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Hooked on Orion’s Belt

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It was a big moment for everyone following CN•HOOK2’s climb when he decided to queue up for his next game immediately instead of trying to wait out the Moon Emperor in an attempt to avoid a fight. All of the League fans across China erupted with excitement. The people who didn’t want to see CN•HOOK2 tarnish his climb felt vindicated, and even the people who thought it was the logical thing to do burned with excitement. Because, at the end of the day, who would willingly back down from a fight at a moment like this if they had a choice? There wasn’t a single person in China who would make that choice, if they were in CN•HOOK2’s shoes right now.

Deep in their hearts, they knew that waiting out the Moon Emperor was admitting defeat! There was no reason to throw their pride away only to get a number. Rank 5 was not worth losing honor and face. All of them knew that if they were CN•HOOK2 and succeeded in getting to the 5th rank by avoiding Moon, they’d be dissatisfied with the rank. The climb would always be tinged with regret.

But none of that happened! CN•HOOK2 queued up immediately and proved he wasn’t a coward! Everyone watching felt their hearts blaze with excitement and their spirits refreshed, with all the anxiety caused by the appearance of Moon washed away. 

Hell, yeah! This the roflstomp we waiting for!
So what if it’s an emperor? Who cares if it’s Korea’s second best Midlaner? SHOW HIM WHAT U GOT!
Give em hell hook2! Never run away from a fight!
BRING IT OOOOOOOON!
LETTTTTSSSS GOOOOOO!

The hype was real, so was the shit-talk. But it was really just a fragile band-aid over the pit of worry and anxiety that many of the viewers felt over the thought of their hero, CN•HOOK2, going up against the Moon Emperor. If it actually happened, it would sour one of the greatest nights of their lives. CN•HOOK2’s last game of the night would be a loss and the player that they thought was a God would be proven to be an ordinary mortal like them. If that happened, what would they do? Wait for another God to rise from their ranks? 

They watched as CN•HOOK2 entered into Champion Select for his next game. Over a million pairs of eyes on Lightless’ stream scanned over the Summoner Tags of the players on both teams. In a fortunate twist of fate, the fear that gnawed at the hearts of the viewers and whispered terrible predictions in the back of their minds was not realized. Moon wasn’t on the Blue Team! And he wasn’t on the Red Team! 

For a brief instant, the people in the stream erupted into cheers. And then that instant came to an abrupt end when they noticed the Summoner Tag of the player in fourth pick on the Red Team. That’s when all the cheering came to a screeching halt, and chat fell into a deathly silence.

Even Lightless had nothing to say as his eyelids twitched violently and a chill ran down his spine. But he did have a thought. Well… shit. This is bad!

Back in HoG’s gaming house, Nightsong’s gaze flickered with mixed emotions as he looked at the player that everyone was looking at. He sucked in a breath of cold air. “Fiddle-fucking-frag! God dammit. It’s not that cocksucker Moon! But why’d this guy have to show up now? He’s got nothing better to do? Got tired of jerking himself off or learning KPOP dance moves? What a fucking whore monger!”

“Hm.. this isn’t the worst case scenario, Nightsong… but it’s far from ideal,” Hermes remarked with a grave expression. “I didn’t think he’d be queuing up for a game at this time either.”

Over in Team Rapids’ gaming house, Aurous snapped out of his daze and cursed, “That bastard! He sniped Maple on purpose! I know he did! Shi hang, he did, didn’t he!?”

Shi Hang’s expression was equally twisted in rage. Just like everyone else, he was initially relieved when he didn’t see Moon on the opposing team. Then he felt his heart sink to the pit of his stomach when he saw the player in fourth pick. Going up against Moon might have turned out badly for Lin Feng. But the player that did show up wasn’t any better. 

Orion. The star Midlaner for OGN team Warrior. He was a member of the Seven Kings and considered to be just below Rake and Moon. If Moon was the second best Midlaner after Rake, then Orion was third.

On Lightless’ stream, all the viewers felt a chill in their hearts when they saw Orion’s name. They were left in stunned silence for a long time.

Inside Fate’s gaming house somewhere in Seoul, Korea, Moon looked at the names of the players in his game and didn’t see CN•HOOK2. He shook his head, the disappointment clear on his face. A pity. I  got online tonight just to meet him too.

Moon then pulled up his browser and checked the Korean League forums. He slowly nodded.Well, that’s fine too. I’d like to see how he does against Orion.

Orion was sitting at his computer in theWarriors’ gaming house when he saw that CN•HOOK2 on the opposing team. His lips curled into a faint smile. Sucks to suck, Moon! I got to him first! 

Orion’s expression remained calm, but he slowly sat up straight in his seat.  Slowly, the aura around him swelled out. It was as deep aaand as unfathomable as the ocean, forming a formless pressure. A 5-game win streak? Getting to Rank 5? Sorry bud, but I’ll c-c-c-c-c-combo breaker that all right now!

The people following CN•HOOK2’s climb across China sat aghast at this truly rare coincidence. It was almost inconcievable that a person could get so lucky and unlucky at the same time. What other explanation could there be for missing the second best player in all of Korea while on the razor’s edge, only to bump into the third best player in Korea?

Be it Moon or Orion, an Emperor or a King,  both were frightening God-tier opponents who could easily make most players give up before the game even started. Every League fan across China struggled to comprehend how two Titans surfaced right at the end of CN•HOOK2’s epic climb. And then a single shared thought went through all of their minds. Is this the end for CN•HOOK2’s climb?  

The obvious answer, the only one that made sense, was that this was the end. Except no one wanted to accept that answer or even think about it. No one wanted this to be the end of CN•HOOK2’s run.

For Shi Hang, Aurous, Limitless, Nightsong, Hermes, and all the other pro players watching the livestream, the mental debate was even worse. As professional players, all of them understood exactly how good of a Midlaner Orion was and what a tremendous obstacle he was for CN•HOOK2’s run. Compared to the Moon Emperor, Orion was equally skilled when it came to laning and mechanics. What Orion lacked, if that was the right word, was a little bit of skill in things like teamfighting, map awareness, and overall macro play.

Those things that Orion was inferior to Moon in, those were all requirements for professional play. Because map awareness, teamfighting, and macro became much more important when two teams faced each other in a tournament and the bigger picture determined the outcome. When it came to solo queue, that was a different story entirely. Orion wasn’t playing with his team in the solo queue, and there weren’t grand strategies developed by professional coaches in the solo queue. 

When it came down to it, there was a good chance that Orion was even better than Moon when it came to the solo queue!

Back in the hotel Team Shanghai was staying at, Zeng Rui and Zhang Hao were huddled over a laptop. Neither of them had gone to bed early. Instead, they were watching Lightless’ stream and following Lin Feng’s climb.

“D-damn, why’d he pull Orion?” Zhang Hao asked, his voice cracking. “Do you think Lin Feng is good enough to beat a King?”

Zeng Rui’s eyebrows scrunched together and canyons formed on his forehead as he considered the question. But he remained silent for a long time, unable to come up with an answer. He couldn’t answer because he was asking himself the same question and struggling with it. Can he win..?

In the room next door, Tang Bingyao had already gotten out of the shower  and was lying in bed in her pyjamas with her laptop. She was also watching Lightless’ stream. But unlike the other viewers who were worrying about CN•HOOK2, her eyes were sparkling with confidence. Mhm! If it’s Lin Feng, he can definitely beat Orion! That King or whatever is nothing compared to Lin Feng! 

At the same time, Lin Feng and An Xin were together in the other room.

An Xin glanced at Lin Feng and remarked, “Looks like this is going to be a tough game.”

Lin Feng laughed. “Oh? You think so? Hahaha! I know it’s going to be a tough game, but that’s what makes this fun!”

When it was time for the fourth pick on the Red Team to lock in their champion, Orion locked in Zed. The Master of Shadows.

Then, it was the turn of Blue Team’s fourth and fifth picks to select their champions. Lin Feng, who was in fourth pick, didn’t hesitate at all and locked in his champion. Yasuo, the Unforgiven! He took a deep breath as the fire in his eyes blazed to life. So what if I’m up against a King? I’ll crush him too!

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