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Monkey See, Monkey Kill, Monkey Dies

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Tang Bingyao watched Lin Feng’s Wukong teleport into the brush. Then she watched him walk out of the brush and then stand still. She smiled a little when Zeng Rui’s Thresh airballed a skillshot, trying to hit an invisible Wukong that wasn’t there. She didn’t know what Lin Feng was planning next either, so she waited and looked for a cue. When Wukong used a Nimbus Strike to jump to the Thresh and then started auto attacking the Jinx, that was the sign she was looking for. Both of Shanghai High School’s botlaners were far away from the safety of their tower. If she went in now, she could kill them! Lin Feng’s gank was exactly what she needed to get back into the game. She could get back the kill she’d given away to the Jinx and even the playing field out! 

She flicked her W key down–Rocket Jump! Her Tristana aimed her cannon at the ground and fired, launching herself up into the air and towards the Jinx. Then she threw a bomb at the Jinx and charged it up with her auto attacks. But just before it could explode and kill the Jinx, Lin Feng’s Wukong got one last hit in. One that killed the Jinx. ISH-ISH-ISH-ISH! I WAS TOO SLOW! Mhm. Mhm. Should’ve been quicker. But… mhmmmm… LIN FENG STOLE MY KILL!

While all this was going on, Wei Dong wasn’t standing around with his hands in his pockets. His Morgana went for Zeng Rui’s Thresh, throwing out a Dark Binding. It was a skillshot, one that hurled a sphere of dark magic that rooted the enemy champion that it hit. Wei Dong was planning on holding Thresh in place until Lin Feng and Tang Bingyao finished the Jinx off, and then the three of them would kill the Thresh. But Zeng Rui was too canny for that to work. His Thresh Flashed away to safety before the Dark Binding could hit, preserving his life. But he’d also given up on his ad-carry.

《An ally has been slain!》

Zeng Rui stared at his screen while the announcement from the game boomed in his ears. He’d survived the gank, but his ad-carry was dead. If that wasn’t bad enough, High School 13 now had three Champions in the bottom lane who were all at full health. Zeng Rui knew that his tower afforded him little to no protection right now. If the Wukong, Morgana, and Tristana wanted to, they could towerdive to get to him. There’s nothing I can do to stop them from towerdiving to get to me… I’d die if that happens. Zeng Rui looked at the map again. High School 13 had three champions in bot lane and the Dragon was about to spawn. They can take Dragon now because they’re virtually unopposed. But… hm. Dragon might actually save me. There isn’t enough time for them to kill me and then take Dragon. They’re going to ignore me and go for the dragon! 

If Lin Feng, Tang Bingyao and Wei Dong decided to kill Thresh, they’d have to towerdive to do it. They would eventually kill Thresh, but they’d have to sacrifice quite a bit of health between the three of them to accomplish it. More importantly, going after Thresh would give the rest of Shanghai High School’s team enough time to mount a defense at the Dragon Pit. Between the health they’d lose and the time they’d give the other team to organize, going for Dragon after killing the Thresh was beyond risky. 

Lin Feng helped Tang Bingyao and Wei Dong push the minion wave toward the Blue team’s outer tower. Then he pinged on the Dragon. Liu Yue figured out what was going down before the ping, and was already pathing towards the Dragon. Tang Bingyao and Wei Dong followed Lin Feng to the Dragon Pit. The four of them arrived at the same time, and started attacking the Dragon. Shanghai High School made the logical choice to let this one go. They didn’t even attempt a teamfight at the Dragon Pit, that would’ve been a suicidal move at this point in the game. And so, High School 13 peacefully killed the first Dragon with no opposition and secured the first Dragon Buff. All of their Champions now had additional attack damage and ability power until the buff expired.  

“That’s the first Dragon of the series to… HIGH SCHOOL 13!” Westwind shouted into his microphone, enjoying the immediate response from the High School 13 section in the crowd.

Silent Reed shook her head and said, “They got the Dragon buff, which is nice. But they also could’ve killed Zeng Rui and the outer tower. That must be worth more gold, right? A kill and a tower. High School 13’s Botlaners would also have a much easier time in lane then. Now… not so much. Zeng Rui still has everything under control.”

Westwind laughed and said, “Wrong!” Then he turned to the audience and said, “Show her how wrong she is! Shout with me… WROOOONG!” He was having a lot of fun with the crowd reacting to his whims, and it only got more fun when he saw how annoyed Silent Reed looked. After messing around for a little bit longer, he decided to explain his analysis. “Shanghai High School could’ve frozen the wave near their inner tower if High School 13 had destroyed the outer tower. That would effectively kill any possibility of High School 13 winning this game. Their botlaners would not be able to push that far into bot lane without proper vision and pressure on the other laners. If they did go in that deep, they’d get caught in a pincer attack and killed. Or flanked and killed. Or cut-off from their escape route and killed. If they went in, they’d be dead. Taking Dragon instead of going after Thresh and taking a tower, that was a smart decision by High School 13!” He paused for a moment and then added, “Still, this isn’t going to magically make the lane easier. Shanghai High School is still very much in command.”

Six minutes from the start of the game, Lin Feng’s Wukong arrived back in the top lane. Between ganking bot and the Dragon, he managed to hit Level 6 and unlocked his ultimate. He actually managed to get more experience on top of that from killing the Jinx and a few minions. Lin Feng looked at his experience bar and estimated that he was at least half a level up on the Irelia. “This is great!” he said over the team’s voice chat, laughing. “I’m really strong now, guys!”

Lin Feng pushed the minion wave all the way to the Blue team’s outer tower. The Irelia kind of let it happen, falling back the moment she spotted him. It was a departure from her more aggressive playstyle earlier. Lin Feng narrowed his eyes and watched her suspiciously. What are you playing at? Setting up a gank, are we? Hm? That deduction seemed most likely. He guessed that the Xin Zhao was lying in ambush behind the Blue team’s outer tower, waiting for him to towerdive the Irelia. He looked over at Liu Yue and said over the team’s voice chat, “Come top, Liu Yue. Let’s get a double!”

Shanghai High School’s Jungler was hiding in the lane behind the Blue team’s outer tower. He stuck far enough back that High School 13 couldn’t get vision on him. This was a little trick Zeng Rui had forced him to practice for months before he finally got the hang of it. Right now, he could position himself exactly a hair-width behind the edge of the opponent’s vision. He said to Irelia, “Bait that Wukong. We’ll stunlock him under the tower and kill him.”

“Good. Let’s kill that bastard,” Shanghai High School’s Toplaner grumbled. He waited for his tower to fire a blast of energy at a caster minion on the edge of its range. One shot took away most of the monster’s health. The Irelia Bladesurged at it, killing it. Exactly like she’d done before. There was nothing suspicious about it. And the Wukong fell for it, jumping at her with Nimbus Strike! The Irelia immediately activated Equilibrium Strike and slashed at the Wukong to stun him. But just as her blade connected with the Wukong in front of her, a second Wukong appeared right next to the one she’d just hit. This second Wukong raised his enchanted staff high above his head and slammed it down on her. “Shit!” Shanghai High School’s Toplaner cursed. The Wukong had tricked her. She had stunned his clone. Again.

The Blue team’s outer tower locked onto the Wukong and fired off an energy shot. Xin Zhao ran forward, rushing into range to activate Audacious Charge. But just before he could, he was stopped by Zeng Rui shouting over the team’s voice chat, “STOP! Don’t go in. Retreat! Both of you, retreat!”

Xin Zhao froze on the spot. Shanghai High School’s Jungler had learned a few things while playing with Zeng Rui. The most important lesson was to do exactly what the Team Captain told him to do. The moves Zeng Rui had them do sometimes sounded strange and counterintuitive. More often than not, Shanghai High School’s Jungler didn’t know why he was doing something. But it always worked out in his favour. Zeng Rui had this uncanny ability to see things long before they happened. So when Zeng Rui told him to stop engaging Lin Feng’s Wukong, he didn’t hesitate or question it. His Xin Zhao froze and then backed up.

The Wukong firmly grabbed his enchanted staff with both hands and held it out horizontally in front of him. Then he went into a wild spin–Cyclone! The Irelia was knocked up into the air by the Monkey King wreaking havoc, the ruthless force knocking the health out of her! Then, out of nowhere, High School 13’s Rek’Sai appeared. She dug a tunnel from somewhere out of view and then flashed to arrive underneath the Irelia. There, she Unburrowed, keeping her airborne for an additional second.

The Irelia fell back to the ground with only a little bit of health remaining. She flashed away, but the Wukong followed right behind her with a Flash of his own. They ran past the Blue team’s outer tower, up to the Xin Zhao, who was now forced to join the fight. The Irelia stopped here for a brief second. She turned around to help her Jungler, who charged at the Wukong. But the Wukong ignored Xin Zhao and went straight for her. He raised his enchanted staff above his head, firmly clutching it with both hands, and smacked the Irelia’s life out of her. One down. One to go. Lin Feng turned his attention to the Xin Zhao… who was running away with his tail tucked between his legs.

《You have slain an enemy!》

Lin Feng shook his head, unhappy despite the kill. He grumbled, “If that Xin Zhao had dashed in earlier, I would’ve gotten a double kill. Stupid Xin Zhao…”

On the other side of the stage, Zeng Rui glared at his Toplaner. He barked over the team’s voice chat, “I told you to retreat. Why would you stay and fight? If I say back, you back!” He took a deep breath and added, “Nevermind. It’s fine. We only gave away one kill. Let’s not make any more mistakes.” He had guessed correctly that the Rek’Sai was waiting out of sight to help the Wukong, which was why he’d told his Jungler and Toplaner to retreat. Unfortunately, the Toplaner didn’t get the warning in time. Zeng Rui shook his head and quietly mumbled, “That thundering dumbass is going to be a real problem now…”

At 8 minutes, Shanghai High School’s Midlaner exploited the difference in skill and poked Chen Ze’s Twisted Fate down to a quarter of his health. Chen Ze retreated back underneath his outer tower and was debating whether he should go back to base, or stick around a little longer. Shanghai High School decided to make the decision for him. Zeng Rui had his Thresh come up from the bottom side Jungle, while the Xin Zhao came down from the top side Jungle, sandwiching the Twisted Fate. They sent him back to the fountain without losing anything.

“Oh boy, that was beautiful. BEAU! TI! FULL!” Westwind exclaimed, sitting on the edge of his seat. “What a play by Zeng Rui. WOOO! That’s a pro play right there! Come on, everyone, with me! WOOOOOOO!”

Chen Ze looked at his grey screen and kicked against the back of his desk. The gank was so obvious in hindsight, but he’d completely missed it. And now Shanghai High School also destroyed the outer tower in the mid lane. “I should’ve been more careful,” he apologized over the team’s voice chat. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine!” Lin Feng replied. “I’ll come around mid for a gank in two minutes!”

At 10 minutes, Lin Feng’s Wukong roamed to the mid lane. He stopped in the brush right above the mid lane and activated Warrior Trickster. His real body entered stealth, after which he closed in on the Orianna. She never even saw him coming. He dashed at her from a springboard of clouds and directly linked his Nimbus Strike with a Crushing Blow, slamming his enchanted staff down on her head. Then he held his enchanted staff out straight in front of him and started spinning around himself, each rotation a little faster than the last–Cyclone! He knocked the Orianna airborne, shearing away at her health.

Chen Ze had his Twisted Fate rush forward and selected the golden card from Pick a Card. This was a single target stun. His target was the Orianna. But he didn’t link it properly with Wukong’s ultimate skill. The Orianna was still in mid-air when he stunned her. The two crowd control skills overlapped, making them less effective than they could’ve been. The Orianna survived the stun. She broke free and flashed away to the safety of her outer tower.

Lin Feng only had eyes for the Orianna, for the bar of health above her head that was almost empty. He ran after her, ignoring the energy shots from the Blue outer tower. Ignoring his better judgement. He could only think about the thrill of the kill. He looked down at his skill bar. Nimbus Strike had come off a cooldown. He pressed down on the E key to activate it. His Wukong leapt off a springboard of clouds towards the Orianna…

Zeng Rui’s Thresh appeared from out of nowhere. He Flashed towards the Orianna and sent his chain and sickle Flaying forward, knocking the Wukong back mid-dash. Then he threw out his Death Sentence and called forth the Box, a prison of spectral walls. The Wukong was stunned, slowed, and unable to advance or retreat. He was stuck underneath the Blue team’s outer tower until the last of his health disappeared.

《You have been slain!》

Lin Feng scrunched his face as he looked at the grey screen on his monitor. “Eh?” he mumbled. “Since when was the Thresh there?”

The Shanghai High School students in the audience finally had a reason to cheer for their team. They jumped up to their feet, making the same exaggerated celebrations High School 13’s students had a couple of minutes earlier.

“ZENG RUI! ZENG RUI!”
“WWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
“HAHAHAHA! Serves that cocky monkey right!”
“THE MONKEY IS DEAD! THE MONKEY IS DEAD!”
“The turn around! Siiiiick!”
“DEEEE, wait for it, SERVED!”

An Xin turned around to look at the audience. One half was cheering, while the other half was quiet and looked shocked. She shook her head and facepalmed, mumbling, “Lin Feng, you’re a moron. An absolute, utter, ridiculous moron. Why do you always get so itchy for kills…?

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Slither!

Dev Thought: So today’s thought was supposed to be about Sis-Con. I promised you guys yesterday. But since then, a lot of things have changed. Shanks and I have gotten REALLY into playing Slither.io. I used to play this game all the time during the classroom portion of med school. I could play the game while also listening to lecture. Honestly, I’ve had my best games on Slither when I wasn’t paying attention to the game at all. But it was fun. I used to play this game for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. For a year and a half. And then I forgot about it for a while. 

The other day, I was talking to DaoistPiousfire on the Rise Server about old movies, TV shows, and games. Slither came up. He started playing a game, then I got pulled into it. Then DP and I pulled Shanks into it. Now there’s like a group of 7 of us that sit around playing this game for hours. It is quite honestly becoming a problem. Like today’s chapter. The chapter is late because we were playing Slither instead of working on it. Real talk here, we were right on that edge where we were about to say “fuck it” to releasing today’s chapter so we could play Slither instead. 

But we are responsible adults! And we’d feel really shitty if we left you guys hanging just because we wanted to play Slither. So here’s your goddamn chapter and thought, now we’re going back to playing Slither.  

Shanks Thought: I think the problem only really started when I figured out how to get all of us on the same Slither server together. Then, it became me, Devshhard, and DP reading hunting people down at the edge of the map, trying to move around like a pack of raptors. Except we’re not smart raptors. Devs hit the edge of the map and died. And then DP got taken out by some rando, and I had to eat his corpse and avenge him by death spiralling the guy who killed him. Then I got taken out when some little shit spawned right in front of my face and I rammed into him.

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