The Unrivalled Ten

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Very few players still remembered the early days of League of Legends. The days before it turned into a world-wide sensation. Even in those days though, there was a group of professional players who were better than anyone else; the Unrivalled Ten. But that title, that group, had long since lost all meaning. People that were into League today wouldn’t give a rat’s ass if someone talked about the Unrivalled Ten from back then. If anyone bothered to even engage with that now, they’d say that “Unrivalled Ten” didn’t mean anything since there were probably only ten professional players back then. There really weren’t many players back then, and being the best of that small group just didn’t mean much. The argument had an internally consistent logic to it, and common sense validated its truth. Then they’d go on to talk about how much the competitive scene had changed since the Season 1 days. If you happened to be having this debate with someone who was into both webnovels and League of Legends, then they might add some profoundly douche-adjacent flavor to the argument like, “Monkeys proclaiming themselves Kings on a mountain with no tiger.” Or even exclaim that, “those early pros were nothing more than big fish in a small pond!”

Lin Feng knew guys like that. Guys who thought they were 200IQ every time League was brought up, believing that they knew everything about the old days just from a few highlight clips and what they’d heard about the players back then. Lin Feng belonged to the small group of players who knew how wrong those guys were, who understood how misguided this belief was. It goes without saying that a lot of the professional players from Season 1 no longer played competitively or had quit League of Legends completely. But there were also a few who continued to play at the highest level. The most important thing to know, though, was that six players from the Unrivalled Ten still continued to play League of Legends. Four of them ranked among the Seven Kings and Four Emperors. The most famous ones were the midlaners Rake and Phoenix, who ranked first and third in the Unrivalled Ten. They still competed in every big event, and they were both in the Four Emperors. The other two were part of the Seven Kings, one being from Europe and the other one from North America. They weren’t just celebrities in the esports world, they were Gods. Everyone who knew even the tiniest bit about the competitive scene knew their names, and even people outside esports knew of them.

Thinking about the Unrivalled Ten reminded Lin Feng about his old team, and he thought about them while scratching the back of his head. His old team had some amazing players now that he thought about it. One of them was Fatty, who was given the loving nickname of “God Roundy” by his fans. He ranked 13th, just outside of the Unrivalled Ten. Then there was the support who made it onto the Unrivalled Ten list in tenth place. Finally there was Lin Feng himself. Until the finals of the Season 1 World Championships, he shared the number one position with SSK’s Rake.

Now that the teams and groups for the Season 5 League of Legends World Championships were announced, people started counting down the days until it started. The excitement and competitive spirit of the event was infectious, and many Chinese players caught the bug. They tried climbing the ranked ladder to show their friends how high they could get before the season ended. Of course, there were also those who were more interested in the spectator side of esports. They didn’t really care all that much about playing ranked games or climbing. Instead, they spent every minute of their free time on Huya, memeing around in chat or getting into intense debates as they watched their favourite streamers climb up or down the ranked ladder.

This also led to a massive influx of new viewers on HuyaTV. Everyone wanted to get in on the fun. Su Xue was one of the many streamers whose viewer count skyrocketed as Worlds approached. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses though. Getting a bunch of new viewers during a temporary surge wasn’t worth much. Retaining them, converting them into permanent viewers required a lot of effort. Su Xue worked a lot harder than the majority of the other streamers. She was willing to grind, build up her viewership, instead of treating it as a casual hobby. But she was getting run down trying to entertain all of these new viewers while still keeping her old ones. Before the surge, she’d start her stream in the afternoon and end around 1 or 2 AM. But all the new people jumping on wanted more, they wanted her to stream more than the 10 hours she’d been doing. Every time she announced that the stream was going to end soon at 1 AM, they’d plead with her to stay longer. Some even started demanding that she continue longer.

Nooooo! Don’t goooo!
One more game! Pplssssss pls pls pls one more game!!!!
how about an inhouse?

Su Xue didn’t have the heart to refuse such passionate appeals from her viewers. But her eyes refused to stay open. She nodded off in the middle of a game. So she ordered delivery at a 24-hour shop and gobbled down the food for some extra energy. Then it was back to playing until the clock finally hit 3 AM. She could barely keep her eyes open. When the game ended, she stretched her back against the seat and yawned, “That’s it, guys. It’s 3 AM. Ima sleep.”

sleep is for the weak!
you already up till 3, what’s another few hours! Come on, keep going!
The sun will rise soon, my beautiful Su Xue. Shall we watch it together?
The rays of dawn will make you radiant
Dawn is special…
Its the time when all that’s best of dark and bright
meet in your aspect, in your eyes
mellowed in that tender light
On that cheek…. Over that brow
that guy ^ … wtf?!?!?!?!?! Goin in too hard
This guy forreal?
two more games and i’ll send you a gift

By the time 4 AM rolled around, Su Xue was teetering on the edge, on the verge of mental collapse. She flopped forward over her desk and begged her viewers, “AAHHHHH! Please guys, let me sleeeeep! I don’t care about the gifts anymore… stop sending them. I’m so tired! Wahhhhh!”

no sleep, only leagueeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
the true pros sleep in queue! Iv seen it!
Ye! DO THAT! WE’ll wake you when queue pops!!!

Despite the lack of sleep, Su Xue couldn’t be any happier. It wasn’t too long ago that she quit her old job to become a League of Legends streamer. The first few weeks were the hardest. She didn’t really make any money and couldn’t even afford to pay her rent anymore. But the past few days had changed all of that. All her grinding was starting to pay off. After putting in many, many hours of work to bring her viewers entertainment, she consistently hit 800 viewers in every stream. There were even times when she peaked as high as 1,600 viewers!

“Oh? Sho, ur shtream ish doin pre’ey goo—?” Lin Feng asked, shovelling the food from his bowl into his mouth.

“Yeaaahhh… But I’m dying!” Su Xue suddenly grabbed Lin Feng by his arms and forced him to look at her exhausted face. “Look at these bags under my eyes! The dark circles are getting so dark that makeup can’t hide them anymore! Lin Feng, you gotta help me! I’m going to start getting wrinkles! Listen… maybe five hours. I haven’t gotten more than five hours of sleep a night in the past few days… I can’t keep this up!”

“Eh? How am I supposed to help you?” Lin Feng asked.

“Take over the stream for a bit! Please?” Su Xue immediately replied. Then she stared at him with what she thought were sad puppy dog eyes. They looked more like sad raccoon eyes at this point though. “Don’t you have a bit of free time every night after you finish your homework? It’s just for a bit! I just want a small nap, and I’ll take back over at midnight!”

“Oh, Hm… I dunno… I don’t really think I want to be a streamer and… there’s nothing really in it for me.” Lin Feng looked troubled.

Su Xue bit her lips. She knew what had to be done. “I’ll make you one extra dish every night!”

Lin Feng stuck out two fingers. “Two!”

Su Xue glared at him. “One! Take it or leave it!”

“Done!” Lin Feng agreed and put his hand out to shake on the deal. After they shook hands, Lin Feng thought it over again. He was too hasty. He realized that he probably could’ve gotten more out of her if he’d haggled better. His negotiation skills needed improvement. Tang Bingyao does this all the time! He’d go to Tang Bingyao later and ask her to teach him. Also. Now that he was thinking about Tang Bingyao, there was something strange happening with their duo sessions at the NetCow Cafe these days. A few uninvited guests kept tagging along.

“Come on, Lin Feng bro! Let’s do a 5-man!” Ouyang called out, sticking his head out from behind the computer the next row over. “We have exactly five people too! Think about it! Is there anything more awesome than playing a game with all your friends at an internet cafe?”

“I’m duoing with Tang Tang. She has to fulfill her orders,” Lin Feng replied.

Tang Bingyao nodded in affirmation.

“Orders? Hot diggity-dawg! Tang Tang, you boost people?!” Ouyang asked.

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and sighed in admiration. “No wonder you’re so good. A professional ELO booster, hm…?”

Ren Rou glanced at Yang Fan. “Putting the chicken before the egg there, buddy. She’s a booster because she’s so good. That’s why she gets orders.”

Yang Fan shrugged. “Sure. But boosting accounts probably helps you get better.”

“That depends on what kind of accounts you’re boosting and to what rank.” Ren Rou looked over at Tang Bingyao and asked, “What are your orders usually like?”

“Platinum and Diamond for the most part,” Tang Bingyao replied. But her voice had a slight tinge of regret as she replied. The higher the rank, the more money she made. She really wanted to take orders to boost up to Diamond 1. Maybe even Master. But when she brought it up to Lin Feng, he refused to help. The conversation went something like this:
“Can we take Diamond 1 orders?”
“Mhm… huh? No!”
“Why not?”
“Because you’re not good enough.”
“But you are. Can’t you carry me?”
“You’re right. I am and I could. But I charge a fee for that.”

Just the thought of having to pay Lin Feng was enough for Tang Bingyao to drop the subject. She’d have to get better if she wanted to take on higher-paying orders. Then she wouldn’t have to rely on Lin Feng and she could keep all the money!

Tang Bingyao’s thoughts drifted back to the esports club tryouts. The team had gladly accepted her as their main ad-carry after her stellar performance against Luo Tianming. As for Lin Feng, he became the club’s secret weapon. After Ren Rou, Ouyang, and Yang Fan had recovered from the initial shock, they quickly came up with a plan. They decided to spread a rumour that Lin Feng had just gotten lucky during tryouts and that he was a LeBlanc one-trick pony. They also added that Luo Tianming wasn’t all that good. They said everything they could to convince the crowd of first years and anyone else who’d seen the game that Lin Feng wasn’t nearly as good as he looked during that game. For now, they wanted to keep his skills and identity under a tight heavy lid.

“We gotta keep this on the downlow! And we gotta make sure to keep telling people that Luo Tianming is a shithead, it’s for the sake of confidentiality!” Ouyang said.

Ren Rou and Yang Fan agreed with Ouyang. News of a Challenger appearing in their esports club would spread like wildfire without some damage control.

“In the last Shanghai 16 School Tournament, our strategies got leaked and our opponent crushed us. We were out before the first round even ended,” Yang Fan explained. “We later learned that one of our members had a big mouth and talked about what we were planning to his friend. That friend? He was a spy! Our first opponent sent him in to gather information!”

“Wow! So extreme! Sounds like something straight out of a spy movie!” Lin Feng exclaimed.

Tang Bingyao nodded in agreement.

“We might be going a bit overboard, but it doesn’t hurt to be careful, especially after last year,” Ren Rou said. She clenched her fists. “We’ll definitely get our revenge this year!”

Dev and Shanks are Totally Absolutely 100% Just Friends!

Shanks Thought: Psh. Su Xue is an amateur. 4 AM is nothing. I pulled all nighters for way longer! Though, I guess that shouldn’t be something to brag about. Plus, you quickly start realizing you’re not really invincible as you start hitting your 20s.

Devs Thought: Just a real quick clarification here guys. Shanks and I are not dating. We’ve never even considered that. We’re just really good friends. Also, I’m not into guys. I don’t know what Shanks’ deal is, but it’s a hard pass from me. We’re all just really close friends who’ve known each other for years. This is a bromance, not a BL novel. Please stop shipping us. No shipping drama! DumbfuckTV is not going to be a shipping house!
-Also, quick side note here. You know the guy that tries way too hard in chat for Su Xue? His lines are sampled from the poem ‘She Walks in Beauty’ by Lord Byron. I really like the poem. It’s a little pretentious. But I still like it.

Sietse Thought: ^ That’s what they keep telling themselves. We know better. I’m sure they’re waiting with their engagement for DumbfuckTV. Then have their marriage on the History channel. The big question is: Who will wear the dress?

Shanks Addendum: You see, I tell these guys to stay on topic and talk about the chapter, and then they go off-rail into stupid topics like this. People are coming here for the story, not for our dumbfuckery!

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