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The Uncrowned Eighth

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The maid relinquished the streamer seat, and the li’l bro took over the stream. After plopping down in front of the computer, Lin Feng noticed Su Xue’s champion was Ezreal. He turned to her with a raised eyebrow. “You play Ez?”

The Prodigal Explorer, Ezreal, was the handsome favored son1Editor note: Husbando alert, for those of you into that sort of thing. of Riot. In the past, whenever Riot patched the game, balance changes to items, masteries, and stats would often revolve around him. An example of this was the Blue Ezreal build2The Blue Ezreal build refers to Ezreal stacking multiple blue coloured items that provided mana. This build synergized especially well with Ezreal’s kit., which remained in the meta for a long time.

That said, Ezreal lost a bit of his flare recently. He’d gotten harder to play, and only the more skilled players could make him shine. Everyone else would just misuse his skills, like Mystic Shot, and end up making the champion look clunky. They just couldn’t pull off the graceful playstyle that Ezreal was known for.

“I wanted to try out a new champion… I thought it’d help me attract new viewers to my stream,” Su Xue explained, meekly playing with her fingers. She knew that she wasn’t good enough to experiment with new champions in ranked games.

Lin Feng checked her KDA—1/2/2.  “Oh, at least you’re not feeding like you want to end world hunger. This is so much better than the last game. Remember your 0/3/2 Vayne?” He then focused on the game, adrenaline still pounding in his veins from facing off against that pro Vayne player. This was the perfect opportunity to get back in form!

Now that Lin Feng had decided to go all out in this game, victory was a forgone conclusion. Any and all suspense in the game ended as he tore through the enemy team, decimating both their front and back lines. It was a complete massacre.

You have slain an enemy!

Double kill!

Dominating!

Lin Feng crushed the Ashe, then used his ultimate’s insanely long range to snipe at the nearly dead Lissandra in top lane. This was just the beginning. When the first teamfight broke out, he walked in to pick up a triple kill. He executed every enemy champion that came near him, hard-carrying the game.

Su Xue was astonished, awestruck, amazed, and all the other words that she couldn’t come up with right now, even though she’d seen Lin Feng play before. She knew he was good. But this was an entirely different dimension of good. She never even imagined he could carry a game this easily with any random ad-carry! Su Xue was jealous, she knew she was jealous. How was she supposed to compete with someone like this? She was beautiful, sure. But even that couldn’t compete with Lin Feng’s skill.

The viewers repeatedly exclaimed in admiration, entranced by his plays. They showered Lin Feng with praise.

Your EZ is sooo good!
so much better than the maid!!!
lil bro is so handsome just like ez!l!

“Hey! I’m sitting right here! Don’t act like I’m not here!” Su Xue snapped. But the viewers ignored her completely. Instead, with the game as good as over, they shifted the topic.

Worlds is starting soon, right?
3 more weeks!!!! so exciting!
China will win this year! We got all the good koreans.
Yuck… I just wanna see an all Chinese team win. It sucks having to rely on imports
whadda ya think, lil bro?

Lin Feng checked chat while recalling back to base. “Oh, you guys want me to talk about Worlds?”

Yeah!
tell us what you think!
Tell us!

Su Xue chimed in, “Yeah, aren’t you always bragging about how you’re a Challenger? Share your esteemed opinion with us. Do you think China has a chance of winning Worlds this year?”

Lin Feng scratched his head. “Uh… sure, I guess…? But, I’m a bit thirsty.” He cast a meaningful glance at Su Xue.

“Eh?” Su Xu’s eyes went wide before her expression darkened. “Don’t push your luck! Once was already too much! Now you want to order me around like your maid!?”

Of course, Su Xue’s viewers were quick to side with Lin Feng.

Shoo, maid. go get the drinks!!!!!
lil bro has spoken!!!!!11
Don’t make us mass unfollow!

Y-you rotten, heartless bastards! Su Xue cursed under her breath while reluctantly getting up to get Lin Feng his glass of water.

Lin Feng continued reading the stream chat. The viewers were sharing their opinions on this year’s League of Legends world championship. 16 top teams from across the world would come together and face off against each other to determine the best in the world. Three LPL3LPL (League of Legends Pro League) is the top competitive pro league in China. teams had qualified. They were Hand of God, Dust and KG.

im placing my bets on hog this year
Dust is pretty good too. Don’t forget they have Mote!! He won last year with SSK!
KG is the only all Chinese team, I want them to win.

Lin Feng was super interested in the conversation chat was having and followed along. But like all conversations on the internet, it turned into people fighting and insulting each other. Then they decided to let him be the final arbiter, his opinion settling the debate.. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Hmm… if I had to guess? I’d say HoG probably has the best chance out of the three.”

See! I told you HoG was best!
Go HoG! Make bacon out of the other teams!
HOG! HOG! HOG!!

The HoG fans in the chat started cheering. And they had every reason to. Their team won the LPL Summer Playoffs! On top of that, HoG had also claimed victory over Fate, one of the top teams in Korea’s OGN4OGN is the top league competition in Korea, in the international Mid-Season Invitational. But Hand of God wasn’t a heavy favorite just because of their victories. The individual players on the team each contributed to the intensity of their fans. HoG had imported two strong Korean players. But the real draw was their God-tier midlaner, Daybreak Hermes. The fans all called him the Star Emperor5The characters “辰星” in Chinese is the name for the Roman god Mercury. There isn’t really a distinction between stars, moons, and planets in Chinese, they’re all heavenly bodies. The Star Emperor nickname comes from the “star (星)” character in the Mercury/Hermes (辰星) part of his name. It was tough for me to work this into the translation. So, I’ll just leave the footnote here for you guys., and he was recognized as the absolute top, number 1, midlane player in China. In a strange twist, his nickname of Star Emperor had nothing to do with the Four Emperors. Hermes wasn’t one of them. The nickname was given to him to acknowledge that he was the only Chinese player among the so-called Seven Kings.

“Mhm… Even though winning the Invitational can’t compare to winning Worlds, it’s still an international tournament,” Su Xue chimed in after coming back with the water.

Lin Feng habitually scratched his hair, then lifted his head with a bright smile. “But you know, I’d still like to see KG win the most!”

KG came third in the LPL Summer Playoffs, and had claimed China’s final spot for Worlds. Their entire line-up consisted of Chinese players. The team had zero imports. This was reason enough for a lot of Chinese fans to support them. However, there were even more fans who felt KG simply wasn’t good enough. At least, not on the world stage. They couldn’t even come out on top domestically.

The KG fans in the chat immediately erupted with indignation.

What!??! You don’t think we can compete with HoG or Dust?
What’s wrong with wanting to see an all Chinese team win????? We don’t need any imports!
who says your imports will be any good? we’ve seen them fail before, maybe they will again at worlds!
KG can go head to head with them! We have God Roundy! He made it to Worlds all the way back in Season 1, and he’s still crushing all other top laners!!!

The ‘God Roundy’ the viewers were referring to was a top laner called Roundy Round. He was a very much beloved player. But that was mostly because he had played in the professional scene since season 1. Still, his skills couldn’t be looked down on. Over the years, he’d remained at the top and many players in China felt he was more than good enough to claim a spot in the Seven Kings. Until then, he was the Uncrowned Eighth.

“Oh right, KG’s top laner is really strong!” Lin Feng enthusiastically agreed. Back in Season 1, the player everyone now knew as God Roundy was a close friend he affectionately called “Fatty”. The so-called Uncrowned Eighth was his old classmate and teammate!

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Translator Thoughts

Shanks Thought: No Chinese novel can go without a fat best friend. I wonder how accurately this stereotype mirrors real life. That said, obesity rates are rising. So soon, we’ll all either be that fat best friend or have one, or be both.

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