“And then guess how he responded!!”
The next morning in the practice room, Xiao Bai moved his chair next to Pine’s and rambled on about his story for a long time.
Pine was only wearing headphones on one side, but he wasn’t paying attention to Xiao Bai either; instead, he was single-mindedly concentrating on his team fight.
“There’s no way I misheard it. Even though his tone of voice still sounded extremely unenthusiastic, it was definitely a ‘good evening’!”
Pine returned to base and cut off Xiao Bai before he could say ‘good evening’ a third time. “Didn’t you say you two were absolutely irreconcilable?”
“Ah?” Xiao Bai paused before nodding. “Yeah.”
Pine said, “Right now, it’s like you want to wear the same pair of pants as him.”
Xiao Bai: “…”
Pine continued to stare at his computer screen expressionlessly. “Do you not feel like you’re very similar to a certain group?”
Xiao Bai: “What group?”
Pine: “That group of dumbass fans in his livestream room.”
Xiao Bai: “…BS.”
“Why did you go dry your clothes in the middle of the night at two a.m.?” Pine asked.
“I couldn’t sleep, so I decided I might as well just do my laundry.” Xiao Bai leaned back in his chair. “Never mind about me. When I returned to my room after hanging up my clothes, both you and Qian-ge’s lights were still on in your rooms. I saw it from the crack underneath the door.”
“I didn’t really sleep…” After his game concluded, Qian-ge rubbed his eyes and said, “Nobody in the base should’ve been able to sleep well last night, probably.”
“No, Soft definitely slept very soundly.” Xiao Bai said, “He never liked Kan.”
As soon as he said that, the person himself appeared in the doorway.
Jian Rong was holding a cup of milk, his hair a bit messy, his clothing somewhat rumpled as well. His eyelids were lowered listlessly, dark circles underneath his eyes, and he looked as if he could fall asleep on the spot if someone handed him a pillow.
In the course of opening the door, entering the room, walking to his spot, turning on the computer, and entering the game, he yawned a total of seven times.
Xiao Bai: “?”
Yuan Qian asked, “Soft, you didn’t sleep well last night either?”
Jian Rong entered the queue and answered hoarsely, “En.”
Yuan Qian nodded understandingly. “Don’t stand in the wind for so long on the balcony next time, it’s easy to get a headache.”
A cold arrow-like gaze shot over, and Xiao Bai felt a chill run down his back. He slowly nudged his seat back over to his computer using his butt.
“It has nothing to do with standing in the wind.” Jian Rong randomly made up an excuse. “I suddenly had some trouble falling asleep in a different bed.”
Everyone in the practice room: “…”
That really was quite sudden.
Jian Rong created a custom game and practiced waveclearing for half an hour, before finally he couldn’t help but pick up his cup and walk towards the break room.
TTC’s base had ample amounts of everything. The break room table was full of tea bags, cocoa powder, and more, and there was a coffee machine on the side.
Jian Rong didn’t know how to use it, nor did he have any interest in trying to figure it out. He arbitrarily chose an instant coffee packet and mixed it with hot water.
The warm, winter sunlight slanted into the room, just happening to land on Jian Rong’s face, comfortable and pleasing.
There was no added sugar or creamer in the black coffee, making Jian Rong crinkle his brows from the bitterness.
But he finally gained a bit of energy. There was still a practice match in the afternoon, and if he continued to be sleepy, he wouldn’t be able to play well.
“Who are you?” A gravelly, rough voice came from behind him.
Jian Rong looked back, picking up his cup, and came face-to-face with Kan, whose eyes were swollen like walnuts.
Kan was built quite robustly, and he was also tall, so he could block the entire doorway to the break room just by standing there. He was clearly in a bad mood, and he hadn’t slept enough either, so he wasn’t wearing a very good expression.
After seeing Jian Rong, his complexion grew even worse, his brows furrowed tight enough to pinch a mosquito to death.
Everyone knew that the competitions that Soft watched the most often were TTC’s, and the player that he mocked the most frequently was Kan.
If there was one professional player who had the deepest hatred towards Soft, then it could only be Kan.
At the beginning, Kan’s fans would even go to Soft’s stream and curse him out, but because they couldn’t out-curse Soft’s fans, and Soft himself didn’t care about their attacks, they eventually stopped causing trouble.
Soft didn’t use any beauty filters when streaming, so Kan recognized him the moment he saw him.
“Soft?” Kan was stunned. He was already annoyed in the first place, and when he saw the cup of coffee in Jian Rong’s hand, the nameless fire in his heart roared even higher, to the point that he lashed out rudely. “Why the fuck are you here? Who brought you here?”
It seemed like Jian Rong wouldn’t be able to leave anytime soon.
He took a step back and stood next to the window again, basking in the sun while asking, “Are you in charge of this place?”
Jian Rong’s tone of voice, which was just as careless as it was in his streams, made Kan even angrier upon hearing it. He said impatiently, “I’m not in charge, but a trash streamer like you isn’t worthy of entering our base. It doesn’t matter who brought you here, hurry up and get lost.”
Jian Rong sneered. “If a trash streamer like me isn’t worthy, then a matchfixing2 pro player like you is worthy?”
It was as if someone had stabbed Kan in the heart, and his blood rushed straight to his head.
Even though what was done couldn’t be undone, the LPL was still tying up the last of the loose ends, and TTC hadn’t released a corresponding announcement yet either. There shouldn’t be many people who knew about it…
He looked Jian Rong up and down again.
One of TTC’s merch mugs, cozy and loose clothing, disheveled hair, as well as a pair of black slippers—the indolent appearance of someone who had just woken up.
And there was a rule in the base: no outside visitors could spend the night.
Kan suddenly remembered. Yesterday night, he had secretly asked Yuan Qian whether the team had found a new mid laner or not.
Yuan Qian had been silent for a long time, before he finally told him that the new mid laner was already going through tryouts at the base.
Kan felt shocked, and he only recovered after quite a while. He asked, astonished, “Are you here for tryouts?”
Jian Rong lowered his head and took a sip of coffee, too lazy to reply.
Kan laughed, a laugh triggered from anger. He said, “Ding-ge can’t find any other mid laners? How come he’ll take in any kind of scum?”
If anyone else heard that, they would probably be offended, but Jian Rong wasn’t.
Compared to those fans in his livestream room, Kan was just like a baby chick throwing a tantrum.
Jian Rong thought a bit and said, “He probably lowered his standards a little after he met you.”
Kan involuntarily took two steps forward, his face turning red. “How am I the problem? I’ve played competitively for eight years, during which I haven’t made many mistakes. But you, you’re just a piece of trash that became famous for insulting other people, you don’t know how to do anything else except badmouth players day in and day out… you’re built so small, you must not be an adult yet, right? Did your parents teach you how to respect other people or not? Did they teach you how to behave yourself?”
The more Kan spoke, the angrier he got. “I’m telling you, I don’t really have any misgivings anymore. I’m definitely going to find a lawyer and sue you, there’s no way I’ll let garbage like you continue to terrorize the internet. I’m also going to tell Ding-ge about everything you did online and make him kick you out…”
Jian Rong nodded, digesting what Kan said for a beat before asking, “So what you’re trying to imply is that even though you play like trash, you won’t allow anyone else to say it, right?”
Kan choked and was about to retort when Jian Rong spoke again.
“But you did get one thing right. I didn’t have anyone to teach me, so I just can’t control my mouth when I see pro players with contract fees worth millions of yuan perform so terribly. That’s my problem, I didn’t take your feelings into consideration…” Jian Rong said casually, “It’s fine if you sue me, I’ll definitely apologize in court. I can even apologize to your fans too. ‘I was wrong, my mistake was that I redescribed Kan’s trash gameplay,’ how does that sound?”
Kan’s neck was flushed from fury. He was controlled by his emotions, his shoulders heaving up and down in time with his breathing, and he subconsciously picked up the canned Ovaltine next to him.
“What are you doing?” A gentle, deep voice spoke up, breaking through their deadlock.
It was Lu Boyuan.
He wore gray-colored casual clothing, the same color as Jian Rong’s long-sleeved shirt, and he stood behind Kan, holding a cup.
Although it was a question, his expression was calm, as if he didn’t really need an answer.
When Jian Rong saw him, he lowered his eyes and straightened up, stealthily loosening his firm hold on his mug, which he had gripped in preparation to retaliate at any moment.
Kan’s rationality returned, and he glanced at the object in his hand. He explained after a long moment, “…I-I wanted to make some to drink.”
Lu Boyuan gave an “en” that was neither light nor heavy. “Go find Ding-ge after you finish drinking it, he still has some things to discuss with you.”
“…got it.” Kan’s breathing still hadn’t evened out yet, and he shot Jian Rong a vicious glare before he put the Ovaltine back in its original spot. “I’ll go find him right now, I suddenly don’t feel like drinking it anymore.”
Lu Boyuan rinsed his water glass. “Go ahead.”
Only two people were left in the break room.
Jian Rong lowered his head, wondering if his voice was too loud just then, and made to leave the room with his coffee.
“He’s not in a good mood, so don’t take anything he said to heart.” Lu Boyuan said as he poured ground coffee into the coffee machine.
Jian Rong paused, and said, “Okay.”
Lu Boyuan pressed a button before he turned to look at him. “Then, did you win or lose the argument?”
“…” Jian Rong met his gaze for a few seconds and said, “I’ve never lost an argument before.”
Lu Boyuan laughed. When he smiled, his eyes grew very bright, making Jian Rong feel even more comfortable than the sunlight on his face did.
Lu Boyuan glanced at the instant coffee packaging in the trash can. He said, “En, I’ll make you a cup of coffee as a reward?”
Jian Rong watched him quietly.
Lu Boyuan: “Don’t want it?”
Jian Rong poured out all of the instant coffee, answering his question with actions instead of words.
Lu Boyuan was in the middle of fiddling with the coffee machine when the person next to him suddenly asked a question.
“Will I be kicked out?”
Lu Boyuan didn’t look over. “Why are you asking that.”
Jian Rong raked through his bangs and said, after a lengthy silence, “Kan is a former teammate, and I’m not compatible with the others either.”
“We’ll only know if you’re compatible or not once we have some practice matches.” Lu Boyuan said, “Or do you not have the confidence to play well?”
“I do.” Jian Rong answered very quickly. A few seconds later, he repeated again, “I can play well.”
Lu Boyuan handed a cup of coffee to him. “Then perform well this afternoon, don’t make me lose face.”
Jian Rong absent-mindedly accepted the cup. “Make you… lose face? Why?”
Lu Boyuan said, “Because you’re the person that I recommended in.”
Jian Rong stared at him blankly. After quite some time, he asked again, “Why?”
Lu Boyuan hid his smile. “Why… I also want to know the reason why your resume made its way over to me?”
Jian Rong: “………”
Why did he have to ask so many whys???
If Jian Rong said that he accidentally saw Lu Boyuan’s QQ ID during his livestream, and not-so-accidentally noted it down for two years, then would he instantly be labeled a pervert and kicked out of the club?
Jian Rong wanted to stuff his head in his coffee mug right that instant.
Luckily, Ding-ge happened to arrive at that moment, rescuing Jian Rong’s head.
“So this is where you were.” Ding-ge said, “I’ve been looking for you for a while.”
Lu Boyuan put down his coffee mug. “You finished discussing everything with Kan?”
Ding-ge nodded heavily. “En, he didn’t have any objections, but…”
Halfway through, he glanced at Jian Rong.
Jian Rong instantly said, “…I’m going to go practice now.”
Jian Rong walked away extremely fast, nearly causing the coffee in his cup to spill over onto the ground.
Once he left, Lu Boyuan asked mildly, “Has the heating been turned up too high lately in the base?”
Ding-ge was startled. “Twenty degrees3, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” Lu Boyuan paused. “The little friend in our team often has a red face from the heat.”
“Then I’ll go and adjust it a bit lower in a bit.” Ding-ge thought a little. “It’s probably because young people have higher internal heat…”
- Deep fried breadstick, usually eaten for breakfast ^
- I previously translated matchfixing as “playing fake matches” because I didn’t know a better term. However, now I’ve found the appropriate term, so I’ll be using this going forth. I’ve also made edits in the previous chapters! ^
- 20 degrees Celsius = 68 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s cold for the middle of winter??? ^
Wei: Jian Rong to Xiao Bai, probably: Why are you so obsessed with me?? (Although also LBY to Jian Rong, probably LMAO)