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Identity - Part 1

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After falling asleep on the sofa, Lin Feng didn’t stir for the rest of the day. Afternoon turned to evening and evening turned to night, but Lin Feng continued to sleep. Finally, he woke up late into the night from the sound of his stomach grumbling.

Lin Feng rubbed his face and opened his eyes. Before he could wonder why he’d been asleep on the sofa or why he was hugging a cushion, his stomach clenched and growled. Any and all thoughts swirling around in Lin Feng’s mind were completely obliterated by the pangs of hanger. He rubbed his stomach and frowned. I’m hungry. Yup. Definitely hungry. I remember… lunch. In Beijing! Well, it was sort of lunch. I was so tired that I don’t remember what I ate, but I didn’t eat much. Never thought the day would come around when I’d be too tired to eat, but here we are. Lin Feng glanced out the window at the darkness beyond. It was night in Shanghai. I guess I slept through dinner after we got home too…

Lin Feng sat up on the sofa and started to wake himself up fully. He rolled his shoulders, they were still tight and sore. All those games last night really did wear me out mentally and physically. I haven’t felt this drained in years! His stomach growled again, this time louder and with greater intensity. All those games drained my stomach too. I’m starving! I’m so hungry I could eat an entire horse. Not that there are any horses in Shanghai… I wonder if horses taste good? Lin Feng’s stomach rumbled again in protest. Right. Forget horses. You need food right now, Lin Feng. And you know what food would be best right now? Chicken cutlet!

Just the thought of his favorite chicken cutlets was enough to jolt Lin Feng completely awake and jumpstart his digestive system. Yum! Yum! Yum! Yum! Chicken cutlets… Lin Feng started drooling from the images of chicken cutlets floating through his mind. He jumped up from the sofa and stretched out, and walked towards Su Xue’s room. Once he got to her door, he could see the lights in her room streaming out from under the door. Lin Feng opened the door a little bit and poked his head in to see what she was doing. Su Xue was sitting at her computer. That was enough for Lin Feng to start yelling. “Su Xuuuueeeeeeeeee!”

Su Xue was at her computer, streaming. More specifically, she was in the middle of playing a ranked game and completely focused. When Lin Feng started screaming her name, it startled her enough to make her jump in her chair. But she quickly composed herself and turned around to glance at him. “Oh! You’re finally awake?”

Lin Feng pushed the door completely open while nodding. Then, he walked into the room and pulled up a chair next to Su Xue. That put him squarely inside the webcam’s frame and onto the screens of the viewers on the stream. And when the viewers on Su Xue’s stream saw Lin Feng, they erupted with excitement!

「its lil broooooooooo!」
「Lil’ Bro Feng! We missed you!」
「welcome baaaaaaaaaaack! You clap that Beijing booty>>>>?」

Lin Feng waved at all the viewers in the chat and gave them a wide smile. Then he turned to face Su Xue and said, “I’m so hungry, Su Xue… please… I need food.”

Su Xue rolled her eyes at him. “Oh? You’re hungry? What a surprise! No shit you’re hungry. What did you think was going to happen when you slept past dinner? I tried to wake you up too! I yelled and told you to come to dinner so many times and you refused to wake up! Now you’re sitting here telling me you’re hungry like it’s something completely unexpected. Obviously, you’re hungry. It’d be weird if you weren’t hungry. What is it that you want me to do about it?” Su Xue held Lin Feng’s eyes with annoyance written across her face. Lin Feng slowly started wilting, withering away to a pitiable state from the hunger that racked his body. Su Xue saw him suffering, and her expression softened along with her voice. “Alright, alright. You’re hungry, but there’s no food in the house right now. I’ll order some takeout for you, how about that?”

Lin Feng nodded slowly while clutching his stomach. Su Xue started to giggle, but quickly tamped it down before he could notice. She had just started a new game and was currently in Champion Select, waiting for the other players to pick their champions, so she had more than enough time. Su Xue grabbed her phone and started ordering food through a delivery app. While she did that, Lin Feng started talking to the viewers on the stream.

Lin Feng had not been seen on stream very frequently these days because of all the games involved in the Collegiate Cup, along with Team Shanghai’s practice sessions and his exams at school. They hadn’t seen him at all over the past few days when he was in Beijing for the Finals of the Collegiate Cup. Now that he was finally back and on stream again, the viewers were ecstatic to have their old friend back. 

Li’l bro! You finally done with the collegiate cup now?
i caught the stream yesterday! You’re the champion! Congratulations!!!
6666666666!
aweeeeeeeesssssoooome!
hahaha! we always knew you were going to win!
Nobody can beat our lil bro!
u stomped on them so hard!
congratttttttssssssssss!
WIN FENG! WING FENG! WIN FENGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lin Feng scratched his head as he read through all the messages. What are these guys talking about? The Collegiate Cup? Oh! Right! That was yesterday! I completely forgot about playing in the Finals and winning! I was so caught up in trying to live up to the promise I made One that I completely forgot about the Collegiate Cup and winning. If I’m being honest here… compared to the games on the Korean server, the Collegiate Cup was a piece of cake. Mmmm… I could eat some cake right now. Cake would be so good!

Su Xue finished ordering the food and put her phone down just in time to see the conversation taking place in her chat. She smirked and smugly said, “Oh? All of you are getting worked up about the fact that Lin Feng won the Collegiate Cup? I guess that’s pretty cool, if you’re impressed by something that small. But you guys don’t know the half of it. If you had any idea what your little bro did after winning the Collegiate Cup, you’d lose your mi—” Su Xue stopped talking mid-sentence and looked at the chat to make sure no one heard what she was almost about to leak. Ohthankgod! They’re all so busy fawning over Lin Feng that none of them paid any attention to what I was about to say! Su Xue exhaled as pure relief washed over her. 

I definitely cannot let that slip again. If anyone found out that Lin Feng was CN•HOOK2… it would blow minds across China! My viewers would get lost in the avalanche of attention that would follow something like this leaking out! 

Since they were just waiting for the food to be delivered, Su Xue decided to continue the ranked game she was now playing. But the viewers on her stream had no interest in her gameplay at all. They were all focused on Lin Feng and talking to him about the Collegiate Cup and what was going on in the League scene. And before long, the conversation turned to CN•HOOK2 and his climb up the Korean Challenger Ladder last night. 

maaaan, that hook2 is a god!
「Did you see any his games on stream last night li’l bro?」
LIN FENG! THERE’S HIGHLIGHTS ON THE FORUMS TOO!
I wonder where he came from???
I can’t believe someone came out of nowhere and went even with Orion!!
evenm my ass, he fucking whooped orion’s ass!
yeah, those yasuo mechanics were freaking next level!
lil bro tell us your thoughts!
yeah! whatchu think of him lil bro???
who is he lin feng///////?
spillll the deeeets!!

Lin Feng smiled ear to ear as he read the chat. Then he started talking back, “Yeah, I heard! Hook2 is pretty amazing, isn’t he? Pulling win-streaks at the top of Korean Challenger… that’s really something. And yeah! His Yasuo was god-like in his last game against Orion. You guys think my Yasuo is just as good? But Hook2… that guy really is the best, isn’t he?” Lin Feng’s smile somehow managed to grow larger and beam more as he talked to the stream chat about CN•HOOK2. But he never gave anything away. For all intents and purposes, Lin Feng maintained a straight face through the entire conversation, except for a twinkle in his eyes that the webcam couldn’t capture.

Su Xue looked away from her game for a moment and at Lin Feng while he was attempting to pull off the performance of a lifetime for her viewers. She rolled her eyes. This… I don’t even know what to say. How much of a narcissist is this kid? Seriously, how thick is his skin? He’s sitting there complimenting himself without batting an eyelid or showing an ounce of shame! I have no words. None!

Su Xue jumped back into her game, but she continued to think about Lin Feng. I gotta admit that his last game of the night was amazing though. Especially when he went up against Orion alone and won! I got goosebumps when I was watching it alone last night. And when he finally won that last game and climbed into the Top 5… I had tears in my eyes. 

As she thought about everything she felt last night, Su Xue blushed a little from embarrassment. She stole another glance at Lin Feng. If I didn’t know this little shi— if I didn’t know Lin Feng was CN•HOOK2, I’d be right there with stream chat talking about how amazing Hook2 is and telling Lin Feng that I was one of Hook2’s die hard fans after last night…

Still… Mixed emotions ran through Su Xue’s eyes and mind. I know Lin Feng is CN•HOOK2, and I know a lot more about this situation than all of those people online. I talked to him about the CN•HOOK2 account, and he mentioned that it wasn’t his. He told me that someone gave it to him. That made me curious so I started looking into the name… I don’t even know what to think about what I found. Should I ask Lin Feng about it? 

The name CN•HOOK2 initially meant nothing to Su Xue. She knew almost nothing about the Chinese esports scene before she started playing League of Legends, and was still learning about the entire history. League of Legends was the first MOBA that Su Xue had ever played, so she knew next to nothing about the other games and the esports scene surrounding them. But when Lin Feng told her that someone gave him the account, she grew curious and started investigating through the internet. What she found rocked her mind and shattered everything she thought she knew about Lin Feng. Even someone as brand new to esports and competitive gaming as Su Xue had heard of the legendary player One and his accomplishments. It was impossible not to hear of that name in China, not after the unforgettable mark he’d left on the history of global esports. 

CN•HOOK2 belongs to One! And he gave his account to Lin Feng! What does that mean? How does Lin Feng know One? And if One is close enough to Lin Feng to give him an account… how close are they? Su Xue’s thoughts grew chaotic and her gameplay turned sloppy and unfocused. But she didn’t notice. She couldn’t think about the game because there was a single question screaming around in her mind. 

Who exactly is Lin Feng?

5
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I've had a void in my heart.

Dev Thought: So if you guys didn’t already know already, I really dig shonen anime. I grew up watching Naruto week-to-week, every single episode. I watched all the re-runs, all the filler episodes, everything. I sat through every single terrible episode with Mecha-Naruto and that whole arc where all the Jinchuriki turned into Power Rangers. The whole thing. Naruto, Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Fairy Tail, Dragon Ball GT, Dragon Ball Super, literally any and all the shitty shonen anime shows that most people outgrow in a few years are a core part of my personality.

And when Naruto finally ended, I felt a void in my heart. One that I tried to fill with Dragon Ball Super, which was fine while it lasted. But it never spoke to my soul the same way that Naruto did. And then I found a replacement. Black Clover. There is no way I can express how much joy I felt when I finally found Black Clover, and watched it week-to-week. People laughed at that show, they talked about how annoying Asta was and how it was destined to go nowhere. But I persevered. And then, after 100 episodes, I was rewarded for my perseverance. Black Clover lived up to all the hype I know it was capable of and blew my mind. But then, Black Clover also went on hiatus and I didn’t know what to do with my life. There was a shonen hole in my heart that could not be filled. I tried to get into One Piece, but it just wasn’t the same. I couldn’t get invested in Luffy’s adventures the way I could with Naruto. I was sad.

Until a month ago, when a new anime popped up on Crunchyroll that was everything that I was looking for and then some. Orient. The newest shonen anime that I can lose myself in once a week and forget my sadness. It’s got everything. A loud-mouth character of low common sense who bulldozes through problems and obstacles with the strength of friendship and his belief in his own abilities. And its awesome. There’s Samurai who have magical swords and ride around on crystal motorcycles fighting Oni and Kishin that have enslaved humanity, a dark secret subplot involving darkness within our main character’s body, and the secret sauce that makes every shonen anime great. That is that the overriding plot device is that the real treasure is the friends we make along the way.

I am happy once more. Check out Orient. Its totally worth watching if you’re not a pretentious snob who likes to only watch shows where you can pretend you’re a critic and spout pseudo-intellectual bullshit about. It’s a fun ride. Lots of bright colors, cool enough story, and moments of child-like comedy and wonder. What more can you really ask for in a great shonen anime?

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