Five Champions stood at the outer boundary of their base. The players from Team Guangzhou were all looking at their team captain, waiting for his word. Goalie looked at his minimap and grumbled. Everything was going wrong, and just when they needed to scale a bit more to win this game, Team Shanghai forced their hand again. He said through gritted teeth, “We fight.”
Team Guangzhou moved into action, bringing all the wards they could carry. Seo and Goalie also bought two scrying orbs. The first was used to reveal the Baron pit. It confirmed Team Shanghai hadn’t yet started fighting the strongest boss monster. The second scrying orb was used to gain intel on the top side of the Jungle, near the Wraith Camp. It exposed Morgana and Sejuani, who started retreating.
Goalie said over the team’s voice chat, “We push. Leona, vision ward here …” he pinged on the brush that connected most of the top side Jungle with the mid lane. “… and ward here, here and there.” He continued pinging on the top side Jungle, pointing out every brush and nook he wanted vision on. All the while, Leona had her Oracle Lens active, revealing the wards from Team Shanghai which the others from Team Guangzhou destroyed.
Goalie watched his minimap and panned his camera around the map. We need to play this right. It’s still a bit early, but if we play this right… We just need to get that Riven down fast. He took a long, deep breath and then said in broken Chinese over the team’s voice chat, “Leona no exhaust. No fight her. Drag, drag, drag!” He then turned his head to look at Seo and continued in Korean, “I want you to stay back. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get damage off at the start of it. We just need to make sure Riven doesn’t get that initial jump on you. From there I trust you can outplay them all?”
Seo nodded, glaring at his monitor. He replied, “I can and I will!” He ground his teeth and clenched his fists. I’m gonna get the stupid Kalista bitch first and then that Jungler one. I don’t care what her Champion is! Their team sucks! They all fucking suck! Suck! SUCK! SUCK–
“Remember! Biggest threat Riven!” Goalie reminded everyone over the team’s voice chat. He explained, “She damage, others not. I kill Kalista.”
Zephyr shifted around in his seat at the caster desk, nervous. Excited. He leaned towards his microphone and said, “Team Guangzhou has come out of their base! And like I predicted, Team Guangzhou is quite strong! Team Shanghai agrees and decides to give up control over Team Guangzhou’s top side Jungle!”
“Not exactly,” Su Xue replied. She pointed at the bot lane and continued, “Team Shanghai still has Dr. Mundo pushing the bot lane. Of course they aren’t engaging a 4vs5! Just wait until Team Guangzhou has to respond to the Dr. Mundo!”
Zephyr looked at the minimap and smiled. He grabbed his microphone and said, “This is gonna be good! Fiora is meeting Mundo in the bot lane! Both Champions have their Teleport up! It’s gonna be a game of who is the better Teleporter! This could be the game-deciding teamfight and it looks like it’s all going to come down to who gets the drop on the other team with a brilliant Teleport!”
Su Xue nodded with her eyebrows raised. “True, true,” she said. “Very possible. Yes. Or, and hear me out here, this fight will be won by the best player! I won’t be naming names, but I’m foreseeing a certain player winning this fight all by him…– er, or herself!”
“Now that! That would be something to watch!” Zephyr exclaimed, laughing.
An Xin pressed the Tab key and looked through the most recent item upgrades on Team Guangzhou’s Champions. She then said over the team’s voice chat, “Lin Feng, don’t engage this one. Vayne’s got a Quicksilver Sash. She’ll just cleanse your stun. Let us engage first.”
“Don’t worry! Don’t worry!” Lin Feng replied, laughing. He scratched the back of his head and continued, “I was planning to just jump their backline and kill them all! And I don’t really care if Vayne has a QSS or not… I’ve got Flash and Ignite! He isn’t surviving!”
An Xin shook her head and rolled her eyes, then turned to look at Tang Bingyao and continued, “Tang Tang, I need you to be careful too. Fizz or Fiora is going to jump on you. Save your ultimate for when that happens. Be ready to outplay them. Just that bit more and then you can rest your finger a bit, okay?”
Tang Bingyao nodded and replied, “Mhm! Okay!”
An Xin looked past Tang Bingyao at Zeng Rui and was about to give him his tasks, when he beat her to it. He said over the team’s voice chat, “I’ll do my best to keep my Black Shield ready for Riven. We can’t lose her.”
Zhang Hao looked at his teammates, his Dr. Mundo farming in the bot lane, and suggested, “If you guys get a few deep wards back up, I’ll try and Teleport behind them. Once I get their attention, Lin Feng can jump in and win the fight!”
“I like the sound of that!” An Xin replied, nodding. She then turned her head to look at Lin Feng and asked, “What do you think? Easy enough right? Hack sword, get kills, win fight. Even a goldfish like you can do that!”
Lin Feng narrowed his eyes and breathed in, staring at his monitor. We’ve played around long enough! I’m going to make those guys remember my promise to them! No one will remember who they are! He grinned and said over the team’s voice chat, “No worries! Penta kill coming right up!”
《The Blue Team has destroyed a Turret!》
“Nice work, Zhang Hao!” An Xin exclaimed. She smiled and added, “Just keep pushing to the inner tower now! See how far you can get!”
Zhang Hao nodded and replied, “Yeah! But I can’t really push the next tower. Fiora is there and I can’t lose too much health towerdiving her or I won’t be able to come around later… I think I’ll just throw cleavers at her from outside tower range. Be a nuisance and all!”
“Mm-mhm,” Lin Feng replied, though he wasn’t really listening to Zhang Hao. He was slowly entering the zone. The scrying orb Team Guangzhou had used earlier had dropped a ward inside the Baron Pit. He used the first two casts from Broken Wings to move towards it and destroy it. Then he moved to the wall at the far back of the Baron pit and activated the third cast from Broken Wings. His Riven leaped over the wall and hacked down on the Jungle ground beyond!
Summoner’s Rift appeared inside Lin Feng’s mind. A perfect visual representation. He glanced at the minimap and filled in where Team Shanghai’s Champions were, and then what he knew about Team Guangzhou. Fiora is in bot. Then we’ve got Leona and Lee trying to get vision at the river entrance right below the Baron pit. They can only do that if Fizz is nearby for protection. Vayne can’t be too far away either, probably back a bit… Hmm, she’s doing the Wraith Camp. A bit of extra gold and it’s right next to the river entrance.
An Xin glanced at Lin Feng and noticed the focus with which he was staring at his monitor. She asked, “Are you seeing a flank?”
“No,” Lin Feng replied. He shook his head and explained, “They’re playing it really safe. If I go in right now, you guys won’t be able to follow up in time. And 1vs4 is suicidal, even for me!” He continued scanning the river and the top side Jungle. He tried out possibilities in his mind and considered their chances of success. Wait. Wait. He panned his camera over the Red Buff Camp and scrunched his eyebrows. He asked, “Anyone know if they warded Red?”
Zeng Rui frowned and said, “You want to go all the way around there? That’s even further away from us! How are we supposed to follow up on that?” He shook his head and pinged on the Jungle entrance where Lee Sin and Leona were. He continued, “If we start pushing them here, they’ll know something is up. They’re going to be searching for you. It won’t work.”
“No, no! It’s fine! Don’t worry about pushing!” Lin Feng replied. He laughed and said, “I’ll engage. You guys just follow up from there!”
“Wowowow! Look at Riven! What’s she doing there!?”
“Haha! What the fuck! He’s gone sightseeing in Team Guangzhou’s Jungle!”
“Holy shit! She’s going for the flank! That’s sick if she can pull it off!”
“No way that’s gonna work. She’s far too deep! What’s she thinking!?”
“When Team Guangzhou sees her, they can just switch to her… This ain’t gonna work…”
“Fuck me, what a waste! They could’ve just done a 5vs5 and won it!”
“Oh boy, oh boy!” Zephyr exclaimed. He pushed his microphone against his lips and said, “Look at that Riven! Some balls she’s got! But you know something? I think it’s brilliant! Team Guangzhou has been trying to get wards in their Jungle, but they’ve had to prioritize a path towards the Baron pit and that brush Riven is in is really out of the way! They’ve got no idea she’s in there! Imagine if Vayne goes there to ward it! That’d be game over!”
Su Xue clenched her fists and mumbled, “Do it, Lin Feng! Get them!” She then reached for her microphone and said, “Just imagine a Riven suddenly jumping your backline from behind you! This is totally gonna work!”
“Eeeh,” Zephyr replied, hesitating. He shook his head and explained, “I don’t know. I can think about two clear problems. First off, Riven is way too far away from her teammates. If Team Guangzhou gets the engage… Well, you get the idea. On top of that, Team Guangzhou is going to realize Riven is missing. It’s pretty damn obvious she isn’t with the rest of her team.”
Goalie moved his lips around, panning his camera across the river. Where’s Riven? We haven’t seen her… Last we saw of her, she cleared the ward in the Baron pit… He narrowed his eyes and moved his camera towards the Baron pit. You can jump the wall and then you can go to the Red Buff Camp and continue to flank us… He chuckled and shook his head. Yeah, you’re that kind of player. Alright, two can play that game! You wanna circle behind us? Let’s make you completely irrelevant! He ordered over the team’s voice chat, “Go in! ENGAGE!”
Fiora retreated just far enough behind her inner tower so that Zhang Hao’s Dr. Mundo didn’t have vision on her. She then panned her camera to a ward that was placed inside Team Shanghai’s top side Jungle and started teleporting towards it. A red pillar of light descended on the ward which was in Team Shanghai’s fog of war!
Zephyr jumped to his feet and leaned over the desk, leaning on it with one hand and clutching the microphone with the other. He shouted, “Fiora is getting the flank! Team Shanghai hasn’t got a clue!”
“See!? Told you so! Riven is way out of position! Now Team Guangzhou easily wins this!”
“Mundo doesn’t know! He isn’t teleporting! Oh my god, MUNDO! MUNDO! TP!”
“This is going to be a 5vs3! Shit! I’m almost feeling bad for Team Shanghai!”
“They’re gonna lose this one because of Riven! Feels fucking bad man!”
“Gg to Team Guangzhou! We’ve got ourselves a series!”
“Kalista! Kalista! Kalista!” Goalie ordered over Team Guangzhou’s voice chat.
Team Guangzhou’s Leona suddenly flashed into the river and pointed her sword up at the sky, calling down a Solar Flare! The beam of light slammed down on top of Tang Bingyao’s Kalista and An Xin’s Sejuani, stunning them both!
Lee Sin hopped to a ward in the river with Safeguard and then struck out with his fist–Sonic Wave! A pressurized blast of air shot forward and struck Sejuani! Resonating Strike! He dashed at Sejuani and gave her a swift kick!
Goalie’s Fizz was too far away from the fight, so he flashed forward to bridge the gap. He followed up with Chum the Waters! Fizz threw out a small fish that struck Kalista! It started swimming around her, a portal to the deep opening up beneath her! A shadow moved in the depths of the water.
Zeng Rui warned over the team’s voice chat, “Tang Tang! Go mid! Fiora is behind us! Escape mid!” He stopped thinking about protecting Lin Feng’s Riven and started worrying about helping Tang Bingyao survive. He had his Morgana cast her Black Shield on Tang Bingyao’s Kalista and then ordered, “Zhang Hao! Teleport!”
“Coming!” Zhang Hao replied. He stopped walking and teleported to the ward closest to Tang Bingyao’s Kalista. Any plan about finding a flank was gone out of the window. The only important thing right now was to make sure that Tang Bingyao’s Kalista survived the initial engage.
Tang Bingyao waited for the fish from Fizz’s Chum the Waters to hit her. She then activated her Quicksilver Sash! A cleansing light wrapped around Kalista and both broke the stun from Leona’s Solar Flare as well as freed her from the fish! She then followed Zeng Rui’s orders, running towards the mid lane.
“Kalista broke free from everything!” Su Xue exclaimed into her microphone. She sat up a bit straighter and continued, “She had the QSS and broke free! But Fiora is still behind her! She’s coming from behind! This is bad! This is all kinds of bad for Team Shanghai!”
“WOOOO! SHE’S STILL DEAD!”
“GET HER, FIORA!”
“COME ON, KALISTA!”
Zeng Rui flicked his mouse towards Team Guangzhou’s Morgana and tapped the Q key. A Dark Binding conjured from dark magic struck Fiora and rooted her! Zeng Rui then shouted, “Run, Tang Tang, run!”
Team Guangzhou’s Lee Sin and Fizz were right on top of An Xin’s Sejuani. She didn’t think, just smashed the R key! Glacial Prison! Sejuani threw a True Ice bola at the two from Team Guangzhou. It struck Lee Sin and froze him in place. But Goalie had cast Playful just in time for his Fizz to hop on top of his trident and use the brief moment of invincibility to dodge both the effects and the damage of the Glacial Prison!
“He dodged it! He dodged it!” Zephyr screamed into his microphone. “I can’t believe it! He dodged it!”
“Those reflexes! DAMN!”
“That was… WOW!”
Goalie stared at his monitor, unblinking. Focused. You first, Kalista. He watched Tang Bingyao’s Kalista Flash away from him, very much like he expected. It was what he’d been waiting for before casting the second half of his E skill. Trickster! His Fizz hopped off his trident towards Tang Bingyao’s Kalista! He followed up with Urchin Strike, dashing through her and stabbing at her with his trident! He then cast Ignite on Kalista, the unquenchable flames blazing to life on her skin, before activating his last remaining skill. Seastone Trident! An aura wrapped around his trident and boosted its power!
An Xin barreled forward with Arctic Assault, trying to reach Tang Bingyao’s Kalista and help her survive. But in her rush, she paid no attention to Seo’s Vayne appearing in the river, not her position right next to the Jungle wall. A thick, massive bolt slammed into her, knocked her off her feet and then pinned her to the wall. She was stunned!
“Team Shanghai is getting destroyed!” Zephyr exclaimed. He shook his head, incredulous, and continued, “They’re getting torn apart! They’ve looked so good all game, but this fight is all about Team Guangzhou! They’ve practically won already!”
Su Xue bit on her lips and nodded. She said into her microphone, “Hmm. It was a good engage by Team Guangzhou. A 5vs3. There isn’t much Team Shanghai can do to stop that. Dr. Mundo just arrived. But I don’t see that changing much either… Lin Feng, where are you?”
Zeng Rui wasn’t shotcalling like he usually did. This fight wasn’t his. He hadn’t come up with the tactic, nor with the scenarios in case of a fallout. He was in the dark, unsure of what to do. An Xin glanced at him and saw him struggle. She grimaced and then said over the team’s voice chat, “Zhang Hao, pin Fiora down! Good! Zeng Rui, you, stop trying to help Tang Tang. She’s dead. Focus on their backline. Lock down what you can. Damage control. Damage control!” She finally turned her head to look at Lin Feng and urged, “Lin Feng, I need you to hurry! It’s almost too late!”
“Almost there!” Lin Feng replied, grinning. He had his Riven run past the Wraith Camp towards the river. The players from Team Guangzhou were just ahead of him, not paying any attention to him at all. He pressed the R key to activate Blade of the Exile! Green, runic energy burst from Riven’s body! It coated her skin, boosting her stats, and reforged her broken blade! Lin Feng then locked onto Seo, his grin broadening. He lightly tapped the keys with his left and tightened his hold on the mouse, mumbling, “We’ve only just begun!”
SIETSE TELLS A SUSPICIOUSLY SPECIFIC STORY
Sietse Thought: Just a little something I felt like writing. Purely fictional:
My friends always ask me why I don’t drink. You’re out at a restaurant, enjoying a well prepared supper, and then the question comes. “Hey, why don’t you drink?” “Hey, why won’t you have a drink?” “Do you not like it?” “Just one glass isn’t too much, right?” “Maybe you’ll loosen up a bit if you do.” It gets especially bad when you join them on a night out. They start at the bar, making jokes, and end in some club telling the girl you’re dancing with that you’re a weirdo who doesn’t drink alcohol.
What do you tell them? No never seems to work. But the truth? Do you tell them about your old friend who lost herself to alcohol? That everytime you see the liquid flow down someone’s throat, you get flashbacks to those years? You remember everything again in vivid detail. Worse, you feel everything again. The powerlessness as you saw her slip away. The endless nights trying to think about how to help her. The countless attempts until the police got involved. And in the end, all of it was never enough. She was already lost.
Jill had a social disorder. Talking with people in real life was something she just didn’t do, even with her parents she barely shared more than a few words. It was a bit different online. That was where she could write a couple of words or sit quietly in voice chat. Her parents sent her to therapists to deal with this issue, they had her take pills and try all kinds of methods to get her to a point where she wasn’t afraid to talk. Until she found the booze. Until she felt the power of the liquid destroying the barriers keeping her from talking.
Jill started talking on voice chat. Real life was still too scary. But when she sat at home and drank the booze, she could gather the courage to talk on voice chat. It started with just a few words, but soon she was stringing along entire sentences. She was making connections. All because of a little booze. She felt its power; she knew she needed more.
The power of booze propelled Jill into taking a job. She started working at a small motel. It was out of the way enough where no one really needed her to talk much, and where no one really cared that she smelled a bit of alcohol. She raided the mini fridges while cleaning the rooms, drinking a small bottle every hour. Its power drove her. But it also blocked thought. That little voice at the back of her head was smothered. There were no more consequences in her mind. Just more booze and the ability to be someone she’d always dreamt to be.
A few drinks to get tipsy became several drinks to get drunk. One time, she drove to work drunk and hit a car. Her first worry was that the cops would come, that they’d find out she was drunk, that they’d take her booze away. So she cried and cried and convinced the guy she hit to please not call the cops. He obliged, hesitantly. And she escaped. She never considered it a warning. To her, it was confirmation that she was doing right. She could get away with it. And so she started to hide it less, and less. She started to drink at all hours of the day.
The people close to Jill were cast aside by her. One at a time. They’d tried to help. They offered her everything to help her deal with her social disorder and with the new alcohol issues. But she didn’t see any problems. All she saw were people trying to make her unhappy again. People trying to stop her from being herself. So when they pushed, she threatened to call the cops. When in public and a friend brought up their worries about her, she’d kick and scream to make sure those who truly cared about her couldn’t help her. They were all forced to leave. Everyone. Until all that Jill had left were her friends online. She sat with them on voice chat all hours of the day, having been fired from her job. They played games and had fun. And no one cared that she was drunk. They just found her a bit weird.
Jill started to forget to turn her computer off at the end of the night. Or rather, she was too drunk to. She’d drink until she collapsed and then when she woke up in the morning, she started all over again. Except that night. That night she was drunk, like so many before, and fell asleep behind her computer. Her online friends on voice chat heard her snore and laughed. They joked about it all the time and someone moved her to another channel which they’d aptly called ‘Jill’s Bed’.
The sound they heard wasn’t her snoring. It was her choking on her own tongue. Her head had fallen backwards and her tongue got stuck in her throat. Had they not moved her to her own private sleeping space, they might have heard. But they never did, and she never woke up again.
She sat in her own private voice chat room for three whole days. That was how long it took for the people on voice chat to realize something was wrong. That was how long no one came to check up on her, because she’d tossed them all aside. It was three whole days before her body was found.
We make our choices based on what we’ve learned and experienced. Some of those lessons and experiences aren’t like others. Some leave scars that run so deep they will never mend. If someone says no, respect their choice. You don’t know their story.