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.”