League of Legends: League of Unknowns

Chapter 423 - Old Rivals



Chapter 423: Old Rivals

Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation  Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

At the Gentle Dawn Hotel, a young man with somewhat disheveled hair dozed in front of a public computer terminal, as though he’d been there all night.

A video was playing on the computer screen. A young man with black hair stood among a sea of foreigners, standing out from them like a star in a midnight sky.

The video had been taken with someone’s handphone. Not particularly high-definition, and the recording was kinda shaky.

“Sir… excuse me, sir!” A receptionist in a long pink gown smiled as she shook the young man awake.

“Sir, why don’t you return to your room, now? There’s controlled heating and ventilation in there. If you stay out here, you might catch a cold.” The girl continued to display her professional-grade smile.

The young man groggily came to, and then smiled in sheepish apology.

“You’re one of those professional players, aren’t you?” The girl glanced at the ID card he wore, and her smile grew a little brighter.

“Yup.” The young man nodded.

“What’s this video you’re watching, here? Doesn’t look like a LOL competition.”

The young man rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he answered, “Oh, this was the World Cyber Games Solo Championship, where players fought to be named the World Champion of Gaming.”

“There are so many foreigners… so this is an international gaming tournament…” the girl remarked with an air of fascination.

The young man nodded. Unconsciously, his eyes wandered back to the boy in the video, who was holding up a trophy cup. Complicated emotions played out in the young man’s eyes.

“Who’s that guy?” The girl seemed to have a certain interest in such events.

“A jack-of-all-trades: Starcraft, Warcraft 3, and DOTA… he got first place twice, and second place once.”

“That’s amazing! He managed to win against all those foreigners?”

“Yup.”

“Is that guy you?” she asked.

There was a pause, and then the young man shook his head bitterly. “I was the guy taking this video, on my phone.”

That year, they’d entered the event together. When that person was crowned the World Champion of Gaming, his glory burned so bright that it had been blinding.

He’d stood at a corner of the stage while the awards were being presented, feeling completely irrelevant and unnecessary. Winning fourth place in Starcraft had been worth nothing at all.

And so, he’d made this handphone video recording, holding back tears as he swore never to be subjected to such humiliation again. The day would come when he would surpass that person’s fame.

In the blink of an eye, so many years had passed. At last, he would be given another chance to face him in a serious match. The thought of it inexplicably set his pulse racing.

“I’ll defeat you!”

On that day, he learned that if you weren’t number one, you were nothing.

Collecting himself, the young man returned his attention to the receptionist girl. “I’ll return to my room and sleep. I’ve still got a game tomorrow. Thanks for waking me up.”

“Alright. What’s your name?” she asked.

“Xie Lianda. You can also call me ‘Number One’.” Disconnecting the line, he made for the lifts.

Tomorrow there would be a decisive match in the LPL tournament. He knew that person was an extremely capable player—but he couldn’t allow himself to lose again!

No one could understand how it felt to be a main-line Starcraft gamer, losing first place to a part-time player!

***

He reached his floor. The elevator doors slid open. Lianda saw a man coming down the long corridor, heading this way.

Lianda froze. What a coincidence.

Luocheng stepped out from the foyer of Team Beijing’s apartment, and smiled when he saw Lianda approaching. “Number One.”

“Looking for me?” Lianda asked, puzzled. Could it be that he’d remembered him from the World Cyber Games Solo Tournament?

Luocheng got straight to the point: “Yeah, I wanted to ask about you guys representing China in the Asian Indoor Games.”

“Sure, what about it?” Lianda asked indifferently.

“How did you get approval from the General Administration of Sports? Could you give me some details about that?”

“Korea is organizing the Games, and e-sports have been included among the events. The Sports Administration found someone to take charge of that, and the person-in-charge selected Team Beijing to represent. That’s about it.”

“How did you guys get selected?”

“Why, you want in?” It wasn’t difficult for Lianda to figure out what Luocheng was after—it might as well have been written across his forehead.

Luocheng himself readily acknowledged that he really, truly, definitely wanted to take part in that event. He’d be representing his country in an officially recognized gaming competition. If he hoped to change his family’s perspective on the issue, the only way was to achieve a big win in a nationally sanctioned e-sports event like this one!

“Yeah!” Luocheng didn’t beat around the bush—he just came right out and admitted it.

“There will be various games under the e-sports category. The person-in-charge is my instructor, and he’s sending me and my team to participate.”

Luocheng frowned slightly. It sounded as though Number One had secured this opportunity through his connections.

So this sort of thing was decided internally?

There were so many gamers across the nation, and you wouldn’t even hold some selection matches? Just hand-pick a few people to take on a major event like this… that didn’t seem right!

Where was the sportsmanship?

As though he could read Luocheng’s mind, Lianda huffed. “The participants were not selected at random. The main priority is being able to keep to standards and regulations. After all, this is the first time e-sports has been included in a sporting event. The Sports Administration doesn’t want to see any irregularities crop up along the way.”

“You’re saying that since this will be the first time e-sports is being featured in an official sporting event, the top priority is for everything to go smoothly, and our actual achievements during that event are a secondary concern?” Luocheng felt he’d gotten the gist of it.

Perhaps the General Administration of Sports was testing the waters regarding e-sports in China. If everything went off without a hitch, and there wasn’t any kind of serious backlash, then perhaps e-sports would continue to be included in future sporting events…

Certainly, e-sports diverged tremendously from more traditional sports. The Sports Administration had every reason to be cautious about this. The field of e-sports itself already couldn’t bear to suffer any more mishaps, either.

Luocheng couldn’t help but sigh, knowing all this. It didn’t seem possible for him to get into this one. This round of the Asian Indoor Games was being handled entirely behind closed doors. Even the support staff were subject to stringent oversight.

Lianda watched Luocheng turning dejectedly to leave, and coldly muttered, “And how do you know we won’t gain any achievements?”

“That’s not what I meant,” Luocheng protested.

“You really don’t remember anymore?”

“Remember what?”

“Nothing.”

Lianda turned and walked off towards the room at the end of the corridor. The expression on his face was gradually souring with bitterness and anguish.

It stood to reason. Who would go out of their way to remember someone they’d defeated?

But that wouldn’t be his role anymore!

Tomorrow, he’d deal him a good and proper defeat!

***

On the second week, it was Team Skycrown vs. Team Beijing!

Both teams were very popular, and the ardor of their fans was no longer just some quiet thing lurking in the shadows—now, both teams had their own home bases: Demacia and Noxus!

It was a unique setup, a departure from the more traditional arrangement for professional players. Once other agencies had heard of the enormous returns being reaped by their patrons, they’d leapt to imitate the business model, so that instead of conducting all their activities purely over the internet, from within closed-off private facilities, they would instead establish leisurely net cafés and casual gaming centers.

Of course, Sky and Daemons still commanded the highest esteem, but there was no doubt that the Skycrown and Beijing teams drew the most enthusiastic supporters. Signs were being waved all throughout the hall, and some even had war paint on their faces, as though they’d come to see a football match instead. They wanted the whole world to know that they were Skycrown fans.

Lin Dong nudged Da Luo. “Hey, you see that guy over there, with that whole painted mess going on? Recognize him?”

“Must be that kid who was playing Tristana. Really, now… skipping classes to show up for this game, and even hosting an entire art gallery on his face…”

“Haha, maybe he’s worried about being spotted.”

Having passionate fans like these was actually something worth bragging about. The team’s morale was soaring.

For the two official commentators, this was obviously their first time witnessing such a scene. They weren’t even needed to stir up any kind of hype—if anything, they themselves were being affected by the atmosphere. It was kind of embarrassing.

***

Zhou Yan glanced towards Yu Luocheng. “Did you ask him, yesterday?”

He knew that Luocheng had paid Number One a visit. Truth be told, everyone in Team Skycrown would totally love to play in a major sporting event like that. Imagine if, by chance, they appeared on the sports channel… then everyone they knew would have to call them TV celebrities!

And then, if they sent word home, their families would definitely have to admit that they were making something of themselves, and smiles would blossom.

All this while, they’d been waiting for such a day to come.

Luocheng shook his head. “Everything’s been decided internally. I don’t expect we have any chance.”

“Damn, so they got in through their connections? I can’t stand that sort of people!” Da Luo snarled. “Let’s give them a good ass-kicking today—see how they’re gonna have the gall to represent China in an international tournament after that!”

“Sounds good!” Lin Dong didn’t sound pleased, either.

They fully admitted that they were jealous! Jealous that those people could take part in such a big competition!

Well, just because they were jealous, that didn’t mean they couldn’t give them a bloody good thrashing right now!

Taking their seats, the Skycrown players began testing and configuring their computer settings.

This would be different from the last time. This time, it was a serious LPL professional tournament. Neither team would be holding anything back. They were really going to give it their all!