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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
(Translator’s Note: The title is a cheat code from Warcraft 3. ;D)
First thing next morning, Yu Luocheng took his first tentative steps back onto the Freljord server. Now that the finals had ended, he could play Ranked in peace, and he wanted to see just how far he could go.
The Ranked score was a very real indicator of player ability. At 2,000 points and beyond, one could expect to encounter actual professional players.
Only the best of the best made it to the range of 2,200 to 2,300. Their control, game sense, and teamwork were all the equal of anyone on the pro-gaming scene. A clash between players of that level was what really got Yu Luocheng’s blood flowing!
The only thing was that, for some reason, when he logged onto this account again, Yu Luocheng felt like something was missing.
Seeing Snowfall’s grayed-out name, Yu Luocheng brought up LoL Box to look up her recent game activity, wanting to see if she’d played again ever since then.
But the last game in her match history was still the one from that night, at around eight o’clock.
Shaking his head, Yu Luocheng logged out of the account once more, having suddenly lost his will to fight.
It wasn’t as though he only played on this account for her sake—his love for games went right down to his marrow. It was just that he still hadn’t gotten over it. He needed to know why Snowfall had left without saying goodbye. This was his way of honoring the memory of a girl from the internet whom he’d spent three years of his youth with.
Although it might sound odd, that was the kind of person he was. No matter what, he had to hold on to his own inviolate principles.
Simply put, it was a matter of integrity.
Yu Luocheng spent the next couple of days playing with Yang Qianqian.
She was improving quite rapidly. It seemed that she had a gift for this sort of thing. At any rate, Yu Luocheng judged her to be far better than the likes of Wang Qin.
“Gosh, I almost forgot…” Yang Qianqian said over the voice chat.
“What, did you forget to write your name on that last English paper?” Yu Luocheng quipped.
“Don’t be silly. Didn’t I sign you up for that tournament? Wang Qin Wong, Zhao Kesong, and the others have been spending all day training in the cyber café. How can you afford to go on keeping me company like this?”
“Well, I don’t have a team.” The truth was that he wasn’t really that into it.
Training up a brand-new account, Yu Luocheng had considered that he might not get the Support role, so he’d been trying out other champions and roles. Of course, specializing in a specific role was the path to mastery over League of Legends. On the other hand, gaining a close familiarity with every champion in the game was not without its benefits.
Having alternate accounts was not just about smurfing to bully noobs. It was also a means towards developing a comprehensive understanding of all the roles, and therefore of all the players in a game.
Many players, upon reaching certain thresholds of achievement, found themselves at a bottleneck. For example, moving from 1,600 to 1,700, or 1,900 to 2,000, or 2,200 to 2,300… these were all typical areas for a slowdown to occur. If one found themselves unable to advance further despite their best efforts, that meant it was time to start an alternate account and try out the other positions. There were always lessons to be learned, there.
It was exactly for that reason that Yu Luocheng spent so much time on alternate accounts.
Then again, having said all that, there was actually a simpler reason: If not for Yang Qianqian’s coercion, Yu Luocheng would have zero interest in this level of competition.
“If you don’t have a team, go find one at the cyber café. When I passed by yesterday, I saw a bunch of people yelling in there. Haha, it was just like rounding up some friends to go on a raid, it was too perfect!” The sound of Yang Qianqian’s laughter made Yu Luocheng feel giddy inside.
“Alright, I’ll go check it out tonight,” he said.
“I’ll come with you!” Yang Qianqian declared with another laugh.
“Sure.” Yu Luocheng’s eyes lit up at the prospect of being able to see her again. Heh, heh… perhaps there might be another kind of breakthrough, tonight?
After meeting up with Yang Qianqian on the bridge that evening, Yu Luocheng half-heartedly allowed her to drag him all the way to the Dragon Rising net café.
Why not just call it a cyber café? Because these days, it seemed to be the trend to call any kind of halfway decent cyber café a ‘net café’, alright?
With a large staff at the Dragon Rising, it was one of the most prominent cyber cafés in Lecheng, rivaled only by the likes of Dawn, Aviator, EZ…
“Yu Luocheng! Yu Luocheng, check this out!” Yang Qianqian was pointing excitedly at a poster.
Yu Luocheng surreptitiously checked Yang Qianqian out: the sensuous curvature of her figure in profile. Then he made a pretense of walking over to perform a serious examination of the poster she was indicating.
“Huh, the cyber café is offering a prize. That makes things interesting.” Yu Luocheng cracked a smile.
With The Coca-Cola Company sponsoring this nation-wide League of Legends tournament, a large part of all the prizes and awards being offered were on their tab.
This was called a sponsored award, or a tournament prize.
If a participating cyber café was putting up its own reward, that was their way of contributing to the ongoing merriment.
Between the prizes being offered in the tournament as well as by the cyber cafés, doing well in this competition could prove very lucrative.
‘Contestants who register for the tournament at our Dragon Rising net café: Anyone who can beat out the other net cafés, and go on to represent Lecheng in the tournament, will receive 10,000 RMB from the manager himself!’
“Ten thousand bucks? That’s two thousand bucks for each player!”
“That’s right, and winning in the Lecheng district is already worth twenty thousand in prize money. In other words, the team that gets first place in our district stands to win thirty thousand bucks! That’s six thousand smackers for each player on the team!” Several youths were discussing this matter nearby.
“I’ll be damned! With that much money up for grabs, we’ve got to get first place, no matter what! We’re talking six thousand each!”
“Screw it, I’m only Level 27. Watch, I’m gonna get to 30 tonight, and then I’m joining too. With six thousand bucks, I could spend several months in here!”
The youths chattered away, occasionally stealing glances at Yang Qianqian.
Yang Qianqian was going for a casual look today, with a tight-fitting pair of jeans hugging her shapely butt and thighs. It was a sight to captivate any man, including Yu Luocheng himself.
“You hear that, Yu Luocheng? Six thousand bucks!” Yang Qianqian gazed at Yu Luocheng with sparkling eyes.
“Do you know how many teams are competing in all of Lecheng? It’s easier said than done,” Yu Luocheng muttered. “That being said, they’ve lost their minds, putting up so much money.”
It was rare for a cyber café to offer a reward this substantial. The power of LoL was a fearsome thing to behold.
What Yu Luocheng wasn’t aware of was that the advent of ‘League of Legends’ had saved an ailing cyber café industry.
With a computer in every home nowadays, who still needed to run down to the cyber café to surf the net, or play games? Add to this the ubiquitous connectivity of modern phones, and it was easy to understand why the cyber café business was dying off.
The one type of consumer that had yet to abandon them were the MOBA gamers. Was there a more enjoyable way to play with your team than sitting together in the cyber café?
It was a culture that might very well save cyber cafés from extinction, and so all the big cyber cafés were riding on LOL’s burgeoning popularity to make a name for themselves, and hobnob it with the big boys.
Yang Qianqian didn’t seem to think that getting first place would be any trouble at all. Beaming at Yu Luocheng, she said, “If you get that six thousand bucks, will you be taking me on a graduation trip? I’d love to go to the beach some time, but it’s all mountains around here. That really sucks.”
“Just the two of us?” Yu Luocheng raised his eyebrows at her with a sinister grin.
Yang Qianqian immediately rolled her eyes at him. This horny side of him was the worst.
And yet, there was something kind of cute about it, so that she couldn’t really get mad at him.
Gritting her teeth, she declared, “If you manage to win first place, then we’ll go—just the two of us! But then, can you really do that?” And then she thrust out her chest, fulsome and taut, a feast for the eyes.
Just like that, Yu Luocheng nodded in agreement.
But it really wouldn’t be a small feat to win first place. Yu Luocheng had no allusions that his abilities alone would be enough to carry a team to victory against all of Lecheng.
“How about I take you there with my own money?” he suggested. He still had some savings left over from that time when he’d gone pro. He’d wanted to hand it all over to his family, but his father had adamantly refused to accept what he saw as ill-gotten gains.
Up until now, Yu Luocheng hadn’t touched a cent of it. He used to joke about saving it as dowry for a wife.
It seemed he was wiser than he’d thought. Now that a potential wife had taken the field, it was time for him to put this card into play!
“Nope. Maybe if you win first place, I’ll think about it.” This was the trial Yang Qianqian wished to set before Yu Luocheng—only if he got first place, would she go on a trip alone with him.
Honestly, such an act would test the very limits of her propriety. It wasn’t a proper thing for a lady to do.
And yet, there was an eager sort of spark in her heart, a yearning to experience a couple’s vacation: looking out the window of a train together, exploring the streets of an unfamiliar city together, sitting on the beach and looking out across the ocean together…
Sadly, wisdom and caution ultimately won out in this internal struggle. Anyway, the odds of her giving in to such wild impulses were about as likely as Yu Luocheng’s chances of triumphing against every other team in Lecheng.
With this, Yang Qianqian had effectively shut down the prospect of them going off on that forbidden adventure together—but there was still that faint, impossibly tiny hope…
As for the question of whether such a tenuous proposition would be enough to stoke the fires in a certain someone’s heart…
… Well, perhaps that might be best left unsaid.
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