Bonus Ko-fi chapter 2/6~
Only when Ding-ge came back did Jian Rong realize that the someone who was “still growing” was himself.
Lu Boyuan said “still growing,” but in reality, he was just calling him young.
Jian Rong was seventeen years old, how was he young? He would even become an adult a few months from now.
Jian Rong was about to defend himself a bit, but he swallowed what he was going to say when he saw Lu Boyuan’s silhouette from the back.
Even though Lu Boyuan was dressed casually, it was still obvious that his shoulders were broad and sturdy, his figure tall and slender. He was entirely devoid of the hunched, rounded shoulders that many professional players had because they sat too long in front of a computer.
Judging from his back, Lu Boyuan had a figure that was extremely superior to other men of his age.
That was also why he was the most eye-catching person among the pro players at every competition.
“Soft, you’re here.” Ding-ge wiped his hands and said, “Take a seat, let’s make some simple introductions.”
Jian Rong hesitated a few seconds before sitting down on the empty armchair to the far right.
Ding-ge sensed that the atmosphere was a bit awkward, but it wasn’t a big deal. Young folk, they were all like this when they first met each other.
He said, “This is our team’s support, Bye…”
“I know him.” Jian Rong paused. “I know everyone.”
Xiao Bai thought, You mock us every day in your livestream, how could you possibly not know us?
He wanted to drop a few derisive remarks, but when the words got to his mouth, he chickened out again. The only thing he could do was loudly change his sitting posture to indicate his resentment.
Pine frowned from next to him. “Is there a thorn under your butt? Shifting all around.”
Xiao Bai: “…none of your business.”
Ding-ge said, “You guys get to know him too. This is Soft, Jian Rong. He plays mid, and he’ll be on a two week probationary period here at the base. He’ll eat and live with you all.”
After that, Ding-ge looked at Jian Rong, hoping that he could say a few lines himself.
Jian Rong held his backpack, and he stared back at Ding-ge for a few moments before he said a single: “En.”
“Which Rong is it?” Yuan Qian smiled and asked.
Jian Rong didn’t know how to introduce himself. Even when he first started streaming, his introduction was a very simple “I play mid, my name is just the streamer ID”.
Fortunately, he was just a probationary member right now, so he didn’t need to say all that much.
Ding-ge stood up. “Let’s go. I’ve already prepared a room for you, I’ll take you there first so you can put down your luggage.”
After the two of them left, the atmosphere in the living room eased a tiny bit.
“Cao-er Rong… the Rong from fuzzy2?” Xiao Bai wrinkled his face disdainfully. “This kind of big troll, why is his name so soft and fluffy?”
Pine didn’t even bother looking up. “Then your name suits you quite well, both pale and chubby3.”
“P-baby, will you die if you go a day without bullying your little support?”
“Don’t use ‘little’ in reference to yourself, and don’t call me P-baby.”
Yuan Qian grinned as he listened to them banter. He waited for Lu Boyuan to sit down before he said, “I didn’t notice before because I didn’t know how old he was, but now that I’ve seen him in person, I feel like Soft truly is young.”
Actually, his age was still okay. There were countless trainees who began playing professionally when they were around fifteen or sixteen years old, including Pine. If the LPL hadn’t released an age restriction stating that a player had to be seventeen years old before being allowed to participate in competitions, perhaps even more newcomers would’ve rushed in.
Lu Boyuan said, “Too thin.”
Last time when Jian Rong had knocked into him, he had felt very light, not heavy in the slightest.
Yuan Qian said, “That’s true. Logically speaking, he should’ve earned quite a lot as a streamer, so why is he still so thin?”
Lu Boyuan laughed and said, “Feed him a bit and it’ll be fine.”
Naturally, the rooms in such a luxurious villa wouldn’t be lacking.
Just the bed alone was much bigger than the one Jian Rong had at home.
“Originally, this room was arranged for the substitute, but he was used to living in the second team’s dorm, so he didn’t move over. That’s why this room has been empty up until now. Oh, the second team lives in that little villa right behind us.” Ding-ge said, “I asked the auntie to tidy up the room. Take a look, is there anything missing that you think you’ll need?”
Jian Rong said, “No.”
Ding-ge nodded. “That’s good. Settle into your room first then, and once you’re ready, I’ll take you to the practice room…”
Thump, a very soft noise.
Jian Rong put his backpack down on the ground. “I’m ready. Let’s go.”
TTC’s entire second floor was divided into numerous practice rooms, all with different uses. The most spacious room was the practice room for the first team’s members, and there was a fixed distance between each computer so that members playing games or streaming wouldn’t disturb the people next to them.
Ding-ge brought him over to an empty desk. “The computer and equipment are all new, you can use them as you wish. If you don’t like the feel of the mouse or keyboard, you can change them out. The team’s been on break recently, so the second team all went home. I thought you might be afraid of living by yourself in the back, so this can be your seat for now.”
Jian Rong made a noise of assent before he looked down and gave a start after seeing his keyboard. “This is?”
His keyboard was one of TTC’s custom models; the letter ‘R’ was on the upper left ‘esc’ key.
Ding-ge let out an “oh”. “Road’s custom keyboard, it hasn’t gone on sale yet. Aren’t you a fan of his? So I told them to change your keyboard to this version.”
Jian Rong: “…”
Ding-ge’s tone of voice was normal. After all, Road’s fans were much too commonplace. Never mind the trainees, there were even quite a few players from big pro teams who were his fans.
Seeing Jian Rong’s downcast eyes, Ding-ge asked, “You don’t like it? You can change this anytime.”
“No need.” Jian Rong shifted his gaze away from the keyboard. “It’s too much work to keep changing it… this one is fine.”
The tryouts officially began in the afternoon.
The first day consisted of Jian Rong’s individual tryouts.
It wasn’t easy to schedule practice matches during a break, so the coaches had arranged four teammates and a full opposing team for him. These nine people were all TTC’s trainees, including two members from the second team who had gone home.
To prevent them from recognizing Jian Rong, the coach gave him an account with all champions unlocked.
Ding-ge and the other coaches gathered in the observation room, each person with a notebook in hand. Two computers were placed before them as well, and all the stats from the game would be directly displayed on the monitors.
Sitting in the back were the members of the first team, who had nothing else to do and came to watch the match.
Once everyone arrived, Ding-ge entered spectator mode and projected the interface onto a big screen.
Jian Rong sat in the practice room by himself. He finished adjusting his equipment, and after he pressed the ‘ready’ button, the game started instantly.
Jian Rong didn’t know who the other people in his team were, but they clearly knew each other. They started to discuss team composition in the team voice chat4, and finally, someone said, “We’re missing a tankier champion for engaging. Mid, do you know how to play Galio?”
Jian Rong didn’t say anything.
“Mid?” the person tried calling again. “You play Galio and just watch me this round, I’ll definitely carry you to victory.”
Even though the trainees didn’t know what the purpose of this match was, everyone wanted to perform well in front of the coaches, so they all chose champions that were glass cannons but could also show off.
A few seconds later, Jian Rong selected LeBlanc, the Deceiver.
“Bro, what are you doing?” That person was dissatisfied. “How can we fight with all glass cannons? Couldn’t you have just picked a big tanky engager champ and gotten carried?”
“How about I choose a wet nurse and specially feed you milk?” Jian Rong asked.
The other side: “…”
“Or I play Janna and escort you all the way back to your hometown with my wind?”
The top laner’s heart was thumping wildly. He hastily opened a WeChat group and sent: Oh shit! Why do I feel like this person is so fucking familiar?!
The champion that Jian Rong was playing this round was called LeBlanc; she possessed extremely big burst damage and agility. It was quite difficult to play her well, and the requirements for a player’s ability level were very high.
The game started. Jian Rong had just walked to the middle lane when the enemy mid laner, Twisted Fate, flashed a Mastery Emote at him.
Xiao Bai couldn’t help but suck in a breath of air through his teeth.
Yuan Qian said, “What is it?”
“When I watched his livestream before, any mid laner who flashes a Mastery Emote in front of him…” Xiao Bai’s expression was complicated, “never has a good ending.”
Xiao Bai turned out to be tragically prophetic.
Before Twisted Fate could reach level 6, he was solo killed by LeBlanc twice.
The second time, Jian Rong did a tower dive and forcefully killed him. Since the defensive turret’s damage was too high, right after Jian Rong killed the enemy, he also lost his life to the tower.
“A loss,” Yuan Qian said. “He still has gold on him, yet he just trades with the other side like this?”
At level 6, Twisted Fate received his ult, which allowed him to teleport to any enemy on the map, and he began to wander around and help out his teammates.
Jian Rong was a step too late, only making it over after his teammates died in battle, but he still managed to kill the enemy’s support.
Pine: “Went over too late. Even if he exchanged a life, it’s still a loss.”
The more he watched, the more Xiao Bai’s brows furrowed. “How come this person would prefer to gank someone in the jungle rather than participate in a team fight with his teammates? This champion of his is useless in the late game.”
Lu Boyuan watched the screen silently, not voicing any opinions.
Jian Rong’s playstyle was very obvious.
He simply didn’t care about losses at all, nor did he care if his teammates needed help.
He only wanted to make his own equipment and level even stronger; he was already used to winning an entire game all by himself.
Yuan Qian glanced at the time. “Thirty-five minutes in.”
Xiao Bai leaned against his chair, sounded a bit like he was delighting in Jian Rong’s misfortune. “His LeBlanc is about to be unusable, everyone’s equipment is leveled up in the late game. Who can he instakill—goddamn??”
Before Xiao Bai could even finish talking, he saw Jian Rong toss out a blink damage skill5 towards a certain blind spot, trapping the ADC that just happened to be passing by. With a combo, he instakilled the enemy.
The ADC was still trying to run away all the way up until his death; he evidently hadn’t reacted in time.
“How did he see that?” Xiao Bai’s eyes widened. “Does he have an x-ray cheat?”
“Predicted it.” Lu Boyuan finally spoke and explained, “About ten seconds ago, the ADC passed by one of Soft’s wards6.”
“Ten seconds ago…” Xiao Bai’s eyes grew even rounder. “Even that can be predicted? Is he—ah?”
Within the span of those few sentences, Jian Rong had slipped into the enemy’s jungle. After camping for a few seconds, he triumphantly killed the enemy top laner, who had come to kill a monster.
Xiao Bai: “He can instakill… this top laner?”
“Can’t do it instantly.” Yuan Qian was amused. “Didn’t he have to use two combos? This blink skill of his is going to outplay the other side to death.”
These two kills successfully roused the opposing side’s hatred.
Five minutes later. Three enemies were pursuing Jian Rong, and Jian Rong led them from the bot lane’s second tower all the way up to the top lane’s Baron Nashor7.
While he walked, he flashed his Mastery Emote. The other side wanted to give up quite a few times, but their rage flared again whenever they saw his Mastery Emote, and they chased madly after him.
Xiao Bai: “…”
This time, even Pine stiffly hooked the corner of his mouth up. “Beautiful.”
During the last team fight, Jian Rong successfully pulled all of the enemy’s aggro. He instakilled the opposing mid laner and ADC, and he tricked the enemy team into wasting countless ults before gloriously dying in the enemy’s base.
His teammates successfully destroyed the enemy’s Nexus.
The game ended. Soft’s first battle was victorious.
The moment they were sent back to the lobby, the chat instantly exploded—
[You’re Soft, right??]
[Fuck are you Soft!!!]
[I’ve definitely seen this LeBlanc before!!]
[Say something else, this time I’ll be able to recognize you for sure!]
The coaches couldn’t help but lower their heads and laugh.
This kind of player who could exhibit their own personal style to the max… there really weren’t many in the LPL.
After the match finished, Jian Rong shook out his fingers and let out a long breath of air.
Then he typed—
[asdsdfz: Do I continue?]
[Ding-ge: For now, no need. You can leave the party.]
[Soft, could you please leave your WeChat]
[I watch your streams often!]
After Jian Rong saw Ding-ge’s reply, he unhesitatingly withdrew from the party.
He got up and went to the bathroom. By the time he returned, there were two more people in the practice room.
Xiao Bai was sitting in front of his own computer, but his gaze couldn’t help but drift over to the new computer next to him.
Pine asked, “What are you looking at?”
“Looking to see if he’s secretly scripting8.” Xiao Bai wore a serious expression.
Pine lifted an eyebrow noncommittally.
“Tch. He actually did end up coming to our team.” Xiao Bai leaned back and adopted a paralyzed salted fish posture9. “But you really can’t tell that he’s so young, and so short too. He’s just a little wimpy brat. When he stands next to my ge, it’s basically like looking at a chick and an eagle.”
Thinking of that, he snorted coldly. “If he really ends up passing the tryouts and joining the team, I’ll isolate him—unless he starts calling me ge and apologizes to me. If not…”
Hearing the noise, Xiao Bai swiveled around in his chair extremely slowly and locked gazes with Jian Rong, who was standing behind him and had just finished washing his face.
Xiao Bai: “.”
Jian Rong stared expressionlessly at him for a few seconds, before he suddenly gave a huff of laughter.
Xiao Bai’s scalp prickled.
Jian Rong said, “I can apologize.”
Xiao Bai: “It’s fine, it’s fine, no need to be so polite…”
“Apologize for which incident?” Jian Rong thought a bit. “That time during the regular season when you pulled a reverse ult, and I said that your gameplay was super trash?”
Xiao Bai: “…”
Jian Rong: “Or was it that time during the spring season when you couldn’t land a single hook the entire game, and I said that as a blind person playing professionally, your spirit was commendable?”
Xiao Bai: “………”
Jian Rong frowned. “Or was it that time during the quarterfinals knockout stage when you were ganked three times in the jungle, and I said that you were acting like Alice in Wonderland?”
Xiao Bai: “……………”
Jian Rong: “Also—”
Xiao Bai thought, If you insult me one more time, just watch me cry for you.
“I’ll still grow taller.”
Xiao Bai: “?”
Remembering Xiao Bai’s description just then, Jian Rong felt his face darken. He said, “You’re the one who’s a chicken.”
Xiao Bai was stupefied by Jian Rong’s last two lines. Before he could come up with a good counterattack, he saw his ge walk into the room.
Xiao Bai was instantly about to snitch, but out of the corner of his eyes he caught a glimpse of the bottle of milk that Lu Boyuan was holding.
Jian Rong turned around, wanting to sit back down in front of his own computer, and came face-to-face with Lu Boyuan, who was wearing his team jacket draped over his shoulders.
Lu Boyuan lowered his gaze and stared at the ‘R’ on his keyboard. “Ding-ge changed it out for you?”
Jian Rong was startled, and he instantly went quiet. “… en.”
“It has my name on the back,” Lu Boyuan said. “If you don’t like it, tell him to change it.”
Jian Rong had just finished washing his face, so there was still water dripping from his chin. He reached up and rubbed it away before saying, “It’s fine, I can play with anything.”
Lu Boyuan hummed and put the milk on his table.
“There’s more in the kitchen.” Lu Boyuan said, “Drink a bit more, grow a bit faster.”
Xiao Bai thought, It’s over.
His ge had also stepped on a landmine.
Xiao Bai was about to sacrifice himself to save Lu Boyuan, but then he saw that the teenager who had just called him a chicken was currently sporting flaming red ears—pretty much the same way he had looked last time at the Worlds’ stadium.
Before Xiao Bai could recover, he heard Soft let out a very faint “oh”.
Then, he stiffly sat down, stiffly stuck in the straw, and stiffly started to drink the milk that the captain gave him.
Xiao Bai: “…”
He sat up straight.
And decided that he would also give Soft milk next time.
- Same explanation here as for his WeChat ID. 茸 (Rong) can be broken up into 艹(草) (cao) and 耳 (er), which literally means grass ear, but that sounds dumb so I just left it as pinyin ^
- 毛茸茸 (mao rong rong) = fuzzy. Think like a little white fluff ball dog. Max floof! ^
- The Bai in Xiao Bai means white. Pine calls him pale (white) ^
- LoL actually doesn’t have a team voice chat option (only party voice chat), so not sure if the author is just going with their own interpretation of this or if they’re referring to some external voice chat? ^
- If anyone’s curious, they can check out LeBlanc’s skills here to better visualize what’s going on. I’m pretty sure the skill JR is using is Distortion (but let me know if it’s not hahah) ^
- Placing wards around the map strategically can notify you of the enemies’ whereabouts ^
- Baron Nashor is one of the most powerful neutral monsters in the game; killing it gives a big buff. The raws refer to this as ‘dragon pit’ but the dragon pit is another monster that’s closer to the bot lane, so through research I concluded that the terms are just used differently in English vs Chinese. Again, if I’m wrong, please correct me! ^
- Scripting is just like bots, hacks, cheats. Basically using a software to play for you ^
Wei: The return of the translation notes :’) Also wow Jian Rong is such a savage, poor Xiao Bai