November 2nd, five o’clock in the afternoon, there was a fine drizzle in Shanghai.
The area outside Shanghai’s Oriental Sports Center was filled with people holding banners and LED signs printed with e-sport teams’ logos. They were currently lining up in an orderly fashion to enter the arena, and every person’s face was filled with excitement and anticipation. The rain didn’t seem to affect them at all.
Today, the semifinals for LoL’s S10 World Championship Series were being held here. The two teams participating in the competition were the HT team from South Korea’s LCK division and the TTC team from China’s LPL division.
The team who emerged victorious here would receive the opportunity to participate in the World Championship finals next week.
Since TTC had the home ground advantage, just from a cursory glance around, one could see that nearly all the merch the fans were holding were printed with TTC’s crown logo.
A bus pulled to a stop at the right side of the stadium, and a white crown logo was printed on the body of the gleaming black bus. Seeing that, security quickly stood up to do their jobs, blocking all the media and fans who wanted to rush up and crowd around the bus door.
The door of the bus opened slowly, and TTC’s members disembarked one by one, smiling as they waved or nodded amidst the fans’ screams.
When the last member got off the bus, the surrounding screams clearly grew even louder, and the fans waved their LED signs even more energetically.
With many people, it was hard to prevent an accident from occurring. A sign with TTC written on it suddenly fell to the ground, followed closely by a girl’s shriek and the sound of security yelling at her to stop.
The girl said anxiously, “Sorry, sorry… someone pushed me just now, I’m really sorry. Can you help me pick up the LED sign? Please.”
The security guard said, “I’ll help you pick it up in a bit, back up a little…”
Right after the security guard said that, someone bent down and picked up the sign before handing it over.
The man who picked it up was wearing a black and white uniform. His hair was a little casually messy, and if you looked closely, you could see that there was an impression left behind at the corner of his slender and narrow eye from sleeping while leaning against something. Below that was a tall and straight nose and thin lips that were slightly pursed.
The girl looked at him for a few seconds, dazed, before she looked down at the LED sign he was handing over.
His fingers were long and slim, and there was an inconspicuous mole between his thumb and index finger.
The girl blankly accepted the sign. “Thank you…”
The man gave a tiny nod before he turned around and walked into the competition arena.
The girl only absent-mindedly collected her thoughts after the image of the man’s back had completely disappeared.
She tightly hugged her sign before suddenly spinning around and grabbing the clothing of her friend next to her. She screamed excitedly, “That was Road! God Lu! God Lu nodded at me!! And he even touched my sign, ahhh—”
Backstage in the break room, everyone in TTC evidently looked much more relaxed.
TTC’s support, Xiao Bai, sat down in a chair and took out a mirror to examine the hairstyle that he had messed with for a long time before leaving. “That girl’s voice just then was way too powerful. The reason China’s soccer team didn’t win championships is definitely because they were lacking her support.”
The team’s manager and coach smacked his head firmly with his notebook. “Don’t speak nonsense.”
The coach then turned to look at Lu Boyuan, or Road, who had just sat down. Lu Boyuan held his phone in his left hand and was scrolling down the screen. His right hand was propped against the armrest of the chair, and he was currently lightly curling and uncurling his fingers.
Half an hour before the competition began, the coach started to give everyone pre-match guidance.
At the very end, the coach glanced at the team’s mid laner and abruptly called him out. “Kan, you remember everything I told you before, right?”
The person who was called out took half a second to respond. “Ah… oh, of course I remember. I won’t make the same mistake as before.”
Lu Boyuan swept a glance at Kan. After the coach finished saying everything, Lu Boyuan stood up and said, “Going to the bathroom.”
As the water rushed over his hands, it brought a bone-chilling coldness with it.
——“Can you do it?”
Hearing that voice, Lu Boyuan lifted his head and looked through the mirror at the coach standing behind him.
A few seconds later, Lu Boyuan turned off the tap and drew out some paper towels to dry his hands. Calmly, he met the coach’s gaze. “As long as I’m allowed to go up, I can win.”
StarTV’s LoL livestream channels. Currently, the official broadcast room already reached over 800 million popularity points, solidly occupying first place among the other LoL channels. Following behind were the channels of previous professional players who began streaming after retiring.
As far as one could see, all the streaming room names were worded with titles like “S10 Semifinals,” “Passionate Commentary,” “TTC Must Win.”
On the first page of rankings, the room name at the very bottom of the list became a breath of fresh air.
[taking a lazy day. —Soft]. The livestream room had 130 million popularity points.
Jian Rong came back carrying takeout. When he saw that the host was still chatting away in the livestream, he unwrapped the takeout packaging.
Since it was raining outside, the takeout was almost half an hour late, and he was absolutely starving.
[No way no way, you’re making us sit here and watch you eat takeout?]
[Inactive livestream, reported.]
“Zhajiangmian.” Jian Rong just woke up not too long ago, so he spoke lazily. “If I’m not full, how will I have the strength to explain things for you guys?”
[Okok, eat some more, I’m afraid you won’t have the energy to flame people later.]
[Left the LoL pit for many years, I want to ask who is this streamer? Why so popular? Is he also a retired player? So handsome?]
[This is a LoL streamer famous for pissing people off.]
[Dirty mouth streamer.]
“Room mod, please block the one who called me a noob… never mind, I’ll block them myself.” Jian Rong put down his chopsticks and arranged a speaking ban package for the person who called him a noob.
After chatting casually with the audience for a while, the two teams finally went on stage to prepare for the match.
Jian Rong sat cross-legged on the gaming chair, holding the bottom of the takeout container with one hand. His chewing slowed down a bit as his gaze unconsciously floated over towards the person sitting second from the left.
TTC’s jungler Road had already taken a seat and was currently adjusting his equipment. It seemed like he had just washed his face, as the tips of his bangs were a bit wet.
The broadcast started to give each player a close-up shot. When it was Road’s turn, the camera clearly lingered a bit longer on him than the others, and the commentator immediately changed the subject to Road.
Commentator A gave an introduction. “Next up, the camera is focused on TTC’s, and I could even say our LPL’s, ace jungler, TTC ་ Road! God Lu is as handsome as ever today.”
Commentator B, “That’s right, and what’s more, he doesn’t look nervous at all.”
“As expected of TTC’s stabilizing rock. Wherever he sits, I feel especially at ease.” Commentator C laughed, and as the camera’s focus changed, he said, “However, the mid laner Kan seems to be quite tense today.”
Commentator B, “A little bit. Reasonably speaking, he shouldn’t be though. He’s already fought in the World Championship four times now. I hope that Kan adjusts quickly and does his best to relax before the game starts.”
Jian Rong glanced over the barrage and swallowed his noodles before answering, “Who do I think will win? Dunno, depends on the condition of the teams. If TTC wins, will I send red envelopes? It’s not like I’m TTC’s brand ambassador, why would I send out red envelopes if they win? … is Kan stronger or am I stronger? I am.”
His long-time fans instantly sent out a cascade of “6661.” They had long since grown accustomed to Soft’s style.
Soft entered the livestreaming platform two years ago, and he had exploded in popularity just a few months after joining. There were many reasons for it, but if one had to pick the most important ones, it would be: one, he was strong and his stream quality was high, and two, his personality was arrogant and he dared to say almost anything.
But there were also a few new audience members who still didn’t like it.
[You can only run your mouth in a livestream anyway.]
[You think that you’re all that just because you solo killed Kan a few times? Kan is a farming-team-fight type player, not like you, the kind of idiot who plays Child Zed and Scammer Suo2.]
“I don’t know what a ‘farming-team-fight type player’ is. All I know is that the winner is the one who can kill the other person and send them back home.” Jian Rong said, “Who made that compilation of me solo killing Kan while playing ranked last time? Share a copy with this fan.”
[…is this streamer really this conceited? A Kan anti?]
[Nope, don’t misunderstand, he’s like this towards everyone, not just your Kan. But Kan really has been pretty trash this season.]
[For the time being, I really can’t think of a famous player that hasn’t been roasted by Soft before.]
[There is one! He’s never roasted Road before!]
“Enough, the match is starting.” Jian Rong interrupted the barrage’s rhythm and adjusted the location of his streaming interface on the screen. “Is this video window covering up the competition interface? I’ll close it for a while.”
[Close it my ass! This old lady came just to see your face! If you close it I might as well go watch the official broadcast!]
[Don’t close it, I’m depending on that blue-colored thing on your head to keep me awake.]
When Jian Rong just started streaming, he had once been placed by the livestream administrator into the “Beauty category” because he was too good-looking.
His skin was fair, his eyelashes were thick and long, his eyes were even brighter than a girl’s, and there was a tiny mole to the right of his nose. As long as you muted him and went to look at the person in the video, you would discover that he was at most seventeen or eighteen years old.
But the main reason Jian Rong got placed into the “Beauty category” was because he had dyed all of his hair blue.
The aqua blue color contrasting against his skin made him seem even paler, and it felt like he could spin around and debut as soon as you placed a mic over his ears.
However, Jian Rong didn’t stay in the Beauty category for very long, precisely because a complaint had been filed against him after he insulted the audience. After being complained to several dozen times in a row, the administrator obediently put him back in the LoL category.
All in all, the mental endurance ability of the little brothers and sisters in the Beauty category was still too weak.
Jian Rong’s statement just then obviously wasn’t actually seeking the audience’s opinions. After he finished talking, he swiftly closed the video.
With the video on, he didn’t even feel comfortable eating.
He ignored the barrage’s protests and completely got rid of the video interface before he concentrated on watching the match.
The competition used a BO5 format, five games and three victories. Not only did it test the players’ strength, it even more so tested their mental fortitude and endurance. But none of the people sitting on stage were new to the professional scene; every person was in a very stable condition.
In the first game, TTC targeted the enemy’s top lane and successfully counterganked3 the enemy jungler twice, easily seizing the win in just thirty-five minutes.
In the second game, TTC’s bot lane created a huge advantage from the start and was the first to break through to the enemy base from the bot lane. But because Kan died twice in a row from sneak-attacks, he gave the other team an opportunity, and unfortunately TTC lost the game after forty-five minutes.
The score was 1:1.
The barrage flew by furiously. Everyone was roasting Kan for being trash, and there were also a few people who asked Jian Rong why he wasn’t insulting Kan anymore.
“Got tired of insulting.” Jian Rong looked at the stats from the previous game and said, “8,300 damage… in forty-five minutes, he only did 8,300 damage. If I put a Rift Scuttler in the mid lane, the Rift Scuttler would do even more damage than him.”
[All you ever know how to do is bbbbb4 in the livestream room, if you’re that great then you do it!]
“If you’re that great then you do it” – Jian Rong could see that phrase in the barrage thousands of times in one day.
He was too lazy to respond, and he leaned back in the gaming chair to pay attention to the third game.
If one were to say that Kan was still being reasonably trash in the first two games, then in this game, after Kan flashed mistakenly and became first blood for no good reason in the first five minutes, he was truly abnormally trash.
But luckily Road pulled through as always. In the mid-late game, he used Camille’s ganking advantage to kill the other side quite a few times in a row with TTC’s top laner, managing to secure the win with much difficulty.
The fourth game was even longer.
Kan finally behaved properly for once in the early game, and nothing happened in the laning phase. But during the team fight phase in the mid-late game, he actually ended up sacrificing his teammates and fleeing with half health twice.
Perhaps some players who weren’t skilled enough might feel that Kan running away twice was excusable, but Jian Rong knew very well that if Kan had done enough follow-up damage during those two team fights, he could have completely taken down two or even three people from the other team.
Never mind a professional player, if a Platinum-rank player fought in such a team fight, not even they could possibly choose to betray their teammates and run away.
After fifty-two minutes, TTC lost the fourth game, and the score was 2:2. It was the match point for both sides.
The moment the fourth game ended, Road stood up and walked backstage without looking back once; he didn’t spare a single glance at Kan, who was sitting beside him.
[Why isn’t the streamer saying anything anymore?]
[My empathy is too strong, I already helped Road beat up that piece of crap Kan.]
[The streamer actually hasn’t insulted Kan for two entire games now!]
Jian Rong was quiet for a short while, all the way until the camera focused on Kan.
Kan was a big, tall, and slightly pudgy fellow, and he had a clean appearance, one that seemed very easy-going. At that moment, his head was lowered, and he wore an extremely remorseful expression.
“You guys, take a guess at what he’s currently thinking?” Jian Rong suddenly spoke.
[Must be sad, after all he’s getting old, he’s already 24 this year. Both his APM5 and mind can’t compare with a younger person’s anymore…]
[Kan wasn’t all that great even when he was young, OK? The most useless one in the team is him.]
[Hater, watch your words, Kan has also helped the team win quite a few times before.]
The barrage fought noisily, before finally Jian Rong interrupted it with a single sentence. “My guess is that he’s thinking… ‘I acted so well during the last two games, I’m going to have to make the gambling banker give me some more money later.’”
After he said that, the antis and fans alike were shocked, and the barrage was instantly full of question marks.
The meaning behind Jian Rong’s words were very clear: he was secretly mocking Kan for putting on a show and cooperating with gambling bankers.
Naturally, after the LoL competitive scene grew to its current scale, it was impossible to avoid its fate of being used as gambling fodder. Many teams had been suspected of “matchfixing” before, but that was all just the audience’s private roasting. No one would say it publicly.
As soon as Jian Rong said that, his screen was basically filled with comments attacking him.
[Usually, when you badmouth a player it can be taken as a joke, but now that you’re slandering someone’s reputation, that’s a little much.]
[I fucking called and reported you, this streamer is so disgusting]
[Saying this kind of thing without any evidence at all, okay…]
Jian Rong couldn’t be bothered to argue with the barrage. Watching the last four games made his head hurt, so he decided he might as well get up and grab a can of iced coffee from the fridge.
By the time he was back, the starting roster for both teams had been announced for the fifth game.
There were two substitutes for TTC. One was the substitute mid laner, swapping out Kan, who was in a “poor condition.”
The other was the substitute jungler, swapping out the team’s backbone, Road.
(press the “^” to go back to your spot in the chapter!)
- 666: Chinese slang for great/awesome/amazing ^
- Derogatory term to refer to the champions Zed and Yasuo ^
- Counterganking: ganking is essentially a surprise attack on an enemy champion, usually in coordination with the jungler to outnumber/overpower the enemy. Counterganking is when you try to gank and the other team ends up ganking you. Here’s a good explanation for both ^
- bbbbb as in spew BS/flame others ^
- APM: actions per minute; measurement for hand speed ^
Yan: Thank you for reading the first chapter of ICDI! I’m super excited to be translating this novel, and I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I did. There’s a lot of gaming terms in ICDI, especially about LoL, but I’ll do my best to explain them in the translator notes. I also do not play LoL (though I feel like I might as well play after all the research I’ve done lmao) so if there are any glaring mistakes, please point them out to me~ Some things might get lost in translation from Chinese to English gaming terms, but I’ll do my best to keep it consistent with the gaming slang I know.
Wei: Hi, I’ll be editing ICDI! I’m reading this novel along with all of you, so I’m really excited to see where it goes. The website is still in the works so if anyone has any recommendations or suggestions (especially for handling footnotes haha) please let us know!
We have a discord if you’d like to chat with us or get update notifications~