Thanks to nymmiah, ninjapink, and Somebody for the Ko-fis!
On November 3, 2021, like the year before, the World Championship semifinals were being held at Shanghai’s Oriental Sports Center.
To the immense satisfaction of the LPL fans, this was China’s second consecutive year hosting the World Championship. Cheers rocked through the stadium, which was at full capacity, creating a scene that was more impressive than any other semifinals game had been in the past.
The fans were calling this evening “a sleepless night for the LPL,” because both teams fighting for a spot in the finals were from China’s LPL division. The two teams were equally important; it would hurt no matter who ended up winning or losing.
They were respectively this year’s summer season champion and the LPL’s first seed, TTC, and the LPL’s second seed, the team that had accrued the most points throughout the year, PUD.
During the previous year’s transfer period, both of the LPL powerhouses had experienced player turnover, but after half a year of working together, the team members had already become very well-coordinated. Originally, the LPL fans were all looking forward to seeing the two teams meet in the World Championship finals. Unfortunately, the random matchup outcome was quite disappointing, and they ultimately had to use “at least the LPL is guaranteed to make it to the finals” as a way of comforting themselves.
At eleven o’clock at night, pedestrians hurried past the stadium, wrapped tightly in thick jackets. Meanwhile, the atmosphere in the stadium was unusually intense and lively as fans waved their banners high in the air and shouted furiously. The cries of “TTC” and “PUD” overlapped with each other, and it was impossible to tell which team had louder cheers. The three commentators’ voices had already cracked countless times, and their faces were flushed as their blood raced with excitement.
This was forty-three minutes into the fifth game of the S11 World Championship semifinals.
The score of 2:2 hung at the very top of the screen, stimulating every person’s heart. There wasn’t a single dull moment in the past forty-three minutes. Neither team wanted to drag things out, but their back-and-forth confrontations still caused this round to last deep into the late game.
The last major team fight officially erupted at the Baron pit forty-five minutes in, when TTC boldly went for Baron Nashor to create a turning point.
Soft’s secret new dad fan, Commentator A, immediately felt the urge to slap the table.
In this kind of situation where both sides were evenly matched, if a team decided to go for Baron first, weren’t they freaking done for?!
Sure enough, PUD’s ward caught sight of TTC’s actions. Using his oh-so-fluent Chinese, Savior instantly roared in their team chat, “They’re going, they’re going~! They can’t help but go for Baron~! They’re finished~!!! Gege, gege, come over fast!!!”
98k: “I’ll enter first. Where’s their mid laner?”
XIU: “He’s probably camping in some brush near the Baron pit. Support, go place a ward to see where LeBlanc is. Come, come, everyone come, I’m definitely going to beat that team’s dog jungler into submission today—”
98k’s Camille directly went in and engaged. But the second he rushed in—
Pine, who was in the middle of fighting Baron, suddenly pulled back his Ashe and shot his long-prepared ult straight towards Savior, stunning him on top of the pit!
Lu Boyuan’s Graves dashed to the top of the pit. While the stun was still in effect, he coordinated with the ult from Yuan Qian’s Gangplank to finish off Savior.
Xiao Bai followed close behind. “Damn, you didn’t leave me an assist?! What kind of people are you guys… whatever, I’ll wait for 98k to come up here. Watch how the world’s best Leona can stun him to the point of tears…”
Pine: “Noob support, not protecting the ADC.”
Yuan Qian: “It’s finally going to end soon, my palms are fucking covered in sweat…”
The ward that PUD’s support placed down exposed the enemy mid laner, LeBlanc. Jian Rong promptly circled around the support and charged straight up to the opposing ADC with a flash and a W skill—before PUD’s ADC could even make out what the hell was going on, his screen had already turned gray.
At a final, critical moment before he died, Savior unleashed all the DPS he was capable of to help boost XIU’s damage, killing Jian Rong.
Unfortunately, it was useless. In the end, TTC fooled PUD using their Oscar-worthy acting skills and beautifully finished the team fight, trading one member for four.
Immediately, TTC grouped up and pushed mid before heading straight for PUD’s base.
Lu Boyuan glanced at his boyfriend’s death timer. “Who killed you?”
Jian Rong leaned back in his chair with a scowl on his face as he watched his teammates tear down the enemy’s base. When he heard that, he pursed his lips and said, “XIU.”
Consequently, just as XIU—the only PUD member currently alive—stepped out of the fountain in an attempt to put up a fight and protect his base, he was chased right back inside of it by Lu Boyuan. Finally, he was killed by Lu Boyuan’s ult.
And thus ended the LPL’s climactic battle.
TTC defeated PUD with a score of 3:2. Amidst the overwhelming cheers coming from the audience, TTC stood up and went over to shake hands.
Savior: “I almost solo killed you today~…”
“Are you still dreaming?” Jian Rong shook hands with him. He lifted an eyebrow and copied Savior’s tone of voice as he said, “My jungler was there during that wave, I was just pretending—did you really think that you could trade away so much of my health~?”
The second XIU saw Lu Boyuan, he felt like he was about to explode from anger. Gritting his teeth, he shook Lu Boyuan’s hand and swore in a low voice, “What the hell, did laozi offend you somehow? I gave you a shirt that cost over 4,000 yuan for your birthday. I’ve never even spent over 1,000 yuan on a damn birthday gift for my teammates, and this is how you freaking repay me? You damn scumbag… no, are you even freaking human?!”
Lu Boyuan smiled and relaxed his grip on XIU’s hand. “You touched my mid laner.”
XIU let go of him. “There should be no such thing as love in esports. Both of you are traitors.”
Once again after the S11 semifinals, all the other LPL teams went on break; only TTC was working overtime.
The remaining spot in the finals was taken by the LCK’s HT, and the World Championship finals were scheduled to take place in a few days.
“So tired…” Their last practice match ended at three AM. Yuan Qian stretched and turned off his computer before he opened up the WeChat group chat, which had been going off for quite a while. Immediately, he was rejuvenated. “Dammit, they’re going at it again in the group chat.”
Xiao Bai yawned and pulled out his phone. “Let Grandpa see…”
[MFG-Kongkong: It’s so lonely not having to practice, my bros. Anyone interested in teaming up for some Happy Mahjong 2v2?]
[MFG-Kongkong: Maybe not then, you’re too bad at mahjong, I don’t want to give away beans.]
[Fighting Tiger-Da Niu: Everyone’s still awake?]
[MFG-JM: Niu-ge, you’re not asleep yet? [petting cat head]]
[Fighting Tiger-Da Niu: I was just keeping my wife company.]
[PUD-XIU: Da Niu, watch out, there are children in this chat.]
[Fighting Tiger-Da Niu: What children? Why are you awake?]
[PUD-XIU: Didn’t TTC’s mid laner just turn 18 this year? We’re having a blast at the bar right now, the boss is paying for all of our alcohol tonight.]
[Fighting Tiger-Da Niu: Damn, I forgot, I thought he was 19… Savior would go out to a bar?]
[PUD-98k: He’s going wild because he drank too much.]
[Fighting Tiger-Da Niu: Oh man, I didn’t know Savior was so good at swinging at his hips?! You can’t judge a book by its cover…]
[PUD-XIU: It’s times like this where I feel quite sorry for a certain few people. I bet they’re still in practice right now, aren’t they? How tragic, my little heart aches for them.]
[Fighting Tiger-Da Niu: My little heart aches.]
[MFG-Kongkong: My little heart aches.]
Xiao Bai rolled up his sleeves.
[TTC-Bye: That’s right, we’re indeed still working hard to bravely compete and win the S11 World Championship finals. I really envy you guys, you can just eat and drink and have fun all day without needing to practice. You don’t have to bear the pressure of the entire LPL’s hopes and desires, nor do you have to go through the distress of not knowing which brand to endorse as a personal reward for winning the championship because there are just too many to choose from T-T]
[TTC-Qian: Oh, you guys are at a bar? How nice. I also told our boss that we should go celebrate at a bar after winning Worlds, but he kept refusing. He insisted on organizing some luxurious half-month vacation in Dubai instead…]
[Fighting Tiger-Da Niu: I’ve muted this chat, how about everyone else?]
[MFG-Kongkong: I’m going to go play mahjong with Doufu.]
[PUD-XIU: I’m gonna wait a little longer. I wanna see how much more these pricks can humblebrag.]
[TTC-Pine: Do you all have any auto repair shops to recommend? There’s a scrape on the car that the boss gave me after the spring season, I want to touch up the paint.]
[Fighting Tiger-Da Niu: Even Pine… can this team be saved at this point???]
[MFG-JM: Going to sleep now.]
[PUD-Savior: The people who get close to ink all have black hearts too.]
[TTC-Bye: Your team’s Chinese teacher is so impressive.]
[PUD-XIU: That’s for sure… What, are you done showing off? Aren’t there still two cocky kings in your team?]
[Fighting Tiger-Da Niu: Yeah, are Road and Soft still typing?]
[TTC-Bye: They went to rest after the practice matches.]
[Fighting Tiger-Da Niu: Together?]
[PUD-XIU: Da Niu, it’ll become boring if you continue this line of questioning. Some things don’t need to be said too clearly, people will still get it. If you understand, type it out in the chat.]
[Fighting Tiger-Da Niu: Understood.]
[PUD-Savior: Don’t understand…]
Lu Boyuan read over that conversation and let out a low, muffled laugh.
Jian Rong sat next to him with his head lowered as he earnestly applied ointment to Lu Boyuan’s right hand. Upon hearing that, he lifted his head. “What are you laughing at?”
“Nothing.” Lu Boyuan tossed his phone to the side. “Are you done?”
Jian Rong stared at the gauze wrapped strangely around Lu Boyuan’s wrist. He reached out and wiped off a bit of the ointment that was leaking out before he frowned and said hesitantly, “I don’t think… I did a very good job.”
“…” Jian Rong’s eyes narrowed. “I freaking told you that I don’t know how to wrap it, but you made me do it anyway…”
As he spoke, he tried to tear off the gauze, but Lu Boyuan evaded him and grabbed onto Jian Rong’s wrist instead. “Don’t, I’m just teasing you.”
Jian Rong shook his head. “It’s too thick, it’ll feel uncomfortable when you sleep.”
“It won’t.” Lu Boyuan said, “It’ll be nice and toasty.”
Jian Rong: “…”
In the end, he didn’t end up rebinding it. After Jian Rong checked again and again that it was tightly wrapped, he finally got up to wash his hands in the bathroom.
Lu Boyuan looked at his right hand, which was heavily swaddled in gauze, and hid a smile before averting his gaze. At that moment, Jian Rong’s phone rang from where he had left it on the blankets.
The caller ID was “Annoying Don’t Answer.”
Lu Boyuan raised an eyebrow and called out to the bathroom, “God Jian, your phone’s ringing.”
The sound of running water came from the bathroom. Jian Rong slathered soap on his hands and answered bluntly, “You answer it.”
Lu Boyuan picked up the call.
“God Jian, good evening. It’s quite late, I’m not disturbing your rest, am I?” Seemingly afraid that Jian Rong was going to hang up, the person on the other end spoke as quickly as if he was setting off firecrackers. “It’s like this, do you still remember me? I’m the manager from the LEC’s KPS team.
“I’m bothering you in the middle of the night because I wanted to tell you that after an internal meeting with the team, our boss is willing to add another five million to the signing fee. So in total, that’ll be nineteen million. Compared to the pay TTC is giving you… surely I don’t need to elaborate on that. Would you be interested in discussing this further? Or if you’re free sometime, we could meet up.”
Lu Boyuan rubbed his fingers together and didn’t say anything.
The other party thought that Jian Rong was starting to consider it, so he persisted, “I know that you’re in TTC because you want to compete together with Road, but think about it carefully. How many more years can Road continue to compete?
“Also, you and Road aren’t in the type of relationship where you can only interact if you’re in the same team, right? As a friend, let me give you a word of advice… you can first come join our team for a few years. Once you make enough money, that’ll be another layer of safety for your future life with Road. Don’t you agree?
“The transfer period is just around the corner, there’s actually not that much time left for you…”
Lu Boyuan said, “He’s busy right now.”
The voice abruptly cut off.
“We have quite a few safety buffers in our life, no need to trouble yourself regarding that.” Lu Boyuan checked the time. “The transfer period is almost here, so I can understand your team’s urgency. But I ask that you refrain from calling professional players after nine PM in the future, since it will affect our players’ rest.”
The person on the other end was already dying to crawl into a hole in the ground. “O… okay.”
“Is there anything else?”
“N-nope! My sincerest apologies for disturbing your rest! Goodbye!”
Jian Rong walked out of the bathroom, wiping his hands. “Who was calling?”
Lu Boyuan put down the phone. “The manager from KPS.”
Jian Rong immediately furrowed his eyebrows. “Him again? So annoying…”
“He gave you another five million and boosted you to nineteen million…” Lu Boyuan smiled. “Not tempted?”
“What would I do with that much money.” A cold breeze slipped in through the cracked open window and attacked Jian Rong’s neck, causing him to shiver and blurt out, “Spread it out on the bed to keep myself warm?”
Lu Boyuan laughed at that and reached out to grab the bottom of Jian Rong’s shirt, slipping two fingers underneath it.
“I’m not sure if money can keep you warm.” Lu Boyuan said, “But I can. If you accompany me for a few more seasons, I’ll warm your bed every night till it’s scalding hot…”
Jian Rong’s ears reddened as he picked up his phone and blocked that person. “Even if you don’t warm it up for me, I’m still going to keep competing with you.”
Lu Boyuan nodded. “Am I more enticing than money?”
“I don’t know.” Jian Rong flung his phone to the side before he bent down to kiss Lu Boyuan. “To other people, I don’t know. But for me… you entice me more than anything else.”
On the day of the S11 World Championship finals, the Bird’s Nest was lit up by Lux’s Radiant Staff.
The live audience members readied their support items, the commentators furiously downed throat lozenges, and the fans waiting in the stream were already prepared with beer, fried chicken, and roasted skewers.
In TTC’s break room, the top laner, ADC, and support stared at the platter of fruit on the table. On top of the sliced watermelon, there was a little sign with a line of crooked writing across it: LPL [heart] LCK.
HT had specially sent this over to them.
Xiao Bai: “What is this? Is HT openly trying to poison us?”
Yuan Qian: “No way…”
Pine looked up from Fight the Landlord. “Didn’t they change managers? They probably only gave this to us because they saw that we were screwed over by the Korean competition officials during MSI. They’re afraid of retaliation, especially since there’s a deep grudge between their team and the LPL.”
Xiao Bai: “…Their imagination is really something.”
With a bang, Ding-ge vigorously slammed open the door and entered the room with a grave and solemn expression on his face.
Xiao Bai glanced at him. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing.” Ding-ge stuffed his hands in his pockets. “I went to verify Jian Rong’s penalty record with the competition officials…”
Pine lifted an eyebrow. “Is he going to be chased out of the LPL?”
“Well, it’s not that bad…” Ding-ge paced back and forth. “But, if he stirs up more trouble and gets another penalty within the next two months… he’s going to be banned from competing in a few of the regular season matches next spring.”
Yuan Qian: “…”
Xiao Bai looked troubled. “Should we poison him so he can’t talk for two months?”
“Let’s first make sure that he won’t do anything today, we can talk about the rest later.” Pine peered around the room. “Where is he.”
“The restroom… It’s fine.” Ding-ge sighed. “I told Xiao Lu to talk to him.”
After the opening ceremony concluded, a fairly simple pre-match interview with the pro players was broadcasted on the big screen.
Because HT had completely squandered their goodwill in the LPL, barely any audience members watched their interview segment.
When it was TTC’s turn—
Pine: “What do I say?”
The host’s voice didn’t appear in the interview. It was only indicated via subtitle: Whatever you’d like. For example, do you have any plans after the competition is over? Or is there anything you want to do?
Pine propped a hand up under his chin and contemplated briefly. “My plans after winning the championship? …Climbing in ranked.”
The host: …
Then came Xiao Bai. “My plans after winning the championship, right?”
The host: No, that was Pine’s question…
Xiao Bai: “I’m planning on attaching myself to Pine and muddling along to see if I can maybe touch top ten in the Korean server. I wanna take my parents traveling, though I don’t know if the boss will reimburse me. Will my boss be able to see this interview? Oh, I also wanna go to Changsha to get a drink from Sexy Tea2. A lot of people in the team have tried it before, only Jian Rong and I haven’t. I have to try it before he does so I can mock him with the others in the future.”
The host: …
Yuan Qian: “My plans after winning the championship? I want to rest for a while before going around and having fun with my girlfriend. Also, I want to practice with some stronger top lane champions. I have a premonition that the next meta is going to be the real rise of the top lane, and all the other lanes are going to be the little brothers.”
The host: Okay, thank you.
Jian Rong: “Getting my driver’s license.”
The host: ……………Why?
Jian Rong paused. “If there’s ever a need to drive somewhere really far… I can switch off with someone else, so it won’t be too tiring.”
The host: ?
Jian Rong was silent.
The host: Is that it?
Jian Rong: “Mn, that’s all I have planned for now.”
The host: Thank you very much.
Lu Boyuan: “My plans after winning the championship… The current plan is to invite my teammate home for a meal.”
The host: Do you have that good of a relationship with your teammate?
Lu Boyuan smiled. “It’s very good.”
The host: Are all the other team members going too?
Lu Boyuan: “So far, I’ve only invited the team’s mid laner.”
The host: Got it.
The host: If you don’t mind my asking, God Lu, is your home far from TTC’s base? What means of transportation do you use to go back?
Lu Boyuan raised his eyebrow. “If there’s no traffic… it takes an hour and a half by car.”
The host: That means it typically takes about three or four hours for a round trip, so it’ll be even better if you can switch off with someone else while driving. Thank you for accepting our interview, I hope that your team does well in the finals.
There were countless details in this interview. As the netizens typed out “good luck” and “666,” they didn’t forget to throw in comments like “kdlkdl3,” “thanks for your hard work, host,” and “Qian-ge run there’s something weird about your team.”
A certain staff member heaved a sigh of relief after finishing her tasks and went to wash her face in the bathroom. When she came out, she suddenly overheard a quiet conversation coming from a deserted storage room nearby.
The voices sounded familiar to her, so she couldn’t help but lean against the wall and stealthily glance in that direction—
The face of the LPL and the world’s number one jungler king Road pressed their team’s mid laner against the wall, a hand on either side of him. He lowered his eyes and asked slowly, “In the team voice chat and post-match interview later, do you know what to do?”
That quick-tempered mid laner Soft, who had solidified his image as a flamer in the audience’s eyes the very first time he went on stage, pressed his lips together and ducked his head, brushing his hair against Road’s chin. “I know. I won’t curse at anyone… I definitely won’t curse at anyone.”
At 10:48 PM on November 12, 2021, in the Beijing National Stadium.
TTC defeated HT with a score of 3:1, winning the S11 World Championship finals.
Altogether this year, TTC won the regional spring split finals, the Mid-Season Invitational, the regional summer split finals, and the World Championship. Within a single year, they achieved what Korea’s powerhouse team HT had spent three or four years attempting to accomplish: a true, genuine grand slam in League of Legends esports.
The moment they destroyed HT’s Nexus in the fourth game, TTC’s five members jumped up from their seats and hugged each other tightly. Golden confetti sprayed down, fireworks streaked across the night sky, and the three commentators almost leaped onto their table.
At that instant, internet cafes, schools, and even apartment buildings were engulfed by screams. The stream exploded because of the barrage, posts on discussion forums were squeezed onto the next page seconds after they were uploaded, and all of the Weibo topics were filled with “TTC is badass”…
With the five-starred national flag wrapped around them, the five pro players lifted their trophy high up into the air, towards the camera, towards the spectators watching from across the world—
The spectators would forever remember this scene.
Under the spotlights, the five TTC members slung their arms around each other’s shoulders, laughing and crying.
Their competitive state, the utter devotion and passion for esports visible in their eyes, all of it was a clear announcement—
This was only the beginning.
They would drape this vivid five-starred red flag eternally around their shoulders—
—and bring it all over the world, onto every esports stage.
《I Can Do It》Lu Boyuan x Jian Rong Extras · End
- A zongzi is a glutinous rice ‘dumpling’ stuffed with different fillings (sweet/savory) and wrapped in bamboo leaves ^
- Sexy Tea is a real bubble tea chain that went viral somewhat recently. People will queue in super long lines to get it! ^
- Slang/acronym for 磕到了 (ke dao le = kdl). Synonymous with ‘I’m shipping it.’ ^
Yan: That’s the end of the RoadSoft extras! The remaining extras are all for the side ship (Pine x Xiao Bai)~ though I will say this is not the last time you’ll see Jian Rong lol. And in case you didn’t notice, the part where LBY has JR kabedon’d against the wall… is indeed drawn from the book summary!