“…what are the two of you doing?”
Hearing a voice, Jian Rong subconsciously stopped his motions and let go of Lu Boyuan’s hand.
When the pressure on his hand disappeared, Lu Boyuan opened his eyes slowly and met the gazes of the two people standing in the doorway.
“Finished?” Lu Boyuan felt even more sleepy after dozing for a bit, and it took him a few seconds to wake up. He sat up straight and rotated his wrist before he turned his head and laughed huskily. “It feels much better, thank you.”
Usually, Jian Rong would just massage his own hands for ten minutes and be done with it, but earlier, when he saw Lu Boyuan close his eyes and seemingly fall asleep, Jian Rong decided that he might as well just keep massaging. In any case, it didn’t take much effort.
Jian Rong cast his eyes downward and nodded. “As long as it helped a little, that’s good.”
After understanding the situation, Ding-ge let out a breath of relief before immediately feeling startled—what exactly was he so nervous about just now??
Ding-ge coughed. “Um… we bought some crayfish as a midnight snack for you guys. Where’s everyone else?”
Jian Rong said, “They already went back to their rooms to rest.”
Ding-ge put the food on the table. “They’re definitely not asleep yet, Xiao Bai just posted on Weibo a few minutes ago. Message them in the group chat and tell them to come down to eat.”
Jian Rong stood up from the sofa. “I can go upstairs to get them. I need to charge my phone anyway.”
Once Jian Rong went upstairs, Ding-ge instantly asked the person on the couch, “Your hand hurts? How long did you practice today?”
Lu Boyuan said evenly, “Not that long.”
“He started playing at four in the afternoon.” The assistant coach took out his phone to check Lu Boyuan’s match history. “His last game just finished thirty minutes ago.”
Lu Boyuan: “…”
“Yes, that’s not very long.” Ding-ge grinded his teeth. “Only eight hours. You’ve almost caught up to the trainees.”
“Shouldn’t the starters work even harder than the trainees?” Lu Boyuan cleared his throat. “It’s not that bad, I took a break in the middle.”
Ding-ge said, “Are you not aware of what condition your hand is in? Even if you rested for two hours in the middle, you still would’ve gone over your allotted time!”
“Enough, lower your voice.” Lu Boyuan glanced towards the stairs before swiftly retracting his gaze. “Don’t exaggerate it so much. I just feel a bit tired from playing for a long time, but my hand is fine.”
“BS.” Ding-ge said crossly, “Also, do we not have a physiotherapist in the team? If you make someone else massage your hand for you, what if they end up hurting it? And what’s more, Jian Rong also practiced for an entire day, but he still has to massage you after going offline… someone who didn’t know better would think that you’re bullying the newcomer.”
Lu Boyuan lifted an eyebrow. He actually hadn’t thought about it that deeply. It was just that when he saw a little friend grabbing onto the hem of his clothes and not letting go… he had ended up agreeing without thinking.
He said, “Let them think that, I’m not lacking this one accusation.”
From the moment Lu Boyuan entered the industry, he became the center of everyone’s attention. His popularity rose dramatically, but he was also subjected to controversy.
When he won Worlds his first year, the top two Korean teams had unexpectedly pulled out of the competition ahead of time, and the anti-fans had gifted him the title “freeloading king”; when he got MVP during competitions, the anti-fans called him the “resource prince,” a jungler who wouldn’t even let the mid laner have the raptor or wolf camps; like other professional players, he filmed business advertisements, but the anti-fans would say that he made a living off of his face and by currying favor with the female fans…
And so on and so forth. There were too many examples to count.
If he also got accused of bullying a newcomer, it really wasn’t that big of a deal.
Ding-ge was rendered speechless for a moment before he instantly whipped out his phone and made an appointment with the physiotherapist.
The next day, Jian Rong walked into the practice room, rubbing his eyes. When he saw the person sitting next to his seat, he was startled for a few seconds.
Lu Boyuan was playing on his phone, and when he heard the noise, he looked up. “Morning.”
Jian Rong was frozen in place, still holding his milk and bread in his hands. “…morning.”
“Put the bread back, I bought breakfast for you.” Lu Boyuan jerked his chin at the plastic bag on Jian Rong’s desk. “Practice after you’re done eating.”
When Jian Rong returned from putting away the bread, Lu Boyuan was still sitting next to his computer.
The breakfast Lu Boyuan bought was congee, and it was still hot.
Jian Rong took a few quick sips. “I can play while I eat. Or you can log in first?”
Lu Boyuan was in the middle of playing Fight the Landlord. “Log into what?”
Jian Rong swallowed the congee in his mouth and asked indistinctly, “Aren’t we duo queueing?”
“No. I’m not practicing today.” Lu Boyuan said, “I’ll watch you play.”
Jian Rong: “………”
Jian Rong had been a streamer for two years, and he could unflinchingly play games under the eyes of several hundred thousand people.
Today, there was only one person sitting next to him, but it made him feel extremely on edge. He played every game as if he was in a competitive match.
Just as he was pushing the lane and attempting to find a chance to solo kill the enemy mid laner, the person next to him spoke leisurely. “Retreat a little.”
Jian Rong rapidly calculated his damage. “I can get the kill.”
Right as he said that, the enemy jungler’s Rek’Sai appeared behind him and coordinated with the other mid laner to kill Jian Rong’s Cassiopeia.
Lu Boyuan said mildly, “UUG’s mid laner and jungler are on the other team. Their jungler has a habit of usually ganking mid after level 7.”
“…oh.” Jian Rong pressed his lips together before he opened the shop to buy items. “I’ll make a note of that for the future.”
“It’s fine as long as you pay attention to it during ranked.” Lu Boyuan’s tone was natural. “During a competition, I’m there, so you can push however you want.”
Jian Rong bought the wrong item and silently went back to buy it again. “Got it.”
When the staff members walked into the practice room holding a dozen or so packages, Jian Rong was in the middle of a game. At the sudden activity, he only swept a glance over before withdrawing his gaze.
A few minutes later, some small packages were placed on his desk.
Jian Rong was team fighting, and he didn’t even look at them. “Wrong person, I didn’t buy anything online.”
“It’s not that.” The staff member explained, “These are all gifts that the fans sent over.”
During the past few years, esports players had received a ton of attention, and the amount of fans that some popular players had even surpassed that of most celebrities. It wasn’t that uncommon to receive gifts from fans.
Jian Rong asked, confused, “We can accept gifts?”
“We can, but we can only accept a few of them. We bring them over once we confirm that there’s nothing dangerous inside.” The staff member looked at Lu Boyuan. “God Lu, these are yours, should I put them on the table for you?”
Jian Rong glanced over.
Jian Rong had received three packages, and Xiao Bai and the rest also had around three or four parcels each. But Lu Boyuan…
Lu Boyuan’s presents covered the ground, and from one look it was clear that there were at least ten or so gifts.
Lu Boyuan scanned the packages. “Didn’t I say that I wouldn’t accept these.”
“Ding-ge said… these were all sent over by your big fans, so it wouldn’t be appropriate not to accept them.” The staff member coughed. “Don’t worry, they’re not expensive, just some handmade products.”
After the staff left, Lu Boyuan got up to open the packages. Even though he had received gifts, he clearly wasn’t in all that great of a mood.
As Jian Rong pushed the enemy’s base, he couldn’t help but frequently peek in Lu Boyuan’s direction.
Discovering his gaze, Xiao Bai explained in a whisper, “Before, someone sent my ge some things that weren’t very good.”
Jian Rong asked, “What kind of not good things?”
“Just… bugs and whatnot. They left it at the entrance of the base, and we only found out what it was after opening it. It happened a long time ago.” Xiao Bai paused. “But after that, my ge still occasionally accepted gifts. His fans are very diligent, and they often sent fan letters and such. All the way up until one time he received one of the latest phones, and the anti-fans unearthed the person who sent the gift. They found out that she was a little sister in her third year of high school and bought the phone using her tuition money for college… my ge was cursed out very miserably during that time.”
Jian Rong was filled with anger after hearing that. “What does that have to do with him? Why would they curse him out?”
“They said he was accepting expensive gifts, I suppose. Actually, my ge didn’t even use that phone, and he even told Ding-ge to send it back, but we were in the middle of a competition back then. Ding-ge didn’t have time and ended up delaying the delivery for a few days.” At that point, Xiao Bai was a bit dumbfounded. “Afterwards, my ge was worried that the little sister wouldn’t have time to sell the phone and wouldn’t have money to go to school, so he even transferred her the tuition money.”
“Xiao Bai.” Lu Boyuan suddenly called his name.
Xiao Bai: “Ge I didn’t say anything!”
“…” Lu Boyuan frowned and said, “Lend me the scissors.”
After the game finished, Jian Rong turned his head and saw Lu Boyuan standing with his back to him, opening a package.
Inside the first package was a handsewn little cloth bear. It wore a mini version of the TTC uniform, and there was even a faint “Road” ID on it.
The handiwork was so-so, and the little bear’s face was somewhat crooked.
Lu Boyuan stared at it for a few seconds before he reached out and tried to straighten the little bear’s nose. After fruitlessly poking at it a few times, the man’s shoulders shrugged along with his sigh, and he put the little bear onto the shelf above the computer desk.
Inside the second package was a phone case. Jian Rong couldn’t really see what was on the case; he could only make out the word “husband.”
Lu Boyuan picked up his phone and hesitated briefly before he ultimately opened the cabinet and put the phone case inside.
Inside the third package was a handmade scarf.
Inside the fourth package was a pair of handmade gloves…
Jian Rong watched Lu Boyuan open all of the packages before he finally looked away, reassured.
“Xiao Bai.” Yuan Qian walked over. “Help me take a picture. The fans sent me a scarf, I can use the photo as commemoration and post it on Weibo later.”
Jian Rong glanced at him. Yuan Qian’s game ID was even embroidered on the scarf, and the handiwork was very nice.
From a survey around, nobody had received particularly expensive gifts, but there was a lot of thought put into each present. Especially since it was currently winter, almost everyone had a scarf on hand.
Jian Rong stared at the three packages in front of him and licked his lips, an inexplicable sense of anticipation rising inside of him.
It had been a very, very long time since he had last received a gift. So long ago that when he thought about it, the only present he could recall was the admission ticket that Lu Boyuan had handed him.
Jian Rong found a nail clipper inside a drawer and carefully opened up the first package. The moment he opened it, he saw the list of goods that a Taobao shop had placed inside—
“Buyer: Soft’s dear dad”
“Goods: Inner heightening invisible insoles made of silicone rubber, fully cushioned with magical abilities, cozy and unnoticeable, won’t make the feet feel tired x2
Latest men’s fashion heightening insoles, extra thick x2
Light and snug be yourself men’s heightening insoles x2”
Xiao Bai scooted over curiously. “Let me see what your fans sent you—”
Jian Rong closed the box heavily before he covered it with the upper half of his body, firmly pressing down on the opening!
Xiao Bai was given a scare. “…I let you see all the gifts that I got, you’re not going to share yours??”
Jian Rong: “No. Leave.”
Xiao Bai: “…”
Jian Rong chased Xiao Bai away and made sure that the opening to the box was completely shut. He still didn’t think it was enough, and he took out tape and packed it back up.
After confirming that it was completely sealed, Jian Rong took a sip of tea to calm himself down before he continued onto the next one.
Inside the package were several rectangular boxes. Jian Rong frowned and took them out to examine—
“XXX bubbles hair dye, showing off 2020’s popular color – deep purple.”
Six boxes, six different colors.
Jian Rong took quite a few deep breaths before downing the entire cup of tea in one gulp.
The last package.
Jian Rong thought expressionlessly, if it was yet another load of nonsense… he would never accept gifts from fans ever again.
Most likely because he didn’t really have his hopes up in the first place, when he saw a long gray-colored scarf in the box, his eyes immediately lit up.
Jian Rong took out the scarf and attentively stroked it while holding it.
The texture was very nice, and it felt extremely comfortable to touch.
The color was also quite good…
“What is this…” Xiao Bai didn’t give up and scooted over again. “Wah, this scarf is pretty good, it’ll definitely be really warm around your neck. Try it on.”
Jian Rong’s lips tightened, and he let out an “oh” while restraining a smile.
The scarf was too long, so it was a little difficult to put it on while sitting. After winding the scarf around his neck, Jian Rong lowered his head and was about to go get the other end of it when someone behind him picked it up for him first and handed it over.
Lu Boyuan said, “It won’t be warm if you wrap it around like this.”
Jian Rong nodded. “I know, I’m just trying it on…”
“Hey, there seems to be something written on the right side of your scarf.” Xiao Bai suddenly spoke, “Your embroidered ID, probably?”
Jian Rong put on a calm and collected expression and picked up the scarf to take a look. “Probably…”
When Jian Rong saw the words sewn on the scarf, his smile froze on his face.
Other people’s scarves all had their IDs embroidered on them in simple, uncomplicated, and very standardized English letters.
Jian Rong’s also had his ID, but there were many more words on his scarf compared to the others—
[Belonging to LPL’s #1 Troll Soft]
There was another line underneath that one.
[If found but not returned, take responsibility for the consequences]
Jian Rong: “………”
Xiao Bai thought, I must not laugh, if I laugh I’m finished and my life will perish here in this practice room today, but dammit, he still couldn’t help himself. “Hahahahahahahahahahahaha—”
Jian Rong: “…”
Xiao Bai: “Hahahahahahahaha!!!”
The swear words were already in Jian Rong’s mouth, but then he heard the person behind him also start to laugh.
Lu Boyuan’s laughter was a little deep, and it wasn’t as exaggerated as Xiao Bai’s.
After a long pause, Jian Rong’s head was patted gently twice, as if in appeasement. Lu Boyuan held back his smile. “It’s not easy to embroider so many words… you should keep it.”