After failing to receive the praise he was looking for from Manager Zhou, Lu Zhe left with a bit of dissatisfaction in his heart.
He returned to the training room after Manager Zhou finished babbling about whatever it was he'd wanted to talk about. When he reentered, Lu Zhe saw that Shen Qiao was completing his allocated streaming hours for the month. Shen Qiao had even turned on his camera for the stream. Chat comments were rapidly flowing across the right side of the screen.
[Little Wolfy, your mom fans want you to turn on your camera so they can see YOU! We don't want to see your desk! Then again, Little Wolfy's hands are also pretty nice…]
[Ready for the playoffs? Ready for the playoffs? Ready for the playoffs? ARE YOU READY FOR THE PLAYOFFS?]
[Let's set a small goal first: win the summer tournament. That's not hard, right?]
[Has Captain Lu's arm gotten a bit better?]
While waiting for his teammates to choose their champions, Shen Qiao glanced over at the comments and chose one to answer.
"Getting better. He's doing physical therapy now."
Seeing that Shen Qiao was only answering questions about Lu Zhe, his fans all started up a chant.
[Only answering questions about Captain Lu?]
[Only answering questions about Captain Lu?]
[Only answering questions about Captain Lu?]
Countless strings of this same comment flowed across the screen, drowning out all other comments. Once Shen Qiao finished choosing his champion and runes, he glanced at the comments again and saw that he was being called out by his fans.
Luckily, the camera wasn't pointed at his face. Otherwise, his fans definitely would have been able to see the heat rising in his neck.
Shen Qiao pursed his lips and refused to answer, acting like he hadn't seen anything. However, in the end, Lu Zhe scooted closer and presented his phone to Shen Qiao from behind, while lowering his head to ask through Shen Qiao's headset, "These. Should I send them to you?"
Shen Qiao glanced at the screen of Lu Zhe's phone. Lu Zhe's camera roll was open, and all the recent photos were ones Lu Zhe had taken earlier that morning on campus. Shen Qiao hadn't felt like they'd taken all that many photos, but now that he was looking at them all on one screen, it seemed like there were a lot.
He took Lu Zhe's cell phone and lowered his head to flip through the photos. He enlarged one, then looked over at Lu Zhe and asked, "Are you using your phone right now?"
If not, Shen Qiao would take his time looking through the photos.
And he would just casually forward them all to himself.
Lu Zhe laughed and leaned against the back of Shen Qiao's seat. "No, go ahead. Take your time."
After saying that, he glanced at Shen Qiao's computer monitor and caught sight of the stream of 'Only answering questions about Captain Lu?' comments that were still flowing.
"You guys, don't bully him so much," he said on Shen Qiao's behalf.
The fans were all puzzled.
[If I bully my husband, is that any of your business?]
[We won't bully him, we won't. But what precious thing are you guys looking at? Let us have a look?]
[I've been wrongly accused! Would I dare bully an alpha?]
[Captain Lu, Captain Lu! Look into the camera for a sec, okay? We miss you so much!]
[When did you get so bold? Did you get your man?]
Lu Zhe watched as these new comments came in. The corners of his lips quirked into a faint smile as he lifted a hand and pointed out that 'If I bully my husband, is that any of your business?' comment to Shen Qiao.
Shen Qiao stared at it for a moment.
Then he cleared his throat and reminded everyone, "Those of you calling me 'husband', calm down a little. I won't answer you if you call me that."
[That's not what you said in bed last night.]
[You weren't like this before. You used to love us so much.]
[Dog Lu threatened you, right? Tell him to come at me.]
[Then who will you answer if they call you 'husband'?]
There were too many fans in the bullet comments who were way too adept at asking pointed questions. Shen Qiao skimmed those comments for a long while, but had no way of answering any of them. Fortunately, the game started at just that moment. He was playing Soraka in the top lane, equipped with Doran's Ring.
Lu Zhe didn't keep teasing him either. He simply pulled over a chair and watched as Shen Qiao happily faced off against the enemy with Soraka.
As a champion, Soraka was typically played as a support and paired with Draven. She was primarily geared towards healing. One of her skills allowed her to heal herself upon striking an enemy, and she had a passive which allowed her to move faster to assist teammates. Another of her skills allowed her to sacrifice her own health to heal her teammates, another allowed her to interfere with her enemies' movement, and her ult healed her whole team.
When Soraka appeared in the top lane, it was always a test of skill to see if she could single-handedly slay her opponent. Success depended heavily on the player's technique and awareness of their surroundings. After all, if Soraka were to be pinned down, her health was so fragile that only death would await her.
Shen Qiao calmly faced off against the enemy champion, Fiora Laurent. His opponent was a rather level-headed player, only diving in when the opportunity for a kill presented itself. Otherwise, his opponent stayed back and farmed minions.
Shen Qiao had set Lu Zhe's cell phone down on his desk. He planned on checking the photos later, when he returned to their base and had a spare moment.
The enemy champion grew more and more aggressive, eventually abandoning the minions and rushing up to attack Shen Qiao. Shen Qiao continued to calmly string his opponent along, without giving his enemy the chance to get too close. At the same time, he also didn't give his opponent much breathing room.
Just like that, they remained locked in combat for five or six minutes. Fiora Laurent was struck by countless skills from Shen Qiao. With her health so low, it would have been a good time to go back to her base, but she didn't show any signs of wanting to retreat. It seemed like she was trying to lure Shen Qiao in with her low health, hoping to take Soraka down with her.
Shen Qiao checked the minimap. He noticed that the enemy team's jungler had disappeared at some point, in the upper half of the map. After mulling it over, he decided not to fall for the opponent's trap. He let his low-health enemy continue to wander around in front of him, refusing to give in to her provocations.
Just as Shen Qiao hit the enemy with another skill, Lu Zhe suddenly murmured, "You can get the kill."
At almost the exact same time, Shen Qiao flashed forward and cast his E skill at Fiora Laurent, successfully taking her life before the enemy jungler could arrive. Immediately after that, Shen Qiao retreated to his own tower.
The bottom laners on Shen Qiao's team had already taken two kills. Now, adding in Shen Qiao's kill, the headcount stood at—
Shen Qiao had battled it out against that Fiora Laurent for quite a while. His own mana was low, so he decided to head back to his base to change his equipment.
At that point, he picked up Lu Zhe's cell phone again and pressed the switch at the side to illuminate the screen. Just as he was about to use his fingerprint to unlock the phone, he was surprised to see the new wallpaper that popped up.
His finger was already pressed to the sensor, and the phone automatically unlocked with a sound of falling water. The wallpaper faded away to reveal a different photo and all of Lu Zhe's apps.
Shen Qiao froze for a second, suddenly remembering something. He instinctively looked over at the comments in his livestream, only to see that the bullet comments were—
Ah. As expected, the '??????' and '!!!!!!' comments that had filled up the screen after he got a kill with Soraka had all been replaced by comments of a different nature.
[Mystery of the year: why is Wolf Cub able to unlock Captain Lu's phone with his fingerprint?]
[Did you guys see the photo that was set as the wallpaper?]
[I was recording my screen I was recording my screen I was recording my screen!]
[Pardon me, but what the actual hell? I have so many questions about your operations—the way you operated Soraka, and the way you operated Captain Lu's phone.]
[You and Captain Lu… are you planning to make your official announcement today?]
Shen Qiao was silent.
He calmly retorted, "If you're asking, this is just normal sharing and caring between teammates."
[??? Is that so?]
[I may not be very well-read, but don't you try to lie to me.]
[I don't even understand what the word 'teammate' means anymore lololol]
After giving that curt answer, Shen Qiao swiftly turned his camera away so that it was pointing at one corner of his desk. He shoved Lu Zhe's phone back into his arms, wearing a calm expression that seemed to imply nothing had just happened. Nothing at all.
Lu Zhe, however, had already seen the bullet comments. His lips curved into a bigger and bigger smile—
All according to plan.
Half an hour later…
Lu Zhe scrolled through the Weibo supertopic dedicated to the ship of him and Shen Qiao. Someone had already clipped that bit of Shen Qiao's stream and uploaded it, showing how Shen Qiao had casually unlocked Lu Zhe's phone. There was even a close-up of the photo that had been set as the wallpaper.
The uploader had added the text, Shocking! What is Wolf Cub sneakily doing during his stream?!
The comments below were all nearly unintelligible screams.
[Today is the day! WolfDog girls are winning!]
[I'm into DG's gameplay and I'm into DG's ships. I'm the happiest boy in the world right now!]
[Are Wolf Cub and Captain Lu together today? Yes! They! Are!]
[Everyone knows that alphas are extremely territorial. No alpha would let another alpha enter their territory or touch their personal belongings—so, what? They're lovers? Oh, pretend I didn't say anything.]
[Why aren't they married yet? Huh? Are they waiting for another world championship trophy as a dowry?]
Lu Zhe did his very best to resist the urge to give each and every one of those comments a like.
He just smiled to himself and watched as Shen Qiao finished logging his streaming hours for the month, patiently waiting until Shen Qiao got offline.
After ending his stream, the little wolf cub subtly let out a sigh of relief. He decided he would finish the rest of his assigned hours after playoffs ended. Whenever the public forgot about his little slip-up was when he would appear before them again.
That night, DG's official account posted the schedule for the playoffs.
Shen Qiao, Lu Zhe, Qian Bao, Old Wo, and the others shared the post to their personal accounts, adding on words of encouragement like 'good luck' and 'fight on'.
Very soon after that, a series of very strange comments appeared beneath each of their posts. The comments were all along the lines of—
[Can our Qian Bao use her fingerprint to unlock Captain Lu's phone?]
[Old Wo, are you brave enough to unlock Captain Lu's phone?]
[Flower, do you know the password for Captain Lu's phone?]
Old Wo liked checking the comments after he and his teammates posted to Weibo. Seeing those strange remarks, he couldn't help but look up and call out, "Hey, Daddy Lu, what's going on with your cell phone? Why are our fans all asking in the comments if I can unlock your phone?"
Lu Zhe looked over at Shen Qiao. The corners of his eyes crinkled with a smile. "About that…"
Shen Qiao immediately glared at him.
Lu Zhe slowly continued, "I'm not too sure either."
Old Wo blinked.
He just knew, somehow, that there was dog food hidden in those secretive words.
After mulling it over for a few seconds, Old Wo returned his attention to Weibo and wrote a response to the message that had been bumped up to the top of the 'hot' comments section under his post—
[It doesn't matter if I can unlock his phone or not. The important question is whether or not Daddy Qiao can unlock it. @DG-Wolfy]
Er-Hua and Qian Bao, who'd been watching all this unfold from the sidelines, shared his comment and added their own response—a dog face emoji.
In the early hours of morning, the tag #LuZheCellPhone# started to climb up the trending topics list. Once again, an incident which Shen Qiao wished would never see the light of day was spread all throughout the esports industry.
Dog Lu: I feel great.