Thanks to Anon for the Ko-fi~
Jian Rong felt like he had committed some atrocious offense, and on top of that, the other party involved had caught him by the scruff of his neck, red-handed.
He knew that right now, as long as he pretended to very naturally avert his gaze, everything would be fine. But in the end, Lu Boyuan was still the one who laughed and looked away first.
Right as Jian Rong stiffly rotated his head back around, Xiao Bai exited the video. “Why wasn’t Jian Rong in here ah.”
Yuan Qian nodded. “Seriously, they even included Doufu.”
Pine glanced at the date of posting. “The video’s from August last year, he hadn’t joined yet.”
Realization dawned on Xiao Bai. He turned off his computer and tried to stand up, only to sense that there was a person rooted behind him. He looked back, puzzled. “How come you’re still standing here? Weren’t you going to bed… why are your eyes so red?”
During his last game, Jian Rong had felt sleepy, so he had rubbed his eyes a few times.
He rapidly retreated a couple steps, giving Xiao Bai space to push out his chair. Jian Rong was about to open his mouth and explain when—
Lu Boyuan said, “Watched for too long.”
Just as Jian Rong was contemplating fleeing from the practice room at a speed of several hundred meters per second, Lu Boyuan mildly added, “Turn down your monitor brightness in the future, or else it’ll hurt your eyes.”
That night, Jian Rong had a dream.
In the dream, he was also in the break room from the video. After Lu Boyuan finished listening to what Xiao Bai said, he dipped his head and laughed for a while, before he looked up at Jian Rong. In a steady voice, he said, “You’ve been watching for too long.”
Apart from his family members, it was very rare for Jian Rong to clearly see someone’s face in a dream.
Jian Rong was vaguely aware that something wasn’t quite right about himself, but he didn’t dare to think too deeply about the specifics of it.
Fortunately, his training was packed lately, so he didn’t have that much time to ponder over other things.
Their next regular season match swiftly arrived. Before departing, Ding-ge gave them some pre-match instructions.
They were playing against WZWZ today, which could be considered a middle-tier team in the LPL.
“I’ll keep this short. There are some things that are inconvenient to say backstage.” Ding-ge cleared his throat. “Although we’re already guaranteed to enter the playoffs, you guys still have to play properly in the upcoming matches. We’ve never really lost to WZWZ even after so many practice matches with them, so there’s even less reason for us to lose in an official match. Today, let’s try our best to win early and get off work early. Don’t make any mistakes. That shouldn’t be a problem, right?”
The people sitting in the first few rows of the car loudly responded, “No problem.” Jian Rong was wearing a hat, and he lowered his head to chat with someone from the animal clinic.
Upon reading the incoming text, Jian Rong stared blankly at his phone for two seconds before he quietly muttered, “Incredible.”
“What is it.” Lu Boyuan glanced at him from the corner of his eyes.
Jian Rong rubbed his nose. “Little Orange committed a crime.”
“…” Lu Boyuan felt amused, and he asked accordingly, “Did he get in a fight?”
“No.” Jian Rong said, “He made someone’s stomach turn big1.”
Lu Boyuan: “…”
Jian Rong clicked on the photo that the clinic had sent over. He cast his eyes down as he explained, “One night, it was raining heavily, so the clinic kindly let him stay overnight with this other female cat. Now the little female cat’s stomach is big… this female cat is so pretty, why did he have to do that?!”
As Jian Rong spoke, he handed his phone to Lu Boyuan.
Lu Boyuan grabbed his hand and tilted the phone to look at it before quickly letting go. “She is pretty.”
Their hands were only pressed together for a few seconds. There was a dazed expression on Jian Rong’s face, and his hand remained frozen in midair for a short moment before he withdrew it. “Mn… you can tell just from looking that she’s super expensive.”
Lu Boyuan hummed. “Little Orange is also pretty.”
Thinking of Little Orange’s gradually fattening face in the recent photos, Jian Rong crinkled his brows, filled with disdain.
Lu Boyuan laughed. “What did the female cat’s owner say?”
“Have to compensate with some money.”
Ding-ge suddenly clapped from the passenger seat. “We’re about to arrive, everyone wake up. There are fans here today, if you guys get out of the car looking tired again, watch out or those forum antis will directly pronounce your deaths—”
The three people in front instantly sat up straight. Jian Rong ducked his head, hurriedly replying.
[R-ong: Got it, I’ll take responsibility. How much do I have to pay?]
[R-ong: You should buy some more canned cat food too and feed it to that female cat to supplement her nutrition. None for Little Orange.]
[Love Pets Animal Clinic: No need, Little Orange’s dad deposited quite a bit of money last time, we can just deduct it straight from there.]
Jian Rong was startled.
Little Orange’s… dad? Who?
Even if this guy really has a dad, shouldn’t it be me?
[R-ong: What dad?]
[Love Pets Animal Clinic: Ah, I’m referring to the individual whose profile picture is a little teacup pig, just like yours. The WeChat name is R.]
[Love Pets Animal Clinic: I saw that the director’s note for him was also Little Orange’s dad. Is the note wrong? [laughing crying]]
Jian Rong slanted his phone towards himself, as if he was afraid of someone catching sight of it.
[R-ong: It’s right]
The customer service sister skillfully and amiably responded—
[Love Pets Animal Clinic: Haha, Little Orange is so blessed to have two dads.]
The car stopped at the stadium, and Little Orange’s two dads got out of the car one after another.
As the match approached, the broadcast camera first focused on the commentators as usual.
Commentator A: “Soft is still a starter today, it seems like the team is very confident in Soft’s strength.”
“What are you thinking, if I were the coach, there’s also no way I would’ve made Soft a substitute.” Commentator B couldn’t help but laugh. “They’re not idiots, who would bench a player with mechanics like that? After all, you can develop teamwork, but natural talent is much more rare…”
Commentator A was surprised. “How come you’re suddenly talking him up?”
Commentator B shook his head. “You probably haven’t seen any of Soft’s ranked games lately, have you.”
The players took the stage. Commentator B looked at Jian Rong, who was holding his keyboard, and said breezily, “In any case, I saw them, and I even watched him play a few games in his stream… I won’t go into further detail. Everyone knows his domestic server ID, those who want to know more can go search it up. Honestly, in my personal opinion, if nothing had gone wrong with Soft’s health in the last match… he would’ve had an opportunity to create an advantage in the mid lane.”
Commentator A interrupted him skeptically, “Enough, enough, that’s all in the past, so there’s no need to stir up drama again. Let’s watch this game.”
The livestream barrage began throwing shade before the match even started. Continuing from the rhythm of last week’s match, they called Soft a “ranked game king,” someone who was useless in five-man competitive gaming.
Now the barrage turned to flaming Commentator B, saying that he pulled in a useless newcomer to trample over Savior, and they also cursed TTC by claiming that they wouldn’t last through the playoffs.
Not long after, countless “Soft dads” and TTC fans rushed to the scene of the affront. They flipped the table and commenced their counterattack.
As a result, before the commentators could even get going, a large portion of fans from both teams had already been blocked, leaving behind a clean and civilized stream environment for the water friends who sincerely wanted to watch the match…
The match started soon after.
Following Commentator B’s forceful pre-match boost, at level 6 Jian Rong’s Jayce beautifully predicted where the enemy was going to flash to. He closed in with a flash and tossed out a long-range electric orb, effortlessly getting first blood.
Solo killing the enemy mid laner in a competitive game was already a common occurrence for Soft, but the people watching the broadcast still couldn’t resist energetically spamming “666.”
WZWZ was evidently aware of Soft’s weak point. Consequently, their mid laner exited the base at level 9 and headed straight for TTC’s bot lane, preparing to coordinate with his jungler to make some trouble.
At that moment, in the stream for Soft’s POV, a mystical scene appeared—
There was the sound of a ping.
[TTC ་ Soft is asking for assistance.]
The barrage abruptly exploded.
[Am I seeing things?]
[The game bugged, waiting for a match pause.]
[What? So the dumbass did know that there was an assist me ping in LoL??]
[Several decades from now, as I sit in my rocking chair, my grandson says to me: Grandpa, Soft knows how to use the assist ping now. I chuckle and reply: Don’t believe or spread rumors.]
In the team voice chat, Xiao Bai said, half-disbelievingly, “Can you really camp them? Their blue buff is already gone.”
“I can.” Jian Rong hid in the bushes next to WZWZ’s blue buff. “Hurry up and come here.”
Xiao Bai went over with Pine.
Ten seconds later, before WZWZ’s bot lane could react, their mid laner and jungler were camped and killed by TTC’s mid laner, ADC, and support. After the kill, Lu Boyuan arrived just in time, and the four of them encircled WZWZ’s bot lane. Jian Rong clumsily helped tank the last wave of the tower’s damage for Xiao Bai, who was wailing out loud, and finished it off with a perfect tower dive.
Eighteen minutes in, Jian Rong went to the top lane with Lu Boyuan and Xiao Bai, and they greatly upped the tempo of the game, directly pushing two of the enemy’s towers.
Twenty-six minutes in, Yuan Qian’s Aatrox flashed and immediately hammered the enemy ADC to the point that his own mom wouldn’t recognize him anymore, getting the kill without even having to use his ult. A second later, the other four team members destroyed WZWZ’s Nexus.
Before those people who were fighting in the barrage could make it past their half hour ban limit, the first game had already ended.
Everyone thought that the first game went by too quickly, but nobody expected for the second game to be the real rocket booster.
There was one sole reason: WZWZ made a mistake in their pick/ban phase and released Jian Rong’s LeBlanc, as well as Pine’s Aphelios.
This round, Jian Rong no longer went to provide assistance.
Because he simply didn’t need to.
WZWZ’s mid laner was solo killed at level 4 and died again at level 6. Once he made it back to the lane, he no longer dared to leave his tower.
Fifteen minutes in, WZWZ realized that they couldn’t allow Jian Rong to keep farming like this. Four of them surrounded him in the mid lane, and after confirming that he didn’t have his flash or blink skills, the enemy support unhesitatingly flashed forward and used his ult to forcefully engage—unfortunately, Jian Rong’s reaction speed was top-tier. He instantly used his Zhonya’s Hourglass at full health.
WZWZ’s four players anxiously waited for Zhonya’s to finish, and their team chat was extremely tense.
“Support, daze him, don’t let him escape!”
“Relax, I’m prepared…”
As Zhonya’s disappeared, the support’s Leona promptly followed up with a stun… and missed.
The support stared blankly as the system notification of his teammate’s death sounded—their four-person encirclement failed, and their ADC was oneshotted by Soft.
WZWZ’s remaining three members lifelessly watched LeBlanc flash into the jungle, disappearing into the underbrush without a second look back.
[@WZWZ’s coach, you there? Who are you looking down on, releasing LeBlanc?]
[Damn damn damn, hurry up and replay that, laozi didn’t see it clearly!!!]
[Under typical circumstances, when the dumbass picks those blasted assassins like Zed, Talon, and LeBlanc, if I can clearly tell how he got the kill the first time watching, that just means he wasn’t in a good condition that day.]
At twenty-three minutes and forty-two seconds, TTC pushed WZWZ’s Nexus, easily winning the second game. In the middle, Pine got a quadra kill, and Jian Rong’s final score was 6/0/2.
After the match concluded, the MVP was inevitably and naturally given to Jian Rong.
The others sat in the break room, waiting for his post-match interview.
On TV, Jian Rong looked at the camera indifferently as he responded somewhat unenthusiastically to the host’s questions. Without his sickly air from last week, this new eighteen-year-old mid laner’s words were still as unrestrained as ever.
Ding-ge lowered his head, taking notes. “He’s still not very used to providing assistance, the place he chose to camp in the first wave was too risky. You’re the one who called him over to the top lane in the second wave, right?”
Lu Boyuan was watching the TV. “Mn.”
Ding-ge nodded. “It’s only been a few days, so this can be considered significant progress.”
Yuan Qian propped up his head on his hand. “Ai, how come I feel like Xiao Rong is a bit more handsome today?”
Ding-ge didn’t bother looking up. “I made him put on some makeup before going on.”
Xiao Bai said, shocked, “Doesn’t he hate it when other people touch his eyes? How did you convince him.”
“They only filled in his eyebrows.” Ding-ge paused for a moment. “I said if he did it, he would appear livelier during the MVP interview and could piss off those antis.”
Xiao Bai: “…”
Yuan Qian ducked his head, scrolling through the messages that he had received during the match. “Nice, I knew this would happen… yet another person is asking me for Jian Rong’s WeChat.”
Lu Boyuan very slowly blinked once.
“Another?” Xiao Bai’s hands were braced behind his head. “Who? Someone from my sister-in-law’s best friends?”
Yuan Qian shook his head. “This time, it’s a guy, a PUBG accompanying gamer. He said he wants to get to know Jian Rong and be friends with him.”
Xiao Bai was delighted, and he joked, “Amazing, consuming both men and women. The same as my ge.”
“Don’t talk nonsense.” There were LPL staff outside, so Ding-ge hastily interrupted them. “Girls are fine, but you can forget about the guys.”
Yuan Qian locked his phone. “What’s wrong with guys?”
Ding-ge lifted an eyebrow. “It’s one thing if he adds a girl on WeChat. Although I wouldn’t want him to start dating right away, since he just joined the team, I still can’t forcibly cut off his red string. But what’s the point of adding a guy? Did you all forget about how someone sold Xiao Lu’s WeChat contact before? There’s no point, sooner or later he’ll meet the people that he’s supposed to meet.”
Xiao Bai hooked an arm around Pine’s shoulders. “Likewise, can’t men also date other men.”
Even though Xiao Bai was slightly chubby, he had a smaller frame, and his fat was distributed very evenly so he didn’t seem bulky at all. On the contrary, as he leaned against Pine, who was quite a few kilograms lighter than him, it made Pine seem somewhat taller and broader in comparison.
In a fleeting moment of panic, Ding-ge actually couldn’t tell if Xiao Bai was kidding around or if he was genuinely coming out of the closet. Ding-ge only snapped out of it once he saw Xiao Bai knock against Pine’s shoulder, with a dumb smile on his face from start to finish.
Ding-ge rolled his eyes at him and said without thinking, “If Jian Rong really were to date a man, then there’s even less need for him to add someone else. To Xiao Lu, he…”
Ding-ge screeched to a stop mid-sentence.
No… what the hell was he even thinking about.
“Alright, let’s stop here.” Ding-ge made a time-out gesture with his hands. “Jian Rong is extremely straight. I did some research before he joined the team, he often played with female accompanying gamers back when he was streaming. Enough with these kinds of jokes…”
“How come he still isn’t back yet.” Lu Boyuan asked evenly as he stood up and picked up Jian Rong’s equipment bag, along with his own, with one hand.
“Ah?” Ding-ge turned to look at the TV. “The interview’s over?”
Yuan Qian nodded. “It’s been over for a while now.”
“Then he should be back soon.” Ding-ge checked the time. “How about you guys head to the car first, I’ll go find him.”
Lu Boyuan didn’t say anything. He slung Jian Rong’s equipment bag over his shoulder while he casually carried his own bag in one hand. After he walked out of the break room, he glanced in the direction of the stage entrance, and then stopped on the spot.
As the others exited, they couldn’t help but follow his line of sight and look over as well—
Their mid laner was currently surrounded by several men and women asking for his signature, including both employees and fans who had snuck backstage due to connections with staff.
Professional gamers’ autographs weren’t worth all that much; after all, they were people who you could interact and communicate with in streams, so there wasn’t a strong sense of distance. Through the staff, it was possible to obtain most professional gamers’ signatures.
Of course, it still wasn’t easy to get autographs from teams like TTC or PUD.
However, Jian Rong didn’t care about any of that. It was merely a matter of writing some letters in English, and there weren’t a lot of people present either, so he hadn’t refused.
Lu Boyuan saw a female fan flash a finger heart at Jian Rong.
When Jian Rong saw the hand gesture, he was startled at first. Then he heard the girl say, “Dumbass darling, Daddy loves you.”
Jian Rong huffed out a laugh and handed the pen back to her. “Get lost, get lost.”
After bidding farewell to the fans, Jian Rong turned around and saw that his teammates were waiting for him at the entrance to their break room.
Jian Rong: “Just a moment, I’ll go in to get my equipment bag…”
Yuan Qian stopped him. “Captain already got it for you.”
Jian Rong froze briefly. He turned and scanned the crowd, but he didn’t spot Lu Boyuan. “Where is he?”
“He went to the car already.” Ding-ge said, “Let’s go.”
- Little Orange got a cat pregnant lol ^
Wei: LBY is drinking vinegar, Ding-ge is becoming self-aware… so many things happening LOL