The second Team Beijing got back to their hotel, Fan Yuan gathered his team together to tell them, “Make sure you think about everything you saw today! We have to crush Team Shanghai! Don’t hold back, don’t underestimate them, don’t take any chances. We’re going in hard and we’re going to win! We have to win, no matter what!”
Everyone on Team Beijing nodded slowly, not saying a word. Except for Zhang Hongyi. He coldly stated, “That is obvious. All of us watched their match this morning. Two pentakills. One with Riven and another with Kalista. This is not an opponent that we can take lightly.”
Yun Ping’s eyes flashed with a competitive gleam as he took a deep breath. “Of course we have to win! The Collegiate Cup belongs to us! We have to take it home!” Going up against someone who had defeated Goalie hadn’t discouraged him at all. Quite the opposite. It fanned and stroked his competitive spirit, firing him up. He’d even picked Riven in Game 3 in an attempt to send a message to Team Shanghai’s Midlaner. You think you’re hot shit because you can play Riven in mid? So can I! We’ll figure out who’s better between us on the Rift, and settle things once and for all!
“Thank god that’s finally over! I’m beat!” Su Xue exclaimed while sighing as she fell into her soft bed. It had been a long day of shoutcasting for her. After the match finished, she left with Team Shanghai and ate dinner with them before returning to the hotel. As she lay there in bed, with Team Shanghai talking and celebrating in the background, her thoughts wandered back to the day. Today was amazing! Wait-wait-wait! Thinking about it is going to get me excited again and then I won’t be able to sleep. We’re all getting on the flight back to Shanghai tomorrow at 10AM. I need to wake up! But today was a really good day. Lin Feng and his team got through to the quarterfinals!
The day truly had gone well. Not just for Team Shanghai, but also for Su Xue. She’d had a phenomenal debut as a professional caster. But the celebration for Team Shanghai’s victory had not died down just yet. Or ended, in Lin Feng’s opinion.
“My brothers! The night is still young and we are ALIVE! And everyone knows that there ain’t no party without an afterparty! And that the afterparty is better than the party! WE SHOULD CONTINUE TO CELEBRATE! WITH A MEAL!” Lin Feng enthusiastically suggested.
“Didn’t we just eat dinner…?” Zhang Hao asked, muttering in shock.
Lin Feng looked at Zhang Hao, penetrating him with sudden seriousness. “Zhang Hao! Is there only one game in a match? No! Are we all one trick ponies who can only play a single champion? No! So why do we limit ourselves to a single meal to celebrate? We’re going for number 1, the top spot, the Collegiate Cup. And beyond that! Because all of us dream of being at the top. Is there any reason for that dream to be limited by the rules set by others about single dinners? Or a set number of meals? NO! The meal that we ate, the match that we just won, that was only the appetizer! It doesn’t count as a celebration meal! We must continue to celebrate and continue to have reasons to celebrate as we chase our dream! WE EAT BECAUSE THAT IS OUR ASSAULT ON THE COMMONPLACE AND THE ORDINARY! WE EAT BECAUSE WE NEED TO FUEL UP AS WE RUN AFTER OUR DREAM! And we celebrate as we eat every meal. Zhang Hao, how could you possibly think that we would celebrate only once over a single meal?”
“… Sure. But didn’t we celebrate at lunch?” Zhang Hao said.
An Xin facepalmed as Lin Feng delivered his confusingly inspirational monologue. And then cut into the conversation before Lin Feng delivered another speech. “Hao Bro, ignore this idiot. There’s only two things in life that he understands and cares about. Food and League. If he’s not playing League, he’s eating. And if he’s not eating, he’s playing League. He’s the kind of guy who considers every meal of every day a celebration, and constantly wishes for greater heights of culinary delight. There’s no reasoning with him.’
Zeng Rui put his hand on Zhang Hao’s shoulder and nodded in agreement with An Xin’s words.
Chu Fang chuckled. “Alright guys. Looks like our little stay in Guangzhou is over. Everyone’s worked hard. When we get back, get as much rest as you can. Once the Quarterfinals start, this tournament will only get more and more tense.”
“No worries! The championship is ours! I can already taste the victory meal we’re going to have once we win!” Lin Feng said as he thrust his fist into the air.
Chu Fang looked stunned for a brief second. Then said, “Lin Feng, I believe the expression is taste victory…” Lin Feng looked at Chu Fang, puzzled. “Taste victory? I’ve never tasted victory. The food that we have after winning is pretty good. What does victory taste like? Why didn’t we get it today?”
This was the point where An Xin had enough. “Forget the Championship, you still have exams to worry about,” An Xin said. Dousing Lin Feng’s excitement and insatiable hunger with cold water. But not him alone. That single sentence snapped everyone back to reality.
Team Shanghai had left for Guangzhou on January 12th. Yesterday was a Friday. And after Friday came Saturday, which was today. The 16th of January. After Saturday came Sunday, the 17th of January. This meant the end of the weekend. They could no longer afford to take it easy and decide if they were kicking it in the back seat or kicking it in the back seat. No, no. The date was significant because it meant that they were already halfway through the school year. And coming up on January 25th were exams. The most dreadful period for all high schoolers across China! In a very real sense, they did not want this weekend to end.
“What? Argh! Exams!? No! No! No! I wanted to celebrate and eat! Not think about exams that I don’t want to take!” Lin Feng shouted and started throwing a fit.
Chu Fang, An Xin, and the rest of Team Shanghai were more than accustomed to Lin Feng’s fits of impotent autistic rage. They ignored him and continued the conversation.
“Our exams are on the 25th, which is perfect timing. Zeng Rui, how about you? When are your exams?” An Xin asked.
“On the 24th. We take them a day earlier than you guys, ” Zeng Rui replied.
“Excellent!” An Xin said. Then she continued, “The quarterfinals start on the 28th. Our exam schedule and the tournament schedule works out well. Perfect. We’ll do it just like we did this time. I’ll buy the plane tickets and get in touch with you guys when the time comes. Then we’ll be off to Beijing!”
They continued to work out the details while Lin Feng wallowed in existential dread over the upcoming exams. Eventually, everything was set in stone. Team Shanghai started to wind down. The conversation mellowed and lulled. And then, Su Xue’s phone started ringing.
She fumbled around for her pocket and pulled it out to see who was calling. And then sat bolt upright in bed. “It’s from Huya!” The person on the other side of the line was the Huya TV executive Su Xue had spoken to before, Zong Yao.
Su Xue hurried up from the bed and composed herself quickly before answering.
“Hello, hello! Su Xue here. This is Mr. Zong, right?”
“Yes, Mr Zong! Today was great! I had so much fun shoutcasting for the matches! And doing both matches was no trouble at all, really! I appreciated the opportunity.”
“Hm? My schedule? I have a flight back to Shanghai at 10AM tomorrow morning. Other than that, nothing besides streaming. Why?”
No one besides Su Xue could hear Zong Yao’s side of the conversation. But right after Su Xue asked why he wanted to know her schedule, her eyes jolted open wide. An expression of shock was frozen on her face. She was so surprised by what Zong Yao asked that she couldn’t speak for thirty seconds. Then she mumbled something quickly into the phone and hung up. Then she turned around to look at Team Shanghai and squeaked, “I… I don— I can’t believe what just happened!”
Team Shanghai looked at her, curious and concerned about what had transpired on that call to leave Su Xue in such a state!