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“WHAT!” Yan Liang blurted out. His Twisted Fate was stunned by Tibbers, Annie’s teddy bear. The monster fueled by flames swiped down at the Twisted Fate with its massive claws, tearing away at his health. A mana infused fireball slammed into him. He had a sliver of health left. SHIT! NO! Not like this! Yan Liang clicked towards his own tower, but his Twisted Fate wouldn’t move. The stun hadn’t broken yet. Fortunately, the Annie had cast all her spells. She hit him with an auto attack and then another. But that wasn’t enough to kill him before the stun broke.

Yan Liang slammed down on his W key–Pick a Card! Yellow! Yellow! Come on! A blue card appeared above his Twisted Fate, followed by a red card. COME ON! Then the golden card came. Yan Liang hammered down on his W key, selecting the golden card, then clicked on the Annie. STUN! The golden card whizzed through the air and struck the Annie, stunning her, while the Twisted Fate ran back towards his tower. But the Annie wasn’t the main threat. She’d used all her skills and could now only throw little embers at him. It was the massive teddy bear of her that was dealing all the damage! Tibbers chased him down and swiped down again with its massive claws, killing him before he could even get close to his outer tower.

《You have been slain!》

Yan Liang stared at the grey screen in front of him. No. No. This stupid little girl! …I just made a small mistake, I can still change this. We’ll win. He was trying his best to calm himself down. But over the edge of his screen, he could see the crowd in the venue jumping up from their seats and cheering. They should be cheering for me. The Annie just got lucky in Champion Select— He was interrupted by a cheerful voice that traveled all the way to him from the other side of the stage. “Wow! Who would’ve guessed? I’m really good at Annie too!” I’m going to… kill that fucker! I’ll fucking show you, you little piece of, of, arggh!

The crowd erupted! This was a solo kill! The two Midlaners had faced off and the Annie had won in impressive fashion! This time, it wasn’t only the students from High School 13 who jumped up from their seats, shouting and screaming. But they were the loudest.

“WOOO! Maul his ass! Maul his ass!”
“Fucking yes! That was… AWESOME!”
“How’s that feel? Getting killed by a little girl! HAHA!”
“HEEYYAAAHH! Little girl beats up old man!”
“That play was crazy!”
“HOLY DAMN! That dude is good…”

“I gotta say,” Westwind said, his voice booming through the speakers in the venue. He waited for the crowd to quiet down, then continued, “That play was probably the single most impressive play I’ve seen all tournament! The Annie knew exactly when she was hitting Level 6. Impressive. Just, impressive.”

Silent Reed looked over the venue from her vantage point at the caster desk and waited for the crowd’s roar of approval to die down. She nodded at Westwind sitting next to her and said, smiling, “You’re right. That was very impressive. Yan Liang didn’t know what hit him. He had no time to react! The Annie hit Level 6 mid-fight. She planned and executed it perfectly!”

Everyone in the venue agreed with this sentiment, even Zeng Rui. He watched the replay on the large screen and raised an eyebrow, surprised and even a little impressed with the Annie’s performance. Huh… That was… good? So the thundering dumbass also knows how to play mid… Weird. But that was a good bait. Yan Liang fell for it hard. He paused. Analyzing games was second nature to him. He noticed when something looked wrong before he even understood why. He sat up straight and looked, really looked, at the players from High School 13. Don’t tell me, hmm… If it goes on like this, High School 13 is actually going to win. This was an outcome he hadn’t even considered before. But now he had to accept the possibility that the Finals would see them facing High School 13, and not Shanghai International. That would be unexpected.

Draven was a Champion that became stronger the more he fought. When he got one kill, it was the same as getting two or even three kills for other Champions, depending on how many Adoration stacks he had. This was the power of his passive. Tang Bingyao made perfect use of this. She’d accepted that Liu Zhengjie would push into her in the early game. She let it happen, patiently farming Adoration stacks by catching Spinning Axes and last hitting minions, until the opportunity for a kill presented itself. She went in on the Leona and got first blood, turning her Adoration stacks into gold. She used her sudden large reserve of gold to buy an expensive item with a lot of attack damage. This gave her an edge over the Sivir and allowed her to play the style she enjoyed the most. Hyper aggressive! She flung Spinning Axes, last hitting minions and pressuring Liu Zhengjie’s Sivir.

Leona was a precarious Champion. Her kit allowed her to jump into a fight and stun Champions with a single target stun and an area of effect stun. This made her invaluable in every scenario. But, there was one condition. She needed to live long enough to get into the middle of the enemy team, which she could only do if she had enough defensive items. The flip side of her usage was that she was useless without those items. After giving away first blood, that was the direction Shanghai International’s Support saw the game going. His Leona was falling behind. He needed to do something to turn this around. He had to force a play! So he pushed past the minions and searched for an opening. If I can just get Draven to use Stand Aside—

“Back. Back BACK!” Liu Zhengjie shouted at his Support. “The hell are you doing! Are you stupid? Help me freeze the fucking lane! We can’t let the minions push further out or we’re going to get fucking ganked again! And stop taking so much free damage. God fucking dammit!” Why do I always get the braindead retards! He continued grumbling, frustrated. He’d carefully built up an advantage from the first exchange in the game. It all went great. They were winning the lane. They were winning the game! And then, then the Annie teleported to bot lane. She’d ruined everything! His Support died and his hard work went up in smoke. The Draven used the gold from that kill to buy his first big attack damage item, while he was forced to buy a weaker item to try and keep up. 

Draven is too strong… Fuck! Liu Zhengjie gritted his teeth, resisting the urge to scream. The more he thought about the situation, the more pissed off he became. He had his Sivir attack the Draven by hurling her crossblade like a boomerang, but the damage looked lackluster. It wasn’t nearly as destructive as it’d been a minute ago. The damage of the skill hadn’t changed much, but the amount of damage the Draven dealt had. That single item made such a big difference this early in the game. It was almost impossible for Liu Zhengjie to do anything. If he took one step too far forward, the Draven could simply run up to him and kill him. So he did the only thing he could do. He farmed minions from as far away as possible and kept his mouse ready to retreat at the slightest hint of trouble. All the while he grumbled under his breath, “Fucking fuck fuck! This fucking Draven girl! Go play Support like all the other girls! Dammit! This stupid shit game!”

High School 13’s bot lane was winning. Lin Feng watched them play with a wide grin on his face that seemed to say, “I’m really good at ganking too!” He turned his attention back to mid lane. The Twisted Fate was hiding behind the Red team’s outer tower, allowing Lin Feng to farm the minions without a worry in the world. So he turned to look around the map again, a little too relaxed. The Twisted Fate wasn’t putting any pressure on him. He could just push and push and push. The monotony of it was distracting. He let his mind wander.

At 8:50 minutes, Shanghai International’s Lee Sin came mid for a gank. He walked down into mid lane from the brush in the river. The Annie didn’t retreat. She threw a small ember of fire at a minion and then a mana infused fireball at the Twisted Fate. She was clueless of the danger behind her. The Lee Sin didn’t need to think twice. He placed a ward behind the Annie and Safeguarded towards it. Dragon’s Rage! He hit the Annie with a roundhouse kick, sending her flying backwards.

There was a golden card above the Twisted Fate’s head. The Annie flew past him and landed underneath the Red team’s outer tower. He threw the golden card at her and stunned her. There were no Blue minions, so the tower targeted her and started firing off increasingly powerful energy shots. The Lee Sin hit the Annie with a Sonic Wave and then dashed towards her with Resonating Strike. All the while, the Twisted Fate kept throwing his playing cards, a next one always appearing from his sleeve.

Ah, I’m dead. Lin Feng was busy watching the other lanes. He’d noticed the Lee Sin far too late. He pressed down on the R key the moment the stun on his Annie wore off–Summon: Tibbers! His Annie willed her teddy bear to life. The small doll transformed into a frightening monster! But it was too little too late. She forced the Twisted Fate to Flash away. Then she died.

《You have been slain!》

“Ahhh… Almost. Oh well,” Lin Feng mumbled. He looked at his grey screen, at the Twisted Fate walking around with almost no health left. I probably could’ve… He shook his head. He’d given away a kill. It was a bad play. There was no excuse. He grumbled, “I got your Flash, that’s enough. I’ll get you next time.”

Chen Ze was struggling in the top lane. He’d improved a lot as a player over the last two months, but Shanghai International’s Toplaner was simply better. On top of that, he played Fiora who was dubbed the Queen of Dueling. Chen Ze lost all control of his lane after giving away that first kill. The Fiora wouldn’t even let his Malphite walk out from under his outer tower. She last hit minions in lane and built up a large wave. Then she pushed them into the Blue team’s outer tower. The tower would kill a good number of them, further hampering the Malphite, and she could use the opportunity to dish out some damage.

Minions were dying and Chen Ze wasn’t killing them. The outer tower was. Its energy shots ripped them apart, while they were trying to destroy the large structure. All the while, the Fiora jumped in to deal some quick damage and then back out. Chen Ze gritted his teeth. He knew this lane was going to be difficult, but he never planned on losing it. His goal was to contain the Fiora. To make sure she never really got rolling. But he failed miserably. At 9 minutes in, he gave away a second kill. His health had fallen too low and the Fiora had killed him underneath his own tower.

《You have been slain!》

“I should’ve recalled faster,” Chen Ze mumbled, barely audible. He shook his head and sighed. No. That wouldn’t have helped either… He watched the Fiora eat another energy shot from the outer tower. It wasn’t nearly enough to kill her. Uh? His eyes widened. He hadn’t noticed Liu Yue running up the river until now. The Jarvan IV flag-tossed towards the Fiora, knocking her Airborne. He followed up with a couple of auto attacks and killed her. “Nice work, Liu Yue!” Chen Ze said over the team’s voice chat.

Shanghai International held the advantage in the top lane. The Fiora was quickly becoming very strong. Shanghai International also came back in mid lane. The kill on Lin Feng was enough to give the Twisted Fate some breathing room. High School 13 only held a clear advantage in bot lane. Even though both teams had 3 kills and roughly the same amount of gold, Shanghai International’s most recent victories in top and mid tipped the balance in their favour.

“That idiot…” An Xin muttered, putting her palm over her face. “How many times do I have to remind him to ward? How can he make such a stupid mistake…” She looked up at Lin Feng and shouted, “It’s not that hard to ward, idiot!”

Shanks' Mundane Life Updates

Shanks Thought: I passed the exam! Pretty sure I did, at least. But I didn’t do great either. I’d be happy with even a 70%. Turns out that the exam was more theory heavy more than I anticipated, when 90% of the work we’ve been doing all semester is more on the practical stuff. Don’t you hate when that happens? Tough luck, I guess. Better try harder next time. That’s what I tell myself anyway. This time, I’ll go to bed early for sure. This time, I’ll make sure to study at least a week in advance. But then it doesn’t happen, or I do keep it up for a while before falling back into old habits again.

Speaking of falling back into old habits, New Years is coming up, right after Christmas! Have you all thought on your resolutions? How long do you think you’ll keep it? Can we actually force change in ourselves or Is free will simply an illusion?

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