This was Diadema 2023’s battleground for its national finals, where millions of esports fans were watching the biggest event of the year. Dozens of cameras hung high above the venue, capturing the slightest expressions of the contestants on stage.
Team VW rose up with a reverse sweep. This was the last battle that would determine the champion. The two teams have been at a stalemate for more than an hour. In that time, there were conflicts one after another, and only inhibitors remained on both sides. If another large-scale team battle occurred, the champion would be decided. This was a time when the players’ mental fortitude were tested.
“QP’s legendary jungler, Rafael, has just changed bushes. It seems like he’s not giving up until he gets to his nemesis, Phea.”
“Let’s shift our attention to VW’s top-laner, Ah Pi. Coincidentally, Ah Pi was also bush camping.”
“This position happens to be QP’s blind spot! Let’s wait and see, will Ah Pi manage to catch a lost lamb in this narrow bush? However, there’s a slim chance, because it was the supports’ basic early game responsibility to survey all the bushes on the map. As a result, bush camping in the late game is less effective.”
“Sure enough!! What a pity! QP’s mid-laner still has an enslavement skill. This skill will summon two souls who will automatically scan for nearby enemies and expose their field of vision. Now that Ah Pi’s field of vision has been exposed, he can only give up–“
“Wait! He flashed! He did it!!! He controlled QP’s ADC, Chen Han!!! Where did his flash come from?! Didn’t he use it in the previous wave of team fights???”
Everybody held their breath while witnessing this unexpected development. Nobody dared to let out a big breath, for fear of missing out on any movement on the screen.
“VW’s Phea is finally here! Using flash to catch up, he activated a heaven-splitting burst of flames. The damage of the fire mage’s late game level 10 ultimate move can instakill the ADC!!! Instakilled! Instakilled!!! Nice!!! As expected of the MVP of two finals, Demon King!”
“At the same time, our Rafael has appeared too! Rafael’s choice this time is his famed favorite water-type jungler. We all know that water-type gets very strong in the late game, not to mention Rafael’s ice-type skill that had the tendency to focus on control. Phea, who had used his flash, would have no way to withstand it! Almost instantly, he was killed by Rafael’s burst! But, Phea had completed his mission. He had already used all of his offensive skills!!”
“VW’s ADC, Xiao Di, came forward!!! Missing their DPS, QP could not leave in time. Their top-laner’s mispositioning caused them to come to a deadlock! One down! Two down!! Nice!!! Now, QP is only left with Rafael!!! Can he defend the inhibitors all by himself?!”
The conclusion was, no.
With quick hands, the assassin wearing a dark, striped clock changed into a meat resurrection armor in seconds. However, in the end, he could only watch in vain as the inhibitor burst. Its fragments fell all over around him, like snow in a lonely summer.
“In this arduous yet exciting, hour-long tug-of-war, with only inhibitors left on either side, it was team VW that lived up to our expectations… becoming the champion of the 2023 Diadema National Finals!!!!”
The live commentary at the event venue was exciting and passionate. The audience roared, and lights and posters flew everywhere.
“Let us congratulate team VW, for winning the national championship for the second time!!!”
In the headset, the roaring of the players seemed muted for an instant, as thunderous cheers traveled from the huge venue. However, in the channel of team QP’s headphones, it was dead silent.
Just like that, they lost. In one short hour, an entire year of hard work became nothing. Only the winners’ smiles were remembered, no one cared about the sweat of the losers.
The lights came back on after the match ended. Just like countless pairs of prying eyes, they illuminated the whole scene brightly. Through the screen, Yin Yu took one last look at the assassin in white below Rafael’s name and stood up in a daze.
As instructed, the winners and losers had to shake hands, then everybody applauded as they watched the losers leave the stage. On the other hand, the winners would remain on the glorious stage, holding up the trophy that belonged to the victorious.
Like a puppet without a soul, he mechanically shook each hand, not even daring to raise his head, for fear that his red eyes would be captured by the camera and be broadcasted to hundreds of millions of screens.
An indifferent-sounding voice sounded above his head. The teen in black raised his head abruptly and clashed directly with a pair of deep, gray pupils. In those eyes that lacked melanin, he could see his red eyes clearly.
“Are you laughing at me, Chu Ke?”
He pulled a laugh that was uglier than crying. His usually domineering face was instead filled with discomposure.
Around this time last year, in this same arena, with the same teammates and opponent, Yin Yu also watched as the trophy fell into the same hands of the person in front of him.
But this year, the opening 2:0 was quickly chased into 2:3. No one could bear this scale of psychological gap.
“Laugh all you want. A loser like me deserves it.”
Having said that, the teen wearing the team QP’s uniform lowered his head quietly and left through the exit tunnel quickly.
The owner of those gray eyes was stunned when he saw the teen’s face. When the host reminded him to turn around to raise the trophy, his mind was still filled with Yin Yu’s red eyes.
Chu Ke did not mean anything else. It might have been a sworn enemy’s mockery, but to say that in the position of the winner, it was more of a commendation of Yin Yu as a jungler. However, complemented by his poker face, it seemed to have achieved the opposite effect.
Holding the trophy, the gray-eyed man was still absentminded—not because of the victory, but because he wondered if his thoughts were a little twisted. Seeing the redness spread from the corners of his enemy’s eyes, he actually thought…
Damn, he’s good-looking.
On the way back to the headquarters, no one spoke a word. The bus was dead silent, the sound of breathing could be heard clearly. When they arrived at the meeting room, it was still dark inside. No one was in the mood to review the match.
In the dark, Yin Yu fumbled in his pocket, before finally taking out a cigarette box. He had to distract himself, as his mood had reached a tipping point. With a flick, an ember of flame lit up in the darkness, and smoke swirled around in the darkness.
“How much were you paid?”
He held it in and chose a milder approach.
As the cigarette butt flickered, people who were shuffling in stopped abruptly when they heard those words.
“What—what did you say?!”
“I’m fucking asking how much money you made to play a fake match?!”
Yin Yu exhaled a fierce puff of smoke, it was almost like his sharp eyes could cut through the cloth of darkness.
“Who are you to say that to me? Huh, just because you are Rafael? Just because you’re the number one jungler? You blame me if we lose. And if we win, all the credit goes to you?”
“Go check the internet, aren’t they all saying that I’m a noob, that I shouldn’t have gone to that bush. Did anyone say that it’s your fault? Which lost match wasn’t blamed on me? Last year was like that, and this year as well? Why?!”
The people in the dark roared loudly, venting their dissatisfaction and envy.
“Heh. If you knew people were scolding you, why didn’t you blame yourself for being a noob, but blame others instead?”
The teen in black took off his uniform and stubbed out his cigarette with his fingers, the ember of the burning cigarette scorched the skin of his thumb, making a hair-raising creaking sound. Yet, he continued to pinch the roll of paper as if he felt no pain. In the shadow of the last light from the ember, his silhouette faded.
“If you were acting, you were acting. We already lost the match, is it that difficult to admit it? You should know that if I can say all this, I already know more than you think. The dirty deals you did with VW’s top, I’m not interested.”
“What you’re doing is disrespecting all the hard work that our team puts in, Chen Han.”
In an instant, he pressed the light switch behind him, and bright lights shot into the meeting room, eliminating any darkness. The other obese man stood on the other end of the meeting room, stood trembling, and spoke incoherently.
“You think I’m the only one who thinks this way? Let me tell you, Captain Yin, everybody is clear about this. So long as you’re here, we will never succeed.”
“Wei Xi, who is always criticized by you and compared to Fei Er, you think he secretly respects you, right? Let me tell you, he can’t wait for you to retire early! Who likes your arrogance?? All except that dog, De Si, who can still be considered loyal.”
Chen Han’s lips squirmed as he watched Yin Yu walk towards him in horror, the fat on his face trembled in fear. Yet, he still forced a prideful smile, tirelessly spewing venom like a poisonous snake.
“You’re always this arrogant, but aren’t you just like a lost dog now, hahahahahahahaha.”
His words fell on deaf ears, as the teen in black threw the cigarette butt into the wastebasket, pushed the door open, and left expressionlessly.