《Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!》
Shanghai High School’s team loaded in on the bottom left of the map, where their blue fountain was located. They bought their starter items and went to their respective lanes. Zeng Rui pinged the Toplaner and said, “Listen. You need to be careful. BE SMART! That raging dumbass that you’re up against, he’s cocky as shit. He’s going to be aggressive the second he finds you in lane, and he’s going to keep being aggressive. You gotta be careful! Understand? It doesn’t matter what else happens, we’ll figure it out. But you gotta be careful and make sure Lin Feng doesn’t get a kill. CAREFUL! If his Wukong starts to snowball, we’re fucked. We’ll end up losing the first game in this series!”
Shanghai High School’s Toplaner nodded at Zeng Rui. Then he started mumbling to himself, “Gotta focus! Wukong’ll be aggressive. Need to endure, survive. I got this! I’m good! Just gotta focus and I got this!” He had his Irelia stop near her outer tower and wait for the first minion wave to arrive. He watched as Lin Feng’s Wukong walked up all the way to the edge of his tower’s range. Then he watched as the Wukong started spamming the laugh emote and the taunt animation. He knew that Lin Feng was trying to bait him out, but he wasn’t going to bite. His Irelia didn’t budge, and eventually the Wukong started to lose interest. She stuck close to her tower and waited until her minion wave arrived and pushed Wukong back. He adhered to Zeng Rui’s words almost religiously, only moving his Irelia out from underneath the tower when the Red and Blue minion waves clashed in the middle of the lane. He couldn’t just hide under the tower forever, he had to get some last hits in and get some experience to level his Irelia. Otherwise he’d just be dead weight during this game!
Lin Feng smiled. He didn’t really think his emote spam was going to bait the Toplaner out. But it was fun to do! He had to hold himself back from giggling the whole time he was doing it. When it failed, he decided to stop messing around and try something way more pro gamer. He sent his Wukong into the brush along the top wall of the lane, and waited. The minion wave was fighting just a few steps away, and eventually the Irelia wandered out from the safety of her tower to get some experience and last hits. Lin Feng smiled again, and pressed down on his E key–Nimbus Strike! His Wukong leapt forth from a springboard of clouds and dashed to the Irelia. At the end of his dash, Wukong whacked Irelia with his staff, and two shadows struck the minions around her. Then Wukong followed up with an auto attack, before retreating back to safety. The Irelia only managed to get a single auto attack on him in this exchange.
This was the first volley in a game of cat and mouse that Lin Feng played with the Toplaner from Shanghai High School. He’d have his Wukong jump within attacking distance of the Irelia, and then jump out again. Sometimes he’d get a poke or two in, and sometimes he wouldn’t. Lin Feng maintained this while also simultaneously getting the last hit in on every minion around him. The Irelia was forced to a pitiful state, where she was constantly forced to split her attention between last hitting minions and protecting herself from Lin Feng’s Wukong. It was too much for her to handle, and she started making tiny mistakes.
Those mistakes were glaringly obvious to Lin Feng. He noticed every single one, and how frequently the Irelia was making them. He kept up the pressure until the Irelia started to crumble. That’s when he saw that the Irelia was playing far more defensively than she needed to, or should be playing. He nodded to himself, Irelia’s on the defensive… that’s a weakness I can use! He waited for Nimbus Strike to come off cooldown and then used it to go in on the Irelia one more time. But this time was different. Instead of backing off after poking at her, he whacked her twice with auto attacks. The Irelia panicked and started backing away. But Lin Feng was relentless. His Wukong chased after the Irelia, getting a hit in every now and then. He chased Irelia right up to the edge of the Blue minion wave, and a little past it. Then he pulled an abrupt 180 and retreated. In this engagement, Lin Feng had done a lot more damage to the Irelia than she’d managed to give his Wukong. But because he’d gone in too hard and let the Blue minions target him, he’d taken a few more hits than he should’ve. At the end of this exchange, both Wukong and Irelia had lost approximately 25% of their health.
Lin Feng and his Wukong went back to last hitting Blue minions. He’d scared the shit out of the Irelia and amped up the pressure, while also getting in a good bit of damage. “My journey’s only beginning,” he mumbled to himself. Then he grinned. He genuinely loved saying Champion voice lines out loud. He knew it was childish, and he knew that people called him chunibyo for it. But he didn’t care. He was the spirit of chuuni! More importantly, he’d gotten exactly what he wanted from that exchange. The Irelia had lost a large amount of health, which made her that much easier to kill. He looked at the Irelia on his screen and said, “I will be the best.”
Wukong and Irelia were both melee Champions. If they wanted to last hit a minion, they needed to walk right up to the minion to attack it. This created a situation where the two Champions were constantly fighting each other before they even hit Level 2. Then, after hitting Level 2, this went to a whole new level. They now had double the numbers of skills to use, and twice as many options to outplay their opponents. It turned into a dance of blows, with both sides trying to squeeze out an advantage.
Lin Feng saw an opening! His Wukong used Nimbus Strike to dash to the Irelia and whack her, and then followed up with an auto attack. Then he started retreating back to his side of the lane and minion wave. But the Irelia couldn’t take being pushed around anymore. She chased after him, raining auto attack after auto attack. Lin Feng smiled, and had his Wukong zig and zag while continuing to run away. He let the Irelia think that he was being pressured, and pulled her past his Red minions. Right on cue, the Red minions started attacking her. This was the moment that Lin Feng was waiting for. Just as the Irelia slowed down to turn around and retreat, his Wukong went in with an auto attack. The Irelia froze in place for a split-second, indecisive. She couldn’t decide if she wanted to run back to trade an auto attack or continue running. Lin Feng’s Wukong was just out of the Irelia’s attack range. But unfortunately for her, she was not out of Wukong’s attack range! She was the perfect distance away for a Crushing Blow! Wukong grasped his enchanted staff with both hands and raised it high above his head. Then he swung it down with all his might!
“WOOOOOOO!” Westwind exclaimed. He stood and leaned towards the large screen above the stage, his hand supporting him on the caster desk while the other clutched the microphone. “Top lane action! TOP LANE ACTION! Let’s hear it for the two in top lane! WOOOO! What a display of skill! Absolutely phenomenal!”
Silent Reed looked up at her co-caster and added, “Lin Feng is surprisingly good at Wukong, for a Midlaner. Those were some really impressive mechanics! The way he’s controlling the distance between them… I can’t fault Zeng Rui’s Toplaner for losing that exchange.”
Lin Feng didn’t hear the Shoutcasters saying his name or a word that they said about him. Nor did he hear the High School 13 student in the audience chanting his name. All his attention was focused on the game in front of him, and on making the Irelia look like a beginner at the game. He was toying with her and leading her like a puppet on strings with his Wukong’s skills. But this was only the start. He grinned as he looked at his experience bar. Almost there. Wukong’s most deceitful skill was Warrior Trickster. He could leave a dummy on the Rift and hide in stealth for a couple of seconds. The skill had limitless application potential, especially in the hands of Lin Feng. Think this is bad? Just you wait, darlin’. It hasn’t even begun to get bad yet. I’m gonna have you wondering who let all these motherfuckin’ snakes on this motherfuckin’ plane!
At 3 minutes and 40 seconds into the game, Lin Feng’s Wukong hit Level 3 and learned Warrior Trickster. This skill was the primary differentiating factor between good Wukong players and bad Wukong players. It was THE most important skill in Wukong’s toolkit, arguably more important than his ultimate skill. There was even a well-known quote from a skilled pro player who climbed up to Challenger with Wukong as his main, a quote that endured as essential advice to anyone who wanted to get good with Wukong. “A great fucking Wukong ain’t determined by how many Champions he can hit with his ult. That’s just a monkey spinning around with a stick, and no one gives a shit about that. A god-like Wukong doesn’t give a shit about spinning. If you want to spin-to-win, play Garen. The measure of a great Wukong is in how well he can use Warrior Trickster to fool and bait enemy champions. And a real Wukong God can fool his teammates as well as his opponents with Trickster God.”
The Irelia, on the other hand, was starting to run real low on health. She was playing more and more defensively, and was currently only using Bladesurge to last hit minions. The skill allowed her to dash to a target and damage them. If she killed the target she dashed to, the cooldown on the skill would instantly reset. The Irelia used this to dash to a minion, get the last hit in, and then use the cooldown reset to quickly dash away to safety. She thought she was being clever and playing it safe, moving around too quickly for Lin Feng’s Wukong to whack her. But she never realized that she was doing exactly what Lin Feng wanted her to do.
Lin Feng waited until he found the perfect Red minion that was almost dead. He knew the Irelia would dash in with Bladesurge to kill that minion, and he waited patiently for her to jump to the minion that was currently serving as the bait for his trap. Which the Irelia did. The instant she arrived at the minion, Lin Feng pressed down on the E key and sent his Wukong dashing in with Nimbus Strike! Then just before the attack from Nimbus Strike landed, Wukong used Warrior Trickster to create a clone that attacked Irelia! While the Irelia was busy with the clone, the real Wukong was hidden in stealth.
The Irelia panicked when she saw Wukong barreling towards her. She used Equilibrium Strike, which stunned a target who had more health than her. It was a desperate attempt to buy herself a few more seconds to run away to safety. But unfortunately for her, she ended up stunning a clone. The real Wukong was currently invisible to her and in the process of walking behind her. The clone dissipated, and Irelia figured out what had happened. But before she could do anything about it, an auto attack from the real Wukong landed on her back. Then he raised his enchanted staff high above his head and slammed it down on the Irelia–Crushing Blow!
Ouyang shot to his feet, his arms up in the air, and shouted, “That’s my bro! Break her ankles! Kill that biiaatttchhh!” The High School 13 students behind him joined in, nearly half of the venue now calling Lin Feng their bro and demanding he kill the Irelia. But Lin Feng didn’t hear any of this. He was still completely focused on his screen. He pushed towards Shanghai High School’s outer tower, where the Irelia was now hiding underneath, and looked at the cooldowns on his skills. He laughed and said, “Been waiting for this.” Then he pressed down on the D key–Flash! His Wukong blinked forward and then dashed at the Irelia with Nimbus Strike. He followed up with a Crushing Blow, slamming down his staff on Irelia’s head.
“FIRST BLOOD! High School 13’s evil scheme is working! Their Toplaner got FIRST BLOOOOOOD!” Westwind cried out into his microphone. Then he winked at Silent Reed and added, “Everyone, with me. Let’s hear it for High School 13! One, two, WOOOOOOOO!”
The audience shot up to their feet. They shouted and cheered and cried out in disbelief. High School 13 was winning the Shanghai 16 School Tournament! They didn’t care that this was the first game in a best of five series, or that this was only the first kill in the first game. High School 13 had gotten a kill while Shanghai High School didn’t, and that was all that mattered.
“HIGH SCHOOL 13! WIN FENG! WIN FENG!”
“OH MY GOD! THAT WUKONG! WOOOW!”
“WE’RE WINNING! WE’RE ACTUALLY WINNING!”
“I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS! WE’RE… OH MY GOOOD!”
An Xin looked at the members of the team jumping around her, cheering with the crowd behind her, and smiled. Not too shabby there, Lin Feng. Nice to see that you’re shaking off the rust, but this isn’t even close to how good you used to be. I’m expecting a lot more out of you! Now make thi— Her thoughts were interrupted by the game announcer.
《A Champion from the Red team has been slain!》
Tiger Penis Soup!
Shanks Thought: I’ve gone around talking about how I’d like to get Devshard to try out tiger penis soup with me if we ever visit China, But I kind of want to know what weird shit I can eat with him if we ever go to India. Like, I have zero impression of the country outside of the way the country gets portrayed in Western media. So, I think that would be pretty interesting. What kind of weird, fantastical things could I do with Devshard in India? It’s the country that invented the Kama Sutra, after all.
Dev Thought: *cough* Okay, the thing with tiger penis soup is that I saw an image of a tiger penis and it freaked me out. The thing has spikes on it! I don’t want to eat food that attacks me back while I’m eating it. That’s too much for me. And just to be clear, I invited Shanks on a trip to India so we could see cool shit and eat great Indian food. At no point did I mention anything about the Kama Sutra. That’s… something that’s going in Shanks’ head. I have nothing to do with that. And we’re definitely getting SEPARATE hotel rooms when we take this trip. There’s no way I’m sleeping with him in the same room.
Shanks Addendum: You’ve mentioned the spike thing with the tiger penis soup already, Devshard. I know it scares you, but is there a need to state it twice? And how could I not mention the Kama Sutra? Outside of curry, that’s literally the only other thing I know about India for. The weird, kinky sex you guys get up to!
And why are we getting separate hotel rooms? It’s cheaper for us to stay in one room. We don’t have to SHARE a bed. I would perfectly be happy sharing a room with Sietse too.
Dev Addendum: The spikes scare me! I need to repeat that. Also, I feel like we’ve said ‘tiger penis’ an awful lot in this thought. Beyond that, I know a lot of you that read this novel come from India. Please educate Shanks on what India has to offer so he doesn’t sound like a racist fuckwit. Thank you.
Shanks, I’m never going to sleep with you in the same room as me. Not going to happen. Especially since you mentioned this Kama sutra thing. I don’t trust you anymore.
Shanks Addendum: I’m not being a racist fuckwit! Plus, wouldn’t that be your job? You literally grew up in India! Plus, I always answer any stupidly dumb questions you have about China! Should I remind them of that time you had it in your head that all Chinese people were super rich and driving lambos, because all the Chinese international students you met back in college were like that?
Dev Addendum: YOU’RE A CHINESE TRANSLATOR ON A CHINESE WEBNOVEL THAT WE’RE CURRENTLY TRANSLATING THAT TAKES PLACE IN SHANGHAI, CHINA! OF COURSE YOU ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS I HAVE ABOUT CHINA, CHINESE PEOPLE, AND CHINESE CULTURE! THAT’S HOW WE MAKE THE CHINESE LINES CLEAR TO EVERYONE THAT’S NOT FROM CHINA AND READING THIS IN ENGLISH!
And for the record, my roommate back in University confused me about China! The man owned an entire skyscraper in Shanghai and convinced me that he was only “upper middle class”. I didn’t know any better. Every Chinese International student I met in Uni made it rain. Like this one girl that I knew and hung around with for three years. That chick LITERALLY wore a different outfit every single day. Her philosophy was that clothes could only be worn once before they were given away or thrown out.