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A Battle of the Stomps!

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Gasps rolled from the audience like a wave and slammed against the soundproof booths in which the players from Team Shanghai and Guangzhou Tech sat. Murmurs and whispers that grew increasingly loud followed. Guangzhou Tech held the absolute advantage in this first teamfight of the game. Their Champions had more health, and they had more Champions. Yet rather than retreat, Zeng Rui flashed in. And he brought Annie with him.

Yu Ping from Team Beijing narrowed his eyes. I see. Thresh… Zeng Rui, he’s decent.

Goalie from Team Guangzhou felt a jolt shoot through his body. His chest flexed and he moved back in his chair. Then he stopped and shook his head. He moved back forward and relaxed. That ain’t a bad play. Compared to all the other thrash I’ve seen, these two ain’t half bad.

Up until then, there was a calm focus inside Guangzhou Tech’s soundproof booth. Their Midlaner was telling them which Champion from Team Shanghai to focus on and counting down the important crowd control skill timers. Even when Zeng Rui flashed forward, their first reaction was to focus on him. Then they saw Annie. And panic followed. She came flying at them, tightly holding onto her little teddy bear Tibbers.

Guangzhou Tech’s Jungler saw the Annie first. He shouted over the team’s voice chat, “Annie! ANNIE!”

“Janna, ult! ULT!” Guangzhou Tech’s Midlaner screamed.

Lin Feng’s Annie landed right next to Zeng Rui’s Thresh in the middle of the bot lane. In front of him, gathered tightly together, were Twisted Fate, Caitlyn and Janna. Lin Feng grinned and mumbled, “Summon Tibbers!” He pressed the R key, which caused Annie to toss her teddy bear up into the air. The spark of life within the teddy bear blazed to life! It rapidly grew into a several meters tall bear with flames wreathing its body! More importantly, the vortex that’d been swirling around Annie disappeared. It was the visual effect from her passive skill which signified that her next spell would land a stun. This spell.

Tibbers fell down to the ground. Its feet smashed into the hard packed earth! A shockwave swept out and stunned Twisted Fate, Caitlyn and Janna! From behind Tibbers, Annie gathered the magical essence around her and focused it in a cone in front of her. Then she lit it up. Incinerate! Fire blazed out in front of her and burned away at the health bars of the three enemy Champions!

You have slain an enemy!

Twisted Fate had lost his lane and was behind in both items and levels. He didn’t have nearly enough health or magic defense to survive the fiery claws from Tibbers or the inferno Annie unleashed. His health bar was the first to run empty. Next to him, Caitlyn wasn’t faring much better. Her health bar was practically empty. Tibbers turned its focus to her, its large claw swiping away at her health! And from behind Tibbers, Annie was playing with fire again. She conjured the fire into a ball and hurled it at Caitlyn–Disintegrate!

Double kill!

The stun effect on Janna finally wore off. She cast Monsoon. A magical storm brewed to life around her! It knocked back Thresh and Annie while its soothing nature healed Guangzhou Tech’s Gragas and herself!

There was too much happening too quickly. Guangzhou Tech had lost all oversight of the fight. The last order from their team captain was to attack Zeng Rui’s Thresh, so that was what Gragas did. He Body Slammed into the Thresh and then threw his Explosive Casket on top of him! But while the voice announcer congratulated Guangzhou Tech with the kill on Zeng Rui’s Thresh, there wasn’t anything to celebrate. That was because the Explosive Casket had not only killed Zeng Rui, but it had also knocked Annie back towards Janna.

Lin Feng grinned and said, “Thanks, Gragas! Could’ve never gotten this kill without you!” His fingers were already gliding over his keyboard. He had his Annie fire auto attacks, which were just smaller Disintegrates, and combined that with Disintegrate. It didn’t take more than a couple of seconds to finish Janna off.

Triple kill!

There was only Gragas left from Guangzhou Tech, and he’d used his movement abilities. Zhang Hao also knew this, so he activated Cataclysm! His Jarvan IV leaped up above Gragas and then came down with such force that he terraformed the earth into an arena! The two Champions were locked inside together. Lin Feng’s Annie and Tang Bingyao’s Lucian arrived right outside of the arena and attacked Gragas from there. Lucian with light bullets and Annie with fire. It was this fire that eventually dealt the killing blow.

Quadra kill!

“Oh my god…”
“Yeah…”
“How, what, no, huh, damn!”
“They just… Yeah, they just…”
“Team Shanghai kicked some ass! They kicked some ass!”
“Yeah they did! YEAH!”
“Woooooo!”
“WOOOOOO!

The players from Guangzhou Tech stared at their screens in horror. They’d lost the teamfight, resoundingly. Four deaths and one kill. And that kill was on Team Shanghai’s Support, the least valuable target. Four players turned their heads to look at their team captain, waiting for his guidance. But their team captain didn’t have the answer either. He said through gritted teeth, “Focus mid! Kill Annie!”

On the other side of the stage, inside Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth, Zeng Rui came to a similar idea. He pinged on the outer tower in the mid lane and said over the team’s voice chat, “Rotate mid. We’re going to push!”

The death timers 10 minutes into the game weren’t all that long, but they were long enough for Team Shanghai to rotate from the bot lane to the mid lane and take the outer tower. Then they kept pushing until they arrived at the inner tower. That was where the players from Guangzhou Tech were waiting. They stood underneath their tower and fired skillshots at Team Shanghai.

Right above the inner tower was a wall of trees and behind that was the Jungle. An Xin’s Lee Sin ran back and forth there, patiently waiting for an opportunity. It didn’t take long until Guangzhou Tech’s Rengar made an error. He walked a bit too close to the wall. An Xin’s Lee Sin fired a Sonic Wave! It struck Rengar and revealed him to Lee Sin! This unlocked Resonating Strike! Lee Sin dashed at Rengar! He followed up by placing a ward behind Rengar and hopping towards it with Safeguard!

An Xin’s Lee Sin arrived right in front of Twisted Fate. She activated Dragon’s Rage! Lee Sin lifted his foot off the ground and prepared to attack Twisted Fate with a roundhouse kick! Right then, a mottled flash of light carried Lee Sin to the other side of Twisted Fate. The roundhouse kick struck Twisted Fate and sent him flying! He slammed into Rengar, knocking him up, and then kept flying further!

Lin Feng’s Annie was waiting at the spot where Guangzhou Tech’s Twisted Fate would land. A vortex swirled around her. When Twisted Fate was still immobile but in range, she activated her full damage combo! Summon Tibbers! Incinerate! Disintegrate! Fire enveloped Twisted Fate and killed him.

You have slain an enemy!

Zhang Hao’s Jarvan dashed at Rengar with his flag-toss combo just before the earlier knock up could wear off. All the while, Tang Bingyao’s Lucian fired light bullets at Rengar. He suddenly lifted both his guns and aimed at Rengar. A Piercing Light fired from then, shearing away at Rengar’s health bar! He followed up with a double shot.

You have slain an enemy!

“Take the inner tower,” Zeng Rui ordered over the team’s voice chat.

In the player seating area, Chu Fang grinned and said to Su Xue, “That’s a win.”

“Yeah!” Su Xue exclaimed, clenching her fists in excitement. The sound of the crowd cheering behind her sent goosebumps down her spine. That was such a nice play! I wish I could’ve casted this game!

Lin Feng’s Annie was so fed, so far ahead of all other Champions, that it became impossible for Guangzhou Tech to fight back. Following his lead, Team Shanghai destroyed towers all across the map and breached Guangzhou Tech’s base by the 15th minute. There were still five minutes before Guangzhou Tech could surrender, but it never came to that. Team Shanghai finished the game in only 18 minutes.

There was a short break between the games. This gave Guangzhou Tech some much needed time to calm down and think of a new tactic to deal with Team Shanghai. When the two teams got back into Champion Select for the second game, Guangzhou Tech did what everyone expected them to do. They banned Annie and two more Midlaners they’d seen Lin Feng play. What they didn’t know was that Lin Feng’s Champion pool was deeper than the Mariana Trench. He picked Ryze and was as happy as ever.

Lin Feng looked at his teammates and said over the team’s voice chat, “The game is starting! Let’s finish it faster than the first one!”

“Yeah!” Zhang Hao replied, clenching his fist.

At Level 2, An Xin’s Sejuani ganked the mid lane and helped Lin Feng’s Ryze secure first blood on Guangzhou Tech’s Ahri.
At Level 6, Lin Feng’s Ryze caught Guangzhou Tech’s Ahri off guard and picked up a solo kill.
At 10 minutes, Team Shanghai was pulling ahead in all three lanes and were 4,000 gold ahead.
At 15 minutes, The gold difference had increased to 6,000 and Team Shanghai had taken down two towers and killed the Dragon.
At 23 minutes, Team Shanghai destroyed Guangzhou Tech’s Nexus and moved on to the next round in the Winter Collegiate Cup!

Su Xue stared at the large LCD screen, her mouth hanging open. Oh my god! This is the most one-sided stomp ever! It would’ve been so easy to cast this! I wouldn’t even have to know anything about the opponents! All these casters did was talk about how good Lin Feng is! I can do that! Then I don’t have to worry about the fact that my game knowledge is really subpar. I know next to nothing about match-ups, tactics, strategy… She chewed on her lips. I don’t want to say somethign stupid. They’ll start calling me Prophet Stone version 2 or something stupid like that! Stupid fans will find something to bitch about! Why do I have to… She shook her head and took a deep breath. I can do this! I want to do this! I just… I don’t want to suck. I want to be good at it! And with Lin Feng playing, I can be good at it! He’ll carry me through the things I’m bad at!

Chu Fang nodded at Su Xue and asked, “What do you think?”

Su Xue looked at Chu Fang and mumbled, “Huh, wha–” She shook her head, the question finally registering, and replied, “Oh! I think they played really well! I would really like to cast Lin Feng’s games! It’s so easy to make predictions. I just have to say that Lin Feng will win! He always does!”

Chu Fang smiled and said, “Yeah, looks like he does.”

A new wave of cheers slammed into Chu Fang and Su Xue. They looked up at the stage and realized why. Team Shanghai had walked out of the soundproof booths and thanked the audience for their support. They then turned to the players from Guangzhou Tech and shook their hands in a sign of good sportsmanship. And finally, they walked down the stairs and joined Chu Fang and Su Xue.

Lin Feng grinned and said, “The plan worked perfectly! Did you see it, Su Xue? I carried them just like we planned!”

Zeng Rui massaged his temples and took a long, deep breath. He said, “Yes. We executed that well. I don’t think the other teams got much, if any, information out of us.”

Zhang Hongyi, Support for Team Beijing, sat with his teammates in the player seating area. He looked over his shoulder at the stands behind him, glaring. He heard all the shouts of support for Team Shanghai, and the fervent discussions about how lucky Team Shanghai was to have such talented players. He ground his teeth in frustration and muttered, “Fucking Zeng Rui! That fucking…”

Yu Ping glanced at his teammate and shook his head. Zhang Hongyi shouldn’t get so angry. That Zeng Rui… He played good. But that doesn’t change much. We’re better.

A short distance away from Team Beijing were Team Guangzhou’s seats. Seo sat there, ignoring the chatter from his teammates and glaring at Tang Bingyao and An Xin. He refused to blink, staring at them. And when they finally looked over in his direction, he smiled and placed his finger to his throat. Then he drew a line.

Tang Bingyao frowned and tugged at An Xin’s sleeve. She whispered, “BunBun…”

“Oh, I saw,” An Xin replied. She shrugged and added, “He really is a piece of work.” She then put a hand on Tang Bingyao’s shoulder and smiled. “Just ignore him. He isn’t worth our time or worry.”

Lin Feng didn’t hear the chat between Tang Bingyao and An Xin, because something had caught his eyes. He looked at the players from Team Beijing. More specifically, at Zhang Hongyi. Why is he looking so mad? Is he looking at me? What did I do!? Wait, no… He isn’t looking at me! He’s looking at… He turned his head to follow Zhang Hongyi’s glaring stare. … Zeng Rui?

“Yo! ZengZeng!” Lin Feng said. He pointed with his head at Zhang Hongyi and asked, “I think that guy is looking at you!”

Zeng Rui shrugged and calmly replied, “It’s nothing. Just the look of a sore loser.”

The players from Team Shanghai relaxed back in their chairs and unwinded from the pressure of their first match in the main tournament of the Winter Collegiate Cup. But Zeng Rui didn’t allow them too much rest. He pointed out several things in the next game and then warned them they all had to pay attention for the game that came after. That was one of the most important matches for them to pay attention to, because Team Guangzhou was playing.

When it was time for Team Guangzhou to go up on stage, the audience went wild. They were in Guangzhou and Team Guangzhou were the winners of the South China Regionals. With their two Korean imports, many people said they were one of the main contenders for the Championship title. More importantly, this was their homeground. Their family, their friends, everyone they knew was in the stadium to cheer them on. They were one of the few teams with a sixth player.

The large LCD screen above the soundproof booths blazed to life. It started playing highlights from Team Guangzhou’s earlier rounds while the players were getting settled. The casters were analyzing the match up from a skybox in the stadium. And Zeng Rui was pointing out small things he’d noticed in Team Guangzhou’s play that happened to pop up on the large LCD screen.

Team Guangzhou and JiangXi University moved into Champion Select. They went through the ban phase, picked the Champions they wanted to play, and finally loaded onto the Rift. That was when it became clear that it really didn’t matter which Champions eight of the ten players had chosen. This game was the Goalie and Seo show.

Seo went with Sivir in the first game. He played against Lucian, which was a decent match up for him. Lucian relied a lot on his skills and Sivir had a skillblock spell. This was an advantage he abused perfectly. Lucian from Jiangxi University never got into the game. In fact, he spent more time on the fountain than on the Rift. Yet that wasn’t the most shocking development of the game. That feat was reserved for the mid lane, where Goalie’s Ahri wiped the floor with Jiangxi University’s Zed.

The first game lasted 22 minutes. It was a stomp. The Team Guangzhou fans were up on their feet cheering, while everyone else sat in their seats in shock. A few of them mumbled and muttered their surprise at how much better Team Guangzhou looked than they had in the video footage from the Regionals. Some replied that this was perhaps a fluke, that the second game would be more even.

The second game wasn’t ‘more’ even. It was another 22 minute stomp. The only difference was the Champions on the Rift. Just like in the first game, Seo and Goalie carried the game. Seo proved to everyone that Tristana wasn’t just a late game Champion, especially when she got a few kills early on, and Goalie showed that his LeBlanc was one of the best in the entire world. The audience didn’t know how to reply. Some were up on their feet cheering, others were sitting in their chairs reeling in shock.

Sun Lei was the substitute Midlaner from Team Beijing. He was usually confident in his own skill, and he hadn’t yet lost a single match up in the entire Winter Collegiate Cup. But after watching Goalie play, he was trembling in his seat. He shook his head repeatedly and muttered, “W-what was that? That Goalie, he… He… He’s insane!”

Yu Ping the Midlaner from Team Beijing slowly nodded. He narrowed his eyes and took a long, deep breath. Sun Lei is right. That was an impressive performance. I don’t care how good that Lin Feng from Team Shanghai is, there’s no way he’s better than Goalie. Goalie is my biggest opponent this tournament!

The reactions of shock that didn’t just sound from the stands but also from the player seating area also extended to Team Shanghai. Zhang Hao was muttering about how it was impossible to beat this team, while Zeng Rui said they just had to come up with a good plan. An Xin agreed with this assessment and Tang Bingyao nodded along to it all, occasionally glancing at Seo. Lin Feng was the only one who didn’t look concerned. He wore his usual happy-go-lucky grin and exclaimed, “That was a great game! I can’t believe Goalie plays LeBlanc as well! And he really wasn’t bad on her!” He scratched the back of his head and added, “Just a shame he isn’t a bit better. That could’ve been a fun game for me…”

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QUESTIONS WITH NO ANSWERS

Shanks Thought: Sietse is busy helping out with his girlfriend’s mom’s birthday party, and Devshard is off in the nether doing whatever doctor things that Devshard does. So, that leaves you guys with me. So, here’s my best attempt at trying to reimagine the Rise Crew as an adventurer party in a world of fantasy and magic. I may or may not continue this, or I may pass this on to Devshard and Sietse to see where they’ll write the story.

The Legend of Rise – Beginnings I

A motley trio made up of a Magician, a Warrior, and a Rogue found themselves standing before the Adventurer’s Guild of Rivermouth. The Magician was a portly looking Asian lad with a timid disposition. He nervously glanced over at his two friends. The Warrior, a behemoth of a Dutchman that one could easily mistake as one of the Barbarians of the south, if not for his fair complexion and blonde hair. And the Rogue, an Indian man who looked farr to sleep deprived to do any roguing at all. Yet his face was absolutely glowing as he took a step forward toward the entrance.

“W-wait, wait!” Shanks, the portly Magician, called out. “Are we really doing this? I know I gave the suggestio, but I didn’t think you’d actually listen to me! Plus, we still haven’t figured out what’s wrong with Sietse yet.”

“What?” Devshard said, slightly knitting his brow. “Why not? Listen bud, sometimes you just need to learn to go with the flow. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. As for Sietse, what do you mean? He’s perfectly normal.”

“Thundercock!” Sietse, the Warrior, bellowed out. Then he turned to face Shanks, staring deep in the little asian boy’s eyes.

Sietse’s gaze was intense, piercing, and even a little smouldering. It also didn’t help that the Dutchman was half naked, with only a piece of pelt covering his loin area, his muscles swelling and rippling alongside his heavy, forceful breathing.

Shanks gulped and looked away, breaking eye contact.

“See? Perfectly normal,” Devshard said, ending the conversation there. Then he turned around and walked into the guild with his two companions in tow.

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