Last Ko-fi bonus chapter 6/6~ We’ll be going back to our normal MWF release schedule for now!
Jian Rong hadn’t expected his own ID to appear in the top comments. In the replies, both sides were fighting fiercely; TTC had more fans, but the water friends from his livestream room could 1v2, so nobody was losing to the other.
Jian Rong had already been insulted a lot before this, and he didn’t think much of it.
So when he saw Xiao Bai glaring at him with bitter reddened eyes, he momentarily didn’t know how to react.
“…that’s just how they are, insulting everyone they come across, they’re not targeting you.” Jian Rong frowned, attempting to comfort him a little.
Unfortunately, he hadn’t mastered this “comfort” skill yet.
As a result, he held himself back for a long time before giving up. “But you’re a grown man, you’ll still cry after being insulted a tiny bit??”
Xiao Bai rubbed his eyes. “Who’s crying from being insulted! How would I cry because of these trolls! As if they deserve it!”
A few seconds later, he added feebly, “Of course, I’m not trying to badmouth your fans…”
Jian Rong was confused. “Then why are you crying?”
Xiao Bai was too embarrassed to say that he was feeling sad for their teammate, who had been suspended because of matchfixing. He felt like saying it out loud was especially useless and unreasonable.
Consequently, he said, “After playing ranked for so many days, I still can’t make it up to Diamond 1. My heart feels bitter, is it not okay for me to cry a little!”
Jian Rong: “…”
“What the hell would an assassin-type mid laner like you understand! All you have to do is toss out a skill, annihilate the other side, and your points will skyrocket up! Have you ever thought about how hard it is for us lowly supports to climb? Right now all the ADCs in Diamond are morons!” The more Xiao Bai spoke, the more energetic he got. “And you stole away my jungler!”
Jian Rong raised an eyebrow, that iota of compassion in his heart for Xiao Bai disappearing like smoke. “I didn’t steal him. How is it hard for a support to climb? Didn’t PUD’s support make it all the way up to Challenger by solo queueing?”
Xiao Bai: “…then aren’t you just implying that I’m not as good as him!”
Jian Rong looked away and leaned back in his chair. He said coolly, “If that’s how you want to interpret it, I can’t do anything about it either.”
The atmosphere in the practice room was originally quite sorrowful, but after their short bantering, Yuan Qian burst out laughing from behind them.
Pine set his phone down on the table before he expressionlessly continued to practice waveclearing.
Xiao Bai was so angry that all his tears were gone. Actually, he wasn’t usually so melancholy, but today, Kan’s long-time fans had sent many old pictures of him and Kan posing together to his private messages, and he inevitably felt moody after seeing too many of them.
He opened LoL, wanting to vent his feelings a little in game.
“What rank are you right now?” Jian Rong asked.
Xiao Bai: “Diamond 4.”
“What can you do besides being carried.”
Xiao Bai: “How come you’re consecutively attacking me—”
“Add that account.” Jian Rong repeated, “The ID is ‘What Can You Do Besides Being Carried.’”
“…” Xiao Bai was startled, and he only recovered after quite a while. “You’re going to carry me up?”
Jian Rong asked, “Coming or not?”
Xiao Bai added him at the speed of light. “Inviting you now, hurry and join… why do you have so many side accounts? Why not just directly use your main account to play with me? Aren’t you also climbing to Diamond 1?”
Jian Rong selected his roles. “Ask again and I’ll leave the party.”
Xiao Bai speedily started the game.
At the hospital.
Lu Boyuan sat on a long bench, rotating one wrist while playing on his phone with his other hand.
“I already told you not to look at Weibo, it’ll only make you upset…” Ding-ge glimpsed his expression, and he paused. “Why are you laughing?”
Lu Boyuan lowered his eyes, reading all the different messages that his Weibo account had received. “It’s nothing.”
Ding-ge was about to say something when a call quickly came in.
He answered the phone and replied to the other side a few times before he hung up. He muttered, “This is the twelfth call I’ve received today. Really, I feel afraid now the moment I hear about a colleague’s concern. It’s one thing if they only ask about Kan, but they keep trying to ask about our mid laner using different methods.”
TTC was a rich and powerful club, so esports fans paid close attention to the club’s each and every movement. Normally, just one of TTC’s casual competition games was enough to enter the hot search, much less something major like switching mid laners.
Lu Boyuan didn’t even look up. He said indifferently, “Post the official announcement sooner, and nobody will be asking you anymore.”
“How can it be so fast? He hasn’t even signed the contract yet.” Ding-ge stopped before he said honestly, “Originally, we were intending to test him some more. Soft’s strong points are very obvious, but his weak points are as well. His individual ability is extremely high, above Kongkong’s in my opinion, but after these two practice matches, have you seen him take the initiative to coordinate with anyone?”
Lu Boyuan asked, “Then why did you decide on him?”
Ding-ge cleared his throat. “First of all, there’s no time, and we have to start familiarizing him with the team’s rhythm as early as possible. Secondly… there’s actually only two or three months left until his eighteenth birthday.”
Lu Boyuan lifted an eyebrow.
Ding-ge said, “I’m afraid he’ll have second thoughts and feel like streaming is still more profitable, so he’ll dust his butt off and walk away.”
Lu Boyuan laughed.
The probability wasn’t entirely zero.
His phone suddenly buzzed. Lu Boyuan lowered his head and clicked on the notification.
[PUD, XIU: Bro, you free?]
XIU was PUD’s jungler, a seasoned pro player who had entered during the same period as Lu Boyuan. They knew each other from before they even started playing competitively.
As the LPL’s two current powerhouse teams, TTC and PUD had a decent relationship with each other, and they would nod and greet each other if they met backstage.
However, that was the limit of their interaction. After all, there were too many things that both teams competed for: championships, endorsements, sponsors… even their fans were constantly tearing each other apart on every social media site.
Last time, during the S10 Worlds, the broadcast gave TTC’s players a lengthy shot and ended up being subjected to a torrent of abuse by PUD’s fans.
So, among PUD’s active members, only XIU could be considered Lu Boyuan’s close friend.
[PUD, XIU: Q a few games together?]
[R: Can’t right now.]
[PUD, XIU: OK]
[PUD, XIU: Speaking of which, have you guys still not started searching for a new mid laner yet? In a bit, the spring season will be starting soon.]
[R: You’re coming to fish for info too?]
[PUD, XIU: Hahaha, I’m genuinely curious]
[R: Already found one]
[PUD, XIU: Who? Give a hint, I promise I won’t tell anyone else.]
[R: Even a promise is futile. Ding-ge is sitting next to me.]
XIU goaded him for a while, and in the end, he still wasn’t willing to admit defeat.
[PUD, XIU: Then just give me a tiny hint, I’ll try to guess it slowly by myself. That should at least be okay, right.]
Lu Boyuan cast his eyes downward and thought for a moment.
[R: A fairly well-behaved kid.]
[PUD, XIU: I got it! It’s definitely that little blondie from Europe!]
[PUD, XIU: Or is it that little shortie from Korea?]
[PUD, XIU: I remember that TTC’s trainees are all fairly well-behaved? You guys didn’t just pull someone from there, did you…]
His phone vibrated continuously, and Ding-ge frowned upon hearing it. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing.” Lu Boyuan locked his phone and said concisely, “Playing a riddle game.”
After the examination, Ding-ge asked eagerly, “How is it, Doctor? Are there improvements?”
The doctor looked at the X-ray and said noncommittally, “You haven’t been practicing much recently, right?”
Lu Boyuan gave a faint “en.” “I’ve almost forgotten how to play.”
Ding-ge sheepishly told the doctor that they had just finished playing a practice match earlier that afternoon. He asked, “With his current condition, can he continue training?”
“He can, but he still has to make sure and rest. He can’t continue on like before and practice for over ten hours at a time, that’s way too excessive. Reducing it by half is still a lot, and don’t lift heavy things either.” The doctor said, “Also, come back for regular checkups, the best would be if you came once a month.”
Ding-ge immediately scheduled next month’s checkup appointment.
On the way back to the base, Ding-ge launched into another round of nagging. He wasn’t a garrulous person; however, he couldn’t help but nag whenever he thought of Lu Boyuan’s wrist.
Lu Boyuan grew drowsy listening to him, and he decided to just lean back in his seat and pretend to sleep.
“I’ll draw up a new practice schedule for you once I get back. I’ll do my best to reduce the time wherever I can…” At the traffic light, Ding-ge shot a glance at the side of the road and continued, “There’s a milk tea shop over here. I’ll go and buy some drinks to comfort the rest of them, don’t they all say that drinking this will put you in a good mood?”
After parking the car, Ding-ge said, “Let me ask them what they want to drink. Do you want anything?”
“No… wait a moment.” Lu Boyuan opened his eyes and pulled out his phone from his pocket. “Let me ask.”
Ding-ge was startled. “Sure.”
Jian Rong’s profile picture was the photo of the stray cat that he had posted before on Weibo.
Lu Boyuan casually took a picture of the milk tea store and sent it over.
[R: What do you want to drink?]
This was their first time chatting since becoming friends on WeChat.
Two minutes passed without a reply, and Lu Boyuan was just about to call him, when—
[R-ong: I was playing ranked just then, let me ask right now]
[R-ong: Xiao Bai wants milk tea with full sugar, Pine and Qian-ge want green tea.]
[R: What does Jian Rong want.]
[R-ong: Orange juice, thank you]
The car drove back to the base, and after they parked, Lu Boyuan was stopped by Ding-ge the moment he picked up two of the drinks.
“Don’t lift heavy objects,” Ding-ge said, “Let me do it!”
Lu Boyuan couldn’t help but laugh. “It’s not that bad… restrain yourself a little, don’t make such a scene at the base. They’ll think that I broke my hand.”
“It’s about the same. Last time, your hand was trembling so much that I felt panicked just looking at it.”
The two of them walked towards the practice room. Halfway there, Ding-ge recalled something else. “That’s right, don’t you think that Soft is a bit antisocial? I feel like he seems pretty different in person compared to how he is in his streams, and he doesn’t really like to talk a lot either. What if he doesn’t get along with the others in the future…”
—“Who gave you the courage to play Riven top lane?”
A familiar voice, a cold intonation.
Xiao Bai said, “…I’m already playing very meticulously. Most importantly, this jungler keeps targeting me!”
Jian Rong: “Yes, so meticulously that you can’t even deal out Riven’s combos. In your hands, a perfectly good broken blade turned into a dagger.”
“Your side account’s MMR1 is way too high. My opponent is a professional top laner, it’s very normal that I can’t defeat him!” Xiao Bai quibbled, “Also, aren’t I trying to grow? I’ve wanted to play Riven for a long time.”
“Never mind if you want to, first ask yourself if you deserve to or not.” The banner stating that Riven had been slain popped up on the screen again, and Jian Rong grinded his teeth. “After this game, roll back over and play your Elise, or else get out of the party.”
“Got it, got it.” After being carried for an entire afternoon, Xiao Bai was entirely free from worry. “Once we win two more games, I’ll be able to duo queue with P-baby… hey, wait a second?”
Xiao Bai realized something. “…the reason that you won’t play on your main account with me can’t be because you’re afraid that you’ll climb too much, so you won’t be able to queue with my ge in the future, right?”
Lu Boyuan’s account just reached the promotion series for Diamond 4. Because of restrictions between ranks, he could only duo queue with Diamond 2 players at the highest.
If Jian Rong got promoted to Diamond 1, he wouldn’t be able to duo queue with Lu Boyuan anymore.
After being exposed, Jian Rong silently killed an enemy and didn’t respond.
“…tch.” Xiao Bai sincerely shook his head and sighed. “Details, you’re the one who’s the master of details. May I ask when your literary work, Self-Cultivation for Fans, will be coming out? This person named Bai will support you with a hundred copies at once.”
Jian Rong: “Can you play the game quietly—”
A cup of orange juice was placed next to Jian Rong’s hand.
Jian Rong’s words came to an abrupt halt.
Lu Boyuan had just returned, and he carried with him the scent of winter, a little bit like the scent that Jian Rong had smelled before.
Jian Rong beat up Xiao Bai ten times in his mind before he said, “Thank you, how much was it? I’ll transfer it to your WeChat.”
“No need.” Lu Boyuan paused, a hint of laughter in his voice. “Consider it as a thank you gift for carrying me… I’ll leave climbing to Diamond 1 in your hands then.”
- MMR = Match making rate. Hidden algorithm that determines matchmaking and incorporates a player’s win rate and win/loss streak ^
Yan: This boy really said he wanted orange juice, and I’m just ??? Orange juice boba? Alright then, Jian Rong… tag yourself though, I’m Xiao Bai for the boba order. What Ding-ge said is such a mood, boba always puts me in a good mood hehe.
Wei: Look at how Jian Rong and Xiao Bai’s touching friendship is blooming! So exciting~