While they were still in queue, Lu Boyuan’s phone chimed.
He exited the streaming app open on his phone and went to check his messages. Ever since he made a visit to Doufu’s livestream room on his main account some time ago, Ding-ge would periodically remind him to use his side account.
[Ding-ge: Don’t practice for too long, we still have a practice match later. Keep in mind the doctor’s recommended training time.]
Lu Boyuan replied with an “I know,” and the game just happened to match them in.
[TTC ་ Road joined the lobby.]
[Just Watch My Gameplay joined the lobby.]
[I’m Qiuqiu You QAQ joined the lobby.]
It was the name that was just on the barrage.
Lu Boyuan was about to reopen the streaming app, but then he hesitated for a half a second before he locked his phone and set it down on the table, directly logging into StarTV on his computer instead.
Upon entering the lobby, the first thing Jian Rong did was check his role.
Lu Boyuan got support, and he got ADC.
Jian Rong was satisfied. Seeing that he was fifth to pick, he took the chance to glance at the barrage. “What ADC should I play?”
[Soft definitely likes Road]
[Soft definitely likes Road]
[Got here late, what’s going on? What did the dumbass do to Road now? Forget it, I’ll just follow along Soft definitely likes Road]
[Hahahahaha you and Qiuqiu crashed cars]
[What’s up with TTC? Pine and Xiao Bai act like this, and you two do too?? Perhaps Qian-ge will become your team’s only straight guy.]
[Soft definitely likes Road, but Road likes me :)!]
Jian Rong was startled. “What kind of nonsense are you guys spouting…”
Jian Rong felt a baseless rush of guilt surge over him, and his heart was beating somewhat quickly. He was about to turn his head and sneak a peek at Lu Boyuan when an exaggerated special effect for entering a livestream room floated across the top of his screen—
[Guardian TTC ་ Road has entered the livestream room.]
[TTC ་ Soft has enabled a stream-wide speaking ban.]
[TTC ་ Soft has cleared the screen.]
Despite being in this industry for so many years, Jian Rong had never used these two functions before, so his actions were a little slow.
He switched back to the game in a panic, his gaze traveling around wildly.
Why did Lu Boyuan suddenly enter his livestream room?
…did he see those weird comments?
It was like Lu Boyuan read his mind, as he explained evenly, “Xiao Bai said that the icons for max-level accounts look nice, so I came here to idle for a bit.”
StarTV had viewer rankings; the longer a viewer watched a stream, the higher their rank would be. The icon for a max-level account was a tiny purple star, and it did indeed look nice.
However—there were simply way, way too many icons following behind Lu Boyuan’s username. Even if his account was max-level, the little star would still end up being squeezed by the other icons into the ellipsis at the very end.
Xiao Bai overheard what Lu Boyuan said, and he instantly turned around to issue a passionate invitation. “Ge, how about you come and idle in my livestream room? I’ll serve you well with good tea made with good water.”
He was joking. No matter which stream his ge’s livestream account stayed in, the fans who followed him would all be notified. How could this be considered hanging up an idling sign? This was clearly hanging up the biggest billboard.
Lu Boyuan randomly banned a champion. “Doesn’t Pine idle in your livestream room every day?”
“I’ve already sucked all his fans dry a long time ago.” After Xiao Bai said that, he saw Pine, who was sitting next to him, open the streaming platform. “P-baby, whatcha doing? Are you gonna stream… hey, why are you unfollowing my livestream room!”
Pine said: “Shut up, I don’t want to talk to you right now.”
Xiao Bai rambled, “I was kidding! I was just trying to trick ge into idling in my livestream room, and after that I can go and idle in your stream. Wouldn’t the two of us be sharing my ge’s fans then… first follow me back again, hurry up.”
The corner of Lu Boyuan’s mouth quirked up. He looked at the fifth slot of their team, who had remained unresponsive for a while now, and reminded, “Ban a champion.”
“Oh.” Jian Rong snapped out of it and selected his customary ‘none’ ban. “Which ADC should I play?”
“Anything works.” Lu Boyuan modified his runes. “Play whatever you want.”
“Why don’t you ever ask me something like that when we duo queue together?” Xiao Bai ran into a dead end with Pine and ended up dejectedly seeking out Jian Rong to chatter away at.
Jian Rong was puzzled. “What’s the point of me asking you that when you’re a support?”
Xiao Bai nodded. “Great. The fans in the stream all overheard that, he looks down on supports, he discriminates in the workplace.”
The duration of the livestream room’s stream-wide speaking ban could be adjusted. Jian Rong wasn’t able to go to the settings at the moment, so the system banned comments for two minutes by default.
As a result, two minutes later, the water friends came back to life.
[Not only does he look down on supports, he also looks down on ADCs. He said that in his eyes, these two roles are basically walking ATMs.]
[Before, who was it that said enabling a stream-wide speaking ban was admitting your cowardice? You should change your name, you shouldn’t be called Jian Rong anymore, it should be Jian Song1.]
[Enabling a stream-wide speaking ban as soon as Road enters the stream? Feeling guilty?]
[Amending it: Soft is definitely secretly in love with Road]
[Road doesn’t go to his own livestream room, and instead idles or appears in Soft’s streams all the time, don’t tell me…]
[Can Soft’s dads and moms not implicate Road? Can Soft stop dragging in his teammates to sell rot? Road really is straight, Road and Tang Qin are a match made in heaven.]
[Road is straight, that’s true, but there is nothing going on between him and Host Tang.]
[Soft is definitely secretly in love with Road! If you enable a stream-wide speaking ban again then it’s the same as you silently acknowledging it!!!]
“You all are so annoying, stop making things up… who’s selling rot?!” Jian Rong ruffled his hair furiously. Watching as the barrage grew more and more lively, he guiltily glanced at Lu Boyuan’s name, which was sitting on the livestream room’s VIP list. He lowered his voice a bit. “I was originally going to practice last hitting. If my teammate comes, then we’re duo queueing to practice, is there a problem?”
[Mhm, TTC’s mid laner and jungler duo Q’ing together in the bot lane, one playing support and the other playing ADC. It really is for the sake of practicing, hah, you all better not say anything.]
[You didn’t sell rot, you two are real.]
[Does Road read the barrage? Could you look at my son’s heart, the one that’s suffering through a bitter secret love.]
Jian Rong couldn’t resist. At the speed of light, he whipped his head around to peek at Lu Boyuan’s screen.
Very good, Lu Boyuan only had LoL open on his computer.
Jian Rong heaved a sigh of relief. When he thought about it, he realized it made sense; Lu Boyuan rarely even read his own stream’s barrage.
He gave his ultimatum. “If you all keep commenting BS like this, I’m going to stop the stream.”
[Damn, threatening your dad??]
[This is my first time witnessing a streamer who uses ‘stop the stream’ as a way to threaten the viewers. I’ve been enlightened.]
[He’s getting nervous he’s getting nervous he’s getting nervous!!]
[Bros, stop spamming, this dumbass really would fucking stop the stream.]
After confirming that Lu Boyuan wasn’t looking at the barrage, Jian Rong was finally able to check out the team composition for this game.
When Lu Boyuan said he was going to ‘muddle through a game,’ he meant it. He picked an enchanter support2, Janna.
Jian Rong was in the middle of contemplating which champion he should play when their teammate suddenly spoke.
[I’m Qiuqiu You QAQ: Soft, do you want mid? I can give it to you.]
Jian Rong blinked. “We crashed cars?”
[You just realized??]
[Let me just ask: do you feel embarrassed yet.]
Jian Rong, who frequently refused duo queue invitations from in-game friends, didn’t feel like there was anything to be embarrassed about.
[Just Watch My Gameplay: No, you can play it.]
Qiuqiu didn’t say anything else and chose Syndra, which actually matched well with her ID3.
Jian Rong dithered for quite some time before he finally picked Jhin.
Only once the loading screen finished and they entered the game did Jian Rong realize that the other team’s jungler was XIU. MFG’s bot lane duo was also on the other team, playing the bot lane.
[[All] PUDXIU: When did you start playing support too? You carrying a little kiddo to play in the bot lane?]
Lu Boyuan typed lazily.
[[All] TTC ་ Road: He’s carrying me]
[[All] PUDXIU: ……?]
Perhaps because Road had never once been carried by someone to victory in his entire five year-long professional career, in other people’s eyes, those three words seemed exceptionally affectionate.
Jian Rong repeatedly reread that message a few times before he said honestly, “…my ADC is average, Diamond-level at the most.”
“It’s fine.” Lu Boyuan’s Janna continued to follow behind Jian Rong. “My support is also average.”
Jian Rong very rarely displayed any weakness; if he said that his ADC was average, then it was average. In recent years, the ADC nerfs were truly tragic, and they also had to coordinate with the supports, so it wasn’t easy for them to carry. Back when he used to stream, he never liked to play ADC.
On the other hand, Lu Boyuan’s “average” evidently didn’t quite have the same meaning as Jian Rong’s.
Lu Boyuan was playing an enchanter support, yet he gave off the imposing aura of a mid laner.
Their opponent was playing Leona, a champion with hard CC. After being poked several times by Lu Boyuan’s W skill, they finally couldn’t hold back anymore upon reaching level 5, and they flashed forward to daze Lu Boyuan. Unexpectedly, the wind underneath Lu Boyuan’s feet, which had been accumulating for a few seconds, slowly swept outwards—just as Leona was halfway through her flash, she was knocked into the air by Lu Boyuan.
With that kind of awareness—never mind the barrage, even MFG’s support returned back underneath the tower and sent an “amazing” in the map-wide chat.
After recalling to base, Lu Boyuan said, “Be careful from now on, XIU is going to start ganking.”
Jian Rong said okay.
Sure enough, as soon as XIU’s Nocturne hit level 6, he headed down.
When XIU used his ult and rushed out, only Jian Rong was under the tower. Lu Boyuan was still some distance behind.
The binding skill that Jian Rong tossed out was successfully blocked by XIU’s spell shield. He clenched his teeth. “Don’t come, their mid laner is here too.”
Lu Boyuan didn’t respond. Instead, he stored up a gust of wind on the spot and charged to Jian Rong’s side using his flash, before he used his W to slow the enemies and used his ult to blow them away.
XIU instantly flashed, wanting to forcefully kill off Jian Rong, but then he saw the wind that Lu Boyuan had charged up a few seconds earlier gently sweep towards him—knocking XIU and his team’s support into the air simultaneously.
Jian Rong seized the opportunity to follow up with damage. Not only was XIU unable to kill Jian Rong, he was nearly done away with himself. In the end, he pitifully slipped into the jungle with a thread of health remaining.
[This Janna is way too frightening…]
[I tied my wife down in front of the computer so that she can watch and learn.]
[Thankfully God Lu is playing support, if he was the jungler, wouldn’t XIU already cease to exist? XIU is becoming more and more trash this season, when is he going to retire?]
[That wave wasn’t XIU’s fault, OK? It was because MFG’s bot lane didn’t coordinate well, Leona didn’t tank the tower even after failing to land her daze, she’s purely sleepwalking.]
XIU suffered a loss that wave, and consequently, he came to the bot lane again and again, with the mid laner often right behind him as well.
Lu Boyuan performed beautifully once more, and after he sacrificed himself to forcibly protect Jian Rong, XIU couldn’t help but type in the chat.
[[All] PUDXIU: Can you stop blasting me all the time with that wind of yours? Can’t you blast it at someone else? You trying to get revenge for a personal grudge or what.]
[[All] TTC ་ Road: You ganked my ADC so many times, what did I ever do to you?]
In this game, Jian Rong had been miserably ganked over and over, and his face was gloomy the entire time.
When he saw that message, he stared at his gray screen blankly for a few seconds—then he propped his left elbow up on the computer desk and covered his mouth very lightly with his hand, before he started to silently peruse the shop.
[Do you think I can’t tell that you’re smiling just because you covered your mouth?]
[Damn, what’s the difference between you two and those blasted couples who take over the bot lane???]
[Little noob, you still have the nerve to smile with a score of 1/4/4? Aren’t you ashamed?]
“What’s there to be ashamed about.” Jian Rong replied with conviction, “If my ADC could beat up MFG’s bot lane while PUD’s jungler is continuously ganking me, then does MFG’s bot lane even need to keep playing?”
This game ended at thirty-five minutes. The bot lane was stubbornly ganked by the enemy the whole time, and the other two lanes hadn’t done particularly well either, so naturally Jian Rong lost.
“Continue.” Lu Boyuan checked on XIU, who was currently in queue, and changed his preselected role back to jungler. He said, “I’ll help you get those points back.”
Unfortunately, they didn’t run into XIU again in the next game. However, that “I’m Qiuqiu You QAQ” ended up matching with them once more; she got ADC this time.
In this match, Jian Rong and Lu Boyuan were playing as the mid laner and jungler respectively. Jian Rong was ganked too oppressively in the last game, so this time he played extremely diligently. On top of that, Lu Boyuan frequently dropped by the mid lane, successfully ganking the enemy mid laner not even fifteen minutes in.
After getting a drake with Lu Boyuan, the bot lane just happened to start fighting. Jian Rong controlled LeBlanc and headed down, beautifully securing a double kill and rescuing the low-health Qiuqiu at the same time.
[I’m Qiuqiu You QAQ: Thank you.]
Jian Rong answered casually.
[Just Watch My Gameplay: It was on the way]
They won this game easily; the other team chose to surrender at twenty-four minutes.
Right after they returned to the post-game stats page, Jian Rong received a new in-game message from a friend.
[I’m Qiuqiu You QAQ: Soft, let’s add each other on WeChat.]
Jian Rong had just typed out a “no thanks.”
[I’m Qiuqiu You QAQ: After all, we’re going to be collaborating together in the future, so this way we can communicate with each other and talk it over.]
[Just Watch My Gameplay: What collaboration?]
[Just Watch My Gameplay: We can talk about it when the time comes, I’m streaming right now, not convenient]
[Dammit, it’s just a WeChat, all you have to do is add her and be done with it, why do you have so much to say!!]
[This is Qiuqiu, do you know who Qiuqiu is? Before rejecting her, I beg that you search for some pictures of her on Baidu first, okay?]
[If you’re a man, you wouldn’t reject her, would you?]
[He is a man, but he’s bent.]
Jian Rong ignored them. In any case, Lu Boyuan was only idling in the stream and couldn’t see their comments, so they could say whatever they wanted to.
After closing the chat with Qiuqiu, Jian Rong entered the matching queue again.
They queued for a fairly long time. Lu Boyuan leaned back in his chair and picked up his phone to reply to XIU’s texts.
[PUD, XIU: The world’s #1 Janna, when will you have time to play support for me?]
[R: When you’re dreaming at night.]
[PUD, XIU: All right.]
[PUD, XIU: Our mid laner created another side account to watch your team’s mid laner stream. He’s learned a few things about streaming, he even knows that you can get some streamers’ WeChats by spamming gifts now. If I hadn’t stopped him, your team’s mid laner would be expressing thanks for the gifts at this point.]
“Captain?” In his headphones, Jian Rong hesitantly called out to him. “Still playing?”
They had matched into a game, but because Lu Boyuan hadn’t clicked ‘accept,’ they had returned to the lobby again.
“Yes.” Lu Boyuan put down his phone. “I was thinking about something just now.”
After they entered the queue once again, Jian Rong glanced at the barrage out of habit.
An extremely boring comment streaked across—[What were you thinking about?]
Jian Rong ignored it, wanting to find a comment to argue with.
“I was thinking.” Lu Boyuan really was sleepy. He had woken up bright and early to make a trip to the hospital, so he wasn’t able to get many hours of sleep at all. As a result, his voice contained a lazy cadence to it. “Why are there so many people who want to add our mid laner on WeChat.”
- Song (怂) = coward ^
- Enchanter supports = closest term I could find to the Chinese term (soft supports). They focus on healing and directly aiding/defending their teammates, and often lack damage themselves ^
- As mentioned before, Qiuqiu’s name = sphere, and Syndra’s nickname is basically “sphere girl” in Chinese (she conjures a bunch of spheres in her attacks) ^