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Natterin’ at the NetCow Cafe: Season vs. SSK!

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High School 13 finally had a reason to install a trophy cabinet in the school lobby. For the first time in the school’s history, they had won an important tournament! Their esports club was the best in Shanghai! High School 13’s students were jumping around, hugging their friends and strangers alike, and screaming their lungs out! They only grew louder when Chu Fang walked up on stage with a large cheque worth ¥80,000 in his hands.

Chu Fang tried to silence the audience, so he could congratulate High School 13. But no one was interested in what he had to say. He finally gave up and handed the cheque to Ren Rou. Then he nodded at Lin Feng and said, “You’ve got a very talented team with you here. I’m looking forward to what you guys are going to achieve.”

Lin Feng grinned and replied, “I know, right? This is a great team! We’re going to win everyt—”

“Enough talking already! Hurry up! Hurry!” Ouyang interrupted. He shoved his smartphone in Lin Feng’s face and shouted, “Look at the man on the wall, bro! The clock, the clock. He’s got a tiny half moustache! You know what that means? THE TIME IS NOW 9:47 P.M.! Worlds is starting in an hour! Let’s make like a fox and skeeeeedaddle already! I don’t wanna miss it!” Then he grabbed Lin Feng and started pulling him away.

Ren Rou appeared behind Ouyang like the grim reaper. She flicked his ears and yelled, “Manners, Ouyang! Manners!” Then she turned to look at Chu Fang and bowed apologetically. “I’m sorry, sir. He’s just super excited. And…”

Chu Fang laughed and said, “Your friend is right, Worlds is starting soon. Alright, you kids go and have fun.” Then he looked at Lin Feng and added, “We’ll talk another time. Congratulations on winning the tournament!”

Ren Rou and An Xin made several more apologies as they watched Ouyang run for the exit of the electronics mall together with Lin Feng and Yang Fan. Then they nodded to the rest of the team and they all hurried out after Ouyang. They pushed past their fellow students who were trying to congratulate them, shouting apologies over their shoulders, and rushed out into the square outside. Where they saw Ouyang, Yang Fan, and Lin Feng hailing a taxi. They started running over to the boys, hoping to stop them before they could get in the cab.

Ren Rou took a moment to catch her breath and then shouted, “Ouyang! Don’t go yet! I…” She ran up to him, panting and puffing, then continued, “Don’t go! I thought it might be fun to watch the Worlds Finals together! Maybe we can go to the NetCow Cafe…”

Ouyang looked at her, surprised. Then he said, “Of course we’re going to watch Worlds together! Why else do you think I’m trying to get three cabs? And check this, cheesewhiz, I even thought ahead and  reserved a room for us at the NetCow Cafe two weeks ago! We can watch Worlds and celebrate our VICTORIIIIIIII! DEMMMACCCIIIAAAAA!”

Ren Rou looked at Ouyang. Did he really use his brain…? She scrunched her eyebrows, trying to register what he’d just said, before asking, “Really now? You actually did something right? This is new. You usually mess everything up.” She clicked her tongue and added, “This is a nice change of pace. Good job, Ouyang!”

“What? I mess what up?” Ouyang asked, confused. Then he grinned and said, “Rou Rou, why you gotta be so rude? Don’t you know I’m human too? When have I ever let you down? I’d never let a fair damsel like yourself down! The Order of the ChivalBros forbids it! And I’m the Sword-Saint BroKnight! The kinde—”

Ren Rou glared at Ouyang and cut him off, “Enough, you! Don’t make me take back my words.”

Ouyang was about to reply when Yang Fan interrupted him, “Hello? If you two are finished, I found a third taxi! We should get going before they start running the meter up for standing and waiting. We’ll meet up at the NetCow Cafe, ok?”

There was a fast round of approval. All nine team members wanted to watch the World Finals together. There was just something special about watching sporting events together with friends. An atmosphere that made good plays great and great games perfect. They split up in groups of three and shoved themselves onto the backseats of the cabs. Then the three taxis drove off into the night.

There was a long line of people in front of the NetCow Cafe. Every League of Legends fan in the world wanted to see the Finals of the League of Legends Season 5 World Championships. It was the most watched esports event in the world! And although there was no Chinese representative in this Finals, the Chinese fans had gathered in large numbers, rivaling the record set during the Semifinals match between KG and SSK! Internet cafes were at maximum capacity and those who didn’t get in had gathered in small groups on the street, watching the official broadcast on their smartphones.

Ouyang pushed through the crowd, shouting, “Coming through! Coming through!” People turned around, annoyed, and by doing so left enough room for Ouyang to maneuver through. The rest of High School 13’s team followed his example. They pushed and shoved their way to the entrance of the NetCow Cafe, where they were stopped by two bouncers. Ouyang smiled proudly at them and said, “We have reserved a private room! It’s under the name: Ouyang and his bros!”

Ouyang leaned over towards the bouncers to scan the list they were holding. He spotted his name before they did and pointed it out. “There! Right there! See? I told you I reserved a room!” Then he turned around to the others and said, “We’re in our usual room!”

High School 13’s esports team entered the NetCow Cafe. Their first stop was the bar. They ordered drinks, most of them alcoholic, and some snacks. Then they pushed through the jam-packed hall to the private rooms in the back. There were still a couple of minutes left until the World Finals were starting. Ouyang rushed to boot up the computers and get the stream going, while the others got comfortable and waited for the game to start.

The official broadcast was brought up on the screen. Ouyang let himself fall down in his chair and relaxed for a brief moment. Then he swirled around and asked, “Yo. Who do you guys think is going to win?”

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and said, “I think SSK has shown throughout the year that they’re the better team. The probability is that they’ll win it.”

Chen Ze nodded and agreed, “I think so too. Those Korean madmen are going to be really hard to beat.”

Liu Yue raised an eyebrow and said, “Koreans are going to beat the Korean Killers? As if! I think Autumn is going to carry North America to a win!”

Wei Dong shook his head helplessly. “Yeah Liu Yue, I kinda want to see Season win too. I think we all want to see them win again. No one’s rooting for those cocky Koreans. They’re so smug and walk around like they already know they’ll be winning it again. But they are really good. It’s hard to see anyone beating them.”

“Wei Dong has a point,” Yang Fan added, adjusting his glasses. “Korea has been dominating the scene for years now. As nice as it would be to see someone else winning the title for a change. I do think that if anyone can beat them, it is Season.” He hesitated for a moment. Then he turned to An Xin and asked, “You’re the coach. What do you think? Who’s going to Worlds?”

“Me?” An Xin asked. She looked at the stream that was showing highlights of SSK’s game versus KG in the Semifinals. The camera zoomed in on Rake’s LeBlanc. An Xin looked at Yang Fan and said, “I think SSK is going to win this one. Either 3-2 or 3-1.”

Liu Yue interjected, “Don’t forget that Season is also really good! You are all way too hard on them! They stand a good chance of winning tonight! I think they’re going to win!”

An Xin laughed and said, “That’s true. Season is a strong team… But SSK is stronger. Plus, Rake is at the top of his game right now. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him play better. Now that I mention it, I don’t think I’ve seen a single Midlaner win against him in lane this year.”

No one had a response to that. An Xin was right. Rake was in the best shape of his life. There wasn’t a single team that knew how to deal with him. He never had an off-day, and he always performed at a level that everyone else could only dream about achieving. The only sound in the room came from the official broadcast. The host was hyping up Rake. Everyone watched this in silence, until Ouyang eventually broke it. He’d turned to Lin Feng and asked, “Yo, bro, you think Season can stop Rake?”

Lin Feng was staring intensely at the image of Rake on the screen. But he didn’t look scared or lost or anxious. His jaw was set and his eyes radiated determination, maybe even a little hope. But then he noticed that Ouyang was looking at him and dropped back to his normal affable self. Lin Feng scratched the back of his head and said, “Oh, uh, I don’t know… Hm…. Uh, let’s watch and see.” He looked at the stream and added, “It’s starting! We should pay attention!”

It was Game 1 of the League of Legends Season 5 World Championship Finals! The fireworks started in Champion Select, where all six bans were targeted at Rake and Autumn. But these two were Emperors! If they couldn’t play their favourite champion, they’d just excel at another and make the opponent regret not banning that one!

The game itself was even more exciting than the Champion Select! Everyone was sitting at the edge of their seats. For the first time this year, SSK was forced on the backfoot! Season came out with a strong plan and grabbed an early advantage in the bot lane!

But SSK wasn’t going to take that lying down. They responded with a devastating Mid-Jungle combo. Rake got several crucial kills in the mid lane thanks to ganks by his Jungler. And then the two of them started roaming around the map. They picked up kills in the top lane and bot lane. They even caught Season’s Jungler off guard in his own Jungle!

Season put up a bigger resistance against SSK than any other team in the LCK 2015 Spring or Summer splits. It even looked like they might win at one point! But SSK got the important kills and managed to play around the objectives better. In the end, it was a lost teamfight around the Baron pit that gave SSK the opening to end the game. Season’s Nexus exploded in the 32nd minute of the game.

“WOOT WOOT! SEE!” Liu Yue exclaimed. “I told you guys! Season is really good! See how hard SSK had to try? I’m telling you, Season really stands a chance!”

“YEAH!” Ouyang shouted. “Season almost won that! That teamfight at the end was so close! They could’ve beaten SSK! BROS! SEASON COULD’VE BEATEN SSK! You know what that means!”

“That Season actually stands a chance of winning the Finals,” Yang Fan replied, adjusting his glasses. “I think so too.”

“Shhh!” Ren Rou shushed. “The second game is going to start in a moment!”

Game 2 of the League of Legends Season 5 World Championship Finals was far more exciting for the neutral fans than Game 1. This wasn’t because of the champions who were banned and selected in Champion Select. Nor had it anything to do with the actual gameplay. It was because this game was a 29 minute methodical masterclass. Autumn showcased to the world just why he was the best Support in all of League of Legends. He led Season to a victory over SSK. The two teams were even again.

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Shanks Gets The Stinky Pinky From His Roommate?

Announcement: Before Devshard forgets, the winners of the Shanks roast in Chapter 222 are Iniss and Miraclerifle. Contact Devshard#8529 on Discord for your $25 Amazon/Steam Gift cards, or leave a comment in the comment section letting us know how we can reach out to you.

Dev Thought: Shanks hurt my feelings today. I thought we were really good friends. Super close. But it turns out that we’re not. Here’s what happened. We got on VC before his dinner time. Shanks sounded like his normal happy-go-lucky AsianBoi self. Nothing out of the ordinary. We talked about subreddit stuff, we talked about Rise stuff, we worked on Rise stuff. Shanks was fine and happy. Then Sietse came on VC and Shanks was still fine and happy. Tas also joined the VC, and Shanks was fine and happy. All four of us discussed super important future plans (one of which is a pretty cool surprise you guys will see on Wednesday if it works). Then Shanks said, “My roommate is calling me. I gotta go make dinner.” And he left to make dinner. Then he came back after he finished making it, still sounding completely normal. Then he left again to eat dinner. In this time, Sietse, Tas and I continued to talk about future Rise plans. Nothing out of the ordinary. 

Shanks gets back from dinner, and he’s completely quiet. But we were in the middle of an important conversation, so we didn’t notice. And then we did notice he was there, but not saying anything at all. I presented an idea to the group, and we talked about it for a bit. Finally, I asked Shanks what his opinion on the idea was. That’s where things got weird. Shanks did not sound happy. He did not sound at all cheerful. There was nary a hint of that chubby Asian cheer. 

He did sound like someone who had just been touched inappropriately by his roommate. That is honestly the only way I know how to describe it. Every time Shanks opened his mouth to say a few sullen words, I could hear the pain in his soul. I suspected the roommate even more after that. Real talk here? You guys remember when Lin Feng watched Tian Tian lose to Rake and got all weird? It was like that. Except there was no League involved. Or Lin Feng. Just Shanks, and possibly a roommate who violated all moral and social boundaries. 

I asked Shanks what was wrong. He kept saying nothing. So me being the sensitive guy that I am, I forced the issue. He eventually revealed the “truth”. Apparently, he’d eaten some salty curry for dinner that was carb heavy and he was feeling lethargic from it. It was a horrible lie. Shanks has never been good at lying. We just don’t call him out on his terrible lies because it feels a little like telling a small child that Santa Claus does not exist. But this particular lie was god awful, even for the very loose standards we have with Shanks Lies. No one believed his story.

So I felt that it was my duty to dig a little deeper. And I thought I’d lighten the mood with my signature wit. So I asked him, “Shanks. Did your roommate give you the old stinky pinky? You can tell us if that’s what happened. It’s okay. Or you can type it in chat if he’s listening at the door. We’ll figure out what to do.” 

Shanks went on and on about how his roommate did not molest him. Then he claimed that he only sounded like that because of the carbs. The more he repeated this lie, the more desperate he sounded. It started to get to me a little. I had to go to the bathroom to pee, because I heard Shanks’ voice quivering and quaking as he tried so hard to hold back his tears and sobs. 

I knew I had to be there for him as a friend. But he refused to let me. After all we’ve been through, all the random shit we’ve dealt with over the years, he still refuses to talk about his feelings with me. AND I SWORE ON THE HONORABLE DEVSHARD NAME THAT I WOULD NOT MAKE FUN OF HIM OR MAKE HIM FEEL WORSE. AND I SWORE A DOUBLE VOW THAT I WOULD LISTEN PATIENTLY AS A GOOD FRIEND AND PROVIDE REASSURANCE! 

And after all that, he continued to talk about this salty curry. And his roommate. I think it’s code. Salty, roommate, curry. Obviously, the roommate forced something into Shanks that was salty and burned. I think we all know what happened here. But he won’t let me help him. And now my feelings are hurt.

Sietse Thought: I think it’s only fair that you guys get another side to the story. Earlier today, I joined voice chat. I’d just had dinner and saw Shanks and Devs all cutesie together, something they like to do. It crossed my mind to let them have their daily voice call moment, but then decided shit had to be done. So I joined the VC and we all started working on Rise stuff. At this moment in time, everything seemed normal. Devs was in a good mood. Shanks was in a good mood. I was in a good mood.

I’ll skim over the Rise stuff. Devs has said most of that. Super exciting, but something for the next few days. The important bit is that Shanks sounded his happy AsianBoi self. He even sounded a little bit giddy. Then came the “My roommate is telling me I have to come cook dinner”. Honestly, we should’ve known something was up right then and there. What roommate orders their fellow roommates around? If that isn’t a big red flag, I don’t know what is. But I missed it, and I think Devs did too.

Shanks came back after “cooking dinner” and was a little bit more quiet. We had to talk to him, rather than him actively participating. But he did still sound like his cheerful self. Again, the signs were there. I should’ve seen them. Maybe I could’ve said something. Done something. Only I didn’t. I continued discussing Rise related stuff with Devshard and Tas. And Shanks left to “have dinner”.

I don’t know what happened to him during dinner. I’m not sure I want to know. He came back a broken man. He just didn’t sound like Shanks anymore. Devshard was the one to voice our worries. And we still do worry. Shanks, buddy, we’re your friends. We’re here for you. You can talk to us. We won’t laugh at you or make fun of you. Devs will be there for you! Like a real boyfriend would!

Shanks Thought: I am being bullied here. I did a thought on “The Itis” before, and Devs is very familiar with it as a South Indian. Listen, I had curry. Not regular curry. Chinese curry. That shit is loaded with potatoes, chicken, carrots, and a whole bunch of umami. You pair that with rice and it’s the most delicious fucking thing in the world. The only issue is that it’s really carb heavy, and if you eat too much of it, you start getting really sleepy. 

So, that’s what happened. I came back to the meeting after eating curry, and I felt tired. But Devshard mistook it as me being molested by my roommate. No matter how much I explain to him that this ISN’T the case, he refuses to believe me.

Also, let’s say I did hypothetically get molested by my roommate. DEVSHARD SAID HE’D LAUGH AT ME BECAUSE HE THINKS IT’S FUNNY! Who does that! By this point, I’m just assuming Devshard wants to see me get diddled, like he’s ACTIVELY hoping for it. There’s no other explanation for why he’s refusing to drop it.

I’m not even going to address Sietse in this thought. He’s just a troll that’ll follow along with whatever is funny. Man. First they go off and make fun of my penis size in yesterday’s thought. Now they’re insinuating I got molested. How did I end up with these two?

Sietse Addendum: Oh, shut up. You started the penis size shit yourself yesterday. Just like you put on the pony suit in the pony space thought yourself. You keep digging yourself graves and then suddenly decide you want to toss someone else into the hole. Let’s set the record straight. Yesterday, Shanks, OUT OF NOWHERE, started making fun of his own penis size. All I did was entertain it for a couple of minutes.

Shanks Interjection: Yeah, you would try to entertain “it” wouldn’t you. Fucker.

Sietse Addendum: Maybe if I had small enough tweezers…

Dev Addendum: These guys started a rebuttal to my thought while I was busy working on the chapter. Shanks probably planned it that way so he could say whatever he wanted without me noticing. But let me defend myself here. What I actually said was, “Shanks, if your roommate or anyone else sexually assaulted you, I’d want to be there for you. And know what happened and who did it. I’d be mad and try to make them pay. But after all of that… I’d laugh. Because what else am I supposed to do? Cry? If we’re all laughing about it together, it isn’t a horrible tragedy anymore!” 

I was attempting to lighten the mood! That’s all! But the idea of Shanks’ roommate creeping up behind him with an Iron Pinky and a deviant light… God. It still cracks me up. HAHAHAHA! That pun was unintentional! But think about it. Shanks is just standing at the table, ladling curry onto his plate. Then his eyes widen, his nostrils flare, and he goes ‘Hooh-ho!” like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. How could you not laugh?

SUPER SERIOUS PSA: Guys, we’re making jokes about sexual assault here and that’s obviously a truly terrible thing to do. Not something that we should dismiss, make light of, or even mitigate through humor. Even when it happens to Shanks. Horrible, horrible crime. Shit like that breaks a person’s soul in a way that it can’t be put back together. We can do this in this specific scenario because the three of us have known each other forever, and we know when something is actually wrong with each other. Don’t randomly joke about sexual assault. Everyone has stuff they’d rather forget and not talk about. Always be mindful that you don’t know every single thing another person has gone through or what demons they’ve got locked up. 

And ya know, if you see something that seems shady, do something about it. Call the cops! Don’t be a webnovel hero. That’s how you get shot or stabbed. Go get help. Evil happens when good people stand by and do nothing. 

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