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High School Teams ROOOOOOOOOCK!!!

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Team Shanghai started the day after their drinking party with two casual games, just to flex their muscle memory. The games didn’t take very long. Their opponents weren’t very good and the statistics at the end of the match reflected as much. An Xin smiled and said, “Well played! Seems like we’re still in decent form.”

The long days of practicing and sleepless nights of researching their opponents was showing its results. Team Shanghai had really come together as a team. They knew what to expect from each other and were able to play to each others’ strengths. It even started to look like winning the Winter Collegiate Cup wasn’t as crazy as it sounded just two weeks ago. The only real problem, the big limiting factor, was that most real teams didn’t play in ranked on the League of Legends client. They opted for practicing their tactics against a sister team or even a competitor, because that helped to increase the quality of their training. This was also the kind of training Team Shanghai needed to make larger strides in their training.

Zeng Rui shook his head in annoyance and said, “It’s not like I haven’t been trying to find us some scrim partners either. But Luo Yu and his team are refusing to play against us again, and most others hang up before I can even ask them… The few who do stay on the line, well, they complain that we’re high schoolers. Like that’s some kind of big issue.”

Tang Bingyao and Zhang Hao nodded in understanding, and An Xin had a few choice words for the situation as well. But Lin Feng didn’t get why everyone was so worked up about this. He shrugged and asked, “Why do we care? The regionals are starting in a few days. We’ll get plenty of practice against university teams!”

Zeng Rui grimaced. Somehow, the thundering dumbass is right again. I don’t like how this is going… He then nodded and said, “That’s true. I’ve seen the schedule. Our first game shouldn’t be too hard, and the rounds after that are relatively easy as well. We really need to use this opportunity to practice seriously.”

There were a lot of universities competing in the Winter Collegiate Cup. Far more than made sense in a normal tournament setting. So to dwindle the numbers before it got to that point, there were various levels of qualifiers. This meant for East China that the Regionals started with preliminary rounds in Shanghai, Zhejian and Fujian. The top teams from these qualifiers would then duke it out at the regional level. And from there, the top four advanced to nationals. That was the last step. The final showdown for the ultimate honour of Winter Collegiate Cup Champions!

An Xin wasn’t really listening to Zeng Rui talk about their matchups. She’d done the research as well and knew exactly who they were going to be up against. She checked the time and suddenly turned to look at Lin Feng. She said, “Hey, Lin Feng. Chu Fang should be here any minute now, right?”

Chu Fang arrived at the cybercafe where Team Shanghai was practicing. He stepped out of the cab with a briefcase and a large stack of documents under his arms. I’m a little late. But it should be fine. What room did Lin Feng say again? Was it 3? I think… He turned his head and searched for a note within the pile of files. Yeah, 3. He walked into the cybercafe and then knocked on the door of private room 3.

Lin Feng opened the door and said, “Chu Fang! Hey! You’re late!”

Chu Fang laughed and replied, “Hey Lin Feng. Can I come in?”

Lin Feng stepped aside and let Chu Fang in, after which the rest of Team Shanghai stood up from behind their computers. They turned to look at Chu Fang and slightly bowed, greeting, “Welcome, Vice President Chu!”

Chu Fang nodded and said, “Hey, it’s good to finally meet all of you. How i—”

“You look like a truck ran over you!” Lin Feng interrupted. “Did you forget to sleep or something? You look terrible!”

Chu Fang shook his head and chuckled. “Can’t be helped, Lin Feng. The Collegiate Cup is starting soon and I’m in charge of most of it. I just rushed over from a meeting with a potential sponsor. Now I’m here for a bit and then it’s straight to the venue where the main event will be held and make sure everything is progressing as scheduled.”

Zhang Hao looked at Chu Fang, impressed, and said, “Wow. That sounds like a lot of work, Vice President Chu.”

An Xin smiled and chimed in, “Doesn’t sound all that different from normal, does it? You always work hard!”

Lin Feng finally processed what Chu Fang was telling him. He’s really busy! He doesn’t even have the time to sleep! He looked at Chu Fang and suggested, “Maybe you should go home and get a quick nap! You really didn’t need to come all the way here just to watch us play. Our practice is going great! We’re going to win the tournament no problem!”

Zeng Rui watched the exchange between Lin Feng and Chu Fang with both disapproval and confusion. He’s talking to a senior! He should show some respect! This thundering dumbass sounds like he’s talking to BunBun… Or anyone else… He always talks like… Ughh! He scrunched his nose and watched Chu Fang. But why is he going along with it? Why is he talking so casually with Lin Feng…? It’s like… Do they know each other? Is that even possible? Where would they’ve met? The Shanghai 16 School Tournament? But why would they’ve kept in touch? No, something is fishy here.

Chu Fang looked at Lin Feng and smiled. He’s just like he was back then. So full of confidence. He reminds me of a bigger version of Maple. He explained, “I know you’re good, Lin Feng. I’ve got complete confidence in you and the rest of the team. That’s not why I’m here. I’m here because you guys are representing the Shanghai Esports Association. It only makes sense that I come and check up on you guys every now and then. And then I can report that back to the boss.” He suddenly raised his finger and turned to look at the others. He asked, “You guys are in the middle of practice, right? Lin Feng mentioned something about that. How about I watch a game? Give me an impression of how good you guys already are!”

Lin Feng shouted in excitement, “You should watch me in the mid lane! I’ll go Legendary in the next game, I’m feeling it!”

Zeng Rui glanced at Lin Feng, annoyed. Of course he’s at it again. Can’t he show some proper etiquette? He then turned to look at Chu Fang and replied, “Of course. It’d be our honour. We won’t disappoint you, Vice President Chu.”

Team Shanghai wanted to show off to Chu Fang. An Xin took on her role as coach, talking the team through their strategy and telling them which champions to pick and ban in Champion select. Then, when the five players loaded onto the Rift, Zeng Rui took over. He gave the calls, following along the game plan An Xin had just explained. He did this as well as he could, using the opportunity to show Chu Fang exactly how good Team Shanghai was. To prove to Chu Fang that it’d been the right choice to invite him.

The first 10 minutes of the game flew by. There was action in every lane, kill announcements following each other up in quick succession. It was a true stomp. Team Shanghai was slaughtering the opponents, leaving nothing of them untouched. The kills just kept coming. Lin Feng was the first to go legendary, claiming his 9th kill of the game in the 14th minute of the game. Tang Bingyao followed right behind him, claiming the legendary status three minutes later. The game lasted another three minutes. At 20 minutes, the surrender feature unlocked. The enemy team unanimously voted to surrender.

Chu Fang’s smile grew wider and wider as he watched the game conclude. They’re fantastic! Even better than I thought they’d be! That Toplaner is doing pretty well and the ad-carry really is a lot more talented than I expected! Seems like their practice is paying off! He’d had full faith in Team Shanghai before coming here today. That was why he hadn’t come sooner. Why he left them to their own devices. But to see them reach this level of skill was outside of his expectations. They might actually win this tournament! They’re going to shock a lot of people at the very least. That much is certain. None of those university teams knows what’s coming for them!

There were five pairs of eyes turned towards Chu Fang, pulling him away from his thoughts. He took a deep breath, then gave a thumbs up and said, “Fantastic, guys! That was great!”

Tang Bingyao nodded and said, “Mhm! Thanks!”

Zhang Hao stood up and bowed towards Chu Fang. “Thank you, Vice President Chu!”

Zeng Rui smiled and said, “This means a lot coming from you, Vice President Chu. Thank you!”

This was the first time for these three to interact with Chu Fang. They knew who he was. He was the man behind the scenes. A real professional and veteran in the world of esports. To receive a compliment from him meant incredibly much to them. So it wasn’t strange to see them beaming with joy.

And then there were Lin Feng and An Xin. They didn’t really care about the compliments from Chu Fang. It wasn’t anything new to them. They’d heard those same words back in Season 1. Back then it wasn’t just Chu Fang either. Other bigshots like Fang Hao were practically fighting over who could give the biggest compliments. So Lin Feng did what Lin Feng does best. He struck his victory pose and shouted, “Of course we did great! We’re going to win the Winter Collegiate Cup!”

Chu Fang smiled and said, “I’m glad to see you so confident. And I have to admit, after watching you guys play, I believe you actually stand a chance.” He suddenly paused. The smile vanished from his face. He looked seriously at Lin Feng and the others before continuing, “But it won’t be easy. There are many really strong teams. And I’m not just talking about the university teams.”

Tang Bingyao tilted her head and asked, “Not?”

An Xin raised an eyebrow and asked, “Are you talking about the high school teams from Beijing and Guangzhou?”

“I am,” Chu Fang confirmed. He searched through the pile of documents he brought with him while saying, “I gathered some information on those two teams. From what I can tell, they’re going to be some of your toughest opponents in the entire tournament.”

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Unique Foods that the Rise Team Loves!

This Translator Thought is sponsored by ‘Shock’, winner of the TFT tournament from a couple of weeks ago. He wants us to talk about some of the best unique dishes we know, i.e. foods of a specific country, culture, etc. Nothing common like McFries.

Sietse Thought: I’ll start this Translator Thought by relaying a message from Devshard.

Dev: “I like eating cock. Way better than chicken. Especially when it’s moist. Dev out.”

There you have it, Shock. Our very much vegetarian Devshard enjoys eating cock. Wouldn’t surprise me if he forgot to add Shanks’ in front of that.

But as for unique Dutch dishes, it’s kind of funny I guess. I’m absolutely disgusted by them. There is no food I hate so much as typical Dutch food. We have ‘erwtensoep’ which we eat when it’s cold outside. The proper way to eat it is when it’s so solid that you can make a snowball from it and throw it at the wall… or someone else. I can’t get it down my throat when it’s like that. But even when it’s more liquidy, I still think it’s absolutely disgusting. Something about it that just feels all wrong. The taste isn’t even the biggest issue here I think, it’s something about the texture and consistency.

That is just one of a couple of Dutch winter dishes. And it’s not the worst. We’ve got a kale and potato dish called ‘boerenkool’. Man, that shit is disturbing. I don’t get why people thought that should be called food. I just wanna retch when I think about it. Maybe put some gummy bears up my nose so I can smell some sweety sweetness. And it just gets worse from there.

Zuurkool. Sauerkraut. Whatever you wanna call it, is the single worst dish in all of existence. I’m legit unsure how people work that down their throats… Even the Devil would spit at it. I don’t think I can trust anyone who eats that crap of their own volition. Seriously, the single worst dish ever. I can’t express enough just how incredibly much I hate everything about that disgusting shit that I refuse to call food.

To sum it all up. Typical Dutch food is fucking disgusting. I hate everything about it. Not a single dish I like. And I hate zuurkool most of all. In fact, I’d rather starve myself to death than ever stick that shit in my mouth again.

Oh! I suppose one of the more unique things I’ve eaten is Shark Fin. I really liked it, but I think that was mostly because of how much my dad hyped me up about eating it. Thinking back about it now, I honestly can’t even recall what it tasted like. They were great nights at this really nice restaurant. I still go there every now and then, in fact. But yeah. No clue what it tasted like, just that the experience was great.

Shanks Thought:  Coming from a Chinese family, I can say that I’ve had plenty of experiences with ‘unique’ food, especially whenever I go back to visit family in the mainland. I’ve eaten starfish soup, snake on a skewer, roast pigeon on a skewer, bullfrog, seahorse, and so on, and they all tasted pretty good… You know, I guess this does play into the stereotype of Asian people eating anything. But I think the most delicious unique food I’ve had is grilled ox tongue. You honestly wouldn’t think it’d be that tasty, but it really is amazing. It has a nice soft, fatty texture that melts in your mouth, and it soaks up all the flavour of any spice or seasoning you use to marinate it with.

As for the most unique experience… back when I was 8 years old, my dad came home from work one day with a dead eagle in his hand. I asked him how he got it, and he told me it was perched on the tree next to his workplace, so he decided to take a shot at it with his slingshot. Surprisingly, he hit the mark and killed it instantly. And then we had eagle stew for dinner that night. It tasted like crap though. The meat was way too tough and kind of bitter. But there’s a Chinese superstition where you gain the powers of the animals you eat. So, I was forced to eat all of it. Unfortunately, I did not gain the ability to see from super far away or develop the ability to fly.

Sietse Interjection: Isn’t it a crime to kill an eagle? And after you ate it, you didn’t even gain any superpowers. You need some more of that MC plot armour, bud!

Shanks thought: Everything is fair game in China. It’s also not a crime if no one catches you.

Sietse’s Continued Interjection: There is this ‘badass’ subreddit. I really want Shanks to get that eagle and make a tiktok where he says the above line. It’ll end up on that sub. I’m sure of it. And for some reason, I really want that. I just wanna watch it. 🙁

Dev Thought: I’m Indian. Obviously I like Indian food. A lesser known fact about us Indian people is that we travel the world to try Indian food outside of India. That sounds like a joke, but it is not. Ask any person from India that you know if they’ve ever gone out of their way to find the one Indian restaurant near wherever they happen to be vacationing and eat there. When I was younger, I used to talk to my friends about this and we thought it was because of our parents. Now that I’m a grownup, whenever I take a trip somewhere with my brown crew, I still find the one Indian restaurant nearby and eat there. Pretty sure this is some kind of blood compulsion. 

Anyways. Most unique Indian food I’ve ever eaten was in NYC. It was a friend’s birthday, there was a trendy new restaurant that everyone was talking about so we got reservations there. Walk in and open the menu, standard Indian food. I got paneer kebabs and chole bathura. We’re waiting for the food, and then the waiter walks up and puts bowls down in front of us. Another waiter follows after him and starts spraying foam into the bowls. Turns out it was one of those fancy molecular gastronomy places. They made foam that tasted exactly like Indian food. 

The foam did taste exactly like paneer and chole bathura. I’ll give them that. But you know what the difference between cheese + a chickpea curry + fried puffy bread and foam is? One actually fills your stomach and the other one does not. We actually walked out of that restaurant hungrier than when we went in.

And then we did the other thing that brown people do. We went to a Taco Bell. 

Our Brand New, Super Awesome Sign Off Message:

What does the fox say? MOOooOOoOOOoOOOoO!

Anyone else here low-key loves that song but is afraid to admit it, because everyone is always making fun of how bad it is? Just like Friday. Great song. Not because of the awful voice. But just because of how hilariously dumbfuck it is. I think the Rise Team should do their own version of it.

Comment LIKE if you liked the chapter.
Comment NOLIKE if you hated it.

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