Lin Songshi walked out onto the stage amid thundering applause, cheering, and chants of “WIN FENG!” There were two prizes that he needed to award. The first was the Championship Trophy for the Collegiate Cup. The second was the MVP award. When Lin Songshi walked out onto the stage, he already had the Championship Trophy in his hands. He held it out to the crowd to hype them up even more, and they responded with even louder cheering and applause.
And as the cheering of the crowd reached a crescendo, Lin Songshi delivered the Championship Trophy into the waiting hands of Chu Fang.
Chu Fang accepted the trophy and made a respectful bow. “Thank you, Mr. President.”
Chu Fang wanted to jump up and down with the trophy held high. He wanted to scream and cheer. But he had to contain himself and remain somewhat stoic. The person standing in front of him was Mr. Lin Songshi, the President of the Chinese Esports Association. The highest authority in the Association and the most respected. Even Chu Fang’s boss, Fang Hao, needed to be respectful in front of Lin Songshi.
The respect that Lin Songshi commanded didn’t just come from his position as President of the Chinese Esports Association. It was hard earned through accomplishments, work, and seniority. Lin Songshi was several tiers above Fang Hao in the Chinese Esports Circles.
Lin Songshi was essentially the behind-the-scenes counterpart to One. Just as One was considered the greatest player in the history of Chinese Esports, Lin Songshi was considered the greatest person working behind the scenes. From DotA to League of Legends, Lin Songshi worked tirelessly to lay the foundation of Chinese esports and then build it up to the heights that it had reached today. It was not an exaggeration to say that without Lin Songshi’s efforts, there would be no Chinese Esports scene today.
For all of these reasons and more, Chu Fang had just as much respect for Lin Songshi as he did for Fang Hao. If not more. Which is why Chu Fang stood on that stage with the Championship Trophy in his hands, trying not to dance around with joy like a giddy school boy. Unfortunately, the struggle of containing that much exuberance was taking a toll on Chu Feng, who stood there looking like he was severely constipated in the lights of the stage and the flashes of cameras.
Lin Songshi looked at Chu Fang, who was starting to turn red from attempting to contain his joy and excitement, and smiled. Chu Fang is truly going to regret all of the pictures from this event in the morning. He smiled again as he thought about all the memes this moment would generate on the discussion boards for League of Legends. Then he warmly clapped Chu Fang on the shoulder and said, “You picked an excellent team. Well done!”
“Thank you for the kind words, Mr. President!” Chu Fang said, deeply moved by the compliment. Today could not have gone any better for Chu Fang, and he basked in the joy for a brief moment. A very brief moment. What Lin Songshi said next sucked all the air out of Chu Fang’s lungs, the joy from his heart and the warmth from his blood.
Lin Songshi looked past Chu Fang at the five players on Team Shanghai for a second, before looking at Chu Fang again. “Hm. Hm… I must say that your choice of players was… a surprise. Yes. Very surprising. ” He smiled amicably after saying those words, and he clapped Chu Feng on the shoulder again. But there was something in his tone and the way he chose his words so carefully that left Chu Feng feeling very uneasy.
A surprise? What does he mean? Chu Fang’s eyes widened as his brain kicked into turbo to figure out the hidden meaning behind Lin Songshi’s words. Lin Feng! It’s gotta be that! Did he figure out who Lin Feng is already? Does he have enough information to figure it out? It’s possible! Even though Lin Songshi hadn’t formally taken over the Chinese Esports Association in Season 1, Maple was too famous not to know. The thin veil hiding Lin Feng’s true identity had been pierced! Even though Maple/Lin Feng disappeared for many years and hadn’t been heard of or spoken about among the newfrogs, his legacy lived on among those important enough to remember. Lin Songshi definitely knows that Lin Feng is Maple! There’s no way he wouldn’t know!
Right before travelling to Beijing for the Finals of the Collegiate Cup, Chu Fang and Fang Hao sat down for a serious conversation. Chu Fang was concerned that there were several people in the Beijing Esports Association who were capable of figuring out that Lin Feng was Maple. So he decided to ask Fang Hao what to do to try and prevent that. And also what to do if Lin Feng’s identity was leaked out regardless.
The reply that he got from Fang Hao over these concerns was strange. Fang Hao laughed it off and looked amused that Chu Fang was even worried about this. Fang Hao reassured Chu Fang by saying, “You don’t need to worry about this at all. You’ll see. Everything will sort itself out organically once you get to Beijing.” Then Fang Hao chuckled again.
Chu Fang was utterly confused by this bizarre and cryptic reply. He could not understand what Fang Hao was saying or why Fang Hao didn’t seem to care. If we don’t worry about it, who will?
That entire conversation and Fang Hao’s odd nonchalance flashed through Chu Feng’s mind as he stood on that stage. Is this what Fang Hao meant? That Lin Songshi would sort everything out? But if that’s the case, why do I feel so uneasy about Lin Songshi’s words? Something isn’t right here…
But before Chu Fang could fully process his thoughts, the awards ceremony moved on. After the Championship Trophy, there was still the MVP Award that needed to be handed out. An MVP Award that unquestionably belonged to Lin Feng. There were no doubts about that in anyone’s mind.
It was Lin Feng’s skills that made Team Shanghai’s victory possible in the Finals today. His performance was spectacular in all three games. And on all three champions that he played. There literally was not a single person that could say that his Varus, Twisted Fate, or Yasuo had been anything short of spectacular.
Even the players from the other university teams, such as U-Tech Beijing and Shenyang University, all agreed that Lin Feng was already at the level of LPSL player. Perhaps even higher than that! Some even claimed that he was at the point where he could go toe-to-toe with the real professional players in the LPL!
The audience also unanimously agreed that the MVP Award deserved to go to Team Shanghai’s Midlaner. There were so many flashy plays from Lin Feng in the Finals that they couldn’t even remember all of them. But the ones that stood out as particularly special even among all his god-tier plays were the runaround Varus triple kill and the stunning Yasuo split-push double kill in Top lane. Those two plays alone were so fantastic they could make it into the Top 10 plays, if not Top 3 plays, of all time in the history of the Collegiate Cup.
When Lin Feng was declared the MVP of the game, the audience stood up to stomp their feet and cheer even louder.
They chanted and cheered so loudly that the entire arena echoed with cries of “WIN FENG!” This was the greatest acknowledgement that any player could receive.
Lin Songshi walked up to Lin Feng with the MVP medal on beat with the thundering chorus of WIN FENG. The hype was indeed real, and the air fizzled with electricity.
Up on the stage, however, things were different. The air was thick, but not with hype or adrenaline or joy. The air was thick with tension and awkwardness between Lin Feng and Lin Songshi. And that tension grew exponentially with every step towards Lin Feng that Lin Songshi took. Until they were right in front of each other. Lin Songshi looked down at Lin Feng.
Lin Feng was looking down at the ground for a few seconds. Then he cleared his throat and raised his head to look Lin Songshi in the eyes. He forced an awkward smile, knowing that there were hundreds of eyes on them right now.
Lin Songshi’s expression didn’t change when he met Lin Feng’s eyes. He put the medal around Lin Feng’s neck and patted him on the shoulder. Then he said, “So. You’re back now, eh?”
That was all the confirmation Chu Fang needed. His eyes started twitching violently. He knows! He knows Lin Feng is Maple!
Zeng Rui, Tang Bingyao, and the rest of Team Shanghai didn’t find this turn of events surprising at all. They already knew that Lin Feng was Maple. As far as they were concerned, it was more than expected that the President of the Chinese Esports Association knew who Lin Feng was and would recognize him.
Except for An Xin. She stood there watching the interaction between Lin Feng and Lin Songshi with the corners of her lips curving up into a faint knowing smile.
Lin Feng’s expression froze at the question. Then he slowly nodded, “Yeah, I’m back.” His body language and demeanor was nearly identical to how it was when he reunited with Fang Hao.
Lin Songshi calmly stared into Lin Feng’s eyes and asked, “Oh? What changed? Why did you come back?”
That question took the members of Team Shanghai by surprise and left them completely stunned.
Huh? Zhang Hao’s eyes went wide in shock.
Zeng Rui’s face turned to stone as he started analyzing everything about Lin Songshi and Lin Feng.
Chu Fang was beside himself with confusion and concern. Why are you asking that!? What do you mean by that!?