A group of barely legal teenagers had far more alcohol in front of them than they should drink. So like the responsible adults they were, they started drinking. One shot was enough for Tang Bingyao to start feeling a little woozy. The other girls quickly moved around her, while the guys were too busy bragging to each other about just how much beer they could drink before getting drunk. And this was quickly put to the test. But not before Ouyang made a fool out of himself. He’d convinced himself that this was the perfect time to go and flirt with Ren Rou. Everyone watched him fail miserably. Ren Rou just laughed at him and then turned back to Tang Bingyao, leaving Ouyang to walk back to his friends with his head hanging low.
“RIP!” Liu Yue shouted in laughter. And the others joined in, showing their support for Ouyang with some well placed jokes and a few pats on his shoulder.
Ouyang glared at them, slightly annoyed. I need to drink these assholes under the table! That’ll teach them! He glanced at his bag in the corner of the restaurant’s private room. I brought plastic cups with me… He started emptying the table and took out a bunch of red plastic cups from his backpack. Then he placed them on the table and shouted, “Gottem to play some beer pong with my bros!”
One of the players from Shanghai High School took a coin from his wallet and stood behind nine cups placed together. Then he threw the coin at the other nine cups on the other side of the large, round table. It fell in the plastic cup that was filled with beer. “Drink it!” the Shanghai High School players told Ouyang.
Ouyang’s jaw dropped. He stared at the guy across the table and wanted to say something, but stopped himself as a second coin arced through the air and fell in a second cup. That same voice boomed in Ouyang’s ears again. “Drink it!” Ouyang’s eyes went wide and he quickly moved his hands in front of him. “We didn’t start playing yet! We didn’t start playing yet! I was going to suggest we make it a team game! My best bros against you and your bros! Should be fair, right!?”
Yang Fan shook his head and said, “Who told you to pick a fight…? And now you’re asking us to go down with you? You know I’ve never played that game…” He mumbled a few more complaints, but Wei Dong and Chen Ze had already joined Ouyang at the table. I can’t let them do this by themselves. Our odds are practically zero with me, but it’s better than sitting out. I’ll just play one game. He joined the others at the table and said, “But we’re friends, so I have to help you.”
Lin Feng didn’t feel like playing beer pong. Instead, he walked over to Zeng Rui and sat down next to his new Support, brightly grinning. “Hey, ZengZeng! Let’s have a drink together! Just you and me! We can get to know each other better! That’ll be great for our team!”
Zeng Rui looked at Lin Feng and raised an eyebrow. Then he shrugged and said, “No thanks. I’d rather think of a strategy for the…” He cut himself off before saying the words. But he knew he’d said too much, he could see it in Lin Feng’s eyes. Crap. He’s going to make me drink.
Lin Feng’s eyes started shining with an evil light. A look that said, “We both know what has to come next. And I’ll be the only one enjoying it!” He winked at Zeng Rui and said, “You talked about it that shall not be named! Drink! You know the rules! You have to take a shot!”
Zeng Rui glanced at the small glass with the clear liquid inside. He then turned back to Lin Feng and said, “The rules say that I cannot say the word. I don’t remember it saying anything about hinting towards it.”
Lin Feng grinned and replied, “That’s all the same! It that shall not be named was mentioned by you! Down the drink! Down the drink!”
Zeng Rui shook his head but still reached for the glass. Then he threw the liquid down his throat, its burning sensation making him retch again. Shit, this stuff is disgusting! That was the last one. I won’t have another one.
“That was awesome!” Lin Feng shouted, laughing. Then he grabbed his glass of beer and raised it to Zeng Rui. “Hey! Let’s have another toast! Come! Another toast!”
Zeng Rui raised an eyebrow and asked, “What are we toasting to this time?”
“Uhh? Duh! To Tang Tang’s birthday of course!” Lin Feng exclaimed.
Tang Bingyao had been barely capable of sitting on her chair, falling over every few seconds only to be pushed back up by her friends. She’d laugh and giggle and maybe even slur some words before falling over again. But that changed when she heard Lin Feng call out her name. It sobered her straight up. She looked at him and shouted, “Yes! To my birthday of course!”
Zeng Rui turned his head to look at Tang Bingyao, and the two girls standing next to her. She probably shouldn’t have another drink… She’s completely out of it. How much did she have? Only that shot and a beer, right? Did she not have enough food to eat or something…? He was suddenly pulled away from his thoughts by Lin Feng clinking a glass against his glass. Then he heard the thundering dumbass’ voice, “We clinked so now you have to drink!” He shook his head but raised the glass to Tang Bingyao and said, “Cheers!” Then he chugged the beer down before turning back to Lin Feng and asking, “Happy?”
“YEAH! DRINKING BUDDIES FOREVER!” Lin Feng shouted, showing his own empty glass. “I’m pretty good at keeping my alcohol too!”
High School 13’s guys were playing a third game of beer pong against Shanghai High School. Both sides were getting progressively drunk, and there were coins flying all around the room. Most didn’t even get close to the plastic cups anymore. To the side, Zeng Rui and Lin Feng were watching the beer pong while also chatting. They were talking like friends about League of Legends and alcohol. Tang Bingyao watched this all happen, not taking a single sip of alcohol as the next hour flew by. Slowly, the initial burst of drunkness started to settle and she could think straight again. They’re all here for me! And they’re having fun! I want to have fun with them! Mhm! She looked at Lin Feng and Zeng Rui and smiled. My Support and Lin Feng! Let’s go to them first.
Tang Bingyao got up from her seat and grabbed two full glasses of beer. Carefully balancing them, she made her way over to the two guys. But it was difficult to walk right now, she nearly fell over and was about to drop the beer when Zeng Rui arrived at her side. He took the beers from her and asked, “Are you okay?”
“Mm-mhm!” Tang Bingyao said, nodding. She grabbed one glass of beer from Zeng Rui and shouted, “Toast with me! Toast! My best Support!”
W-what? Another one? I… Can I… Zeng Rui stared at the beer in his hands. He heard Lin Feng arrive next to him, make a joke. It didn’t really register. I wasn’t going to have another drink. I don’t like drinking too much. It just doesn’t feel good… But… He looked at Tang Bingyao. She looks so happy. I can’t say no, can I? He took a deep breath and asked, “Do I really have to?”
Lin Feng laughed and said, “Of course you do! The birthday girl is asking you! That’s why you have to! Even I know that!”
An Xin caught up to Tang Bingyao and put a hand on her friend’s shoulder. “Hey, Tang Tang,” she said warmly. “Don’t drink too much. Just take a sip. Please.”
Lin Feng turned to look at An Xin. He pointed at Zeng Rui and said, “ZengZeng here is a Challenger drinker! He can drink a full glass and then also finish Tang Tang’s!”
Tang Bingyao tilted her head, looking from An Xin to Lin Feng, and then nodded. “Mhm! Okay! ZengZeng finishes my beer!” She then clinked her glass against Zeng Rui’s and said, “Toast!” before taking a small sip.
Zeng Rui grimaced. How am I getting in these situations? What is this? Did I do something wrong? Am I being punished for something? He took a deep, long breath, then smiled at Tang Bingyao and raised his glass. “Happy birthday, Tang Tang.” But rather than drinking it all in one go, he took a large swig and accepted Tang Bingyao’s glass. I’ll just finish them later…
Lin Feng looked at An Xin and said, “Hey, stay here with us! We were just chatting about that thing that shall not be named! ZengZeng here has some really cool ideas! Did you know…”
Tang Bingyao heard a lot of words, but they weren’t making sense. She didn’t even notice An Xin joining Lin Feng and Zeng Rui at the table. Her eyes were already on the other side of the room, where Ren Rou had just joined Ouyang to help him win a game of beer pong. I can’t just toast Zeng Rui and Lin Feng. Everyone is here for me. I have to thank them all! Mhm! She grabbed another beer from the table and walked over to the game of beer pong.
“HEEEEY TANG TANG! HOW YOU!”
“DRINK! I WIN! DRINK!”
“HAHAHAHA! YOU LOSE!”
“BRO! BRO! BRO! I TOTALLY WON! BRO! COME ON!”
“NOOOOO WAY! TANG TANG, I WON, RIGHT?”
Tang Bingyao smiled and nodded at the guys who even she could tell were all far too drunk. She raised her glass to Zhang Hao, who was the first to walk up to her, and they toasted and had a drink. Zhang Hao emptied his glass and Tang Bingyao didn’t want to be left behind, so she took a larger chug than she had with Zeng Rui. The others from Shanghai High School came up to her and they all toasted with her, each sharing a drink with her. Her glass of beer was empty within a minute.
Ouyang approached Tang Bingyao with a new drink and said, laughing, “I thought you were a lightweight drinking after earlier!”
Yang Fan walked up next to Ouyang and chimed in, “Clearly not! Look how she’s drinking!” He then clinked his glass against Tang Bingyao’s and added, “Happy birthday, birthday girl!”
An Xin was chatting with Lin Feng and Zeng Rui, while Ren Rou was completely focused on winning the game of beer pong. Tang Bingyao was left to her own devices with a group of guys who were far too drunk for their own good. She kept clinking glasses with them and drinking it empty. Her face was red and she couldn’t stand up by herself anymore, leaning against whoever she was drinking with.
Ouyang suddenly felt a chill. There was a brief moment of sobriety that hit him. He saw how much Tang Bingyao was drinking, and how she couldn’t stand up straight anymore. The hell is this? Shit. Something’s wrong. This feels all wrong. Did Draven come from the Rift and claim her body or something? Since when can a girl drink like this? No! Shit! She can’t! This is going wrong! He grabbed the beer from Tang Bingyao’s hands under loud protest of everyone else and said, “Bro, bro, I think you’ve had enough. Just for now! Skip this one! Yes! Skip this one!”
Zeng Rui leaned back in his chair and fought off the nausea and the darkness swirling in front of his eyes. But with Tang Bingyao having her focus on the others, he finally had some time to stop drinking. He called over a waiter and ordered some more food to fill his stomach back up.
An Xin looked at Zeng Rui and smiled. “I feel like I have to thank you. You’re really putting a lot of work into this tournament.”
Zeng Rui worked away some Chinese cabbage that was still on the table. I have, but that’s what I always do. I like to do it like that. It’s just how it works for me. He sighed and said, “No need to thank me. I’m only doing what’s to be expected. If we want to win this tournament, we have to put in the time and effort. And more…”
An Xin nodded and agreed, “Yeah. It’s going to be very hard to win the Collegiate Cup. Very, very hard.”
“Practically impossible,” Zeng Rui corrected. “I’ve done my research. Looked into all the teams that made it to the Round of 16 last year. We’re not at their level yet. We’ve got a long way to go.”
“But it’s not impossible, right?” An Xin said knowingly.
Zeng Rui frowned. He turned to the table and grabbed a new glass of beer that had inexplicably appeared in front of him. He took a swig and looked at the white foam covering the deep yellow liquid. It should be impossible. But you’re a far better player and coach than I expected. And then there’s Lin Feng… “Yeah,” he finally said. We do have some hope. Tang Tang needs to keep improving like she is. We need something special to happen with Zhang Hao in the top lane. But with Lin Feng in the mid lane… He shook his head. How can someone be that good? He downed his beer, forgetting his earlier promise to himself to stop drinking. Then he turned to An Xin and looked deep into her eyes. He watched for every minute change in her expression, searched for something, though he didn’t know what that something was. “BunBun?” he finally said. “There’s something I need to ask.”