Thank you to Kitty and VitaB for the Ko-fis!
On the day of the competition, Shanghai dropped in temperature. Thinking that there would be heating in the bus and that the stadium would also be warm, Jian Rong went downstairs after just shrugging on his team jacket. In the end, he was shooed back upstairs by Ding-ge and forced to wear a down jacket over it.
Before leaving his room, Jian Rong hesitated for a very, very long time. Finally, he still tugged down the solitary scarf hanging on his wall.
“You’re really using that scarf?” Right after he got on the bus, Xiao Bai asked him that question with wide eyes.
Lu Boyuan looked up. Jian Rong was wearing a white parka, and the gray scarf was wrapped around his neck. He had looped it around too carelessly, and his mouth was entirely covered up by the scarf, making his face appear even smaller.
“I’m wearing it backwards, you can’t see the words.” It was too cold outside, so Jian Rong exhaled a cloud of white mist when he spoke. “I’ll take it off once we get to the stadium anyway.”
Xiao Bai let out an “oh” before he looked at Lu Boyuan. “Ge. Why aren’t you wearing the scarf that your fans sent you? I saw that the scarves you received were all made very delicately, and there was even a tiny team icon sewn on one, it looked really good.”
Lu Boyuan’s head was lowered as he played on his phone. “I have too many, so I won’t wear it.”
Xiao Bai didn’t understand. He was about to question him further when Yuan Qian helped answer instead from the side. “After accepting so many scarves, if he wears one that a fan sent, the other fans who also sent scarves will have complaints. It’s the safest choice to not wear any of them.”
Jian Rong stared down at his own scarf and thought, As long as laozi receives just one more scarf, I’ll use this ugly thing to pad the bottom of my chair.
Even though that was what he was thinking, in any case the scarf was around his neck now. Aside from some rather unfilial words being embroidered on it, this scarf was still very warm.
There were two match slots on regular season competition days. Today, they were playing in the second match, and it only started at seven; their opponent was a team that had just come out of the LDL. The first match was Squid versus MFG.
After being scheduled to bump into Squid two times in a row, Ding-ge started to suspect that the LPL was purposefully screwing with him.
“Jian Rong.” Before they got off the bus, Ding-ge instructed quietly, “Squid is in the break room next to us. If you see him, just pretend like he’s air.”
Jian Rong buried his mouth under his scarf. “Mn.”
However, once they arrived at the stadium, the first match had already begun.
When they turned on the television broadcast, they just happened to see Kongkong coordinate with his jungler to fight a 4v2 in the bot lane. With one ult from Kongkong, Doufu was directly swept away.
“Doufu is playing even worse than he did last week.” Pine concluded indifferently.
“I feel like he’s just average in the first place. The main thing is that his looks are alright, so he has a lot of female fans. They always like to brag about him being the next top ADC or something, and with so much boasting everyone ended up believing it.” Yuan Qian propped up his head and said, “His positioning is way too awful. In this wave, he managed to accurately walk into the enemy’s attack range with every step. That’s also a kind of skill…”
“Exactly, like hell he’s the next top ADC, can he compare with my P-baby?” Xiao Bai reached out to hook his arm around Pine’s shoulders. “My P-baby is taller than him, more handsome than him, and plays better than him!”
Pine: “Don’t put your arm around me.”
Though he said that, he didn’t actually shake him off. Xiao Bai jerked his chin at Jian Rong, who was sitting to the side. “What’s more, he was killed to that extent by Jian Rong last week. He probably still hasn’t recovered from that yet.”
Jian Rong shed his scarf and coat before lowering his head to zip up his team jacket. “Being trash is his own problem, it has nothing to do with me.”
Oh boy, each one was more arrogant than the last. Since it wasn’t time for their match yet, there were no outsiders present except for their team’s personal photographers. Ding-ge decided that he might as well preemptively lock the door.
He turned and saw that Lu Boyuan was still looking at his phone. Weibo’s interface was evident on the screen. Ding-ge lifted an eyebrow. “You’re about to have a competition, why are you still playing on your phone?”
Lu Boyuan didn’t look up, his voice unconcerned. “XIU sent me the new interview with HT’s mid laner.”
Everyone else was startled.
As the LCK’s number one team, the strength of HT’s players were irrefutable. Their new bot lane duo also consisted of two powerful players that had been directly promoted from the second team. The one publicly recognized to be the strongest in HT was their mid laner, Master. His champion pool was deep, and he could play both early and late game; he had almost no weak points.
During these past two competitive years, nobody had been able to break past HT’s mid laner during the laning phase. Kan being solo killed by him in competitive matches was already a familiar scene.
“What did he say?” Xiao Bai straightened up and asked.
Lu Boyuan said, “It’s too long, watch it yourself.”
Jian Rong couldn’t help but fish out his own phone as well. The moment he logged into his Weibo side account, the subtitled version of the interview appeared on his homepage.
The first half of the interview was still okay, as the questions were just about the game. But in the latter half, the reporter asked him which team left the deepest impression on him from this year’s Worlds.
Master thought for a long time. With this kind of question, a lengthy silence was also an alternative type of ridicule. Quite a while later, he answered with the LEC’s M7 team.
The reporter raised an eyebrow in surprise and questioned: This past season you were facing off against LPL teams during the semifinals and finals, shouldn’t you have a deeper impression of a LPL team instead?
Master nodded and said, Playing against a LPL team feels just like playing against a LCK team, which is why it didn’t give me any particular feelings.
The reporter asked: Why do you think that?
Master chuckled and said: Sorry, it’s probably because there are three players in their strong team that were washed out from the LCK. They’re full of Koreans, so it makes me feel like I’m competing against a team from my own competitive region.
It was unclear what part Xiao Bai was watching, but he couldn’t help but let out a curse.
Jian Rong had one earbud in, and he lowered his eyes as he coldly continued to watch the interview.
The reporter asked: Yes, that’s right. Even though the LPL has developed very well in recent years, they have indeed pulled in quite a few of our country’s players. Then what about TTC? Currently, they’re an all Chinese team.
Master answered swiftly: They’re not too good. They rely on Road, but recently Road hasn’t been doing very well either. They let a sub take the stage during the semifinals, so it was really boring to play against them.
At that point, Jian Rong locked his phone and tossed it onto the sofa.
“Fuck.” Xiao Bai let out a second swear. “Who’s the one who’s not doing very well? He’s the one who isn’t doing very well, where’s he getting this arrogance from?”
Though he was cursing Master, there wasn’t much confidence backing his words. Because Kan had indeed been thoroughly beaten up by Master, and during that semifinals match, none of them had played well due to various reasons. In the end, HT had even brutally destroyed them at their own Nexus.
Jian Rong couldn’t resist looking at Lu Boyuan.
Lu Boyuan had already finished watching the video. His expression was the same as usual, and he was in the middle of replying to a message.
[PUD, XIU: He called our mid laner “a player washed out from the LCK,” and now our mid is already frying fish1 in Platinum with red eyes.]
[R: In that case, he still needs to train his resilience.]
[PUD, XIU: ?]
[PUD, XIU: Okokok, your team’s new mid laner is very resilient. If Master was mocking Soft, I bet he would’ve instantly booked a ticket straight to Korea.]
Jian Rong was staring at Lu Boyuan’s profile, lost in thought, when the other person suddenly turned his head and locked eyes with him.
“…” After being caught peeking, Jian Rong instantly averted his eyes, wanting to pretend like it was a coincidence.
“Have you played against Master before?” Lu Boyuan suddenly asked.
Jian Rong paused before he looked back and said truthfully, “I ran into him on the Korean server a year ago, but I didn’t win.”
Lu Boyuan gave a slight nod, wanting to say something else.
“He solo killed me once, but it’s not a big problem.” Jian Rong continued, “It won’t happen again next time. Next time, I’ll strive to not be solo killed, and the time after that, I’ll strive to be the one solo killing him.”
As soon as he said that, Xiao Bai’s other hand instantly landed on his shoulder. “Badass! I believe in you! You can definitely do it!”
“Of course I can.” Jian Rong said, “Get your hand off me.”
Lu Boyuan watched him quietly for a few seconds. Jian Rong couldn’t quite understand the look in his eyes.
Did he dislike the fact that Jian Rong had been solo killed by Master before?
Jian Rong should’ve phrased it in a more badass way earlier: next time he would strive to solo kill Master, that was how it should be.
He was about to correct his statement, but Lu Boyuan had already retracted his gaze and was discussing what to ban in the upcoming match with Ding-ge.
Not too long after, MFG beat Squid 2:0, and a staff member knocked on their door as a reminder to get ready to go on stage.
When Jian Rong walked out of the break room, he ran right into Squid again, who was preparing to leave the stadium.
Doufu was looking at his phone, his expression dark. His headphones weren’t plugged in, so the sound was playing out loud; just by listening, it was clear that he was watching Master’s interview.
Halfway through the video, Doufu cursed at the person on the screen without attempting to hide it whatsoever, “Dumbass…”
Ding-ge thought that this was way too freaking unlucky. He quickly stood to Jian Rong’s left, attempting to prevent the two people from having any interactions.
As they passed by each other, Jian Rong swept a cool look over Doufu.
Doufu caught that glance, and when he saw that Lu Boyuan had already walked some distance away, he immediately stopped and asked irritably, “What are you looking at??”
“Nothing.” Jian Rong said succinctly, “I was just surprised that you could occasionally say something in a human language too.”
To nobody’s surprise, TTC won their second spring season match 2:0.
The MVP position was given to Lu Boyuan, and the one in charge of the interview was still Tang Qin.
Today, Tang Qin was wearing a long white sleeveless dress, and Jian Rong felt cold just looking at her arms.
“Tang Qin-jie has such a good figure, both tall and skinny,” Xiao Bai said as he leaned back on the sofa and hugged his equipment bag.
While playing a puzzle game on his phone, Pine said, “If you don’t eat for a week, you can also end up looking like her.”
“Go play your game!”
Jian Rong propped up his chin and quietly watched the interview on the television.
Some people looked good in reality, but were very ugly on camera. Lu Boyuan was the type who looked good in person and on film.
He stood casually, with his back and neck straight. If he wore a suit, it could even be mistaken as a red carpet interview.
Tang Qin wore a sweet smile. Originally, there was a person’s width of space between her and Lu Boyuan, but as they chatted, she gradually grew closer.
Jian Rong’s brows furrowed.
Could they stand that close in an interview? Didn’t they think it was crowded standing like that?
Just as he thought that, he saw Lu Boyuan smile lightly as he finished answering a question before he unobtrusively shifted to the right a bit.
After replying to his girlfriend’s message, Yuan Qian looked up and sighed regretfully. “If only Captain could give me half of his handsomeness.”
“You already have a girlfriend, you’re fine either way.” Xiao Bai paused briefly. “Tsk, don’t you guys think that my ge and Tang Qin-jie look very well-matched standing together? It looks like a wedding ceremony…”
“Don’t think so.” Jian Rong coldly cut him off. “Not well-matched.”
Xiao Bai was startled, but then he immediately nodded understandingly. “Oh, you’re a fan of my ge, so it’s normal for you to have high requirements for his spouse. Not a match, not a match, nobody in this entire world is a deserving match for my ge.”
Jian Rong: “…”
Jian Rong didn’t feel like dealing with him.
Once Lu Boyuan returned to the break room, everyone collected their things and they left through the back entrance.
The car was waiting at the door. Jian Rong was too lazy to put on his winter gear again, so he just stuffed the scarf into his backpack and walked out carrying his jacket in his hand.
Since they were the second match that day, the fans hadn’t known when they would show up at the stadium, so there hadn’t been a lot of people waiting for them when they arrived earlier. But now that they were leaving, there were quite a few fans waiting at the back gate.
This was Jian Rong’s first time being escorted out by fans after a competition.
The fans were cheering very loudly, and the entire way to the car, they were almost all shouting Lu Boyuan’s name.
Jian Rong walked extremely fast, and he was about to get on the bus when:
“Soft—” A male voice sounded from the side. “Why aren’t you wearing the scarf I sent you!!!!”
Jian Rong: “…”
His footsteps froze, and he looked in that direction.
It was a man wearing a black parka and a black mask. He appeared to be fairly young, and his exposed eyes were actually pretty good-looking.
But that wasn’t the important point.
With nearly no hesitation, Jian Rong turned and walked over.
Jian Rong came to a stop amidst the screams and narrowed his eyes. “You sent that scarf?”
The man: “That’s right, I knitted it myself.”
“Knitted it… if you have that much time, can’t you use it to play games?” Jian Rong looked at him doubtfully and couldn’t help but confirm it again, “What are the words embroidered on it?”
“Belonging to LPL’s #1—”
“Got it.” Jian Rong frowned and interrupted him before he asked, baffled, “Why are you, a grown man, sending me a scarf? Isn’t that so corny?”
The man was startled, but then he said very naturally, “Because I like you ah.”
“If you like me, then watch the competition streams, don’t send useless things like this.” Jian Rong said.
“That’s not it.” The man smiled. “It’s the kind of like that makes me want to knit scarves for you.”
Twisting and turning. Jian Rong couldn’t understand what he was hearing, and when he saw that all his teammates were on the car already, his brows crinkled together. “Stop beating around the bush.”
The man thought a bit. “It’s the kind of like that makes me want to communicate deeply with you.”
“Deep—” Jian Rong was stunned, and he thought he misheard something. “…what? Say it one more time??”
Security guards were already approaching, and the man hastily said, “Little dumbass, add me on WeChat?”
Jian Rong was still digesting the man’s words when someone pulled on the equipment bag he was carrying.
Jian Rong subconsciously took a step back, and his left shoulder collided into the person standing behind him.
“Time to get in the car.” Lu Boyuan’s voice was mild and deep.
Jian Rong collected his thoughts after a few seconds and nodded. “Oh.”
“Hold on.” The male fan called out to him again. “Add me on WeChat ah.”
Lu Boyuan was still holding onto Jian Rong’s bag, and he swept a very light look over that person. “He will not.”
The person: “God Lu, it’s not up for you to decide…”
“If it’s not up for him to decide, then whose decision is it?” Jian Rong snapped out of it and rapidly restored his previous expression. He asked in reply, “Yours?”
The person: “…”
After getting in the car, the only seats left were two right next to each other in the back row. The others were all full.
Jian Rong sat next to Lu Boyuan, their shoulders pressing together. Ever since they started driving, he had been staring out the window.
“After we get back, you can consider practicing Azir.”
When Lu Boyuan didn’t receive a response for quite some time, he turned his head. “Jian Rong.”
Jian Rong slowly looked over. “Ah.”
Lu Boyuan lowered his eyes and met Jian Rong’s gaze briefly. “What are you thinking?”
“I’m thinking,” Jian Rong’s expression was bewildered. “That person just now was a man?”
Lu Boyuan: “Mn.”
Jian Rong: “I’m also a man.”
Lu Boyuan: “Mn.”
“Was he mocking me?” Jian Rong hesitated for a moment before he asked uncertainly, “Trying to say I look like a girl?”
Lu Boyuan stared at him for two seconds before he tilted his head away and laughed.
Jian Rong waited dumbly until Lu Boyuan finished laughing and looked back at him. The street lamps slid unceasingly across Lu Boyuan’s face, covering the man’s handsome features with a layer of blurry light and shadow. Jian Rong was reflected in the gleam of Lu Boyuan’s downcast eyes.
“…even though it’s still too early to teach you about these things.” Lu Boyuan lowered his voice, each word slamming into Jian Rong’s ears like a mini hammer. “Jian Rong, if both sides like one another, men can also date men.”
- Frying fish refers to a player opening a side account to bully noobs ^
Wei: LOL a whole new world opening up for JR ahaha this innocent baby I can’t