Chapter 180 - Principal Empty Words

The day of redemption had arrived. It was Friday. Tonight, High School 13 would face off against Shanghai International for the first time since the incident. Ouyang still had flashbacks of what happened last year, as did Yang Fan and the others involved. But this year was different. They’d upgraded several key positions, most notably mid and ad-carry. On top of that, they now had a real coach. They were nothing like the team that participated in the tournament last year, and they were eager to show how far they’d come. Tonight would be the night of Shanghai International’s demise!

The Semifinals of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament on Friday were only the start of a weekend packed with action. As early as the next day were the Finals. The trophy that Ouyang wanted so badly was up for grabs. They just had to get there and take it. And then, later on that very same day, were the Grand Finals for the League of Legends World Championships! They would get to watch the best teams in the world, featuring the best players in the world, face off against each other in an epic best of 5 series! It promised to be an exciting weekend full of League of Legends and fans everywhere were counting down the hours and minutes until the action would start.

News of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament buzzed through the hallways of High School 13.  Their school had made it to the Semifinals and it looked like they could go the distance! Everyone was suddenly a League of Legends fan and expert. And they were all looking forward to supporting their team! It was just unfortunate that the governing body of the school didn’t share in this enthusiasm. Ren Rou had asked for their help in advertising for the event. The principal had responded through Mr. Zhou. He was impressed with the team’s performance, he said. He also claimed that he wanted to help the team. But, only if they made it to the Finals. There was just one small problem with that. The Finals were on Saturday, a day after the Semifinals. There was no school on Saturday. So the esports team wasn’t going to get any help. Fortunately, word of mouth was a powerful tool and the news eventually made its way around the whole school.

The classroom that was most excited about the tournament was Senior Class 7. This was because most of the team members were in this class. Six to be exact, including Ren Rou. They were currently enjoying their break together in the back of the classroom, chatting about the upcoming series against Shanghai International.

“Just this morning there were like at least 10 people who came to ask me about the tournament!” Ouyang said, just about jumping from his chair in excitement. “Can you guys imagine it already? There’s going to be hundreds of people from our school coming to cheer us on tonight! It’s going to be epic!”

Yang Fan adjusted his glasses and said, “Everybody’s looking really excited about our Semifinals match. Then again, we’ve never gotten this far before. That really helps build up the hype. I also think there’ll be a lot of people coming to cheer us on tonight.”

“They’ll come to watch us win! And then tomorrow we’re getting the trophy!” Lin Feng shouted, grinning. Then a thick, heavy book landed on his head. “OW! What the…” He painfully rubbed his head, glaring at An Xin.

An Xin put the book back down on her desk, ignoring Lin Feng’s pitiful glare as though he didn’t exist. She then turned to the others and smiled, sweet and innocent. “Of course we’re going to win. But it won’t be easy. We have to really go for it. We need that want-to-win mentality. Shanghai International is a strong team. Don’t relax. Don’t get sloppy. Stick to the plan and win.”

The morning turned into afternoon. There was only an hour until the dismissal bell, but the students of High School 13 had long since clocked out. They were thinking about the weekend and all the things they wanted to do over the next two days. Excited conversations spilled out of every classroom and the teachers had a hard time getting any information across. There was one subject that kept coming back up, the Shanghai 16 School Tournament. It wasn’t every day that a school club made it to the Semifinals of a big tournament. Everyone was excited to see if the esports team could also make it to the Finals. There were even students who decided to make it a fun night out. They’d first cheer on their school, and then go out with their friends for a drink and some food.

DING DONG DING DONG!

It was the weekend! The students jumped up from their seats, most already having packed their bags, and raced out of the classrooms and down the hallways. Every second counted! They had two whole days without any obligations! Among them were many who’d decided to watch the esports team take on Shanghai International. They ran for the bus to make it to Pudong in time. There were only 800 seats in the venue and there was nothing worse than standing in the back too far away from the large screen to tell what was going on.

The esports team also rushed out of their classrooms and gathered near the exit of the school. They weren’t in as much a hurry as the other students. Their seats at the tournament were reserved. It didn’t matter if they were 10 minutes earlier or later. They only had to make sure that they were in the optimal condition to play, both physically and mentally.

An Xin looked over the seven members of the team, with Ren Rou standing next to her. She smiled and said, “The game is in a few hours. Put all your other worries aside. Right now, all we care about is the game. If there’s anything, tell me. Besides that, let’s win!”

    “WOOT WOOT! We’re going to send those losers packin’!”
    “It’s going to be so satisfying to watch them cry! Hahah!”
    “Watch me kick their asses! I’m going to show them just how shit they really are!”
    “Mhm! Let’s win!”
    “Don’t worry, guys. It’s easy. I got this.”

It took longer than expected to arrive at the tournament venue in Pudong. The High School 13 esports team even had to hurry the last bit. They only had 10 minutes to spare when they finally arrived in the large hall at 6:20 PM. Here, they were briefly dazed by the turn-out.  It was crowded. Packed with students, many of whom they recognized.

Ren Rou led the esports team into the backstage area to sign in. There they met with a familiar figure. Chu Fang was personally welcoming the teams. Well, that was the excuse that he gave. In reality, he was here just to see Lin Feng again. Lin Feng was the most talented player he’d ever met and he wanted to grab every opportunity to build up his relationship with Lin Feng. “Hey! Lin F—” Chu Fang fell silent. He stared at the girl standing next to Lin Feng. She had grown up and her hair was different, but he recognized her instantly. His mouth fell open, then he mumbled, “BunBun?”

An Xin gave a small bow and said, smiling, “Hey, Chu Fang. It’s nice to see you again.”

Chu Fang remembered An Xin as the short girl with the pigtails and glasses. She didn’t look anything like that anymore. But she unmistakingly looked like BunBun. He smiled and asked, “It’s good to see you too. How are you? Last I heard you were going to school in Hangzhou. When did you come to Shanghai?”

“I moved here with my parents last week,” An Xin explained.

“I see… I guess that makes sense. And you transferred to High School 13?” Chu Fang said, grinning. Then he looked over at Lin Feng and shook his head. “You two really are inseparable.”

“What do you mean?” Lin Feng asked. “She only came earlier this week. I hadn’t seen her in months!”

An Xin did understand what Chu Fang meant. Her face flushed red and she fired back, “Haha. Very funny!” She paused, looked at him, and then said, “Don’t joke around like that or I’ll tell Jingyi.”

Chu Fang stopped laughing at the mention of that name. He stepped back, almost looking afraid. Then he put his hands up and said, “Sorry, sorry! I won’t joke around like that again, haha. It was in poor taste. I’m sorry. Please don’t tell Jingyi.”

“That’s what I thought,” An Xin said.

Chu Fang looked at her again and at the people around her, then asked, “You also joined High School 13’s team?”

An Xin nodded and said, “Yep! I’m their coach!”

“Hah.” Chu Fang shook his head, laughing at the absurdity of the situation. Lin Feng and BunBun are on the same team again… She was the coach back then too. And he was Maple. It’s been a few years, but if she’s half as good as she was back then, then she’s basically just as good as a coach on any professional team. Between the two of them, I doubt Shanghai International stands a chance... He sighed and said, “In that case, it seems like you guys have a pretty good shot at making the Finals.”

Lin Feng grinned. This was his cue. He stepped forward and patted his chest. “Hell yeah! We’re winning tonight, and then we’re winning tomorrow, and then that trophy is ours! Just you watch!”

The rest of the esports team took a step back. An Xin took a step towards Lin Feng. She then grabbed him by his ear and yanked him backwards, “You big idiot! We haven’t even played yet. You can dream all about the trophy after we win it. Until then, you focus.”

“OW! But we’ll win! I know it! Watch— Owow! Bunbun! Why do you have to— Ow!” Lin Feng cried out as he followed after An Xin while trying to pull free from her iron grasp.

The clock struck 6:30 PM. An Xin let go of Lin Feng. They had to focus. The other members of the esports team looked into the venue. The stands were packed. There were more people than there were seats, so many of them had to stand in the isles or at the far back, too far away to get a good look at the large screen above the stage. People were talking excitedly about the games, while some would occasionally shout their team’s name through the venue. This was quickly drowned out by the rival school chanting their own name. The venue came to life. The Semifinals of the Shanghai 16 School Tournament was officially beginning!

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littleshanks's Thoughts

I've been thinking about what it would be like if the community had a battle royale, a full-out melee. Who would be the first to go out? What alliances would be made? Who would be the eventual winner? Here are some of my predictions for the commenters I’ve noticed in the community (Sorry if I didn't include you. Either I forgot or I haven’t seen you enough for me to form an impression):

Hyacen - Right off the bat, I'd say don't trust Hyacen. He'll instantly throw you under the bus to save his own skin and feed you to the wolves. 

Sietse & Goldfire – I feel like my best bet is sticking with these two. Both of them are tall as fuck and make for good coverage if I want to hide behind them.

Sinothereaper31 & FortColors – The two insightful helpers during the murder mystery. I feel like both have the brains to stay at the edge of all the action and not get too involved until the end. As for when the numbers dwindle to the last few, it’ll really be up to luck. Honestly, Fort might just troll his way to victory.

JupiterTempest – He’s getting knocked out straight away. No doubts about this. He’s going to try and big brain it, but he’s going to somehow fuck it up and screw himself over. 

Hitogami & CelestialSlayer – Two overall nice dudes. But nice dudes don’t help you survive. Also, CelestialSlayer has a bit of a Bad Luck Brian air going around him. I’m sure I’d be okay for a bit sticking with them, but probably going to split sooner than later.

Neyon – TangTang Stan. Destroy on sight.

SliceSpike – Unreliable. Also, heathen who hates breadbowls.

ScreamingLeaf – I like Leaf. But I feel like he has too little awareness of his surroundings to be a reliable partner.

SatanBarbie – Avoid if I don’t want to get stabbed and my throat slashed.

TheImmoralGuy – We’ve got good synergy when we do act together, but he goes MIA too often.

Lunardagger – TangTang Stan #2. Also destroy on sight. 

Rinsi – Also a Bad Luck Brian. Avoid if you don’t want the bad juju.

ArcanaDrago – There are few constants in life. Arcana being bad is one of them.

Aesprica – Never trust the yuri shippers. Always sus.

P4in – He’s going to try and use his trap self to gather allies, but it’s going to get him mobbed. In what way, I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Falkara – Fucking ninja. I know he’s always there, lurking. I just never see him anymore. 

Devshard – One of two things will happen. Either he rallies people around him and survives until the end. Or we all gang up on him at the start. I propose the latter before he achieves the former.

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Sietse Thought: Lol. Shanks thinks I'd let him stick near me. This dude throws people faster under the bus than Hyacen can ever dream of doing. Those two are like Master-Disciple. If you got close to me Shanks, DOWN YOU GO!

Dev Thought: I want to go to bed. I will turn into a mercenary and fight for anyone who lets me sleep.