Thanks to Pessineito and C.Pumpkin for the Ko-fis!
This was TTC’s first time officially “responding” to HT after MSI kicked off.
This simple and rough reply stunned many foreign esports fans and pro players. After all, not even those particularly open-minded and bold pro players from the European or North American leagues dared to ridicule someone in this manner. At the most, they would just Photoshop a picture or post something shady; they wouldn’t directly call anyone out, much less @ their team’s official account.
In comparison, the domestic esports fans were actually quite calm.
The flamers, who had originally picked up their keyboards and were getting ready to charge into battle, sat back down in their gaming chairs with their keyboards in their arms. They even leaned back and cracked open melon seeds as they started pointing fingers underneath Jian Rong’s new social media account—
[Sigh, dumbass son, as if you need to personally step forward for a trivial matter like this? All you have to do is practice well, you don’t have to pay attention to anything else.]
[As a little illiterate, you know how to create this sort of thing?]
[Look at his verified badge, TTC’s management most likely made the account for him. Ding-ge is so generous.]
[The bluenette probably held a knife to Ding-ge’s throat and forced him to open the account for him, Ding-ge doesn’t have it easy either.]
[Though you’ve been in Korea for so many days now, you haven’t logged into Weibo to let Daddy know you’re safe, yet you’re the first one in line to insult someone. Unfilial son!!]
[Dumbass darling, good luck in the finals! If you win, let’s party together! If you lose, deal with it yourself.]
[Dumbass son, Dad made it to Korea and bought the ticket for the finals. I’m in seat 3A, row 9. After you win, remember to come down and say hi to Dad.]
[What the hell, the damn bluenette created a new account but didn’t follow the official TTC account or his teammates. He only followed Road’s dead account, which Road might not even remember the password for anymore since he hasn’t posted a Tweet in ten years.]
[What, Road also has an account here? What is it, I wanna follow it… well, isn’t following Road’s account the same thing as following his teammates’ accounts?]
[No, following Road is equal to following his husband, the dumbass is all over his account in a show of blatant PDA.]
Jian Rong didn’t read a single one of those several thousand comments.
After he posted the Tweet, he tossed his phone to the side and continued to practice. He even found time to say to Xiao Bai, who was laughing himself silly reading the comments, “If HT keeps barking, let me know.”
HT wasn’t in any mood to respond to him again.
It wasn’t clear if something went wrong with the players’ own mentalities, or if they were severely affected by Jian Rong’s psychological attack; either way, HT had an unusually difficult time in the semifinals.
As a matter of fact, HT had nearly screwed up during the spring season. They had ultimately won the season with a score of 3-2, but their opponent was the LCK’s other emerging powerhouse, so everyone felt like the 3-2 didn’t actually mean all that much.
It was only during this semifinals, when HT handed over yet another 3-2 final score against the LEC’s M7, that the LCK fans began to feel a bit nervous, even though HT was the ultimate winner—after all, TTC had won every game against M7 during the group stage! They were hardly even at a disadvantage during the matches! In that case, how come it’s so difficult for you guys to win? You really did win that group stage match by relying on Chronobreak, didn’t you?
More and more of these types of opinions appeared. With the fans from the LCK’s other teams also adding oil to the fire, it could be said that HT was surrounded by enemies on all fronts.
The night before the finals.
TTC went to check out the location of the finals match. On the way back to the hotel, Jian Rong was listening to music with his earphones in.
It was already night, and the interior of the car was dark. When Lu Boyuan’s phone screen lit up, Jian Rong subconsciously glanced in its direction.
Even though he had grown up in front of a computer, his eyesight was still excellent to this day.
A little blue app popped up on Lu Boyuan’s phone.
After Jian Rong read what the notification said, his eyes slowly widened, and he momentarily couldn’t understand the song playing in his earphones.
As they got out of the car and made their way back to the practice room, Xiao Bai chattered away noisily at the front of the pack, and he occasionally looked back to say something to Jian Rong. With both hands stuffed in his pockets, Jian Rong responded half-heartedly with “mhms” and “ohs.”
Lu Boyuan tugged on Jian Rong’s jacket as they were walking out of the elevator.
Jian Rong’s footsteps slowed down, and Lu Boyuan stretched his hand behind Jian Rong’s collar to knead the nape of his neck like he was giving him a massage.
“Why so listless.” Lu Boyuan asked, “Sleepy?”
Recently, Jian Rong had been practicing until two or three AM every night, so there was no way he would be sleepy at this hour.
He pressed his lips together. After he confirmed that the people ahead of them couldn’t hear their conversation, he said in a low voice, “You booked a hotel room?”
An itinerary notification had shown up on Lu Boyuan’s phone.
Lu Boyuan had booked a room for next Tuesday—or the night that they returned to China from the competition.
Lu Boyuan was briefly caught off guard, after which he immediately held back a smile. “I did.”
Jian Rong asked, “…when did you book it?”
Lu Boyuan said, “The day you trapped me in the stairwell.”
Jian Rong stared straight ahead, neck flushed, and didn’t say anything else.
Lu Boyuan couldn’t help but avert his face and let out a laugh.
He was just saying that to tease Jian Rong. Lu Boyuan had indeed booked a room; in fact, he had booked many rooms in the hotel where they were holding their celebratory banquet for MSI—he was worried that people would be too drunk to walk when the time came, so he had specially booked some backup rooms.
Fu-ge had set up the celebratory banquet long in advance. Regardless of whether they ended up getting first or second place, the banquet would nevertheless be held.
Their boss had always been both wealthy and optimistic.
After they returned to the practice room, Lu Boyuan noticed that the flush in Jian Rong’s skin had spread from his neck to his earlobes and was showing no sign of receding anytime soon.
Lu Boyuan felt like he couldn’t keep teasing Jian Rong like this, so he bent over and leaned towards him.
But before he could speak, Jian Rong tilted his head and said—
“Let’s split the bill.”
Lu Boyuan was startled for a second. “What?”
“The cost of the hotel room.” Jian Rong licked his lips, eyes fixed on his computer monitor. “Let’s split it.”
Lu Boyuan: “.”
Lu Boyuan didn’t expect himself to be the one ultimately getting seduced.
Jian Rong waited a long time without receiving a response, and he started to frown.
“I’ll pay for it this time.” Lu Boyuan’s throat bobbed as he negotiated with him huskily, “And you can pay for it next time. How’s that?”
“…………” Jian Rong’s face turned completely red. Feeling hot, he couldn’t resist reaching up and raking his bangs back. He pretended to be calm as he said, “Sure.”
Lu Boyuan returned to his seat.
Jian Rong was already in a solo queue game, and he had to search for quite a while before he found the champion he wanted to play because of how charged up he felt.
Lu Boyuan retracted his gaze, lowered his head, and opened up an app. Then, he separately booked another luxurious suite overlooking the river on one of the hotel’s upper floors.
The day of the Mid-Season Invitational finals.
The stadium was filled entirely with audience members from all over the world, and they each had their own team that they wanted to support. Some of the spectators were holding support banners for certain teams, while others even stuck the team logos on their faces. The two teams’ LED signs were suspended high in the air, becoming the most beautiful scene in the night.
The three LPL commentators were also finally able to move from a small and narrow counter to an actual platform on the left side of the stage.
The match hadn’t started yet. After the three commentators finished introducing the two teams to the audience, they struck up an idle conversation.
Commentator A: “Thanks to TTC, we have a spacious place to sit at last.”
Commentator B nodded. “Once we get back, I’m definitely going to lose some weight, or else I won’t even be able to fit at the counter from now on.”
The competition organizers were truly a bit unreasonable this time. It wasn’t clear which corporation was in charge of the competition sites, but during the group stage, one of the commentator counters was so small that it felt crowded even when the three of them were standing around it.
“Forget the counter, you should be losing weight regardless.” Commentator C touched his headset and informed the LPL audience of the announcement he had just received. “Oh, we’ve been notified by the officials that we will not be having a ‘pre-game trash talk’ segment for this finals match.”
[No way no way? There’s no way that a team doesn’t even have the guts to film the pre-game trash talk segment, right??]
[They’ve chickened out they’ve chickened out!]
[HT, don’t think you can escape, the post-championship interview will still stab you in the waist.]
[How come it hasn’t started yet?! I’ve been waiting for half a freaking hour!]
The barrage rushed by, filled with excitement. Then, the camera switched shots and focused on the audience.
Holographic images started to be projected. On the stage, the female League of Legends champion Miss Fortune lifted her two large pistols and started walking alluringly towards the audience, hips swaying. The click of her heels sounded in the audience’s ears, and with every step she took, the anticipation ratcheted up another level.
After coming to a stop, she parted her red lips slightly and said one of her dialogue lines to the audience in an extremely sultry voice: “Fortune doesn’t favor fools.”
A second later, she let out unbridled laughter and unleashed her ult in front of everyone. The moment the bullets fanned out, the lighting technician also honed in with the special effects; yellow spotlights flitted unceasingly across the audience, creating the illusion that the bullets were racing straight towards them. Immediately after, fireworks blossomed in the night sky, giving the audience an absolutely stunning visual display—
Both teams entered the stage from the left and right sides respectively. Simultaneously, the entire audience stood up—and they loudly shouted the names of the teams they were there to support!
Jian Rong halted in front of the computer that he was going to sit down at in a bit.
With his hands clasped behind his back, he looked quietly out at the audience that was currently cheering and screaming for them.
Before arriving at the stadium, Ding-ge gave them a heads-up that since they weren’t in their own home stadium for this finals match, the cheers and applause for their team would likely end up being suppressed. It was also possible that there might not be any applause for them at all. Ding-ge told them to remember that there were at least 100 million people watching their match back in China, so they should try their best not to be affected by the atmosphere in the stadium.
But at that very moment—
Audience members from their competitive region raised TTC’s logo high up in the air and occupied nearly the entire right half of the stadium—in other words, the direction they would be facing when they sat down to compete!
Their roars of “TTC” almost covered up the cheers for HT, the team with the home advantage!
Amidst the dazzling rays of light, Jian Rong spotted a familiar support banner. On it was written: [Daddy’s here, play well.]
He had seen this banner before, during his very first competitive match. Back then, nobody had a good opinion of him—he made a living by streaming, and he was a lone wolf who only knew how to lane while utterly ignoring his teammates for the sake of stream quality. How was he qualified to represent an entire team—or even represent an entire pro league in competitions?
Of course, the water friends from the stream were also concerned about this. They messaged him privately, both insulting him and telling him that he should think about this choice carefully. They said that even though streaming wasn’t as glorious a path as pro play, at the very least he wouldn’t starve to death.
But Jian Rong was never one to listen to them, and he joined the team soon after. These people continued to grumble and swear—however, once they were done cursing him out, they turned around and went to flame the antis too. When their stream and Weibo accounts were banned, they just changed accounts and started the whole process over again…
From the spring season group stage to the MSI finals, this sign had followed him all the way to Korea.
From the livestream room to the League of Legends’ broadcasting channel, his water friends had followed him all the way to the competition stadium.
Jian Rong stared fixedly at that sign. As if he could hear what the owner of the banner was shouting, he drew in a deep breath, followed by another one—then, when the commentator was introducing him, Jian Rong slightly lifted his chin in the direction of that LED sign and silently mouthed something.
Not only did the fan holding the sign see him mouth that word on the big screen, everyone else also saw it through the lens of the camera.
The dad fans who knew him well understood his “greeting” in a heartbeat. Instantly, the barrage was flooded with comments like “who’s this dumbass insulting,” “damn son has no manners,” and “I freaking raised you for 18 years for nothing.” It was an extremely magnificent sight.
After receiving the signal from the referee, the ten pro players on stage walked over to their seats and sat down.
The moment he put on his headphones, all the surrounding cheers were cut off, and Jian Rong’s world narrowed down to his teammates’ voices.
A short while later, the first match launched its pick/ban phase.
The two teams followed their original thought processes and didn’t really ban the mid lane champions. HT banned the two jungle champions that Lu Boyuan was best at, as well as Pine’s signature Aphelios.
Lu Boyuan contemplated briefly and said, “Let Jian Rong have first pick.”
“Sure.” Ding-ge immediately proposed, “LeBlanc is outside and up for grabs. Jian Rong, if we get her for you, will you be able to carry?”
“Take her.” Jian Rong’s palms burned from excitement, but from beginning to end, that bratty, aloof expression remained fixed on his face. His voice was cool but resolute.
“No matter what champion you give me, I’ll always be able to carry.”
Yan: The ending of this chapter made me feel some kinda way :’) Rongrong has really come so far since his streamer days!!! And his loyal dad fans too,,, if you’re curious, the chapter the [Daddy’s here, play well] sign first shows up in is chapter 33! (almost 100 chapters ago omg)