The next day, Ding-ge arrived at the base just as Lu Boyuan returned from his run.
“You went running? Does your body even feel better yet? In the middle of the day like this…” Ding-ge blocked Lu Boyuan from going upstairs. “Also, how many times have I told you this already? You have to wear a hat even if you’re just going out to throw away the trash, do you know that there are often fans camping outside of the neighborhood…”
“I didn’t leave the neighborhood.” Lu Boyuan stopped helplessly and picked up a towel to casually wipe his face with. “I’ve also said this before, it’s not that bad.”
“Stop thinking of yourself as an ordinary person all the time, wake up a bit, your advertisement fee is higher than that of who knows how many celebrities!” After Ding-ge said that, he glanced at Lu Boyuan’s hand. “Does it still hurt? Let me go get a thermometer…”
Lu Boyuan walked towards the break room. “I already measured it, the fever went down. My hand is fine too.”
Ding-ge followed him. “The doctor said that you’re still practicing for too long. How about this, the next spring season match is against Throne, and they’re pretty average this season. We could let Moon go up and get some practice in, and you rest.”
Lu Boyuan frowned. “I can play.”
“I know that you can play, who in the entire LPL doesn’t know that?” Ding-ge interrupted him. “But it’s not necessary, it’s just a regular season match, after all. And also, I feel like they’ll be able to win even without you. Even if they do lose, it won’t be a big deal. Don’t tell me that you’re worried about us not entering the playoffs? Recently, you haven’t stopped practicing once, your hand needs to rest.”
Lu Boyuan quietly took a sip of water.
“Listen to ge this time… I heard that PUD also urgently called the doctor over to their base last night. XIU’s hand problem seems to be a bit worse off than yours.”
Lu Boyuan swept a look over him. “You have a spy at PUD’s base?”
“Who can hide something like this? Do you think the other teams don’t know about your hand injury?” Ding-ge sighed. “XIU’s probably going to end up retiring this year, PUD has already begun secretly looking for a new jungler.”
Lu Boyuan paused slightly, and he put down his bottle. “You even know that?”
Ding-ge hummed. “I won’t keep you in the dark either. PWT’s rookie jungler’s contract is set to expire soon, and he’s contacted me privately before. He also revealed to me that PUD was in touch with him, probably because he wanted to raise his own net worth a bit.”
Lu Boyuan nodded. “How did the negotiations go?”
“There were none.” Ding-ge said, “Our team isn’t lacking a jungler.”
The corners of Lu Boyuan’s mouth tugged upwards, but at the same time, he couldn’t bring himself to laugh.
XIU had indeed discussed retirement with Lu Boyuan before, but XIU had said that he was planning to hang in there and play for another two years. He wanted to do his best to help his old master PUD, which had served him for many years, get a championship trophy; then, he could retire freely and easily.
LoL’s professional scene had already developed for many years now. The esports clubs abandoning their veterans had long since become commonplace.
Some only found out that they were relegated to the substitute position the night before the competition began. Some were even threatened by their teams: either they could agree to hang up their mantle, or they could stare at the water cooler for an entire season backstage.
Lu Boyuan had witnessed it all and more before. Just a few days ago, the pro player who was threatened to the point of retirement had invited all the people in the LPL veteran group chat out to celebrate his child’s one-month birthday.
The new replacing the old was an unavoidable process for every esports team. No matter how glorious a professional player once was, they would always eventually be submerged in the long river of time.
Lu Boyuan picked up his water and made to leave. Ding-ge quickly stopped him. “Where are you going?”
“To take a shower.”
“Wait a moment, the thing I was just talking with you about…”
“Up to you.” Lu Boyuan said, “It’s you all in the management who have the final say concerning who goes up on stage. I’ll follow whatever is planned.”
Ding-ge nodded. “Don’t feel too sad about XIU either. Pro players of his caliber won’t have a bad life after they retire.”
Lu Boyuan nodded and didn’t say anything else before he continued upstairs.
Ding-ge watched him go. When Lu Boyuan was halfway up the stairs, Ding-ge suddenly remembered that he still had something to take care of. “Hey hold on! Is that little damn brat with the dyed blue hair awake yet?!”
That furious roar was the first thing Jian Rong heard when he opened his door.
He drowsily met Lu Boyuan’s gaze. Because he just woke up, his mind was somewhat sluggish.
Ding-ge just happened to be standing at the perfect angle to see Jian Rong’s half-open bedroom door through the gaps in the banister. “Jian Rong—come down here at once and explain to me how the fuck a news title like ‘child steals parent’s money to recharge account and requests a refund from Tencent’ is related to you!!!”
Jian Rong woke up then, and slammed his door shut with a bang.
But he couldn’t hide forever. Half an hour later, Jian Rong sat in the living room, holding his noodles while a stream recording of last night’s events played out in front of everyone else. He infinitely regretted his past self who had tried to run away earlier.
Xiao Bai sat on the sofa, watching Jian Rong’s stream replay from last night, laughing so hard that he felt sore. He lifted his head and asked the person on the other end of the couch, “Ge, do you think I have a chance to own the TTC Lee Sin skin?”
Lu Boyuan was playing on his phone. “You don’t have it?”
“My newly opened side account on the Black Rose server doesn’t.” Xiao Bai instantly said.
Lu Boyuan nodded. “That skin will go back on sale in October, when the time comes I’ll send you one.”
Xiao Bai: “??”
Xiao Bai immediately made his injustice known. “Ge, this is discriminatory treatment!”
Jian Rong was sitting on the carpet, his back against the couch, so he couldn’t see the other people’s expressions. He only heard Lu Boyuan reply with a simple, “Mn.”
Jian Rong froze for two seconds before he lowered his head and slurped up a large mouthful of noodles.
An inexplicable happiness had just started to bloom in his heart when—
“Jian Rong’s still young, and he’s a newcomer too. It’s normal for Captain to take care of him.” The great master of impartiality, Yuan Qian, patted Xiao Bai’s shoulder. “Captain took care of you a lot before too. Didn’t he constantly take you out to eat back when we just started playing competitively?”
“That’s right.” Xiao Bai thought a bit. “At that time, we only made about a thousand yuan a month, and my ge would have to spend several hundred just treating me to meals… ge, you’re so great.”
Jian Rong bit through his noodles with a snap.
Deceiving customer service wasn’t a big deal. In any case, it wasn’t like Tencent would refund the money, so most people treated it like a meme.
Ding-ge scolded Jian Rong a little and told him to be careful when streaming in the future; he should be especially cautious of not being linked to the word ‘deceive’ again.
Jian Rong concentrated on eating his noodles and nodded at everything Ding-ge said.
“Okay, that’s enough. Everyone’s eaten, right?” Ding-ge glanced at the time. “Let’s go upstairs, the practice match is about to begin.”
The auntie was on break today, so Ding-ge made the noodles that Jian Rong was eating.
Jian Rong washed the bowl and was about to go upstairs to practice when he saw that Lu Boyuan was still sitting on the sofa, playing a match-three game.
Even though he sensed someone approaching him, Lu Boyuan didn’t look up. “What’s up?”
Jian Rong shook off the water on his hands very lightly. “Let me transfer that ten thousand yuan to you, Captain.”
Lu Boyuan didn’t respond. He only turned to face Jian Rong once he finished eliminating all the items in the game, resting his elbow lazily on the back of the couch.
“A child stealing his parent’s money?” he suddenly asked, “Am I the parent or the child?”
Jian Rong was dumbfounded by the question.
Lu Boyuan raised an eyebrow. “I properly earned all the money that I deposited for you, I didn’t steal it, don’t worry.”
Jian Rong snapped out of it, and he rambled, “No, you’re the parent…”
Wait a minute.
What parent or child, that was just something that he made up solely to mess with and trick customer service.
Lu Boyuan: “In that case, the parent voluntarily gave the money, no need to return it.”
After he said that, he turned back around and started the next level of the game.
Jian Rong stood there for a while before he reached up and wiped his face with the still wet palm of his hand.
His phone’s WeChat chimed; Jian Rong didn’t even need to check it to know who was looking for him.
He licked his lips and took two steps closer to Lu Boyuan before he reminded him, “Ding-ge is saying to go upstairs.”
Lu Boyuan gave an “en.” “Go ahead.”
Jian Rong was startled. “Are you not going?”
“I’m resting today.” Lu Boyuan’s head was still lowered. “Moon went up already. They’re all waiting for you, so you should go.”
On the way to the practice match room, Jian Rong glanced downstairs through the gaps in the stair railing.
Lu Boyuan was already gone from the living room.
Jian Rong and Yuan Qian were walking at the very end. He pressed his lips together but still couldn’t resist tilting his head to ask, “Qian-ge, why is the sub playing in today’s practice match?”
“It’s normal to train with the substitute, other teams frequently play with subs during practice matches.” Yuan Qian murmured, “It’s probably because Captain practiced too much recently and went over his training limit, so he got a warning from the doctor…”
“Warning?” Jian Rong unconsciously stopped walking. “Didn’t his fever go down?”
Yuan Qian’s smile froze. Only then did he remember that Jian Rong still didn’t know about the captain’s hand injury.
Although it wasn’t like this was some big secret that had to be hidden no matter what from Jian Rong… Ding-ge and the captain both hadn’t said anything about it, so Yuan Qian didn’t dare to just tell Jian Rong on his own initiative either.
“Does he have another injury too?” People who played games all year round were very sharp when it came to matters like this. Jian Rong demanded, “A pro gaming injury? Is that it?”
Yuan Qian sucked in a deep breath of air and smiled. “Yeah. Hai, nowadays who doesn’t have some pro gaming injuries? You should also have some from streaming for so long every day before, right? Everyone feels tired when they play for too long. Who knows, maybe it’ll be your turn to rest during the next practice match…”
“I don’t rest.” Jian Rong said.
Yuan Qian: “…”
Actually, Jian Rong had guessed a long time ago that Lu Boyuan had a pro gaming injury. After having his suspicions confirmed, he restrained himself and didn’t keep questioning Yuan Qian.
If Lu Boyuan wanted to tell him, then he would’ve already done so that night Jian Rong massaged his hand for him.
Seeing that Jian Rong’s face was filled with concern, Yuan Qian was worried that it would affect their upcoming practice match, so he started to contemplate whether he should comfort Jian Rong a bit.
Jian Rong suddenly turned his head and asked, “Is it very serious?”
Yuan Qian buried his conscience and said, “I’m not entirely sure either, it should be… alright. Anyway, Captain already said that he won’t be retiring this year.”
Jian Rong nodded and strode into the practice match room.
Reality proved that Yuan Qian was overthinking things.
Their conversation didn’t have any effect whatsoever on Jian Rong’s condition. In their practice match that day, Jian Rong completely carried, and he got MVP in three out of the five games.
What Yuan Qian didn’t know was that, upon finishing their matches and returning to the practice room, the first thing that Jian Rong did was secretly pull up a certain search engine on his phone.
“What kind of occupational injuries do professional gamers have”
“Can hand overuse injuries be cured”
“Do severe back injuries hurt a lot”
The search results that came up were all fucking useless. Jian Rong looked up a few questions before he gave up.
He glanced at Lu Boyuan’s computer chair; it was empty.
After exiting the website, Jian Rong opened a certain online shopping platform, wanting to order some instant coffee. They were almost out of instant coffee at the base, and he still wasn’t used to the coffee machine.
Unexpectedly, the instant the website loaded, the home page was filled with recommendations of items—
[100% good reviews neck massager], [Low frequency physiotherapy equipment for unblocking the meridians – electrotherapy massager], [Back massager – chin up, chest out, be a man]………
Jian Rong couldn’t help but click into one and check it out.
The seller extravagantly embellished the functions of the massager, all the customer reviews were positive, the rate of good reviews was 100%!!!
Jian Rong was blinded by these showy advertisements, and he wildly spent money at that Taobao shop.
The owner of the Taobao shop was located right in Shanghai. After Jian Rong contacted them, the owner agreed to ship to Jian Rong using same-city express delivery.
As Xiao Bai passed by Jian Rong, holding his milk tea, he just happened to spot Jian Rong scanning his QR payment code from the corner of his eye. “8,200? That’s a hefty sum, whatcha buying?”
Jian Rong slammed his phone face-down on the table. “None of your business.”
At seven PM, everyone sat in the living room together eating crayfish while also reviewing their match recordings.
Lu Boyuan finally came downstairs. He wore a calm expression as he sat down next to Jian Rong.
“Ge, what were you doing this afternoon?” Xiao Bai asked.
“Sleeping.” Lu Boyuan’s voice was indifferent. “How was the practice match?”
“We won them all.” Moon spoke before Xiao Bai could reply. “…Captain, I was the MVP for a game.”
His desire to be praised was very obvious.
Lu Boyuan only nodded, head lowered as he replied to a text.
Jian Rong gnawed on his chopsticks and couldn’t resist peeking down at Lu Boyuan’s hand.
Lu Boyuan was leaning against the back of the chair the entire time while he was typing, so his back should be fine.
Halfway through their meal, the doorbell rang.
Ding-ge slipped off his gloves and walked over to the entryway, opening the digital peephole. He saw a man wearing a hat and mask standing outside, and he frowned as he questioned, “Who is it?”
The person was covered up so much that even his voice sounded muffled. “Express delivery.”
Ding-ge’s brows furrowed even deeper. “We didn’t order any express deliveries—”
“It’s mine.” Jian Rong abruptly stood up. “I’ll go get it.”
Ding-ge glanced back and asked, “You bought something?”
“Mn, same-city express delivery.” Jian Rong replied as he put on his shoes.
Ding-ge hesitated briefly before he said to the courier, “Got it, you can just put the item down at the door and go, we’ll get it right away.”
The box wasn’t very big, and it was surprisingly light. Jian Rong held it in his arms and verified the name on the box—“Soft”.
It was his, for sure.
Back at the base, Yuan Qian lifted his head and urged, “Finish eating first and then open it, if you don’t come soon we’re going to eat them all.”
Jian Rong found a pair of scissors. “One moment, I’m just going to confirm it.”
He bought so many items, so reasonably speaking, it shouldn’t be this light.
And also… did he write Soft as the recipient name?
Just as Jian Rong tore open the package, the doorbell rang again.
Lu Boyuan walked out from the kitchen right after washing his hands. “I’ll get it.”
Lu Boyuan opened the digital peephole. A courier wearing a certain express delivery company’s jacket was standing outside. “Hello, I’m here to deliver a package. I have a same-city express delivery for Jian Rong here…”
The sound of scissors falling on the ground.
Unease rose in Lu Boyuan’s mind, and he looked back to see Jian Rong staring, shocked, at the package, before he lifted a hand to cover his nose—Lu Boyuan didn’t even think before he started walking towards Jian Rong.
Right as Lu Boyuan was drawing near, Jian Rong snapped out of it and swiftly closed the flaps of the package tightly. He picked up the tape that he had just ripped off and randomly stuck it back on. “Don’t come over here.”
Lu Boyuan looked down. “What is it?”
“…a few dead rats.” Jian Rong reacted rapidly and picked up the package before he headed outside.
Lu Boyuan grabbed onto his arm. “Where are you going?”
“It’s not too late if I chase after them right now.” Jian Rong said, “I’m going to smash this on that dumbass’ head.”
Yan: Jian Rong is like that duck with a knife meme. Super tiny but WILL FIGHT. (Also last thing about Genshin I swear but hehe ily to everyone who added me – big shoutout to whoever added me as “Soft” with Chongyun as your profile pic, you made me laugh hahaha)
Wei: I’ll fight that guy too JR!!! Also why do I feel like JR got scammed anyway lol you can’t trust those shady ads