“Fate is pushing down mid lane! Will they finish the game right here?”
“Only two more Nexus towers standing! Gold really has to fight now, or it’ll be too late!”
“They’re going in! They’re going in!”
“WAAAAAAA! DOUBLE KILL! MOON DOUBLE KILL!”
“Oh my lord, it’s an ace! Fate has aced Gold! This is the game! This is the game!”
The last game of Day 1 of the Season 5 Worlds featured Korea’s Fate versus Europe’s Gold. Moon showcased why he was an Emperor in this game. He single-handedly carried his team to a win. No other tower fell, only those in mid lane. He pushed from the early game and just kept on pushing. The rest of his team came to help when they realized what was going on. They were just too strong, completely outclassing Gold. When Gold’s Nexus was destroyed, the players from Fate jumped up from their gaming chairs and started cheering!
Day 1 of Worlds came to an end. Six games were played and everyone had a better idea where their teams ranked in the world. The Korean and European fans had a lot to be happy about. Fate and Legend both secured two wins in their groups. It once again showed how strong a team with one of the Four Emperors was. If their opponent didn’t also have an Emperor, they were next to unstoppable! On the other hand, the Chinese fans had mixed feelings about this first day. They wanted to celebrate HoG’s victory over COG, but the disastrous performance of KG overshadowed it. KG had brought shame to the LPL.
KG had put up a poor performance against Legend, but that was only a poor performance. It wasn’t the end of the world. What was the tipping point for the Chinese fans was the game against the wildcard team. For the first time in five years of Worlds, a Chinese team was forced to drag out a game against a wildcard team until the 40th minute before, mostly due to luck, mounting a comeback and winning the game. KG had set multiple records today. Records for disgracing their region! The Chinese League of Legends community didn’t have a good word to say about KG.
In a private booth in the NetCow Cafe, High School 13’s esports team was sitting in silence. They were all kind of staring at the screen, but not really watching what was going on. The results from Day 1 Worlds were nothing like they’d expected. Their hype was crushed. It was shattered! There was nothing left of their hopes for this year’s Worlds. KG had made sure of that!
“GODDAMNIT!” Ouyang slammed his fist on the table. “This was a fucking disgrace! How could they do this to us? Fuck it! I need to play. Who’s with me? Let’s get some ranked games in to forget about this shit!”
“Damn right,” Liu Yue agreed. “Let’s hop into some duo queue and kick some asses!”
“Sounds good, I’m in,” Yang Fan said, in his anger forgetting to adjust his glasses.
Chen Ze grabbed his things. He barely looked at the others as he was already walking to the door. Then he paused for a moment and looked over his shoulder at the others. “Good luck guys. I need to sleep. I’ll see you all tomorrow.”
Ren Rou stood up and looked around the private booth. Everyone looked defeated. It was as if they were the ones who had played at Worlds and screwed up, not KG. I should really say something to them. It’s just… She was in no mood to do anything about it. But I really should… Just as she made up her mind and wanted to say something, Wei Dong rolled his gaming chairs behind a computer and started smashing down on the keyboard. She bit on her lips, holding herself back. Everyone was in a terrible mood, herself included. It was best to let them be for now. “Hey guys, I’m also going home. Good luck with your matches.”
“I’m also going,” Lin Feng said. He grabbed his spicy strips, which were mostly left untouched, and left the private booth. Tang Bingyao looked after him from when he grabbed his things and walked out of the door, until the door closed and she couldn’t see him anymore. She thought for a moment, then grabbed her backpack and said to the others, “Goodluck guys. Have a good night. Bye.” Then she ran after Lin Feng.
It was a cold October night. When Lin Feng walked out of the NetCow Cafe, it was already close to midnight. The streets were deserted. Most League fans were playing away their frustration, while others had given up halfway through KG’s second game and were already home and in bed. He walked down the sidewalk with his eyes on the pavement. A chilly breeze hit him in his face. There were a thousand and one thoughts swirling in his mind.
Tang Bingyao opened the door of the NetCow Cafe and looked outside. She spotted Lin Feng walking down the street and ran after him. When she almost caught up to him, she slowed down. She wrapped her hands around the straps of her backpack and matched his speed. Her ponytail swayed in the wind. She didn’t go up to him because she didn’t want to interrupt his thoughts.
Lin Feng was in a world of his own. He barely registered what went on in front of him, nearly missing his turn. When he walked around the corner, he did notice a familiar figure from the corner of his eye. Huh? Was that Tang Tang? He stopped walking and turned around. “Woah! It is you! Where did you come from? Why are you here? Are you following me?”
Tang Bingyao tilted her head. “Following you?” She thought for a moment and then nodded. “Yes, I’m walking you home.”
“Uh, hehe…” Lin Feng scratched the back of his head. “I’m sorry. I didn’t see you. Come, come. Don’t be a stranger. Let’s walk together!”
Tang Bingyao nodded and walked up beside him. Then the two fell into silence again. They walked home together, both lost in their own little world. Tang Bingyao occasionally glanced up at Lin Feng, trying to think of what to say. He really does know Roundy Round. There is no other reason why he would react like that back during the games. That isn’t how a KG fan would react. He didn’t even seem to care about KG, just about Roundy. She opened her mouth a few times, but stopped herself before words could come out. What do I even say? How do I ask him about it? It looks like he’s taking it really hard. I don’t want to make him even more upset. But maybe it’ll help him feel better if he talks about it? She tugged at Lin Feng’s arm and asked, “Lin Feng?” She bit her lips. He looked at her. She had to continue now. “Was Roundy always this nervous? When you were playing with him, I mean.”
“Mhm. He was.” Lin Feng nodded. “You see, Fatty is a coward at heart. He stresses out over nothing and always worries that he’ll screw things up. The pressure that comes with a big event like Worlds is just too much for him. He collapses under it.”
Tang Bingyao cupped her hands over her mouth and blew a warm breath into them. Then she placed her hands over her ears, trying to beat the cold night air. She looked back up at Lin Feng and asked, “So did he always tilt this badly? Or did he have it better under control back then?”
“No. He didn’t tilt back then.” Lin Feng shook his head. He turned to Tang Bingyao and smiled, “Back then he had us. When he got stressed, we were there for him. Always. He had real friends who looked out for him.” He grinned as he thought back to Season 1 Worlds.
Lin Feng remembered how stressed out they all were when they arrived in London. They were the only Chinese team at Worlds. They carried the weight of an entire region on their shoulders! The fans at home were expecting big results, but those fans were at home. They weren’t at the event. Many players of the team were traveling outside of China for the first time in their lives. They were in a strange place, where they didn’t know anyone.
The teams from Europe and North America had fans everywhere, recognizing them on the streets and cheering for them in the arena. Lin Feng and his team only had themselves. They could only look to each other for support. Whenever they felt helpless, lost, angry, or frustrated, they would turn to their teammates. Their friends. And they would fight through it together. They would come out of it stronger as they battled their way through the tournament! And when they couldn’t sleep the night before a big game, they would explore the streets of London. Together, as a team. Because they were a team, even when they were hollering in the empty streets like a bunch of idiots. They did everything together as a team.
“WE WILL BE THE CHAMPIONS! NO TIME FOR LOSERS!”
“NO ONE CAN BEAT US! WE WILL BE THE VERY BEST!”
“WE’LL SHOW THOSE EUROPEANS AND AMERICANS WHO THE BEST TEAM IN THE WORLD IS!”
They would sing and yell and have a good time. Laughter was the best medicine! By venting their worries with their teammates, their worries suddenly didn’t seem all that scary anymore. The burden felt smaller when they shared it with their teammates. Together, there was nothing they couldn’t do! They would charge at any obstacle as a team and crush it together!
However, Fatty had none of that right now. He didn’t have a team. The KG that appeared at Worlds was little more than a group of five individually strong players. Players who didn’t stand up for each other. Players who weren’t there for each other. Players who only worried about doing well themselves. And from the looks of it, the coaching staff was just another unit of individuals.
Lin Feng stopped thinking about the past and halted his step. His stomach felt like it was tied up in knots. He bit his lips as he looked down at the pavement, anxious. Fatty wasn’t just anyone. Fatty was God Roundy! He had achieved so much in his career and was supposed to be the star player on KG’s roster! This brought a ton of unwanted stress with it. Everyone in China expected him to carry every game he played. Their expectations were like shackles to Tian Tian, locking him down. He needed his friends or a support system to break free from this and show everyone how good he was.
“You can always try calling him,” Tang Bingyao said. Everyone had a phone these days. It shouldn’t be much of a problem. “Just hearing your voice should help him a bit, right?”
Lin Feng’s eyes went wide as he froze for a moment. Then he turned to Tang Bingyao and started shaking his head. “No no no! I can’t do that! It’ll only make things worse! He’ll only start stressing more!”
Tang Bingyao looked Lin Feng in the eyes. The frantic look in them revealed how full of shit he was. “You’re lying again, Lin Feng. It doesn’t look good on you.”
“I-i’m not! Really! You have to believe me!” Lin Feng replied.
Tang Bingyao curled her lips. “That didn’t sound convincing one bit.”
It was the second day of the Season 5 League of Legends World Championships. Group A and Group B had their second round of matches. The Chinese teams had to play three games. Hand of God would play two games, the first against Korea’s Fate and the second against Europe’s Gold, while KG would play one game. Their opponent was North America’s Flash.
Hand of God showed a strong performance with one win and one loss, making the Chinese fans proud. They started the day with the loss. Fate was just too strong. They meticulously outplayed HoG in every stage of the game and closed it out in the 32nd minute. There wasn’t much to say about it. HoG showed that they were trying, but it wasn’t enough. The fans could understand this. Fate had an Emperor. This was an acceptable loss. In the second game, however, Hand of God made their fans really happy. They completely destroyed Gold! What Fate did to them in the first game, they did to Gold!
Then there was KG, the team on full tilt. They had clearly not dealt with their problems from the day before. The team was playing like a nervous wreck. Nothing they tried worked. Flash toyed around with them. It was a match that really didn’t belong at Worlds. The players from KG looked completely out of it. They even looked a little bit happy when Flash finished it at 35 minutes into the game. If it went on for any longer, that would only be more suffering for KG.
With this loss, KG’s chances of making it out of the group stage started looking bleak. There were three more games to be played, but it was already almost out of their control. If they wanted to make it through to the next round, they would have to win all their matches from here on out. This was a task that seemed impossible for the current KG. The camera zoomed in on Tian Tian, the supposed star player of the team. His expression said it all. He looked very worried, with beads of sweat on his forehead.