Lightless sat behind his computer in Dark Glory’s gaming room, streaming CN•HOOK2’s ascent of the Korean Challenger Ladder to over a million viewers. But the last few minutes had been tense. After two losses, CN•HOOK2 didn’t immediately jump into another game. There was a long pause during which Lightless didn’t breathe. Or say much. In which his viewers barely dared to type! Everyone was waiting to see what would happen next. And then, it did. CN•HOOK2’s name turned yellow again, and in small letters under his name it read ‘in queue’. Lightless smiled at the camera and said, “He had me worried there for a second, not gonna lie. Thought he might give up… But was I wrong! Look at that! He’s in queue again! I’m thinking he went to grab some water to clear his head, maybe throw some on his face, and he’s going right back at it! Let’s watch him win again!”
「WOWZERS! AGAIN! DUDES MY NEW HEROOOOO」
「11 games…. this is his 11th game… wtf. he a robot?」
「AT LEAST A CHINESE ROBOT! CHINESE RULEEZZZZZZZZ」
「Here’s to hoping his teammates ain’t dogshit this game.」
「no way! cant be that unlucky! NORMAL TEAMMATES PLEASEEEEEEE」
「i really hope he wins!!!」
Lightless laughed and said to his viewers, “You guys are the weirdest people ever. First you’re all screaming about how he got tilted and gave up. I think I even saw someone claiming they heard from sources…” He narrowed his eyes and shook his head. “… that CN•HOOK2 threw his computer out of the window! So ridiculous! He just needed a little break. We all do after a few bad losses. Take a step back, breathe deeply, and get right back to it! And that’s what we’re seeing here!”
「lol knew that guy was full of shit! I told you guys he was a stupid troll saying he knows CN•HOOK2」
「but like CN•HOOK2 never said anything! how were we to know?????」
「He played 10 games already! This is his 11th! You see LPL pros do that shit? Of course you dont! Only crazies do!」
「TONIGHT IS A LONG AND BITTER BATTLE! MAY THE BEST CN•HOOK2 WIN!」
「maybe he should take a longer break… is five mins really enough?」
「yeah….. five mins is like nothing!!! TAKE A FEW MORE MINUTES BUD! WE BELIEVE IN YOU!!」
“Yep,” Lightless said, frowning. “Five minutes is very short. Hardly enough for most people. But look at the clock. He’s got less than three hours to go to get all the way up to wherever he’s aiming for! If he starts now, he can play a few more games. That’d be enough to reach the Top 5! Honestly…?” He briefly paused and looked straight at the camera. “Honestly, I think that’s his aim here.”
「Top 5 his aim………」
「How is that even possible??? Hesonly got a few more games left at the TOP OF KOREAN CHALLENGER!!!!!」
「it’s not gonna happen. It can’t…. no one is that good….」
「TONIGHT IS THE NIGHT! BAN THE DOWNERS! HOOKS GOT THIS!!!!!」
「fuck me… I really wanted….. less than 3 hours just isn’t enough. Maybe if he started sooner…. next season…」
「SCREW THAT! HE CAN DO THIS! HE CAN FUCKING DO THIS! GOOOOOOOOO HOOK!!!」
Lightless read through the chat and smiled. He glanced at his monitor which showed that CN•HOOK2 was currently in Champion Select. If there’s anyone that can do this, it’s One. He smiled and said to his viewers, “It’s going to be really tough. But I’ve got a feeling here. This little twinkle in my chest. I think that he might have what it takes. I think… that he just might… PULL IT OFF!”
Su Xue was back in Shanghai, inside her apartment, reading through the forums on one screen while watching Lightless’ stream on the other. She’d considered streaming herself. Lin Feng would’ve happily added her to his friends list. But her viewers didn’t know Lin Feng was CN•HOOK2 and she felt that rather than trying to explain it to hundreds of thousands of people, it would be less stressful to host Lightless and watch his stream instead.
Lightless had just explained how Lin Feng would have to win the next few games if he wanted to reach the Top 5. She knew that was Lin Feng’s goal. Thanks to Lightless she also knew that Lin Feng could still reach that goal. “But another win streak? That’s so unfair! If it wasn’t for those stupid teammates… He should get some kind of compensation for those teammates! Like some extra LP! Something to give him a buffer in his last few games before server reset! Stupid game!” she grumbled.
But Su Xue didn’t give up. She furiously typed away, downvoting the naysayers and cheering Lin Feng on with everything she had. Her heart was up in her throat, slamming, and she constantly had to remind herself to keep breathing. Then the game began. She stopped typing. Her eyes were drawn to Lightless’ stream. She clenched her fists and mumbled, “Come on, kid! You can do this! I know you can! Make momma proud!”
Lin Feng sat in the hotelroom behind his laptop. An Xin sat next to him. He couldn’t see her, but he could feel her calming presence. It was a feeling he’d come to love during Season 1. She was always there, always by his side. Just knowing she was there for him, with him, helped him. The nerves and frustrations that were bothering him before had disappeared. An Xin was right. I did need a short break. And her massages are the best! He smiled and placed his hands on his keyboard and mouse.
The game announcer welcomed him to Summoner’s Rift in Korean. His Fizz spawned on the fountain and he opened the shop to buy his starting items, like he’d done so many times before. But something was different in this game compared to the previous one. This game felt like 4 years ago. There was only excitement and expectation, the strong desire to keep moving forward and push through everyone in his way! This was where he belonged! This was where he was the best version of himself! He grinned and nodded at his screen. “LET’S GO!” he exclaimed.
Lightless jumped from his seat multiple times that game. His viewers were losing it in chat. CN•HOOK2 started with an early kill at Level 3 on the opponent Twisted Fate, after which he went straight down to the bot lane where he picked up a double kill. From there the game was played. CN•HOOK2 played at such a high level that it didn’t even matter what his teammates did. He carried them. He carried the top lane with a couple of kills. He carried the bot lane. And he drew the opponents Jungler towards the mid lane where he won multiple one versus two’s. The game lasted 25 minutes, but it was played in those first three minutes.
“Unbelievable,” Lightless said. He shook his head and continued, “Un. Be. Lie. Va. Ble.”
「THATS OUR BOY!!!! WOOOOOOOO」
「WHAT DID HE TAKE IN THAT BREAK? MY GOD WTFFFFFFFF」
「best goddamn player in the world. i dont see rake doing that」
「OH MY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD」
Lightless nodded and said, “Yes. Oh my god. That was insane. It’s the 11th game of the night and somehow he’s playing better than in all of his previous games combined… Wow!”
Lin Feng turned his head to look at An Xin and smiled. He said, “One down, five to go.”
An Xin smiled back at him and replied, “That wasn’t half bad.”
“Right!” Lin Feng exclaimed with his trademark grin. He then turned his head back towards his laptop. The grin disappeared from his face as he forced himself through a few cycles of deep, long breaths. “Five more to go. I need to play,” he mumbled while clicking on the ‘play again’ button.
Lin Feng picked LeBlanc in his 12th game of the night. His LeBlanc and Fizz were always very similar, which became clear to everyone watching as the game progressed. When he taught LeBlanc her third primary skill, he jumped on the opponent Ahri, predicted where she was flashing away too, locked her down with Ethereal Chains, and finished her off with a combination of auto attacks and Ignite. After which he went straight down the river towards the bot lane. His own Botlaners didn’t even see him coming. None of the 9 other players realized it, until he appeared in the bot lane by jumping on the Lucian and Zyra. They were both squishy targets who were dueling with Jinx and Janna. Lin Feng didn’t have to do much, but what he did, he did perfectly.
The game lasted 29 minutes, a few minutes longer than the previous game. Lin Feng had to carry a bit harder, but he did that all the same. The Nexus exploded and the victory emblem floated on his screen. He smiled and leaned back in his chair. “Two down, four to go,” he mumbled more to himself than to An Xin. He then squared his shoulders and clicked on the ‘play again’ button. “No time to lose!”
An Xin looked at Lin Feng but didn’t say anything. She just smiled and looked at the Korean Ladder. He’s Rank 7 already. He’s doing it. I’m watching him doing it!
Lin Feng soon found himself in the next game. This time around he went with Annie. But unlike the previous two games, he didn’t get first blood within three minutes and he also didn’t get a double kill in the bot lane. He scrunched his eyebrows and mumbled, “Their Midlaner and ad-carry are good.”
“Of course they are,” An Xin replied. She winked at Lin Feng and continued, “That Zed is a semi-pro currently sitting in 9th on the ranked ladder and that ad-carry is on the main roster of an OGN team. What? You thought you were just going to walk all over everyone?”
“Of course not!” Lin Feng exclaimed. He glanced at An Xin and added, “This just makes it more fun!” He then focused back on his game, his finger tapping in a calm but fast rhythm. He forced his opponent to call in the help of their Jungler and then baited them into giving him a double kill. But that wasn’t enough to win this game. His Botlaners were struggling against the professional Kog’Maw.
The laning phase came to an end after Kog’Maw destroyed the bot lane’s outer tower. Lin Feng grimaced slightly and his touch on his mouse increased. Just for a moment. Then his mind cleared. He grinned and focused on the game. He accepted that his teammates were outclassed by the opponent, and he started playing with that in mind. When the first teamfight happened, he knew they would lose. So rather than fight for a win, he fought to minimize their losses. Kog’Maw still got four kills.
Lin Feng took a deep, long breath. His teammates died, but his Annie was the only one on a killing spree. She was the only one worth any real money. And she’d survived. They had to give up on the Dragon, but he kept an eye on Baron Nashor. I just need to find the right engage before my teammates do their thing… Get the Kog… Patience.
The second teamfight went down much like the first. Lin Feng’s teammates were trigger happy. Their Jinx especially decided to engage with her minigun rather than using her long range bazooka. Lin Feng’s team lost another big fight and were fortunate that they killed the opponent’s Jungler. It was the only thing keeping them from taking Baron Nashor.
But while the game looked bad, though everything looked to be going against him, Lin Feng remained calm. He knew the game was far from over. His Annie was fed from the laning phase and his teammates weren’t completely useless. With the right engage, they could win.
The minutes dragged on. The pressure on Lin Feng continued to grow. Every game had to be a fast win if he wanted to get the six he needed for that Top 5 spot. When the game reached the 35th minute, Lin Feng’s opponents forced a teamfight at the Baron pit. His teammates were walking straight into the bait, because if they didn’t, the opponent would take the Baron and win the game. Lin Feng didn’t run head first into the fight. He looked at the curves in the wall surrounding the Baron pit and estimated where their Kog’Maw was most likely positioned. When his teammates walked into the trap, he flashed across the Baron pit wall and arrived right behind Kog’Maw.
“TIBBERS, I SUMMON YOU!” Lin Feng hollered behind his laptop, causing An Xin to jump up from her chair in fright. “What the fuck!” she exclaimed, but Lin Feng wasn’t listening to her. He was just grinning, his fingers gliding across the keyboard activating skills.
Annie threw her teddy bear up into the sky. It grew rapidly in size, fueled by flames. What fell to the ground was a massive monster. It stunned Kog’Maw who was then incinerated by flames. Annie pushed forward and landed a second stun on Zed, who’d jumped to the backline after assassinating Jinx. He hadn’t noticed Annie. He arrived in front of her and gave Lin Feng the double. And from there, Lin Feng kept pushing. He got a quadra kill, his Jungler picking up the fifth, after which he turned his attention towards his opponent’s base.
It was a race. Death cooldown versus speed. Lin Feng’s team didn’t have their ad carry, but they did have a fast tower killer in Irelia. They took down the inhibitor tower in the mid lane with the help of a large minion wave and pushed for the inhibitor. His teammates started to back away, but Lin Feng kept pinging on the Nexus towers until they followed him. He pressed the tab key and counted the seconds. The first nexus tower fell and they just had a few more to go. The second fell and Kog’Maw respawned. Lin Feng pinged on the Nexus. His teammates attacked it, while he moved towards Kog’Maw and stunned him. Zed respawned next and dashed in. He killed Irelia and Janna was the next one to die. But Lin Feng lived. He used his skills while auto attacking the nexus. His minions helped him. And he won.
Lin Feng leaned back in his chair and breathed out loudly through his mouth. “PFOOH! What a game. That was a tough one,” he finally said. “Alright! Next one! No time to lose!”
An Xin sat next to Lin Feng, speechless. It took her all of the next game, which was a fast 20 minute victory, to recover from her shock. She tugged on his shirt and asked, “How did you know you had enough time to finish the Nexus?”
Lin Feng looked at An Xin confused and said, “What? They were all dead!”
“Not this game, you stupid! Last game!”
“Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. They were all dead!” Lin Feng repeated. He then scratched the back of his head and added, “I guess it was a bit closer than I would’ve liked it…”
An Xin shook her head, incredulous, and mumbled, “No. No. It was good. Really good.”
Lin Feng patted his chest and replied, “I know! I’m really good! Four games down, two more to go! Oh, and look! I’m already Rank 6! So close! I should have enough time, right? RightRight?”
An Xin smiled and replied, “Yeah, you do. You’ve got an hour. Bit more actually. Four minutes to be precise. Find a game fast and you got this!”
“Uh-huh!” Lin Feng replied while smashing the ‘play again’ button for the fifteenth time that night.
In Hand of God’s gaming house, Nightsong and Hermes were watching Lightless’ stream. Hermes moved his hand across his mouth and mumbled, “He’s amazing. He’s…” He shook his head, unable to find the words to say how he was feeling.
Nightsong moved his hand around, scratching an itch on his chest, digging at the edge of his nose and rubbing across his cheek. He chewed on his lips and stared at the screen, his heart slamming so hard against his ribcage that it felt like he would break a rib soon. He finally said, “He’s doing it. He’s actually doing it! Forget about DotA and everything he did there, he’s got the skill to play in the LPL! He… He…”
“He’s got a bigger dick than you, yeah,” Hermes finished the sentence.
Nightsong abruptly turned his head to look at Hermes and exclaimed, “HEY! Not funny!” He then looked back at his screen and chewed on his lips again. “He’s in queue again,” he mumbled. “He’s going for it again. He’s almost there. I can’t believe he’s doing this. FUCK! I want him in the LPL.”
Hermes nodded and said, “Me too, buddy. Me too.”