WHEN AN ALPHA IS MARKED BY ONE OF HIS OWN KIND

Chapter 83

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Shen Qiao took his Vladimir up to the top lane and faced off against Jayce. Typically, when these two champions faced off, they were pretty evenly matched. They were both rather fragile, after all. Vladimir could heal himself, while Jayce had a long range. As long as Jayce stayed where Vladimir's attacks couldn't reach him, he would be fine. But if Vladimir managed to reach him…

He would have no choice but to die.

As soon as Shen Qiao got to the top lane, he ignored all the minions and headed straight for Jayce, chasing him back to the other side's tower and keeping him trapped there with a relentless assault.

The bullet comments filled up with question marks.

[Saying these champions are evenly matched is a lie, isn't it? This Jayce, today… he's pretty much dead on arrival, isn't he?]

[The one who gets the first kill is the one who's entitled to start working on their creep score. You guys get it?]

[Farwell, Jayce. Nice knowing you.]

While Shen Qiao kept Jayce running, without even pausing to hack at some minions, everyone suddenly heard Shen Qiao say into the voice chat, "Thanks."

It was then that the fans noticed Shen Qiao's jungler had placed a ward in the underbrush near him, allowing Shen Qiao to easily keep an eye out for Lu Zhe coming up to gank him.

[That jungler is saying: I'm ready to stick to you like glue!]

[This is a perfectly positioned ward with very clear intentions. Dog Lu, watch out! Someone is trying to be more of a suck-up than you!]

[Question: I've played LoL for so many years. Why hasn't a jungler ever dedicated a ward just to me? Is it because I'm not Wolf Cub?]

Shen Qiao couldn't see what was being said in the bullet comments. He was focused on terrorizing Jayce, making it impossible for the enemy top laner to kill minions or improve his creep score. Shen Qiao didn't let up until he'd led his forces to the other team's tower. Once he hit Level 6, he finally typed a message into the global chat.

[A Rabbit Who Loves To Eat Carrots (Vladimir): Why aren't you coming?]

[Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh! A provocation! DG's top laner and jungler are about to duke it out!]

[Huh, all I can hear is flirting.]

Shen Qiao's teammates also laughed into the voice chat and asked, "Wolf Cub, if you provoke Captain Lu like this, will we be… totally obliterated by him later?"

Shen Qiao continued to farm minions while avoiding Jayce's skills. He answered, in a totally relaxed tone, "No. When he sees how arrogant I am, he'll only come after me."

As expected, the moment Shen Qiao finished speaking, Jayce advanced a little, coming out from under the protection of his own tower. At the same time, Lu Zhe's Elise showed up on the map. He boldly strolled over from the river and positioned himself right behind Shen Qiao, blocking Shen Qiao's path back to his tower.

Upon seeing Lu Zhe's arrival, Jayce moved away from their tower and used his E to open up his acceleration gate. He started to attack Shen Qiao with his Q, finally taking an aggressive stance to show off some heroics.

Shen Qiao healed himself as he retreated, but he'd led his forces too deep into the other team's territory. It was a long way back to his own tower. Even if he had his Q to restore his HP, and his E—

Ultimately, he could only avoid Jayce's attack by retreating to his own tower. He couldn't avoid Lu Zhe's spiderlings, and he was helpless against Lu Zhe's final attack.

A cold voice rang out through the livestream—

"First blood!"

Shen Qiao, with the camera fixed on him, held his breath for a few seconds. In the end, he couldn't help but huff a laugh as he stared at his grayed-out screen. Then he started changing his equipment as if nothing had happened.

[Who was it who just said they weren't easy to gank, hm? Who told the enemy to come charging in?]

[You get what you ask for.]

[He came. Are you satisfied now?]

[Hahahahahaha, I'm sorry, I shouldn't laugh, but I just can't hold it in.]

Shen Qiao's teammates were all silent in the voice chat. Shen Qiao was the one who'd given up first blood, after all. Originally, they had wanted to comfort him, but when they heard him laughing, they remained silent.

Only Lu Zhe's cheerful reply came through in the global chat.

[A Rabbit Who Loves To Eat Carrots (Elise): Didi, did I come quickly enough?]

Shen Qiao saw that message in the global chat. He could practically imagine the sound of Lu Zhe's voice, merrily whispering those words in his ear. He couldn't help but smile wider, even with the camera still on him. His eyes lit up with mirth.

Any unknowing onlookers would have thought he was the one who'd just taken first blood.

Shen Qiao answered 'not bad' in the chat, then went back to the top lane. This time, he played it by the book and farmed minions without extending too far. He was extremely methodical, not letting a single minion slip away.

He also signaled to his teammates and issued them a warning in the voice chat. "Elise isn't in the top lane now. You guys be careful."

"Okay, Wolf Cub!"

"You be careful too, Wolfy! Captain Lu has been gone from the map for a long time! But he hasn't come to us! He might still be stalking you from the jungle!"

Shen Qiao hummed his acknowledgement. After finishing off another wave of minions, he decided to check the river to see where Lu Zhe was lurking. The ward that the jungler Gragas had placed for Shen Qiao earlier had already been eliminated by Lu Zhe, so the upper half of the jungle was shrouded in shadows. Shen Qiao had no choice but to personally venture out there to have a look.

But Shen Qiao only took a few steps before he noticed the enemy Jayce moving down with him, wavering back and forth in front of him. Shen Qiao vaguely wanted to go up for a solo kill, but then the other party strayed farther away again.

This was a perfectly standard tactic.

But Jayce did get an assist earlier, when Shen Qiao was killed. Rationally speaking, he should have at least tried to face off against Shen Qiao now. This sort of behavior…

Was he putting on an act?

Shen Qiao hesitated and thought for a second, then decided to cautiously return to his own lane to continue farming. But just as he stepped onto the trail by the dragon pit to return, he saw Elise skipping towards him from the top lane.

Jayce, who had been half-seriously and half-earnestly fleeing from Shen Qiao, turned back around and used the same trick as last time to assist. First an E, then a Q—

Once again, Shen Qiao was treated like the filling of a sandwich.

He was surrounded and practically powerless to fight back. Once again, Elise took his head.

Shen Qiao was silent for a moment. "…tsk."

[Happened in a flash, did you think you would go out like that?]

[Little Wolfy, do you have a lot of question marks in your head right now?]

[There was no escape…]

[Are you going to stand for this?! I wouldn't be able to bear it! Charge, Wolfy! Go 1v1 him! Go unplug his internet cable!]

[What's going on with the top laner? Stop giving your life away, hahahahaha.]

[Teammates: Daddy Wolf, please stop giving up your life. If you give up any more, we'll lose.]

At just that moment, Lu Zhe was relaxed enough to send another message into the global chat.

[A Rabbit Who Loves To Eat Carrots (Elise): Call me 'gege', and I'll stop ganking you.]

Shen Qiao's teammates all shouted into the voice chat, "Don't fall for his tricks, Wolf Cub! Captain Lu is a total dog!"

"Exactly! It's okay to lose the match! But we have to play with pride!"

Right then, their support Soraka meekly said, "Do we not want Wolf Cub to call Captain Lu 'gege' because… we're afraid Captain Lu will stop ganking him and start going after us instead?"

Shen Qiao's other teammates went quiet for a moment.

"…well, it's true but you shouldn't say it."

Gragas encouragingly added, "Daddy Wolf! Don't worry! I'm coming up to help you right now! I'll place another ward for you!"

[????]

[You should be going up to the top lane to help him gank, jungler!]

[Gragas: I'm not brave enough to face off against Captain Lu, I can only sneakily place a ward for you. Cowering.jpg]

[He's thinking, if you guys can do it, you do it. I, Gragas, won't go anywhere near that mess.]

Shen Qiao couldn't help but laugh at his teammates' words. He shook his head at the camera, then returned to the top lane. He placed a ward in the underbrush next to their outer turret. At the same time, Gragas came up to the top half of the jungle again and placed another ward next to the river.

The two wards faced each other—

And it was enough to reveal Lu Zhe's hiding spot.

Endless strings of laughter flooded the bullet comments.

Shen Qiao once again moved in against Jayce. This Jayce had won two bouts against Shen Qiao's Vladimir already, but he didn't act like it at all. He still cowered by his team's tower, watching Shen Qiao take advantage of every opportunity to attack.

Gragas saw that Lu Zhe's Elise wasn't hanging out nearby. When Shen Qiao got Jayce backed up against the enemy tower again, Gragas boldly strutted over to help Shen Qiao take Jayce's head. Afterwards, Shen Qiao was badly bloodied by the enemy tower. He barely escaped with his own life.

But he didn't flee into the jungle. Although he didn't see Elise anywhere nearby, he still cautiously moved up to the underbrush between the enemy's inner and outer turrets. It was only there that he returned to his own base.

The viewers in the bullet comments were still laughing wildly.

[Hahahahahahahaha, Wolf Cub has already been ganked so many times that he's scared to even go into the jungle?]

[Who would've thought? My ship is delicious when they love each other, and they're just as delicious when they kill each other.]

[I see, I see. Today is the day our DG's top laner and jungler break up.]

[We'll break up one duo per day during this fan tournament! Yesterday we tore apart the bottom lane duo, and today we'll tear apart the top laner/jungler pair!]

As expected, while Shen Qiao was channeling in order to return to his base, Lu Zhe appeared from the jungle and set a poisonous spiderling loose. Just one scant second before that spider exploded and dealt its damage, Shen Qiao managed to recall back to his team's base.

After switching his gear and heading out again, Shen Qiao checked the map and saw that his teammates were going up against a dragon in the lower half of the jungle.

"I don't see Lu Zhe," he warned. "You guys be careful. He definitely wants to take that infernal dragon."

He was only halfway through his sentence when he heard Gragas shout, "He's coming, he's coming! He's really coming to steal the dragon! I'll use smite!"

By the time Gragas finished saying that, they already had the infernal dragon down to low health. Caitlyn and Soraka came up from the bottom lane to assist, and just as they were about to hit the dragon with a finishing blow—

Lu Zhe got there with his smite first.

A system notification popped up on the screen.

(Elise) Red Team has slain an Infernal Drake.

When Shen Qiao saw that message, he pressed his tongue to the roof of his mouth for a moment. Then he smiled helplessly and said to his teammates, "It's fine."

He continued to methodically improve his creep score in the top lane, while keeping pressure on Jayce and hacking away at the enemy tower at the same time. The clanging and clashing sounds of battle from his headset were especially pleasing to the ear.

Soon enough, he had the enemy's outer tower down to its last plate of health.

Jayce had been cowering under the tower, grabbing whatever minions he could while keeping an eye on his own E skill, waiting for it to come off cooldown. Whenever possible, he would fling out a few attacks to push Shen Qiao back, using that opportunity to get a few minions.

But suddenly, he saw that Shen Qiao was retreating. He glanced at the map and saw Elise coming their way. Upon seeing that, he instantly chased after Shen Qiao and threw up his acceleration gate.

In that instant, Lu Zhe appeared as though out of nowhere and tried to stun Shen Qiao with his Elise—only to have Shen Qiao strike him with his Q skill, draining away a sip of his blood.

Shen Qiao threw a few A attacks at him at the same time.

Lu Zhe fled and ducked into the underbrush. Meanwhile, Shen Qiao sank into a pool of blood to avoid Jayce's skills.

Just as Shen Qiao emerged from that pool of blood, Lu Zhe flung a web at him, in an attempt to pin him down. But Shen Qiao took advantage of his positioning behind Jayce, managing to dodge that attempt.

Jayce saw Shen Qiao getting close to him. He instantly turned tail and fled, but at that moment—

Kassadin from Shen Qiao's team teleported up from the middle lane and chased after Jayce, wanting to pick a fight.

Shen Qiao decided to give up on Jayce. He faced Elise and flung a full set of his skills at her, draining her blood until she had only a sliver of HP left. At the critical moment, when Elise drew near once more, Shen Qiao flung his Q in her direction.

Instantly, Elise became a corpse decorating the map.

Shen Qiao arched his brows and typed into the global chat—

[A Carrot Who Loves To Eat Rabbits (Vladimir): How could this gege be killed by his didi?]

Lu Zhe saw that message and breathed a laugh. After respawning, he moved back up into the top lane. Shen Qiao had taken down their outer tower and teamed up with Gragas to chase Jayce into the jungle. While they prepared to take on the Gromp, Elise appeared right next to them again.

Shen Qiao had just used up all his skills. His flash wasn't up, and his ult wasn't ready. He hastily called out in the voice chat, "Go, go, go, back, back, back."

[What's that I hear? Go? Back? Daddy Wolf, is that really you?]

[You can get the kill! He doesn't have his flash! Charge, charge, charge! Wolf Cub, isn't what what you said during the tournament~? LMAO.jpg]

[Seeing Elise is like seeing the devil for Wolf Cub right now, huh? lolololol]

Shen Qiao's teammate heard his call to retreat, but it was too late. Unfortunately, Elise threw out a web right away and stunned Gragas, who was instantly killed by the duo of Elise and Jayce. Only Shen Qiao managed to retreat safely to his own team's tower.

When Jayce saw that Shen Qiao was fleeing and that Lu Zhe was still there, he wanted to give chase.

By then, Shen Qiao's bottom lane teammates Caitlyn and Soraka had already quietly knocked down the outer tower on Lu Zhe's bottom lane.

Shen Qiao praised them for their beautiful work, then saw that Jayce was coming after him. He used his positioning and his Q to get Jayce down to low health, after which he kept Jayce on the ropes, targeting him whenever he came too close and otherwise targeting the tower.

Just as Shen Qiao brought down their outer tower on the top lane, Jayce came rushing in. He couldn't hold back any longer, it seemed. He charged in headlong, practically delivering his head to Shen Qiao's front door. Seeing this, Shen Qiao huffed a laugh and figured it would be just rude not to take a life that was offered up so freely.

After taking Jayce's head and starting to advance again, Shen Qiao's Vladimir dodged to the side at just the right time, deftly avoiding another web from Elise at the same time.

This time, Shen Qiao didn't let Elise get away either. He gave chase, intending to get another kill all by himself—

Then, suddenly, the red light of someone teleporting in appeared beside him.

It was Lu Zhe's middle laner, Syndra, coming out to help Lu Zhe take Shen Qiao down.

Unfortunately, Lu Zhe's skills were cooling down. He set a spiderling loose and tried to duck away, but in that instant, Shen Qiao managed to correctly predict his movements. He took the damage from the spiderling's explosion, then got the kill on Elise—after which his own HP was left dangerously low.

Just as Syndra prepared to wipe Shen Qiao out, Shen Qiao's Vladimir sank into his pool of blood once more. When he emerged, everyone thought Vladimir would flee. But he actually charged into battle against Syndra.

Shen Qiao had led his forces forward. Taking advantage of his positioning, he dodged Syndra's skills as much as possible while striking back with a flurry of his own Q skills. With one last Q—

The screen announced a triple kill.

[????????]

[WTF WAS THAT]

[Holy shit, what just happened? Can we review? Did that Vladimir just go 0-3 kills? 0-3 kills? 0-3 kills? How did he do that? How did he get so strong?]

[Am I drunk? I just went to the bathroom when Elise started chasing Vladimir, and after getting back, the situation is…?]

[I take back what I said earlier. Right now… seeing Vladimir must be like seeing the devil for Elise.]

[Captain Lu, quick question. Does it feel good to die by the hand of your own top laner?]

Shen Qiao killed Lu Zhe once more and grinned into the camera. But he didn't continue harassing Lu Zhe this time. Instead, he went into the middle lane to take down the outer tower there. Syndra was a little hesitant to draw closer when she saw him coming. As a result, Shen Qiao managed to brazenly bring down their tower right in front of her eyes.

Seeing that Shen Qiao's team was getting ready to push onwards to their inner tower, Lu Zhe and his team instantly gathered on the middle lane to engage in a team fight. Shen Qiao's ult was ready by then. Besides Lu Zhe, who ducked away, the other four champions on Lu Zhe's team were all clustered together too closely—Shen Qiao's ult instantly drained a third of the HP away from all four of them. Caitlyn intended to rush up to continue doling out damage—

But Jayce immediately opened an acceleration gate and rushed in to stop Caitlyn.

Ashe tanked Shen Qiao's damage and used her skills to slow him. Syndra hid behind her and chucked a few attacks at Shen Qiao when she had the chance. Shen Qiao was already spent in that bout. His team's Soraka didn't have her ult up in time to heal him, and he missed the split second's chance he had to go invulnerable.

He could only watch as Vladimir became a corpse.

Just as Shen Qiao died, Lu Zhe instantly jumped back into the fray and killed Soraka on the spot.

Gragas and Kassadin were so terrified by this display that they turned tail and fled.

Shen Qiao exhaled lightly. He went to change his gear, and heard his teammate Soraka saying in the voice chat, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, Wolfy! I didn't hit my R in time…"

Calmly, Shen Qiao said, "It's okay. That was my mistake, I died too early. Don't worry, we're ahead of them for now."

Upon hearing him take the blame, his teammates felt even more guilty. Caitlyn also spoke up in the chat to say, "I misplaced my ult just now, and I moved up by way too far. That's why I died too early. It's my fault."

Shen Qiao smiled and said, "It's fine, really. You guys are all playing very well."

At just that time, Gragas meekly asked, "Daddy Wolf, the red buff in our jungle is back out. Would you like to eat it?"

[!!!]

[Dog Lu, look what you've done! You've forced your top laner to eat out of someone else's hand!]

[Wolf Cub, look at me! I'll give you red buffs and blue buffs and krugs! Everything in my jungle is yours! I'll even let you take my life if you want it! Wahhh, just look at me!]

[Wolfy, look at me, eat me, eat me~]

Shen Qiao politely thanked Gragas, then happily gobbled up the red buff. Afterwards, he went down to the bottom lane to attack the inner tower. With her long range, the enemy Ashe tried to throw her Q and R skills at Shen Qiao, but her attempts were all easily dodged by Shen Qiao.

Shen Qiao hit the tower a few more times, then checked the map. After giving the tower another whack, he zipped in to kill Ashe while tanking the damage from the enemy tower.

Then he went back and patiently waited for his minions to bring down the tower.

His teammates asked, "Daddy Wolf, team fight?"

Shen Qiao checked their conditions and said, "Sure."

Very soon after that—

After being provoked by Shen Qiao, Lu Zhe rallied his teammates and clashed with Shen Qiao's team once more. Shen Qiao started out on the back line this time, avoiding all the skills that he could dodge. Then, after taking stock of the formation of Lu Zhe's team, he suddenly charged into the fray and unleashed his ult!

As soon as he used his ult, he instantly went into stasis without even thinking about it.

This well-timed invulnerability made the enemy Syndra waste her skills. Caitlyn from Shen Qiao's team took that opportunity to take down both Ashe and Syndra.

Lu Zhe wanted to cut into the back line to get at Shen Qiao, but he was intercepted by Gragas and Kassadin. At just that moment, when Shen Qiao's invulnerability was about to wear off, he said—

"Soraka. Give us an ult."

This time, Soraka calmly used her ult and healed up her whole team. Shen Qiao threw his Q at Lulu, then turned on his heel and launched an attack against Lu Zhe. Lu Zhe's fragile Elise instantly dropped to low health.

Kassadin had also taken a fair amount of damage in that fight, but he worked together with Gragas to take Elise's head. Shen Qiao, on the other hand, continued to chase Lulu back towards Lu Zhe's base, determined to take another kill for their team.

His teammates shouted at him through the voice chat, "For… forget it, Wolf Cub! We should let it go, right?"

"Daddy, Daddy, Daddy! Forget it, forget it, the tower is going to hurt you…"

"It's fine," Shen Qiao stated calmly and unhurriedly. As expected, he took Lulu's head as soon as he finished speaking, and he healed himself up by draining all that blood away. Even when the enemy tower struck him, his HP remained at a fairly healthy level.

Just then, Kassadin was slain right before he could kill Elise. But Elise went down too, leaving only Gragas, Soraka, Caitlyn, and Shen Qiao standing.

After knocking down Lu Zhe's base tower, Shen Qiao checked their situation. Only Jayce was still standing on Lu Zhe's side. Shen Qiao flashed a smile of satisfaction, which was picked up by his camera. His eyes seemed to glitter with stars as he excitedly called out—

"Push, push, push. Take their base."

Jayce saw Shen Qiao charging up. He knew that Shen Qiao had exhausted all his skills already, but he still didn't dare get too close. He could only try to interfere with them from a distance. Ultimately… he could only watch as Shen Qiao's team took out their inhibitors and started attacking their Nexus.

While targeting the Nexus, Shen Qiao typed out one last message into the global chat—

[A Carrot Who Loves To Eat Rabbits (Vladimir): Call me 'gege', and I won't blow up your Nexus.]

Almost instantaneously, Lu Zhe's response popped up—

[A Rabbit Who Loves To Eat Carrots (Elise): Gege~]

Shen Qiao's teammates were all baffled.

All the bullet comments in the stream—

[??????????]

[Captain Lu, you weren't like this a few minutes ago.]

[No. Wait. Where is your dignity as an alpha?]

Shen Qiao's teammates all hesitated for a moment before one asked, "Then… do we keep attacking, Wolf Cub?"

Shen Qiao looked at the word 'gege' on the screen, then righteously said, "Of course. I said I wouldn't attack. I didn't say you guys wouldn't attack."

His teammates jumped.

[Wolf Cub is so vindictive, hahahahaha!]

[This is the you that I love, Wolfy!]

[Argh! Please stop being so charming!]

Just as the energy of Shen Qiao's teammates and viewers reached a high, a string of big letters flashed across the screen—

VICTORY!

Shen Qiao thanked his teammates and wished them well. After disconnecting from the voice chat, he turned and looked at Lu Zhe from across the room.

Their eyes met in midair.

Shen Qiao raised his eyebrows, breathing out a silent laugh.

One match down.

Question.

Was a certain someone prepared to lie down?

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