“WOOT WOOT! The championship is ours! WOOT WOOT!”
“YEAAAHHHH! Sing with me, bros! CRUSH! Crush every enemy! AND SEAL! Seal our victory!”
“Good job! You guys were all amazing! I’m so happy!”
“That was a great game! BunBun and Lin Feng’s perfect synergy carried us to the win. We might actually win this thing! We’re going to be the Champions of Shanghai!”
Liu Yue, Yang Fan, and Ren Rou were rooting for High School 13 to win, while Ouyang cupped his hands around his mouth and sang a victory song. High School 13’s students in the audience fell silent, listening to the two team members and looking at the victory crest on the large screens above the stage. The last hints of anxiety and fear that their club was going to eventually screw up disappeared and was replaced with boundless joy. Lin Feng and An Xin had done it! The magic couple had not only won Game 3 in the Finals and brought High School 13 to championship point, they’d also torn Shanghai High School apart at the seams! They left nothing of them whole!
“WE WON! We’re going to win! We’re going to win!”
“Hahaha! With Lin Feng and An Xin, no one can beat us!”
“Look at Zeng Rui! Just look at him! We’ve won! Hahaha!”
“He looks like he saw a ghost! Man, he must be feeling shitty!”
“Lin Feng and An Xin are our magic League couple! WOOT WOOT!”
“CRUSH THE ENEMY! SEAL OUR VICTORY! Let’s fucking goooooo!”
Shanghai High School’s team retreated backstage after Game 3. But even here they could still hear the audience, a thousand voices booming in their ears. They could even feel the floor shaking from the audience jumping up and down. Zeng Rui looked at his teammates and said, “I need some silence. I need to think.” Never in his wildest dream did he expect to find himself in this position. We’re losing. We’re going to lose! I’m losing to that thundering dumbass! How can this…
Zeng Rui shook his head until all distracting thoughts were gone. He sat down on a fold-up chair. Then he placed his elbows on his knees and rested his head on his hands. Think. Think! He rubbed his temples, focusing only on the game ahead of him. The external stimuli disappeared. His teammates disappeared.
Zeng Rui found himself in a dark space with only himself. How did it get to this? I need to think of something to deal with those two… But we dragged out the previous game just so I could think of how to deal with them. I couldn’t think of anything! I always know how to win. There is always a way! How are they… What are they… His head was throbbing and his eyes were bloodshot. He could hear his teammates talking again and the faint sound of the audience in the background, but he ignored them. He grabbed his phone and started searching the internet. I need to find something. Maybe if I… He didn’t even know what search terms to put in, or where to look. He sighed and put his phone back in his pocket. We can’t deal with them. I can’t deal with them. They’re too good together. How are they so good?
A tournament official walked up to Shanghai High School’s team and informed them that the next game was about to begin and that they had to go back up on stage. Zeng Rui nodded and looked past the official. He saw the audience roaring and cheering outside. He didn’t want to go and he could tell his teammates didn’t want to go out there either. But they had little choice. Zeng Rui took two deep breaths, then raised his head and looked at his teammates. “We’re not giving up. This next game is ours. I’ll tell you guys how once we start playing. Let’s get back to the computers.” I still have time. Walk slowly to the stage. Take our time in Champion Select. There’s still time to think of something. There must be something we can do, right…?
The mood in High School 13’s team was completely different from Shanghai High School’s. They were little balls of excitement and nerves. They were so proud of what they’d achieved so far, while also being extremely nervous about the next game. Everything they’d been working so hard for these last two months was winding down to the final moments. They were one game away from winning the Shanghai 16 School Tournament! This was their Championship point! Their hearts were pounding in their throats. Beads of sweat were forming on their foreheads. And their hands were trembling.
Chen Ze looked over at Lin Feng and said, “Those Ahri plays though. You madman. That was awesome!”
Lin Feng laughed and pounded his chest. “I know, right! I’m really good at Ahri too!”
“Hey Hey!” Wei Dong interrupted. “Don’t forget about BunBun! Her Lee Sin basically won us that game single-handedly!”
Chen Ze waved his finger at Wei Dong and shouted, “Right! BunBun was the madwoman! We need a female Lee skin just for her! She was like a pro up there! That was double awesome!”
An Xin shook her head, smiling, and said, “We all did great. It was a team effort. And Lin Feng, learn some modesty, or else…” She raised her fist and reminded him of only last night when she’d punched him in the face.
Lin Feng, however, didn’t make the connection between the fist and last night. But he did know what An Xin wanted to hear. He laughed and said, “Ok ok, team effort. It was definitely a team effort!”
Tang Bingyao looked at her four teammates laughing together. She watched Lin Feng and An Xin starting off another one of their little arguments, the murder smile already creeping up on An Xin’s face. Tang Bingyao chewed on the inside of her cheeks and zoned her friends out and let the other sounds in. The cheering audience hit her in full force. They were chanting For High School 13. For An Xin. For Lin Feng. Not for me. I screwed up. I don’t deserve any compliments… I should’ve… If I didn’t try and force a play, maybe… She shook her head and tried to drown out the audience.
After the audience was gone, her teammates’ conversation entered her ears again. Tang Bingyao stared at the ground. “Lin Feng, you’re so good! And you were also great, BunBun! The best!” These were the words of Tang Bingyao’s friends. None of these compliments were directed towards her. I don’t deserve any. She chewed harder on the inside of her cheeks, stamping her foot on the ground and blinking away a tear. Why can’t I. I… Maybe if I’d done something different? Am I not good— No! She shook her head, banishing that last thought from her mind.
Maybe Lin Feng could cheer me up… Tang Bingyao looked wistfully at Lin Feng. He was sitting next to An Xin, their faces awfully close together. She frowned and her eyes felt moist. I can’t be with him. She’s his. They’re so good together. It only makes sense. Tang Bingyao felt her chest physically hurting as those last thoughts appeared. Then came the memories she had of the times she’d seen Lin Feng and An Xin together.
The first time An Xin arrived in class… Why did she have to come to our school?
Last night, after the Semifinals, when they went home together. Why didn’t he invite me to his place?
Later last night, when they were streaming together. They looked so happy… Everyone was saying what a great couple they were…
Tang Bingyao wiped her eyes dry, and then her cheeks. Why am I crying? What do I care what he does with his life? It’s not my life. She’d long forgotten about the game and her disappointing performance. She was upset about that, no doubt. But seeing Lin Feng happy with An Xin hurt far more! I don’t want to care. I don’t care! He can do whatever he wants! Mhm! She looked up and saw An Xin looking at her. Tang Bingyao’s eyes went wide. Did… Did she see me cry?
An Xin saw the pain on Tang Bingyao’s face. It was the same pain she’d seen the night before. You poor girl… She took a deep breath and then waved for Tang Bingyao to come over. “Tang Tang. Come, join us. The fourth game is about to begin and we need to go over our game plan again. I made a couple of changes. I think you might like them.”
Lin Feng turned to look at An Xin and said, “Changes? Why not stay with the same comp as last game? Our Mid-Jungle synergy is the best! We’ll wreck them and win that trophy!”
“Yeah! Let’s go with the same team composition as last game! Shanghai High School couldn’t do anything against us!” Wei Dong said, grinning.
“Right! Do you two have more deadly combos like the Ahri-Lee Sin one? I want to see something like that again! Madman and madwoman tearing the game up! Come on, come on, show us!” Chen Ze said with a big, carefree grin.
“Shut up. I’m the coach,” An Xin said sternly. Wei Dong and Chen Ze closed their mouths. Lin Feng tried to complain some more, but was quickly shut down. “We’re going for another substitution this game,” An Xin said. She turned to look at Wei Dong and continued, “You’re sitting out. I’ll play Support and we’ll have Liu Yue back in the Jungle.”
“Oh, uh… sure,” Wei Dong mumbled. He got up from his seat and waved over towards Liu Yue, then halted. He turned back to look at An Xin and asked, “BunBun, are you sure about this? You and Lin Feng were so good together… I really want to win this tournament, you know…”
“Yeah! See? They also want to see us play together!” Lin Feng exclaimed. “Just stay in the Jungle! You can always play some duo queue later with Tang Tang if you really want to Support her!”
An Xin glared at Lin Feng and asked, clearly articulating every word, “Are you the coach, or am I? I am, right? Ok. So shut up.” She then turned to look at Tang Bingyao and smiled. “Tang Tang, let’s kick some ass together! Show everyone that two girls can beat eight guys.” Then she winked.
“Eight? W—” Lin Feng barely got one word out when An Xin glared at him. He ducked away and knew that An Xin was serious now, so he kept his mouth shut.
Tang Bingyao sat in her chair, stunned. Why does she want to come down to bot lane and be my Support… Is it to babysit me? Is she worried I’ll feed again? She finally nodded and said, “Oh… Okay.” But she’s really good at jungling… She looked up at An Xin and said in a near whisper, “Are you sure you want to come Support? I think it’d be easier for you to carry us in the Jungle. I mean, I’ve lost bot three times now and we’ve still won… Maybe just stay in the Jungle and carry us from there.”
“Oh, please! You didn’t lose. You were just in a hard lane and you kept it at least even! Don’t worry about it. I’m coming to Support you and that’s that,” An Xin said, leaving no room for discussion. She hesitated a moment before adding, “Don’t misunderstand me here. This is a serious strategy, and I play a pretty mean Support. Anyway, what do you say? Shall we show these boys how much better we are?”
“I don’t get it. Your Jungle is way better. Why would you go Support…?” Lin Feng muttered.
An Xin smiled at Lin Feng, balling her fists, and asked, “You’re really testing my patience. I’ll punch you in the face and then I’ll kick you in your balls if you don’t shut up and do as I say. I’m the coach, not you! If I say you jump off a bridge, I better see you jumping!”
Shanghai High School’s team walked back up on the stage and sat down behind their computers again. A tournament official walked over and whispered something into Zeng Rui’s ear. He looked over at High School 13’s team and spotted the change. They had made another substitution. Their coach was now Support and their original Jungler was back in the Jungle. He gritted his teeth and mumbled to himself, “What’s she doing? What is her strategy? Is she just trying to mock me? Trying to get to me? Is that how she wants to beat me?”
“Uh, Captain?” a Shanghai High School teammate asked over the team’s voice chat.
Zeng Rui looked up and nodded at his teammates. Then he said over the team’s voice chat, “I don’t know what those guys are up to. They made another substitution… Whatever. It doesn’t matter. We’re sticking to our strategy as planned. There’s no value in throwing things around now. Let’s ban LeBlanc, Fizz, and Ahri.”
The Champion Select went fast. High School 13 was playing on the Blue Team, while Shanghai High School was on the Red Team. They banned the Champions they didn’t want to play against and picked the ones that fit their team compositions. Then the game went into the loading screen, allowing the audience to see the final line up for Game 4 of the Finals.
Game 4 of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament Finals:
High School 13 (Blue) versus Shanghai High School (Red)
Top lane: Irelia versus Gragas
Jungle: Jarvan IV versus Lee Sin
Mid lane: Lulu versus Yasuo
AD-carry: Vayne versus Kalista
Support: Nami versus Leona
High School 13’s substitution was not announced to the audience yet. Some had noticed the line up change, but they weren’t sure what that meant. Then came the loading screen and they could see what changed. An Xin’s name was underneath the Nami’s portrait, while Liu Yue was playing Jarvan IV in the Jungle.
“OH MY GOD! She’s going Support! She’s going Support!”
“Coach, Jungler, and Support? What is she? A Queen of All Trades?”
“An all girl bot lane! ALL GIRL BOT LANE! Show us that GIRL POWEERRRRRRRR!”