Thank you to Kitty for the Ko-fi~
Jian Rong’s head was turned, so he didn’t realize that the barrage had already exploded—
[Who? You’re going to take Dad’s money to support who? Say that one more time???]
[You’re still a child, this old woman won’t allow you to date ahhhhh—]
[Dating right after joining the team, are you asking for a beating?]
[Everyone calm down, the little dumbass said ‘the person he likes,’ he didn’t say that they’re together yet. I bet that it’s just an unrequited love. With his EQ, nothing will come of it.]
[Stop! The reason why we have all gathered here today is to listen to our little dumbass Soft, who we’ve flamed since his youth until now, market his merch. From the bottom of my heart, I bestow my blessings on him: after the merch goes on sale, may the amount sold be infinitely zero, just like my League Points. May the goods be stored until they’re rotten and smelly!]
[Pure passerby here, is Road not the one he has an unrequited love for?]
[He definitely wasn’t talking about Road, as if Road needs his support? Would Soft even be qualified??? Last year when Road walked on the red carpet during the opening ceremony, his watch alone was worth more than Soft’s signing fee!]
[Ah, is the little dumbass that cheaply priced? I admire the strong, I’m no longer a dad.]
[Don’t worry, he’ll become expensive in the next season… so who exactly does he like? I heard a rumor that he filmed a commercial with Qiuqiu some time ago.]
[It’s okay if he’s in a relationship, but not with a woman.]
Hearing noise, Yuan Qian also glanced behind him. “Captain, you’re awake? Did you see Ding-ge’s text…”
Ding-ge had sent them a notification in the group chat bright and early that morning, telling them to stream and market the merch a lot over the next few days.
The profit they received from the bonus for their team’s merch was quite considerable, and nobody would say no to money. First thing in the morning, the four of them all started streaming, and even Pine changed into his merch shirt.
Lu Boyuan said, “I saw it.”
Yuan Qian looked at the hat in his hand and reminded him kindly, “You took the wrong one, Captain. You’re holding Soft’s hat.”
Jian Rong was only wearing his headphones over one ear, so when he heard that, he swiftly licked his lips.
“Mn.” Lu Boyuan said succinctly, “I thought it looked nice, so I took it.”
Jian Rong: “…”
Yuan Qian: “…”
The game was still ongoing, and Jian Rong turned back around to play properly. Lu Boyuan swept a look at Jian Rong’s game interface before he went straight over to his own seat to power on his computer and eat breakfast.
“Speaking of which, what was up with Ding-ge.” Xiao Bai roasted, “Sending a group text at 5:30 in the morning. I forgot to put my phone on mute last night, so I was startled awake… didn’t he say that he was going to be a healthy middle-aged man and stop pulling all-nighters after he turned thirty?”
Yuan Qian shrugged. “Who knows, maybe he couldn’t fall asleep last night.”
After clearing out the enemy jungle, Jian Rong hit the B key and recalled to base. Only then did he finally respond to the barrage.
He ignored all the comments asking him who he liked and only answered the questions related to the merch. The water friends quickly began spamming the barrage, calling him a “damn money grubber,” and the topic was swept under the rug just like that.
Upon seeing how many comments Jian Rong was receiving in the barrage, Xiao Bai felt like this marketing tactic was quite effective. He was about to copy it when he saw the number of viewers in his stream suddenly decrease dramatically. In the span of a few seconds, over four thousand viewers dropped.
He turned pale with fright. “Damn, I haven’t even shown my socks yet, how come you all ran away! …oh, my ge started streaming? That’s fine then.”
The instant Lu Boyuan started his stream, the viewer counts in all the other LoL streams would always drop. Never mind the TTC members, even the other LoL streamers were used to it by now.
Lu Boyuan leaned back in his chair, eating his youtiao. His hair was disheveled, and he sat in a careless manner.
He was idling on the game client and clicked on the PC version of Happy Fight the Landlord as he chatted lazily with the barrage.
“Mn, a task assigned by our manager, marketing the merch.”
[Every time the manager isn’t there, God Lu’s stream feels super casual lololol]
[Ahhh I’ll buy out all of my husband’s merch!!!]
[Just checked, lately Road doesn’t play ranked for more than three hours each day, and there are even some days where he doesn’t play a single game… this kind of person deserves to have the LPL’s top salary?? What a joke.]
[If he doesn’t deserve it, do you??]
[God Lu’s hand probably hasn’t been feeling too good, right? Also recently, all the teams have been doing practice matches, okay? The only reason why Soft plays ranked for so long is because he’s aiming for rank one on the KR server.]
[When you put it that way, Soft really is climbing so fast in solo Q, it’s only been a few days… and he’s about to hit Challenger.]
[Where’s the merch? Market it!]
In the video, Lu Boyuan was still wearing his usual clothing. He didn’t have on any of the random accessories either.
He reached out to grab a certain item placed on the computer desk.
All the fans leaned in, anticipating the design of the new merch, until Lu Boyuan pulled out a deep blue baseball cap.
[Ah? This? …looks a little familiar?]
[Looks familiar +1]
[…………I went to check just now, isn’t this Soft’s freaking merch??]
Lu Boyuan seized the landlord position. In front of a screen full of question marks, he put the hat back down on the table and assessed, “The color scheme is pretty good, it should go fairly well with any item of clothing.
“They said to market the merch, but they didn’t say whose merch to market.
“Why market for him?” Lu Boyuan laughed. “Because I like… this hat.”
Ding-ge’s WeChat messages streamed in like fragile snowflakes, instantly occupying Lu Boyuan’s entire phone screen.
Xiao Bai immediately held up his own hat and whipped his head around. “Ge! Check out my hat, it looks way better than Jian Rong’s!”
Jian Rong felt his heart skip a few beats with Lu Boyuan’s words. He shot a glance at Xiao Bai’s hat before he said coldly, “Looks way better my ass.”
After Lu Boyuan finished a round of Fight the Landlord, he picked up his phone and comforted Ding-ge a bit. Then he raised his head and saw that the barrage was asking him why he still hadn’t started playing ranked yet.
“Waiting for someone, he still hasn’t finished his current game.” Lu Boyuan paused for a moment and said evenly, “I forgot to ask if he’s willing to queue with me.”
Right as he said that, a message popped up on Jian Rong’s screen.
[(Friend) Road: carry me god jian?]
This was Jian Rong’s first time being called that.
He imagined Lu Boyuan’s voice saying that before he instantly stopped himself and responded rapidly.
[(Friend) softsndd: …okay]
The water friends in both streams were completely baffled—
The two of you are in the same practice room, so what’s the point of sending private messages in game? Is it not more convenient to just open your mouth and shout?? Will the others think that you’re being too noisy or something???
Jian Rong quickly ended the game before they formed a party together and entered the matchmaking queue.
Over the in-game voice chat, Jian Rong could hear that Lu Boyuan was still chatting with the barrage. “Will I get a bonus for helping him market his merch? I don’t know, let me ask him…”
Jian Rong said, “Yes.”
Afraid of being found out, Jian Rong maintained a stiff expression the entire time, and his tone of voice was also particularly harsh.
Lu Boyuan could tell, and he gave a deep huff of laughter. “Never mind. If it sells well, you can just treat me to a meal.”
Jian Rong fiddled with his headphones. “I will… I’ll treat you to whatever you want.”
“Then, scallion oil noodles.” Lu Boyuan said nonchalantly, “The place you took me to last time was pretty delicious.”
Jian Rong: “…”
Ding-ge, who was currently out of town discussing a business contract, stared closely at the stream on his phone.
Although he had no clue what they were saying, judging from the look on Jian Rong’s face… it evidently wasn’t a normal conversation that would occur between teammates.
Ding-ge reached up and pinched his philtrum, debating if he should cancel his hot spring plans for the evening and fly back to the base early so that he could unplug their jungler’s internet cable.
Luckily, they soon queued into a game.
Jian Rong also felt relieved. He subconsciously glanced at the chat box, wanting to check if they had run into any familiar actor IDs—
[Savior: wow RoadSoft!]
They crashed cars with XIU and Savior, who were also duo queuing together on the Korean server.
It was very common to crash cars with pro players on the Korean server. At night, sometimes ten pro players or a team of trainees would even match into the same game together.
Jian Rong and Lu Boyuan got the mid laner and jungler roles.
The four of them exchanged greetings with each other before they each picked their champions. Two minutes later, the game entered the loading screen.
Jian Rong was about to pour himself a cup of water when Lu Boyuan suddenly said, “The other side’s bot lane also has pro players.”
Jian Rong was startled. “Who are they?”
“The support is Squid’s Doufu.” Lu Boyuan paused. “The Draven is HT’s ADC, Rish.”
When Jian Rong heard “HT,” he let go of his cup and sat back down.
As the strongest team in the LCK, all of HT’s members were highly ranked. Since Jian Rong had begun playing on the Korean server again up to now, this was his first time encountering someone from this team.
Originally, XIU wanted to have a relaxed game, which was why he told Savior to be in the bot lane with him. However, he hadn’t expected for them to run into the ADC from last year’s world champion team right off the bat.
After they entered the game, he immediately started typing.
[XIUXIUXIU: Gank bot more, I can’t beat him, this bastard is on Draven too.]
Lu Boyuan was playing Nocturne this round; the champion needed its ult before it could easily gank.
[Road: I’ll gank after level 6, be careful, if you can’t beat him then wait for me under the tower.]
At first, XIU just wanted to furtively kill minions, but unexpectedly, the enemy jungler decided to behave rudely and headed straight for the bot lane at level 3.
Jian Rong was in the middle of suppressing the opposing mid laner under the tower when he heard the sound of an announcement. Their bot lane had been double killed by the other team.
In the barrage, a bunch of people instantly started flaming PUD for being trash.
“The enemy bot lane has Draven and Nautilus, which is a fierce combination all on its own. Also, their jungler gave up their resources to gank bot at level 3, so it’s normal for them to have been killed.” Jian Rong said indifferently, “Mods, pay attention, block and kick the people stirring up trouble right away.”
Right as he said that, a message suddenly popped up in the all chat.
It was sent by HT’s ADC Rish, and it was in Korean, so Jian Rong couldn’t read it.
He was about to ignore it when Rish followed up with a few more messages. Then, Savior responded to him.
Jian Rong only sensed that something was off when some water friends who could read Korean began fervently insulting HT in the barrage. “What did he say? What do those Korean messages mean?”
Before the water friends could translate, Road spoke mildly first.
“He asked Savior if he can still even understand Korean or not… he said that Savior grew weaker after coming to the LPL, and he asked him if it’s very easy to earn money in the LPL.”
In an instant, the stream’s barrage exploded.
Jian Rong’s expression also grew frosty. “Is this person a dumbass?”
Lu Boyuan hummed. “Seems like it.”
The barrage helped translate the ensuing conversation for Jian Rong—
[Rish: I heard that after you went to the LPL, you even needed to beg the little teams from our LCK for practice matches. How pitiful, Savior.]
[Rish: Do people in the LPL all use Korean to communicate with each other too? Since it’s full of Koreans anyway.]
[Savior: The import player system is allowed in every competitive region, ge.]
Jian Rong frowned. “He’s still calling this dumbass ‘ge’ even after being mocked this much?”
Lu Boyuan explained, “It’s probably habit, there’s a heavy emphasis on seniority in Korea.”
[Ai, actually, all Savior has to do is not interact with him.]
[Damn, Doufu’s just gonna sit there in that team and watch Rish ridicule the LPL? And he still isn’t gonna troll???]
[Do you think everyone’s like the little dumbass? I went to check Doufu’s stream, in fact he’s also insulting Rish.]
[Ah this moron spoke again. Quick, someone translate!]
[Rish: Is the mid laner on your team Soft? That megalomaniac who said he’s gonna make it to rank one on the Korean server?]
[Rish: What garbage, I heard that he purposefully toys with his teammates during ranked, right? Oh Savior, did you go to the LPL just to make these kinds of friends?]
[Savior: He’s a very good friend, don’t say anything else, ge.]
[What the hell, I’ve long since heard that those people in HT frequently ridicule the LPL in private, but now it looks like it’s really true!!!]
[Can you report him??]
[He didn’t use any profanity… he’s just taunting, so you probably can’t report him. Ugh, I’m gonna throw up.]
[Dammit, he’s already been mocked to this degree, why isn’t the little dumbass letting out a single peep?!]
[He’s probably focused on the game and didn’t see the translation in the barrage.]
But then, Jian Rong’s LeBlanc blinked and flung out a chain before he smoothly used the second part of the skill to oneshot the enemy mid laner. He turned around and walked back under his own tower to recall to base.
After that, he calmly minimized the LoL game interface and pulled up a web browser. He searched “online translator” in Baidu and changed the target language to Korean before he started typing—
‘Dumbass why do you have so much bullshit to say in a ranked game? Yeah, the LPL has money to buy import players, as if you possibly have any right to blather on about something that has the mutual consent of both leagues? And also, does this have anything to do with you at all? No matter who the LPL buys, they wouldn’t ever buy a noob like you. Is your starter position even secured yet for you to be out here shading other people?’
Jian Rong translated the text into Korean and returned to the game before he hit ctrl+v and pasted it into the chat box. Just as he was about to hit send, his screen suddenly darkened; it was the special effect from Nocturne’s ult.
Immediately after, an announcement sounded in Korean—
Lu Boyuan had used his ult to fly to the bot lane, directly solo killing Rish, who had just entered the lane alone.
And he had also said something in Korean in the all chat.
Someone promptly translated in the barrage—
[Road: Shut up, trash.]
- Since it’s technically a Korean to Chinese translation, I left ‘ge’ as ‘ge’ – but in Korean it would’ve been hyung ^
Yan: If you want to know what Soft’s merch hat looks like, check out the cover of this novel – Road is wearing it 🙂 And also, a reminder that I italicized the text if they’re using pinyin to communicate (can’t type Chinese on the Korean server, can only type in pinyin).