They could’ve picked any of them. Worst case, they would’ve been let down easy. But they just had to pick Tang Tang. Haha! Do you guys remember that guy from Tonji? How she just destroyed him? Haha, that shit was hilarious.”
The guys turned to Tang Bingyao and watched her deal with a first year student. He was badgering her with questions, only some of them loosely connected to League of Legends. All he wanted was her attention, and she latched onto it. She frowned and asked, “Did you come here for some advice, or because you like me? Is that why you’re trying to flirt with me? What’s next? Are you going to ask me out on a date?”
“W-what? I-i…” The first year shut up completely. He stared at her, wide eyed. He liked her. A lot. But as much as he wanted to ask her out on a date, he wasn’t ready to be asked about it so bluntly. He was still working up the courage to pop the question! It was too much for him. The plan that he’d worked out in his mind collapsed. He didn’t know what to do anymore. More guys were pushing around him, trying to get Tang Bingyao’s attention. He let them push into him, force him back, as his face went red. Then he turned around and bolted away out of the classroom.
Liu Yue shook his head and said, “Tsk tsk. He ran faster than that Tonji guy. That must be a new record. He’s got a long way to go before he’s ready to flirt with Tang Tang.”
After the first ran away, the less brazen also slowly backed off. They turned to the other players of the main team, or started chatting amongst themselves. Anything was better than having to answer that question from the girl of their dreams! However, several guys remained. They smiled their most handsome smile and flexed their muscles. They did their hair and winked at her. The first worked up the courage and stepped up to Tang Bingyao. He didn’t spin around it, but straight up asked her, “Hey, I think you’re really pretty. Would you like to go out for dinner with me Thursday?”
“No. I don’t like you.” Tang Bingyao didn’t even need to think about it. The words came from her mouth the moment the guy finished asking her out. She’d barely looked at him. But she’d seen enough to know he wasn’t the kind of guy she liked. But that didn’t dissuade the others. Another one came up to her and professed his love. She looked at him, annoyed, and said, “No. I don’t like you either.” Then came a third. Another group of guys were standing around her. There seemed to be no end to it. None of them got the hint. She shook her head and looked around at the guys. “Alright. Let’s do it this way. I’ll consider going on a date with any of you, if, and only if, you can beat me in a 1v1.”
Tang Bingyao, the number one ad-carry of the esports club, would take on any challenger in a 1v1! Better yet, she’d go out on a date with anyone who could beat her! At least, that was how the first years understood it. The blood rushed to their heads as they pushed over each other again, trying to be the first to challenge her. She was the fair maiden in search of a man worthy of her! And they would prove their worth in battle! Because they were the heroes of their own stories! They would dominate her and show them why they were her perfect partner! Dreams of beating her played in their minds. Taking her out for dinner. Falling in love. Having babies together, and maybe even getting married! They planned out an entire life together before the 1v1 even started. And then it was over. There wasn’t a single match that lasted more than a few minutes. Tang Bingyao won all of them. She beat all 19 challengers.
Tang Bingyao looked around the room. The 1v1 Love Confessions, as Ouyang had started to call them, had come to an end. There were no more challengers. Those who’d played against her were now huddled around different computers, waiting for their turn to play, to practice. Because maybe, just maybe, if they kept practicing long enough, they could get good enough to beat her. They’d do anything for a date with their fair maiden! But that wasn’t of any help to Tang Bingyao. She was using these matches as practice, and now there was no one left to practice with. She asked, a little helplessly, “Is there anyone else? No one?”
Ren Rou had joined the guys in watching Tang Bingyao fighting off all challengers, and then seeing them actually get to practice their skills. They weren’t thirsty teenagers anymore. Well, they were. But they were also League of Legends players trying to get better at the game! She laughed and said, “Isn’t this great? Everyone is working so hard!”
Yang Fan adjusted his glasses. He looked over at Ren Rou and said, “It’s great that they’re practicing and all. But, there is a small problem. At this rate, half the club is going to become ad-carry mains. Maybe we should have Tang Bingyao play Jungle for a while.”
The next two days came and went. The Round of 16 of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament came to an end. The eight teams for the quarterfinals were announced. Amongst them were, as was to be expected, the big three. The three strongest teams in Shanghai. Tonji Affiliated High, Shanghai High School, and Shanghai International! Fortunately, High School 13 wouldn’t play against any of them in the next round. Their opponents were still strong—West High, a team that made it all the way to the quarterfinals last year. Their team this year looked stronger than last year, but they were clearly a step below the real powerhouses. In other words, for the first time ever, High School 13 had some luck in the draw.
The players from High School 13’s esports team practiced hard in preparation for the next round all throughout the week and weekend. Even that Monday, they spent most of their day practicing for the series on Wednesday. But on Tuesday, their minds were somewhere else entirely. That was because this was the day that the first semifinals match of Worlds was! A clash of titans! Europe versus North America! Legend versus Season! Two Emperor teams were going to fight it out for a place in the Finals of the Season 5 League of Legends World Championships!