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The Girl who Played With Fire

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Shanghai International’s Leona was slowed! She was right at the edge of High School 13’s outer tower in bot lane, running away. Tang Bingyao narrowed her eyes ever so slightly, then pressed the W key–Blood Haste! Draven’s hands lit up with a red light, increasing his attack speed. A whirlwind erupted underneath his feet, increasing his movement speed. He bolted forwards, chasing down the Leona and throwing an axe at her. It ricocheted off her, and he caught it. The second axe was already spinning through the air, striking her again. That dealt the third stack of Concussive Blows. One more to stun her. Mhm.

“Shit! I can’t escape! I’m going in!” Shanghai International’s Support shouted into his microphone. He couldn’t get stunned right now. It’d be the death of him! The Draven would keep throwing his Spinning Axes and kill his Leona before the stun broke. So he did the only thing he could do. He hovered his mouse over the Draven and pressed down on the E key–Zenith Blade! His Leona projected a solar image of her sword that pierced the Draven. Then she dashed towards him!

Westwind was casting the game. His eyes were locked on the fight in bot lane. He clutched the microphone and brought it closer to his mouth, shouting, “A TURNAROUND! Tha—” His voice was caught at the back of his throat, while he finished the sentence in his head, t’s Shanghai International for you! They never back out of a fight! And they always win! But those words seemed silly now.

Silent Reed stared at the large screen above the stage, stunned into silence. It felt like the entire venue had gone quiet for a moment. Silent Reed pinched her hand, just to make sure she was awake. The pain confirmed that. Then she shook her head and said, “Wow. That Draven… He actually knocked the Leona aside mid-dash! That’s one way to use Stand Aside! He canceled her only gap closer! She’s done for!”

The crowd snapped out of their daze. Tang Bingyao had stopped the Leona from jumping on her Draven and stunning him! Her Draven was still only at half health, but this fight suddenly didn’t seem all that lost anymore. So the students from High School 13 in the crowd started screaming their lungs out in joy and marvel.

“Tang Tang! We love you!”
“Heck yeah! Did you guys see that? Oh. My. God! She’s amazing!”
“That’s our Tang Tang! She’s the best!”
“She beat me in the 1vs1 Love Confessions!”
“Tang Tang is the best Draven in China!”

Tang Bingyao clicked to the side, repositioning her Draven away from the Sivir. Then he threw the third axe at the Leona. It connected, applying the fourth stack of Concussive Blows. The Leona was stunned for 1.25s. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t use her skills. She couldn’t do anything but let the Draven attack her. And the Draven did just that, unimpeded. Not even the Sivir could stop him. The Braum had leaped to the Draven’s side and raised an impenetrable shield in front of him, protecting Draven from any and all damage.

“Don’t panic!” Liu Zhengjie shouted into his microphone, glaring at the man sitting to his left. “Exhaust the Draven. Then Flash and stun him!” He looked back at his screen, at the Draven hiding behind the Braum. You think you can beat me? Don’t kid yourself. You’re trash! His health bar was full and the Leona had more than enough health to survive through the stun and then some. On the other side, both the Draven and Braum were running low on health before the fight even started. If he played this right and his Support didn’t screw up, then they could still get a double kill without losing anything! With the bonus damage from Leona’s passive, all I need is one good Q and a few auto’s to kill that Draven…

The Leona broke free from her stun with still a fair bit of health left. She directly targeted the Draven with Exhaust. A debilitating energy wrapped around him and sapped away at his strength. This was it! Shanghai International was going to win this fight after all! Liu Zhengjie started grinning, picturing the ugly expression on the girl’s face when he killed her!

“Retreat! Go back! Back! Behind us!” a voice shouted into his ears. Liu Zhengjie sighed, annoyed. What now? Flash in already! He glanced down at his minimap in frustration and then paused. A brilliant blue light had descended on a ward in the bush behind them! NO! Why now?

Westwind’s voice boomed through the speakers in the venue, hyping up the crowd, “TELEPORT! The Annie is teleporting behind the Sivir and Leona! High School 13 is sandwiching Shanghai International’s Botlaners! Are they going to get the double kill? I THINK THEY ARE!”

Lin Feng was pushing mid lane when the fight in bot lane started. The Twisted Fate’s Summoner Spells were on cooldown, while his weren’t. He knew he had to make use of this advantage. So he’d panned his camera across the map, searching for an opportunity while also keeping pressure on the Twisted Fate. The fight in bot lane quickly presented itself to him. It was exactly what he was looking for. Wei Dong had even placed a ward in a brush along the bottom side of the lane for him to Teleport to. Lin Feng had his Annie teleport to the ward, then shouted over the team’s voice chat, excited, “COMING IN HOT! Lock ‘em down!”

The Annie appeared in bot lane to find the Sivir and Leona simultaneously flashing away, trying to escape. She ignored the Sivir that had cast her Spell Shield and immediately attacked the Leona. Disintegrate! She hurled a mana infused fireball at the Leona. A smouldering swirl appeared around her as she did that. It was her passive skill, Pyromania! After casting four spells, her next offensive spell would stun a target. Incinerate! She set the air in front of her ablaze, burning minions and the Leona alike. They were all stunned.

The Draven chased after the now immobile Leona and quickly caught up to her. He threw a Spinning Axe and caught it again after it ricocheted off the Leona. He followed up with another Spinning Axe, while the Annie started throwing fire. The Leona’s health disappeared. She broke free from the stun, but that was it. Before she could take more than a couple of steps towards her own outer tower, a final Spinning Axe struck her in the back, killing her.

《First Blood!》

“Nice!” Ren Rou cried out from below the stage. “Keep it going, Tang Tang!”

“Serves that fucker right! HA! Show ‘em who’s boss, Tang Tang!” Ouyang laughed, reveling in the look on Liu Zhengjie’s face. “Look at him! This feels so good!”

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses, smiling, and said, “Yeah, it does.” Then he looked behind him at the crowd that had exploded! People were jumping up and down and screaming Tang Bingyao’s name! He recognized a few faces in the crowd. They were classmates. Then he turned back towards the stage and cupped his hands around his mouth, shouting as loudly as he could, “Good job, Tang Tang! You played that perfectly!”

Liu Zhengjie looked over his screen at the crowd. Pathetic. Cheering for that? Losers haven’t seen anything! He bit down on his tongue and turned his attention back to his screen, pressing down on the TAB key. It showed the Champions on both teams and their stats and items. He looked at the Draven. I worked so hard on keeping him down… It took more than starving a Draven of minions to shut him down. This was because of his passive, League of Draven. Every time he caught a Spinning Axe or killed a minion, monster, or tower, he gained Adoration stacks. When he killed a Champion, those stacks turned into gold. That kill on the Leona was worth so much more than just the 400 gold for First Blood. All of Liu Zhengjie’s hard work was gone. The Draven was back in the game.

While High School 13 made a play in bot and picked up First Blood, Shanghai International made a play in top lane. It was a Malphite versus Fiora lane. Fiora was a strong dueler, while Malphite was a walking rock. He had a lot of health, but little in terms of damage. So it wasn’t very difficult for the Fiora to get the upper hand. She zoned the Malphite away from the minions, lunging at him with her rapier whenever he did try to walk in to last hit a minion. It was similar to the mid lane fight between Annie and Twisted Fate. Both lanes had one Champion harassing the other with a large minion wave building up. The only difference was the team applying the pressure and the colour of the minion wave.

The Lee Sin had walked through High School 13’s top side jungle and hid in the brush below the outer tower. The Malphite was stuck underneath his tower, trying desperately to get last hits on the minions before the energy shots from his tower killed them. All the while, he also had to worry about the Fiora attacking him. The only thing he forgot to do was ward. He was oblivious to the Lee Sin behind him until it was too late. The Lee Sin’s attack appeared out of nowhere and the Fiora took this opportunity to lunge forward herself, both dealing lethal blows to the Malphtie. His health disappeared, and both players from Shanghai International were out of tower range before the energy shots could kill them. It was a clean towerdive.

《You have slain an enemy!》

The Fiora picked up the kill. The Toplaner from Shanghai International grinned, enjoying the crowd cheering for him, and said into his microphone, “Nice gank, mate!”

Shanghai International’s Jungler laughed, “Too easy. Fumbling noobs.”

An Xin smiled, unconcerned. Ouyang was shifting around in his seat next to her. Ren Rou was shouting words of encouragement to the team. They can’t tell. The game looked even. In fact, it looked bad for High School 13 to the untrained eye. Liu Zhengjie was a really good ad-carry and wouldn’t give Tang Bingyao any breathing room, while Chen Ze was a worse player than his opponent in top lane and was now also a kill behind.  This could quickly spin in Shanghai International’s favour. But we’re not losing bot. We’re winning. And we’re also winning in mid. There were no kills in mid, but Lin Feng was dominating the lane. That was easy to forget when looking at the scoreboard. On top of that, it didn’t matter if Chen Ze fell behind. His Malphite wasn’t meant to carry the team. He was there to soak up damage and land a good ultimate skill, which was a powerful area of effect knock up. He didn’t need a lot of gold to do that.

It doesn’t really matter if the Fiora gets fed either. An Xin grinned. A fed Fiora was generally a big problem for any team. But it wasn’t for the team An Xin had drafted. They had Malphite and Braum who both had an area of effect knock up. Then they had a Jarvan IV who could imprison any Champion with his ultimate. Finally, there was also Annie, who could land an area of effect stun. Not to mention Draven’s Stand Aside. There was so much crowd control on the team, and only one of all these skills had to hit the Fiora to lock her down. Lin Feng and Tang Tang have enough damage between them to take care of the rest! So simple. This plan is foolproof. She looked back up at the large screen above the stage.

The game clock read 6 minutes when Lin Feng returned back to mid lane. He continued where he’d left off before his trip down to bot lane. He started pressuring the Twisted Fate out of lane, while last hitting every Red minion. He was really good at this spiel. The Twisted Fate was forced to hide next to his outer tower.

Yan Liang wanted to scream, It shouldn’t be like this! He was frustrated and angry. The Annie didn’t have Ignite! She’d gone with Teleport! She shouldn’t be able to apply this much pressure on him! But she was. She confined him far behind his own outer tower and there was nothing he could do about it. Dammit! I can’t even get any CS! He looked down at his experience bar. He was Level 5 and still a bit away from Level 6. He had to wait a little longer until he could start roaming around the map with his ultimate skill. Just a little longer and then I’ll get back into this game! He looked over at the Annie. She should also be hitting Level 6 soon… I need to be careful. His Flash was on cooldown, hers wasn’t. He had to respect that. Let’s back after this wave. She shouldn’t hit 6 until the next one—

“The Annie flashed! A Level 5 engage! WHAT IS THIS!” Westwind cried out into his microphone, the speakers carrying his voice across the venue. The Annie was only Level 5. She still needed a bit more experience before hitting Level 6. Without her ultimate skill, she didn’t have the damage to kill the Twisted Fate!

Lin Feng hadn’t made a mistake. A moment earlier, he’d calculated how many more minions he needed to hit Level 6. The answer was two caster minions. There were two caster minions right next to the Twisted Fate. Then he’d looked at Annie’s passive skill–Pyromania! After casting four spells, her next offensive spell would stun the target. She was at three stacks right now. Perfect. So he pressed down on the D and then the W key. His Annie flashed forward and Incinerated the two caster minions in front of her. She leveled up to 6 and learned her ultimate skill. A smouldering swirl wrapped around her body. The little girl giggled as she tossed up her teddy bear into the air. “Have you met my bear Tibbers?” she asked, innocently. Then an enormous flaming bear appeared above the Twisted Fate and fell down on him, stunning him.

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Shanks, TMI Dude

Shanks Thought: You guys ever get a pimple on your butt before? It’s surprisingly uncomfortable to sit down. Like you wouldn’t expect it, but it makes sense. Ah right. Today’s thought. I think I’m still recovering from the clusterfuck that was yesterday’s attempt. It fried my brain trying to come up with it, and I also lost part of my innocence in more than one way. I wonder how much longer Devshard and Sietse are going to let me handle these thoughts by myself.

Anyway, I have a 4-hour exam in 12 hours. I’m putting up a tough front and acting like I’m not nervous. But truth be told, that fear of failure is always lurking at the back of my mind. Like what if I suddenly blank out in the middle of it? What if I’ve completely forgotten everything I’ve learned. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve had plenty of nightmares about it; that and being naked in the middle of class. I used to think that if I studied enough, that fear would go away. But it never does, So, now my ritual going into these things is to just suck it up and deal with whatever comes after. Maybe telling me your exam stories will help ease the anxiety. Wish me luck!

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