Jian Rong sent the email from the barbeque stand.
Before, he had often ordered takeout from this store, so now that he had nothing else to do, he decided that he might as well go and eat there in person.
When the boss saw that he came two days in a row, he happily gave Jian Rong a bottle of beer on the house.
Jian Rong wasn’t an alcoholic, but he liked to drink ice-cold beer while eating barbeque, so he didn’t refuse and thanked the boss before lowering his head to look at his phone again.
After he consumed half the bottle, Shiliu’s “is there no team that you would want to join” started to spin around his head mindlessly again.
Just like the other top players, of course Jian Rong had thought about playing professionally before. He had even once gone to seek out an esports club.
At that time, one of the teams in that esports club had just won the championship. The team’s future seemed unlimited, and an enormous number of newcomers wanted to try and squeeze their way in, even at the cost of low pay. And from those several hundred people, Jian Rong had successfully been chosen.
Later, because he had given a notice of departure to the club the very day of the tryouts, he had apologized many times to the other side over the phone.
Jian Rong stopped that train of thought and absentmindedly continued to browse Weibo.
After replying to his fans, he had created a new Weibo side account the previous night. Without a bunch of random comments or a pile of senseless mentions, his entire Weibo interface seemed much calmer.
He followed more blogs on his side account than on his main account. Yesterday, Weibo had recommended many people to him, and he had directly clicked on the “follow all” button.
So now, when he refreshed the homepage, many new posts jumped out at once—
[Those Esports News: Confirmed info. Korean pro player Savior’s old contract has ended, and he’ll be playing in the LPL next season. Currently five clubs are fighting over him, including TTC and PUD.]
Jian Rong stared at “TTC” for a few seconds before scrolling down to the comments.
[There’s no problem with PUD’s mid laner though? Why bring Savior in??]
[Just by seeing TTC I know it’s fake news, how many years has TTC played with an all Chinese team by now.]
[What era is it, who still cares whether the team is all Chinese or not? The true kings are the ones who can prove it with their scores. How many times has TTC only placed in the top 4? They really might as well just die in the top 4.]
[Being able to place in the top 4 multiple times means that they have the ability to win the championship. Dumbass anti, can you use your head a little before slandering?]
[Ah TTC, they’re in dire need of a mid laner right now. And Savior is so strong, he also looks very cute, a perfect match with God Lu~~]
Jian Rong sneered and locked his phone.
A few moments later, Jian Rong unlocked it again and replied to that last comment as if playing the devil’s advocate. [Savior is average in early game, he won’t be able to link up with the jungler. I don’t think that they’re a perfect match.]
The other party replied almost instantaneously: [Average?? Okokok, if the most admired new mid laner in the entire LPL isn’t a good match with God Lu, then who is? The honorable you?]
Jian Rong read that comment three times, and it was like some switch had been flipped inside him. He pursed his lips and went to hunt for news about TTC recruiting.
He found nothing.
He ruffled his hair and was about to continue searching when a light bulb suddenly went off in his head, and he remembered a string of digits that had lounged in his notes app for several years.
Only after Jian Rong returned home, took a shower, hung his clothes out to dry, and laid down on his bed did that tiny bit of tipsiness fully dissipate.
He stared at the ceiling, extremely sober, his expression as grave as if he had lost a hundred games in a row. His entire mind was filled with—what the hell did I just do???
When Shiliu called him, Jian Rong had already been staring at that email regretfully for half an hour.
Shiliu: “This weekend, I—”
“Let me ask you something.” Jian Rong buried his face in his pillow.
“?” Hearing Jian Rong’s serious tone of voice, Shiliu thought that something had happened, so he frowned and said, “Go ahead.”
“If—and I’m saying if,” Jian Rong said, “you once accidentally exposed your QQ ID while streaming, and a certain water friend wrote it down. If about… two years later, probably, that water friend sent you a QQ email…”
“Did you encounter a pervert?” Shiliiu asked.
Jian Rong was stupefied, and he abruptly lifted his head from the pillow. “How did it become a pervert??”
“It’s already been two years, yet they’re still sending things to your inbox. If not a pervert, then what?”
Jian Rong: “…but what if it was about something important?”
“It’s not like you’re close to them, how could it be about something important. And who would save a stranger’s QQ for two years?” Shiliu said solemnly, “You have to take this sort of thing seriously. This kind of person is very scary, in reality they would be like those big perverts who would follow you home.”
Jian Rong: “.”
“Be a little more careful next time, it’s extremely easy for a bad person to target you if you expose your QQ ID.” After Shiliu finished warning him, he continued with his previous topic. “This weekend, I’m coming back to Shanghai. Do you want to grab a meal together?”
“Let’s discuss it later.” Jian Rong said emotionlessly, “Goodbye.”
After hanging up, Jian Rong opened up Baidu1 with a wooden expression on his face. He had just input “how to recall an email” when—
‘You’ve received a new email.’
Jian Rong nearly threw his phone out the window.
He stared at the notification on the screen for a long time before he climbed off the bed and splashed some cold water on his face. Finally, he sat back down on his bed and opened the notification.
[Re: Seeking employment.]
“Add on WeChat: DhdRRR.”
Jian Rong stared at the letter “R” that denoted the sender of the email, his heart thumping rapidly like the beat of a drum.
He swallowed several times before he went to add a friend on WeChat, face burning.
A few seconds later.
[D: I’ve accepted your friend request. Now let’s chat!]
Jian Rong opened his keyboard and typed things back and forth. “Hi” became “hello”2 and “I’m Soft” became “I’m Jian Rong”.
Just when he was about to send the message—
[D: Hi, I’m TTC’s manager Ding-ge.]
Jian Rong paused.
[D: I’ve looked over your resume, everything looks good. However, we’ll have to carry out a two week probationary period before we can discuss what comes next. What time works best for you to come over?]
[R-ong: What does the RRR at the end of your WeChat ID mean?]
[D: Just, like ahhh?]
While Ding-ge discussed the timing with him, he muttered, “Do all the teenage boys like to play it cool these days…”
Lu Boyuan thought of the teenager’s blue hair, which didn’t match his appearance, and his lips twitched up. He ambiguously let out an “en”. “Rebellious stage.”
On Wednesday, Jian Rong got up bright and early.
Today was the day he had arranged with TTC’s manager to start the probationary period. The tryouts would take two weeks, and he would be staying at TTC’s base.
Jian Rong didn’t really have any luggage to speak of, and he was all ready to go with just a backpack. After calling a car, he went downstairs. In the elevator, he saw the ID on his hat and was about to take it off, but halfway through he put it back on properly again.
He was overthinking things. Why would Road personally talk to a probationary member? Even his email inbox was probably overseen by a staff member.
He probably wouldn’t meet TTC’s entire team so quickly either.
He had asked Shiliu about it before. Trainees or independent players who were chosen by teams all had to undergo a probationary period before they could actually join. The coaches and management would only make the final decision once they received the statistics and evaluations.
Even though every team’s internal system was different, it shouldn’t vary that much.
[D: Have you left yet?]
[R-ong: Almost there.]
[D: Okay, there haven’t been that many people at the base recently because they’re on break. I let security know already, so the car should be able to drive into the villa district after you tell them the house number. Once you’re in, all you have to do is ring the doorbell to the front door.]
The car drove into the villa district, and Jian Rong looked at the rows of magnificent garden villas before he silently took out his phone and searched up TTC’s base on the internet.
The outrageous surface area of the villa written in the summary fit this rich and powerful LPL team very well.
After getting out of the car, Jian Rong walked through the iron gates with his luggage. He passed through the garden in the front and pressed on the doorbell.
He stopped after pressing it once, regardless of whether someone inside heard it or not.
After being drenched by rain, the garden had a damp scent to it. Jian Rong only realized that there was a cactus in a pot placed next to the door once he lowered his head.
The cactus was already so withered that it was turning yellow, on its last breath.
It wasn’t an easy task to make such a tenacious plant become like this.
The front door opened, and Jian Rong lifted his head at the noise. When he saw who the person standing behind the door was, that “hello” stalled solidly in his throat.
The man who opened the door was holding onto it with one hand. He wore gray-colored casual clothing, his hair a bit messier than usual, but not in a sloppy way.
His eyelids were lowered, making him appear languid. He was holding a drinking glass, and there was a mole between his thumb and index finger.
Jian Rong was still standing there stunned. The man’s gaze moved up slightly and landed on the hat that he was wearing.
Lu Boyuan just woke up, so his voice was low and raspy. He asked, “It’s raining outside?”
Jian Rong: “…en?”
“Your hat is wet.”
With a taut expression, Jian Rong stiffly took off his hat and even rubbed it a bit against his clothing.
Lu Boyuan gave a noiseless chuckle before he turned and walked into the house. “Come on in.”
The moment Jian Rong entered, he met the eyes of the people sitting on the sofa.
TTC’s top laner Yuan Qian, bot laner Pine, and support Xiao Bai were currently all sitting in the first floor living room, and it looked like they were discussing something. When they saw him come in, they all stopped talking and stared at him silently.
Especially Xiao Bai. In his silence was awkwardness, and that awkwardness was also mixed with fear.
He used his eyes to ask Yuan Qian: Where’s Ding-ge?!
Yuan Qian also used his eyes to answer him: In the bathroom!
The situation was in the middle of a deadlock when a middle-aged woman walked out from the kitchen; it was the base’s cooking auntie. While she undid her apron, she asked, “We’re out of all our condiments, so I have to make a trip to the supermarket. Is there anything you guys want to eat? Auntie will help you buy it.”
Yuan Qian said, “How about we order it online for you, so you don’t have to go all the way there.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine.” The auntie quickly shook her head. “I’ll take the chance to check if there’s any fresh seafood.”
Xiao Bai instantly raised his hand. “I want to eat chips and wafer biscuits!”
Pine said, “Buy some nuts.”
The auntie wrote down what they wanted and asked Lu Boyuan, who was making coffee in the kitchen, “Xiao Lu, do you want anything?”
“No need.” After Lu Boyuan said that, he suddenly paused. “…hold on.”
He turned his head and shot a glance at Jian Rong.
Jian Rong was standing perfectly straight, and he pressed his lips together briefly when Lu Boyuan looked at him.
“Buy some milk.” Lu Boyuan withdrew his gaze and said, “Someone in the team is still growing.”
- Baidu is China’s main search engine ^
- He uses ‘你好’ (nihao) first and then changes it to ‘您好’ (ninhao) using the formal ‘you’ ^
Yan: I imagine TTC’s base to literally be like a giant house. LOL before I would always imagine these esports club bases to be some fancy high-tech building (think: the bases in the QZGS drama) but I believe TTC’s base is just a normal (huge) house that they’ve converted into use as also the team base.
Wei: Rong Rong is so nervous ahahaha also tsk tsk LBY should’ve taken the chance to slide into Jian Rong’s DMs!!