Deuces, Not Truces

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The challenge and confidence in Qian Lu’s words was too much for Boss Liu to handle. His eyes narrowed, and his narrow lips thinned further into a derisive smile. He replied with, “Hm. Starting to feel confident about our chances, are we? You think this is going to go your way? Well, how about we just wait and see.” With those words, Boss Liu glanced up at the large LCD display above his head. Then he looked at Qian Lu from the corner of his eyes and said, “Your team, they’re still in a practice game?” 

Qian Lu gave Boss Liu his signature smile, friendly and harmless. “Yes, yes. About that. So you see, we were waiting for a long time and no challengers appeared. They got bored sitting up on that stage doing nothing and decided not to waste the time. That’s why they’re in a practice game. Just some harmless fun to while away the time.” 

Right as Qian Lu said those words, Lin Feng happened to be recalling back to the base in the game. He glanced down at Qian Lu, and noticed that Boss Liu was now there. Lin Feng decided to wave at the pair in high spirits and said, “Look! Someone came to challenge us! Just give us a second, we’ll finish this game really quick!” 

Boss Liu looked up and over at Lin Feng. His eyes flickered with hints of disdain, but he kept a polite smile on his face. “It’s fine, fine, fine. Really. Take your time, we’ll just be watching.” Then he turned around and faced his team. “All of you, watch their game! Get a feel of how good they are!” 

All the guys on the Moonlight NetCafe’s team were all pretty young. Their average age was around 20, and the oldest guy on the team was only 25. It wasn’t by much, but they were all still older than Lin Feng and the rest of the gang. That made them arrogant enough to look down on Team Shanghai. Despite the words of Boss Liu, they had zero interest in spectating the practice game that Team Shanghai was playing. They were, however, very interested in oogling An Xin and Tang Bingyao. 

“A couple of high school brats. How good could they possibly be?”
“Looks like this is another free win.”
“Look at those two cuties!”
“Hot-diggity-damn! These high school girls, I’m tellin’ ya, they just keep getting hotter and hotter.”

The Captain on Moonlight NetCafe’s team was more level headed than his teammates. He coughed. “That’s enough! Leave that for after. Let’s focus on the game they’re playing and figure out how good they are right now. I don’t want any of us getting careless because we were cocky, and then embarrassing ourselves. Is that clear?”

The other members didn’t appear convinced, but they were respectful enough to attempt to spectate on the words of their captain. That didn’t stop them from continuing to whisper amongst themselves. 

“How could we lose?”
“They’re just brats…”
“Stop being such a nervous nelly, we got this in the bag.” 

“Oh? It looks like the Blue Team has a huge advantage.”
“It’s only been 13 minutes since this game started, but they already have a 6,000 gold lead!”
“That’s… surprising. Maybe they’re a little better than we thought.”
“No way! They gotta be smurfing. The enemy team is probably all in Gold or something.”

The team captain frowned. “Smurfing? Gold? How does that make any sense? They’re trying to get some practice in, why would they face such a weak opponent for practice? That’s just such a waste of time, and I don’t see this as the kind of team that would do something so useless.”

The Support player clicked his tongue. “Who knows? Maybe they just want to show off in front of all these people? You know how high schoolers are these days? They’re all ego. Since the other team is getting rekt this badly, I’d say gold is the right guess.”

The Toplaner’s lips curved into a smile. “Who knows? Maybe the opponent is Platinum, but I’d find that really hard to believe.”

Little did the members of the Moonlight NetCafe’s team realize that the players they were looking down on, the enemy team in Team Shanghai’s game, were all ranked somewhere in mid to high Diamond! They weren’t even close to being considered bad players. The reason why the game was so tilted was because of how good Lin Feng and the gang had gotten. They outclassed the enemy team so significantly that they could deliver a one-sided beatdown. It looked like they were smurfing, especially to people like the Moonlight NetCafe’s team. It was a misunderstanding of the situation that would soon prove fatal to the Moonlight NetCafe’s team. 

This misunderstanding, or whatever it was that the Moonlight NetCafe’s team thought of Team Shanghai, made no difference to Lin Feng and the gang. They couldn’t be bothered to even think about it. The only thing on their minds right now was that they finally had a challenger for the Battle Bonanza. A challenger they couldn’t keep waiting long. 

They all nodded to each other and started pushing their practice game to it’s finale. Lin Feng and the others pushed down both the Top and Mid lane as the game hit the 22 minute mark. It was too much for the enemy team to defend against, especially considering how far behind they were. They understood that this game was over, and quickly surrendered. Team Shanghai’s second practice game had ended with a Victory crest floating over the giant LCD screen. 

Below the stage, Boss Liu turned to Qian Lu and asked. “We can start now?”

Qian Lu smiled. “Of course. Let me just ask them first.” He looked up at Lin Feng and the others up on the stage and asked, “Moonlight NetCafe’s members have been waiting for a while. Do you want to start now, or after a short break?”

Lin Feng immediately replied. “No need. We’re good!”

Moonlight NetCafe’s members stepped on the stage and sat down on the row of computers on the other side of where Lin Feng and the gang sat. And with the two teams seated and ready start, sparks started flying between them and the atmosphere heated up.

The customers below the stage started feeling tense and nervous.

“Can they win…?”
“You can do it! We believe in you!”
“Get the victory!”
“Go go go!”
“Go girls! You all can do it!”

“Start out strong! Womp this first game!”
“NetCow! Net Cow! GOOOOOOOOO!!”

In an instant, the air in the internet cafe sparkled and sizzled with electricity, the crowd had found a reason for hope and erupted into passionate cheers. Qian Lu beamed across the crowd, while thunderclouds roamed across Boss Liu’s forehead. On the stage, the match was about to start. Lin Feng looked at his teammates and smiled. “Alright guys. Let’s do our best! No matter what, let’s give it our all!”

A minute later, in the middle of the cheering crowd, the two teams loaded into the first game of this best of three match. And 25 minutes later, the first game ended. Lin Feng and the gang had achieved an easy victory. With no pause or break in between, the two teams loaded into the second game of the match. And just like the first game, the second game ended in 24 minutes with Team Shanghai’s victory. NetCow Cafe’s team had won two games in a row, successfully defending the NetCow Cafe. All in under an hour. 

The whole thing was so unexpected that the crowd didn’t know how to react. There was just pin drop silence throughout the NetCow Cafe. Boss Liu had a dumbstruck expression on his face, as if he couldn’t believe what he’d just seen. “W-we? We just? Wait… did we just? We lost…?”


AITA for Refusing to Visit My Friend

TAS Thought: I (26M) was talking to a friend (26M) about meeting up. He’s a really good friend from university. Over the years, I’ve been the one to travel to him whenever we meet up, even though he’s always been in a different state than me. This has happened 3 times now and I’m starting to find it annoying.

He keeps talking about how it’s easier since I don’t have a car, but it really isn’t. I live in a one bedroom apartment by myself in the downtown area of my city, so we have restaurants, bars and stores within a 1-1.5 mile radius. My friend has one off-brand pizza place in the same area. Dude’s like “Oh we can go to this place 1 hour or 3 hours from my city, it’ll be so much fun!”. I’ve been trying to tell this dumbass that we can have fun in my city, no traveling involved -_-

I want to put my foot down and insist that this dude start thinking about this for more time than it takes to think “me no want to leave house”.

Am I The Asshole?

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