Seo scrunched his eyebrows. Why is she stepping away from me…? Oh! He shook his head and grinned. How stupid! I keep forgetting they don’t learn Korean in school here! Such a hassle, but… She’s cute enough! He raised his hands up apologetically and said in broken Chinese, “I am Seo. Ad-carry Challenger from Korea now in Guangzhou. You are pretty. Very cute. I like your looks.”
Tang Bingyao raised her eyebrows in surprise. He’s a Korean Challenger…? Guangzhou? Her eyes turned round and she covered her mouth with her hand. He’s the new ad-carry for Team Guangzhou! They got a new Korean import! Mhm! We finally got another girl playing in this tournament! This is great! She giggled and replied, “Thank you.”
Seo felt his heart jump in joy when Tang Bingyao started giggling. Knew she’d like me! Tell them you’re a Korean Challenger and you’re in their panties! Now to seal the deal! Add her to my list! He ‘casually’ leaned against the wall and smiled what he believed to be his most charming smile. He said, “Friends? You, me, coffee?”
Friends? Coffee? Tang Bingyao stopped giggling and looked at Seo again. I don’t like coffee… She shrugged and said, “No thanks. Bye.” She then walked past Seo and back towards the stands.
Seo stared at the air in front of him, stunned. No? Did she just say no? Did she turn me down? He narrowed his eyes and turned his head to follow her. No one turns me down! I’m far too goodlooking for that! All girls love me! Oh! He chuckled. She’s just playing hard to get. Almost forgot about that play because the girls here are so easy! Alright, Seo, she doesn’t want to look too eager to jump into bed with you. You just gotta push her in that direction. Just play along and make her think it’s her choice. Takes a bit more skill, but she’s pretty cute. Yeah, I’ll take the extra effort for her! He rushed after Tang Bingyao and stopped her. He then said, “Is okay. Where you want to go? No coffee? Maybe PC Cafe? Play League? I carry you to Challenger!”
Tang Bingyao looked at Seo, annoyed. Her stomach churned and she lightly shook her head. I said no… Why is he still bothering me? She bit on her lips and said, “No, thanks. Leave me alone, please.” She then tried to push past him.
“어디가? 내 친절한 초대를 너무 차갑게 거절하는데? 이 버릇없는 년,” Seo said as he grabbed Tang Bingyao by the shoulder. He narrowed his eyes and continued in broken Chinese, “Don’t be rude. I’m kind.”
“Let go!” Tang Bingyao exclaimed. She tried to pull free, but Seo only tightened his grip on her shoulder. Tears jumped in her eyes. She shouted, “Ao! You’re hurting me! Let go of me!” She tried to shake herself free, her eyes darting across the hall searching for someone who could help her. Why is he doing this? Just leave me alone! I don’t wanna! Go away! Piss off! Please, someone! Some– “BunBun!”
A minute earlier, An Xin had got up from her seat in the player seating area and excused herself to go to the restroom. She’d walked past the crowd into the backstage area, following Chu Fang’s directions. When she got into a corridor, she saw two people standing close together. Uch, get a roo– Her eyes went wide when she heard Tang Bingyao’s voice, and even wider when she saw the girl was Tang Bingyao. Tang Tang! TANG TANG! She raced across the corridor and pushed Seo from behind and shouted, “Get away from Tang Tang, you creep!”
The push wasn’t hard, but Seo hadn’t expected it. He let go of Tang Bingyao and stumbled a few steps before refinding his footing. He turned around to look at An Xin and said in Korean, “What the fuck! You bitch!”
An Xin ignored Seo, her complete focus on Tang Bingyao. She put her hand on Tang Bingyao’s shoulder and asked, “Are you okay?”
Tang Bingyao sucked back the tears, though a few still escaped and rolled down her cheeks. She nodded and mumbled, “Mhm, thanks.”
“Good,” An Xin said with a warm smile. She then turned around to look at Seo. Her lips remained the same but all kindness disappeared from her eyes. They narrowed, furious. She said in perfect Korean, “You disgusting pig! What do you think you were doing!?”
Seo recovered from his initial burst of shock and got a good look at An Xin. He nodded, satisfied. She’s cute too. And she speaks Korean! That makes this so much easier! Alright, game face on! He smirked and said, “I really didn’t do anything. I was just having a friendly chat with your friend here.”
“A friendly chat?” An Xin asked. She glanced over her shoulder at Tang Bingyao who was trembling on her knees and then looked back at Seo. She said, “Does she look like she was having a fun chat? Does she? I’ll tell you what it looks like to me. It looks like you were trying to assault my friend. Now I’m sure the organizers wouldn’t like to learn about this. Don’t you think? They might even feel the need to send you back home. But my friend is already upset and I don’t want to make her think about this more than necessary. So here’s the deal. You piss the fuck off and never even look at her again!”
Seo paled, his eyes round and wide. He stared at An Xin in shock. This was the first time someone called him out like this. It was the first time since arriving in Guangzhou that a woman didn’t respond to his advances. His stomach was in turmoil and he didn’t know what to do. He moved his lips around and shook his head a bit, and finally he mumbled, “Sorry.” He then turned around and strode away, muttering, “Stupid bitches! Who the fuck do they think they are! Better hope I don’t see them in the tournament! I’ll fucking stomp them!”
“HMM? Did you say something? Come back, say that to my face!” An Xin yelled after Seo. He looked back over his shoulder at her, scared. He then sped up and pushed open the first door he found. The women’s restroom. But he didn’t care or notice. He rushed inside and stopped. Fucking crazy bitches! What the fuck was wrong with that one! Holy shit, her eyes! Fuck her! I’ll show her!
An Xin turned back to look at Tang Bingyao and smiled. She said, “It’s okay, Tang Tang. He’s gone.”
Tang Bingyao slowly raised her head and looked up at An Xin. Her eyes were red and swollen, and her mascara was murky after she wiped it all around her eyes. She tried to smile but also to stop crying. She finally mumbled, “Thank you, Bunbun. Thank you! I… I didn’t know you speak Korean.”
An Xin hugged Tang Bingyao and whispered, “Just a few words. I picked it up while travelling with Lin Feng four years ago.”
“Mhm,” Tang Bingyao replied, nodding.
“Are you okay, Tang Tang?” An Xin asked, worried. “Did he hurt you anywhere? If he did anything to you, we’re going right to the tournament officials.”
Tang Bingyao shook her head and replied, “I’m okay. It was just really scary. He was suddenly there and there was no one else and then and then, and then…” Tears appeared in her eyes again. She hiccuped and the crying followed. She said between the tears, “And then he grabbed me and I thought, I thought…”
An Xin hugged Tang Bingyao tightly and whispered, “It’s okay Tang Tang. He’s gone. I’ve got you. I’m here for you.” She then glanced over her shoulder at the end of the corridor and narrowed her eyes. What an asshole! Team Guangzhou, huh? When there’s one rotten apple, there’s probably more… She mumbled, “I’ll show those assholes!”
“BunBun, please, don’t!” Tang Bingyao said weakly. She shook her head and added, “I don’t want to cause any problems…”
“No,” An Xin replied. She looked at Tang Bingyao and continued, “He assaulted you. Don’t ever speak up for him. He doesn’t deserve it.”
Tang Bingyao’s lips quivered. She mumbled, “I-I… I just don’t want to cause any trouble…” She briefly pressed her lips together and then added, “Thank you for helping me, BunBun. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you.”
An Xin chuckled and said, “You don’t have to thank me. We’re friends! I wasn’t going to let some creep bother you! We’re here for each other!” She briefly paused, her expression dropping, before adding, “But Tang Tang… Let’s not tell Lin Feng what happened. If he finds out…” she shook her head. “… he will make a big scene out of it.”
Tang Bingyao wiped her eyes dry and nodded. I just want to forget this! No one has to know! She shook her head and weakly said, “Let’s just pretend this never happened…”
An Xin put her hands on Tang Bingyao’s shoulders and looked her friend in the eyes. She slowly said, “We’re not going to pretend this didn’t happen. It happened. We just won’t tell Lin Feng. We’ll use a different route to make that asshole pay for what he did to you!” A smile creeped on her face, though it didn’t quite reach her eyes. She continued, “He’s the ad-carry for Team Guangzhou, right?” Tang Bingyao nodded and An Xin went on, “So we’ll show him how worthless he is on the Rift. The way he treated you? He probably doesn’t think much about girls. Let’s make sure to camp the everloving shit out of that guy! We’ll make him go 0-10 and then laugh at him in all chat. We’ll make him regret this so hard!”
There was a fire behind An Xin’s words. Tang Bingyao found herself nodding and clenching her fists. She nodded and said, “Mhm! Sounds good! We’ll stomp him!”
Seo stayed in the restroom for nearly 15 minutes, grumbling and kicking against the toilet stalls. When he finally calmed down a bit, he splashed some water in his face and looked in the mirror at his reflection. You’re fucking hot! Those girls don’t know what they’re missing out on! They could’ve had the best threesome in their lives! He nodded at himself and then left the restroom. He walked down the corridor, his expression dropping again. Fucking bitches! Stupid fucking bitches!
When Seo arrived back at the seats for Team Guangzhou in the player seating area, he was kicking imaginary pebbles and glaring at everyone. The coach noticed it and asked, “Seo, what’s wrong? Did something happen?”
Seo let himself fall down on his chair and waved the coach away. He said, “It’s nothing.” He then looked at the stage and gritted his teeth. Those fucking bitches! I can get any girl I want! What do they think makes them so special? I’ve had far prettier girls! Stupid bitches! And that second one in particular! How dare she challenge me!? I’ll fucking show her! When I meet her on that stage… He grinned. When I meet those two on that stage? I’m going to make them regret that! I was just flirting! What is wrong with those bitches!?
Lin Feng waved at An Xin and Tang Bingyao when they walked back to their seats and shouted, “You two took forever! What kept you?”
An Xin smiled and replied, “There was a line at the restroom. Think some girl clogged the toilet…”
“Mhm!” Tang Bingyao added, nodding.
“You guys missed the ending of the game,” Zeng Rui complained.
Lin Feng grinned and interjected, “It was a boring game! You guys didn’t miss anything!”
Zeng Rui glared at Lin Feng but then shook his head. Not worth the effort. Won’t argue with him. No arguing with the thundering dumbass! Don’t do it! He breathed in deeply and said, “Let’s go back to the hotel. The games are over and the exit will be crowded soon.”
“Hotel…?” Lin Feng looked at Zeng Rui, confused. He then shook his head and said, “No way! It’s time for dinner! I’m starving!”
Zeng Rui glanced at Lin Feng and replied, “We’re going back to the hotel because your roommate is there. Remember how we–”
“Right! Right! I almost forgot!” Lin Feng interrupted, laughing. He nodded at Zeng Rui and said, “ZengZeng, you’re the best! Man, I really wonder how Su Xue’s meeting went! Maybe she’s already working for HuyaTV!”
Team Shanghai and Su Xue arrived back at the hotel at almost the same time. They ran into each other in the lobby. Lin Feng ran up to Su Xue and was about to greet her when he noticed that she didn’t look excited. He scrunched his eyebrows. Does she look anxious? She’s fidgeting with her fingers… she only does that when she’s stressing again! He said, “Hey… Uh, what’s wrong? Did the meeting not go well?”
“Hmm? Oh, hey Lin Feng,” Su Xue replied. She looked at Lin Feng and the others from Team Shanghai behind him before adding, “It went okay I guess.”
Lin Feng looked at Su Xue, puzzled. He asked, “Just okay? What does that mean?”
Su Xue rolled her eyes and explained, “The talk was fine. Basically I just have to sign the contract now.”
An Xin smiled and said, “That’s great! You’re going to become a really big streamer now! Congratulations!”
Tang Bingyao nodded and chimed in, “Mhm! Congratulations!”
Su Xue nodded absentmindedly. It went great. I got everything I wanted and I can stay in Shanghai with Lin Feng and Zuo You and my other friends. I’ll just stay here for a few weeks to receive some onsite training from professionals. Which is also really good! She chuckled and said, “Thanks. It’s good, all good I guess. Just. Just. Huhh! The HuyaTV executive told me he’d gotten me a great opportunity to cast some games in this ‘super big’ tournament.”
“A caster?” Lin Feng asked. His eyes lit up and he continued, “That’s amazing! You’re going to cast real professional games then! That’d be so cool!”
Su Xue sighed and explained, “That’s what I’m worried about. What if they make me do a professional game? I’m no caster! I sometimes dabble a bit with it on stream for fun. But I’m no caster! I don’t know nearly enough about professional play– Or even about the Champions! I’ll just end up making a fool out of myself! Everyone will see me make a fool out of myself! Then they’ll come to my stream to laugh at the fool…”
An Xin smiled and comforted, “Your stream casting is really good! I bet you the HuyaTV executive saw that and knew you were perfect for a casting gig!”
Tang Bingyao looked at Su Xue curiously and asked, “Do you know what games you will be casting?”
Su Xue shook her head and replied, “No, they haven’t told me yet. They said they’d have more information about that tomorrow night. All I know is that it’ll be in the Winter Collegiate Cup–”
“WHAT!?” Lin Feng exclaimed. He tugged on Su Xue’s arm and asked, “Really? Really!?”
It wasn’t just Lin Feng, everyone from Team Shanghai perked up from this bit of information. They stared at Su Xue and were about to start asking questions, when Chu Fang said, “Right. The Guangzhou Esports Association has a partnership contract with HuyaTV. That also extends to us actually. It’s how we got the Shanghai 16 School Tournament to play on HuyaTV’s frontpage.”
Lin Feng grinned. He struck his victory pose and shouted, “That’s awesome! Just imagine how cool it would be if you get to cast our games! You can tell them all how good I am! And how you know that I’m really good!”
Su Xue shook her head and muttered, “Who would want to do that…?”