Thanks to twinkle* for the Ko-fi!
After getting back on stage, Jian Rong twisted open his water bottle and took a big gulp of water.
Two days? In Lu Boyuan’s room? The others probably wouldn’t be practicing during those two days either. They wouldn’t be discovered, right?
…he could sleep in his room both days?
The game entered the pick/ban phase. Jian Rong immediately shut off those unhealthy thoughts in his mind and ruffled his hair before he straightened up and got serious.
Just as Ding-ge had said, PUD regrouped for the third game and pulled out the team fight composition that they had been drilling the most recently.
Yuan Qian looked at the champions that the other team had picked. “Morgana? Didn’t they already take Rakan support… unless it’s Morgana mid?”
Strictly speaking, Morgana was a support champion with a fair amount of CC. She even had a shield that could both block some magic damage and provide crowd control immunity during the designated time frame.
This champion could also be played mid, but just like Jian Rong’s Lulu from the first game, it was a timid champion that could only wait for the late game and team fights.
Ding-ge hovered around behind them. “It’s probably something new they’ve been practicing.”
Xiao Bai sighed, moved. “For the sake of the team, Savior really is willing to play anything.”
Jian Rong scoffed coldly.
“—but he still can’t compare with our mid laner. Despite being such a magnificent, incomparable hunk, our mid laner is still willing to play healer Lulu for my ge—for the team. In the future, this touching deed must be memorialized in our championship documentary with a segment that’s ten minutes long at the very least. And there has to be a voice-over going on in the back too.” Xiao Bai instantly spouted off a whole bunch of fawning flattery. “Soft, badass!”
The entire team started laughing.
Lu Boyuan watched as the opposing team successively chose Sion, Miss Fortune, and Lillia, but his smile didn’t fade. “Prepare yourselves, their team fight comp is extremely strong this time.”
Commentator A: “Tuotuo picked Lillia—he hasn’t really competed much this season, so people most likely don’t know that Lillia is the champion Tuotuo has been playing the most these past few months in ranked. However, since his carry jungler didn’t do so hot in the first game, I thought that we wouldn’t be able to see him play Lillia today.”
Commentator B shook his head. “The only thing I want to say is that a single match truly doesn’t mean much. Remember how badly Soft’s Fizz was suppressed the first time he went up against Fighting Tiger? But the second time he played against them, he still dared to pull out Fizz. Logically speaking, Fizz isn’t actually a champion that should be played competitively in this meta, but Soft is the classic example of someone absolutely refusing to give up—I really like pro players like him.”
Commentator C nodded in agreement as the camera cut to Jian Rong, who was expressionlessly and calmly clearing minions. Commentator C chuckled and said, “Speaking of which, Soft also only joined the LPL this season, yet he’s made it straight to the finals right away… it gives off the same feeling from back when Road was younger. What’s more, I’ve discovered that regardless if they win or lose, he’s extremely composed, at least on the surface.”
Commentator A maintained his smile. “But of course. After all, Soft is a rare talent who can ‘communicate amicably’ with tens of thousands of barrage comments all on his own. What hasn’t he seen in his streams before?”
Jian Rong was unaware that they were currently talking about him. The instant he entered the game, he saw Savior type in the chat.
[PUD, Savior: T-T]
Jian Rong lifted an eyebrow. “You can interact with each other in chat during a match?”
“As long as you don’t flame anyone.” Lu Boyuan said, “They record the screen for the pro player first person POV videos, so everyone can see what’s in the chat after the match ends.”
[TTC ་ Soft: Morgana?]
[PUD, Savior: Let’s clear minions peacefully ge~ ^^]
“What a good state of mind, he can still smile even after losing two games.” Xiao Bai sighed. “If that were me, I would probably already be thinking about which room to live in after our base is moved underground.”
“No, you’re just saying that because you haven’t seen Savior stream before.” As Yuan Qian killed minions, he said, “Back when he was being cyberbullied by Korean netizens, he would type out this kind of emoji even while wiping away his tears.”
Jian Rong: “…”
Xiao Bai: “…he can’t possibly be crying over there at this very moment, right?”
Naturally, Savior wasn’t crying.
Although his ability to endure was relatively weak in some aspects, he was already a very mature pro player on the stage.
He had played in almost as many matches in Korea as Pine had overall, and he was well aware of the fact that before a match ended, all negative emotions were meaningless.
PUD had prepared extremely well for this game—the money they had spent on practice matches with Korean teams wasn’t for nothing.
In the early game, PUD kept avoiding team fights. Jian Rong was playing Syndra, and right as he was about to solo kill Savior at level 6, Tuotuo appeared in the nick of time and saved Savior before leaving at once. He didn’t even think about countering Jian Rong, staying almost excessively steadfast.
The other two lanes were also very quiet.
“98k is harmoniously clearing minions with me…” Yuan Qian wore a complicated expression. “I suddenly sort of understand what Savior must have been feeling in the first game.”
“Their bot lane is the same. They’re not coming out to fight us even with Rakan, a support with such strong CC.” Xiao Bai frowned. “That means they’re determined to drag this out to the mid-late game. I feel like we’ve fallen into their rhythm.”
As he said that, Lu Boyuan solo killed Lillia.
After getting the kill, Lu Boyuan went for the Rift Scuttler nearby before he calmly recalled to base. “Search for opportunities, don’t panic. We can also team fight.”
The first 5v5 team fight finally broke out, and PUD’s team fight advantage was displayed—with so much crowd control, as long as one skill landed, it was inescapable.
Savior’s Morgana first rooted Xiao Bai in place, who was on his way to place a ward. The support, Rakan, immediately followed up with more CC and caught Pine as he was attempting to give Xiao Bai a heal. The rest of TTC swiftly rushed over, but Savior found a chance to flash into the group and use his ult, successfully stunning three TTC members. Then, 98k arrived late and entered the fight with his ult. All the way up until Xiao Bai’s screen went gray, he was unable to leave his dazed state—
In the end, TTC’s bot lane duo and Jian Rong all ended up falling under the powerful onslaught of the enemy ADC Miss Fortune’s bullets.
In the second team fight, Tuotuo’s Lillia was the first to be sacrificed.
But before he died, he used his ult to send four TTC members to sleep. His teammates followed up and traded four TTC players for one of their own, putting TTC directly at a major disadvantage. The remaining four PUD members instantly seized the opportunity to go for Baron.
In the first place, it was difficult to deal with this kind of team composition during team fights, and it only became harder once they were at the disadvantage.
During the final wave, Jian Rong flashed and tried to find a chance to oneshot the enemy ADC. A second later, Savior promptly flashed with him and gave his team’s ADC a shield, successfully blocking Jian Rong’s stun, allowing the enemy ADC to flash and escape.
This flash trapped Jian Rong amidst the enemies, and he ultimately ended up collapsing in the crowd.
Without their mid laner, it was even tougher for TTC to resist. After wiping out TTC, PUD tore down their Nexus and won the third game of the match, arduously dragging the score to 2:1.
Back at the break room, the first thing Jian Rong said was, “The last wave was my fault.”
“It had nothing to do with you,” Ding-ge analyzed calmly. “By that point, we already couldn’t beat them in a team fight. If you didn’t look for openings, then you could only wait to die. You seized the opportunity very well in that fight, their ADC couldn’t even react in time. But Morgana was there, so there was no helping it.
“Also, it’s not like PUD is a weak team. Although their starting jungler isn’t present, it would still be difficult to beat them three to nothing. It’s fine, we have a lot of chances. Right now, PUD should be the ones panicking.”
Jian Rong didn’t speak. He sat on the sofa and stared at the floor, lost in thought.
He felt like every time he made a mistake, there was no excusing it. If his APM had been a little faster, and he had landed his skill before Savior could give a shield, perhaps the outcome of that last wave would’ve been different.
Someone touched his cheek. Lu Boyuan was standing next to him, and he first pressed the back of his hand against Jian Rong’s face before he flipped his hand over, revealing the candy sitting on his palm.
Lu Boyuan asked, “Feeling bad after just losing one game?”
“No.” Jian Rong took the candy, tore open the wrapper, and tossed it in his mouth, making one of his cheeks bulge up. “In the next game, I’m going to make their ADC pay for the amount of times he should’ve died last round.”
His poor condition from the first game was gone. Currently, even Jian Rong’s palms were burning.
When they went back on stage, the atmosphere in the stadium felt more enthusiastic than before—PUD had turned the tables in the previous game, finally allowing their long dispirited fans to regain some vigor.
It was obvious that PUD wanted to go down the same route as last time. Right off the bat, they banned three jungle champions—Lee Sin and two carry junglers, Graves and Nidalee.
Xiao Bai couldn’t help but curse. “Damn, are they not even considering our other lanes?”
Yuan Qian: “Their jungler’s rhythm in the early game was almost messed up by Captain last time, so they’re definitely going to target him in the ban phase this round… they probably think that as long as our jungler can’t do anything, they’ll be able to smoothly drag out the game till the team fights start.”
Ding-ge’s first instinct was to look at Jian Rong’s computer monitor.
Sure enough, Jian Rong was scowling as he scrolled through the champion select screen. After he found the champion that he was searching for, he stopped.
Without saying anything else, Ding-ge reached out and pressed a hand down on Jian Rong’s shoulder. He got straight to the point and asked, “If you pick this champion, can you carry?”
Jian Rong paused. Then, he crushed the candy in his mouth and said flatly, “If I don’t carry this game, I’ll renew my contract for free next season.”
“Don’t be like that.” Yuan Qian immediately said, “You’re still young, you don’t know how important it is to save up money for your wife…”
“It’s impossible for me to lose.” After Jian Rong said that, there was a beat of silence before he continued, “Also, I don’t plan on having a wife.”
“…” Yuan Qian was shocked. “Didn’t you say that you’re definitely not going to be single by the time you’re twenty?!”
“What does not being single have to do with getting a wife?”
Xiao Bai: “?”
Yuan Qian: “………are you that scummy?”
Jian Rong realized in retrospect what his words sounded like. He went quiet for a second before he finally said ambiguously, “Never mind… it’s hard to explain.”
Commentator A: “PUD’s intentions are very obvious: they’re aiming to team fight. TTC’s fixed ban list includes 98k’s Volibear and one of the current favored meta champions, Varus. I recommend that the final ban spot goes to Morgana, this champion’s shield is too annoying—as expected, they banned Morgana, but there’s still no way to restrict PUD’s team fight setup. Even without Morgana, Savior can still use Orianna… hm?”
Just as Commentator A was in the middle of his fervent analysis, the camera abruptly honed in on both teams’ junglers.
On a certain Tieba forum, someone had once joked that the junglers who competed against TTC were all very tragic. It was one thing if they couldn’t beat Road in the jungle, but every time the camera focused on both junglers simultaneously, it was basically public humiliation.
At that moment, the man who was usually mostly expressionless during matches suddenly laughed.
By contrast, Tuotuo seemed particularly pitiful displayed next to him with his thick glasses and a face full of adolescent acne…
“…God Lu is so handsome.” Commentator A coughed. “Okay, next up, let’s see what champion TTC will go for in their first pick—LeBlanc!! Soft’s LeBlanc is coming out!!”
Commentator B: “That’s what I guessed would happen. After all, Soft does indeed play his LeBlanc very well. But in a situation like this, where the other team forcefully drags things out to the late game, is LeBlanc truly appropriate?”
Jian Rong quickly used his actions to let everyone know exactly whether or not LeBlanc was appropriate.
Seven minutes into the game, right as the camera switched to the top lane to watch their scuffle, a kill announcement sounded—
Soft solo killed Savior in lane!
The kill was replayed, and everyone saw Orianna recalling to base between the first and second turrets. LeBlanc had just grinded down half of Orianna’s health. Two seconds before Savior finished channeling, a figure slipped out from the brush next to him!
LeBlanc, who was seemingly clearing minions merely a second earlier, suddenly blinked with her W and smashed directly onto Orianna. Then, Jian Rong instantly swept Orianna away with a well-practiced Ignite Q-R-E, his APM almost faster than the speed at which the commentators talked—
“Wait a moment?!” Commentator A was astonished. “Savior cleared all his minions before going back to base, so Soft shouldn’t have any vision here whatsoever? How did Soft know that Savior was here?! And to top it off, he didn’t even bother looking before he used that self-confident W skill to step straight onto Savior’s face…”
This scene was also witnessed by Xiao Bai, who was slacking off and observing his teammates because nothing was happening in the bot lane. “Amazing—how did you know that Savior was there??”
Jian Rong said succinctly, “Captain showed me his videos before.”
Nobody obtained their accomplishments easily. There were many, many match recordings saved on Lu Boyuan’s tablet; normally when his teammates were watching variety shows, Lu Boyuan was always watching recordings.
Xiao Bai was startled. “Ge, this is preferential treatment!”
“It isn’t.” Lu Boyuan explained simply, “He was next to me when I was watching PUD’s videos, so I just mentioned it to him in passing.”
Xiao Bai frowned. “When did this happen? Was I not there?”
Jian Rong said, “The semi…”
The semifinals, that night.
He was extremely drowsy at the time, leaning against Lu Boyuan as he slowly fell asleep. While playing with Jian Rong’s hair, Lu Boyuan told him that Savior had a bad habit when recalling to base: he liked to do so near the tower, next to the brush on the right. He had gone back to base four games in a row at that spot.
Lu Boyuan had brought it up casually, but Jian Rong remembered it.
That was why he thought of going over to test it out. In any case, LeBlanc was an agile champion. It would be best if he caught Savior, but if he didn’t, he could still double back the way he came.
Xiao Bai: “Semi-what?”
Jian Rong: “…what’s it have to do with you? Come to mid and place a ward for me.”
Xiao Bai was dumbfounded. “Is this how you ask someone for a favor?!”
“If you don’t place a control ward, how am I supposed to gank the bot lane?” Jian Rong asked, “I don’t need to go anymore?”
“I’m coming ge, I’ll even place two for you, one control ward and one stealth ward. As long as Savior goes the slightest bit astray, immediately crush him to death in the jungle!”
Soon after, Jian Rong made a trip to the bot lane. He helped his teammates force out all of their enemies’ flashes and heals before leaving.
However, for a bot lane duo like PUD’s who farmed under the tower, it wasn’t too important if they didn’t have their Summoner Spells.
Twenty minutes in, Lu Boyuan solo killed Tuotuo in the jungle. There had only been two kills so far in the entire game.
Commentator A: “Ss, how do I put this… even though currently TTC has the advantage, this tiny lead in gold isn’t actually too helpful during team fights. After all, PUD is using a team fight crowd control strategy, so if a single member of TTC is CC’d, then they’re basically done for…”
Commentator B: “That’s correct, and it’s evident that TTC is attempting to find opportunities. Now we just have to wait and see how both teams will handle the drake team fight in a bit.”
Not too long after Commentator B said that, the first team fight erupted at last between the two teams.
From above and below the dragon pit respectively, the two teams traded blows and restricted each other. Abruptly, the enemy ADC Ashe shot her ice arrow ult straight at Pine from below.
If that arrow was able to stun Pine, then 98k would instantly use his ult and charge into TTC’s huddle to disrupt their formation, while also looking for a chance to oneshot Pine.
Unfortunately, with a clatter—Xiao Bai, who was on the lookout for openings nearby, dashed to Pine using Braum before he lifted his shield and blocked Ashe’s CC for Pine!
Before the commentators could praise him, they heard an announcement ring out in a female voice—Jian Rong had killed the enemy Ashe.
“What’s going on?!” Commentator A gripped his headset. “Ashe’s positioning—he’s standing in the middle of PUD’s formation! How did Soft go in and kill him???”
PUD’s team damage output was already a bit lacking. After their ADC died, they decisively chose not to stay any longer, and the remaining four unanimously retreated.
But then Yuan Qian’s Gangplank waved his hand, and the cannonballs from his ult slammed onto PUD, dealing damage and significantly slowing them! Lu Boyuan’s Kindred followed up right away, and he used his E skill to completely strangle to death any thoughts Savior might have had about escaping.
During that team fight, three PUD members were pursued and killed. Meanwhile, TTC was utterly untouched, and they even went back to where the fight first started to take a drake.
Everything just now had happened too fast. After the team fight concluded, the broadcast immediately replayed it all, and everyone could finally see how Jian Rong was able to oneshot the enemy ADC—
He had circled around alone to the slope on PUD’s left to place a ward down. Before PUD’s support could even realize where this ward had freaking come from, Jian Rong had already discerned the enemy’s formation. A second later, he unhesitantly triggered the Blast Cone and exploded himself down the slope. Then, he rushed to Ashe with a W dash and got a beautiful solo kill, after which he promptly flashed and ran away…
The three commentators tacitly went silent for two seconds.
Commentator B, who had just asked “is LeBlanc truly appropriate?” a short while ago, said pensively, “Soft’s LeBlanc, always a god.”
PUD was thoroughly put at a disadvantage.
Due to their team composition, they were no match for TTC during the laning phase. Now that they couldn’t even win the team fights, PUD only had one path left—drag it out to the late game, obtain Mythic items, and search for opportunities.
In the end, PUD had still undergone basic training before, so no matter how TTC played, they couldn’t wipe PUD. Savior’s Orianna stayed eternally under the tower and cleared minions especially quickly. In addition, their team composition in and of itself had a lot of crowd control… as a result, even though TTC had the advantage, they were continuously unable to take down the mid lane inhibitor.
After consecutively clearing the second turrets in PUD’s top and bot lanes, TTC went back to the base to replenish health. Only Lu Boyuan was left as he cleared PUD’s monsters on his own.
At that moment, PUD made an astonishing decision—all five of them snuck towards Baron.
Commentator A: “PUD is going for Baron!!!”
Commentator B was stunned. “Yes, they are. Ai, I feel like… I feel like they have a chance here! The wards Xiao Bai placed earlier are already gone, and he didn’t get to replace them yet. Currently, except for God Lu, everyone else in TTC has recalled to base—”
Commentator C: “They’re doing it!!!”
It was already the mid-late game, so it didn’t take PUD very long to fight Baron.
The commentators and spectators held their breath as they watched PUD’s five members fight Baron. Meanwhile, TTC had only just left their base!
Baron’s health dropped unceasingly. 70% HP, 50% HP, 30%…
Right as Commentator A’s “success!” was about to spill out from his mouth, Lu Boyuan, who was in the middle of recalling to base, suddenly canceled his channeling. Then—he turned around and walked towards the Baron pit.
Kindred’s farsight ward illuminated the Baron pit. Lu Boyuan had discovered PUD’s plot, but Baron’s health was too low, and there was no way it would last until the remaining TTC members arrived.
PUD rapidly destroyed the farsight ward, and the Baron pit went dark again.
Commentator A: “This… is God Lu trying to steal it?”
Commentator B: “How could he steal it? He doesn’t have any vision, he doesn’t know how much HP Baron has, and if he jumps in too early or late, he’ll die…”
Just as he said that, Lu Boyuan attacked the Blast Cone and jumped into the pit. Then, a dragon’s roar sounded—
[TTC ་ Road has stolen Baron Nashor!]
The second after the dragon roared—the entire stadium screamed!
The number of comments in the broadcast barrage skyrocketed, to the point that all the channels started lagging!
The commentators’ voices nearly went hoarse. “God Lu, in—credible!!!!”
TTC’s voice chat was also exploding.
Lu Boyuan’s ult delayed long enough for his teammates to rush to the scene, still yelling. Because PUD already wasn’t in a good condition from fighting Baron, this was equivalent to catching a turtle in a jar as TTC sealed off PUD’s line of retreat and beat them up—
The Baron steal changed the game. PUD was ruthlessly wiped out, and the five TTC members charged towards PUD’s Nexus.
The instant PUD’s Nexus exploded, someone slammed their fist heavily down on their keyboard.
The cheers rose again and again.
Sparks went off in Yuan Qian’s head. He tugged off his headphones and turned, wanting to hug Xiao Bai—
Xiao Bai had his arms wrapped firmly around Pine’s neck. “P-baby ahhhhhh!!!!!!!”
Yuan Qian sniffled and turned his head in the other direction, heart filled with exhilaration, wanting to hug their captain who had just stolen Baron for them—
Jian Rong was hugging Lu Boyuan extremely tightly.
They were pressed almost completely against each other. He didn’t know if his arms would hurt Lu Boyuan’s neck, but he truly couldn’t help himself. He felt as if all the blood in his body was boiling and howling, and he gripped Lu Boyuan’s clothing so tightly that wrinkles appeared—
The team’s staff rushed excitedly onto the stage. Countless familiar voices sounded behind them, and with a bang, golden confetti began sprinkling down over the stadium.
At first, Jian Rong had thought: this was only the spring season, which wasn’t all that important, so even if they ended up winning, there wasn’t anything much to it.
But at that moment, he was speechless with how electrified he felt.
After some unknown amount of time passed, he finally said to Lu Boyuan, “We won.”
His voice trembled a little.
He was embraced in return.
Unlike Jian Rong’s hug, Lu Boyuan was very gentle, and he pressed a hand against Jian Rong’s head.
“Mn.” Lu Boyuan said, “You and I… our first championship win.”
The author has something to say:
I did a lot of research but still couldn’t figure out if you can interact with each other using all chat in a match. So, just pretend like you can!
Yan: Baby’s first championship win!!!!!!!!!!!! Very proud dad moment *wipes tear*
Wei: Yay go TTC!!!! Also rip Yuan Qian forever 5th wheeling ahaha