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The Flow of Decisions

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Su Xue leaned over the caster desk and watched the Team Guangzhou versus Team Shanghai game on the large monitor in front of her. Her chest brushed against the microphone stand, but she barely registered the sensation. Nor did she notice how she was holding her breath. Her full attention was on the game. On Seo’s Tristana walking into the river and on An Xin’s Morgana waiting for him in a brush. She pushed the microphone to her lips and shouted, “Q! Q! Q! Seo’s gonna get hit—”

Morgana’s Dark Binding, a dark crimson orb, flew out from the brush and at Tristana. There was practically no time to respond. But Seo responded anyway. Years of practice and intuition helped him skip the thought process as he flicked his mouse and clicked. His Tristana abruptly changed the direction she was running in and the Dark Binding harmlessly flew past her.

“Give vision!” Seo shouted over the team’s voice chat.

Goalie cast his scrying orb on the brush the Dark Binding flew out from. A blue ward fell from the sky and planted itself in the brush, revealing An Xin’s Morgana hiding within. He replied over the team’s voice chat, “Get her!”

Seo smiled wickedly. He threw a bomb at Morgana with Explosive Charge and built up its damage through auto attacks. His smile then grew into a bright grin as An Xin’s Morgana chose to fight him. You stupid, arrogant bitch! You think I’m a pushover just because you pushed me over? Keep dreaming! Yeah, cast your Tormented Soil and throw your auto attacks! You think those will kill me? You stupid, stupid bitch! You’re so stupid!

“What’s going on? Why isn’t Morgana running? You don’t compare auto attacks with an ad-carry…”

“She missed her Q, what’s she gonna do? This is painful to watch!”

“PLEASE BACK! BAAAACK!”

“Come on, girl! Don’t be foolish! Back off already. He’s going to kill you!”

The bomb from Explosive Charge exploded! It dealt a large amount of damage to An Xin’s Morgana, dropping her health to below half! This was finally the moment that An Xin chose to turn away from Seo’s Tristana and to run towards her teammates closer to the Dragon pit. But Seo didn’t let her get away. He activated Rocket Jump, and his Tristana aimed her cannon at the ground below her feet and fired. The recoil from her weapon launched her up into the air, arcing over Morgana and landing on the other side of her!

Zephyr grabbed his microphone and shouted, “Buster Shot! BUSTER SHOT! IT’S– BLACK SHIELD! MORGANA DODGED THE BUSTER SHOT WITH HER BLACK SHIELD! SHE DIDN’T GET KNOCKED BACK TOWARDS THE OTHER CHAMPIONS FROM TEAM GUANGZHOU! SHE’S STILL ALIVE! SHE’S STILL ALIVE!”

Inside Team Guangzhou’s soundproof booth, Goalie said through gritted teeth, “You knew she still had Black Shield up! What are you doing!?” He shook his head in frustration and glanced at the minimap. The rest of them are at the Dragon pit. She’s closer to us here and she’s almost dead. If we kill her fast… He ordered in broken Chinese, “In now!”

Goalie had his Twisted Fate run into the river while activating Pick a Card. A blue card appeared above Twisted Fate’s head, then was replaced by a red card a brief moment later until finally the gold card appeared. He selected it and stopped right in front of Morgana. Thresh and Lee Sin ran past him and engaged An Xin’s Morgana, but he waited, counting down the final second until her Black Shield would wear off.

Su Xue planted her free hand on the caster desk and pushed onto the tips of her toes to get even closer to the monitor. Her heart slammed into her ribcage. BunBun! Why!? WHY! She looked from the rest of Team Shanghai to Goalie’s Twisted Fate holding the Gold Card and shrieked into her microphone, “SHE’S IN DANGER! DANGER!”

“That’s it for Morgana… Rip.”

“Man! Why did she not just back off? Why…?”

“That was a great engage by Seo though!”

“I don’t know… Why would she play it like this…? Something’s off…”

“She just got a little overconfident after the previous two games.”

“RIPPERINO MORGARINO!”

Seo cackled as he watched the other players from Team Shanghai rushing over to help An Xin’s Morgana. You stupid fools! She fucked up! And now you’re all going to die! He clicked on the Morgana, repositioning himself closer to his teammates. A few more auto attacks to kill her and then the rest will be here. We’ll kill them all! And I’ll finally make sure that no one will remember that ugly beggar’s face!

Across the stage in Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth, things were quiet except for the constant clicking of mice. An Xin glanced at her minimap, gouging how far away her teammates were and how much longer it would take them to reach her. She then turned her attention to Team Guangzhou’s Champions. Four of them had run from the Blue team’s Jungle through the funnel into the river. They’re all here and I’ve got no time left. She cast Flash and followed up with her ultimate skill.

Bright light wrapped around An Xin’s Morgana and teleported her a short distance into the middle of Team Guangzhou. She then undid the chains locking away her power. Celestial power burst from her, lifting her off the ground as two wings spread from her back! Soul Shackles manifested and started coiling around her before firing at all nearby enemy Champions!

Goalie’s eyes widened in shock. His heart jumped and his fingers moved to both throw his Gold Card at An Xin’s Morgana while also trying to Flash away. He shouted over the team’s voice chat, “Kill her! Kill! KILL!”

The players from Team Guangzhou activated their highest damage abilities to finish off Morgana and break the slow that would soon turn into a stun. A myriad of colours representing various skills and attacks illuminated the river, while grains of sand fluttered down from the sky and stuck to Morgana’s skin.

“ZHONYA’S!” Su Xue exclaimed at the caster desk. “SHE CAST ZHONYA’S!”

The grains of sand wrapped Morgana up until they revealed only her outline. They then turned golden, placing Morgana in stasis and making her invulnerable and untargetable! Skillshots flew right through her and other abilities were canceled! Nothing and no one could damage her right now.

Zephyr shook his head, incredulous. He stared at his microphone for a few seconds before saying into it, “Wow! Wow! What a play by Morgana. She somehow baited four players from Team Guangzhou, including their two carries, and stunned all of them with her Soul Shackles. For all of you watching from home, hoping to learn a thing or two? This, right here…” he pointed at the monitor in front of him. “… this is what a high level play looks like—”

“And it isn’t over yet!” Su Xue interrupted. “Look! Backup has arrived!”

In their attempt to kill Morgana rather than run out of her Soul Shackles’ range, four Champions from Team Guangzhou were stunned by the chains. Backup then arrived for Team Shanghai. Zeng Rui’s Jarvan IV dashed at Seo’s Tristana with his flag-toss combo and knocked him up! Behind him, Lin Feng’s Kalista drew Tang Bingyao’s Braum into her body with Fate’s Call, after which Tang Bingyao’s Braum hurled himself at Goalie’s Twisted Fate and knocked him up into the air!

Lin Feng grinned and said over the team’s voice chat, “ZengZeng, get TF first! Leave Trist be!”

Zeng Rui glanced at Lin Feng, glaring. He replied, “I’m the shotcaller.” He briefly paused, pursing his lips, then added, “Fine, Twisted Fate first.” He hovered his mouse and activated his ultimate—Cataclysm! His Jarvan IV leaped up above Goalie’s Twisted Fate and then came down on him with such force that he terraformed the earth into an arena!

“Tang Tang!” Lin Feng said over the team’s voice chat while having his Kalista hurl spears at Goalie’s Twisted Fate. He didn’t have to say more; Tang Bingyao understood him. She nodded and replied, “Mhm! On it!” She then stopped attacking Goalie’s Twisted Fate and dashed over the arena wall with Stand Behind Me! She looked at the fight. Twisted Fate is as good as dead. The other three will break free from their stun soon. If I move over here… Here, yeah, mhm! Here I can knock them all three up!

Lin Feng narrowed his eyes slightly, gouging how much more damage was needed to kill Twisted Fate and comparing that to how much longer the stun from Soul Shackles would persist. He then grimaced. We won’t kill him in time, even with… He sighed and activated Rend. His Kalista telepathically pulled on the spears lodged in Twisted Fate’s body and tore them out!

You have slain an enemy!

“I’m here! I’m here!” Zhang Hao shouted over the team’s voice chat. “Just a bit late, but I’m here!” He laughed and activated his Rumble’s ultimate skill—The Equalizer! His Rumble tapped several buttons on his construction and fired a volley of missiles that landed in a straight line over the Champions from Team Guangzhou, setting the ground on fire!

The stun from An Xin’s Morgana wore off. Team Guangzhou’s Thresh, Lee Sin and Tristana could run again. They could finally try and escape. But right then, Tang Bingyao’s Braum slammed his shield onto the ground with such force that it opened a fissure! Freezing coldness spewed out from it and knocked Thresh and Lee Sin up into the air! Seo’s Tristana was the only one to escape the skill, dodging it with a well-timed Flash. He followed up by auto attacking An Xin’s Morgana, clicking frantically, hoping that would help him kill her faster. Bright lights flashed on his screen, skills slammed into his Tristana and he continued attacking An Xin’s Morgana. Come on, come on, come on! DIE ALREADY YOU STUPID, UGLY WHORE!

You have slain an enemy!

You have been slain.

Seo relaxed back in his chair, smiling. His screen turned dull grey and his team lost the teamfight, but he’d gotten a kill back. He chuckled and rubbed his hands together, glancing across the stage at Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. Fucking killed her! Heck yeah! Now I have to take care of the others! I’ll kill them all and I’ll make sure no one remembers their faces! Not like anyone wants to remember their ugly ass faces anyway… 

“SEO! WHAT THE FUCK!” Goalie shouted over the team’s voice chat.

Seo glanced at Goalie and asked, “What?”

“What? What!? What do you mean ‘what’?” Goalie replied. He glared at Seo and continued, “You forced us into that engage! Look at your screen! Look at it! Do you see that? They killed you and they killed me. Irelia is still in top for whatever fucked up reason and Thresh and Lee are going to be dead in 3, 2… now. Great. We gave them four kills and for what?”

“Uuuh…” Seo scratched his nose, using his palm to hide his smile. At least I got a kill! I killed that stupid bitch!

“You’re fucking laughing! STOP FUCKING LAUGHING!” Goalie yelled. He grabbed his hair and continued, “What’s wrong with you? This is the third game! We’re down 2-0! We were getting back into this game! We were going to win this! What the fuck, dude!? Why? WHY?”

“What do you mean, why? I fucking killed her, didn’t I?” Seo countered, glowering. “It was a good fight for us! We got her down and should’ve finished her! Why didn’t you Flash? You all had your flashes and everything up, right? Why didn’t you escape her skills? At least I killed her!”

“Oh my god! I can’t…” Goalie stopped himself from saying more by biting on his lips. He then forced himself to take a long, deep breath before slamming his fist on the desk. He finally shouted, “They’re gonna do Baron and then what? Huh? How are we going to win then!?”

Su Xue clutched her microphone with both hands and cheered, “WOOOOOO! TEAM SHANGHAI WON THAT! WOOOOOOO!”

Zephyr laughed and added, “That looked scary, but… FOUR FOR ONE! WOOOOOOO! They wrecked Team Guangzhou! What a crazy turnaround!”

“WOOOOOOOO!”

“TEAM SHANGHAI IS LIFE!”

“BEST MORGANA WORLD!”

“MORGANA MID NEW FLAVOUR OF THE MONTH!”

“SIIIIIIIICK MORGANA ULTIE!”

“WOOHOOOOOOOOO!”

Zuo Cheng felt goosebumps on his body as he turned around and looked up at the stands. There were more than ten thousand people on their feet, stamping and cheering for Team Shanghai. All of them were screaming An Xin’s name, because it was her bait that started the fight and her ultimate that decided the fight. This is it! This is what’s so special about playing League and mid! You make that one play that decides the fight and probably the game and then this! I wish she could see them! He turned back around and looked at Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth. Through the glass panels he saw the top of An Xin’s head poking out above her computer’s monitor. He clenched his fists and shouted, “YOU GO GIRL!”

Zhang Hao turned to look at An Xin and said, “Wow! That was such a cool bait! You totally had them!”

Tang Bingyao nodded and added, “Mhm! That was really good!”

“Thanks!” An Xin replied, cheerful. She then pinged on the Baron pit and said, “Forget about Dragon. They’re down four players and you guys are only missing mee. I won’t do too much damage to the Baron anyway, so this is only better. Go take it.”

Zeng Rui nodded and said, “BunBun is right. Baron. Let’s go. If Irelia comes, just ignore her. She can’t do anything to us.”

Following Zeng Rui’s order, Lin Feng, Tang Bingyao and Zhang Hao had their Champions run up towards the Baron pit. The large purple wurm gave the most powerful buff to whoever killed it, but it was also the strongest monster on Summoner’s Rift. It had a monstrous health pool and the green saliva it spit out burned through Champion health bars. But between Braum and Jarvan IV, Team Shanghai had enough high health Champions and with Lin Feng’s Kalista they also had the damage. Before Team Guangzhou’s Champions respawned, Team Shanghai took down Baron Nashor!

“That’s game!” Su Xue said into her microphone, smiling brightly.

 

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Supernatural >>> Gilmore Girls!

Sietse Thought: So I recently got back into watching Gilmore Girls (fantastic show) and Dean is currently getting a lot of screentime. Dean of course also plays a main role in the show Supernatural. Now I’ve watched Supernatural from 2005 until it ended in 2020 and I’m really excited for the spin off that Jensen Ackles is working on that’ll follow the lives of Mary and John. I’m getting a bit off track but imagine a young John learning the hunter life from Mary’s family (isn’t that how it all started for him? Or did he already know? Shit, now I need to look that up).

Anyway, back to what I was going to say. You guys know how at the start of the series Sam (who is Dean in Gilmore Girls) has his life together? He’s living with this great girl and attending university, etc. We don’t really get to see much of that, but I always imagined that Rory from Gilmore Girls inspired him to become the best version of himself and work his hardest to achieve educational greatness in life! She inspired him to go to university, I’m sure of it! And then Dean stopped by and helped Sam get away from that life. Because, let’s face it, Sam’s a hunter!

Dev Thought: I got Sietse back into Gilmore Girls. I’ve never seen the show before and it showed up on Netflix. Figured I’d see what all the hype was about. Turned out to be a truly delightful show! I was so drawn into the lives of Lorelai and Rory and all the shit they go through. And they’re always so wholesome despite the fact that Lorelai was a teenage mom who ran away from home to have Rory.

And real talk, Dean (who is actually Sam in Supernatural) is best boi!

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