Rollfire stared at the large LCD screen showing Game 5 between Team Shanghai and Zhejiang University. He watched Lin Feng’s Zed counter LeBlanc’s ultimate with Death Mark. His eyes grew wider and his mouth slowly fell open. H-how…? The cheering crowd around him sounded muffled, distant. His heart slammed into his ribcage. He… He—
“IT’S THE TURNTABLES!” Silent Reed cried out. She grabbed her microphone and shouted into it, “ZED WITH THE TURNTABLES!”
Four blood red shadows, each with Zed’s distinct features, had jumped into existence around LeBlanc! Then they dashed at her! Their shadow blades stabbed into her and connected at the heart! The connection drew them all into the center as they became a crimson mark wrapped around LeBlanc’s heart! Death Mark!
Death Mark was Zed’s most important skill. It read the damage Zed dealt to the target over the next three seconds and imitated that for a portion of the damage! Lin Feng narrowed his eyes. LeBlanc had cast Distortion to jump on him. There was a magic circle at the place she jumped from. Living Shadow! Zed stabbed in the direction of the magic circle! Shadows erupted from his skin and shot forward! They gathered into a dark mass, imitating Zed’s distinct features!
There were two Living Shadows on the map, one at the location where Lin Feng had cast Death Mark from and the other being the one he’d just created. They both perfectly imitated Zed’s moves! Lin Feng had his Zeds throw Razor Shurikens at LeBlanc! The sharp edges of the (shadow) weapons cut through LeBlanc and sheared away at her health! He followed up with Ignite! Unquenchable flames blazed into existence on her skin and started burning her health away!
Shi Hang gritted his teeth and said over the team’s voice chat, “Get him!” He then slammed down on his W key! LeBlanc reactivated Distortion and reappeared on the location she’d first cast the skill from!
Lin Feng’s fingers glided over the keyboard in practiced motion. He pushed down on the W key for the second activation of Living Shadow! Zed traveled through the shadows and took his Living Shadow’s place! He followed up with Shadow Slash! Zed swept out around him and unleashed a burst of shadow that damaged LeBlanc! Then he struck her with an auto attack!
FuckFuckFuck! Shi Hang squinched his eyes and cast Flash! A mottled radiance of light wrapped around his LeBlanc and carried her a short distance towards her outer tower! Behind him, he saw Zhejiang’s Elise finally making her way around the minions to get a clean shot at Zed. Cocoon already! Root him! ROOT HIM!
Lin Feng held onto his Flash for a brief second. Just long enough for Elise to cast Cocoon. When he saw her start the animation for the skill, he pushed down on the D key! A veil of light shrouded Zed and carried him towards Shi Hang’s LeBlanc! The Cocoon missed! The outer tower locked onto Lin Feng’s Zed and fired an energy shot! Shi Hang’s Leblanc waved her staff and struck him with an auto attack! And he countered with an auto attack of his own before he suddenly disappeared.
Shi Hang closed his eyes and mumbled, “Fuck.”
《You have been slain!》
Shi Hang opened his eyes again and saw his screen turn a deathly grey. The Death Mark had detonated and killed him. He panned his camera all the way across the mid lane towards Blue team’s outer tower, where Lin Feng’s Zed was. We didn’t even get him… The tower was hitting him, Elise would’ve killed him… Should’ve hit her Cocoon! He pursed his lips and shook his head. But Death Mark places a Living Shadow at the location where the skill is cast. That’s why he could jump on me like that. He always had an out. Elise should’ve been waiting for him there. She shouldn’t have tried to chase him under our tower after she missed her Cocoon. He just jumped away. Rip!
“FUCKING NINJA REFLEXES!”
“YOU GO KID! YOU FUCKING GO!”
“OH MY GAAAAAAWD!”
“Did he just…? YEAH HE FUCKING DID! WOOOOOOOO!”
“HOLY EFFIN’ SHIT! What was that!?”
Qiu Yijie from Fudan University sat at the front of the venue. The cheers behind him slammed against the back of his head, but he was deaf to them. He stared at the large LCD screen and shook his head. He just shook his head, incredulous, and muttered, “What the, what the, what the…”
“WHAT A KILL!” Fudan University’s Jungle exclaimed. He patted Qiu Yijie on the shoulder and continued, “You see that? Dayum! Now that’s a real Zed if you ever seen one!”
A player from one of the other teams turned his head to look at Fudan University’s Jungler and chimed in, “I know right!? Who ever said LeBlanc is better than Zed? They haven’t watched this game! Zed is the strongest! Oh my god that was so clutch!”
“Hard agree!” Fudan University’s Jungler replied, laughing. He looked back at the large LCD screen and sighed loudly. He finally said, “Zed got camped so hard! Zhejiang did everything to keep him down! But look at him now! He just got the kill WHILE GETTING GANKED! What a fuckin’ boss!”
In a different section of the stands, the club members from Zhejiang University were sitting in complete and absolute silence. They were staring at their team’s soundproof booth, shocked. In the previous four games, there were reasons and explanations why Shi Hang wasn’t hard-carrying the mid lane. But not this game. Zhejiang University had spent a ton of their early game resources to shut down Zed. They’d let their other lanes fall behind just to keep Zed down! Yet right now, Zed didn’t just survive the lane, he was winning it 1 versus 2!
Zuo Cheng was Shi Hang’s number one fan. He became a Midlaner purely because he wanted to be like Shi Hang. He attended Zhejiang University just to have a chance to meet his idol! In his mind, there wasn’t a single player in all of League of Legends who was better than Shi ‘AyDeeCee’ Hang! Until now. He grimaced. How good is that kid!? How is he… He took a deep, long breath. He’s winning. That kid is actually beating Shi Hang from behind! How is this even possible? Who is this kid!? What the fuck!
Back in Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth, Shi Hang bit on his lips. Our gank was good. You don’t just dodge that! The Elise Cocoon, the Flash, the… The amount of skill you need to stay calm and calculate all of those eventualities is insane! There is practically no one who can… He grinned and shook his head. Then he looked across the stage at Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. That’s right. Almost no one. But I’m not playing against just anyone. I’m playing against the genius wonderkid himself! And he’s getting better way too quickly this series! I’m the damn stepping stone all over again! He scratched the back of his head and chuckled. I’m getting exactly what I asked for! I wanted to welcome him back to the scene, and what better way than to get my ass handed to me by him? This is, this is exactly as it should be! He suddenly narrowed his eyes and focused back on his screen. But just like four years ago, I’m going to fight for every inch!
At 9 minutes, Zhejiang University’s Elise made her way to the top lane. Zhejiang’s Jarvan IV and Zhang Hao’s Irelia were fighting in the middle of the lane. Elise charged into the lane from the river brush and cast Cocoon! A web of silk flew towards Zhang Hao’s Irelia! But he dashed at a minion with Bladesurge and dodged it! Zhejiang’s Jarvan IV expected this. He dashed at Zhang Hao’s Irelia with a flag-toss combo and knocked him up into the air!
Irelia was knocked up into the air, auto attack and skill shots slamming into her! Zhang Hao bit on his lips and judged the distance to his outer tower. I can make it! I have to! I can’t let the team down now! He glanced at the minimap and saw An Xin’s Lee Sin running up the river. I just need to stall this a little longer! His Irelia landed back on the ground. FLASH! A veil of light carried Irelia a short distance towards her outer tower!
Zhejiang University’s Elise and Jarvan IV charged after Irelia! All the way across the lane and under Blue team’s outer tower! Elise entered its range first and took aggro. An energy shot smashed into her! But together with Jarvan IV, she dealt enough damage. Irelia was down to the last few percentages. Elise suddenly transformed into a menacing red and black spider! Venomous Bite! She lunged at Irelia and sunk her teeth into Irelia’s skin!
《You have slain an enemy!》
Right when the kill announcement rang out, Zhejiang University’s Jungler slammed down on the E key–Rappel! His Elise ascended into the air and became untargetable! She then locked onto a minion that was out of tower range and descended on it!
“That’s more like it! ZHEJIANG! WOOOOO!”
“WE’RE WINNING THIS! WE ARE! REALLY!”
Rollfire smiled and said into his microphone, “You can tell Zhejiang University’s Jungler is a top level Elise! He calculated that perfectly! He knew he had the damage to get the kill and the health to survi—”
“LEE! LEE!” Silent Reed interrupted.
Back in the game, An Xin’s Lee Sin ran into the top lane through the river entrance. Zhejiang University’s Elise was already a good bit into the lane, running towards Red team’s outer tower. Zhejiang’s Jarvan IV was following right behind her.
An Xin smiled and mumbled, “You two ain’t getting away!” She had her Lee Sin dash at a Blue minion with Safeguard! Elise was to her right and Jarvan IV to her left. She followed up with Sonic Wave! A discordant wave of sound slammed into Jarvan IV and located him! She then briefly waited, just long enough for Jarvan IV to run past her.
Dragon’s Rage! An Xin’s Lee Sin hit Zhejiang’s Jarvan IV with a powerful roundhouse kick! The force knocked him off his feet and sent him flying away! He soared through the air and slammed into Zhejiang’s Elise! The collision decimated what little remained of Elise’s health bar!
《You have slain an enemy!》
An Xin activated the second half of her Q skill! Lee Sin dashed at Jarvan IV with Resonating Strike! He followed up by slamming his open palm on the ground! A wave of energy swept across the ground and up Jarvan IV’s feet! Lee Sin then made a fist and set the energy off! Cripple! Jarvan IV’s movement speed dropped sharply! An Xin smiled. D-d-d-double! She right clicked on Jarvan IV. Her Lee Sin clenched his fist and punched!
“HOLY SHIT! SHE GOT THE DOUBLE! SHE GOT THE DOUBLE!”
Silent Reed looked at the audience losing it. They were up on their feet, yelling and screaming. She balled her hand into a fist and smiled. Every play that goes against Zhejiang is a good play, if only to shut dickfire up! She grabbed the microphone and shouted into it, “So, so beautiful! Lee Sin is looking for redemption for Game 2, AND SHE IS FINDING IT! Team Shanghai is on top right now and Lee Sin has got a big, fat sack of gold!”
“Yeah, yeah,” Rollfire mumbled. He rubbed his forehead and closed his eyes. How is this possible? Is this still the same player from Game 2? Her Lee Sin sucked balls in Game 2! Why is she suddenly making all these flashy plays? This can’t be real! It can’t be! The Shanghai Stupid Organization must be behind this! They have to be! She can’t improve this much in a single series! And she’s just a girl from high school! She’s way too young to be this good at the game! FUCK ME!
Back in Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth, An Xin looked at her monitor and grimaced. She had her Lee Sin push the wave to collapse into Red team’s outer tower and then recalled back to base. Guess I can play at my normal level. All it takes is double the prescribed dosage of meds. That’s not so bad, is it? She bit on her lips and shook her head. Yes it is. I’m taking medicine in amounts I shouldn’t take to get a short burst of energy! That’s not right! I need to, I need to… She glanced at Lin Feng, who was laser focused on his screen, and breathed out loudly. I need to be at my best so I can play with him.
At 11 minutes, Zeng Rui’s Blitzcrank recalled back to base. Zhejiang’s Braum retreated back to his outer tower and pretended to do the same as Blitzcrank, leaving the two ad-carries to continue their contest for the highest creep score. But Braum didn’t recall back to base. He ran through his team’s Jungle, following the path Zhejiang’s Elise had set out for him, and met up with her in Blue team’s bottom side Jungle. They were right behind Blue team’s outer tower in the mid lane.
Shi Hang looked at his minimap and saw that his Jungler and Support were in position. He said over the team’s voice chat, “Here we go. Remember, damage!” He then had his LeBlanc push the wave he’d been building up into Blue team’s outer tower!
Lin Feng narrowed his eyes. Again? He lightly pressed down on the R key, ready to dodge the crowd control skills that were going to come his way. And as he expected, LeBlanc jumped on him with Distortion! The splash damage cut into his health bar! But he waited, patient. LeBlanc’s Ethereal Chains followed soon after. He pressed down on the R key! Zed disappeared and four blood red shadows dashed at LeBlanc from all sides!
“Now!” Shi Hang shouted over the team’s voice chat! He then pressed down on his own R key. Mimic: Ethereal Chains! A second set of chains shot from LeBlanc and struck Lin Feng’s Zed! They wrapped around him and slowed him!
Zhejiang University’s Elise and Braum charged at Lin Feng’s Zed and attacked him with all their abilities! Every extra second he lived there were another dozen ways in which he could outplay them, so they didn’t bother with crowd control. All they worried about was dealing enough damage! They fired every skill they had at him! Zed’s health bar evaporated!
Lin Feng gritted his teeth and mumbled, “Dammit, not again!”
《You have been slain!》
“So unfair, so unfair!” Lin Feng complained as he watched his screen turn different shades of grey. He continued, “Shi Hang knows he can’t beat me, so he keeps having his goons gang up on me! It’s so unfair!”
An Xin giggled and teased, “Weren’t you going to handle mid by yourself? I seem to recall you saying that you didn’t want any help! It’s a little late to start complaining now!” She then glanced at Zhang Hao and said, “Let’s take their top tower while they’re mid.”
Zhang Hao nodded and replied, “Okay!” He then had his Irelia push the minion wave into Zhejiang University’s top outer tower. Zhejiang’s Jarvan IV retreated straight away, sticking to the defensive playstyle he’d adhered to all game. An Xin’s Lee Sin showed up a few seconds later, and together the two of them destroyed the first tower of the game.
《Your team has destroyed a turret.》
“Then again,” Lin Feng said over the team’s voice chat, rubbing his chin. “I guess we did get a tower because of my death! That’s basically my tower! I’d say I did a great job there! That was a good trade!”
《Your turret… has been destroyed.》
“Or not,” An Xin replied. She shook her head and continued, “If you’d just backed in time. You know…” She turned her head to look at Lin Feng and winked, smiling.
Shi Hang grinned and said over the team’s voice chat, “Great work, guys. Kill plus a tower for a tower. That Lee is strong right now and we’re still a bit behind, but we’re catching up quick.”
Zhejiang University’s Jungler laughed and said, “With your LeBlanc, we’re gonna win this one easy! You’re up two kills!”
Shi Hang nodded and rolled his shoulders, relaxed. Good. Closing the gap. We just need to kill Zed a few more times and they’ll completely lose their early game advantage! By the time they catch up again, we’ll be Level 18 with full items! We’ll have had the time to buy armour to counter their full attack damage team. There’s no way they’re getting back into this by then! Just a few more minutes of focus on the mid—
《An ally has been slain!》
“What?” Shi Hang blurted. He glanced at the list of Champions and saw Tristana’s name greyed out. His eyes went wide and he quickly panned his camera to look at the bot lane. There he found Tristana’s corpse on the ground, with Tang Bingyao’s Draven farming minions on top of it.
Shi Hang turned his head to look at Sun Ruinian and asked over the team’s voice chat, “Sunny-boy, what’s going on? You got solo killed?”
Sun Ruinian replied through gritted teeth, “Yeah. Wanted to get a last hit in. Didn’t think she’d jump on me so fast! And when I tried to Rocket Jump away, she somehow knocked me out of it! Fuck! This shouldn’t have happened. My bad.”
It wasn’t just Zhejiang University that was surprised by the solo kill in the bot lane. Everyone in the venue was as well, including the video director! He quickly scrambled through his footage to find what’d happened. When he got the replay, he put it up on the large LCD screen above the two soundproof booths. The audience could finally see Draven solo killing Tristana!
“Oh shit! Sun Ruinian got waaaaay too greedy there!”
“He should’ve never gone for that last hit! He was just asking for it at that point!”
“That Draven really went for it though…”
“Of course he did! It’s Draven! If you don’t jump on it like that, are you even a Draven?”
“Yeah! She’s a Draven!”
“LEAGUE! OF! DRAAAAAAVEN!”
Ouyang stood up from his seat in the stands and pointed at the esports club members from Zhejiang University. He shouted, “SUCKS TO BE ZHEJIANG FANS RIGHT NOW!” He grinned and added, “Shouldn’t have let her pick her main. She’s the manliest Draven out there!”
Several people glared at Ouyang, but no one replied. They looked at each other and whispered about Shi Hang dying to Lin Feng in the mid lane only a few minutes earlier. Then they mumbled about how Sun Ruinian was the next to fall victim to Team Shanghai.
Zuo Cheng looked at his friends and grumbled, “It’s like Team Shanghai is trying to make a point! I’m better than your mid. I’m better than your ad-carry. What’s next? You’re gonna beat our Jungler?” He threw his hands up in the air, frustrated.
Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth:
Zeng Rui raised an eyebrow in surprise and said over the team’s voice chat, “Good catch, Tang Tang!” He was still making his way back to the bot lane when Tang Bingyao’s Draven got the solo kill on Sun Ruinian’s Tristana. But he’d seen the entire fight, and he was smiling. Her Draven is so good! The way she timed that Stand Aside! I don’t know many players who can pull that off like she just did!
Lin Feng grinned and shouted, “Nice going, Tang Tang! Your Draven just keeps getting better! This is great!”
Tang Bingyao glanced at Zeng Rui and then turned her head to look at Lin Feng, smiling. I killed Sun Ruinian! I solo-killed the A grade ad-carry! I’m only a B, but I’m getting better! Soon I can stand next to Lin Feng! Mhm! I’m going to play with him! She looked back at her screen. At her Draven. All I need is Draven! As long as I’ve got my Draven, no one can stop me! Mhm!
Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth:
Shi Hang looked at the Draven and narrowed his eyes. Two kills on Draven now. With Draven’s passive, that makes for three kills worth of gold. That’s a pretty big snowball for a Champion like that! We can’t let this go on! They’re still full attack damage. We just need armour. But if Draven gets fed, no amount of armour will save us! He said over the team’s voice chat, “Something has to be done about that Draven. She’ll turn into a headache. I’ll come bot for a gank.”
Sun Ruinian nodded and mumbled in reply, “Yeah, thanks.”
Shi Hang glanced at Sun Ruinian and moved his lips around. I know how good you are, Sunny-boy. You’re great! I taught you myself! And still… He looked back at his screen. At Draven. Somehow, Lin Feng found players who are just as crazy as he is! The Lee Sin suddenly getting better after the second game, and now their ad-carry is also all outta nowhere beating us? We have to end this! He looked at his LeBlanc and smiled. We’re lucky that I’ve got two kills. I’ll just go bot and help Sunny-boy get back into this!
“Sorry guys. I don’t know what’s going on,” Sun Ruinian mumbled. He shook his head and gritted his teeth. That Draven… Tang Bingyao was so much worse in the first two games of this series! And then she just started getting better! I didn’t even notice it at first! Just a few things here and there, and then suddenly she solo kills me! Can someone actually improve that much in a single series? Or was she just fighting her nerves this whole time? Is she only now playing at her actual level? If that’s it… Shit! Where did the Shanghai Esports Association find these freaks!?
Sietse Thinks about Divinity
This was a big one! Two chapters merged into one!
Sietse Thought: What if God is a human who is near the pinnacle of existence? But to take that final leap into omnipotence, something is missing. There is a mistake in His design. So he set out on a course to figure out where he went wrong. He started creating different dimensions, each with a single planet that has life on it. An exact copy of his own youth. Then he watches these dimensions, these worlds grow up. He watches the apes evolve into humans and the humans progress. In that, he finds much of himself.
There are mistakes. Many of them. Humanity makes them at every juncture. Yet at the base of all these mistakes is a single conception. That it’s the right way for us. Other humans might disagree. But in that moment, that singular instance in time and space, you make a decision because it helps bring you closer to your goal (whatever that may be). That is what this God sees. And that is how he considers it himself too.
Time and time again, he recognizes these mistakes. But he tosses them aside. He understands the approaches, the considerations that went into make the decision. War, murder, everything. There are explanations and justifications. Not every decision is great for everyone. Many hurt more people than that it favours. But at the basis of it is a reasoning he can understand.
That is his mistake. That’s why He will never become truly omnipotent. The truly bad, he’s found justifications for them. The truly vile, he’s convinced himself isn’t that vile. Why? Because he sees it, iteration after iteration. Each time humanity grows, it always devolves in the same manner. Just like we can’t see the good and the bad for what they are, He can’t either. He sees us making choices and decisions he would too. And so he never becomes truly omnipotent. That’s why when we pray to God to save us, he’ll never come. He can’t. He’s struggling, just like you and me. Power doesn’t make us different.