Silence. Despair. High School 13’s students were numb as they watched the game on the large LCD screens above the stage. They heard the happy laughter and the “I told you so’s” from Shanghai High School’s students. They heard the jeers aimed their way, the mockery and contempt, everything they’d grown so used to over the years. There were some who tried to say something back, but it wasn’t much more than a whisper, lacking all sense of confidence. The others lowered their heads and balled their fists, enduring the abuse being flung their way and mumbling for a miracle to happen.
An Xin watched the large LCD screens above the stage, but she could still feel the heavy, negative atmosphere all around her. The audience that was cheering them on a half hour ago had completely given up hope that High School 13 could win. Even the team members sitting next to her looked like they lost the will to fight. Ouyang had stopped cheering and laughing. He was just sitting back, looking like his grandmother had died. Yang Fan was rationalizing and analyzing the game from the most pessimistic point of view possible in an effort to distance himself from his emotions. And Ren Rou… she was quietly mumbling negativity and practicing what she would say to the esports team when they lost the Finals, “Shanghai High School was just too good. We tried our hardest, but we just didn’t have enough time to get to where they are. It’s not your fault that they’re so good. Be proud of everything we’ve achieved! I’m proud of you guys! We did great!” An Xin shook her head. They got a real confidence issue. If only I’d transferred in a couple of weeks sooner… I might’ve had enough time to coach them right. Whatever. It’s fine.
The players on High School 13’s team had improved tremendously over the last few months. But they were originally only Platinum and low Diamond players. Shanghai High School’s team had high Diamonds, Masters, and even a Challenger. They were better in every lane except for mid. If High School 13 wanted to win, they had to rely on strategy. On movements across the map that required the team to come together and act as one. That was easier said than done, because it meant they needed to beat Zeng Rui at his own game.
Zeng Rui excelled at League of Legends strategy, with bonus points in method and calmness. He knew his team’s strengths and weaknesses and he’d researched their opportunities and threats. After the upset in Game 1, he didn’t panic and lose his mind. He kept his cool and stuck to what he’d prepared. He was rewarded for this decision in Game 2, with his team clearly in the lead 10 minutes in.
An Xin sighed. It doesn’t matter how good of a coach I am, I just haven’t had enough time with this team. I’ve only known them for a couple of days… She took a couple of deep breaths and weighed her options. Only one thing I can really do here. I’m just not sure… It doesn’t feel right to step in and help them win. I wasn’t here last year when they lost. I wasn’t even here at the start of the year when they all started practicing together. I only got here a few days ago, and now I’m going to tell one of them to sit out? It means so much more to them. I really don’t want to take that away from them. It’s just… She looked at her teammates for a good, long minute. No. I can’t keep sitting here. They’ll lose and that’s not going to make anyone happy. She shook her head and mumbled, “Guess I’ll have to step in.”
Shanghai High School was throwing their weight around on the Rift. Zeng Rui knew where and when to strike, calling the shots over his team’s voice chat. “Push the minion wave in bot!” He furiously clicked around the mini-map, trying to maintain as much vision as possible. “Get a deep ward near their Red Buff Camp!” And ticked off every second on the timer without looking at it. “Dragon! Dragon!” He meticulously directed the flow of the game, expanding his influence to every corner of the map.
High School 13 tried to fight back, they really did. But they couldn’t keep up with Zeng Rui’s fast and surgically precise plays. Their wards were cleared out faster than they could throw them down. Liu Yue was forced to deal with aggressive counter-jungling, and was eventually killed. Even Lin Feng got pushed into corner after corner where he had to play defensively.
Westwind relaxed in his chair. He was still shoutcasting, but not with as much enthusiasm or intensity as before. This game is boooooorrrring! Where’s the conflict? The spice? Shanghai High School is doing exactly what they need to be doing, and High School 13 can’t keep up. There’s nothing going on! I WANT SOME EXCITEMENT! He nodded to Silent Reed and said into his microphone, “Shanghai High School is putting on a very clean show here. Haven’t seen High School 13 do much of anything yet. It’s like we’re watching an LPL team playing an exhibition match against a… Well, a high school team. Completely different from how things went in the first game. I wonder what’s changed…” He leaned over his desk and looked at the audience. “Whatchu guys thinking? 1-3 for Shanghai High School?” This evoked a strong response from Shanghai High School’s students in the audience with most of them cheering. Except for one student who screamed out over all the cheering, “OF COURSE WE’RE GOING TO WIN 1-3! WE’RE SHANGHAI INTERNATIONAL! THE BEST ESPORTS HIGH SCHOOL IN ALL OF SHANGHAI!”
Silent Reed grinned and winked at Westwind. “That’s the Zeng Rui I know. He’s always so calm and methodical. He leaves nothing to chance. He was probably just surprised by Lin Feng in the first game. That Wukong was exceptional. But you can see that he fixed those issues during the break. Now he’s showing us why he belongs in the LPL. Zeng Rui is carrying this game—”
Westwind clutched his microphone and interrupted, “Watch! WATCH! A teamfight! Is this going to be it? Shanghai High School might finish it all right here, right NOW!”
At 12 minutes, Shanghai High School gathered and started pushing down mid lane. High School 13 scrambled to mount a defense. Chen Ze’s Rumble was the first to arrive and assist Lin Feng’s Lissandra. They started pushing back against Shanghai High School and defending their tower. Chen Ze brought all of his rage and bitterness to the fight. The Darius had forced his Rumble out of lane a couple of minutes ago. Since then, he’d been farming Jungle Camps and sharing the experience with Liu Yue’s Lee Sin. He was embarrassed and frustrated, and more importantly he had something to prove. He pushed down on the E key and his Rumble launched an electrically charged harpoon at the cluster of enemy champions–Electro Harpoon! “Watch me!” he whisper-shouted to himself. He locked onto the Jinx and left the safety of his minions to land his second Electro Harpoon on her.
Zeng Rui’s Morgana had been waiting in the fog of war. He noticed that the Rumble was a little too aggressive and tilted, so he’d told the Jinx to take a step forward. Too easy, haha. He hit the Q key for Dark Binding and his Morgana conjured a prison of dark magic that ensnared the Rumble. “Go, go!” Zeng Rui ordered over the team’s voice chat. Shanghai High School jumped on the Rumble and started bombarding him with all their skills.
Liu Yue’s Lee Sin and Tang Bingyao’s Lucian got to midlane just as the Dark Binding hit Rumble and rooted him. They joined up with Lin Feng’s Lissandra and rushed in to try and save Chen Ze’s Rumble. But they were too late. The attacks from Shanghai High School landed and killed the Rumble before they could do anything. Chen Ze’s Rumble had died before he even had a chance to use any of his high damage skills.
After killing the Rumble, they switched their attention to Tang Bingyao’s Lucian. This game hadn’t gone well for her either, and she’d fallen behind in lane. Tang Bingyao couldn’t put up much of a fight, and she also died unceremoniously. Shanghai High School was dominating this team fight! Then Zeng Rui put a target on Liu Yue’s Lee Sin. In a single second, Liu Yue watched all his health disappear. He was literally one attack away from death. But in his final moments and as a defiant cry against his imminent death, Lee Sin unleashed Dragon’s Rage and killed Morgana with a roundhouse kick! Then Lee Sin also died.
The only one left alive from High School 13 in this team fight was Lin Feng’s Lissandra. He’d been fighting the Darius in an effort to save Tang Bingyao’s Lucian. And managed to kill Darius right as Lee Sin was killed. Then he retreated to the safety of the inner tower. Lin Feng had known that the fight was lost before it even started, and decided to do whatever he could to somewhat even things out.
The audience fell into a rare moment of silence. Shanghai High School’s students wanted to cheer, but couldn’t as long as Lin Feng still lived. The teamfight wasn’t truly over until he died. They’d seen him single-handedly turn a teamfight around in the last game! The students from Shanghai High School were worried that Lin Feng would pull something to turn this all around. On the other side of the arena, High School 13’s students were full of hope for the same exact reason. Lin Feng was the only player on the team who could turn things around!
Everyone in the audience fell quiet. They were all on the edge of their seats, waiting to see how this teamfight would end. Waiting to see what Lin Feng would do. Except for two students, who were busy talking to each other. Normally, no one would have known these two were talking to each other, let alone hear what they were saying. But with the hush that fell over the entire arena, their conversation reached all the way to the distant corners.
“That Lissandra is so dead,” a Shanghai High School student said.
“Are you stupid? Or just blind?” a High School 13 student said. Then he snorted. From context, it appeared that he was attempting to make a sound of derision. An imitation of something that he’d read about in cultivation webnovels. But the noise he actually made was an odd sound, one that resembled gagging on a large penis rather than what he was intending. Then he gargled out, “Lin Feng is still alive. He’ll turn this around! He’s way better than your shitty ass team!” He took a large gulp of water after he finished saying that. The snorting had hurt his throat.
“Hahaha, don’t make me laugh. I don’t care how good you think he is, he’s never going to come out of this alive!”
“Did you look at his Summoner Spells? He still has Flash. He’s going to outplay the shit out of your guys!”
“I like your confidence. I really do. But come on, man. Please. I don’t believe for a second that you don’t know how dumb and desperate you sound. It’s only one Lissandra. What’s she going to do against our Jinx, Orianna, and Rengar?”
“He’s going to win this!”
Lin Feng’s Lissandra only had a quarter of her health remaining. She hugged the wall of trees on the bottom side of the mid lane as she ran towards the inner tower. Lin Feng’s finger hovered over the D key. The Orianna sped up the Rengar with Command: Dissonance. The Rengar caught up to the Lissandra and threw out an Empowered Bola, which was a root skill. Lin Feng flicked his mouse over the wall of trees and pressed down. His Lissandra flashed over the wall of trees into her own Jungle. Shanghai High School lost vision of her.
The online broadcast of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament was turning out to be a massive success. There were currently thousands of viewers watching Shanghai High School and High School 13 duke it out in the Finals. Right now, all of those viewers were trying to figure out why Lissandra had Flashed into her own Jungle, rather than towards the safety of her inner tower.
「huh? What the hell? Is he stupid?????」
「wHY flAsH t0 thE juNGle?!?!??!?1/?!?1/」
「omg…. why would he…. wtf man,,,, why not flash to your tower????///」
Lin Feng’s Lissandra crept around the Jungle and carefully positioned herself before launching Glacial Path. An icy claw flew out of the Jungle and into the mid lane! The Jinx, Rengar, and Orianna couldn’t see the claw until it came out of the fog of war. But just as they noticed it, Lin Feng tapped his E key again to activate the second half of Glacial Path. His Lissandra blinked to the location of the ice claw! Right in the middle of Shanghai High School’s team! The instant she landed, Lissandra sent a wave of ice blasting out and locked all three enemy champions down–Ring of Frost! Then she skewered the low health Jinx with an Ice Shard.
Wei Dong’s Thresh finally showed up in mid lane after Lin Feng picked up his second kill of the teamfight. He threw his lantern at Lissandra and helped her escape from the Orianna and Rengar. The teamfight had ended in a draw, both sides lost three Champions. But High School 13 was still the loser. Shanghai High School held the pressure on the map, while Lin Feng and Wei Dong recalled back to base to lick their wounds.
The audience broke into cheers. The official broadcast’s chat was flooded with messages, congratulating Shanghai High School on winning the teamfight and professing Lin Feng as God. His Lissandra was, according to the backseat professionals, the single best Lissandra in all of League of Legends! Su Xue, who was also watching the game, didn’t take it quite that far. But she was still very happy to see Lin Feng picked up a double kill. She slapped down on her desk and exclaimed, “Nice going! That’s our li’l bro! Greedy idiots thinking they can kill him. Ha!”
The viewers didn’t care about Shanghai High School winning the teamfight, nor did they really care about High School 13. They only cared about Lin Feng, and he’d just made an incredible play. They continued lauding him in the chat.
「Lil bro crossdressing. He a trap. But he no fooling me. HE DA FRIGGIN BEST!!!1!」
「OH SHIZZLES! Im – fking – pressed!!!!!」
「LIL BRO LIL BRO YOU MY FUCKING HEROOOOOOOO!!!!」
「TOUCH ME WITH YOUR SKILLZZ !!11 IMPART YOUR ESSENCE INTO ME!」
「lil bro can do what no one else can doooo!!!!!!!!!」
A single player alone wasn’t enough to beat Shanghai High School. Lin Feng continued to outplay Shanghai High School every time they came at him. But more often than not, they simply focused their attention somewhere else on the map and ignored him. Zeng Rui was too canny to let his annoyance of Lin Feng ruin his calm approach to the game. Steady and meticulous, that was his mantra. I won’t let this thundering dumbass get to me. I don’t care how many times he surprises me. He’s just one player.
At 32 minutes: Shanghai High School built up their lead over High School 13 to 9,000 gold, three Dragons, 6 towers, and 19 to 9 kills.
At 33 minutes: Shanghai High School won a decisive teamfight by towerdiving High School 13’s team under the inhibitor tower in the top lane. It was a perfect teamfight. Five kills and zero deaths. From there, they destroyed the base and High School 13’s Nexus. The energy trapped within exploded outwards and morphed into a red victory crest.
The series was now even again. Both teams had one win under their belt. But the audience and players painted a completely different picture. Shanghai High School was enjoying the moment. They were cheering, laughing, and having fun. They were jumping around, chugging beers, and comparing Zeng Rui to Autumn. They patted each other on the back and talked about how there was no one in all of Shanghai who could beat them. In stark contrast, the students from High School 13 were completely quiet and seated. Their spirit was completely broken. This game was all it took to prove to most of them that they weren’t really good enough to play at this level. They whispered to each other about the mistakes and bad decisions they’d made this game. And unanimously accepted that they were not good enough to play at the Finals of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament.
There were only two people from High School 13 who didn’t seem fazed by the result of the second game. Lin Feng was his usual cheerful self. “One loss, what’s that matter?” he laughed as he saw his friends’ long faces. “We’ll just win the next two! It’s easy!”
An Xin was the other High School 13 student who wasn’t affected by the result of the second game. She wasn’t worried at all. She was smiling and she looked excited. She’d been hoping that the team could pull this off without her having to play. But that just wasn’t possible, they weren’t at a point where they could overcome Zeng Rui. She was excited because now it was her turn to step up and show everyone how much influence one player could have on the outcome of a game of League of Legends! I’m going to turn this around for all my friends! I’m going to smack Zeng Rui and all of Shanghai High School down! We’re going home with the trophy! They want that trophy and they got all the way to the end. I’m not letting them go home empty-handed!