It was only the other day that Su Xue had walked in on Lin Feng playing on the Korean server. She didn’t think much of it initially. Then she saw his rank. He was playing in Challenger! Every fiber in her body had screamed in shock! She wasn’t an especially talented League of Legends player herself. The intricacies of high level plays were completely lost on her. But she knew from the many online discussions she’d read that Korean Challenger was far more competitive and hardcore than Ionia Challenger! And to the best of her knowledge, Lin Feng was only an Ionia Challenger. So when she found out that he had been given a Korean Challenger account, her brain short-circuited.
The next couple of minutes were a blur for Su Xue. All she remembered was that she’d sat down in a chair next to him to recover from the shock. Then, when she started feeling a little better again, she’d grabbed her phone and looked up the CN•HOOK2 account. The statistics she found were another massive blow to her already fragile mind. Whoever had carried the account to Challenger had done so in basically the minimum number of games required with an exceedingly high KDA! And while she was still recovering from this new information, Lin Feng calmly told her that his goal wasn’t to just sit at the bottom of Challenger, but to fight his way to the top of the ladder! Top 5 at the minimum!
Chinese players, even professional ones, weren’t good enough to reach the top of the Korean ranked ladder. There were only a few who could make their way into the Top 100! But Lin Feng told Su Xue in his usual excited tone that he was going to reach the Top 5 and then push for the Top 3 and maybe even higher! She didn’t know how to respond to that, sitting in her chair and mindlessly nodding along to whatever he said.
After a short discussion, Lin Feng convinced Su Xue to let him play one more game that night. She’d ordered some food and watched him play. That was when she slowly overcame her shock. She witnessed a level of skill that she didn’t know how to explain. Lin Feng was beating Korean Challengers, and it didn’t look like he was having any trouble in doing so! He was getting kills and pushing for objectives, which was enough to convince her that maybe he was good enough to climb the Korean Ladder. She stopped worrying about how impossible it was for Lin Feng to reach the Top 5, and instead started thinking about how amazing it was going to be when he hit it! She was convinced that he’d become the most famous Chinese player and that every League of Legends fan in the world was going to be talking about him!
Su Xue planned to have a first row seat for Lin Feng’s rise to fame. She wanted to watch every second of his ascension on the Korean Challenger ladder! He told her when he was going to play again and she’d looked at her schedule. It was normal stream time for her. But she could make up for time lost streaming, while she would only get one chance to see Lin Feng rise to the top of the rankings. So she told him that she’d end the stream early and that he could come to her room with his laptop to play.
The time had arrived. Su Xue had turned her stream off and Lin Feng was sitting next to her. But he wasn’t ingame yet. He was taking his sweet time setting up his laptop. She couldn’t take it any longer, already jumping in her chair from excitement. There were a few more seconds of silence before she erupted, “GoGoGo! I want you to climb at least another 10 spots tonight!” She slapped him on his back and added, “I’ll make sure we have some food here after you win the first game! Then you can recharge and go again!”
Lin Feng queued up for a ranked game, then turned to look at Su Xue and said, “Food? Sweet! I’m hungry!”
Su Xue sat on the edge of her seat, intensely staring at the queue. But when the queue still hadn’t popped two minutes later, she slumped back in her chair a bit. She said, “Ah, if I could stream your games… Just imagine how many viewers I would get. A hundred thousand? Two hundred thousand…?” She shook her head in regret. He only has a month to climb to the top of Challenger. And he also has to play his tournament and do his homework and go to school. And. And. He needs to focus on his games. Streaming will just distract him. And I want to sit here and watch him play! She clenched her fist under the table and nodded. I’ll make sure no one can distract him!
“You can stream it if you want to,” Lin Feng replied. “I’ve played with so many people watching, what’s a few viewers on a stream? I won’t get distracted by something like that.”
“No! Nope!” Su Xue flatly refused. She wagged her finger and continued, “Climbing the ladder is the most important thing right now! You only have a month! Everything else can wait until then! That includes my stream.” She looked at his screen and noticed his friends list. She pointed at it and asked, “Right! Didn’t Lightless add you? Did he say anything?”
Lin Feng scratched the back of his head and replied, “I think so? I accepted his friend request earlier and I saw a bunch of messages from him, I just kind of forgot to read them.” He opened the chat log with Lightless and read through the messages together with Su Xue. It looked like an interrogation. Lightless was asking Lin Feng if he was a professional player, if they knew each other and so on. All these questions were aimed in one direction, to find out Lin Feng’s identity.
“Oh, oh!” Su Xue blurted out. She jabbed at Lin Feng’s monitor and exclaimed, “He’s online! Lightless is online!”
The only light in the Dark Glory gaming room came from a single monitor. Lightless sat behind the computer, thinking about playing a couple of games on his Korean account. He opened the client and logged on. Before he even knew it, he was checking his friend list. He’s online! One is online! Shit, is it really him? Is this really the One from DotA? Hum, that would explain so much! And he accepted my friend request! He chuckled and shook his head. What am I doing? Why am I fanboying over someone I don’t even know? Who knows, maybe this guy is someone else entirely. He could’ve just stolen the name…
Lightless’ run in with CN•HOOK2 the other night had left him thoroughly confused. Whenever he met Chinese players on the Korean server, they always went out of their way to add him to their friends list. So he’d taken it upon himself to find out just who was behind the CN•HOOK2 account. His initial searches didn’t yield any results. But when he trudged his way through 14 pages on a Baidu search, he found an article from five years ago. It was a piece on the most famous esports character in China. The author had gathered all the data he could find about One to explain just why One was the best. And in the middle of all that data, there was a mention that one of the alternate accounts One sometimes played on was CN•HOOK2.
I never bothered with former professional players. Don’t think I can name anyone from Season 1. Hum, maybe AyDeeCee, but he played in Season 2 more than 1. Lightless stared at his monitor, playing with a stress ball. But there are a few names everyone knows, like One. You can’t not know him! He was the best player in DotA and the best esports player to ever come from China! And now he’s playing League! He’s on my friend list! Well, I think, anyway. It might still be someone else. But who else could be that good? Just look at his match history!
Lightless stared at his friend list, at that single name at the very top. CN•HOOK2, CN•HOOK2…. He accepted my friend request, that’s enough. I’m already happy he accepted my friend request! Hum! I’m not upset that he’s ignoring me, though I would really like to get a response from him. Just a few words to let me know if it’s really him! Could it be him? Yes, it has to be! He smiled and his eyes lit up with joy. One accepted me as a friend! I can see when he’s playing! And he’s going into a game right now! I can watch him play! Fuck it that he won’t respond to my messages! Maybe I’m being too annoying or something. Hum! That might be it! I’ll be quiet to him and just watch him play! I wonder how far he’s going to climb! I get to watch him climb!
The queue popped. Lin Feng clicked ready and was moved to Champion Select, where he called the mid lane. He waited for his turn and then locked in Viktor. This was a mage Champion who was gaining popularity after the latest patch. Even professional players were picking him up again and it started to look like he might get featured in the next LPL season. His early game was acceptable with strong wave clear and high poke damage. But it was the mid and late game where he really started to shine. He could do frightening bursts of area of effect damage to tear through his opponents!
Su Xue looked curiously at Lin Feng and asked, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen you play Viktor before. Do you know how to play him?”
Lin Feng smiled and patted his chest. He replied, “My Champion pool is really deep. My Viktor is good!” And before Su Xue could argue with him about that claim, he added, “Just watch.”
Su Xue nodded and turned her attention back to the screen. The players from both teams locked in their Champions and they moved into the loading screen. There she saw 10 Champion portraits and nine of them had the Challenger border. Her eyes went wide and she pushed against Lin Feng’s shoulder, shouting, “They were all Challengers last season too! You’re playing against really experienced players!”
“Of course they’re experienced! We’re playing in Challenger!” Lin Feng replied, his eyes locked on his monitor.
It didn’t take long for the game to load. Lin Feng’s Viktor spawned in the Blue team’s fountain, where he bought his starter items. He then walked out of the base towards the outer tower in the mid lane. The minions followed behind him a bit more than a minute later. They charged down the lane with their weapons raised and clashed against their opponents!
Lin Feng clicked around the mid lane at a frightening pace. He was making countless micro changes to his game to manipulate the minion wave and have it push slightly towards his Blue outer tower. His opponent was Varus, a Champion who relied on his long range arrows to deal damage. I’m not going to let him free farm from under his tower. All I have to do is let the minion wave push my way and force him out of safety. He’ll come for the minions, and then he’ll open himself up to a gank! He grinned and balled his hand into a fist around his mouse.
At 4 minutes, Varus fell for Lin Feng’s plan. He overextended. The Jungler on Lin Feng’s team, Vi, also saw this happen. She was already close to the mid lane and quickly ran over. Once there, she charged up Vault Breaker! She ran into the lane while gathering power in her fist before unleashing the vault shattering punch! The momentum behind this strike carried her forward!
Lin Feng’s Viktor flashed, appearing right next to Varus with a mottled flash of light. He then conjured chaos magic into a heavy gravitational field underneath Varus, slowing him! There was a brief moment of time in which Varus could escape before the stun hit. But right then Vi smashed into him and knocked him off his feet! A second burst of gravity suddenly slammed down on Varus! It pulled him towards the middle of the Gravity Field and stunned him! Lin Feng’s Viktor followed up first with Ignite, an unquenchable flame draining away Varus’ health bar, and then Death Ray! Viktor’s robotic arm pointed a finger at the ground. A beam of pure chaos shot out and cut a straight line through the ground and Varus!
“NICE!” Su Xue exclaimed. She slammed her flat palm on Lin Feng’s shoulder and added, “That was a perfect play!”
Lin Feng nodded, not even distracted by the burning sensation from the slap. He was completely focused on the game right now. Got the kill. Now push the lane, go back to base and get the item advantage. There’s nothing this Varus can do anymore. My poke is only going to hurt more and he’s going to be pushed far behind his outer tower!
The next couple of minutes were all Viktor. He zoned Varus away with Gravity Field, which had a large enough radius to push Varus one way or the other. And knowing where Varus was going, Lin Feng had his Viktor follow up with a Death Ray. The chaos beam became nearly impossible to dodge and burned away at Varus’ health bar.
At 7 minutes, Lin Feng’s Viktor was Level 6. He’d unlocked his ultimate skill and was searching for an opening to land the killing blow. But Varus was playing far too defensively. He didn’t take a single step out from behind his outer tower. If he isn’t coming to me, I’ll just have to go to him! I got him down to half health, one combo should be enough to kill him! Lin Feng grinned and pressed down on the D key–Flash!
Viktor flashed forward and placed down a Gravity Field underneath Varus! Gravity slammed down on Varus and hampered his movement speed! Then a Death Ray tore through him followed by Chaos Storm! Viktor conjured a singularity on the field which interrupted skill channels and periodically exploded with chaos damage! Half health turned into no health before Varus could even Flash away!
《You have slain an enemy!》
“You got him! You got him again!” Su Xue cried out. Her hands were trembling from pure joy! She went on, “You’re playing Viktor so aggressively! He looks so much more dangerous like this! The pros should watch you play him! Maybe Lightless is watching you and taking notes!”
Lightless leaned back in his gaming chair and stared at his screen, incredulous. It was showing the game that CN•HOOK2 was playing. What a kill! That was played perfectly! I couldn’t have done that any better myself! That’s One for you! He shook his head and smiled. Viktor isn’t an assassin like Annie, Syndra or even Ahri. His burst damage isn’t that strong and he isn’t as good at sticking to targets either. It takes far more skill to play Viktor. But when you’ve got that skill, like One obviously does, you can make these plays! Hum, this is so exciting! His timing and damage calculation are just perfect! And he’s doing it like it’s nothing!
“Hum, that settles it,” Lightless mumbled. Viktor is all about calculating damage and possible next moves. The opponent can make these calculations just like Viktor can. It all comes down to skill. This game is in Korean Challenger! Varus is really good! But this Viktor is so much better that he can get a solo kill like that! The amount of precision and skill that takes! That’s why this has to be One! Hum he’s good!
Lightless grinned and said, “CN•HOOK2, you’re One. It all adds up. One was the best DotA player, and DotA is just another MOBA like League of Legends. If he has been practicing a bit, I can see him win everything. There are so many skills that are transferable between the two games. Insane to see he’s still better than most of the active professional Midlaners out there though. What a guy. Hum, what a hero!”
The delivery guy brought the chicken cutlet Su Xue had ordered practically as the Nexus exploded and the victory emblem appeared on Lin Feng’s monitor. He didn’t queue up for another game right away, instead greedily reaching out for the hot food and sinking his teeth in the soft, tender meat. This is delicious! He grinned and licked the grease from his lips, before looking back at his screen. He furrowed his brows. I’ve improved so much since playing on this account, so why is my stomach twisting into a knot again? Why does it feel like this is still not enough? Is it the Winter Collegiate Cup? AyDeeCee? He bit on his lips and shook his head. He isn’t playing, probably. But it won’t hurt to get a lot better before then! I’ll just have to win every game! He grinned again and clicked on the ‘Play’ button.
An African Safari Themed Rumpus Room
Can you imagine having to read this chapter spread out over two days? Me neither. Fortunately we merged Chapters 329 and 330 to create this chapter!
Dev Thought: So yesterday, I was sitting around doing some studying. The song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John popped up on my playlist. I didn’t notice until it hit that “AND CAN YOU FEEEEEELLL THE LOOOOOVVEEE TONIGHT! How it’s laid to rest” part. And then I started thinking about the Lion King. What a great movie, right?
Anyways, the song really got me thinking about the scene in the movie where it plays. Nala finally finds Simba in whatever part of the grasslands that Timon and Pumba live in. They’re all grown up. And then they stare out at a magical sapphire evening sky and the song starts to play. From there… well, it gets into some frisky lion business. Simba and Nala roll down a hill together and then Nala is on her back staring at Simba… well… seductively. That’s where it gets weird for me.
See, that entire thing with Nala, I felt that sexual tension. What does it say about me as a person? Am I into lions? Or am I into animated anthropomorphized lions? If it’s the latter, does that make me a furry now? Are there any other animated animals that I might feel an attraction to? Will this end up becoming something weird that I have to discuss with my future wife?
Do I need to create an “African Safari” themed rumpus room in my basement?
There are so many questions with so few answers. All from this one song and scene in an animated movie. I used to think I was super vanilla, but now I’m not so sure anymore. The only thing that I am sure of is, well… I can definitely feel the love tonight. And it’s enough for this wide-eyed wanderer that we got this far. Can you feel the love tonight?
Sietse Thought: All I can think of are people with those weird ass kinks. Surely there is one who likes to pretend to be a Lioness, right? That’s all Devs needs to find. The one girl on the entire planet who after a long day of work comes home and slips into her lioness outfit. She visits the zoo every weekend to be closer to her kind, and when she has a week off from work, she goes to Africa on safari! She has to exist somewhere, right!?
So I suggest we start a Rise hunt for her! Scour the internet for girls looking to buy items for her lioness outfit! Visit zoos and stalk the lion exhibition, because maybe she’ll show up! And when all of that fails, make a thread on r/AskReddit and explain to the people there that we’re looking for someone with a very specific kink.
Devshard is a handful. Finding him the girl of his dreams is one thing, but he has to be the guy of her dreams too! So we can’t introduce them right away. First we have to explain to her that Devshard is a raging asshole, and that really no sane person would wanna date him. Then again, since she likes to pretend she’s a lioness, she doesn’t have it entirely straight in her head either I’m guessing.
Having thought about it a bit more, I’ve come to the conclusion that if we can find this girl, it’ll be a match made in… the lion exhibit! Then we get to watch our very own Devshard finally grow up! Gone are the days of babytalk Devshard! Now are the days of preparing for the wedding! She and her side of the family will go in their lion outfits, while Devs’ family will probably refuse to come and disown him…
Goddammit. I’m also a raging asshole.