Chapter 259 - Misdirection is my Maiden Name


Shanghai University of Finance’s clubroom was abuzz. Everyone had their eyes locked on the large LCD screen above the stage. Two players from Team Shanghai were caught out in Blue Team’s bottom side jungle! Qiu Le’s Jinx ran at them from the bot lane, Gnar teleported in from the side, Huang Yang’s Lee Sin came running from the top side jungle, and Luo Yu’s Orianna charged into the jungle from the mid lane!

        “GO GO GO! GET THAT SHUTDOWN GOLD!”
        “We’re finally getting some kills back! Serves them right for being so cocky!”
        “There’s no way they’re getting out of this, right?”
        “HAHAHA! FINALLY SOME SWEET JUSTICE! SWEEEEEEEET JUSTICE!”
        “Who do you think will get the kills? Jinx, right? Or maybe Orianna?”
        “I don’t care. All I care about is that we finally turn this damn game around and win! GO QIU LE!”
        “DAMN RIGHT! We need to beat those high schoolers!”

None of these roars penetrated the double glass of the soundproof booths. There were no distractions for Team Shanghai, only the game in front of them. Lin Feng flicked his mouse to look at his surroundings. His Thresh and Tang Bingyao’s Lucian were behind enemy lines. Four champions from Shanghai University of Finance’s team were collapsing on them. There were only two ways out of this situation. Lin Feng and Tang Bingyao could either run into Blue team’s base and commit sudoku, or they could fight a way through Shanghai University of Finance’s team. Lin Feng chose to go with this second option. He said to Tang Bingyao over the team’s voice chat, “Click my lantern right after I hit the hook.”

Lin Feng placed down his Lantern next to Tang Bingyao and then flashed towards the Red Buff Camp. He walked into the clearing, pulling the string of his lantern to its maximum range. There he waited for a brief moment. He had no vision on the other side of the wall, but he knew when Orianna had left the mid lane. She should walk on the other side of this wall in 3, 2, 1… He activated Death Sentence. Thresh threw his scythe over the jungle wall and hit a blind hook on the Orianna. “Click it!” he shouted over the team’s voice chat. Then he activated the second part of Death Sentence, pulling himself towards Orianna.

Luo Yu stared at his screen, dumbstruck. Then he quickly shook his head and pressed on the Alt and E keys! With alt he targeted himself and with E he cast Command: Protect! Orianna’s Ball attached to herself, granting a shield! Luo Yu wanted to follow up with all his damage abilities. He wanted to kill the Thresh and Lucian! But before he could activate another skill, the edges of space warped around his Orianna and materialized in a cage of dark energy!

An Xin’s Veigar had followed Orianna into Blue team’s bottom side jungle. After landing the stun with Event Horizon, she unleashed her full damage combo! W! Q! R! Veigar called a great mass of dark matter to fall from the sky! Then he gathered dark energy at the tip of his staff and hurled it at Orianna with Baleful Strike! He finally unleashed his ultimate skill. PRIMORDIAL BURST! Dark magic gathered around his staff into a miniature star! He fired it at Orianna, the massive explosion of magic draining away nearly all of her health!

Lin Feng and Tang Bingyao arrived in front of Orianna. She was still stunned and Veigar’s damage had taken away 99% of her health. Both Lin Feng and Tang Bingyao clicked on Orianna, the kill stealing habit strong in both of them. It was Lucian’s higher attack speed that landed him the kill.

Unstoppable!

The university students spectating the match all fell silent. They stared at the large LCD screen in a daze. Team Shanghai’s Botlaners were completely out of position. By all rights, they should’ve died! But not only did they survive, they even picked up a kill on their way out of enemy territory! The awareness required to make the right call and the skill to execute it flawlessly was far beyond what these students were capable of.

        “What…?”
        “Did that just happen? Lol. What? How?”
        “That hook on the Orianna. How did he know she was there?”
        “Told you he was cheating! Tell me, how else could he hook Orianna?”
        “Right! He’s a cheater! Like maybe he can look five seconds into the future or something!”
        “Idiot, stop reading so many webnovels…”
        “But how else did he know where the Orianna was!? That was so crazy!”
        “Probably because he saw her walk away from the mid lane. He just made an educated guess…”
        “Bullshit! He’s a cheater! HE HAS TO BE! NO ONE IS THAT GOOD!”

Back in Team Shanghai’s soundproof booth, Lin Feng was patting himself on the shoulder. He  grinned and said over the team’s voice chat, “I’m really good at escaping too!” Then he turned to look at BunBun and added, “That was a great save! You really helped us out there! I bet that really tilted them!”

Shanghai University of Finance’s team had been pretty annoyed before the first game of the scrimmage even started. That annoyance grew further in the first game, where they got completely outclassed by Team Shanghai. And now, in the second game, they lost it. Team Shanghai had changed their lineup, which felt like the biggest slap in the face to Shanghai University of Finance’s team. As if Team Shanghai were saying that Shanghai University of Finance’s team wasn’t good enough to face Team Shanghai’s main team.

There were only 10 minutes played in the second game, but Team Shanghai was already pulling far ahead. Their Veigar and Lucian especially were far stronger than their counterparts on the university’s team. It was the breaking point for Shanghai University of Finance’s team. They were raging and started making stupid mistakes, like taking fights they knew they shouldn’t. But the tilt dictated their play, blind hatred for Team Shanghai causing them to run in every single hook Lin Feng’s Thresh threw at them.

After 15 minutes, Shanghai University of Finance’s team was at a 4,000 gold disadvantage. This difference grew to 6,000 in the following five minutes. It was clear to everyone watching that Team Shanghai was going to win. If this were a normal game, Shanghai University of Finance’s team would surrender. But this game was too important to them. They absolutely couldn’t lose it! So they continued playing, continued making mistakes, and continued falling further and further behind.

Team Shanghai spent the next 10 minutes destroying towers and two out of the three inhibitors from Shanghai University of Finance’s team. They then took Baron Nashor, using the strong buff it gave to storm Blue team’s base. The university team made their last stance beneath the two Nexus towers. It was a short scuffle. A stomp, for it really couldn’t be considered a fight. Team Shanghai got five kills, giving away none, and then destroyed the two towers.

The energy in Blue team’s nexus twisted and twirled, smashing against the glass cage that contained it. When Team Shanghai broke the barrier, this energy rushed out and morphed into the victory emblem. Team Shanghai had won the best of three series versus Shanghai University of Finance with a resounding 2-0!

Team Shanghai walked out of their soundproof booth into an absolutely silent university clubroom. A hundred pairs of eyes were on them, but no one said anything. Then the door to the other soundproof booth opened. The players from Shanghai University of Finance’s team walked out, their gazes steady on the floor. They walked up to Team Shanghai and shook hands with the players, trying very hard to look away from their fellow students in the clubroom.

Luo Yu shook Zeng Rui’s hand and said with a bitter smile, “Good game. You guys were the better team.”

Zeng Rui nodded and replied, “Thank you. You guys played well.” But the smirk on his face told another story. “Haha! We beat you! Suck on that!”

Lin Feng walked up to Luo Yu and asked, “Hey, you said something about your second team, right? Are we going to play a best of three against them next? Are they better than your team?”

Everyone in the university’s clubroom turned to look at five people who were trying to sneak away. The five players from Shanghai University of Finance’s second team stopped where they stood, their eyes shifting around. Then they scratched the back of their heads, whistled and looked up at the ceiling, pretending like they hadn’t a clue why everyone was looking at them.

        “Ah, u-uh, man, the weather sure is great today!”
        “Hey… Oh, hey, there. Is that a cobweb? We should go and look for the janitor…”
        “Yeah, his office is right around the corner. Let’s just go and tell him…”
        “Right! We should do that! Come, we don’t have any time to waste!”
        “Exactly! We can’t let guests see how poorly this place is kept. Let’s go yell at the janitors!”

Tang Bingyao looked at the members from the university’s second team and said, “Pff, what terrible acting.”

An Xin winked at Tang Bingyao and said, “See? What did I tell you?” She didn’t wait for a reply and continued herself, “That they were going to pay for underestimating us girls! Look at them paying!”

Qiu Le watched the players from Team Shanghai leave the clubroom. He then turned to his teammates and said, “Don’t tell me the other two high school teams at the Collegiate Cup are going to be this good…”

Xie Qing nodded wide-eyed and mumbled, “I hope not…”

Huang Yang scratched his forehead, using his arm to hide the embarrassment on his face, and said, “Can’t be. These five have to be the best. They just have to be. It can’t be any other way. It can’t be!”

Luo Yu didn’t join in the conversation with his friends and teammates. He watched the players from Team Shanghai walk away until long after they’d left the clubroom. I guess we should’ve seen this coming. I knew how good Zeng Rui was. If he came to me for a scrim, it was because he was confident in his team. We should’ve never underestimated them! But how couldn’t we? They had two girls on their team! You just don’t see that in competitive League… You don’t even see it in normal League! But it’s good we found out about this now. The Winter Collegiate Cup is only a few weeks away. It’s going to be interesting. We should prepare for anything.

With a loud sigh, Luo Yu turned to his teammates and said, “Alright, quit the moping. We learned a valuable lesson in this scrim. There is still plenty of time until the actual tournament. Let’s take the lessons we can from today and focus on our training.” He paused for a brief moment and then continued, “And when we play against them the next time, we’re going to beat… them…” Luo Yu suddenly turned back to look in the direction that Team Shanghai left in. “Don’t tell me…” he mumbled. Don’t tell me they did the role swap in the second game just to throw us off? Was that just a tactic to keep us guessing at how they’re going to play at the Winter Collegiate Cup? Are they thinking that far ahead? No… It can’t be. Or can it? Was this second game all a trick to throw us off?

Team Shanghai was walking back to the train station, chatting about the scrimmage against the Shanghai University of Finance. The main topic was the role swap, with Lin Feng, Tang Bingyao and Zhang Hao guessing as to why they did it. Lin Feng suddenly smacked his head and shouted, “I know! We wanted to hide how good we are!”

An Xin nodded at Lin Feng and said, “Yep! You’re right! For once. We did the role swap to prevent them from getting too much information on us!”

Zeng Rui chimed in, “Correct. They’re our opponent in the East China regionals. That role swap was a smokescreen, because I didn’t want them to use these two games to make a game plan against us. I think it worked. They should have a nice headache.”

Zhang Hao looked in surprise and shouted, “Oh, I see! That makes sense!”

Tang Bingyao nodded and said, “Mhm. Smart plan.”

Lin Feng, on the other hand, shrugged and said, “Eh, what does it matter? We’re going to stomp them anyway!”

Zeng Rui felt his eyebrow twitching again, something that was happening a lot in recent weeks. He gritted his teeth and wanted to punch Lin Feng, but he held himself back. He took a deep, calming breath and looked at Lin Feng. He always has a big mouth and he sounds like a thundering dumbass! But he also always wins. He’s better than everyone else. And he’s only getting better. I don’t even know how exactly, but he’s winning… easier? I don’t know how he’s doing it, but he’s far better than we are. He has a reason to be so confident. He shook his head. But that’s no reason to be cocky. He should learn from BunBun. He finally said, “In any case, we just have to keep practicing. The tournament starts on December 8th. That’s in a week and a half already and we’ve got a lot more room for improving.”

“Oh!” Lin Feng exclaimed. “That’s only a few days after Tang Tang’s birthday! Her birthday is on the 4th of December! That’s only a few days!”

An Xin glanced over at Lin Feng and mumbled, “Idiot.”

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littleshanks's Thoughts

This Translator Thought was brought to you by FortColors. He wants to know one vice that each of us could not give up for a period of 40 days.

A little background information. FortColors entered a bet that he can’t open Discord for a similar period of time, because his friend told him he couldn’t do it. In his own estimation, he has spent 3,000-4,000 hours on Discord in 2020. Here is a small excerpt from him:

“giving up discord is hard for me because this is how I socialize with people, mostly. But it's still possible for me because I can occupy myself and talk to people on insta, snap, etc. 

Giving up League of Legends would be easy because I can play other video games. Giving up video games altogether would be actually impossible. I would literally not know what to do with myself (lmao). Giving up all Riot games... damn that would be really hard, but MAYBE possible i think i could do it?”

Sietse Thought: This is a harder question than it seems. Shanks suggested I write down masturbating. But let’s face it, I don’t need myself for that. You guys know I’m a big candy addict. I love all kinds of candy. But I can’t really write that down either, because I have had only a little bit of licorice in the last 6 months+. 

I asked Shanks again. And he finally helped me. Mobile games. Even as we speak, I’m playing. Not really playing, just autoing in the background. Because you see, I don’t like the playing aspect of mobile games. I only care about the gacha aspect. Let me AFK farm for a day and then try my luck on impossible odds. That short feeling of maybe! Just maybe! I love it. I really fucking love it. It feels so good. That’s also what I love so much about poker. It’s that knot in your stomach, that strange sensation where you’re hoping that you get your nat5 roll, or a royal flush. Only to end up disappointed. Most of the time. Sometimes you get lucky!

So yeah, the one thing I can’t give up on are mobile games. Sometimes I take a break for a bit. But I always get back to it. I always… AFK more. And then I GACHA! GACHA IS LIFE! I SHALL NEVER DO WITHOUT!

Shanks Thought: Hmmm. A vice that I can’t give up for 40 days. The easy answer would be jerking off, but that’s not fun. I’m seriously thinking about this one. Sietse suggested throwing people under the bus. Fuck you, Sietse.

No socializing. I think that’d be pretty tough for me to give up. Most people think they could easily pull the hermit life off. Move to Alaska, live in a log cabin, spend months on end not interacting with a single human being… Yeah, I’d go insane. Not a probably. Definitely. The first few days would be alright. I’d keep myself entertained with books, movies, TV shows, etc. But then, that craving for human interaction would probably get the better of me by around Day 10. And since I’d have no way of getting it, I’d probably start creating imaginary friends in my head to talk to, just to keep myself sane. 

Sietse Addendum: Shanks is a pretty shitty cultivator. Can’t even sit for 40 days in a cave all by himself. He’ll never master the Dao of Translating with this attitude.

Shanks (Continued): You joke, but I know one translator who spent 48 hours straight translating. Told me he couldn’t sleep, so all he did was keep translating. I think he got about 24 chapters done? That would probably melt my brain.

Devs Thought: Alright. Alright. Alright. I’ve got the definitive answer right here. You know what I can’t survive 40 days without? Hope. 

Boom! 

Did ya feel that cringe? That uncontrollable urge to facepalm at how unbelievably and ungodly cheesy that was? That was physical. 

Anyways. My real answer is negativity and rage. Pretty much what gets me through every single day. Exactly like Bruce Banner. I’ve got a furnace of toxicity and rage burning all day inside me. And without it, I don’t know if I’m even capable of functioning. Is it the best source of motivation and inspiration? Absolutely not. I’m burning years of my life running this way. But it is who I is and how I be. If my particular 40-day challenge was to stop functioning on barely contained simmering rage all the time and achieving inner peace, I doubt I’d make it a day. 

Part of this whole Lent/Give up something important to you for 40 days to understand the nature of sacrifice is to enable one to evolve into a different person. Grow from the experience, become better, all that jazz. Except I don’t think these things really do anything nor do I believe that someone can grow from a 40-day time out. Human beings function on patterns. If you forcibly disrupt the current pattern, a new one will emerge. That goes without saying. But how long that new pattern lasts, that’s where the real validity of this entire experiment lies. And its been my experience that people do not change completely from a 40-day disruption. Or even a little bit. In the short term, yeah, there’ll be a variation. But over the course of years? Of a lifetime? The normal pattern that you’ve built up for yourself will emerge and wipe that out.