“No… No… No…” Zhang Hongyi muttered, shaking his head. His eyes were wide in shock and his face drained of all colour. “No… This can’t be…” He bit the inside of his mouth and pinched himself to make sure he wasn’t having a nightmare. His stomach contracted and he felt like puking. He’d been enjoying himself immensely this third game, because Team Guangzhou was finally winning. Because Zeng Rui was screwing up in the Jungle and because An Xin was screwing up in the mid lane. But An Xin didn’t screw up in the previous fight. She wasn’t the terrible player he’d made her out to be. He glanced at his teammates, but they weren’t looking at him. He breathed out in relief. Why did I have to open my big mouth? Why did I have to make fun of Team Shanghai? No, wait. Wait. He narrowed his eyes slightly. How did they do that? How did she do that? Has she been… Is she good?
Yu Ping scratched his forehead and looked down at the ground. Mechanics, awareness, judgement… Just a single fight, but she’s shown she has it all. She isn’t just a good Jungler, but also a good Midlaner. She’s… She’s a good player. A really good one. I can’t look down on her or on him. Those two, An Xin and Lin Feng, hmm… He moved his lips and took long, deep breaths. He then looked at Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth and nodded. They’re at least as good as I am. Their teammates… I don’t really have to worry about them. But those two… Those two I need to watch out for—
“Lol! Look at Coach Yin!” Team Beijing’s Jungler said to his teammates.
Yu Ping shook the worries about Team Shanghai from his mind and looked in the direction of Team Guangzhou’s area in the player seating area. He grinned and asked, “What is he doing?”
“Losing it!” Team Beijing’s Jungler replied, laughing.
Coach Yin sat at the edge of his seat, pulling his hair. He shook his head and then struck himself across the cheek. He shouted, “I’m dreaming! I’m having a nightmare! This is a nightmare! Goalie and Seo wouldn’t let me down! We’re winning! SOMEONE TELL ME WE’RE WINNING!” He looked around at the other teams, everyone staring at him. “TELL ME! ONE OF YOU! TELL ME! TELL ME I’M SEEING THINGS! TELL ME MY TEAM IS WINNING!” He then put his head on his hands and let the tension slip from his body. Why is this happening to me? What have I ever done to deserve this? Why can’t those two do what I’m paying them to do…? Why? Why…?
The players from Team Guangzhou were distraught by the previous teamfight. Lee Sin and Irelia forgot to open the fountain shop and spend their gold, while Thresh mindlessly clicked on items he didn’t have enough money for to buy. Yet he kept clicking, only registering he wasn’t buying the item but not understanding why he couldn’t buy it.
Seo stared at his monitor, smiling and nodding. I did it! I did it! I killed her! I… I… The smile disappeared. The dull grey colours faded away, flaring into the vibrant blues and greens of life. His Tristana had revived on the fountain platform. I died. She baited me. She… He shook his head abruptly. NO! I KILLED HER! I KILLED HER! IT WAS A GOOD FIGHT! IF THOSE IDIOTS HAD FLASHED HER ULTIE AND IF… IF… He clenched his fists, trying to ignore the visceral clenching of his stomach. I KILLED HER! I KILLED HER!
At the very back of Seo’s mind, a small voice nagged him. “No one will remember your face.” “No one will remember your face.” It grew in power with every repetition. Seo grabbed the sides of his head and pulled down. He wanted to cry, to disappear, to wake up from this nightmare. But it wouldn’t end; it only got worse. His skills at League of Legends, the ones he was so proud of were being laughed at. His opponents never even regarded him as a real threat. He was their stepping stone. He blinked his bloodshot eyes and growled, “People will remember my face!” He then grabbed his mouse, feeling the curves of the slick design, and placed his other hand on the keyboard. “Fight,” he said over the team’s voice chat. “We need to fight and win this!”
“So you’re done laughing?” Goalie asked, glaring at Seo. You fucking idiot! Bonehead! Nincompoop! You’re losing us this fucking game! Why do I have to put up with trash like you!? The Guangzhou Esports Association promised me capable teammates! He forced himself to take a long, deep breath, and then exhaled in a loud sigh. He continued, “They’ve got Baron. We’re going to have to defend for the next few minutes and hope they can’t end the game.”
“AND WE WILL!” Seo shouted, his nostrils flaring. “I’ll make that fucking bitch regret everything! I’ll kill her again! I’LL FUCKING MURDER HER!”
Goalie nodded slowly as he turned his attention back to his monitor. He panned his camera all the way to Team Shanghai’s base. There, hidden in the fog of war, An Xin’s Morgana respawned. He scrunched his nose and stared at the thick fog hiding her from him. You let me get comfortable for 20 minutes. You never slipped up in mid lane. But because you kept letting me gank the other lanes… Was this your plan all along? Did you make me underestimate you so that we’d fall for your bait? And now you’ve got Baron… Are you actually so good that you knew how much you’d be giving up in terms of kills and calculated it’d be worth it if you got this bait to work? He shook his head. No, that can’t be. Because if it is, then your mid lane skills are far better than your Jungling skills. You can’t be that good. You just can’t!
Team Shanghai recalled back to base after they killed Baron Nashor. An Xin’s Morgana was waiting for them there and together they ran down the mid lane. When they arrived at their inner tower, the voice announcer informed them that Team Guangzhou had killed the Dragon.
“Oh, right! We forgot all about the Dragon!” Lin Feng exclaimed, grinning.
“We didn’t,” Zeng Rui countered. His eye twitched in annoyance as he explained, “We want to make full use of the Baron Buff, so we gave up on Dragon.”
Lin Feng shrugged and mumbled, “Could’ve just taken it. Whatever! Let’s take their base!”
An Xin glanced at Lin Feng and said, “Yep, we’re taking their base! Let’s siege them with our very shitty siege team!”
It was only a few minutes earlier that Team Shanghai had tried to push down the mid lane and take down the inner tower. But because their team composition didn’t have good wave clear or long range attacks, they failed. This time, they were boosted by the Baron Buff. This allowed them to take the mid inner tower with no trouble at all. Especially because Team Guangzhou didn’t manage to recall in time after killing the Dragon to defend it. But when it came to the inhibitor tower, Team Shanghai ran into the same issue as before. Their team just wasn’t any good at sieging.
An Xin watched Lin Feng’s Kalista lunging around, switching between attacking Blue minions and the tower when possible. This isn’t going to work. The Baron Buff will wear off long before we even get half the tower down. We need something special… Hmm… She had her Morgana drop back a bit and looked at the inhibitor tower.
The players from Team Guangzhou had huddled around it and were trying to kill the Red minions as quickly as they could. The melee minions weren’t difficult, because they were in range. The caster minions were a bit more difficult, because Team Guangzhou had to make sure Team Shanghai wouldn’t catch them when they moved in front of their inhibitor tower. And finally there was the cannon minion, firing cannon balls at the inhibitor tower from outside its range.
An Xin smiled and had her Morgana move into position. She then aimed her mouse and waited. That ad-carry is far too aggro. He’s going to— Seo’s Tristana walked forward to attack the cannon minion. An Xin’s Morgana cast Dark Binding! The dark crimson orb flew at Seo’s Tristana!
Seo’s eyes grew wide in shock and fear. He smashed down on his W key, having his Tristana Rocket Jump away to safety! But behind him was Lee Sin trying to offer support. Lee Sin got caught by the Dark Binding and was rooted. He then got jumped on by Team Shanghai. It was a swift and decisive move, finished off by Lin Feng’s Kalista ripping out the spears lodged in Lee Sin’s body with Rend!
《You have been slain.》
“Fuck!” Team Guangzhou’s Jungler cursed as his screen turned different shades of dull grey. “Sorry…”
Goalie grimaced, ignoring the string of curses Seo spewed over the team’s voice chat. We’re done. We can’t defend this. Maybe… He shouted over Seo’s voice, “Retreat! Back we protect Nexus!”
Lin Feng watched Team Guangzhou’s players retreat and grinned. He said over the team’s voice chat, “They’re running! Let’s chase them!”
“No,” An Xin replied. She pinged on the inhibitor tower and the inhibitor and continued, “We’re taking the inhibitor tower and the inhibitor and then we’re rotating bot. I don’t think we can finish them under their Nexus towers and we need to make the most out of this Baron Buff.”
Team Rapids had their headquarters located in Shanghai. Shi Hang practically lived here, training day and night in an attempt to form synergy with his new teammates. But an important part of training was to know when to focus and when to chill out. Right now was a moment to relax and unwind from a long day of practice. Shi Hang relaxed in his chair, his fingers interlacing behind his head, and watched the game between Team Guangzhou and Team Shanghai. He mumbled to no one in particular, “Team Guangzhou has one last chance to win this. It’s a small one, but it’s there.”
Team Rapids’ Jungler walked into the gaming room and heard the end of what Shi Hang said. He walked over towards his new Midlaner and asked, “What’s there?” He then looked at Shi Hang’s screen and saw the Winter Collegiate Cup live stream playing. “Oh?” he said. “You’re watching the Collegiate Cup? I heard your old team made it to the Round of 16, right?”
Shi Hang nodded and replied, “Yeah, but I’m not watching them right now. This is the game between Team Guangzhou and Team Shanghai.”
“I heard something about that!” Team Rapids’ Jungler exclaimed. He shook his head and continued, “Can’t believe they did that. Why call it a uni tourney and then invite non-uni teams? Seems stupid to me. But whatever. They do them.”
Shi Hang smiled. He looked over his shoulder at his new Jungler and said, “You’d be surprised. A couple of these players could give us a run for our money.”
Team Rapids’ Jungle raised his eyebrows and asked, “You’re telling me they’re at the LPL level? I mean… if they are, then why aren’t they playing in the LPL? Seems like you— Wait! I remember now! You played one game, didn’t you? And you lost that!”
“Yup, I sure did,” Shi Hang replied. He chuckled and explained, “I lost against Team Shanghai. Their Midlaner straight up beat me.”
“Oh shit!” Team Rapids’ Jungler exclaimed. He looked at the screen again and saw that the Red team was Team Shanghai. He pointed at it and said, “That’s them!” He then grabbed a chair and sat down next to Shi Hang, asking, “That Morgana is the one who beat you?”
Shi Hang shook his head and explained, “No, it’s the Kalista. But that Morgana is pretty damn good too.”
There were more than 100,000 people watching the official broadcast of the Winter Collegiate Cup. Many of them were regular League of Legends fans who usually played the game themselves and only tuned in for the important matches in the big tournaments. When it came to the Collegiate Cup, those fans were mostly university students looking to see how their peers were playing. Next to the stream was the chat function, which allowed the viewers to share their opinions and banter.
「these two high school teams are pretty good!」
「KOREANS GETTING SCOOLED HAHAHHAHAHHRHHRAHRHAAHA」
「+1 to that bro! FUCK IMPORTS! MADE IN CHINA ALL DAY BAAAAABY!」
「What’s that Morgana skin called?」
「I ASKED MY CRUSH ON A DATE AND SHE LAUGHED IN MY FACE」
「MORGANA IS THE MANLIEST STANLIEST STAN!!!!!!!」
There was also a second type of viewers. They made up nearly a quarter of all the viewers and called themselves the Xuenatics or the Fengtastics. None of them cared particularly about the game. There were only two things in the world that they did care about: Lin Feng and Su Xue.
「Hahah! GOOOOO LIL BRO! WOOOO! CAARYYYYMEEEEHOOMMEEEEE」
「lil bro is life! I”D GIVE HIM MY KIDNEY!!!!」
「y the maid no give lil bro water? he need his water, lemon flavoured!」
「What is this shitty ass spectator camera? Don’t they know we only care about Lin Feng? SHOW US LIN FENG!!!!」
「TELL EVERYONE YOU”RE THE MAID, XUEXUE!!!!」
「the impartial very not partial xuexue is soooooooo cute! She should do this in her vids!!」
「XUEXUE BEST CASTER COLEGIATE CUP!」
「I NEED MORE XUEXUE IN MY LIFE!」
「and gimme another dose of win feng」
The stream chat flooded with so many messages that it was difficult to read even the shorter ones before they disappeared. But rather than slowing down the typing, the viewers saw this as a reason to double their efforts, typing more and faster. They forgot all about the game between Team Guangzhou and Team Shanghai as their focus was completely drawn towards the chat.
「Oh shit! WOOD!!! You’re here too!? 」
「HAHAHA AOILIBRO IM HERE! SNOWFALL ARMY!」
「WATER WRAITH, MOST FATEFUL VIEWER, REPORTING FOR DUTY!!!!」
「futalover, you’re here too! Can’t miss a good part without you!」
「GOD OF FLAMES! IT’S Me!」
「Everyone’s here! This is great! The more the merrier!」
Goalie glanced at the gametime and forced a smile. They don’t have the Baron Buff anymore and we need another minute to get our mid inhibitor back. He panned his camera towards the mid lane, where Irelia was fighting the Super minions. She was on the job because she had Teleport, allowing her to join the rest of the team if a fight were to break out. Goalie then moved his camera towards the bot lane. They’d lost the inhibitor tower, but the inhibitor was still standing. They’ll get that. But not as long as we keep them busy here in top. He centered his camera on his Champion again. His team was fighting back against Team Shanghai’s assault of the top lane inner tower.
“You good?” Goalie asked Seo over the team’s voice chat.
Seo replied through gritted teeth, “My Trist is strong. We just need to get the fight. I’ll carry and kill those ugly shits! AND—”
“Stop,” Goalie interrupted. He straightened his back and added, “You can rage after we win. Now focus.”
Seo breathed loudly in and then blew it out in frustration. But he nodded and replied, “Okay.”
Goalie moved his camera to Lin Feng’s Kalista and narrowed his eyes. We need to take her out first. She’s their entire damage. All the other Champions are just there to Support. If I can get the jump on her and kill her… We can still win this. This can still be our game and we can still win this series. But we’ve only got one chance to pull this off. We can’t afford any more screw ups. This is that single moment where everything has to come together. And I need to make that happen! I will make that happen! He smiled and nodded at himself, then turned his head to look at his teammates and said, “Follow my lead. Now we fight!”
Zephyr leaned towards his microphone on the caster desk and said, “Team Guangzhou can’t afford to drag this out much longer. Two inhibitors down is usually considered the point of no return and it’s getting really damn close to that. The minions are pushing towards their inhibitor in the bot lane and their top inner tower is also going to fall if nothing changes.”
“Mm-hmm!” Su Xue replied, nodding. “Team Guangzhou needs to be proactive here! They have to find a flank with an Irelia or Twisted Fate teleport. But I don’t think Team Shanghai is going to give them that chance. They’re too good for that!”
The Blue Sentinel respawned in Blue team’s Jungle. Zeng Rui pinged on it and asked over the team’s voice chat, “Can you help me, Lin Feng?”
“Sure, ZengZeng!” Lin Feng replied. He then had his Kalista follow behind Zeng Rui’s Jarvan IV. After hurling a couple of spears at the Blue Sentinel, he noticed the Gromp had also respawned. While I’m here… Might as well. He walked to the camp directly opposite the Blue Buff Camp and attacked the large frog. A red and yellow eye suddenly appeared above his head, followed by the animation of Twisted Fate’s portal opening a bit further down the Jungle path Lin Feng was in.
“TWISTED FATE HAS FOUND THE FLANK! HE’S GOING IN!” Su Xue cried out into her microphone.