Team Beijing’s Jungler felt his heart slamming against his ribcage. His head hurt and the stage was spinning. He suddenly felt incredibly thirsty. Where are Yu Ping and Zhang Hongyi? Why aren’t they— FUCK! HOW… He gritted his teeth and tensed his stomach as he held his breath. He had his Nidalee run into the same brush that Lin Feng’s Twisted Fate had just disappeared into and got vision on him again. He then landed an auto attack. COME ON! He shouted over the team’s voice chat, “HELP!”
“TRYING! I’M TRYING!” Yu Ping shouted back. He ground his teeth in frustration and punched down on his keyboard, knowing perfectly well that his skills were all on cooldown. I need my Charm and I need to hit it. All I need are a few more second—
“Coming!” Zhang Hongyi said. He had his Janna float towards Lin Feng’s Twisted Fate and targeted him with an auto attack. He then added, “Howling Gale is coming off cooldown in a few more seconds!”
Team Beijing’s Jungler strained his eyes to keep them open and focused on Lin Feng’s Twisted Fate. He tried his best to spot every minute movement by Twisted Fate and adapt to it. I’m going to hit my next skill! I have to hit it! Pounce on him, swipe, amazonian form and heal, and finish it off with a Javelin Toss. YeahYeahYEAH! He smiled and glanced at his skill bar. Pounce had cooled down and was available again. He activated the skill. His Nidalee leaned back on her back paws and then pushed off, leaping towards Twisted Fate!
Hehe! Lin Feng stuck his tongue out a bit and bit down on it as his hands moved in practiced patterns. He’d counted Nidalee’s cooldowns and knew exactly when the Pounce was most likely to come. More precisely, he started dodging the skill before Nidalee even used it. He did this by pressing the S key and stopping all movements and then running back towards Nidalee, resulting in her jumping over him! The combo completely missed!
FourEyesChan shook his head and said into his microphone, “Wow! Wow! I don’t have the words. Just… Wow!”
“AGAIN! HE FUCKING DID IT AGAIN!”
“HE’S THE HERO WE NEED!”
“GOD OF MICROPLAY!”
Cherry opened her eyes wide and counted the number of clutch dodges Lin Feng had made since the start of the fight on her fingers. She then said into her microphone, “I think that’s five. The Ahri Charm, Nidalee spears and now the Pounce… Five times! Oh my god! FIVE! If I was in Nidalee’s shoes, I’d hit F4 and uninstall the game!”
Team Beijing’s Jungler blinked a drop of sweat from his eyelids and flicked his mouse around. Curses ran through his mind and he felt more embarrassed than he’d ever felt in his life. But they were still in a 3 versus 1! He wasn’t going to give up just because he missed a few skillshots. He clicked on Lin Feng’s Twisted Fate and attacked with a Swipe of Nidalee’s claws! Yu Ping’s Ahri was right next to him and fired the Orb of Deception at Twisted Fate.
Lin Feng wasn’t just counting the cooldowns for Nidalee’s skills. He was keeping track of everyone’s cooldowns. As far as Lin Feng was concerned, there could be no surprise attack from any Champion on Team Beijing. He was moving to counter them before they even began. This time he did so by running towards Nidalee, eating the Swipe and seeing his health drop below 20 percent. But the Orb of Deception completely missed him. He then turned around and threw a volley of cards! The Wild Cards were aimed perfectly. They shredded Nidalee’s remaining health, then went on to hit Janna and Ahri!
The audience burst into a fresh wave of cheers when the voice announcer boomed across the stadium. Fan Yuan who sat right below the stage gnashed his teeth in frustration. He banged his fists on his armrests and shouted, “HOW IS HE NOT DEAD? YOU FUCKING USELESS SHITS! YOU WERE HIRED TO WIN THIS TOURNAMENT!” He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself down, reminding himself they were just high schoolers. Until he remembered how they’d underestimated Team Shanghai in the early stages of the tournament. I told them! I fucking told them! How many times did I warn them that Team Shanghai was the team to watch out for? Before they even made it to the East China Regionals, I told them to be careful! Team Shanghai is handpicked by the Shanghai Esports Association! They were never going to suck! GODDAMN USELESS SHITS! I WARNED THEM! I FUCKING WARNED THEM!
A short distance away from Fan Yuan was Chu Fang. He clapped his hands and cheered with the rest of the audience. But as much as he looked a part of the audience, he wasn’t. For he knew who Lin Feng really was. What he was watching wasn’t just a good League of Legends player making a beautiful outplay. He was watching the return of Maple. Just the thought of the games from four years ago gave him goosebumps. But to see the man himself playing again at a level that only a few players ever reached, that was something else entirely.
Chu Fang had long forgotten about the little competition between the three branches of the Chinese Esports Association. Before the series against Team Beijing began, he worried about that. But when he saw who came to play, when he saw Maple again, everything else seemed so insignificant. There were tears in his eyes and his throat felt dry. He wiped his mouth and mumbled, “Oh my god. Oh my god! This is him. This is Maple! He’s back!”
Chu Fang started smiling and then laughing. He clenched his fists and jumped around. He looked at the fans around him, listened to them cheering Lin Feng’s name, and laughed even harder. He shouted, “WELCOME BACK! LEAGUE OF LEGENDS HAS MISSED YOU!”
“Please get him. PLEASE!” Team Beijing’s Jungler shouted over the team’s voice chat.
Yu Ping nodded slowly and replied, “Trying. Trying!” He stared at Lin Feng through bloodshot eyes. I’ve still got a bit more health remaining. It’s not much, but it’s enough! And he’s got what? 100 health left? Fuck that! We got this! We can do this! COME ON! COME FUCKING ON! CHARM GET OFF— “CHARM!” he screamed into his microphone while aiming with his mouse and activating the skill.
Lin Feng breathed calmly. His teammates were all staring at him. The two players in the top lane had even stopped playing to watch this fight. But Lin Feng noticed none of that. He was mumbling the cooldowns and when he knew Ahri’s Charm was coming, he started moving. His Twisted Fate had a bit more than a hundred health left. If the Charm hit, that’d be it. He stepped left right when Ahri blew her kiss. And he chose the right direction to dodge. The pink heart flew past him and missed him.
Cherry’s mouth fell open and she stared at her screen, incredulous. She said into her microphone, “Again. AGAIN! HE DID IT AGAIN! ANOTHER DODGE! OH MY GOD! HE DID IT AGAIN!”
FourEyesChan shook his head and mumbled, “Wow… How… Wow!”
“1 versus 4. EASY GAME!”
“HE JUST KEEPS DODGING!”
“HOW IS HE DOING THIS!?”
“THIS IS FUCKING UNREAL!”
“HOW DOES HE KNOW?”
“Is he aimbotting? How is this even possible…?”
“FUCK, HE’S GOOD!”
Yu Ping’s pupils shrunk. … How? Every bit of anger, hatred and pure fury escaped from his body. The last bits of hope sunk to the pit of his stomach and he just stared at his screen for a brief moment, numb. Then he remembered where he was. What he was playing for. He shook the daze off and asked over the team’s voice chat, “Howling Gale, when?”
“NOW!” Zhang Hongyi shouted triumphantly. His Janna arrived right in front of Lin Feng’s Twisted Fate and cast Howling Gale! The storm started brewing at her feet and quickly picked up size and pace. There was no time or space for Lin Feng to sidestep this. “We’ve got him! Finish him off!”
Lin Feng’s index finger had been resting on the D key for the entire fight, ready and waiting for that one skill he needed to dodge but couldn’t. That moment was now. He Flashed. A mottled flash of light sucked him away from Summoner’s Rift and spat him back out again a short distance away. The Howling Gale missed him completely.
Zhang Hongyi stared at his screen, numb. He watched Lin Feng’s Twisted Fate throw a Stacked Deck empowered playing card at Yu Ping’s Ahri. The voice announcer then boomed in his ears. “TRIPLE KILL!” His mouth opened and closed a couple of times before he managed to utter, “H-h-he still… He still had Flash!?”
“I-I thought he used it already…” Team Beijing’s Jungler mumbled.
Team Beijing’s ad-carry added, “Me too…”Yu Ping ground his teeth, staring at his grey screen, and then shouted, “WELL CLEARLY HE DID NOT! FUCK! FUCK!”