Team Shanghai had the clear lead. Tang Bingyao’s Draven alone was practically enough to shut down Zhejiang University’s entire team! But that didn’t make Zhejiang University any less dangerous. They had some of the most skilled players in the entire Winter Collegiate Cup on their team. So rather than pushing for a quick victory and leaving their backs open to a counterattack, Team Shanghai chose to consolidate their gains. They all returned to base to stock up on wards and started setting up vision all around the map. Then they continued with manipulating the minion waves in their favour, draining experience and gold away from Zhejiang University.
Zeng Rui had his Blitzcrank trail behind Tang Bingyao’s Draven, but his attention was all over the map. He made sure that the wards were placed where he wanted them, and noted down the times at which they would disappear. When he was satisfied, he said over the team’s voice chat, “Alright, now we focus on scaling. BunBun is the only one who doesn’t worry about that. She’ll be looking for openings to abuse.”
Nice! Zeng Rui rolled his shoulders back and smiled. This is my way of playing! Slow and methodical! And I’ve even got the thundering dumbass doing what I ask him to! Perfect! Zhang Hao knows how to do this in the top lane, so he’ll do better. And I’ll keep Tang Tang here in check. This is my game! I know this! And I’m finally getting to show it! He panned his camera to look at An Xin’s Lee Sin, who was running through the top side river. And with her creating pressure, Zhejiang won’t know what hits them! Just a few minutes of this to get that full item advantage, maybe more, and then we start pushing down towers! We’ll wait for the next Dragon. Maybe make a play around Baron… Great! I love this!
An Xin had her screen showing Zhejiang University’s top side Jungle. Zhejiang’s Elise walked through the ward in the tri-brush near the top lane. She narrowed her eyes. That Elise isn’t going top. So… Krugs? Yeah. She knew Zhejiang University had a ward in the tri-brush, so she couldn’t enter the Jungle through there. She instead had her Lee Sin run into the Baron Pit. The back wall of it connected with Red team’s top side Jungle. She placed a ward on the other side and dashed at it with Safeguard!
An Xin’s Lee Sin was on a small path in the Jungle. The Red Buff Camp was to her right and a wall of trees and boulders to her left. Behind that wall was the Krug Camp. An Xin narrowed her eyes. She walked down the path and turned left when the wall stopped. A perfect U-turn. And on the other side, Zhejiang’s Elise was fighting the Krugs! She was in spider form and her health bar was hovering at just above half health!
“Too easy,” An Xin mumbled. Her Lee Sin had the level advantage, he had the item advantage, and he had the better player controlling him. She pressed Q and her Lee Sin punched out a discordant soundwave that slammed into Elise! Resonating Strike! He dashed at Elise and then slammed his flat hand on the ground! Tempest! A shockwave erupted around him, sending a foreign energy into Elise’s body! He followed up with an auto attack and then activated the foreign energy with Cripple! It exploded and hampered Elise’s movement speed!
The quick damage combo from Lee Sin tore through Elise’s health bar! He hit her with another auto attack and she found herself with less than 15% health remaining! Her Flash was off cooldown. Zhejiang University’s Jungler was about to activate it, but Shi Hang stopped him. Zhejiang’s Jungler glanced at the former professional player, dumbstruck. Is my death worth less than wasting Flash? Stupid ass… Shi Hang says it. He gritted his teeth and kept his finger hovering over the D key. I should just push it. I can still get away! I can’t! He grimaced when Lee Sin started the animation for Dragon’s Rage, and he closed his eyes as the powerful roundhouse kick killed him.
《You have been slain!》
“CARRY ME LEE!”
“Sick skills! That Elise got obliterated!”
“Lee gonna carry this whole game!”
“She just knew! How did she know!? She ran straight for that Elise!”
“MAD SKILLS! MAAAAAAD!”
Silent Reed watched the crowd lose it and then glanced at Rollfire. She giggled. He’s losing it! If he gets any angrier, he’s going to explode! She grabbed her microphone and screamed into it, “WOOOOOOOOOOO!” She then briefly paused before continuing, “Who said something about Draven being the MVP? They clearly haven’t seen this Lee! This Lee is even fedder! DOUBLE MVP! I’M CALLING FOR A DOUBLE MVP! GIRLS CARRYING TEAM SHANGHAI TO NATIONALS!”
Saliva went down the wrong pipe. Rollfire lurched forward and coughed. Tears sprung in his eyes and beads of sweat appeared on his forehead. He pinched his eyes closed and wiped his mouth. When he could finally talk again, a stinging pain stuck in his throat, he croaked, “True. True. Lee Sin is strong. Early game. Late game, he falls off.”
“Maybe,” Silent Reed replied, grinning. I feel soooooooo not bad for you! She turned her attention back to the large LCD screen, ready to analyse the kill on Elise in more depth, when her eyes opened wide. She shouted into her microphone, “BOT LANE! BOT! ANOTHER FIGHT!”
Zeng Rui noticed Sun Ruinian’s Tristana getting more and more confident. After every next last hit, she would take a more aggressive approach, lingering dangerously close to overextension. He smiled. Yeah, just a little more to the right. Just do it! A bit more. Yeah, take that minion. Think we’re being scared for another gank! His finger was already resting on the Q key and he moved his mouse to where Sun Ruinian’s Tristana was walking to. Just a bit– He pressed down on the Q key. ROCKET GRAB! His Blitzcrank lifted his arm and fired his hand at Sun Ruinian’s Tristana!
Sun Ruinian slammed down on the S key! His Tristana stopped walking! Blitzcrank’s Rocket Grab shot past her an inch from her face! Did you really think I was that stupid? He shook his head and activated Rapid Fire. His Tristana’s attack speed increased and she fired at the low health Blue minions! Why did you think I was building up a big wave of Red minions? Or why I wasn’t killing the low health Blue minions? I can’t believe you fell for it! He glanced at Shi Hang and nodded. Shi Hang was right. I thought it was too obvious, but he said it wasn’t. He was right.
Tristana’s skill Explosive Charge had a passive aspect to it. It added an explosion effect to every killing blow. Every minion she killed exploded into a thousand little pieces that slammed into the allied minions and Champions around it and dealt splash damage! Sun Ruinian made full use of this to tear through all the Blue minions within seconds! There was suddenly a double Red minion wave and zero Blue minions in the middle of the bot lane! Sun Ruinian grinned and said over the team’s voice chat, “Jump!”
“SHIT! BACK!” Zeng Rui shouted over the team’s voice chat.
Tang Bingyao chewed on her lips. Mhm! I know! She clicked next to her outer tower. Her Draven turned around and started running away.
Zhejiang University’s Braum dashed at the Red minion closest to Tang Bingyao’s Draven with Stand Behind Me! He followed up with his ultimate skill, jumping up into the air and then slamming his shield down on the ground! A Glacial Fissure spread out before him! Freezing ice erupted from the ground and knocked Tang Bingyao’s Draven up into the air!
Sun Ruinian’s Tristana aimed her cannon at the ground and fired–Rocket Jump! She arced through the sky and landed on top of Draven! She followed up with an auto attack and Explosive Charge! A cannonball slammed into Draven while a small bomb appeared above his head! The next four attacks against Draven would charge the bomb up to deal massive damage!
Tang Bingyao right clicked on Sun Ruinian’s Tristana. Her Draven hurled a Spinning Axe that cleaved through a good portion of Tristana’s health bar before ricocheting! I can still kill them! 1vs2–
“Mid’s missing!” Lin Feng exclaimed over the team’s voice chat.
Tang Bingyao glanced at her minimap. Too late. Shi Hang’s LeBlanc jumped into the bot lane with Distortion and followed up with Mimic: Distortion! She flicked her mouse and cast Stand Aside! It worked last time. I’ll make it work again! Mhm! Her Draven raised his axes above his shoulders and threw them at an angle!
Shi Hang’s LeBlanc got knocked out of her jump by Tang Bingyao’s Draven! But Shi Hang knew it was coming this time. He cast Sigil of Malice while the interrupt was still active and waited with Ethereal Chains just long enough to see how far he had to flick his mouse. All the while, Sun Ruinian’s Tristana Rapid Fired away! And she finished off with Buster Shot. A massive cannonball slammed into Tang Bingyao’s Draven and shut her down!
Zeng Rui’s eyes went wide. He looked at the three Champions from Zhejiang University and gritted his teeth. Dammit! I gotta… He slammed down on the D key! His Blitzcrank Flashed away towards the Blue team’s outer tower and then went into Overdrive!
“Don’t chase,” Shi Hang said over Zhejiang University’s voice chat. He nodded at his Botlaners and continued, “Nice work, guys. Let’s take their tower next. We’ve got the minions here.”
LeBlanc, Tristana and Braum attacked Blue team’s outer tower together with a dozen minions. They tore through the health of the structure and destroyed it in only a couple of seconds!
《Blue Team’s turret has been destroyed!》
“IT’S THE C-C-COMEBACK!”
“THEY HAD TO SHUT YOU DOWN!”
“EASY WIN ZHEJIANG! GET FUCKED TEAM SHANGHAI!”
“Holy moly! What a play!”
“Oh my gosh! There goes their advantage!”
Rollfire shot to his feet and grabbed his microphone. He moved it to his mouth, grinning brightly, and shouted, “Zhejiang University with a beautiful play! If you look at their team comp a little more closely, they do seem to counter Draven pretty hard! With Braum and J-4, they’ve got crowd control for days! They just need to get the engage right, like they did here! Then there’s nothing Draven can do! Fed or not!”
Silent Reed grimaced and nodded. Why does he have to be right? Ass! She took a deep breath and then said, “Tristana got so much from that as well! It wasn’t just the gold from a normal kill… She also got the shutdown bonus gold as well as the gold for destroying the tower! She’s so much closer to her hyper carry potential now!”
At 19 minutes, the second Dragon spawned. Zeng Rui had prepared for it over the previous few minutes. Blue wards were everywhere around the Dragon pit. They had perfect vision. They knew exactly where Zhejiang University was. And Zeng Rui used that information to predict what they were going to do next. He had his teammates position themselves according to those predictions. Lin Feng’s Zed was off to the side, while the other four would meet Zhejiang University head on. Lin Feng could then jump on the backline to one shot Sun Ruinian’s Tristana while the rest of the team focused down Shi Hang’s LeBlanc. Perfect! We’re going to win this right here!
Zhejiang University charged through their bottom side Jungle as a team. They ran past the Blue Buff Camp and stormed into the river! There they engaged Team Shanghai! Shi Hang’s LeBlanc jumped at them with Distortion! Jarvan IV followed up behind him with a flag-toss combo into Cataclysm! And Elise cast Cocoon! The web of silk hit Blitzcrank and rooted him!
Lin Feng’s Zed was hiding in the Red bottom side Jungle in the brush connecting to the bot lane. When he saw Zhejiang University’s team pass by, he cast Living Shadow! The shadow manifested across the Jungle wall and he then had his Zed travel the shadows to take his Living Shadow’s place! Tristana was right in front of him on the other side of one more Jungle wall. Death Mark! Zed disappeared and four blood red shadows appeared around Tristana! They dashed at her and placed the Death Mark on her! Right then, when Lin Feng was about to unleash his full damage combo on Tristana and take her out, Tristana Flashed away and Braum targeted him with Exhaust. The debilitating energy fell over him and caused his stats to drop!
This ain’t great… Lin Feng grimaced. He panned his camera to look how the rest of the fight was going. Tang Bingyao’s got a kill on Elise… But she’s dead. ZengZeng is dead. Haobro… BunBun might get another kill before dying… He shook his head and pressed on the R key again. His Zed jumped back to where he’d cast Death Mark from. Then he ran deeper into Red team’s bottom side Jungle until he found a relatively safe location to cast recall from. That was a bust.
Lin Feng panned his camera to the Dragon pit. Zhejiang University didn’t even try to look for him. They killed his four teammates, losing only Elise and Jarvan IV in the process, and then moved on to kill the Dragon. We’re falling behind. If Tang Tang… If BunBun… He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. We need to play better as a team, or we’re going to lose this. I need to trust them. I can’t do this by myself. Trust them, trust them!
Rollfire watched the audience cheer with a big grin on his face. He leaned back in his chair and took a deep, long breath. Aaaah! This is more like it! Show them who’s boss, AyDeeCee! He soaked himself in the screams and shouts supporting Zhejiang University. And when they started to die down, he moved the microphone to his lips and said, “Zhejiang is tipping the scale back in their favour! Like I mentioned earlier, once Zhejiang University gets into this game, they win. It’s that simple. Tristana has hit her power spike and Shi Hang was a monster from the start! This is game over for Team Shanghai!”
Silent Reed pursed her lips and scrunched her eyes. Please don’t let it end like this! DO SOMETHING! You can do it, kids! If only to shut this ass next to me up! She breathed out all of her frustration from having to co-cast with Rollfire. Then she grabbed her microphone and said, “Zhejiang is doing a lot better, true. But to say this game is over, isn’t it a bit early for that? Just look at Lee Sin. He’s still strong. One good ultimate from him and we’ve got ourselves a Team Shanghai victory!”
Rollfire turned his head to look at Silent Reed and grinned. He explained, “Yeah, with the dream engage. All he needs is that perfect 5 man ultimate. The kind you almost never see. Remember how everyone lost it when God Roundy did it at Worlds? That’s the kind of ultimate you’re looking for here!” He shook his head and laughed. Then he continued, “Let’s not kid ourselves here. This Lee Sin is playing great, but she’s no professional player! And she sure as hell isn’t the Uncrowned Eighth! She might try to do the amazing Lee Sin play, but I’ll bet that Sun Ruinian’s Tristana will Buster Shot her away before she can even get to the backline!”
“NO WAY HE’S RIGHT!” Ouyang exclaimed. He shot to his feet and pointed up at the Shoutcaster desk, shouting, “FIRE THAT BIASED ASSHOLE!”
Liu Yue jumped up to his feet and threw his arms in the air. He screamed, “YEAH! FIRE HIM!”
Yang Fang looked up at his friends and shook his head. He adjusted his glasses and said, “Sit down, guys. He isn’t wrong—”
“ISN’T WRONG? ISN’T WRONG MY ASS!” Ouyang yelled. He turned around to look at Yang Fang and shouted, “WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?”
“Nothing wrong with me,” Yang Fang calmly replied. He looked up at his friend and explained, “Zhejiang has one Exhaust. They just have to save that for Zed. Lin Feng can’t one shot one of their carries when he’s exhausted. Now Zhejiang’s only worry is Tang Bingyao’s Draven. Between Braum, Jarvan IV and LeBlanc, they can take care of her.”
“What about BunBun though!” Liu Yue exclaimed. He waved his arm at the large LCD screen and continued, “She’s fed too! She can still carry us!”
Yan Fang adjusted his glasses and grimaced. He said, “Like… Like Dickfire said. If she gets a World-level kind of ultimate off, we’ll win. But chances are she won’t.”
“Let’s be real here,” Wei Dong interrupted. He looked at his friends and continued, “These are our friends from school. We’re playing at a uni tourney. It’s already great that they can participate! This is such a great experience for them! They forced a former professional player to a Game 5! That enough is something to be proud of. But winning…”
“Fuck you all and your negative asses!” Ouyang exclaimed. He shook his head and shouted, “I can’t believe this! We’re bros! Bros stand up for each other! They support each other! AND THEY NEVER FUCKING GIVE UP! GET TO YOUR FUCKING FEET AND CHEER! TEAM SHANGHAI IS GONNA WIN!”
Liu Yue wrapped his hands around his mouth and shouted, “TEAM SHANGHAI IS GONNA WIN! WOOT WOOT!”
Zeng Rui stared at his screen. At the dull grey colours reminding him about how the fight he planned had gone wrong. His general predictions were spot on. But he’d made a couple of miscalculations. I thought Braum was going to jump in together with LeBlanc! That’s such a strong combo! LeBlanc jumps and Braum follows with Stand Behind Me! But he waited for Lin Feng. He knew. Somehow. He breathed in deeply and said on the exhale, “Shit.”
Lin Feng scratched the back of his head and said over the team’s voice chat, “The Braum Exhaust is pretty annoying. I can’t kill Tristana while it’s up.”
Zhang Hao chimed in, “No good in me jumping on their backline either. They’ll just slaughter Tang Tang even faster!”
Tang Bingyao frowned and replied, “LeBlanc deals so much damage and then there’s Jarvan jumping on me every chance he gets and I also have to watch out for the Elise Cocoon! And what if Braum jumps in next time because we don’t expect it? I need double flashes… Triple…”
Zeng Rui massaged his temples and mumbled, “But dragging this game isn’t going work either…”
“So let’s stop dragging it out then,” An Xin said, smiling. She waited for everyone to look at her and then continued, “Tristana flashed away from Zed. Jarvan IV flashed on Tang Tang. They all used all of their skills to win that teamfight! Sure, they got us. They’re far closer to us than before. Our window is quickly closing. But it’s not over! We’re still stronger, for a bit longer!” She took a long, deep breath and concluded, “I’ll make the engage. You follow up on me.” She then turned to Lin Feng and added, “You just jump on Trist.”
It was the 21st minute of the fifth game. Team Shanghai gathered together and started pushing the mid lane. Zhejiang University’s outer tower was still at almost full health. Rollfire chuckled and said into his microphone, “Oh? Looks like Team Shanghai is going for one last try. Gotta give it to them, the timing works. Draven, Zed and Lee all have their Flashes up. Zhejiang doesn’t.”
Silent Reed nodded and chimed in, “Yep! This is Team Shanghai’s best opportunity! They just need to find the engage fast! This can’t drag on for too much longer!”
Rollfire smirked and retorted, “Easier said than done. Let’s see if Zhejiang University actually gives them the opportunity. And whether Team Shanghai has the skill to seize it!” He paused briefly and then added, “You’re right though. Team Shanghai does have a chance to win it here. But that’s maybe a 1% chance. Beyond that? This is a Zhejiang University win.”
In Zhejiang University’s soundproof booth:
Sun Ruinian glanced at his teammates and said over the team’s voice chat, “Gather mid and play it safe. If they dive us, we win this fight. Plus it’s not like they have any long range skillshots. Every extra second we get, is a second closer to our win.”
Shi Hang turned his head to look at Sun Ruinian and smiled. He didn’t give up. He fought. And now he’s back in the game. Just like I taught him! He nodded and added, “If Blitz pulls any of you guys, we’ll engage. I just need Braum to protect me. Knock Zed and Lee up if they try to dive. Let’s bring this game home!”
“Will do!” Zhejiang University’s Support replied. He then sighed loudly and mumbled, “Just a shame my Exhaust is on cooldown…”
Shi Hang shook his head and replied, “Don’t worry about that. We don’t need Exhaust to beat them. All we need is the knock up.” He turned his head to look back at his screen and narrowed his eyes. All we really need is for me to kill Draven before he can deal any damage. Then we can all focus on Maple. That’s going to be the real challenge here.
In Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth:
Zhang Hao stared at his screen and scrunched his nose. He had his Irelia stand outside of the mid outer tower’s range, looking for a way in. But Team Shanghai was almost entirely melee range, and even their ranged Champion Draven didn’t have much in terms of range. Zhang Hao shook his head in frustration and he said over the team’s voice chat, “Our range is too short. We can’t attack the tower! We’re just losing health like this!”
Zeng Rui had his Blitzcrank run back and forth, searching for an angle to cast Rocket Grab! But there were no openings, and the pressure he put on Zhejiang University wasn’t enough to push them away from the tower. He grimaced and said over the team’s voice chat, “BunBun, this is pointless. They’ve got the range advantage. All they need to do is to keep poking us down until we have to go back. And then we still need to back before they jump on us and kill us. This isn’t going to work…”
“It is going to work,” An Xin replied. She narrowed her eyes and continued, “Just be patient a little longer. I’m going to engage. When my Q hits, be ready.” She waited for the Red minions to die. There was a brief opening between the wave dying and the next one arriving. She had a clear shot on Zhejiang University’s front line. I have to do this, now! No time to hesitate! She pushed down on the Q key–Sonic Wave! Her Lee Sin punched a discordant soundwave forward! It slammed into Zhejiang’s Elise! An Xin smiled and shouted, “I’m going in!”
An Xin’s Lee Sin dashed at Zhejiang’s Elise with Resonant Strike!
Shanks' Mom has got it going on!
Double chapters everywhere! And what a time to end this chapter! The crowd in the venue is going wild! Ren Rou can’t watch it anymore and she’s closed her eyes! The esports club members from Zhejiang University are rubbing their hands and telling each other that they’re going to make it to the main tournament!
Shanks Thought: Yesterday was my mom’s birthday, and I wanted to do something a little special for her. So I bought her a birthday cake from one of those food delivery apps in China. Crazy how convenient the technology is there. Everything is seamlessly connected. You put in an order, and they deliver it to you for ridiculously cheap (like 50 cents) or completely free.
Anyway, the cake was delivered, and my mom reacted much more emotionally than I expected. She was tearing up and everything, which made me tear up too. The thing is, my mom is actually my step-mom. I was born out of an affair, and my biological mother abandoned me shortly after giving birth. So, my step-mom is the only mother I’ve ever known in life. But due to some Asian family drama, we ended up getting separated again, and I only really reconnected with her two years ago. So, this was actually the first time I’ve given her a gift on her birthday. I didn’t realize how much that would mean to her until that moment yesterday.
I’ve always taken my mom’s unconditional love for granted my whole life. I’ve never once felt like the step-son or another person’s child during the brief time I spent with her as a kid. So, thinking about how my childhood could’ve gone very differently, I’m pretty grateful to her.
Blood isn’t all that makes family, and the people around you probably care more about you than you think. I’m glad that I got to share this moment with my mom, and that I’ll still be able to make many more. It’s a little late, but happy belated mother’s day guys. Don’t leave it to one specific day to show your love. Show appreciation to the mother figures in your life every day.