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Hello Darkness, Where are my Friends?

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“IT’S HAPPENING IN BOT LANE!” Rollfire screamed into his microphone. He leaned over the edge of the caster booth, looking at the audience down below, and continued, “Sun Ruinian has been poking Jinx down! He’s forced Nami to blow through her mana! This is it! Eeey!”

Silent Reed bit on her lips and looked at the large LCD screen above the two soundproof booths. Come on, Tang Bingyao! She forced a smile to her lips and said into her microphone, “Team Shanghai can still get out of this! There’s no gank coming. They just need to see that they can’t push their luck he—”

Zhejiang University’s Leona landed a Zenith Blade on Tang Bingyao’s Jinx! The solar image of her sword took solid form and Leona dashed forward! She then bashed Jinx with Shield of Daybreak! Stunned! Sun Ruinian’s Lucian dashed at this opportunity with Relentless Pursuit! He then raised both guns and fired a doubleshot at Tang Bingyao’s Jinx! He followed up with Piercing Light!

Jinx didn’t have a mobility skill, making her very vulnerable to opponents like Leona. Tang Bingyao had to rely on her positioning and reflexes to dodge the skill shots. When she failed to do that, she needed her Support. But Zeng Rui’s Nami had spent all her mana healing Jinx everytime she took poke damage from Sun Ruinian’s Lucian. Right now there was nothing Zeng Rui could do. He gritted his teeth as he made the decision to retreat. He clicked away from the fight and said over the team’s voice chat, “Stall them.”

Tang Bingyao didn’t hear Zeng Rui in time. She’d been pressing down on her D key repeatedly, waiting for the stun to break. I’ll get out! Mhm! I’m gonna survive this! The stun broke and she flashed in the direction of her outer tower. Zeng Rui’s message finally got through to her. Shit! I’m gonna survive! She clicked next to her outer tower and did everything she could to survive. She blew her summoner spell Heal and took the shortest route to the outer tower! But Sun Ruinian stuck to her. He perfectly matched her movements and found the openings to hit her with auto attacks. Her health dropped until there was nothing left.

You have been slain!

Tang Bingyao closed her eyes and fought back to urge to slam her fist on the desk. Killed again! It’s my fault again! I lost the previous game and now, now… He’s so good! Why is he so good? She opened her eyes and looked at the dull grey colours on her monitor. Her eyes went wide. No. No! She had tried to escape, but in doing so drew Zhejiang University’s Botlaners towards Zeng Rui’s Nami. They were now towerdiving her. Leona is tanky enough to survive the energy shots from the tower and Sun Ruinian has the damage. Zeng Rui has no mana… I should’ve known! I should’ve known! That’s why he told me to stall! I killed him! A double kill! I gave Sun Ruinian a double kill!

Double kill!

Zeng Rui grimaced when his screen turned grey, but he held his breath. Right before Lucian’s doubleshot had killed him, he’d recovered enough mana to cast Aqua Prison. The bubble flew through the air and splashed over Leona! She was wrapped up inside the bubble and lifted off the ground, suspended within the outer tower’s range! Come on! Let it be enough! The energy shots from the tower smashed into Leona and drained away her health! Please!

But the effects from Aqua Prison didn’t last long. Leona was falling back to the ground. Zeng Rui was biting hard on his teeth and his eyes were as wide as they could be. Two more! TWO MORE! Another energy shot slammed into Leona and knocked her down to a sliver of health. But she’d regained control of her body and was now running away. She’s going to get away…— His mouth fell open. Oh my god… Yes! Thank god! Zhejiang University’s Leona got blocked in her escape by a Red minion, causing her to stay inside the outer tower’s range just long enough for a final energy shot to hit her.

You have slain an enemy!

“It’s a dou-dou-dou-double kill!” Rollfire cheered.

Silent Reed chimed in, “Wooooo! What a fight! And Team Shanghai even got a kill back at the end! Such a clutch Aqua Prison!”

“SICK ENGAGE BY LEONA!”
“WOOOOOOOOOOO!”
“Sun Ruinian better ad-carry than Nightsong!”

“But what about that Jinx that got caught out again?” Rollfire asked, shaking his head.

Silent Reed nodded and said, “Yeah. That was unfortunate for them.”

Wei Dong turned his head to look at the casters and frowned. He then turned back to his friends from High School 13 and said, “It was… They’re right… We’re only 7 minutes in and Lucian has already picked up a double kill. It’s going to be so hard for Tang Tang…”

“Don’t be down!” Ren Rou fired back. She looked at him and added, “We’re going to win this one! Positive vibes! Positive energy!”

An Xin breathed in deeply and watched the bot lane. They’re both dead. Lin Feng can get all the kills he wants, we can’t do anything if the other two lanes lose. I need to do something! She moved her camera to the top lane. Zhang Hao is low on health, but… But… She pursed her lips and had her Lee Sin run towards the top lane. Gnar isn’t at full health either. If I play this right, I can help Zhang Hao win this fight! 

Lee Sin ran into the top lane from the river entrance. Just like a few minutes earlier, he dashed at a minion with Safeguard and then slammed his flat palm down on the ground! A tremor shook the earth, revealing everything directly surrounding Lee Sin! But Gnar had used Hop to jump away. An Xin responded to this by running past the minions until she had a clear line of sight and then activated Sonic Wave! Lee Sin pushed his fist forward. A discordant wave of sound shot at Gnar and revealed him!

“BunBun, careful!” Zhang Hao shouted over the team’s voice chat. But An Xin had already activated Resonant Strike. Her Lee Sin dashed at Gnar just as Evelynn appeared for a countergank. Damn! I gotta go help her! I have to save her! He gritted his teeth and then had his half-health Darius run into the lane.

An Xin looked at the situation. Health wise we’re about the same… About. But Gnar’s rage meter is filling up. He’ll become unkillable in a couple of seconds. She bit on her lips and breathed in sharply. We can’t win this. We need to escape! She glanced at Zhang Hao and said over the team’s voice chat, “Don’t come! Back off…” The strain from judging the situation to warning Zhang Hao was too much for her body. Her vision started to spin with small pecks of darkness appearing everywhere. She closed her eyes and then opened them again.

Zhang Hao shouted over the team’s voice chat, “Get away, BunBun!” He then had his Darius charge into the fight and used Apprehend! Darius swept up Evelynn and Gnar with his axe’s hook and pulled them to him!

Gnar’s rage meter was filling up quickly. He needed just another two seconds. His Evelynn Jungler bought him that time by casting Agony’s Embrace! Spike shadows shot up from the ground beneath Darius and Lee Sin! They struck for a ton of damage and also hampered their movement speeds! That gave Gnar the time he needed to land one final auto attack and fill up his rage meter.

Gnar was a small yordle with a small health pool, until he became enraged. Then he grew into a terrifying monster with a massive health pool! Mega Gnar grabbed a loose boulder from the ground and tossed it at Darius and Lee Sin! He then followed up with his ultimate skill. GNAR! He swiped out with his claws over the ground and threw everything around him against the wall along the top lane! Several minions were caught and died on impact! Darius was flung against the wall and stunned! Only An Xin’s Lee Sin escaped. She’d Flashed away at just the right time.

An Xin had her Lee Sin run away towards Red team’s outer tower, panning her camera over the fight. I killed him. He was fine and then I came for the gank. I pushed him into engaging and now he’s dead. If I was my normal self, we would’ve won this fight. If I was half my normal self, I would’ve used my ultimate to kick Gnar and Evelynn away! But I’m not! Dammit I’m not! My hand hurts, I feel sick to my stomach and now Zhang Hao is dead because of me! Why now? Why does this have to happen? I just want to play this stupid game! Just let me play!

An ally has been slain!

An Xin’s Lee Sin arrived underneath the outer tower and Zhejiang University didn’t chase after her. She pressed down on the B key to recall back to base and then closed her eyes. FUCK! Why did it have to flare up tonight? Why couldn’t it wait another day!? I just… I just want to play! I want to help the team win. But right now, right now I’m costing them the game… She grabbed onto her mouse hand and pinched it. Work you stupid thing!

Zhang Hao scratched the back of his head and said, “Sorry guys, my bad. I got a little stupid there. It won’t happen again.”

It’s not your bad, it’s my bad! But I can’t say that. An Xin bit down on her tongue to keep herself from telling everything that was going on with her. We’re going to lose. I’m pushing myself so hard! I’m nauseous, feeling dizzy and I’m playing like shit! And we’re also losing! Bot lane is done, top lane is done too now! It’s just Lin Feng! He’s the only one! We can’t win this with just him! We’re, we’re losing because of me… If only I could stop this stupid hand from being stupid! She closed her eyes and clenched her fists. I need to calm down. I need to calm down.

At 10 minutes, both Midlaners had all their skills off cooldown. Lin Feng glanced at his minimap and spotted Evelynn passing over a vision ward. Bot. She won’t be here in time. He then looked at the other two lanes. Everyone is in their lanes. No one can interrupt us. He finally turned his attention back towards Shi Hang’s Ezreal. We’re in the middle of the lane. This is gonna be tricky. But I’ve got the damage. I got this!

Lin Feng had his Fizz walk up to a minion and last hit it. He then moved to another one, inching closer towards Shi Hang’s Ezreal until he was in range to cast Urchin Strike! Fizz dashed through Shi Hang’s Ezreal and attacked with his trident! He followed up with Chum the Waters! He pushed his trident forward and threw a fish at Ezreal!

Shi Hang narrowed his eyes and pressed down on the E key–Arcane Shift! His Ezreal teleported a short distance away! The fish landed on the ground behind him and a portal to the deep sea started opening up. Too obvious, Maple! I expected better ofFuck! Lin Feng’s Fizz had leaped onto the pole of his trident with Playful. He’s going to jump on me! Where do I Flash to? What will he not expect? Maybe if I just back!

“Is he going to…?”
“No way, right? Right?”
“I mean…”
“NO WAY!”
“NO FUCKING WAY!”

Lin Feng’s Fizz was falling back to the ground with the second half of his skill, Trickster! You’ll show me. You’ll show… Ha! Lin Feng saw the direction in which Shi Hang flashed and followed right after it. His Fizz appeared underneath Blue team’s outer tower and splashed down on Shi Hang’s Ezreal! Ignite! Seastone Trident! Lin Feng’s fingers glided over the keyboard and he clicked on his mouse at exactly the right moments to start and cancel the animations of his auto attacks.

Fizz tore through Ezreal’s health bar! The unquenchable flames from ignite burned on Ezreal’s body and blood flowed from the wounds left behind by the Seastone Trident! But Shi Hang remained calm. He cycled through his own skills and relied on Ezreal’s auto attacks to whittle down Fizz’s health bar as well. And though he didn’t pack the same damage as Fizz, the outer tower’s energy shots made up for that difference.

You have been slain!

You have slain an enemy!

“One for one in the mid lane!” Rollfire yelled into his microphone. He shook his head, incredulous, and added, “This kid is going ham on the former pro! He doesn’t show any respect! He just goes in and he actually picks up the kill!”

No one in the audience was concerned right now with what Rollfire had to say, or what Silent Reed added afterwards. Everyone was on their feet, screaming support for their favourite team! The esports club members from Zhejiang University yelled that only their Shi Hang could’ve made such a clutch comeback after getting jumped on by a Fizz! Friends and teammates from Team Shanghai were shouting back that Lin Feng had the skills to push around a professional level Midlaner! And all the other people were jumping in the stands cheering for the incredibly high level plays in the mid lane!

Inside Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth, Shi Hang leaned back in his gaming chair and sighed loudly. He then shook his head and mumbled, “It’s been forever since I was pushed this far.” He grinned and glanced past his teammates at the soundproof booth on the other side of the stage. You’ve still got it, Maple. You do.

Lin Feng wasn’t taking his death as calmly as Shi Hang was. His eyes narrowed ever so slightly and his breathing was uneven. He inched closer to the edge of his seat and tightened the grip on his mouse. They were all small adjustments, but they were the kind he usually never made. He didn’t have to, because in the last few months he’d never once been forced to really try. My teammates are losing and even An Xin isn’t turning it around! But we need to win! We can’t lose this! I promised to win the Collegiate Cup, so I have to win it! But we’re not going to win like this. We need something more! What we need is the old me! I need to do more! I know I can carry harder and I have to start doing that! I’m gonna carry this game way harder!

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Homo or No Homo?

Announcement:

In the last month we’ve seen an absolutely phenomenal response to the merged chapters. They unfortunately take a lot of time from both Shanks and me to pull off, and right now Shanks is in the middle of his finals weeks (this one and the next). We’re going to merge chapters where possible and we’ll do the best we can to enhance the reading experience, but there won’t be any crazy merges like we had last week until we have Shanks back.

Translator Thought:

Shanks Thought: So, I was in voice chat with a couple of readers the other day. Shooting the shit, hanging out, you know? And given the track record of the Rise Discord server, our conversation so far had been pretty mild as far as I was concerned. Until I made a random off-hand statement that set off a heated debate. It basically went like this.

Me: “There’s nothing gay about two straight men sleeping on the same bed together. But if one guy were to go out of his way to buy a plane ticket just so that he can sleep with you on the same bed, I gotta say that’s pretty gaaaay.”

It was a dumb statement with no thought behind it, but apparently it was enough to trigger the most heated debate I’ve ever witnessed in my life. I had one reader, Light, shouting at me for 5 minutes straight about how the end-result is the same anyway, so there’s nothing gay about it.  

I argued back that there’s a clear difference between these two scenarios. One of them can just be circumstance, and the other is clearly intent. 

Light argued that well, if that person is flying over to sleep together on the same bed as you as a friend, then there’s still nothing gay about it. 

We went back and forth for half an hour until we somehow concluded on the logic that if I suck your dick and say no homo, there’s nothing gay about it. 

So yeah, that’s the kind of deep philosophical debates we tend to have on the Rise Discord. 

Sietse Thought: Shanks is just looking for a boyfriend. The poor dude is just so deep in the closet that he doesn’t even know he is. He comes up with these strange scenarios, all of which are gay as fuck, and then starts debating about them. Even when we’re talking about something completely unrelated, he’ll just be like, “Yo guys, wouldn’t it be funny to touch a guy’s butthole?” I think at this point most of us have learned to just kind of ignore it when he says those things. We really just feel bad for him that he can’t seem to find his way out of the closet. I think he’d be a lot happier if he did.

So, if you are a guy aged 18-28 and are looking for an Asian boyfriend, look no further! We have a great specimen here! He spends a lot of time on his studies and sometimes finds time to work! Other times, he is on Discord making butt jokes (he really likes those). He’s a pretty chill dude and easy to chat with (and also very easy to rile up). Is this the man of your dreams? Reply in the comment section or DM him on Discord! You know where to find him!

Shanks Thought: And if you’re not a guy but a girl aged 18-28, all the better! In fact, I’d actually prefer that! Cause otherwise, I’d probably send you off unless it was some sort of elaborate joke. Also, I make butt jokes cause they’re fun. Nothing wrong with a little butt jokes and bromance! 

Really though, I should’ve expected this from Sietse when I decided to make this today’s thought. He’s always been obsessing over my Asian booty. >_>

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