You Won’t Know if You Don’t Try

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Ren Rou was President of the high school esports club. She handled the logistics and day-to-day operations of the club, making sure that everything was in order. But when it came to actually playing League of Legends, that’s where she took a step back. Not because she hated playing the game or anything like that. She loved playing League! It was more that she wasn’t very good at it, definitely not good enough to represent the team well. She’d been hardstuck in Silver for more than a year. Sure, she could have pushed herself onto the team if she wanted to. She was the President. But she wanted the esports club to succeed, and her playing the game would not accomplish that. So she helped out as best as she could, taking care of the other things so that all of the other people in the club who loved the game just as much as her could keep playing on the team and keep fighting for glory.

Ouyang found himself on the same boat as Ren Rou. He loved League of Legends, he was all about gamer culture, and he loved the esports club. There was nothing that made him happier. But he also never made it onto the main team because he was never one of the best players in the club. His Gold 3 rank placed him solidly in the middle of the pack within the club. The role that he took on was similar to Ren Rou’s, where he assisted the club in administrative ways. It also gave him the opportunity to keep playing the game he loved with other members of the club.

Yang Fan was a little different from the others. He did have administrative duties within the club, but he also made it onto the main team. He was a Platinum player, and participated in the qualifiers for the 16 School Tournament last year.

“We have to take part in the training too?” Ouyang asked in surprise. He figured that Lin Feng would devote his time to people who would be representing the club at the tournament, and that he wouldn’t be included at all.

Ren Rou was similarly startled. She pointed at herself and asked, “Even me?”

“Correct!” Lin Feng said. Then he jabbed his finger on his chest and said, “I’ll be in charge of your training plan!”

Yang Fan looked at Lin Feng, hesitant. “The tournament starts in a couple of weeks. Don’t you think we’re a little bit late with this?” He trusted that Lin Feng really was a Challenger and he understood that being trained by a Challenger was sure to see their skill improve by leaps and bounds. The issue, the one that worried him, was about the time constraints. Or to put it more bluntly, he simply didn’t see how Lin Feng could turn them into contenders for the 16 School Tournament. He definitely didn’t see how Lin Feng could get them to the point where they’d be in the Top 4 in a little more than half a month.

“I can get you to Diamond! No problem-o!” Lin Feng said. Then he pounded his chest and added, “Trust me! I already have coaching experience!”

Lin Feng really did have experience coaching. He’d recently taken two students under his wings and they were both performing phenomenally after receiving his guidance. The first was Tang Bingyao. She’d been playing with him at the NetCowCafe, and gone from Diamond 4 to the point where she could hold her own against players who were Diamond 1. Then there was Su Xue. She was struggling in Gold when he first met her. Then she spent some time playing and learning from him. Now? She’d spent the last two days climbing from Gold to Platinum 5. And she was still playing phenomenal games. She could get even higher!

Ouyang stared at Lin Feng in disbelief. “Two weeks to reach Diamond…? WHAT? OKAY! Alright. Hold on for a second, pump the brakes. BRO! You tellin’ me your plan is to boost our accounts? What’s that going to do? WE STILL HAVE TO P-L-A-Y AT THE TOURNAMENT!”

Yang Fan was still skeptical. He adjusted his glasses and argued, “Lin Feng, I know my level. I know my skill. I’m realistic and pragmatic. There is no conceivable way—”

“Don’t wanna hear it!” Lin Feng cut him off. “All I want to know is if you trust me. Do you?” He looked over at the three of them, just standing there in silence. “Do you trust me, Princesses?” He waited for a couple of seconds, and then the corners of his mouth started twitching. “Don’t you want to take a magic carpet ride with me? See a whole new world?”

Ren Rou and Yang Fan stared at him.

Lin Feng giggled and said, “Sorry, sorry, so sorry. The joke was just there, I had to make it! But let’s be serious about this.” He giggled again, and composed himself. “Don’t you guys want to take home the trophy?”

Ouyang stammered. “O-of course we want to! bu—”

“Good! That’s all I needed to hear.” Lin Feng pumped his fist in triumph, then continued in a more serious tone, “Now, I don’t want to hear any more what-ifs. Don’t tell me something is impossible if you haven’t even tried it! You don’t know if it is impossible unless you try it and give it your all. So let’s do that!. Let’s give it our all!”

It was the same mantra that Lin Feng kept on repeating. If it wasn’t something amazing and worth achieving, could it really be called a dream? Dreams were meant to be giant! They had to be huge! They had to be so big that they set your soul on fire when you thought about them! It didn’t matter if you tripped. It didn’t matter if you had to take a step back. It didn’t matter if you failed once. Or twice. Or three times. All that mattered was that you never gave up, that you kept on trying no matter what! As long as you kept on the path, kept travelling through the journey, all of it would be worth it in the end.

“Haha! At the very least you guys will look cool!” Lin Feng cheered on. “Give it your all! NO REGRETS! FORRRRRR DEMMMAAAAACCCCCIIIIAAAA!”

Ouyang, Yang Fan, and Ren Rou felt Lin Feng’s infectious passion and determination blazing through them. All three of them had dreams they’d given up on, regrets they nursed, and things about themselves that they wished they could change. But they never believed they could. Somewhere along the way, they’d given up. They still talked about their dreams, still had those dreams, but they’d stopped chasing after them.

Yang Fan remembered the qualifiers from last year. How helpless and frustrated he felt as his team was losing, how he could do nothing to change that. How nothing he did was enough back then. How he wasn’t enough back then.

Ouyang also knew that gnawing pain. He was a founding member of the club, but his mediocre skills had him sitting in the bleachers. He was a background character in the story of the club that he helped to create. Even though he was all smiles on the surface, behind all that enthusiasm was an intense desire to stand in the spotlight and raise the team on his shoulders.

Ouyang gnashed his teeth. “Dammit! Lin Feng is right! How will we know if we don’t try? We gotta try! Lin Feng bro, this is cringe. But I’m feelin’ it! FOOORRRRRRRRRR DEEEEEMMMMAAAACCCIIIAAA!”

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses. He still appeared calm, but his face radiated unbending determination. “Yes. We’re not going to end this with regret! I am not going to shout Garen’s battle cry though. I’m with you. But I am not doing that.”

Ouyang and Yang Fan turned to each other. They read the same resolve in each other’s eyes. A quick nod. An unspoken understanding between two best friends. They cried out in unison,
“We’ll do it!”

Lin Feng turned to Ren Rou, who rubbed her temples in frustration before gritting her teeth. “Fine! What’s there to be afraid of? I’m your president anyway. I might as well keep you guys some company.”

“Good!” Lin Feng smiled. “Then that’s settled. Don’t worry. I’m really good at coaching!”

After leaving the NetCow Cafe, Lin Feng and Tang Bingyao walked home in the same direction. Tang Bingyao looked down at the pavement, counting the bricks before putting her foot down on them. Suddenly, she asked, “Do you really think you can do it? You know, helping the club win the trophy?”

“Oh, hm. That. Well, I guess–haha.” Lin Feng scratched the back of his head, then smiled. “No. Not at all.”

Tang Bingyao looked up at Lin Feng. “Then what you said before…” she said, puzzled.

“I don’t know how things will turn out. But it’s because I don’t know how things will turn out that makes the future interesting!” Lin Feng replied. He raised his fist into the air. “IT’S A DREAM! That’s enough! All we can do is try, and maybe one day we’ll achieve it!”

“Then what’s your dream?” Tang Bingyao asked.

“I’m going to become the best professional League of Legends player in the world!” Lin Feng replied without the slightest hesitation.

“Oh,” Tang Bingyao replied. She then lowered her head back down and continued counting the bricks she passed.

They walked on in silence for a while until Lin Feng turned to Tang Bingyao and asked, “Tang Tang, what’s your dream?”

Tang Bingyao seriously considered the question before ultimately shaking her head. “I don’t have one.”

“Really? How can you not have a dream?”

“I don’t know. I just don’t.”

“Eh…” Lin Feng solemnly reflected on her answer, then suddenly halted his steps. He slapped his thigh and shouted, “I know!”

Tang Bingyao also stopped when she heard Lin Feng shout out behind her. She turned around to look at the young man, slightly tilting her head.

“Since you don’t have a dream, I’ll lend you mine! At least until you’ve found one for yourself. No need to thank me!” Lin Feng said with a bright smile.

Tang Bingyao quietly thought about Lin Feng’s words for a minute. Then she shook her head. “How can you lend me your dream?”

Lin Feng dismissed the question completely, “It’s fine! Don’t even think about it. I’m lending it to you, and that’s that. No need to give it back!”

“How can there be two best pros in the world?”

“Easy. You can be the world’s best ad-carry!”

“What a boring dream…”

“Just give it a try. Who knows, you might end up liking it!”

“I won’t.”

“Well, we won’t know unless you try!”

“I won’t.”

“Oh, right, Tang Tan—”

“The answer is still no.”

“Hey! I haven’t even asked anything yet!” Lin Feng complained.

Tang Bingyao started walking again. She didn’t look back at Lin Feng as she said, “I won’t join your team.”

“Ahhh, how did you know I was gonna ask that…?” Lin Feng asked, dejected. But he quickly returned to his cheerful self as he caught up to her. “That’s okay too. I never give up! You’ll be my team’s ad-carry!”

Who's That Shonen Character!

Shanks Thought: I noticed a comment from Pareilia last chapter that mentioned how Lin Feng reminded them of Luffy. I totally agree! Lin Feng really is a Shounen-esque protagonist, like Goku or Monkey D. Luffy. He’s a natural genius, but he’s also a big goofball who always has a smile plastered over his face. I also find it really wholesome how he’s always encouraging and supporting his friends, even going out of his way to help them achieve their dreams. It’s pretty refreshing in a scene full of cold-blooded, psychotic young masters willing to murder you and your entire clan at the drop of a hat, you know?

Devs Thought: I really liked that comment too! Kinda wish we could just convert that one into a review. But aside from that, you guys want to know what I think is interesting? Shanks looks up to Goku, Luffy, all the big shonen anime characters. He gets invested in how they never give up in achieving their dreams. But he’s always the first one to fall apart, turn into a nervous nelly, and drive us insane when something goes slightly wrong. You guys have no idea how much energy it takes. The guy is like London Bridge. He’s just constantly falling down. There was a time on Rebirth where he cried into a pillow for a week because someone random said something slightly mean about him. We need to join together to make him a man! Please? We can do this together! He can’t stand against the power of community and peer pressure! Please help me with this?

Sietse Thought: Guys, don’t listen to Devs. Whatever you do, never listen to Devs. That is a mistake that will only bring you down a dark path! Dev and Shanks have this ongoing feud between them who the bigger bully is. It’s one of those “No you are!” “No you are!” And when they finally get tired of saying that, they start searching for other people to chime in on who the bigger bully is. At one point, Shanks even had the “Bully” role on the Wuxiaworld discord server. A prize for his theatrics with Dev.

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