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The Finality of Duality Between Two Teams Across Two Tournaments That Starts the Redemption of a Player Who Played Across Two Lifetimes And Carries The Legacy of a Rivalry that Spans Two Generations!

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Students from High School 13, the ones that had come to support their esports team at this tournament, pushed through the crowd at the venue. They were on a mission, and they were determined. Their esports team, the one that most of them had ignored and given up hope on, had made it all the way to the finals against all odds. It was one of those moments that movies get made about. An underdog team clawing their way up to the very top. And this was the team from their school! This was their team, their classmates, who pulled it off. So they pushed and shoved through the crowd to find the perfect spot where they could all be seen by their classmates who were playing and everyone else. 

The time was currently 6:30 P.M. in Shanghai, China. The Finals for the Shanghai 16 School Tournament would kickoff in 30 minutes. Every seat in the arena was already taken, and there was very little standing room left too. But there were still more people lined up outside, trying to get in. This was a high school tournament. The primary purpose was to provide an event where students could have a good time and compete. So there was no entrance fee for the people that came to support their classmates or have fun at a League of Legends event. And this one was extra special because an underdog team had made it to the very end. Everyone wanted to come watch, and everyone wanted a good view. People shoved and pushed to get to a spot where they could see some of the stage and also watch the game from the large LCD panels hanging from the ceiling.  

Pushing and shoving through the crowd in the flashing of the multicolored stage lights were the students from High School 13. But their faces were carved with a relentless determination. This wasn’t just about finding a good spot to watch their classmates play for them. This was all part of an extra special plan that Ren Rou came up with for the Finals. She recruited students from High School 13, and worked with them to create small posters. Each poster had a single boldly painted letter, and each student only had one. When the time was right, they would all stand together in a single line and hold up their letters. Together, it would read “HIGH SCHOOL 13 CHAMPIONS!”. 

While all of this was going on at the front of the arena, High School 13’s esports team had gathered backstage to wait out the last few minutes before the Finals would start. Standing with them was Mr. Zhou, the Club Director for High School 13’s esports team. He was there to make sure that the team knew they had the full support of the school. He was very proud of what the esports club had accomplished so far in this tournament. He even sent out an email to every student and teacher at High School 13 earlier that day, telling them about how the team had made it all the way to the Finals of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament and everything they’d been through to get to this point. And he requested that everyone from High School 13 come to the Finals to show the esports club their support. 

Mr. Zhou looked at the nine students standing in front of him. I couldn’t be more proud of them! These students… they fought so hard and brought our little esports club all the way to the Finals! He was quite literally beaming with pride and support. This team from High School 13’s esports club had done what no other team in the club’s history had done before. I never thought I’d be here, backstage right before the Finals of the biggest high school tournament with a team that might actually win it all! This team, this generation of the High School 13 esports club, had proven that the school was a force to be reckoned with.

The whole situation was beyond unexpected. No one at High School 13, from Mr. Zhou to the rest of the Faculty to the Principal, thought there was a chance of this happening. The Principal had even taken a brief vacation and left the city for the weekend, so he wasn’t around to email the student body or come to the tournament. This ironic twist of fate was what allowed Mr. Zhou the honor of being the sole representative of the Faculty backstage with the team. And he was more than happy things had worked out this way. 

Mr. Zhou smiled proudly and said, “Get out there and do your best! We’re all so proud of you. I’m proud of you! You guys are writing a brand new chapter in our School’s history! Win or lose, we’ll still celebrate how much you guys have accomplished. But… it would be nice to have that first trophy to put in our cabinet. SO GO OUT AND GET THAT TROPHY! YOU CAN DO IT!” As he gave his speech, the normally reserved Mr. Zhou became progressively more and more excited. He was screaming by the end of it, which he only noticed when the organizers and crew backstage had stopped what they were doing to stare at him. He quickly composed himself, and then then bowed to the team. He repeated how proud he was of the team and thanked them for all their effort in finally putting High School 13 on the map. This time, in a much quieter and more dignified tone. He ended his speech with a promise to the team, “If you guys win tonight, I will personally make sure the school properly celebrates the victory! What you guys are doing here is absolutely amazing! Do your best out there!”

High School 13’s team didn’t know how to respond. This was something that they wanted for so long that they forgot that other people could be just as invested. That they were representing more than their esports club. It wasn’t only their dream on the line here. Their dream had become the dream of everyone at High School 13. Their dream was one that was shared by Mr. Zhou. And they needed a minute to process that their dream had grown beyond them. They wanted to respond, but they just couldn’t find the words in that moment. The silence of this emotional minute was unfortunately short-lived and shattered by the audience on the other side of the stage. The students from High School 13 and Shanghai High School, who had shown up to cheer on their respective teams, ended up in a heated competition to show who could cheer on and support their team the loudest. 

“High School 13 gonna kick some asses!”
“Shanghai High School 3-0 those cocky bastards!”
“Shanghai High School are the REAL cocky bastards!”
“High School 13 eats DOGSHIT FOR LUNCH!”
“LIES! SLANDER! Shanghai High School is so bad they need LIES TO WIN AN ARGUMENT!”
“What you gonna do when you LOSE? Huh? WHINE ABOUT BEING UNLUCKY AGAIN?”
“SHANGHAI HIGH SCHOOL IS A SCHOOL FOR THIEVES AND LIARS!”
“IF YOU GO TO HIGH SCHOOL 13, YOU’RE STUPID AND DUMB!”

High School 13’s esports team started grinning as they listened to the battle of words going on in the audience. The more heated and fierce it got, the funnier it was. Ouyang commented, “Man. They’re going at it harder than two women trying to fight for my heart.” Everyone broke down laughing with that, a combination of the situation outside in the audience and the fact that Ouyang thought multiple women would fight over him. They were all in a great mood. This was in no small part due to the large turnout. There were so many students from High School 13 who had found out that a team from their school had made it all the way to the Finals of the tournament and came out to show their support. 

The club members who were in the club last year, like Ren Rou and Ouyang, were overwhelmed by the response and support from their fellow students. It was only last year that they’d lost in the first round of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament, and everyone had made fun of them back then. Their esports team and club became infamous for how terrible they were, they were known as the worst high school team in all of Shanghai. But that was last year, and there was none of that today. It was a new dawn, a new year, and they were feeling good. High School 13’s esports team was in the Finals! They were in the Finals! 

Lin Feng’s phone buzzed. He pulled it from his pocket and saw that it was a message from Su Xue. He read it and started smiling. 

Su Xue:
⟦Hey hey! I can’t make it. I’m sooooo sorry.⟧
⟦(ಥ﹏ಥ)⟧
⟦Huya contacted me about a spot on the featured page and I’m going to a meeting for that in a couple of minutes!!! Wish me luck (´∀`)! ⟧
⟦I’ll try and finish up with them asap! Hopefully fast enough that I’ll be able to show up and see you play for a bit! I realy really really really want to be there for you! ⟧
⟦Also. I wanted to wish you luck! Show everyone how good you are!!! ᕙ(⇀‸↼‵‵)ᕗ And if you win, I’ll make you an all you can eat celebration meal! \(^o^)/
(つ´∀`)つ Do well (つ´∀`)つ
ʕっ•ᴥ•ʔっ Good luck, Feng Feng ⟧ 

Once the laughter and jokes died down a bit, An Xin glanced at her phone to check the time. 15 minutes until the Finals started. I should talk to them about our game plan once last time. She quietly coughed a few times to get everyone’s attention, and told them to follow her. There were only 15 minutes until the start of the Finals. An Xin coughed a few times to get everyone’s attention and then told them to follow her. She wanted to go somewhere a little more quiet, a little more private, so she could make sure the team was as ready as they could be and focused. But before they got to a quiet corner, they bumped into Shanghai High School’s team. No words were spoken, this was not the time for pleasantries and small talk. Or trash talk. Both teams were trying to get in the right frame of mind for the game coming up ahead, and they just wanted to quickly move past each other to finish prepping. Except for Lin Feng. He decided that the best thing to do at this moment was grinning at Zen Rui and confidently stating, “We’re going to win tonight!” 

Zeng Rui stopped and looked at Lin Feng. Then he snorted and said, “Thundering dumbass,” before walking off.

The staff at the Mercedes-Benz Arena ran around frantically, trying to make the lights, cameras, computers, speakers, chairs, and everything else that needed to be checked was perfect. It had to be perfect! They only had four hours until the Finals for the Season 5 League of Legends World Championship started. Four hours until the hotly anticipated game between Season and SSK started. Millions of eyes from around the world would be on their arena and their arrangements, and nothing could go wrong! If that wasn’t stressful enough, the first streams had already started broadcasting shots of the arena to welcome their viewers before they started their pre-game analysis of the teams. And the arena had already been opened for spectators. The first set of fans had already trickled in to search for their seats. There were people trying to buy food and drinks, and even more wandering about the shopping stalls looking for memorabilia to buy. 

But setting the already overworked arena staff on edge was the tension that was building between the fans that were arriving. There were two distinct sides, eyeing each other with a ferocity that was unexpected and arguments that kept growing ever more heated. It wasn’t just confined to the arena either. The battle between the supporters of Team SSK and Team Season was even more vitriolic on the internet. The anonymity and safety of being behind a screen allowed people to forget common courtesy and decency. As the supporters of each team argued the superiority of their respective sides, insults were hurled, casual racism was resorted to, and previously unheard insults were formulated on the spot. There was no rhyme or reason to their arguments. It was a traditional “we’re the best and you suck” mentality. This was, of course, great entertainment for the neutral fans.

The two teams, Season and SSK, arrived at the venue and found their respective locker rooms. There was a stark contrast in the atmosphere between both rooms. Season’s players, except for Autumn, were tense and nervous. They were talking with each other, a little more rapidly than they normally would. They couldn’t sit still on their chairs for more than a couple of minutes at a time. And they kept looking in the direction of SSK’s locker room. As for Autumn, he was doing his own pre-game ritual. He sat down a bit away from the others with his eyes closed. He was just as nervous as the others, but had a different way of dealing with it. He played out different scenarios in his mind, double and triple checking their game strategy and tactics. The team was ready to play as he envisioned it, he hoped. But maybe there was something he overlooked. So he went over everything again and made sure everyone knew what they were supposed to do. Tonight they had to play a perfect series if they wanted any chance of beating SSK.

SSK’s locker room was completely different from Season’s. There was a calmness here that seemed completely out of place considering the situation. There were no nervous gazes and no shuffling around in the chairs. The players from SSK lounged back and were talking with each other in calm and steady voices. That didn’t last for long, however, as the door flung open and Lee Dojae walked in. Four of the five players shot up to their feet and stumbled over their words, trying to greet their idol. Han Seho was the only exception. He waited for the others to finish fawning over Lee Dojae and only then stood up and nodded at Lee Dojae. “Sir, it’s good to see you,” he said.

Lee Dojae nodded. The team had given him the reaction he wanted. The reaction he deserved. He waved his hand and said, “You guys may relax.” He then turned to look at Han Seho and nodded. It’s like I’m looking in a time mirror. He’s just like I was. So calm. He’s special. He took a deep breath and asked, “Are you ready for tonight’s game?”

Han Seho replied, “Yes.” There was no hesitation, no doubt or anything like that. He knew that he would win tonight. They would clean sweep Season to complete their perfect run at Worlds. Then he would lift his third world title. He knew he would. He was the best. There was no one out there who could beat him right now.

Lee Dojae smiled, something he rarely ever did, and said, “Good. I’m presenting the trophy to you when you win.” This was exactly why there were so many people across the world upset that Lee Dojae was the guest presenter. It was far too obvious what was happening here. Lee Dojae was a sore loser. He’d always been a sore loser. His career was one of great heights, but he never won it all. He only ever got second best, behind One. It was too late to win it all himself. But he was still obsessed with proving to the world that he was the best. That One had nothing on him! And the way he was going to prove that was by showing the world that South Korea was the best esports country in the entire world! From one brilliant player to the next, South Korea would always stand on top! He pulled some strings to become the guest presenter. Tonight, he would be there and laugh at everyone who thought he was only good enough to be second best. Tonight, SSK would win. Rake would win. He would win. No one can stop me now! One and his stupid possy. Screw them! They were then, this is now. This is my time! South Korea will become the best place in the world for esports! And it all starts here tonight!

“This is the Finals of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament! Give it up for our two Finalists! We all know Shanghai High School. They were one of the favourites before the tournament even began and here they are in the Finals! They haven’t lost a game yet this year and might be on their way to a perfect run! Let’s give it up for Shanghai High School!

“Then we have High School 13! A dark horse that won over Tonji Affiliated High in the Qualifiers and over Shanghai International in the Semifinals! They fear no one and claim victory before the games even start! Let’s give it up for High School 13!”

The audience jumped up and down, cheering on their teams as they walked up on stage. These were the heroes that would help their school become the best esports school in Shanghai! This was it! A large section of the crowd raised sheets of paper over their heads. It read in big, bold letters: “HIGH SCHOOL 13 Champions!” This elicited jeers from the Shanghai High School camp, setting off a second round of word-combat in the venue.

“High School 13 LOSERS! HAHAH!”
“High school 13 is THE BEST! CHAMPIONS, WOOOOOO!”
“Suckers! We’re the DEFENDING CHAMPIONS! WOOOOOOOOO!”
“Shanghai High School is so bad, they need to steal cheers! HAHAHA!”
“High School 13 is so bad, they can only win a game on LUCK!”
“Shanghai High School IS SO BAD! HAHA!”
“HIGH SCHOOL 13 IS GONNA GET CLEAN SWEEPED! SUCK ON THAT!”
“SO BAD! HAHAHA! SO BAD! SHANGHAI HIGH SCHOOL IS SO BAD!”

Zeng Rui sat down behind his computer to the far right and looked at his teammates left of him. He waited for everyone to get settled and then said, “You know your roles and responsibilities. Remember everything that we’ve been practicing these last couple of days. And…” He paused for dramatic effect, really dragging it, then finished, “Let’s win this tournament!”

The other four players from Shanghai High School nodded at their team captain. He didn’t need to say fancy words or give lengthy speeches to motivate them. He was direct and efficient in his delivery. That was what made each of his words so powerful. Shanghai High School’s players were ready to play. Eager to play. They kept nodding and shouted the same thing in their own words, “Yeah! Let’s win this thing!”

Lin Feng was very similar to Zeng Rui in the sense that both could motivate their teammates in a short few sentences. But they were also completely different. Where Zeng Rui was calm, Lin Feng was excited. Where Zeng Rui looked serious, Lin Feng looked like a buffoon with that large grin on his face. Where Zeng Rui demanded respect, Lin Feng elicited laughter. Lin Feng balled his fist and punched the air above him, shouting, “Let’s do our best! That trophy is ours!”

Chu Fang watched everything happen from his place backstage. He had a good view of the audience, who were still facing off in what had devolved into another shouting contest. He shook his head and smiled. This was the atmosphere he loved to see. Fans who were in it with their heart and soul, refusing to give an inch even when it came to cheering their team on. Then he looked up at the stage. At the 10 players sitting behind their computers. At the two players who were so much better at the game than everyone else. His smile turned into a grin. Two of the biggest talents in League of Legends were about to play against each other, and almost no one in the world knew about it. These two were going to become two of the best players to hail from China. Everything he’d been dreaming of and hoping for was starting to fall into place. If they join together, they could form the best team in the world. We’d be right back up there! Winning Worlds. Finally.

After a long week of bad weather, the sun was breaking through the clouds again on Ka’anapali Beach in Hawaii. One sat in front of a small hut on the beach, watching out towards the horizon. There was almost no one else on the beach. The consistent bad weather had scared the tourists away. I like it better this way… He’d read the news about Lee Dojae and smiled to himself. Lee Dojae sounds like the same sore loser he was back then… Mister Forever Secondbest. One shook his head, chuckling. There were seven names in the Hall of Fame. He was one of those seven and by many considered the biggest name in all of world esports. Lee Dojae was often named in the same breath as him, but his name always came first. He’s got a surprise coming his way.

Three walked out of the hut and stopped next to One. He looked at his friend and then followed his gaze into the distance, where there were still a couple of dark clouds. “Seems like we’re finally getting some good weather, huh.” Then he suddenly laughed and said, “Right. Did you see the news? Mister sore loser is doing the award ceremony at Worlds this year.”

One chuckled and replied, “Yeah, I saw.”

Three clicked his tongue and said, “Seems like he’s still hung up on the past. He’s just forcing his own dreams on this Rake. Heh. Sorest loser I know. What’s his deal with this whole thing anyways? Does he want to tell the world, ‘Look, I’m South Korean and South Korea is the best! Look at me! Look at me! I’m also the king of esports!’ or something?” He paused for a moment and shook his head. “They’ve been pretty dominant though. Hard to see anyone beating anytime soon.”

“There’s still plenty of time,” One said, rubbing his nose. Passing the fucking torch… That’s what he kept sayin’ it was. It still sounds stupid to me. He just gave his handle and team to someone else. Called him the next Rake. What an idiot, thinking there’s only one really talented player in the world. And trying to make the handle Rake into some kind of divine crown. What a stupid, stupid, stupid thought. Ah well, can’t help that he’s got his head so far up his own asshole that he can’t see what’s coming. Lin Feng is finally back. It’ll be a bit, but he’ll win the LPL again. And then he’ll be on to Worlds. It doesn’t matter if it’s the old or new ‘Rake’, he’ll beat them both… Clouds started gathering in the distance. The faint echoing of thunder reached all the way to the shoreline. One placed his hands behind him and leaned back, gazing at the brewing storm. Lee Dojae, you scared yet? Can you hear the rumble from the storm that’s about to sweep across esports? Lin Feng’ll take your stupid bullshit esports dynasty and your handle down, believe that. Your dumbass name’ll be second best again. That’s where it belongs. That’s your legacy. You’re not the best, you’ll never be the best, and you can’t rewrite history just by giving someone else your name. You’re just a sore loser. Nothing more.

3
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Sietse MAD! Or Sad?

Sietse Thought: The last you’re getting out of me tonight. Dunno where this is going, my mind is kind of weird right now. Let’s see. You know that feeling when you try and explain something very simple to someone who is supposed to know a thing or two about said something, yet they clearly don’t. They throw around terms that they haven’t the faintest clue of what it means. “I want that to check this and make sure everything adds up!” No, sir, you don’t. You just need to stop being such a useless waste of time and space. That’s the exact point where you can feel your anger boiling over into rage. I read his email again today, like I did a couple of days ago. I couldn’t believe the sheer stupidity of its content. But there it was, just as I remembered. I wanted to kick my monitor. That good for nothing piece of… Right. Rage. Rage over absolutely nothing. It’s stupid and it only bothers me. But dammit if I don’t wanna smash this dude’s brains in! How can someone grow up and have a family, yet be this stupid? Does he need a caretaker to hold his hand when he goes to get a cup of coffee? I would hope so. Don’t see him getting much done otherwise.

Now I realize this rant turned into a terrible TL thought. But I wrote the rant and I feel significantly better already. God what a moron. But then again, we all know our good number of morons, don’t we? And it’s usually our own fault, because things that make sense in our head don’t need to make sense to others. Ah, I feel better. Seriously, ranting is the best. I do it to anyone who’ll listen. Just takes the pressure of it. Suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad anymore. My friends sometimes grab a box and hold it open for me. Then I get a minute to rant all I want XD It’s hilarious.

With that stress out of my body, sleep is calling me. My eyelids feel heavy, my heartbeat is slowing down. I will see all of you tomorrow again, my loves. 

Signing off, Sietse

Dev Thought: I have no idea what Sietse’s thought was about. But I just wanted to tell you all that I came up with the title for this chapter and I am very proud of it. 

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