Shen Qiao ground out Lu Zhe's name through gritted teeth while holding a skewer of non-spicy grilled fish, with the gazes of Old Wo and the others, including the two kids who may or may not have been of age, fixed raptly on him.
Only Lu Zhe could tell that Shen Qiao was seethingly embarrassed.
Lu Zhe knew to quit while he was ahead. He smiled and good-naturedly answered, "Hm?"
Shen Qiao gave him a warning in the form of an icy glare. "If you don't speak for one minute, no one will think you're mute."
Lu Zhe wiped the smile off his face and very, very innocently said, "But if I don't speak, how will everyone know this adorable person is my boyfriend?"
Shen Qiao was momentarily rendered speechless. It was unclear whether he had been stunned into silence by Lu Zhe's audacity, or by the word 'adorable'.
However, the onlookers did start to voice their protests—
Qian Bao chimed in, "Are the skewers not good? Did we not order enough for a midnight snack? Why do you have to serve us dog food too?"
Old Wo bitterly added, "All the world's dog lovers are sending you strongly worded letters of condemnation right now.
Even Er-Hua muttered, "Geh."
After their initial moment of bewilderment, Zheng Zhizhuo and Zhao Yue quickly got with the program. They erased their self-proclaimed labels of '#1 Wolf Cub Fan' and '#1 Captain Lu Fan' and swiftly replaced them with brand new bright, glittery labels. They were now—
CP Fan #1, and CP Fan #2.
Time slowly ticked by until the hands on the clock pointed to 11:10 PM.
After finishing their midnight snack and dog food, the members of Team DG trudged into the training room. Although Coach Fang had let them off the hook for the night, the players themselves were extremely preoccupied with their performance from earlier that night.
They would review the game on their own.
At the end of the day, there had been nothing wrong with their pre-game tactics. It was simply a combination of various slips and errors during the match that ultimately landed them in a horrible mess.
Qian Bao went out of her way to set time aside for practice matches with their two new junglers. "Little Zhuo, when you're done queueing up with Wolf Cub, come over to jiejie for a while. We'll try a few plays together. A-Yue, you too. Come find me when you're done with Captain Lu."
She felt like she hadn't been in sync with their junglers at all during their games that night, and as a result the synergy between their middle laner and jungler was always lacking. She wanted to properly observe the two kids' jungling techniques and better understand the rhythm of their plays.
Old Wo decided to do some individual training, to keep his hands trained up.
Er-Hua felt like his own performance with Braum had been lacking that day. He decided to get on the Korean server and practice some other champions.
On the way back to the training room, Lu Zhe and Shen Qiao fell behind the others again.
There was no air conditioning along the way, but cool air from the cafeteria and other rooms did drift into the hallway. Although the air in the halls couldn't exactly be called refreshing, it wasn't downright stifling either.
Insects buzzed outside the window, cheerfully screeching into the night. The cacophony gave off the impression that the natural habitats in the area around DG's headquarters was quite well-preserved.
Shen Qiao thought back to what had just happened while the team had their midnight snack. He suddenly stopped in his tracks and studied Lu Zhe with a serious look on his face.
Although his arm was still injured and wrapped in bandages, Lu Zhe's overall appearance and demeanor hadn't suffered for it. Because of his beautiful features, this injury even seemed to add a few degrees of delicateness to his appearance. If not for his height, people may not have realized that Lu Zhe was an alpha.
He always kept his pheromones controlled, after all.
Of course, that wasn't to say that Lu Zhe's features were especially feminine—
His attractiveness wasn't a feminine sort that would make people mistake his sex at first glance. Rather, the details of his figure, his nose, his eyebrows, and so on—they all gave him a sort of softness that others sensed almost subconsciously.
Lu Zhe possessed an exquisite sort of beauty. Even his narrow, monolid eyes contributed to his unique sort of attractiveness.
Shen Qiao studied him for a while and soon found that a smile had risen in Lu Zhe's eyes. At that, he instinctively averted his gaze.
Then he remembered.
This was his boyfriend. Why shouldn't he openly stare?
So Shen Qiao turned back to Lu Zhe and asked, "Earlier. What the hell were you thinking?"
Everything had been fine. Why had Lu Zhe deliberately cracked that sort of perverted joke in front of literally everyone?
Lu Zhe played innocent, acting like he had no idea what Shen Qiao was talking about. He took a step closer and leaned in, drawing so near that he seemed almost like he was about to kiss Shen Qiao right there in the corridor. Shen Qiao instantly lifted a hand and held him back by the shoulder. He cast a glance down the hall, at the retreating backs of their teammates and the long shadows cast upon the walls.
Shen Qiao flashed a wry, lazy grin as he turned back to Lu Zhe once more. His tone was almost a bit flirtatious as he said, "Getting ahead of yourself, Captain Lu? The others haven't gone all that far yet. What are you thinking about doing?"
Lu Zhe let out a low laugh that rumbled through his chest. He lifted his uninjured arm, intending to push Shen Qiao's hand off his shoulders, but Shen Qiao suddenly intercepted his hand halfway and grabbed it, pressing him back against the nearby window.
Although it was dark out, the windows in the hall were still transparent. If anyone passed by under the window at just that moment, they could have looked up to see some unfathomable surprises.
The indomitable alpha of DG's League of Legends division, Captain Lu Zhe, pressed up against a window in such a manner… it would have been one of the most astonishing sights of the whole year.
Lu Zhe looked at his own wrist, which had been pinned to the window by his ear. He lifted his eyebrows, then turned back to smile at the person in front of him. Feigning innocence, he said, "I just smelled a nice, strange scent rolling off you, so come a little closer. What's up?"
Shen Qiao couldn't be bothered to shoot down his bullshit.
He was already close to Lu Zhe. When he glanced down the hall again, he saw that Old Wo and the others had already turned a corner to head upstairs. Now that the others were gone, the faint blush that had touched Shen Qiao's cheeks disappeared. His smile grew more reckless and uninhibited. He took the initiative to shift closer to Lu Zhe.
In that immeasurably seductive voice of his, he rasped, "Really? Do you want to take a deeper breath?"
His own breath fell upon Lu Zhe's face as he spoke.
Lu Zhe's gaze was glued to Shen Qiao's faintly reddened lips. Those lips had only touched the slightest bit of chili, and yet the color was still there, staining his lips tomato-red.
He instinctively moved closer to Shen Qiao—
Only to have Shen Qiao lift a hand in the next second, pressing a finger to Lu Zhe's lips.
Shen Qiao had seen right through Lu Zhe's intentions. A teasing glint flashed through his eyes as he asked, "Hm? Captain Lu, this… doesn't seem like you're only going to take a breath, does it?"
All this teasing was starting to have an effect on Lu Zhe. His breath grew a little heavier, and he became the first to lose his patience with this flirtatious game. He ducked his head to the side, away from Shen Qiao's finger, and plainly stated, "I want to kiss you. Come here."
Shen Qiao hummed. His grip on Lu Zhe's trapped wrist grew a little stronger, while he was careful to avoid Lu Zhe's injured arm.
"Captain Lu seems to have misunderstood the situation," Shen Qiao said meaningfully. "Right now, I can do anything I want to you—so please be a little more sensible."
Lu Zhe more or less understood that Shen Qiao's teasing was his form of revenge for the filthy things Lu Zhe had said in front of their teammates. He took a deep breath, then softened his tone and gently coaxed, "Qiaoqiao, give me a kiss."
Shen Qiao's lips remained curved, his smile unwavering.
He gazed into Lu Zhe's eyes for a few seconds, then slowly started to lean in. Just as Lu Zhe started to believe he was about to have his wish granted, he heard Shen Qiao whisper a response from right in front of him—
After saying that, Shen Qiao simply backed off. He released Lu Zhe's wrist and, while Lu Zhe watched on in a stunned silence, backed up enough to put a significant distance between them.
Before Lu Zhe could even start to react, Shen Qiao had already safely gotten out of arm's reach. Lu Zhe's desires went unfulfilled, leaving him feeling overcome by an unquenchable thirst.
Shen Qiao casually stuck one hand in his pocket. The half-hidden smile on his lips receded, and he coolly called out, "Restrain yourself a little, Captain Lu. Rest up and recover well. Do your best to get back to the field as quickly as possible, to lead your team to glory."
Lu Zhe was silent.
He had to laugh in sheer frustration.
"Qiaoqiao." Lu Zhe's pheromones were spilling out uncontrollably. His tone was even softer than usual, yet his words gave off a somewhat intimidating air. "Are you sure you don't want to kiss me?"
Shen Qiao was completely unthreatened. He nodded decisively and turned to head for the training room, waving over his shoulder with a firm gesture of refusal.
Lu Zhe stared at Shen Qiao's back as he departed. He stood by the window for a while, then suddenly ran a hand through his hair.
Lu Zhe was determined. In a month, he would be sure to make a certain wolf cub profoundly aware of the consequences of flirting and running away.
Zhao Yue had noticed that Lu Zhe's gaze was drifting even while Lu Zhe spoke to him, and it didn't take long for Zhao Yue to realize that Lu Zhe was looking at the other players. Specifically, at Shen Qiao.
Lu Zhe retracted his overly passionate gaze and warmly answered, "It's nothing, let's continue… this position is a bad vantage point on Baron Nashor, high risk of hard engage. You can expect them to come through here and…"
Everyone on the team had noticed that their captain had recently cut down on the number of lewd remarks he was prone to making in public. It was becoming easier for people to believe that his gentle demeanor was his true face.
Old Wo idly whispered to Er-Hua, "It's been a while since we heard the captain's dirty talk. Kinda makes me feel uneasy. What's going on with him? Has he decided to become a saint?"
Er-Hua looked at Lu Zhe and found that Lu Zhe's gaze had traveled over to Shen Qiao again.
He thought back to when Lu Zhe had stopped making suggestive remarks in front of them, and quickly came up with a guess as to what had happened. The thought of Lu Zhe's suffering put a smile in his eyes as he shook his head and sighed. "Finally, someone has tamed the beast…"
"Huh?" Old Wo gave him a blank look of confusion.
Er-Hua couldn't be bothered to explain. He reflexively accepted a game invite that popped up on his screen. Then, after a few seconds, he suddenly said, "Wait, who said I would play with you? You keep dragging my rank in the wrong direction. Why am I the only one who suffers misfortune at your hands? Be sensible, quit the match."
Old Wo laughed. "No, no. Once you're in my car, you're destined to ride with me. Who told you to be my support? Bear with it."
Er-Hua remained expressionless for a few seconds. In the end, he couldn't resist sending a wave of his pheromones towards Old Wo.
Old Wo wasn't willing to let that provocation go unanswered. He pushed back with his own pheromones, and their corner of the training room soon became lively—the eastern wind suppressed the western wind one second, and the western wind took over the next.
The next six days passed like that, with DG going through their usual routines.
Until the day of the match against COCO arrived.
Once again, the game was set to take place at Hua City's stadium.
Team DG would even be playing on the same side of the stage as they'd taken in their last match. The players walked out onto that stage together, where the air conditioning that Qian Bao always complained about had finally been fixed. However, it had been cranked up too far. Stepping onto that stage was now like stepping from a sweltering summer day into a freezing blizzard.
It made all the members of DG put on their long-sleeved team jackets.
The camera panned over each member in turn, before suddenly stopping and zooming in on Shen Qiao.
The fans at the stadium and the fans in the livestream room all saw the name on his uniform at the same time—
At that time, none of the fans knew that this jacket would appear on Shen Qiao's body in every match that Lu Zhe was forced to miss.
Shen Qiao wasn't only fighting for himself. He would carry Lu Zhe's weight.
Victory for one was victory for all.
Today's Qiaoqiao is delectable! (drooling)