WHEN AN ALPHA IS MARKED BY ONE OF HIS OWN KIND

Chapter 84

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Lu Zhe silently answered Shen Qiao with a slight smile of his own.

There was no trace of fear in his expression.

It had only been one round, after all—

Wasn't it too soon to declare a true winner?

Shen Qiao ignored Lu Zhe's determined look and returned his gaze to his own monitor, greeting the second wave of fans assigned to his team. "Hello."

"Ahhhhh, Daddy Wolf, hello! I… I… I… I borrowed an account from my friend, but I don't really know how to play. I hope you won't mind me, wahhh!"

This seemed to be another sweet little girl.

Shen Qiao smiled. "It's okay. Just play for fun."

"Do you want to play jungler this time? I'm afraid of being attacked by Captain Lu!" a teammate suggested cheekily.

Shen Qiao said that was fine.

The girl who previously said she didn't really know how to play meekly asked, "Daddy Wolf, what should I play…? I've only ever played Ashe…"

Before Shen Qiao could answer, another teammate said, "Then later, we'll let you pick your champion first. Ashe is fine! I'll support you with Morgana, okay?"

That girl was clearly smiling brightly when she said, "Okay! Thank you."

At that moment, their final teammate joined the game. Shen Qiao checked to make sure all their mics and internet connections were working well, then entered the game.

……

This time, Shen Qiao and his teammates banned Elise before all else.

Then they banned Xayah and Nautilus as well.

The other side banned Shen Qiao's Vladimir, as well as Renekton and Jayce.

This time, the team comps for the two teams were—

Sylas, Camille Ferros, Luxanna Crownguard, Ashe, and Morgana on Shen Qiao's side.

Shauna Vayne, Jarvan IV, Syndra, Ezreal, and Leona for Lu Zhe.

Neither team had any particularly tanky champions, besides Leona. Lu Zhe's team comp was, relatively speaking, more reasonable. For the time being, Shen Qiao only knew where his own team's champions would be played. He would be running Camille Ferros in the jungle.

As for Lu Zhe's side… Shen Qiao could only guess that his team would probably use Vayne on the top lane.

The teammate who'd chosen Ashe smilingly asked Shen Qiao, "Daddy Wolf, can we invade their jungle?"

The others instantly got excited after hearing that, all chiming in, "Let's go, go, go!"

Shen Qiao lifted his brows at the camera. "It's not like we can't…"

After a moment, he added, "However, Jarvan IV is pretty strong in the early stages of a game. So everyone, be careful."

Ashe's player reassured, "It'll be fine! We're not scared of anything! Good luck to you too, Wolfy!"

Shen Qiao saw Ashe hiding out at the back of their forces, and he instantly understood why she seemed so unafraid. He couldn't help but laugh before he said, "Alright. I'll do my best to kill him dead."

[Hahahahaha, even Captain Lu can be reduced to this state.]

[I really want to see if their invasion will succeed.]

[Captain Lu, run away! Fast! Your own family's top laner is coming to the jungle to whack you off!]

[Qiaoqiao: It's okay if you're not scared, but I'm a little scared.]

[If I'm not misremembering, not many people in official tournament games are brave enough to storm into DG's jungle, right? Oh, of course that doesn't include when Captain Lu isn't on the field.]

[Wolf Cub, you just said he was strong, and then a second later you said you'll kill him. Why are you so two-faced, Wolfy?]

Shen Qiao led his team through the top half of the map. They neared the river by the bottom lane when they saw a blue flag abruptly emerge from the jungle, slammed vertically into the ground opposite them.

This was Jarvan IV's skill.

That flag could boost the attack speeds of Jarvan IV and his teammates.

There was no doubt at all that the other team had already discovered Shen Qiao's intent to invade their jungle.

Although none of Lu Zhe's teammates were visible on the minimap, Shen Qiao had good reason to believe that all five members of Lu Zhe's team were already assembled in the jungle, just waiting for Shen Qiao and his teammates to barge in.

As a result, Shen Qiao retreated into the underbrush behind him.

At just that moment—

Jarvan IV suddenly took a few steps forward, planting another flag down right where Shen Qiao was hiding.

They were clearly ready for a Level 1 team fight.

Ashe suddenly asked, "Should we go for it? My E is ready, I can give us visibility of their side!"

Shen Qiao hesitated for a second, then said, "Your E right now… your E would be fine, but when you're playing with other people normally, I would recommend your Q at a time like this. Because it's a little wasteful to use your E skill here. If you use it now, you'll be a little… uncomfortable in the bottom lane later."

[I can hear Daddy Wolf trying very, very hard to very, very gently tell her not to use her E right now.]

[This isn't a matter of being a little uncomfortable, this is a matter of blowing the whole game.]

Ashe's player was extremely quick to respond. She instantly exclaimed, "Wow! I'm taking notes! This is Wolf Cub's very own guide to playing Ashe. I'll definitely cherish this champion in the future!"

Shen Qiao couldn't help but laugh. "You don't have to go that far."

[I want Wolf Cub to teach me about the game too.]

[I'm jealous, I'm so jealous. So sour. I'm sitting on a mountain of lemon trees right now.]

[This Ashe doesn't know how to play the game. We're in danger.]

[Everyone take notes right now!!!]

Ashe excitedly took a few steps up and threw her E at Syndra, who'd come out to have a wander. Right away, Lu Zhe's side of the jungle lit up, revealing all five champions from his team gathered around.

Shen Qiao could tell with just one glance that Syndra was trying to lure them in. The enemy was hoping to surround them. There was no chance for Shen Qiao's side to win here, so he hurriedly said, "This bout's no good, they're trying to lure us in. We can't go, we can't go in."

After saying that, he turned and made his way over to the blue buff near their own bottom lane.

He charted a path through the jungle, first taking the blue buff, then Gromp. He hit Level 3 quickly and proceeded to a krug camp.

While fighting the krugs, Shen Qiao threw out his skills and saw the large krug split into two, while the smaller krugs divided up as well. After getting in a few hits, Shen Qiao put some distance between himself and the monsters, starting to retreat.

Although his W could restore a bit of health, his HP and mana were both fairly low at the moment. Plus, his skills were on cooldown. It would have been too easy to be beaten to death by those krugs.

He had to make a trip back to the team base.

[He's not farming the jungle, he's being farmed by the jungle.]

[I want to see Daddy Wolf being killed by a krug.]

[Okay, okay, this round's jungler is already a big fail. Next, next, next! lololol]

[If Captain Lu doesn't come for this easy kill, I'll kill him myself.]

Just as Shen Qiao was making his way back to his base, a flag suddenly slammed into the ground by his feet. A lance shot out from the shadows, stabbing in his direction. Shen Qiao had just been using his skills in the jungle. Two of them were still on cooldown, while one was only a second away from being usable.

However, Lu Zhe didn't give him a second to react.

Jarvan IV came straight at him, and with a simple A attack—

"First blood!"

Shen Qiao, who didn't even have time to flash away, could only say, "Tsk."

[Captain Lu has seen straight through Wolf Cub's play style.]

[Hahahahaha, this first blood feels very familiar.]

[I'll be real. The only jungler in the LPL I acknowledge is ZHE.]

[Wolf Cub, did you forget that Camille Ferros was also a champion Captain Lu used to use in the jungle?]

[I suspect Dog Lu perfectly calculated Wolf Cub's position and HP. Terrifying!]

[A Rabbit Who Loves To Eat Carrots (Jarvan IV): I came over just to send you back to your base. Aren't you moved by your gege's thoughtfulness?]

Shen Qiao glanced at that message in the global chat and pressed the tip of his tongue to the roof of his mouth for a moment. The sensation of facing off against Lu Zhe was really different from that of playing at his side. When he was on Lu Zhe's team, Shen Qiao basically never had to worry about their team losing control of the jungle.

But when he stood opposite Lu Zhe…

Especially when he played against Lu Zhe in the same position. He could deeply sense the other jungler's grasp of their surroundings and conditions. And Lu Zhe could appear out of thin air, instilling the terror of being slain out of the blue in his opponents. The pressure of standing against him was immense.

Shen Qiao didn't respond to Lu Zhe's message. The desire for victory flashed through his eyes. He left his base after respawning, making his way into the jungle once more.

This time, Shen Qiao cut through the jungle and made his way to the enemy Syndra in the middle lane. Thanks to the ward planted nearby, Syndra saw him coming and skittered away just in time, not allowing him to get the jump on her.

Luxanna Crownguard clearly wasn't doing as well as Syndra; her damage output wasn't quite on par. Shen Qiao could see that his own teammate was falling behind Syndra. He swiftly moved over to the river to put down a ward, then checked the map and signaled his top and bottom laners.

"I don't have eyes on Jarvan IV," he said, calling out a reminder. "You guys be careful."

"Okay! Wolf Cub, you be careful too!"

Just a few steps away from that ward in the underbrush, Shen Qiao was suddenly hit by a lance. He instantly spun and instinctively tried to fight back. Luxanna rushed over to help—

Only to take several hits from Syndra. Luxanna was instantly rendered useless. Her HP plummeted. Fortunately, she still had her flash, and she was able to escape to their team's tower. Syndra didn't give chase; she stayed behind to help Lu Zhe finish Shen Qiao off.

Shen Qiao had just spun around to fight back, but now he could see that Syndra was staying behind to help Jarvan IV against him. He knew that Luxanna wouldn't be of any help to him now, so he hastily said into his headset, "Back, back, back. Retreat."

He fell back with Luxanna, retreating to the base of their outer turret. Jarvan IV and Syndra followed. During the chase, Shen Qiao was hit by Syndra's Q. By the time he reached the tower, Shen Qiao was free of Lu Zhe's hold, but the other side was still charging in to collect his head.

Just then, Shen Qiao instantly used his flash—

As expected, Lu Zhe chased after him. He got too close to the tower, and with no minions to take a hit for him, he took damage from the tower himself. The wounded Lu Zhe had no choice but to dodge aside.

However, at that point, Shen Qiao didn't return to his base.

Even with his health dangerously low, he continued to farm in the jungle. He wanted to take Syndra's life as well. When he crept up to try, his second bout against Syndra led him back to the underbrush where they first clashed—where Shen Qiao was suddenly struck by Lu Zhe's ult.

Shen Qiao jumped.

Just a second later, Shen Qiao gave up his life for a second time.

As his screen grayed out, Shen Qiao saw that Jarvan IV's health was still what it had been before, after taking that hit from the tower. Lu Zhe hadn't gone back to his base to heal up either. He'd stayed right there in the jungle, waiting to team up with Syndra to get another kill.

This was really…

He had been like a mantis stalking a cicada, unaware of the oriole stalking him from behind.

Shen Qiao, for a moment, couldn't tell whether Lu Zhe had been camping out for him or for Luxanna. He slowly typed into the global chat—

[A Carrot Who Loves To Eat Rabbits (Camille Ferros): ……]

[A Carrot Who Loves To Eat Rabbits (Camille Ferros): Were you waiting for me, or for Luxanna?]

Lu Zhe answered—

[A Rabbit Who Loves To Eat Carrots (Jarvan IV): Guess? ^v^]

[Welp, it's over. Wolf Cub had totally been dominated by the demon king of the jungle.]

[This feeling is seriously scary.]

[I feel like our little Wolfy has been getting better and better at predicting his opponents' movements, but Lu Zhe… can he read minds or something?]

[Report him. Captain Lu must be hacking, hahahahaha.]

[Wolf Cub, do you have a lot of question marks over your head right now?]

Shen Qiao watched Lu Zhe show off. A hint of a smile appeared in his eyes. He didn't continue to question him in the chat. Instead, he simply headed down to the bottom lane to help his teammates. However, just as he was about to kill Ezreal, the enemy Leona managed to pin Ashe down. Ezreal darted over and, in the split second before Shen Qiao could kill him, managed to sneak in a skill that took Ashe down first.

Leona had moved closer in hopes of helping Ezreal tank some damage from Shen Qiao, but Morgana from Shen Qiao's team had come up as well. At just that moment, Jarvan IV appeared from the jungle near the bottom lane.

Lu Zhe's teammates all had an awareness of the current state of the game; they knew that Shen Qiao's ult was up and ready. All of them kept their distance from one another, not allowing Shen Qiao to target them in one fell swoop.

Shen Qiao glanced at Ezreal, who was already down to just a sliver of health after Shen Qiao's attack. A part of Shen Qiao wanted to charge in and brawl it out, but he was afraid his teammates would be sacrificed.

After a moment of hesitation, he ultimately said, "Forget it. Let's go back."

[I've never seen Wolf Cub this helpless before.]

[Kill! Go for the kill! Your ult is up! Go 1v3 them! You can do it, Wolf Cub!]

[Wolfy has already done a year's worth of sighing in today's fan tournament.]

[The support on Lu Zhe's side… I seriously have to admire them.]

[I feel like this one's going to be a loss. QAQ]

[Wolfy, I'm rooting for you! You can do it! You're a man who once planned on becoming a jungler!]

Ashe, who had just been killed by Ezreal, cheerfully called out in the voice chat, "Don't worry! My life is worthless now. If they kill me again, they'll just be wasting their skills. As long as Daddy Wolf doesn't die, we won't lose."

Shen Qiao had to laugh at her fighting spirit.

The bullet comments also cheered her on.

[This is my first time seeing someone with such a refreshing understanding of the game.]

[You're the carry, jiejie! The other side beat you! The carry! You still don't think you're at a disadvantage?]

[This little jiejie is so stupid that I sort of really want to get to know her.]

[Wolf Cub's expression is just full of helplessness.]

……

Shen Qiao went up to the top lane again.

Sylas and Vayne were facing off. However, Sylas kept throwing out his chains, only to miss with every attack. Shen Qiao was camped out in the underbrush near the river, watching as Vayne retreated while exchanging blows with Sylas. They were drawing near the outer turret.

This was actually an unideal spot for a gank.

If Shen Qiao emerged and teamed up with Sylas to attack, he would be seen by the other side right away. When they charged up without any additional forces, they would be vulnerable to the duo of Vayne and her team's tower, turning their match into a 2v2.

Shen Qiao normally wouldn't have been hasty, but his team was currently at way too much of a disadvantage. Ashe and Morgana couldn't figure out how to work together in the bottom lane. Their tower was already being assaulted by Ezreal and Leona.

In the middle lane, Luxanna couldn't hold her own against Syndra. In the top lane, for now, Sylas's creep score was still a little ahead of Vayne's—but if Lu Zhe came to kill Sylas just once, then that top laner would be wasted as well.

If Shen Qiao didn't help get the kill on Vayne now, this bout would be too much of a loss.

Shen Qiao had no choice but to advance.

As soon as she saw Shen Qiao emerge, Vayne fell back and got even closer to her own tower. Sylas wanted to give chase. He stuck to Shen Qiao and crept closer along the wall, but in the end—he was struck by Vayne's skill and slammed against the wall!

At that exact moment, a familiar figure carrying a lance emerged from the underbrush.

Jarvan IV.

Shen Qiao was silent.

He instantly moved up and used his ult to get Lu Zhe under control. He frantically focused his efforts on trying to take Vayne down after that, but Lu Zhe kept him busy. Ultimately, Shen Qiao could only watch as Vayne single-handedly killed Sylas. After that, Shen Qiao could only take his own bloodied champion and retreat in a hurry.

[This Sylas… he's done for.]

[This sort of game where one person tries to drag along four dead weights really isn't winnable.]

[Poor Wolf Cub. He's so unlucky, but… I really want to laugh, hahahahahahaha.]

Shen Qiao didn't manage to get any results with his attempt to gank this time. He subconsciously licked his lower lip and started to get the feeling that they were going to collapse on all three lanes in this round.

And his feeling wasn't wrong.

The other team's top, middle, and bottom lanes all established an advantage. They communicated everything to Lu Zhe. Whenever they saw Shen Qiao pop up, they would immediately call Lu Zhe over.

Shen Qiao and his teammates couldn't hold a candle to them, in terms of cooperation. Even if they were occasionally able to get a single kill, they would be targeted by Lu Zhe, who paid them back in kind.

And Shen Qiao's equipment really wasn't good enough.

His team fell far behind Lu Zhe's team.

……

In a team fight outside a dragon pit, Shen Qiao fought desperately and managed to kill Jarvan IV, leaving him facing off against Syndra alone. The other champions scattered to the wind, and soon enough Shen Qiao's teammates—Ashe, Morgana, and Luxanna—were picked off one by one.

Shen Qiao managed to take the dragon, but all of his team's outer turrets had been demolished by then.

There would be no miracles happening in this round.

Twenty-nine minutes into the game—

Lu Zhe and his teammates fought their way to Shen Qiao's base. After wiping out Shen Qiao's whole team, Lu Zhe slowly typed out a line into the global chat.

[A Rabbit Who Loves To Eat Carrots (Jarvan IV): Call me 'gege', and I'll give your whole team one more chance. What do you say?]

Shen Qiao's teammates all instantly spoke out in the voice chat, raging with indignation.

"You can kill a soldier, but you can't humiliate him! Wolf Cub, don't admit defeat!"

"That's right! Don't say it! Let him take the win! A true warrior is willing to accept the bloody defeats that come in life!"

Shen Qiao blinked, hesitating.

If he lost today, it really would be a bloody defeat!

 

Author's Notes:

Wolf Cub: But you guys don't know what's at stake.

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