The challenge series of 1v1 duels continued on at the NetCow Cafe. Tang Bingyao was the only one taking on challenges at the time. She easily defeated every single challenger she faced, and remained undefeated. But Tang Bingyao’s focus wasn’t only on winning. She was aware that this entire thing was meant for the entertainment of the NetCow Regulars. If she really wanted to dominate them, she could have just stuck to playing Draven. There was no doubt that she would keep winning if she did that. But it would get dull fast, and the customers would lose interest.
That’s why Tang Bingyao kept changing up the champion she was playing. It made the 1v1s considerably less boring, because every game was fresh. More importantly though, it would ignite the competitive spirit of the customers even more, and entice even more people to go up and prove their worth. Because that was really the important thing here for Tang Bingyao. More customers coming up to challenge her meant more money in her pocket. When it came down to making money, Tang Bingyao was just as savvy as Qian Lu. Her focus was on the path that she calculated would make her the most profit.
And in the spirit of that, Tang Bingyao realized that she’d been playing for a while now. She knew that the customers would get bored if there was only one person from the NetCow Team available for a challenge. Especially given that she was currently undefeated. So after a final 1v1, Tang Bingyao decided to excuse herself and tagged An Xin to swap places with her.
“My turn?” An Xin asked, pointing to herself. Then she smiled. “I’m the jungler though, and there’s really no such thing as a jungle 1v1. What should we do? I suppose I’ll just play mid instead. Are you guys okay with that?”
The customers below the stage broke out into a frenzy, eager to agree to any request from the beautiful An Xin. With one swap, everyone’s enthusiasm for the 1v1s shot up to astronomical heights again. It had started to dim with every game that Tang Bingyao won. The fighting spirit of the NetCow Regulars cooled down when they figured out how outclassed they were against Tang Bingyao. But now, with An Xin taking the hot seat, all of that reversed itself. Especially because many of the customers who wanted to fight didn’t main the Ad-Carry role. They were content to try their luck against Tang Bingyao, but it didn’t matter if they won or lost.
With An Xin, things were different. It was a 1v1 in the Mid lane, and An Xin was a Jungle main. The NetCow Regulars started to believe they actually had a chance of beating her!
Unfortunately for the customers of the NetCow Cafe, they were being far too optimistic with their thinking. An Xin swapped seats with Tang Bingyao, but nothing else changed as far as the outcome of the 1v1s was concerned. She got up onto the stage and won her first duel in five minutes. Then she won her second game in six minutes. Her third game only lasted four minutes, also ending in defeat for the customer who challenged her.
An Xin’s playstyle was very different from the aggressive one that Tang Bingyao favored. An Xin was much more controlled and reserved. The impression she gave off was that the entire lane was her domain, and anyone who trespassed would be quickly put down. And that they were, as An Xin continued Tang Bingyao’s undefeated win streak. She easily stomped on every challenger that stepped up to face her with a smile on her face. An Xin’s performance and game presence left the customers watching mind-blown.
“Isn’t she supposed to be a Jungle main!? Why is she this good at mid?”
“She’s got an insane champion pool!”
Qian Lu was equally shell-shocked. But for very different reasons. He looked like he was on the verge of tears as he watched the 1v1s play out. The entire situation was completely out of hand, and well beyond what he expected.
“H-how many wins in a row do they already ha-…?” Qian Lu muttered. “And I have to pay ¥30 for each one…”
But deep within his heart, he was conflicted. One part of him was happy that the team he hired to represent the NetCow Cafe was strong enough to put on a good show. The other part of him was bitter as money flew out of his pocket every few minutes.
“P-please… please, I beg you, just lose a couple of games!” Qian Lu begged at the stage.
The atmosphere inside the NetCow Cafe started getting more and more rowdy as the internet cafe grew packed with customers. So many people were going up to challenge the NetCow Team to a 1v1, and that increased the excitement for everyone. And with all the noise and cheering, customers from outside were being drawn in. When they saw how much fun everyone was having, they also decided to participate in the 1v1s. That was the one thing that soothed Qian Lu’s heart, and mollified his miserly nature somewhat. It was clear that he wasn’t losing out on this deal with Lin Feng and the Gang.
After An Xin played and won her sixth challenge, she decided it was time to swap out.
“Oh! It’s finally my turn?” Lin Feng said excitedly as he got ready to walk up onto the stage. He’d been sitting on the sidelines for a while now, and he was itching to play. But just as Lin Feng started to climb up and passed An Xin on her way down, the doors to the NetCow Cafe opened. A team from another internet cafe had finally appeared to challenge them!
“Eh? Another challenger? Now?” Lin Feng remarked with a tinge of regret. “Bad timing! They could’ve come a little bit later…”
The customer who was about to face Lin Feng was also disappointed. He grumbled. “Man, this sucks. They didn’t come when we wanted them to. Now that we’re starting to have fun, that’s when they decide they need to show up and ruin things!”
The reaction was a surprising one for the players and the owner of the challenging internet cafe team. Instead of the excitement and tension they were expecting, they were being treated as a nuisance the minute they arrived.
Lin Feng turned to the disappointed NetCow Regular and comforted him. “It’s fine! It’s fiiiiiiiine! We can 1v1 later. Dontcha worry, we’ll beat these guys real quick!”
When the rest of the NetCow Cafe heard these words, the sheer boldness and confidence sent them into an uproar. They’d already seen how amazing Lin Feng and the others on the NetCow team were in the games from earlier. They had no reason to doubt Lin Feng’s confidence, or his declaration that it would be over soon.
However, the players and owner from the internet cafe team that had just walked in the door became extremely displeased.
“What the hell does that mean?”
“Is that kid looking down on us?”
“Fucking hell… they probably haven’t heard about how we whooped that last cafe’s ass!”
“Fine, let’s teach these brats a lesson!”
“NetCow? More like NetCowshit!”
Before long, the two teams got up on stage and the best-of-three series started. And ended 50 minutes later, with the NetCow Cafe seizing two quick wins. The NetCow Regulars made the walls vibrate with their cheering. They weren’t just celebrating a win. Nor were they celebrating a quick and resounding victory. They were cheering because their internet cafe had now successfully defended themselves against challengers twice! But it didn’t hurt at all that this match was as much of a one-sided beatdown as the one against the Moonlight Cafe had been.
Amidst all that cheering, the players and owner from the internet cafe that challenged the NetCow Cafe rushed out with pale expressions. There was nothing they could say to salvage the situation after losing so badly. And when the customers saw the challengers rush out, they broke into another round of loud cheering and clapping.
Lin Feng turned to the customer from earlier and said, “See! Didn’t I tell you we’d beat them quick? Now come on! We can play our 1v1!”
Soon enough, it was 5PM. Evening had just started, and business at the NetCow Cafe was booming. The entire place was packed, and the atmosphere was almost comparable to how it got during Worlds. The smile on Qian Lu’s face grew wider and wider with every customer that walked in. He knew that the spike in business was partially due to the Battle Bonanza. But it was more directly related to the 1v1s that Lin Feng and the Gang were playing against customers. The cheering and noise would draw people in through the doors, and then pull them in towards the middle of the lounge where the stage was. They would see all the fun people were having fighting against the NetCow Team, and want to join in themselves. There were currently more challenges from customers than when they started.
But the Battle Bonanza was still happening, and the number of challenging teams appearing at the NetCow Cafe also increased. In a complete reversal of the situation from earlier, three different internet cafes all arrived at the same time to challenge the NetCow Cafe!
Its been a good week for anime!
Dev Thought: I’m not lying. Its actually been a great week/start to the new anime season. Lots of cool things starting up again. There’s a 4th season of Overload, a 2nd season of The Devil is a Part-Timer after 9 years, Classroom of the Elite Season 2, and even Orient is continuing! Between all of these and my trek through the backlog of One Piece episodes, its going to be a fun few months of anime.