Thanks to j for the Ko-fi!
Since the members all had their own plans after the celebratory banquet, Ding-ge didn’t book a car for the team. Instead, everyone was supposed to return to the base on their own once they woke up the next day.
They had only stopped when it was almost dawn, so Jian Rong severely lacked sleep. At that moment, his head hurt, his legs were sore, and he slumped against Lu Boyuan as they checked out of their room.
Originally, Lu Boyuan wanted to extend their stay by another day for his sake, but Jian Rong shook his head without thinking about it. He wasn’t that fragile; he didn’t need to catch up on sleep in a hotel that cost tens of thousands of yuan per night.
Back at the base, Jian Rong collapsed on his bed and went to sleep again. He didn’t even bother unpacking his suitcase first.
He slept all the way until the evening.
Pine was making a trip back home, and Yuan Qian was out on a date with his girlfriend. At five in the afternoon, only one person was in TTC’s practice room.
After being scolded for an entire day, Xiao Bai bitterly made himself a cup of sugarless coffee. Right as he took a sip of it, he heard the practice room door open, and he subconsciously glanced over.
Then he met the eyes of the living King of Hell.
The King of Hell was wearing a long-sleeved, high-collared shirt. Although he was feeling a bit more energetic after sleeping the entire day, there were still traces of dark circles under his eyes.
Tousling his disheveled hair, Jian Rong saw Lu Boyuan’s reply pop up on his phone screen.
[R: Awake? I went out to buy something, I’ll be back soon.]
Jian Rong responded with an “okay” before he yawned and turned on his computer. Sensing that the person next to him was looking at him, he leisurely turned his head. “What is it?”
Xiao Bai immediately whipped back around. “Nothing!”
Jian Rong felt like something was off about him, but he was too lazy to pursue the matter. Once his computer was turned on, he clicked on the streaming platform.
Xiao Bai’s spoon clattered onto the coaster, but he paid no attention to it as he stammered, “Are, a-a-are you gonna stream?”
Jian Rong tore open a bag of small crackers and tossed one into his mouth. “Mn.”
“Why are you so hardworking?!” Xiao Bai was flustered. “Wake up a little! We just won the championship yesterday!!! Right now, you should find a movie to watch, lean back in your chair, and comfortably enjoy your life as a champion…”
“No.” Jian Rong was chewing on a cracker, so his enunciation was a little unclear. “I’m going to make money.”
“You already have a lot of freaking money…”
Xiao Bai’s eyes widened. “What? Are you gonna go down the dark path? Indulge yourself in a life of debauchery???”
Jian Rong didn’t answer.
Previously, he had already confirmed with his boyfriend that they were going to split the cost of the hotel rooms. If they made somewhat frequent visits to hotels like the one they were in last night, which cost five figures a night… there was no way he had enough money.
Jian Rong opened the streaming platform and typed out his stream title: [Dad’s here, a casual stream.]
After he completed the familiar stream setup sequence, Jian Rong pulled up the LoL game client and entered the queue. As he was waiting, he sprawled lazily back in his chair and started musing out loud to himself.
“I’ll play on the Chinese server today, I’m tired of the Korean server. It’s all unintelligible to me anyway, and it’s annoying to listen to.” Jian Rong clicked on the barrage helper and swept a slow look across the comments. “Is that son who said I couldn’t climb up to rank one on the Korean server here…”
As he gradually made out what was being said in the barrage, Jian Rong’s voice grew smaller and smaller, until he finally fell into a dead silence.
[This stream is very unexpected?!]
[Son, is your butt okay T-T I waited the entire day without seeing any news of you stabbing Zhuang Yibai, Mommy was super worried!]
[I had to smoke three packs of cigarettes, but I’ve gotten over it now. If you’re gay, then so be it, I’m still your dad.]
[Just as a dog won’t abandon its owner for being poor, Dad won’t abandon you for being gay.]
[It’s June, why are you wearing a shirt with such a high collar? What? Is a certain neighborhood in Shanghai experiencing a temperature drop?]
[Congrats on winning MSI, I heard that you were busy last night. Son, you must’ve been feeling amazing, right?]
[How’s my husband doing?]
[Look at those dark circles, that shirt, the corner of his mouth… God Lu is really something, I’m in love.]
Jian Rong, who hadn’t checked any of his social media after getting to the hotel last night, snapped out of his confusion. He left the queue and put a speaking ban on the water friend who called Lu Boyuan their husband before he knowingly turned to stare at the intensely guilty person sitting next to him. “What’s going on?”
The water friends heard Xiao Bai’s wronged response: “They really gave me too many gifts… also, I didn’t think that Captain would be in your room…”
Then, the mic was manually muted.
The water friends watched as Jian Rong and Xiao Bai left the practice room together.
Approximately ten minutes later, Jian Rong came back by himself.
He sat down again, wearing the same expression as usual, and unmuted himself before re-entering the queue.
[………should I be calling the police?]
[Zhuang Yibai doesn’t deserve this.]
[No way? Right after winning MSI, there’s an internal conflict???]
[They got in a fight?! Is that true or not? When I saw the news pop up on my Weibo, I was in such a rush that I opened the stream right in front of my boss…]
“There’s always been internal conflict, and it probably won’t get any better in the future either.” Jian Rong matched into a game. As he entered the champion select screen, he glanced at the barrage. “Study hard, work hard, stop stirring up drama about your dad all the time on Weibo… we didn’t fight, Ding-ge was looking for him.”
Ding-ge sped back to the base like his own house was on fire for the sake of firmly scolding those two troublemakers.
But if Jian Rong suddenly went offline after only streaming for a few minutes, it would create even more rumors. As a result, Ding-ge merely warned him not to take the barrage too seriously before he let him return.
Reading the barrage, Jian Rong replied to the comments one by one. “Why was Captain in my room last night… we were discussing a new strategy for the summer season.
“Why am I wearing a high-collared shirt… I’m cold. It’s 25 degrees outside, yet Zhuang Yibai has the air conditioning set at 18 degrees.
“Where is God Lu… don’t meddle in the private lives of pro players.
“Who is Captain’s partner, do I have a chance of stealing him away…” Upon seeing that comment, Jian Rong said, “No, not even in your dreams.”
With Jian Rong earnestly spouting nonsense, everyone knew that they wouldn’t be able to pry any secrets from him, so they had no choice but to take a step back and talk about other topics.
[Dumbass darling, how come you resumed streaming so fast? Are you not gonna rest after the competition?]
[When are you going to hold another water friend tournament? It’s been a long time since I’ve beat up my son.]
[Watching Bye’s stream yesterday made me so jealous. Dumbass, how much award money did you get for winning?]
[Why didn’t you play Yasuo in this year’s MSI?]
[You didn’t challenge Rish to a fight backstage after the competition?]
“I am resting, it’s not like playing ranked is tiring. I’m just streaming while I play to earn some money, that’s all. I’m only gonna stream for a bit before I go eat dinner.” Jian Rong picked Zed and adjusted his runes. “I’ll hold a water friend tournament whenever I have time again. Lately, I haven’t really been into beating up primary school students.
“Coach said that between Yasuo and me, only one could stay on the stage.
“Challenge Rish to a fight? I can beat him up like he’s my grandson whenever I want to in a match, why should I be banned from competing because of him.”
As he spoke, Jian Rong solo killed the enemy mid laner and recalled to base to buy items.
[This is my first time coming to this livestream room, and it turns out you’re just as arrogant in private, huh. All you did was win MSI, yet you’re acting like you won Worlds three consecutive times or something. And what’s this hype about being the number one mid laner? Your plays are even worse than mine. If Master wasn’t being dragged down by his teammates, would you even be able to act cocky right now?]
Having this kind of comment pop up right after winning a championship—bystanders and fans both felt like it was bad luck, and they started to type out insults in response.
Jian Rong: “Winning Worlds three consecutive times? That’s not enough, your dad should at least be able to win four or five times.”
[Hah, there’s not much to be said about your character, but you’re pretty great at talking big.]
“It’s hardly anything compared to your typing skills.” Jian Rong sneered. “Who do you even think you are? I could smurf in Platinum and I still wouldn’t encounter you. What, the moment you close the game and come into the stream, you’re suddenly better than everyone else?”
Since the opposing mid laner had gone back to the base, Jian Rong seized the opportunity to AFK under the tower and switch screens. Before that troll could answer, he promoted him to the rank of room mod and also gave him permission to speak. “Come on, dumbass. Turn on your mic, let’s chat a bit. This game was boring me anyway.”
Jian Rong looked at the barrage. “His game ID is written on his profile? Let me check his rank. Coming to be a troll when he hasn’t even finished shedding all his skin yet, don’t tell me he’s actually a dumbass… Silver 2? How impressive, can you carry me up the ranks…”
While Jian Rong was speaking, the other person left the stream at the speed of light. In seconds, he cleared his profile and stripped off his room mod role.
[Hahahahahahahaha I’m fucking dying of laughter]
[Promoted directly to room mod… what? Kind of move is this?]
[My son used to do this sort of thing a lot back before StarTV was revamped. One time, he even put a little kid on speaker hahahaha]
Not long after, someone pushed open the practice room door and placed a white plastic bag on Jian Rong’s desk.
The person who just came in was wearing the same shower gel scent as Jian Rong.
Someone tugged lightly on the shirt collar wrapped around Jian Rong’s neck. The man’s fingers brushed very gently against the skin there, and Jian Rong immediately remembered the position he was in last night when he was being held by the neck. His scalp prickled, and his character stopped moving in the game.
Jian Rong instantly muted himself and warned, “I’m streaming…”
“I know.” Lu Boyuan released his collar and asked, amused, “Are you not hot?”
Jian Rong shook his head and shot a glance at the plastic bag. “You went to the supermarket? What’d you buy?”
“Your milk. Auntie’s been on vacation these past few days, so the fridge is empty.” Lu Boyuan checked Jian Rong’s stream time on the upper right corner of his screen. “How much longer are you going to stream? XIU’s inviting everyone out to dinner in the group chat, Da Niu and the rest are all going.”
Jian Rong: “I’ll stop after this game.”
Lu Boyuan went back to his room to change. After the game ended, Jian Rong faced the fervent abuse being hurled at him on the barrage and said, “I’m ending the stream… don’t try to fool me with a stream quota, we don’t have any quotas this month because of MSI. You’re not gonna send me gifts if I stop here… do whatever you want, I have money. I’ll resume streaming on the first day of July, and I’ll randomly select some water friends for a tournament. I’m going now.”
XIU had invited all the pro players they were familiar with out to dinner, which was taking place at a local BBQ restaurant that was known for being expensive.
They sat at the only outdoor dining table, located in the restaurant’s rear courtyard. A curtain separated them from the rest of the customers, so they didn’t need to worry about disturbing other people.
Only TTC’s mid laner, jungler, and support were free today. The moment the three of them walked into the courtyard, XIU promptly shouted, “The bosses are here!”
Savior was puzzled. “Bus? Is this TTC’s BBQ shop?”
“No,” XIU said. “But they’re treating us to dinner tonight.”
Lu Boyuan pulled out a chair. “It doesn’t matter. We’re happy because we won the championship, so order whatever you want.”
Da Niu: “Fuck! Server! Add three more servings of beef!”
Originally, the famous miser god Zhuang Yibai wanted to come and get a free meal. When he heard that, he whipped his head around in alarm. “Ge…”
Lu Boyuan: “I’ll pay.”
As a result, Xiao Bai waved his hand in the air like Da Niu. “Add two servings of beef short ribs too! Six raw oysters, six scallops, fill them up with minced garlic for me! And a serving of kidneys to help my mid laner brother boost his performance!”
Jian Rong was at the end of his patience. “…boost your mom.”
The table erupted in laughter. The young men had bright, clear laughs, and the entire BBQ restaurant seemed to grow livelier because of it.
If they met up for barbeque, they weren’t there purely to eat meat. A server brought them a case of beer, as well as several bottles of Japanese shochu, all belonging to different brands.
XIU poured Jian Rong a glass of beer. Lu Boyuan didn’t stop him, since he was also there and they didn’t have to practice for a while either. It was fine as long as Jian Rong didn’t overdrink.
Da Niu had downed a few glasses of beer already, and he was unrestrained with his speech. “In my opinion, HT is an entire team of dumbasses. If it were me, I wouldn’t be able to hold back until the day of the finals. I would’ve long wiped the freaking floor with Rish.”
98k took a sip of the liquor. “Their reputation hasn’t been great in the LCK in recent years either.”
Savior nodded. “Yup~ It seems like ever since Master grew stronger a few years ago and started producing good results, HT became extremely full of themselves. Also, Master really does dislike the LPL a lot, but I don’t understand why.”
XIU sighed and shook his head. “Well, you see, if the blame has to be pointed at someone, then it’s gotta be the fault of this brother sitting next to me… as soon as Master debuted, he was spawn camped by him. It’s normal for him to be mentally scarred by that.”
Lu Boyuan placed a cooked piece of meat into Jian Rong’s bowl. “Don’t drag me into this.”
“I don’t know if it’s because of the current meta, but I feel like the LCK teams all played kinda poorly in their spring season this year.” XIU poured himself a cup of liquor. “If they’re still like this by the time it’s Worlds… maybe there’ll be three LPL teams in the quarterfinals this year.”
The seed allocation for Worlds was already announced: this year, like before, only three LPL teams could qualify for Worlds.
Xiao Bai swallowed some beef and asked, “Which three teams?”
Da Niu: “Do you even need to ask? TTC, PUD, and us, Fighting Tiger.”
Kongkong immediately looked up from his food. “What’s that supposed to mean? Then what about our MFG? We were also super strong this year, okay?”
“Hey hey hey, don’t fight, you guys can duke it out in the summer season.” XIU said, “It’s all the same anyway, our team is reserving this year’s world champion title in advance. As for second and third place, it’s up to the rest of you.”
Jian Rong was in the middle of staring, displeased, at the kidney that Lu Boyuan had added to his bowl. When he heard that, he scoffed coldly. “None of your teams even made it into MSI, what are you trying to reserve in advance?”
Xiao Bai instantly echoed, “Exactly!”
“Ai, kid, watch what you’re saying.” XIU put down his liquor cup. “If gege’s waist didn’t act up, forcing me to miss out on the finals, you guys would’ve hardly made it to MSI!”
Lu Boyuan lifted an eyebrow and responded breezily, “Honestly, there’s no difference between you and that substitute from your team.”
“What bullshit!” XIU slapped his thigh and said, “If I were the one playing, would you have dared to invade my jungle like that? Would your boyfriend have been able to farm so happily?!”
Lu Boyuan said, amused, “Are you starting to lose your memory with old age? Hasn’t your jungle always been mine?”
“My farming?” Jian Rong jerked his chin in Savior’s direction. “Why don’t you ask your mid laner, does he dare to leave the tower?”
Savior widened his eyes in shock. Face red, he said, “I understood that! I do dare to, my Zoe is number one in the world right now! Don’t be too arrogant!”
Xiao Bai nodded calmly. “Got it. Next time we play against you guys, we’ll ban Zoe.”
“Why bother?” Gripping his glass, Jian Rong asked, “Am I afraid of him?”
XIU nodded his head out of fury as he muttered, “Very well, very well, you all just wait. If I don’t beat you up into self-seclusion in the summer season…”
“I’ll be waiting.” Lu Boyuan said, “I hope that we’ll be able to see each other in the jungle when the time comes. You better not avoid me.”
A barbeque dinner ended up in a state of mutual antagonism. The owner of the BBQ restaurant was so scared that he specially made two servers stand at the courtyard entrance and keep an eye on them. That way, in case a fight broke out, they could immediately call the police.
But they were clearly overthinking it.
While these people were eating, they kept talking about fighting and killing, as if they were itching to murder each other right away. But the moment they were done with dinner, they began shouting “brother” again, arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders.
“You guys head back first.” Lu Boyuan stood outside the restaurant and said, “Jian Rong and I are going to walk around a little.”
Xiao Bai was dumbfounded. “Then what about me? How about I go and walk with you…”
“What are you saying?” XIU settled his arm across Xiao Bai’s shoulders. “I’ll send you home. Our Savior didn’t drink, so he can still drive. We’ll deliver you straight back to the base.”
Xiao Bai: “But I’m also pretty stuffed from dinner, I might as well digest some of it…”
“What’s the point of digesting it? Just go back stuffed, it’s cute if your face is a bit chubby.” Not allowing for any dissent, XIU maintained a firm grip on Xiao Bai. “Let’s go, let’s go.”
It was already late at night, so there weren’t many people on this stretch of road. The two of them walked next to the street, their shadows drawn out long by the streetlights.
Jian Rong drank quite a lot, and because of that bickering match earlier, it was truly all going to his head now. Under the brush of the night breeze, he felt like he was floating as he walked.
It was only when Jian Rong saw the stadium on the other side of the road that he belatedly realized something—the scenery nearby was very familiar.
A few seconds later, Jian Rong turned around and saw the internet cafe behind him.
It was called “Flounder Internet Cafe,” and there were two flounder fish on the signboard.
Back then, Jian Rong was sitting right underneath those two incomparably ugly flounders, staring up at Lu Boyuan as he handed him a ticket.
Just as Jian Rong was lost in thought, someone pushed open the internet cafe’s door from inside, and Lu Boyuan walked out, holding a bottle of milk.
A little dazed, Jian Rong looked quietly at Lu Boyuan.
For a split second, he felt like he had returned to being thirteen years old. At that time, the entire world had seemed lonely to him.
Then, Lu Boyuan appeared and gave him an entry ticket.
Even though it was June, it was still somewhat cool at night.
When Lu Boyuan came out from the internet cafe, he reached out and bumped his hand against Jian Rong’s face, checking his temperature. “Does your stomach feel uncomfortable? Drink some milk.”
Jian Rong tilted his head back slightly and didn’t respond. His cheeks were flushed because of the alcohol, and his eyes were even brighter than the streetlights towering above them.
Lu Boyuan met his gaze for several seconds before he smiled. “Why are you spacing out, little scalper…”
Jian Rong shifted forward a bit and kissed him.
A pedestrian passing by was already sneaking glances at them. Upon seeing that, the pedestrian was startled, and their footsteps slowed considerably.
Lu Boyuan was also caught off guard for a moment. Then, he took off his hat and put it on Jian Rong’s head.
He couldn’t help but laugh. “What is it?”
“I forgot…” Jian Rong said hoarsely, “That this place was so close to the stadium you competed in for the LSPL.”
Lu Boyuan: “That’s normal. You can ask Zhuang Yibai, he probably doesn’t even remember he played in the LSPL anymore.”
Jian Rong: “…”
Lu Boyuan thought of something, and he smiled. “The same boss from back then is still there in the internet cafe. When I went in, he was watching a montage of your solo kills…”
Jian Rong wasn’t listening. He leaned forward and brushed his lips against Lu Boyuan’s chin.
Lu Boyuan’s voice petered out. He lifted a brow slightly and asked in amusement, “When you’re drunk, do you like kissing people?”
Jian Rong said, “I like kissing you.”
There weren’t many pedestrians outside of “Flounder Internet Cafe”; even the cars driving by were few in number.
Two young men kissed in the darkness. The taller one used his hand to cover up the color of the other person’s hair spilling out from underneath a hat, and his fingers sank into the strands tenderly.
The interior of “Flounder Internet Cafe” was brightly lit and filled with the sound of keyboards clattering.
After the boss of the internet cafe finished watching “Monster Newcomer Soft Spring Season + MSI Best Kills Montage,” he felt like he was suddenly revived again. Full of fighting spirit, he opened the LoL game client on his computer and immediately entered the queue.
While he was waiting, he refreshed his Weibo, and two posts that “League of Legends Esports” published a few hours earlier popped up—
[League of Legends Esports: #We are the champions!# Congratulations @TTC Esports Club for prevailing over HT with a final score of 3:0 and winning this year’s League of Legends MSI! Simultaneously, we extend our congratulations to @TTC ་ Soft for being selected as the Finals MVP! Congratulations @TTC ་ Road for being selected as MSI’s overall MVP!
Unafraid of change, the strong will endure forever! After experiencing countless trials and setbacks, TTC, a veteran team worthy of our trust—sets sail once more!]
[League of Legends Esports: [Article: The penalty announcement concerning the inappropriate statements made by TTC’s Jian Rong (ID: TTC ་ Soft) to his opponents during the MSI finals.]]
—Main Story End—
Yan: We’re done!!! T_T feeling very bittersweet right now. Thank you to everyone for being here for my first full danmei TL, it’s really been a journey. Honestly we never expected ICDI to get this much love, but we’re so glad and very grateful that it did. A special thank you to anyone who’s followed ICDI from the very beginning, especially those who have been commenting this whole time – we really love yall ❤ though of course that extends to everyone, regardless of when you’re reading this!
Wei: Ahhhh we’re done!!!! I’m going to miss Jian Rong and Lu Boyuan and Xiao Bai and all of TTC so much ;-; Like Yan said, I think neither of us expected ICDI to get as much attention as it did, but we’re so thankful for all of the amazing readers who have followed us, joined our Discord, and watched lovingly over our son Soft together with us. Let’s all especially appreciate Yan who has spent basically every waking moment of free time translating LOL – and thank you all again for all of your support <333
We have two more RoadSoft-centered extras and then a short series about P-Bai (side ship). Once again, thank you for reading and see you in the extras~~