Bloodsucker stared at his screen as it sprung back to life, vibrant colours replacing the dull tones of grey. He knew it was only temporary, though he refused to admit it. He stubbornly guided his Fizz back to mid lane. All I need are a couple of last hits. That’ll see me right back into the game! I just need a few more… a few more! He gritted his teeth. If it wasn’t for this damned LeBlanc, I’d be winning right now! LeBlanc was always there, cutting him off when he tried to last hit a minion or zoning him away from the lane entirely. Then he’d hide underneath his tower, the only place where he could at least get the experience from the dying minions. But LeBlanc didn’t even let him get experience. She baited him to use Playful Trickster, the only skill that could help him escape, and then killed him with a sudden burst of magic damage. And then it started all over again. And again.
At 17 minutes, Bloodsucker had completely given up on the mid lane. He didn’t even want to look at it anymore. He had his Fizz move into the Red team’s top side Jungle and attacked the Raptor Camp, which was adjacent to the mid lane. He could use Playful Trickster to land some splash damage and speed up killing the Raptors, but he didn’t. LeBlanc was somewhere, he didn’t know where. And if she came, he needed Playful Trickster to escape. I just need a bit more gold… a few more kills… then I’ll finally be relevant again! I’ll sh—
A silhouette dashed over the jungle wall into the middle of the Raptor Camp, just as Bloodsucker’s Fizz was about to kill the big one. Two Sigils of Malice slammed into Fizz, followed by LeBlanc’s Ethereal Chains. Bloodsucker’s screen flashed red for a brief moment before it turned grey again. He never even got to use Playful Trickster to escape. LeBlanc’s burst damage was too high.
《You have been slain!》
Bloodsucker pinched his mouse and lifted it up, searching for a wall to throw it at. Then he gritted his teeth and fought back that urge. “FUCK!” He slammed the mouse back down on its pad. “FUCK! FUCK! HE FUCKING DID IT AGAIN! HOW DID I NOT SEE HIM? FUCK!” He smashed down on the E key, his screen still grey, and shouted, “PLAYFUL TRICKSTER! PLAYFUL TRICKSTER! JUMP, YOU STUPID FISH!”
The game wasn’t even 20 minutes in and Bloodsucker found himself at the same score as in his previous game, 0/8/2. But in his Tryndamere game, he was playing against God Roundy in his secondary role. He didn’t like losing, but he could still accept that. But now he was playing his main role against some no-name Midlaner with his main Champion. He ground his teeth, glaring at the LeBlanc. FUCK THIS GAME! AND FUCK THIS STUPID LEBLANC!
Bloodsucker hurled a constant stream of abuse at his monitor, calling LeBlanc every bad word under the sun. But when his Fizz respawned, he didn’t chase after her. There was something else he felt beside humiliation. Fear. This was the first time in his still relatively short League of Legends career that he’d played against someone who made him feel utterly and completely helpless. I’ve scrimmed against LSPL teams and played against almost every big name on the Ionia server… I didn’t win every game, but that was never really my fault. They always come to gank me, and my Junglers usually help other lanes… Or my Junglers suck, like this one. He gave a fucking kill to the LeBlanc! But I should still be crushing her. How is she this good? Who is she? Where the fuck did she come from? God fucking dammit! He slammed his fist on his desk and shouted, “I’m supposed to be the most talented Midlaner in China! I’M SUPPOSED TO DEFEAT RAKE AND GET SOME HONOUR BACK FOR OUR REGION! ME! ME! ME! NOT SOME FUCKING RANDOM PLAYER IN SOLO QUEUE!” Then he slumped back into his seat, out of breath. He can’t be better than me! HE ISN’T BETTER THAN ME! I’m the best! I’m going to play at Worlds next year! I can’t lose to some fucking nobody! I WON’T!
At 20 minutes, Lin Feng’s LeBlanc was still hunting down the Fizz. But it became harder and harder to find him as he started refusing to even leave the base. Lin Feng looked around the map to take stock of the game. Bot lane was minding their own business, having what looked like a fun skirmish that went back and forth. And Tian Tian was steamrolling the top lane after a slow start. Lin Feng smiled and shrugged. “Guess I’ll keep hunting the Fizz, all the way to the fountain if I have to. But maybe I can bait him out too…”
[All] MapleInShrub (LeBlanc):「Sooooo boring. Guess I shouldn’t have expected more after seeing your top… lol」
[All] MapleInShrub (LeBlanc):「Maybe if you’d stop spending so much time shittalking people, you could actually get a little good at this game… Though I suppose you’re really not all that talented…」
Bloodsucker grimaced in humiliation. He wanted to yell at LeBlanc that he did have talent. And that he was going to become the best Midlaner in the world! But he couldn’t get himself to. It’d sound ridiculous right now. Even he could see that. He took a deep breath and growled as he exchaled. Then he suddenly started smiling. You want to act cute? Ok. Fuck you.
[All] Bloodsucker (Fizz)「Me? Talking shit? Loool… I haven’t said anything. Oh, you mean last game?? That wasn’t shit talking!」
[All] Bloodsucker (Fizz)「All I said was that KG lost 0-3 to SSK. And that that stupid fat pig was an embarrassment to all Chinese players!」
[All] Bloodsucker (Fizz)「That isn’t shit talking! I was only stating the facts! KG did lose! And Roundy did play like the fat pig he is! Is that not allowed anymore? You sensitive pussy! HAHAHAHAH!」
Lin Feng slowly nodded. Sure, keep at it. That’s going to ease the pain for you. But I can state some facts too. He smiled as his fingers started gliding over his keyboard again.
[All] MapleInShrub (LeBlanc):「Oh, well, let me state some facts for you then.」
[All] MapleInShrub (LeBlanc):「It’s a fact that you fed last game and showed that you have exactly 0 talent as a Toplaner.」
[All] MapleInShrub (LeBlanc):「And it’s a fact that you’re just as terrible in the mid lane.」
[All] MapleInShrub (LeBlanc):「Did you buy a boosted account to look cool to your friends or something?」
Bloodsucker read that last sentence, gnashing his teeth. Lin Feng had struck him where it hurt the most. He was proud of how good he was in the mid lane. And he liked how his friends looked up to him! I CLIMBED THE LADDER MYSELF! AND I AM A GOOD MIDLANER! It became harder to breathe as his nostrils flared. He grabbed at his hair and wanted to pull, but kept himself from doing that at the last moment. Then he smashed his fingers down on his keyboard.
[All] Bloodsucker (Fizz)「you wanna play it that way? Ok, go for it! Have fun! But that doesn’t change anything. KG IS STILL TRASH!!! THEY LOST 0-3! WHAT GOD ROUNDY???? HE’S JUST A FAT PIG! A DISGRACE TO THE LPL! THAT SHAME WILL FOLLOW HIM FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE! HE’LL NEVER MAKE UP FOR IT!!!!」
[All] MapleInShrub (LeBlanc):「You sure about that? Well…」
That message caught Bloodsucker off-guard, briefly replacing anger with confusion. He scrunched his eyebrows and mumbled, “Sure about that? Yes I am. What the fuck is he talking about?” He started typing a response, but then stopped as LeBlanc sent another two messages.
[All] MapleInShrub (LeBlanc):「Actually, nevermind! That’s got nothing to do with you anyway.」
[All] MapleInShrub (LeBlanc):「You’re just a boosted noob.」
“W-wha—” Bloodsucker erupted into a coughing fit. Lin Feng had dealt yet another stab to his already damaged ego. FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! YOU FUCKING FUCK! His vision grew dark as the world in front of him started twisting and swirling until he couldn’t even see his monitor anymore. His head was buzzing and his entire body was trembling violently. He forced his eyes shut and bit down hard on his tongue. That brought back enough clarity to his mind to move his hands. They slammed down on his keyboard and pressed the keys in a practiced rhythm, writing out increasingly vile and disturbing messages that were sent to all chat.
The Red Team voted to surrender in the 22nd minute of the game. Their nexus exploded and the energy inside morphed into a large victory emblem for the Blue team. Lin Feng looked at his screen and shook his head. “You know, Fatty? That Fizz was actually pretty skilled. Good awareness and great game senses.” He paused for a moment before adding, “Think he might even be a pro player.”
Tian Tian looked over at Lin Feng in surprise and asked, “A pro player? Y-you really think so?”
Lin Feng nodded and explained, “Yeah. It’s just the little things, you know? The warding, map movements, roaming attempts, and other little things. It’s the stuff you don’t really see from the best solo queue players, unless they’ve played professionally before.” He looked at Tian Tian and said in a serious tone, “If he really is a pro, that makes this so much worse. The fact that he’d say all those things? It’s a disgrace.”
Tian Tian let his gaze fall down to the ground. He was fidgeting with his fingers. I-if Lin Feng is right… Another pro player thinks about me like that? T-then what about the fans… M-maybe even Li—
“Well, it doesn’t matter,” Lin Feng said, interrupting Tian Tian’s thoughts. Then he rubbed his stomach that growled in response. “Man, I’m starving! We’ve played three games and won three games. That’s plenty, right? Yeah! Let’s go get something to eat!”
Lin Feng and Tian Tian sat down in a hotpot restaurant across the street from the cybercafe. Lin Feng grabbed a menu and started flipping through it, mumbling, “Hmm, what to eat… what to eat…”
Tian Tian sat on the other side of the table. He was slouched back and fiddling his fingers underneath the table. L–lin Feng trusted me. He believed I could win against SSK. B-but I let him down. I let everyone down. I-I should apologize to him. Maybe… Maybe he’ll forgive me. I-if he doesn’t, I can understand that. I wouldn’t want a loser on my team either… He quickly wiped away a tear with his sleeve and then croaked, “L-Lin Feng, I’m sorry.”
Lin Feng looked up from his menu, confused, and blurted out, “What? What are you sorry for?”Tian Tian wiped away another tear with his sleeve and tried to hide behind the menu. “W-we lost 0-3…” he started with a hoarse voice. “At W-w-worlds! T-that guy was right. I couldn’t do anything for my team! I let everyone down! I… I’m a dissa… disha-poiintcheed jyuu gwaaaaaah!” He collapsed onto the table and buried his face in his arms. He lost all control over his emotions and broke down, begging for Lin Feng’s forgiveness through his sobs.
Bullying Part 2
Sietse Thought: For the first time we really see Lin Feng standing up for a friend. No bullshitting, or grinning like a fool, or acting like a clueless idiot. And it’s oddly refreshing. Then I got to thinking about times that I stood up for my friends. And what it meant to them. That second part is trickier. You never really know if what you did offered any help. You just know you had to do something, so you did.
A couple of years ago, I was talking with my family. It must’ve been around Christmas, since that’s the only time of the year we’re all together. The subject slowly arrived at exactly this subject. Standing up for someone who couldn’t do it themselves. That was when my brother came with a story about elementary school. He was about 6 years old and I was 8. Some kids on the playground were bullying him and I stepped in between them and told the bullies to piss off. He remembers this crystal clear. Names of the bullies, events leading up to it, and how it all stopped after that. It’s been 20 years ago, but he remembers it and it meant a lot to him. While I’d forgotten about it almost immediately. Even now I don’t really remember it.
I think that’s something beautiful. How you can change someone’s life for the better with the smallest of interference. One small act of kindness that means so much to them that they never forget it. And then I think of the times I’ve seen a friend in need and I didn’t do anything. Either it was an inconvenience, or I simply didn’t know what I could do. Those I do remember, one more vividly than all the others.
We were with a group of 10 or so friends in the smoking section of the disco. You weren’t allowed to smoke in the main halls, so they usually opened a second hall for the smokers. We were chilling here, some of us puking and others drinking more than our 16 year old bodies could contain. All was fun, until a couple of girls got upset with a friend of mine. It heated up and they found a large bucket somewhere, which they filled with water and threw over his head. This happened kind of out of the blue. No one thought it was really going to happen. And then they did it again. And one final time. He refused to back down. And we sat there, in a stunned drunken stupor. I still regret not getting up and standing next to him. I don’t know what I could’ve done to help him, but surely more than nothing.
Devs touched yesterday on how he dealt with bullies. And though we might have our own thoughts on the subject, I do know one thing holds true. You’re stronger with two than alone, and not just physically. Stand up for your friends. It’s a small act, but it can change someone’s life.
Shanks Thought: I actually did end up talking to Devshard yesterday about the way he deals with bullies. I brought up how some bullies aren’t like that, and how I’ve actually found it effective to turn apathetic and not give the bully any attention. But then told me he could never forgive himself if he did that, because he’d feel personally responsible for the next person the bully targets. And it really caught me off guard. I never thought about it like that before. Most of my experiences with bullying is just getting it to stop or running as far away from the problem as possible. Not once did I consider who that bully would go after next.
Anyway, with Sietse’s experience, I’ve been guilty of inaction and complacency too. Moments where you think you should stand up for someone and you should intervene in a situation, but you don’t. There was this one incident back in middle school that I still remember to this day. It wasn’t a case of one student bullying another student. No, it was an entire class bullying a teacher.
Mrs. Berkovic was the new French teacher at our school. She was a woman in her 50s who had emigrated to Canada from the former country of Yugoslavia. Classes with her rough. English was her second language, and the communication barrier made it difficult for her to teach us in English, let alone French.. Then, there was the fact that she had pretty limited patience and a short temper to begin with. If you didn’t understand something and you tried to ask for clarification, she would make you feel really stupid for it. She was also a big fan of group punishments. So whenever one student acted out, the whole class would end up getting punished for it.
All in all, Mrs. Berkovic wasn’t liked very much by the students, and she didn’t seem to like the students very much either. But there were a certain group of girls in our class that REALLY didn’t like Mrs. Berkovic. Every time we had French class, they would make it a point to be as rude or disruptive in class or possible. It would piss off Mrs. Berkovic to no end, and she would take it out on the entire class by making us stay after the bell or giving us more assignments.
Before long, it got to the point where our entire class was antagonistic to Mrs, Berkovic, with this group of girls leading everything. We were probably the class she hated the most. We’d be openly talking over her when she was teaching a lesson, passing notes to each other, or making fun of her accent or any other unique trait that we could pick out. The whole thing kept escalating for weeks and weeks, until this one moment where Mrs. Berkovic and this one girl, Mariah, got into a shouting match in the middle of class.
I forgot what triggered it, or why it happened exactly. It’d already become a pretty hostile classroom environment by that point. I just know that Mariah said something about Mrs. Berkovic being an ugly bitch, and that she couldn’t believe Mrs. Berkovic was married. And any man that did marry Mrs Berkovic would leave her pretty soon.
Well, what Mariah had said happened to hit a really sore spot with Mrs. Berkovic. It pretty much shattered her entire being. That was the first time I saw a teacher break down in front of her class. She just sat down in front of her desk and started sobbing. A grown woman in her 50s. No one in the class really knew how to react, including Mariah herself. So, we just sat there and quietly listened to her. After a few minutes, Mrs. Berkovic managed to collect herself and calm down. She got up from her desk, picked up her purse, and walked out of the classroom without saying anything to anyone. That was the last time any of us saw her. She quit being a teacher at our school after that day.
I don’t recall any of us being officially punished for it, but we became known as the class that bullied a teacher out of school. Our homeroom teacher, Ms. Kirk, was really upset with our class after that incident. So much so that she broke down crying in front of our class, saying that she knew that we were better than this. Which sucked because we really loved Ms. Kirk. But yeah, in the span of two days, we managed to make two teachers cry, with one of them quitting the school. Bullying sucks, and middle schoolers are awful.