When Jian Rong heard that, he sunk into a deep silence.
A beat later, Ding-ge, who was sitting at the front, looked back and asked, “What are you guys talking about?”
“Nothing.” Lu Boyuan hid his smile.
Ding-ge let out an “oh” before handing over his phone. “I’m watching HT’s most recent match recording, take a look at this wave.”
Only after Lu Boyuan put in his earbuds did Jian Rong recover, and he stiffly wrenched his head towards the window.
After standing in the wind and talking with that man earlier, his hands and face had still felt somewhat chilly upon getting in the car, but now they didn’t feel cold at all anymore.
Although Jian Rong was still young, for better or worse he had floated through the internet for several years, so of course he knew… that men could date other men.
However, these were all things that he had seen on Weibo or in short videos, and what’s more, he had only glanced at them briefly before skipping past. He never would’ve thought that he would be the one to receive a man’s confession, which was why he hadn’t been able to react in time.
Jian Rong watched as the skyscrapers continuously flew by the window, his heart beating extremely fast in the darkness of the car. He didn’t even dare to move the arm that was touching Lu Boyuan’s shoulder, staying tense from start to end.
Once they arrived at the entrance to the base, Xiao Bai glanced at him and asked, puzzled, “Didn’t you think it was too much work to even put on your parka? How come now your mask is on too?”
Jian Rong’s eyelashes were lowered, and his mask covered the majority of his face. “I suddenly felt cold.”
After not really eating much the entire day, everyone had quite the appetite when it came time for midnight snacks—except for Jian Rong.
They sat on the living room carpet, treating the coffee table as a dining table. HT’s latest match recording was playing on the television.
“HT’s bot lane is getting along better and better.” Yuan Qian praised.
“Isn’t it just average? They aren’t playing as well as they did in their former teams. But that’s normal, when you change partners you have to work together for at least one or two seasons before you can really get along.” Xiao Bai stopped halfway through peeling his shrimp to lean over and nudge Pine. “For example, me and P-baby.”
Pine remained motionless and continued to watch the TV screen. “If you touch me with your dirty hand, I won’t renew my contract next season.”
Xiao Bai gave an “aiya” and was about to say something else when he sensed that there was an extremely intense gaze glued to him.
He turned his head and came face to face with Jian Rong, whose lips were pressed tightly together, eyebrows slightly furrowed. “…what? Your stomach hurts?”
Jian Rong stared at him for a while and couldn’t help but ask, “What’s your Ionia server ID again?”
“‘P-Baby’s Little Support’ ah.” Xiao Bai was furious. “You’ve played several dozen ranked games with me, but only now you’re asking what my ID is?! Are you even speaking a human language!!”
Originally, Jian Rong hadn’t given that ID much thought.
He paused. “I remember it, I just wanted to confirm it… why did you pick that ID?”
Xiao Bai’s tone was natural. “I met someone called XX’s Little Fairy before, and I thought it was pretty interesting so I ended up changing my ID. I also wanted P-baby to change his to Bai-Baby’s Little ADC.”
Pine: “I would rather delete my account.”
“Then delete it, delete it right now, or else I’ll look down on you!” After Xiao Bai attacked back, he said, “At first, I wanted to change it to keep things fresh, and I was going to change it back in a few days. But later I discovered that my streams became much more popular after I changed my ID, and I would always receive big gifts when I duo queued with P-baby, so I didn’t end up changing it back… what did they call this again? Oh right, selling rot1.”
Jian Rong thought, You’ve entered the wrong profession, you should’ve turned left and gone to the entertainment circle next door.
Jian Rong gave an “oh” before he took a sip of water, planning to end the subject there.
“You don’t say, this kind of strategy is actually pretty useful. You know MFG’s Kongkong, right? He and his team’s top laner aren’t clean either! The official accounts take the lead in boosting the CP, and every time there’s a documentary they only cut the shots with the two of them. I’ve seen through their tricks long ago.” Xiao Bai swallowed his shrimp meat. “How about you give it a try too? P-baby and I can’t cooperate with you, since we’re already a pair on the surface. Qian-ge won’t work either, because he has a girlfriend. Then that only leaves my ge, but doing this kind of thing with my ge is a bit dangerous, he has so many girlfriend fans—”
Jian Rong viciously choked on his water, and he covered his mouth as he continued to cough.
“You can even choke by drinking on water?” Xiao Bai patted his back for him to help him breathe before he continued his analysis. “But with how ferocious you are, those women can’t out-flame you anyway—er, can’t out-justify you. I’ll teach you. Your first step is to change your ID, just like I did. I’ve even come up with a name for you already, you can be called ‘Road’s Little Mid Laner.’ Or if you’re a bit more courageous, you can directly choose ‘Road’s Darling Little Mid Laner’—”
If it weren’t for the fact that Jian Rong was still coughing, he probably would’ve stuffed his fist into Xiao Bai’s mouth already.
The sound of the door opening came from the side, and Lu Boyuan and Ding-ge walked out of the meeting room after they finished their discussion.
“Change what ID? Who’s changing their ID?” Ding-ge asked after shutting the door.
“Jian Rong ah.” The coffee table was only so big, and it was a little crowded for several grown men to sit around it. Xiao Bai shifted towards Pine and made some space for Lu Boyuan. “Ge, come sit here.”
The space was limited, and as Lu Boyuan sat down while bracing himself using his hand, his arm pressed against Jian Rong’s for a few seconds.
To make it easier to peel shrimp, Lu Boyuan leisurely rolled his sleeves up to his elbows. “What do you want to change it to?”
Jian Rong: “Noth…”
“The current choice is ‘Road’s Little Mid Laner.’” Xiao Bai chewed on a piece of shrimp. “I counted, I think ‘Road’s Darling Little Mid Laner’ is over the character limit.”
Lu Boyuan lifted his eyebrow very slightly and stared at the back of Jian Rong’s head for a few seconds. “Is that so.”
“…………no.” Jian Rong didn’t dare to look at Lu Boyuan. He clenched his teeth and said, “I’m not changing my ID.”
“Zhuang Yibai,” Pine tossed a peeled shrimp into Xiao Bai’s bowl. “Can you eat quietly?”
“I was just joking around.” Xiao Bai ducked his head and swallowed the meat in one bite.
“It’s better to not change your ID, if you do I have to let the LPL know too. It’s pretty inconvenient.” Ding-ge had already eaten dinner, so he only made some coffee for himself and took a small sip. “Now that we’re done with the last match before Lunar New Year, let me tell you about our upcoming plans.”
Lunar New Year was in the middle of the spring season, so the matches would halt temporarily for two weeks. However, the players’ training definitely couldn’t stop for two weeks.
Ding-ge cleared his throat. “You only have three days off this year for Lunar New Year.”
“Three days?!” Yuan Qian was stunned. “How come we only have three days now? Wasn’t it always five days before?”
Ding-ge stated, “This year’s public holiday is only three days long.”
Xiao Bai instantly wilted. “My home is outside the province. After excluding the time needed to travel, I won’t even freaking have enough time to get a full night’s sleep.”
Pine asked, “Which three days will it be?”
“New Year’s Day to the third. But I talked it over with management, and they agreed to let you guys go on Lunar New Year’s Eve. You have to be back on the fourth. I’ll help you guys book your plane tickets tomorrow.”
Xiao Bai raised his hand. “I want to be in first class!!!”
Ding-ge: “I know, your backs are all precious. Since when have I made you guys squeeze in economy before?”
Jian Rong was busy eating, and he didn’t have the slightest reaction to this piece of disastrous news.
“No need to book one for me, I’ll be staying in Shanghai this year.” Lu Boyuan spoke mildly.
Ding-ge asked, “Why? Doesn’t your family go to Hainan every year to celebrate?”
“We aren’t going this year.” Lu Boyuan was putting on his disposable gloves. “Hand me a bottle of water.”
TTC’s members all had elitist tastes, and they preferred drinking mineral spring water over boiled water.
Xiao Bai picked up a bottle of unopened spring water from behind him. After handing it over halfway, Jian Rong, who was sitting on the other side, took it from him.
In passing, Jian Rong twisted open the bottle before setting it down in front of Lu Boyuan.
Lu Boyuan’s glove-wearing actions paused.
The others: “???”
The instant Jian Rong looked up, he saw everyone else’s confused and surprised looks, so he was also startled. “What is it?”
“Damn.” Xiao Bai was speechless. “Aren’t you hella skillful.”
Jian Rong was stupefied for a few seconds before he realized what Xiao Bai was talking about, and he immediately explained, “He’s wearing gloves, and I saw that the bottle cap was a little dirty, so while I was at it I just… there’s no other meaning to it.”
Yuan Qian glanced at his hand and reminded, “You’re also wearing gloves right now.”
Jian Rong replied very fast, “I don’t mind them getting dirty.”
Everyone else went quiet again.
A few seconds later, someone picked up the opened bottle of water and took a sip before saying, “In that case, help me screw it on again?”
Jian Rong didn’t look over, but he felt like Lu Boyuan was laughing. He reached out and screwed the cap back on.
Xiao Bai: “It’s an honor to meet you at last, you must be the legendary master of selling rot, right? I’ve successfully learned the trick, P-baby let’s also act like this next time.”
Killing a teammate would result in a penalty from the LPL.
Jian Rong closed his eyes and, with red ears, forced out a: “Get lost.”
That incident directly caused Jian Rong not to eat his fill at dinner.
They didn’t have practice that night, so when it was time for bed, Jian Rong turned off all the lights and pulled his blankets over his head, trying to force himself to fall asleep. He was about to try emptying his mind when a deep and low male voice spoke slowly in his head—
“Even though it’s still too early to teach you about these things.
“If both sides like one another, men can also date men.”
Men can also date men.
Date… a man.
Jian Rong threw his blanket off and sat up!
He sat at the head of his bed, rubbed his face, and thought that he might as well just practice through the night.
Jian Rong picked up his phone and scrolled absent-mindedly through it, attempting to divert his own attention, but he surfed through most of his homepage to no avail.
He thought a little before he decided to switch to his main account and find some dumbass water friends to fight a bit with.
He didn’t expect to receive several hundred mentions the moment he opened his main account.
Someone had recorded his entire conversation with that male fan. The person who recorded it seemed to be nearby, so the video was exceptionally clear.
Jian Rong cursed in his head and thought, I’m probably going to be scolded by Ding-ge again tomorrow.
Jian Rong watched the video for a few seconds before exiting it. The video was over a minute long, and he didn’t need to watch it to know what the contents were.
He scrolled down the screen to check the comment section—
[Damn! There’s a traitor among us!!!]
[Please maintain the distance of a dad and son with the little dumbass, those who cross the line will die.]
[Little dumbass, don’t date early. Men and women both aren’t allowed, or else I’ll break the little dumbass’ legs.]
That kind of style could still be considered normal, but even further down—
[When I was watching the beginning of this video, I was worried that this person was going to be beaten up by the little bluenette. Unexpectedly, not only did the little bluenette not punch him, he didn’t even let out a single insult…]
[Right! I also thought it was super weird!! And Soft also accepted his scarf!]
[Are you all idiots? The little dumbass is obviously gay too, just look at those thin arms and skinny legs, so girly. He’s definitely a 02 on top of that.]
[There are even people who like foul-mouthed fierce 0s?]
[Fuck what are you all implying? My son is so good-looking, even if he’s a 0 he’s definitely a charming and attractive 0!!]
Jian Rong: “?”
[Thanks for the invite, Soft’s old man here. In the end, this still can’t be hidden any longer. When he repeatedly rejected female streamers’ invitations to duo Q and talk over voice chat, I understood everything. But a father’s love is generous, and he’s free to love whoever he wants. It doesn’t matter if he likes men, women, or transgender people, I will always be his dear dad.]
[I’m a new dad. After smoking a pack of cigarettes, I’ve started to accept this reality a little. Asking Soft’s old man, does he have a boyfriend right now?]
[He shouldn’t have one yet, or else why would he go play competitively instead of dating? Unless it’s because of Road?]
Jian Rong: “???”
[Damn, woken from my dreams by one word! I was just saying that this dumbass is quite strange! Look at how stingy he is, yet he still sends Road 100k yuan worth of gifts?? Is that rational??]
[Then does Road know about this?]
[Who knows, do you all think that Road is gay? It can’t be that my son has an unrequited love, right?]
[Everyone wait, let me ask @TTC ་ Road.]
When Jian Rong saw that @, darkness flashed across his vision, and he felt as if he had instantly lost fifty years of his life.
- I’m sure you’ve probably heard this term before, but it’s basically fan service (or a bit more negatively, queerbaiting) ^
- 0 = bottom/shou ^
Yan: In case anyone is curious, Worlds 2020 is going on right now in Shanghai! The semifinals were this past weekend (officially marking the would-be “start” of ICDI), and the finals next week will be a LCK team vs a LPL team, just like what happened at the beginning of this novel (HT/LCK vs PUD/LPL). Maybe the author should look into gambling with their predictive talent hahaha