Early the next day, in the back of the classroom, Ouyang slammed a heavy textbook shut. On the cover was the word ‘History’ printed in big bold letters. He let out a grief-stricken wail, “AGGHH! God! Just kill me now!”
Right before the period bell rang, the history teacher, a woman in her 50s who seemingly always had a smile on her face, announced there would be a quiz on Friday. She instructed everyone to study hard over the next few days.
What was a quiz? Nothing more than a fancy word for a test!
“Damn! The semester has barely started, and we’re already getting tested! This is insane!” Ouyang grumbled in grief and indignation.
Yang Fan turned around from his seat and looked at Ouyang sympathetically. Adjusting his glasses, he said, “Last I recall, you’re pretty terrible at history, right? You’ve never passed a test.”
“Never?” Lin Feng’s eyes widened in surprise.
“Uch, don’t remind me. And it’s not like I don’t try! Even when I study hard, I don’t pass!” Ouyang lamented.
“Oh, wow! That’s impressive!” Lin Feng gave Ouyang a thumbs up.
“All history is, is memorization memorization memorization! There’s no skill to it at all! It’s even more monotonous than playing top Garen! Fuck! It’s not my fault I’m not good at memorizing things! I can try all I want, but it won’t help!” Ouyang raged.
Yang Fan shot Ouyang the old stink-eye. “You sure you’re actually trying and not just goofing off? Memorizing a few bits of history is way easier than math or chemistry.”
Lin Feng nodded in agreement. Someone once claimed that studying and playing League of Legends were one and the same. Memorization in any subject was just like playing Nasus in the top lane, with the minions being bits of knowledge. If you saw a minion, you just had to hit it with your Siphoning Strike. Kill one, gain a stack, kill another, gain another stack, and so on. Like this you could slowly stack up your ‘knowledge’ until your Siphoning Strike dealt over 1,000 damage! Then, when the test came around, it was like playing Tryndamere. You first tackle the easy problems, building up your rage meter, then start getting critical hits left and right as you go through the harder questions. Finally, when you face an extremely difficult question, you activate your ultimate skill for five seconds of invincibility and turn the tables around!
“So, Ouyang, you should pretend like you’re playing Nasus,” Lin Feng suggested. “Memorizing a fact is like killing a minion with your Q[mfn]Siphoning Strike[/mfn]. After you get enough stacks, your damage will go up and any test you tackle will be a piece of cake.”
Ouyang rolled his eyes. “Wow, when you put it like that, I still have zero confidence! Have you seen me CS? 60 CS by 10 minutes is basically my record[mfn]The rule of thumb is to get approximately 10 CS per minute, or 100 by minute 10.[/mfn]!”
Yang Fan sighed. “Just ignore him. He’s a lost cause.”
As the three continued chatting throughout the day, it didn’t take long for the subject to return to League of Legends.
“There’s nothing exciting happening lately anyway. We’ll just have to wait for Worlds to start.” Ouyang sighed. “Three more weeks. It feels like forever.”
Yang Fan adjusted his glasses, and comforted, “Just be patient. When October rolls around, we’ll have lots to do. Apart from Worlds, we also have the club fair.”
Ouyang’s face lit up. “Oh, you’re right! The club fair is soon! We can use that to recruit some new blood to our club. Damn! I can’t wait! Hopefully we can convince some cute girls to join!”
“What club fair? What club?”
Yang Fan turned to Lin Feng and explained, “Our school holds a club fair every fall, where all the different clubs set up their own booths. Ouyang and I are part of the school’s esports club.”
“Not just ordinary members! We’re part of the committee!” Ouyang puffed up his chest. “We joined back when the club was founded in our first year. We’re the founding members!”
Yang Fan gave Lin Feng a rough explanation of the club. “We founded the club two years ago with several other students. Basically, our club works together with clubs from other schools in Shanghai to organize tournaments. It’s being very well received. We even organize simple matches, build up some rivalries, you know. The works. And the best part of it all is that as long as we don’t let it get out of hand, the school administration turns a blind eye to us.”
“The most exciting event coming up is the Shanghai 16-School Tournament,” Ouyang said with a face full of excitement.
“When we took part in it last year, we got knocked out in the first round,” Yang Fan quickly added, pouring cold water over Ouyang’s excitement.
Ouyang choked as embarrassment washed over his face. He coughed, “Ahem, well, that’s because we were careless. We didn’t prepare enough and underestimated our opponents. This time, we won’t make the same mistake!” He then clenched his fist as if making a solemn vow. “We’ll reclaim our honour this year for sure!”
“Well, we’ve got plenty of time to prepare. The tournament is still a month and a half away.” Yang Fan adjusted his glasses. “I just hope we can get some good new players this year, or else we’ll end up repeating the debacle of last year.”
“Me, me, me! Let me join!” Lin Feng enthusiastically raised his hand.
“You sure are gung-ho, huh?” Ouyang remarked. He didn’t take Lin Feng seriously, instead shifting the topic to something else. His expression brightened as he said, “Well, even if we don’t wait for the club fair to roll around, we already have good players to pick from!”
“Who?” Lin Feng and Yang Fan asked in unison.
Ouyang chuckled, then pointed at the front of the class. “Tang Bingyao of course!”
Yang Fan nodded in agreement. “Right. Her ad-carry was really good. She really did lift the whole team on her shoulders yesterday.”
“What about me? What about me? I’m good too!” Lin Feng said.
Ouyang nodded confidently. “Uh huh. With her joining us, we have a real chance of winning! Hell, maybe we can even reach the top 8! Or the top 4!”
“I can join too!” Lin Feng said.
“Will she agree though? Didn’t you have to pay her ¥80 just to convince her to play yesterday?” Yang Fan asked with a hint of worry.
Lin Feng still wasn’t willing to give up. “I’ll do it for free! I won’t charge anything!”
Ouyang chuckled. “It’s fine, it’s fine. We can just pay her an appearance fee again! If we can get into the top 4, the prize money is enough to make it worth it! Oh right, Lin Feng, did you say something? I wasn’t listening.”
As the final bell rang, Lin Feng bolted from his seat and ran toward the NetCow Cafe across the street. He waited at the door for Tang Bingyao, who walked in not much later. “Hey!” he greeted. Then, he told her about the tournament and started airing his grievances to her.
“A tournament between 16 schools?” Tang Bingyao furrowed her brows. After deeply considering it, she shook her head. “Not interested.”
“I knew it! I told them you probably wouldn’t be interested!” Lin Feng slapped his thigh. “Hah. I told them I’d do it for free, but Ouyang and Yang Fan just ignored me!”
Tang Bingyao considered for a moment, then suggested, “Play a ranked game for them. Just show them how good you are.”
“Wow! Why didn’t I think of that?” Lin Feng exclaimed. His expression lit up. “I heard there’s a prize for those in the top 4. Looks like I can make myself some pocket money this time!”
“Prize?” Tang Bingyao asked. Her eyes started shining. “How much?”
Lin Feng was stunned. He quickly changed the subject, as though he’d let some big secret slip, “Oh! Uhhh, it’s nothing! Start the queue! Start the queue!”
“Are you trying to change the subject?” Tang Bingyao stared at Lin Feng earnestly.
“Gah! Ahaha, am I that obvious?” Lin Feng chuckled.
“Very.” Tang Bingyao nodded.
Lin Feng pretended he didn’t hear her. He clenched his fist with a pumped up expression. “Hey hey, I’m online! Add me as a friend, and we’ll duo queue!”
Shanks Thought: This chapter was a doozy, not because it was particularly bad, but just the cringe I felt from reading and translating the paragraphs likening studying to playing League. Then a bit later, my editor, Sietse, became the next victim when he had to edit it.