Chapter 28 - A Dream Worth Respecting

“Mmphh don try ‘oo pull he ool opher my eyes, ghi’m pree’y sharp,” Lin Feng said with a mouthful of noodles. He swallowed down his food and continued, “Just tell me what’s on your mind. I’ll try my best to help!”

Slurping down another mouthful, Lin Feng finished off the rest of his noodles and let out a burp. “That was good!” He rubbed his stomach in satisfaction.

All the while Su Xue wore an awkward expression. “Ahem… well, it’s nothing big,” she quietly murmured, finally overcoming her hesitation. “I just wanted to ask if you can make me better at the game.”

“Eh?” Lin Feng raised his head, staring at Su Xue in bewilderment. “Make you better at the game? Are you talking about me elo boosting you?”

Su Xue hurriedly shook her head. “No, no! What I'm asking is, is if you can teach me how to play better. Aren’t you always saying how you’re a Challenger? Teaching me can’t be too hard then, right?”

“Oh, like that!” Lin Feng exclaimed in realization. He patted his chest. “Of course I can make you better!” He stared at Su Xue curiously and asked, “But, why do you want to get better all of a sudden?”

Su Xue was at a loss for words for a while before quietly explaining, “Actually, it’s not sudden…”

Su Xue started streaming on Huya TV about half-a-month ago. As a new streamer, she had no one to promote her. So, she struggled to get even two or three viewers for the first couple of days, and they were the kind that only entered by chance and left after a few minutes.

Almost all new streamers faced the same experience. They didn’t have a core viewership they could rely on, nor did they have the platform supporting them. Gaining any semblance of popularity was as difficult as scaling the heavens. However, if you were skilled enough at what you did, you would eventually attract a base of viewers, and the higher-ups at Huya would take notice of you.

Su Xue sorely lacked this kind of skill. Over the past two weeks, she could only grit her teeth and persevere, streaming for close to 16 hours every day to build up a base of viewers. However, it saw barely any results, with only 50-odd viewers supporting her streams regularly now. Though this was the fruits of all her effort and she deeply treasured that, it was simply far too meagre. From her perspective, her limited skill as a Gold rank player was the main reason she couldn’t pull in bigger numbers.

In reality, many popular female League streamers on Huya weren’t all that great at the game. Some were even Bronze, But those types of girls didn’t rely on their gaming skills to make a living. Simply by acting cutesy and showing their cleavage, they could easily earn donations from thirsty shut-ins without so much as touching the game.

Su Xue was quite beautiful, but she would never use this kind of method to achieve success, if you could call it that. It was simply out of the question! As for something like singing, she’d feel too embarrassed and camera shy.

Su Xue had the occasional viewer come into her stream because of her appearance and ask her to take off her clothes or show them some cleavage. She would try to tactfully decline them. However, then they’d quickly erupt into a tirade of insults, calling her things like, “Trash streamer”, “Stuck-up bitch”, “Who the hell do you think you are?”, “Do you think you’re some kind of famous streamer?”, and “Dumb e-girls like you are what’s ruining the platform.”

Su Xue would pretend like the insults didn’t get to her while trying to pacify her regular viewers who were raging with righteous indignation and banning the troublemakers from her stream. However, every night when she ended the stream for the day, she’d crawl into her bed and curl up in her blankets, fighting back the urge to cry.

Su Xue often found herself thinking if she were as good as those pro players in the LPL or maybe had the skill of a Challenger, Master, or even a Diamond player, she’d be a successful streamer. However, she was just a small-time streamer with only several dozen viewers. All she could do was persevere and try her best. That was until today. Su Xue finally saw a faint glimmer of hope. She’d managed to queue up with the popular streamer Ol’ Black while Lin Feng was playing on her account. With Lin Feng showing off his Sword of the Occult Lee Sin, he managed to attract many of Ol’ Black’s viewers and even the person himself. In the end, Su Xue had a chance to befriend Ol’ Black, as well as the opportunity to duo queue with him later. Apart from this, her stream also gained a huge boost in viewership.

“I gained 200 new followers! That’s more than triple what I had before!” Su Xue raised three fingers in front of Lin Feng, her tone carrying a hit of joy and satisfaction. However, her expression quickly returned to her serious self. "But they just came for your Lee Sin. Who knows if they’ll be back to watch me? So, I need to find a way to make them stay!”

“Oh, I see. That’s why you want to get better!” Lin Feng said in realization.

Su Xue nodded. “Yeah. I’m afraid if they see how badly I play, they’ll leave.”

“Then how about I play for you more?” Lin Feng suggested.

Su Xue shook her head. “That won’t do. I’m supposed to be the stream host. I can’t rely on you always. Plus, you’re still a student. You won’t have as much free time, and you should put your studies first anyway. The best solution is for me to get better myself.”

“You really want to become a big streamer, huh?” Lin Feng remarked out of nowhere.

“Yeah, I do. What about it?” Su Xue replied.

Lin Feng scratched his head. “Oh, it’s nothing… I just remember Zuo You telling you to find other work. Plus, I thought you were streaming just for fun and weren’t actually planning to make a career out of it. Anyhow, do you really want to become a professional streamer?”

Su Xue was a bit taken aback, her expression darkened. “What do you mean by that…? Are you saying I’m not cut out to be a streamer? Maybe you don’t think I’ll succeed, that I’m only fooling around and wasting my time, that I’m too lazy to find a real job, and I’m just looking for an excuse!” She stared intently at Lin Feng. “I know I’m not good at the game. The 50 viewers I did get after streaming for more than 200 hours are all too happy to remind me of that. And without help, I’ll never get any better.”

She took a deep breath. “You’re right. I’m not good. Just like how Zuo You thinks a person like me can’t become a streamer! I don’t have any skill, and I don’t want to be just another e-girl who has to rely on her looks for viewers. So, what do I have to offer! I must look like a big joke to you right now, huh? Me, becoming a successful streamer? That couldn’t be anything further from reality!” 

The more Su Xue spoke, the more riled up she became. In the end, she shot up to her feet, panting for breath. “Fine, forget I said anything. It’s my mistake for coming to you for help. I’m just trash anyway, I’ll never become good in my lifetime!”

Su Xue turned to leave about to rush back to her room, when Lin Feng’s voice hastily called out from behind. Wait! Wait!”

“What do you want?” Su Xue turned around and glared at Lin Feng, the redness around her eyes betraying her inner feelings.

Lin Feng scratched his head. “I didn’t say I wouldn’t help you…”

“Huh?” Su Xue gaped.

“I wasn’t finished. You just kept on going and going without giving me any chance to say anything. I was just asking out of curiosity. You're overthinking things too much. There’s nothing wrong with trying to become a professional streamer! I fully support it! Just like I said before, having a dream is a good thing. As long as you try hard, you’ll succeed. Plus…” Lin Feng scratched his hair, slightly blushing with embarrassment as he put on an earnest expression. “No matter how stupid or unrealistic people say your dreams are, as long as you try your hardest, I think it’s worth respecting!”

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littleshanks's Thoughts

A rare serious moment in what’s been a fairly silly ride.