Su Xue was dealing with problems of her own for the past two days. Ughh… this is so bad, why can’t I do this! I didn’t think it would be this hard! She’d just finished recording her voice over for the recent Nasus game Lin Feng had played and recorded for her. But her commentary, it just wasn’t as good as she thought it would be. The quality of the whole production was far less than what she wanted it to be, at least compared to the average standard of other popular gameplay videos. It just didn’t feel right. And her commentary, it was boring. Uninteresting and dull. She knew it wasn’t good enough, she didn’t even need to show it to other people and ask for feedback to confirm that.
But what if…? Hm… no that’s no good. Su Xue’s plan was to take a more comedic approach with her commentary. She couldn’t really provide interesting insights that would engage the people watching her videos. But she could make them laugh! She thought it over more, tried to come up with jokes and witty banter. But the natural charm and wit that came so easily to her while streaming, it was completely gone. The few jokes and bon mots that she’d come up with and recorded fell completely flat now that she was watching the video. If she couldn’t even make herself laugh, how would she make other people laugh?
You know what? This isn’t that bad. Cause it’s all in my head, I think about it over and over again, I keep picturing it over again. And that’s driving me crazy! I’m being too hard on myself for no reason! I’m funny! My jokes are funny! It’s probably all in my head. I’m being too hard on myself! I’m funny. My jokes are funny! I’ll show it to Lin Feng. See what he thinks! Su Xue went to get Lin Feng from his room, then sat him down in front of her computer and made him watch the video.
Ten minutes later, Lin Feng finished watching the video. He turned to Su Xue and said, “Wow! That… it was something. Hm. Um… I don’t know how else to say this but it was really bad. The best thing I can say in this situation is that I think you’d set a record for dislikes if you made your viewers watch this.”
“What? Record for dislikes? Y-you…” Su Xue gasped out the words before falling speechless. She genuinely had no words, no thoughts, nothing. Lin Feng had used brutal oblivious honesty on her, and it was super effective! I-i showed him it, and he… he roasted me for it! WHAT A LITTLE SHIT! Her mind slowly started working again as rage overwrote her embarrassment and cringe. Her face flushed red and she lunged at Lin Feng, intending bloody murder.
But Lin Feng had quick reflexes and mechanical skill. He ducked around her just before she reached him and ran towards the door. Then he stopped and turned around to look back at her. He was about to open his mouth to say something, but quickly changed his mind when he saw Su Xue charging at him. He ran out the door and around the house, trying to find some safety.
Su Xue returned to her room after she burned off some energy and stress chasing Lin Feng around the house. She sat down at her desk and stared at her monitor and the video, still breathing heavy from all the running. She stared at the video, thinking and frowning. Well, that was a nice breather, but now I gotta get back to this again… What am I going to do with this video? If I upload this the way it is right now, no one will want to watch it… Am I actually going to need to do something as cheesy as falling back on dirty jokes here…?
She started smoothing out and adjusting her shirt when another thought occurred to her. Maybe I coul- WAIT! WHAT? NO! Su Xue smacked herself in the face and shook her head. She was flustered and stressed, worried that no one would like her videos. That turned into the catalyst for some dangerous thoughts and a terrible pivot in her content creation strategy. The ideas floating around in her mind right now, they were genuinely dangerous and scandalous. I won’t do it! I’m better than that!
Su Xue cleared her head and tried to think up what to do for the video for a little bit longer. Then she came to a decision. She’d put the Nasus video aside for now. There was no point trying to force something that just wasn’t coming to her right now and recording another subpar voice over. The best thing to do right now was for her to play some ranked games and record her own footage. Since it was going to be her game that she was playing, she didn’t think there would be any issues with putting emotion into the commentary when she recorded it. It was an experiment worth trying!
Of course, Su Xue wasn’t delusional. She knew that her gameplay wouldn’t be good enough for a video. She wasn’t at that point yet. So she asked Lin Feng to help by duoing with her in bot lane. Like always, Lin Feng agreed to her request without any hesitation. He patted his chest and smiled. “Sure, no problem! I’ll be your support! Let’s do it!”
“FUCKFUCKFUCK! That fucking Yasuo! What is his problem!!? If he didn’t steal those two kills, I would’ve got a penta! That FUCKER stole my penta!” Su Xue raged after winning a teamfight.
They were playing in ranked queue on the Korean server with a Gold account. Su Xue was playing the ad-carry Lucian and Lin Feng was supporting her with Thresh. The two of them did really well in the early game, with Lin Feng making a lot of flashy engagements and helping her pick up kills. She’d scaled and become really strong in the mid game. Enough to dominate during most of the teamfights, including the one right now where she had almost gotten a pentakill.
“AGGGGH! MY PENTAAAA!” Su Xue slammed down on her desk. “If I’d gotten that pentakill, it would’ve made this video perfect!”
Su Xue glared at the Yasuo on her team. The one that had stolen her pentakill out from under her nose. Her eyes narrowed as she read the summoner tag. “This Devshard guy was 0/5 before this fight too! He was completely useless the whole game. But right when I’m about to get a pentakill, that’s when he shows up to screw me out of it and finally get some kills. Lin Feng, help me report his ass when we get out of this game!”
“Sure!” Lin Feng smiled.
However, after finishing the game and because it was a win, Su Xue was in a good mood and completely forgot about reporting the Yasuo. She made sure her Lucian game had been saved properly and smiled. “Let’s call it a day then. We’ll play a few more tomorrow. If we can’t find any better games, we’ll go with this one.”
Then, Su Xue suddenly thought of something and turned to Lin Feng. “Hey, aren’t you playing in your quarterfinals tomorrow?”
Lin Feng nodded. “Yep.”
“Okay! Got it! I’ll come tomorrow to cheer you on!” Su Xue cheerfully said.
“Awesome!” Lin Feng said. Then, he patted his chest and declared, “Just watch. We’ll definitely advance to the semis tomorrow!”
“Good I’m looking forward to it! I’ll be waiting for the day you bring hom that trophy! Su Xue laughed. Then she suddenly paused as her expression sank. “Right, semis. KG is playing SSK tomorrow too. If KG can win, that’d be great.” The words were hopeful, but her tone was anything but. In fact, it was just her, but most Chinese fans were feeling the same way about tomorrow’s match. It was obvious why. The opponent was SSK. The Mountain that towered over the whole League of Legends competitive scene. They were the team that all other teams looked up to and could never hope to beat.
“Play your best Fatty! That’s all that matters!” Lin Feng said. He’d decided to give Fatty a phone call before bed.
“Mhm! Mhm! I will do my best! You can trust in me, Lin Feng!” Tian Tian nodded, forcefully, a bright smile on his face. Tomorrow was KG’s toughest match yet, but there wasn’t a speck of fear or anxiety on his face. Instead, his small eyes shone with a sharp and dangerous light. “Even if we’re up against SSK, we’ll do our best! At the very least, we’ll take a game or two off of them!”
Lin Feng made a fist bump under his covers. “Haha! That’s what I like to hear, Fatty! I’ll be watching and cheering you on tomorrow! Beat them! I believe in you!” He had full faith in Fatty. Even if the opponent was SSK. Even if the opponent was Rake. No one could reign eternally. No one was invincible forever in the world of esports. As long as the people below were still climbing up, as long as they still desired to reach for the throne, there would come a day when even the greatest Emperor would fall.
“Right! Don’t you have a game tomorrow, too?” Tian Tian asked. He’d recalled Lin Feng talking about the Shanghai 16 School Tournament the other day.
Lin Feng nodded. “Yep, that’s why we both have to try together! I’ll win first. Then I’ll wait for the good news from you!”
Tian Tian’s eyes blazed with competitive spirit. He blew hot air out of his nose and nodded. “Yeah!”
The next day at 5:30 PM in the evening, High School 13’s team rushed over to the electronics mall in Pudong, the venue for the Shanghai 16 School Tournament. The matches were starting at six. When they arrived at the venue, they discovered that many of their schoolmates were already there. They came up and excitedly greeted the team members.
“Do your best Yang Fan! Show them the power of us four eyes!”
“Go Lin Feng! Carry the game!”
“We’re waiting to see you beat West High! We even bought glowsticks and neon signs to cheer you guys on!”
“GO TANG TANG! WE LOVE YOU! DESTROY THEM AT BOT LIKE YOU DESTROYED US!”
High School 13’s team members were also smiling at the warm welcome as they walked past their fellow schoolmates.
“Come on, let’s register first. We’re playing in the first group,” Ren Rou reminded.
When High School 13’s team arrived backstage, they bumped into the players from Tonji Affiliated High. The two teams were already acquainted by. So, they politely greeted one another. Tonji Affiliated High’s ad-carry walked up to Tang Bingyao. His face was all red as he fidgeted around for a while before eventually getting out a few words.
“G-good luck in your match today. L-lets both d-do our best!” Then he hurriedly retreated back to his team.
Tang Bingyao stared at the young man in bewilderment. She tilted her head. “Huh? Why does he keep running away?”
Standing nearby, Ouyang, Chen Ze, Liu Yue, and the others burst out laughing.
5:45 PM. The backstage area of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament. Chu Fang, the Vice President of the Shanghai Esports Association accepted a clipboard from a staff member. It contained the registration form for the teams playing today. He faintly nodded. “All eight teams are here?”
The staff member nodded. “Yes sir. Shanghai International was the last to arrive. They’ve already finished signing in. We’ll be playing two best of three games today. Since we’re starting at six, we should finish easily before 11. That’ll be good since everyone is rushing to get back home in time to watch Worlds.”
“Good. Looks like everything’s in order.” Then he looked down at the schedule for today. “Two brackets are playing today. High School 13 vs. West High and Shanghai International vs. Shanghai High 6.”
“Yep that’s right! It looks like Shanghai International is guaranteed to advance to the semis in the second bracket. After all, they were last year’s runner-up. As for the second bracket, High School 13 is a dark horse, but West High is still pretty strong,” the staff member interjected.
“Mhm. Yeah. West High was a quarterfinalist last year too. I know.” Chu Fang nodded. “But I still think High School 13 is going to win this match.”
The staff member laughed. “That’s only cause you’re always hoping for fresh blood. That’s fine too, though. High School 13 is a pretty strong team. I remember their ad-carry and top both being really amazing”
“Oh, right!” Chu Fang recalled something and turned to the staff member. “Hey, do me a favour and help get me the info for High School 13 in a bit.” He’d been meaning to find out the name of that top laner for High School 13 before. But he was interrupted by an important business call and ended up forgetting. Now that he remembered, he’d finally get his answer to why that young man was so familiar. By this point, he wasn’t imagining things. There was a strong voice at the back of his head telling him that he should already know who this young man was!