Chapter 13 - Feeling the Pressure

“Vayne learned Silver Bolts at Level 2. If she had picked Condemn instead, she would’ve survived,” Lin Feng analyzed. 

Vayne had three basic skills. Her first skill was Tumble, which was a short range dash that empowered her next basic attack; the second was Silver Bolts, which dealt bonus true damage on every third consecutive hit on a target; and the third was Condemn, which knocked a target back and stunned them if they collided with terrain.

“She was too careless,” Lin Feng concluded.

“Mhm.” Tang Bingyao nodded. She knew just as well as Lin Feng that against an aggressive champion like Draven, Vayne had an easier time in lane if she learned Condemn at Level 2. This left her an escape tool when the opponent reached Level 3 early or tried to hard engage.

Tang Bingyao pushed out the wave before recalling back to base, where she bought two long swords before rushing back to lane.

“You want to build a Sword of the Occult?” Lin Feng asked in surprise.

“Yeah.” Tang Bingyao nodded.

“Wow, so confident!” Lin Feng gasped in admiration.

The Sword of the Occult was a special item. Its base stats were nothing special. However, for every assist or kill, you would gain one or two stacks respectively, up to a maximum of 20 stacks. Every stack increased attack damage by five. So, the more you killed, the stronger you became.

However, there was one major drawback. You would lose half your stacks after dying. So, building this kind of item was a risky gamble. Only those who were really confident in their skills would dare to. In this case, not only did Tang Bingyao have the confidence in herself, but the item was also quite compatible with Draven.

Lin Feng rubbed his chin. “Hmm. That’s fine too. Vayne seems pretty so-so. Building a Sword of the Occult is a pretty good choice in my opinion.”

Based on the Vayne’s gameplay, Lin Feng estimated they were probably a low Diamond player, which was honestly pretty high up there in terms of rank. However, he rated Tang Bingyao higher.

Ouyang believed Tang Bingyao was only Platinum 1. But the account he looked up didn’t belong to Tang Bingyao. She was just boosting it. Lin Feng didn’t know what Tang Bingyao’s actual rank was. However, he had already seen enough to get a rough gauge of her skill level. Purely in terms of game mechanics, she was probably around Diamond 3, maybe even Diamond 2.

Tang Bingyao’s reaction speed and control with her mouse were impeccable. Combined with a mechanic-heavy champion like Draven, it was a match made in heaven. So, as long as she played Draven, she could easily carry her way from Platinum to Diamond. This match was likely also in the bag.

By the time Tang Bingyao returned to lane, Vayne was already back and farming the minion wave. Seeing the Draven return with two long swords, Nightsong couldn’t help but chuckle. “Looks like I’m being looked down on.”

Nightsong easily guessed what item the Draven was going to build. But he didn’t take offense. He had been a bit absent-minded earlier, which led to him giving away first blood. Now, however, he was planning to play a bit more seriously.

In all of China, only a handful of players could stand up to him when he played seriously. This was quite the arrogant proclamation, but he had the qualifications to back these words up. He was Nightsong, Bleakwinter Nightsong, one of the top three professional ad-carry-players in all of China.

As the battle in bot lane resumed, Lin Feng noticed something off. “Huh?” The Vayne’s movement and playstyle had completely changed! She now played much better, nearly flawlessly!

Tang Bingyao also knitted her brows. “I can’t find any openings.” She had encountered this kind of situation before when she 1v1’d Lin Feng earlier. But that was against a Caitlyn who held an attack range advantage, allowing for much more leeway in positioning. In contrast, Vayne had one of the shortest ranges amongst all ad-carries. So, for Nightsong to pull the same feat as Lin Feng was an incredible achievement.

Lin Feng narrowed his eyes. “This Vayne really upped her game...!”

Tang Bingyao nodded. “It’s like a completely different person is playing.”

Having secured first blood with her Draven, Tang Bingyao still held the advantage in the lane. Slowly, the minion wave started pushing towards the red team’s tower. As they pushed beyond the halfway line, danger reared its head. The enemy Lee Sin came from the river for a gank!

Lee Sin popped out of the river entrance brush and threw a Sonic Wave at Draven. Tang Bingyao was a step too late and got hit.

Lin Feng shook his head. “You misplayed there. You could’ve sidestepped that.”

Activating the second part of Sonic Wave, Lee Sin came flying towards Draven. This time, Tang Bingyao did react quickly. She threw out her spinning axes with Stand Aside and knocked Lee Sin out of the air mid-dash.

Tang Bingyao’s reaction speed and reflexes were outstanding. However, with Stand Aside on cooldown, the enemy Leona seized the opportunity to engage with Zenith Blade. A ray of light shot out of her blade as she flew toward Draven. Then, she struck him with her Shield of Daybreak, stunning him.

Tang Bingyao’s Flash was still on cooldown from the previous kill on Vayne. She had no way of escaping. So, she tried to trade a kill for a kill. But Leona targeted her with Exhaust, neutering her damage. Her health quickly depleted before Vayne landed the final hit.

You have been slain!

Tang Bingyao’s screen went gray.

“You should’ve backed away earlier. Lee showed up on the minimap before entering that brush,” Lin Feng advised from the side.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Tang Bingyao asked in slight annoyance.

“Because you weren’t paying me to?” Lin Feng countered with a bright smile.

Tang Bingyao thought for a moment before agreeing she had this coming.

Lin Feng stared at the Vayne with a pensive look on his face. It looked like Vayne had the kill delivered to her on a silver platter, with Leona and Lee Sin having done most of the work. However, the reality was much more complex, notably with how the minion wave stopped close to the enemy tower. 

Over the next few minutes, the situation in bot lane settled down, with neither side getting any more kills. However, Tang Bingyao wasn’t content with simply farming evenly with the Vayne. She was playing Draven, a hyper-aggressive laner who was supposed to be getting kills left and right in the early game! Yet, this Vayne didn’t give her a single opportunity to engage.

Tang Bingyao pursed her lips. Even though she didn’t voice it, she was slowly starting to feel the pressure. Vayne hadn’t started going off yet, but she still felt a weird sense of urgency creeping in on her, like she was gradually losing control. She couldn’t shake off this suffocating feeling. It was the same pressure she felt in her 1v1 against Lin Feng.

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littleshanks's Thoughts

This is the part of the story where you start questioning if Lin Feng is actually smarter than he lets on, or he’s just naturally good at trolling.