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This is the Dream Life

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The illustrious person known as One was a 28 year old man living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He’d bought a small villa on the outskirts of the city where he lived together with the woman of his dreams. Just the thought of her awoke that warm, happy feeling in his stomach reaching up to his heart. He was napping on the couch in his living room, vaguely listening to the sounds coming from the television. The faint sound of a door creaking suddenly clapped in his ear like thunder. He shot up straight and ruffled his puffy hair to look somewhat representable. Then he looked over his shoulder at her and smiled. I love you.

Five had wrapped a white bath towel around her chest and was brushing her long, black hair. “Hey, sweety. Anything fun on tv?”

The words didn’t register. One just stared at Five and counted his lucky stars. It’s like God put an Angel on Earth just for me. You’re perfect. How you look and who you are. There’s nothing else, no one else in the world as perfect as you are. I didn’t believe perfection existed, until I met you. On that day, I wanted to give you my heart. I wanted to tell you everything and give you everything! You have no idea how happy I feel just to be near you! He bit on his lips and shook his head a bit, smiling. “Hmm?”

“The TV,” Five repeated, nodding at the large television affixed to the wall. “Is it fun?”

“Oh, that,” One replied. He scratched the back of his head and laughed awkwardly. “Uh, yeah, I guess?” He glanced over his shoulder and then quickly back at Five. He looked into her dark obsidian eyes that were so bright, and he smiled. He just smiled. Smiled and stared into her eyes. You’re perfect in every way! But your eyes, your eyes are something else entirely. There is such a strong life shining in them! I just… Nothing is difficult when I look into your eyes. I just want to take you in my arms and hold you! “You’re as pretty as the first day I met you,” he said before even realising he did.

Five giggled and said, “I was going to ask your opinion on some new clothes I bought the other day, but…” She placed her finger on the rim of her towel, just above her breasts, and seductively moved it around the edge. Then she winked and moaned, “But it seems you’re more interested in something else.”

One breathed saliva down the wrong hole. He lurched forward, coughing loudly into the couch. Fuck I love her! His eyes teared and his lungpipe hurt, but he forced the coughing down. He looked back up at Five, smiling again, and said, “Please… You know that I love everything you wear! And that I also love it when you don’t wear anything at all!”

“You smooth criminal!” Five replied, giggling. She blew One a kiss and added, “Pointless to ask your honest opinion anyway. You’ll say anything to get laid!”

One and Five weren’t just looking to spend the rest of their lives together, they’d already spent a short lifetime together. The two met each other on the competitive stage of DotA, where they fought together on the same team. They quickly became the most famous esports power couple in the world. Two legends at the game. And when One eventually took the crown of best in the world, Five was right beside him. She was his Queen, not just in name but also in merit. She was the best female DotA player and had, just like One, eventually received a place in the Esports Hall of Fame.

Five let One coax her into sitting down next to him. She wrapped the towel a little tighter around her, her buttocks planted firmly on the soft leather of the couch. I should get changed. He’s just looking for some… And he’s dirty! I’m finally clean after a nice shower… I’m not going to get dirty again! “Nope! Not happening!” Five said decisively when One reached over to kiss her. “When was the last time you showered!? I… I think I should go and put some clothes on!”

“What? I showered this morning! Here, smell! Don’t I smell great?” One said as he leaned over again, planting his lips on her. They’re so soft… He moved his hand along her side and reached lower, but she quickly slapped him away.

“Nope! Not happening,” Five repeated.

“Awww,” One replied. He then grinned and threw his arm around her shoulders, looking back at the television. The two sat there like that for a good few seconds, until One said, “Right. I called Lin Feng the other day.”

“Lin Feng?” Five asked, surprised. She turned to look at One and said, “I haven’t spoken with him in ages! How is he doing these days? You said he was playing again a bit, right? How’s that going?”

One smiled and explained, “He’s doing alright. A bit slow, but that’s okay. He’s trying to find his old form again, just isn’t going about it too fast. So I gave him a little push. You know, my Korean account we sometimes play on. I’m kind of excited to see what he’s going to pull off on that.”

“A little push? Your Korean League account?” Five said, her eyes growing wider. “We got your account to Challenger! What, are you going to tell him to get to the top of the ladder and play a few games against Rake!?”

“Exactly!” One replied, laughing.

Five giggled and asked, “You sure that’s the reason? It has nothing to do with you being so bad that you need me to carry you? Was it too embarrassing to ask me for help?”

One rubbed his nose and grimaced. “Well, uhm, you know… That’s just not fair! We duo queue! I’m just as valuable! Plus, this is for his own good. He’ll never catch up to that Korean kid if he doesn’t challenge himself a little. And come on, he’s pushing himself by playing some university tournament… He isn’t going to learn anything there!”

Five watched One in silence as he argued why the little push he gave was all in Lin Feng’s best interest. She eventually nodded and said, “Sounds like you know what you’re doing. Eh, he’s a good kid. If anyone can do it, it’s him.”

One laughed and said, “We’ll see, we’ll see! Right now I’m just hoping he can stay in Challenger. It would really suck if my account drops back down to Master. Took us way too long to get to Challenger…”

“You know…” Five said. She winked at One and continued, “If you’re so worried about your account dropping ranks, how about you give him my account. It’s also in Challenger. Doesn’t that sound like a good plan? Yeah! Come, let’s call him and tell him the good news!”

“No, no! He needs my account!” One quickly countered. He leaned a bit closer to Five and continued, “I gave him your number and told him to give it to BunBun. She should call you soon. I’m sure you can find someone to carry your account.”

“BunBun? How is she?” Five asked. Then she giggled and added, “Those two are still together, huh?”

One nodded and said, “They are. Even on the same team! And she’s playing on the team too this time. Just…” He looked at the television and mumbled, “Just for some reason she’s playing in the Jungle… Hey, hun. My memory is pretty bad these days. Was BunBun a Jungle main?”

“Jungle? No, I think that was her least played role. Why would she be playing in the Jungle?” Five replied, equally puzzled.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” One mumbled in response. “It’s strange. I wonder why she chose to play in the Jungle. There must be a reason for it, I guess?”

Lin Feng had returned to the restaurant after seeing An Xin off. There he enjoyed another hour of entertainment with his friends before going home together with Su Xue. When they got to the front door of the apartment, Su Xue opened it because Lin Feng had forgotten his keys again. He quickly brushed past her and said, “Thanks, Su Xue! I’m going to do my homework!”

A lot of Lin Feng’s free time went to playing League of Legends. But he never forgot to do his homework. The first thing he did every day after coming home was blitzing through his homework. It didn’t matter to him if he lost sleep over it, or if he missed out on some League of Legends because of it. He had to finish his homework first. This time that meant studying for an upcoming Mathematics test and writing a short story for his English Literature class.

It was already nearing midnight when Lin Feng put his pen down. “Finally! That took long, but…” He looked at his homework. It was all done. “I’m really good at doing homework too!” He grinned and then closed the document he had open on his laptop. League of Legends… The shortcut for the League of Legends client was the first thing that drew his attention on the homescreen. I should get started on that. I’m going to need all the time I can get if I want to complete One’s challenge.

Lin Feng connected to the internet through a proxy server and opened the Korean League of Legends client. Then he took out his phone and opened his WeChat conversation with One. There, as promised, was the account information. I wonder what account One got me. Did he really climb to Challenger himself? Of course he did! He’s One! Lin Feng typed in the information and logged in. The League of Legends client loaded him to the front page. He looked at the right top corner where it showed the Summoner Name.

CN•HOOK2

CN•HOOK2! Lin Feng had prepared himself for the possibility that this was One’s account. But this account was so much more than just a random account One boosted to Challenger! CN•HOOK2 was the online handle of One’s second account back when he played DotA competitively. Everyone back then knew that it was One’s account! And they might still! I have to do the name proud!

Lin Feng’s eyes were wide and his stomach twisted into a tight knot. His breathing was short and raggard. One gave me his account! This is really his account! I promised One to get his account to Top 5. But… This is his account! This isn’t just some random account or some random name… This is his name! His name! Lin Feng felt his heart smashing into his ribcage, his mind as messy as the hair on his head. His name. I promised to get his account to Top 5 Challenger. But this is really his account! He has given me his name! I’m playing on his account! I’m the legend… I can’t let him down. I can’t, absolutely can’t let him down. Lin Feng stared at his screen, a fire blazing in his eyes. I won’t let him down. Top 5? Screw that! This account is going to the top of the ladder! I’m going to be the best!

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Shanks is Confused by Salad Pricing!

Shanks Thought: A lot of these days, I’m catching myself becoming grouchy and getting hung up over the past. Like one time, I wanted to treat myself to something light and healthy for lunch, so I opened up Ubereats and looked up the menu of this health-style salad bowl restaurant. I’d never eaten their food before, but I’d heard about it often enough from classmates, and I’ve seen their little bowls around campus. And I have to admit, as a person that doesn’t go for the salad choice often, their salads do look pretty damn delicious.

What I didn’t expect was for them to be charging $15 on average for a single salad bowl. LIKE WHAT!? I was expecting like $6 hovering around $8, but these guys are charging freaking DOUBLE THAT! I-I don’t understand. My mind is fritzed. In what universe is it normal to be paying $15 for a salad! Is that just a normally accepted thing now? Like they’d be better adding  a fucking foot massage on top of that and tossing it with the finest truffle oil source from the remote forests of Italy to be charging me that much for a sald! Back in my day, the salad was the appetizer you’d order before your main meal. It’d be like $3-$4 at most! Ugh, gah, I’m doing it again.

Maybe I should just accept that the world has changed. That I’m out of touch. It’s not the children who are wrong. I am. I’ll do my best to be more hip with the kids now! I’ll start watching Fortnite Twitch streams, and I’ll listen to Chug Jug With You for the next 10 hours on loop. This must have been the enlightenment Devshard reached a few days ago. That’s why he’s been speaking that weird Twitch lingo. EZCLAP. POGGERS. MONKAS! PEPEHANDS! NOCAP!

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