Lin Feng didn’t queue up for a ranked game right away. This is One’s smurf! One ranked on it! I… His hand trembled slightly. I need to know. His mouse moved away from the play button and towards the profile button in the top right corner. He clicked and a new page loaded. It showed the recently played matches. Lin Feng’s eyes went wide in shock. So many wins! They’re all wins! Wins everywhere! It’s green, green, GREEN! It’s a Challenger account! How is he getting all these wins!? Lin Feng scrolled through the recent match history, a perfect field of 10 wins. Wait, huh? Annie? Thresh? Why is he playing Supports? What’s going on? One is a Midlaner! He scrunched his nose and moved his head back, confused.
Lin Feng opened up his browser and went to a League of Legends summoner statistics website. There he typed ‘CN•HOOK2’ in the search bar. Come on, show me already! Why is it taking so long!? Go faster! Faster! Ah! The page loaded and showed him a detailed analysis of the games played on the CN•HOOK2 account.
Some of the most impressive statistics appeared on Lin Feng’s monitor. CN•HOOK2 was a relatively new account that played all its games in duo queue together with an account called CN•DancingShoe. Lin Feng recognized this name right away. He knew it almost as well as he did CN•HOOK2’s. Five! That’s Five’s account! One is duoing with Five! They’re playing together! Oh… Now I’m playing on this account, so they can’t duo… But One gave it to me! I have to try my best!
Lin Feng scrolled through CN•HOOK2’s statistics. Wow! One still has it! There are so many wins! He’s winning everything! How isn’t he Top 1 Challenger yet? All these wins! There were a total of 90 games played in duo queue. And nearly all of them were victories. It was only once the account hit Challenger that a couple of losses started appearing. But even then, One and Five were climbing fast! They’re so good! If the Koreans knew about them, they’d be shitting their pants! One will pound them hard! He’s the best! All those analysts saying Korea is the best, they don’t know One! He’s still at the top! He’s still so good! He… He…
Lin Feng took a long, deep breath. He browsed through the statistics website for another 10 minutes, letting the reality of the situation settle in. This is such a strong account. It went straight to Challenger in only 73 games! That must be like a record! And even in Challenger he barely loses anything! I can’t screw that up! I won’t! Lin Feng balled his hand into a fist, his eyes blazing in determination. I’m going to make One proud! This account is going to go on a massive win streak! I refuse to lose even a single game! Top 5? SCREW THAT! He pumped his fist in the air and shouted, “Watch me climb, One! I’ll make you proud!” He then tabbed back into the League client and entered the queue.
“Hmm, what to play, what to play,” Lin Feng mumbled to himself. I can’t play Support like One has been doing. If I want to carry and reach the top of Challenger, I need to carry. So I’ll play Mid. The queue popped and he entered Champion Select. He smiled as he went through the practiced motions of banning and picking Champions. I’m going to go mid every game and carry! For One, and for myself.
Lin Feng was on the loading screen, waiting for his first game to start. He’d locked in Yasuo, one of his best Champions right now, and had to play against an Ahri. “Let’s see what rank you are,” Lin Feng mumbled while tabbing out of the League client and looking up the Ahri’s statistics. Master? That’s all? I’m playing against a Master Mid? My Yasuo is getting better. There’s no way a random Master can test me. This game will be easy! He smiled and tabbed back into the game.
《Welcome to Summoner’s Rift!》
At 4 minutes: Lin Feng’s Yasuo received the help from his Jungler Jarvan IV to pick up first blood on Ahri.
At 6 minutes: Lin Feng’s Yasuo picked up a solo kill on Ahri.
At 8 minutes: Lin Feng’s Yasuo roamed to the bot lane, where he worked together with his Botlaners to secure a kill and an assist.
At 10 minutes: Lin Feng’s Yasuo followed after Ahri who was trying to help her Jungler gank the top lane. He turned the gank around singlehandedly, picking up two kills and an assist. His score was a staggering 5/0/2 with a 96 creep score!
Lin Feng’s teammates were getting carried so hard by Lin Feng that they used a combination of Korean and broken English to write a couple of messages in team chat. They thanked him for carrying them and even gave him a couple of compliments, which was quite an achievement. Koreans rarely ever had anything nice to say about Chinese players on their server. But Lin Feng didn’t care about any of these messages. They weren’t worth his attention, because they didn’t mean anything. He was stomping on a Master player. That was still too easy for him. Just this much doesn’t mean anything. I need to play against Challengers! Against the top Challengers! And so he kept playing, laser focused on the game.
At 20 minutes: The outer and inner towers in the mid lane were already destroyed. Lin Feng’s Yasuo pushed up the lane all the way to the inhibitor tower. The Red team’s Ahri and their Jungler Rek’Sai were defending it. Lin Feng’s Yasuo attacked the Red minions twice with Steel Tempest, a storm quietly brewing at the tip of his blade. Then he unleashed the tornado onto the Rift! It blew through Ahri and Rek’Sai, knocking them both up into the air!
“Last Breath!” Lin Feng shouted. His Yasuo blinked to Ahri and kept both Red team Champions suspended in midair. He attacked with a flurry of slashes before slamming them back down to the ground! The damage was massive! Two more auto attacks finished Ahri off and a Steel Tempest did the same to Rek’Sai. Then Lin Feng destroyed the inhibitor tower followed by the inhibitor.
At 24 minutes: Lin Feng’s Yasuo destroyed Red Team’s Nexus with the help of his teammates. The energy contained within the crystal exploded outwards and morphed into the victory emblem. The all chat blew up with compliments for Lin Feng from his teammates, and salty messages from his opponents about reporting the Ahri for feeding. Lin Feng ignored all of this. He clicked out of the game and checked the League Points he gained for his win. 17 LP! The focus disappeared from his face, making place for his usual grin. I’m really good at gaining LP to— He stopped himself and forced the grin away. This was an easy game against a weak Midlaner. I need to stay focused.
Lin Feng was so focused on the game that everything else around him disappeared. There was only him and his Champion. He played a second game. His lane opponent was a little bit better this time around. They were Challenger and playing Fizz. But Lin Feng still crushed them all the same. He knew the ins and outs of Fizz. Nothing this Korean Challenger threw at him could surprise him. It took him 32 minutes to close the game out. His teammates were impressed with him again. He’d hard-carried them to victory.
The third game followed quickly after the second. And it played out in much the same fashion. Lin Feng’s opponent in the mid lane was a Challenger who played an assassin type Midlaner. Those were simply in the meta, so it came as no surprise to Lin Feng. But he excelled at exactly this type of Champion. He went with Ahri this game and shut Red Team’s Yasuo down. Then he stomped the other lanes and carried his team to a win. It was his third victory of the night.
Lin Feng slowly took a deep breath and then yawned. He stretched out long and rubbed his eyes. What time is it? He glanced at his phone and nodded in surprise. Two in the morning? Those games didn’t take that long, did they? I got school tomorrow. I should probably… But I also kind of want to play another game… Just one mo— Hmm? He looked over his shoulder at the door. There were footsteps on the other side, followed by a soft knocking sound.
“Lin Feng?” Su Xue whispered. She knocked on the door again and then pushed it open. She poked her head through the opening and looked into Lin Feng’s bedroom. “Are you still up, Lin Feng? I saw the lights—” Su Xue pushed the door open, revealing her pink Jinx pyjamas, and looked at Lin Feng sitting behind his desk. She said, “Why are you still up? Don’t you have school tomorrow? Do you know what time it is? It’s almost 2 A.M. young man!” She glanced past Lin Feng at the screen of his laptop. “League?” She narrowed her eyes and continued, “You’re still up because you’re playing League? You little addict! Turn that off and go to bed! I don’t want to spend all morning tomorrow trying to wake you up! I swear, I’m gonna use the sharp end of my cleaver on you one day!”
Lin Feng leaned on the back of his chair and said, “But—”
“To bed or a beating! Your choice!” Su Xue interrupted, glaring at Lin Feng.
Lin Feng scratched the back of his head and mumbled, “Oh, uhm, I’ll go to bed… in a bit.”
“Did I stutter?” Su Xue asked. She wagged her finger and ordered, “You’re turning off your laptop and going to bed right now, young man!”
“Ah, come on! Don’t be like this!” Lin Feng complained. I just want to play one more game! I’ll wake up fine in a few hours! He turned his chair around and blinked a couple of times, imitating An Xin’s puppy eyes. He then placed his hand together in front of him and begged, “Please, please! Just let me play one more game! One more game! That’s all I’m asking you!”
Su Xue stamped her feet on the floor and yelled, “You’re an addict! You’re acting like an addict! You know that real professional players value their rest! A good night’s sleep is…” She shook her head in frustration. STOP LOOKING AT ME WITH THOSE DAMN PUPPY EYES! I NEED TO BE MAD AT YOU! She pinched her eyelids shut and yelled, “TO BED WITH YOU!” But she couldn’t stop herself from opening her eyes and glancing at him. Damn those puppy eyes! She chewed on her lips and finally caved, “Fine. One more game. But this is your last game! No more excuses after this!”
“Okay! I promise! This’ll be my last game!” Lin Feng exclaimed, excited. I’m feeling good and focused! This is how it should be! Just a few more games! I need to feel this state! Get back into it! I can’t quit now! This is gonna be goo— His stomach growled and rumbled.
Su Xue rubbed her forehead and shook her head. “Jeez, what’s gotten into you? Even your stomach is protesting against you playing this much! Fine, fine, whatever. I guess you’re hungry, right? Let me just call for some late night delivery. They’re used to staying open late just for you anyway…” She sighed to herself. I finished my stream… Might as well stick here and watch him play his last game. Then I can also make sure that he actually does go to bed. Uch… Tomorrow is going to be terrible. How will I get him out of bed in time for school? I’m not his mom, dammit!
Lin Feng was a habitual late night snacker. It was so bad that the local chicken shop stayed open late just for him. It didn’t take more than five minutes before the doorbell rang. Su Xue got up and went to pay for the chicken cutlet, octopus balls and soda. When she got back to Lin Feng’s room, she sat down next to him and looked at the League client. Lin Feng was already in the queue. He should get into a game in no time! And knowing him, he’ll carry it to a win in 15 minutes! It’s okay. He’ll be in bed before 3! She smiled and said, “Alright, let’s eat.”
“Ok!” Lin Feng exclaimed, grabbing the chicken cutlet and sinking his teeth into the tender meat. He swallowed it down and was about to take a second bite when he looked up at Su Xue. He said, “They’re really fast these days!”
Su Xue shook her head and said, “That’s because I paid extra for express delivery! And probably because they keep a portion ready just for you. We order almost every single night! You do know eating this late is bad for your health, right? We really need to stop doing this!”
Lin Feng ruffled his hair and asked, “Is it? I didn’t know.”
“Yes it is! You don’t eat 12 hours after breakfast! That’s just common sense!” Su Xue countered. She sighed and rubbed the back of her head. I’m too young to be a mother… Why do I feel like I’m his mother? He’s 19! But he acts just like a little kid most of the time! She shook her head and said, “You kids don’t seem to care about your bodies at all! I’m surprised you’re still alive sometimes…”
Lin Feng reached for the octopus balls and popped one into his mouth. He sunk his teeth in the crunchy outside, and then he yelled! “AAAH! HOT! HOT! HOTHOTHOT!”
“Are you stupid?” Su Xue screamed. She grabbed the soda and clicked the can open, all the while complaining, “I told you to be careful! I always tell you to be careful! But nooooo, you have to go and get your tongue burned! Here, drink this!” She pushed the can to his lips and tipped it slightly to let the cold liquid flow into his mouth. “SLOW DOWN! Slow it! You’re going to choke! Oh my god! How stupid are you!”
“The soda is good! Thanks for feeding me!” Lin Feng said, grinning again. He then grabbed the chicken cutlet and took another bite from it. “Mhhmmm! Delicious!!”
Su Xue shook her head, but knew better than to argue. She kept glancing at Lin Feng, making sure he didn’t do anything else that required her intervention, then grabbed her own chicken cutlet and nibbled at it. “It is good,” she mumbled. “Just… I’m going to get fat if I keep eating this with you…”
Lin Feng swallowed another big bite and briefly paused to say, “You can just not eat it and give it to me…”
“Like it’s that easy!” Su Xue complained. She turned her head to look at Lin Feng and whined, “You don’t get how hard I have it! I smell this delicious food every night, so of course I’m hungry! I want to eat it! But then… Then I look at the new up and coming streamers.” She shook her head and grimaced. “You know that 90% of them are female? And they’re all really pretty! They must be using some kind of filter, but still. It’s so unfair! They’re getting all those views with their looks! I’m working really hard here to create something special and they just come barging in with their boobs fitted in clothes three sizes too small!”
“You’re losing viewers?” Lin Feng asked, surprised.
“NoNoNo! I’m doing good! I’m still getting more viewers. But still!” Su Xue exclaimed. “I should be getting more!”
Lin Feng grinned and looked at his League client. The queue still hadn’t popped, something that wasn’t strange. There were only a few hundred this high on the ranked ladder. The game needed to find 9 of them at the same time for a match. “Oh!” he suddenly said. “How are your videos doing? Going any better yet?”
The gloominess disappeared. Su Xue sat up a little straighter and a smile blossomed on her face. She said, “Yeah! I was just about to tell you about that! The second video got a much better reception than the first! There are still some idiots who don’t like it and the usual trolls and flamers in the comments. But who cares about them? There are many more who like my videos!”
Lin Feng swallowed another piece of chicken cutlet and shrugged. “There are always flamers and trolls. Best to ignore them. You shouldn’t worry about them. Just keep making more videos! You’ll find an audience who loves them!”
Su Xue nodded and replied, “I won’t let the trolls get to me! No worries! Not like I can let that happen! I want to become the biggest streamer in China, remember? There’ll always be trolls…” She shook her head and looked at Lin Feng’s monitor. “What’s got you all pumped up to play tonight anyway? Are you in your promos or something? Is that why this queue is taking so long?”
Lin Feng scratched the back of his head and said, “Oh, I’m in Challenger. There aren’t any promos.”
Su Xue nodded along, nodded, nodded, and then her eyes went wide and her mouth fell open. “CHALLENGER? Did you just say Challenger!? This is the Korean client! I thought your account wasn’t in Challenger yet! How are you in Challenger already? This is so unfair! How did you get to Challenger this quickly!? I look away for one second and you’re suddenly playing in Challenger? This is so unfair! No! I don’t believe it! You’re lying! You have to be!”
Lin Feng shrugged and opened his profile page. He then pointed at where it showed his rank. “See? Challenger. I’m not lying to you.”
“W-w-w-w-w-w,” Su Xue muttered. W-w-w-w-when did he get to Challenger? She grabbed Lin Feng by the shoulders and shuffled him around, yelling into his face, “Tell me! When did you get Challenger! There are like only five Chinese players in the Korean Challenger! AND THEY’RE ALL PROFESSIONAL PLAYERS! When did you get there! Are there 6 now? Are there? Tell me! TELL ME!”
“Eh, what? No, no,” Lin Feng replied, shaking his head. “I didn’t get to Challenger myself. A friend lent me his account.”
Su Xue blinked a couple of times and then slowly repeated, “A friend lent it to you…?”
Lin Feng nodded and added, “Yeah, he wants me to get it to the Top 5.”
The way in which Lin Feng was talking was far too casual. Top 5 on the Korean ranked ladder was something even the best professional players from China couldn’t achieve. They were lucky just to get into Challenger! That was what Su Xue had read online, anyway. She stared at Lin Feng’s laptop and back at him again. “W-w-w-w…” She grabbed her soda can with trembling hands and downed cold liquid. Then she took a deep breath and asked, “What did you say?”
Lin Feng looked at Su Xue. What’s got her all worked up? Maybe she didn’t hear me? “I said,” he repeated slowly, articulating every word overly clearly. “I need to climb to the Top 5 of the Korean ranked ladder.”
Su Xue’s mouth fell open. She closed it with her hand, only for it to fall open again when she moved her arm away. She then felt her own forehead before reaching out and feeling Lin Feng’s forehead. Something is wrong. Either I’m really, really sick and losing it… Or he is! That has to be it! He stayed up too late too much and now he’s sick! His mom is going to kill—
“What are you doing?” Lin Feng cut in.
“I’m trying to see which of us is running a fever!” Su Xue replied. There’s no way I heard that correctly! Top 5 in Korea? There hasn’t been a Chinese player who managed to get to the Top 10! This is ridiculous! Something is going on here! Who has the fever! She wanted to reach out and feel Lin Feng’s forehead again, but was stopped by Lin Feng shoving her away.
The queue had popped. Lin Feng’s gaze became serious and he said, “Enough. I need to focus.” He didn’t listen to Su Xue complaints and focused on Champion Select. He was first pick on the Blue team. That meant that he could ban three Champions. Hmm, who do I ban? I could… He shook his head before the thought could even take shape. Three random Champions. I need to practice against the best! He banned Skarner, a rarely played Jungler. Then he glossed through the list and banned Cho’Gath, a Toplaner and sometimes also a Midlaner. People rarely ever touched him. And finally he also banned Galio, a Support Champion who was in dire need of a rework.
Su Xue took the time Lin Feng used to go through banning three Champions to look at who else was on his team. Maybe I’ll r— Her mouth fell wide open. She pulled on Lin Feng’s shoulder and shouted, “OH MY GOD! CN•WuGuang! THAT’S CN_WuGuang! You know who that is? Do you? Do you!? That’s Lightless Heart! LIGHTLESS HEART!”
Lin Feng pushed Su Xue’s hand away, annoyed, and asked, “Who is that?”
Hey guys! Sietse here with another round of good news… GREAT NEWS! This is another merged chapter (Chapter 285 + Chapter 286)! That’s right, you got to end the week (or start it, I suppose) with a double chapter! HOORAH!
Shanks Interjection: It’s called the weekEND, SUNDAY IS THE END OF THE WEEK. Not the start!
Sietse Thought: The monster has awoken! After overdrawing my energy for the last few weeks due to a lack of sleep, I finally found rest! Twelve long hours I slept! I channeled my inner Lin Feng and now I’m expecting to find myself being talented at… well, something, absolutely anything would be nice. That point where shit just makes sense. Like with Chess. Either it makes sense and you see stuff, or you don’t. And sure you can train it. But there’s that basic aspect where you just have to get it.
But I have no talent. I’ve not discovered it yet, anyway. Still searching and hoping that one day I find something I have just a bit of talent for. Any day now! Please? PLEASE!
My father was convinced I was bound to become great at making stuff, similar to what he did and still tries to do. He told me how good I was at it and how it all made sense for me. And I just was there, staring at him, wondering what the fuck he was talking about. But, no, I was great at it! He kept reminding me. In his little world I probably was. He couldn’t see the absolute failure I was when it comes to power tools and, you know, some basic common sense.
I believed my father for many years. He said I was great at it, and I hadn’t discovered anything else I was actually great at, so I just believed him. It made sense to smoll me. But I wasn’t talented. I’m terrible at building stuff. A good example would be on one particular holiday. We were all going to make something. I had no clue what I had to make, didn’t really feel like making anything at all. But I had to make something! So I looked at what a friend of mine was making. A cabinet. Can’t be too hard, I figured. So I grabbed some wood and looked at it for a long, hard hour.
Time flew by. My face grew hot and my ears started tingling. Embarrassed. I was fucking embarrassed. Because for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to make a cabinet from the wood. Like a fucking moron I just stared and asked my friend, “Uhm… How do you make this into something like, that can hold stuff? There has to be like a plank or something, right? But how do you make that…?”
I really tried to figure this out. There are four sides to a cabinet in my mind. Left, right, top and bottom. But how was that going to be anything? It wasn’t until years later that I realised I hadn’t considered the third dimension. The one where you create some depth… Yup. I couldn’t figure something that simple out. It was really what convinced me that my father was full of shit. I wasn’t talented at making shit. In fact, I couldn’t possibly be any less talented at it! Nor did I enjoy it…
And that’s when it finally all made sense. My parents never cared about what I was talented at! They just wanted me to enjoy the things they enjoyed! For some fucked up reason, they thought that was what makes for a great life! I’m not alone in this either. Watched a documentary the other day about the college admission scam. Turns out that a ton of parents pay millions to get their kids into these high end schools just because they didn’t get the chance of attending them when they were young. It’s kind of piggyback riding on your kids! And it’s fucking stupid. Every parent who does that shit should get their head chopped off French style.
Shanks Thought: I hadn’t considered that Sietse’s situation was possible. Mostly because none of my parents or relatives really encouraged me for anything I did or anything that I showed ‘talent’ in. Like, I had to teach myself how to cook through YouTube videos because nobody bothered to teach me how to cook… I assumed Sietse would’ve done the same for learning how to do basic carpentry. But nope. This man stared at a piece of hardwood, long and hard, and tried to will it into the form of a cabinet, as if he could use The Force or something..
I am totally dumbstruck. How did he go LITERAL YEARS without anyone correcting this misconception or him eventually figuring it out by himself. I can’t. I just can’t. The levels of stupid required for me to process this is too much. I may be a dumbfuck, but this is lobotomy levels of no brain power. Like you’d have a hard time powering a basic addition calculator with the processing power that we’re working with here.
And when Sietse DOES come to the realization, he blames his parents for misleading him! Tsk, typical Millennials, amirite? No sense of self-accountability!
Sietse Concluding Remarks: Wut? These damn kids thinking that we had the internet back in the day. I used my damn encyclopedia to figure shit out! And where I was at the time, there was no encyclopedia to tell me about how to make shit! I’m not to be blamed here!
Shanks Interjection: WHO USES AN ENCYCLOPEDIA TO LEARN CARPENTRY!?!?
Sietse Replies: Gotta learn it from somewhere. Can’t just will it… Or meditate on it.
Shanks: B-but… that’s what you did…
Sietse Complains: No… Wait what. I was about to yell at Shanks what the fuck he was talking about with his ‘years’. Turns out that I wrote years. I meant hours, guys. Hours! It took me a few hours and some help to figure it out! Dammit…
Shanks: Too late now…! Bitch!