The onstage declaration Shen Qiao made at the world championship finals would be widely circulated by popular accounts in the esports industry. Discussions of his speech would also flood the team's official Weibo, as well as their supertopic chats. Lu Zhe and Shen Qiao would both see their own Weibo pages cluttered with a single type of comment that drowned out the cheers of congratulations for their win—
[Is it true?]
[Are you and Le Zhe really for real?]
[Do you like Lu Zhe?]
[Are you guys together?]
However, the entire team went out for a big dinner at the hotel after accepting their trophy. While Manager Zhou busily arranged their return flights, they decided to take advantage of the gap between now and the all-star event to take a trip. All the players were wrapped up in that discussion.
Post-game interviews, online discussions, talks of the championship skin… none of the players paid any attention to that.
DG's official Weibo did upload a lot of content in the wake of the finals, but those were all pre-prepared videos and graphics. Hungry fans could only lick at the crumbs they got from the interview that the players had given after the game that day.
And so, the question of whether or not Lu Zhe and Shen Qiao were really together quickly became the greatest mystery in the esports community.
But DG's players didn't show their curious fans any mercy.
After they got home, they immediately scheduled a half-month trip for themselves, planning on traveling from the north to the south to take in some beautiful, snowy sights before spending the coldest days of winter in the warmest part of the country.
It was a beautiful plan—
However, there were some problems with setting the details.
Er-Hua typed away at his computer and asked, "What kind of hotel do you guys want to stay at? Do we need a place with a gaming room?"
Zheng Zhizhuo and Zhao Yue glanced at the others.
Shen Qiao carelessly answered, "Whatever's fine."
He was fine with playing or not playing during their trip.
Old Wo thought about all the livestreaming hours he still owed that month. After thinking it over for a while, he said, "We do need one, right?"
Qian Bao scrubbed her hands over her face. "No, no, no, I can't stay up all night gaming anymore! Can't I stay away from LoL for once, on our hard-earned break?"
Er-Hua stopped in the middle of typing out their itinerary. "We have two choices here. One is a gaming hotel, and one is a six-star hotel. You guys check them out, then take a vote."
"Oh, and once we pick a hotel, everyone think about what sights they want to see," Qian Bao added. "Tell me and I'll make the plans!"
Old Wo blinked. "Aren't we just going somewhere for a change of scenery? Do we really have to go sightseeing?"
Qian Bao stared back at him in shock. "What's the point of going to these places if we don't see the sights?"
Old Wo righteously answered, "If we check out all the sights, half a month won't be anywhere near long enough for our trip! Isn't 'traveling' for modern people just going somewhere and staying there for a bit? Doesn't that count?"
Qian Bao took a deep breath. "Alright, get online. Let's play three rounds right now. First to two wins gets to make this decision."
Old Wo set down his thermos. "Come at me!"
Everyone else remained silent.
Shen Qiao stopped what his own hands were doing, and Lu Zhe immediately exclaimed, "Serve the food, the food! I don't have enough on my side!"
The screen showed that these two were once again playing Breakup Kitchen 2, which they'd tried once before. Although they had made a lot of progress in terms of cooperation, they still had some trouble with the more challenging levels.
Shen Qiao returned his attention to the game, hesitating for a second before he asked, "Shouldn't we help?"
Lu Zhe calmly said, "Let them argue for a while longer."
Shen Qiao suspected Lu Zhe simply wanted to pass this level before thinking about anything else.
After they managed to clear that diabolical level with three stars, Lu Zhe took off his headset and heard Zhao Yue and Zheng Zhizhuo being asked a string of baffling questions by Er-Hua—like what kind of room they wanted, what they wanted to eat, and so on.
Qian Bao and Old Wo were busy warring it out in a series of 1v1 matches; they were temporarily too busy to speak.
Lu Zhe paced a circle behind them and silently took stock of who was actually contributing the most to the planning of this trip. Then he decided, "How about this? We'll listen to whoever makes the plans. No problems there, right?"
Qian Bao's hands paused for a moment. Old Wo took that opportunity to knock her back with an A attack, then said to Lu Zhe, "Okay, Captain. Sure thing, Captain. Then we'll listen to Er-Hua. Wherever he wants to stay is where we'll stay. If he wants to see the sights, we'll see the sights. But I know—he won't want to go anywhere early in the mornings either, right?"
Qian Bao anxiously looked over at Er-Hua.
Er-Hua remained silent.
He tried to suggest a compromise. "Okay, how about this? We'll plan to see some sights in the afternoons or evenings, but we'll spend the mornings sleeping in. That way, we'll be able to stick to our usual sleep schedules."
Qian Bao nodded, and Old Wo also agreed a bit dispiritedly. After losing his fighting spirit, he lost his will to fight, and his champion was sent straight to the grave.
Lu Zhe considered all this for a moment more, then added, "I can stay anywhere with Shen Qiao, but we'll take just one room."
"Ew," Old Wo said.
"Ew," the others echoed.
Shen Qiao had just taken off his headset, but he put it back on very quickly, as though to hide the color of his ears.
Only Lu Zhe seemed completely unperturbed by the reactions of the crowd. "What? If the two of us stayed in different rooms, wouldn't you think something was wrong?"
Er-Hua glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. "How juvenile are we right now?"
Old Wo held up his hands in a 'stop' motion, then pressed a finger to his lips. "Alright, that's enough. People will get bored if you flaunt this lovey-dovey stuff too much."
Qian Bao nodded with a deep sense of agreement, as if she'd forgotten that she'd just been 1v1ing Old Wo a minute ago.
Zhao Yue and Zheng Zhizhuo couldn't resist laughing out loud in unison. The two of them were sharing a pair of headphones to listen to music; they seemed to be getting along very well.
After Lu Zhe issued his orders, the planning of the trip went much more smoothly. Er-Hua picked a few places they wanted to visit, then went to run their plans by Manager Zhou—
Only to have Manager Zhou refuse all involvement right away.
They finally, finally had a small break. Manager Zhou definitely wasn't going to spend his time off with a rowdy bunch of bachelors. He wanted to go home for a blind date!
The coaches had all already booked flights home as well. Apparently, they'd all been waiting for this chance to take a break.
Ultimately, only the seven first-string players would head out on this trip together.
In that half a month—
Qian Bao's Weibo became a foodie blog. Er-Hua's innate talent as a photographer was discovered. And Old Wo would upload a little video whenever they arrived at a new place, spending some time interacting with fans. They didn't completely drop off the grid during their break.
However, when they were asked about Lu Zhe and Shen Qiao, their answers were all a little vague and thought-provoking.
Qian Bao typically answered—
Hm? If you guys think it's true, then it's true. (:
Why are you all asking me about those two on my Weibo? Am I not handsome enough or am I not alpha enough? Tell me, tell me and I'll change right away!
Er-Hua simply said—
The two kids on the team were still underage, so their Weibo accounts had yet to be made into official accounts. Fans couldn't find the two of them, so they had no choice but to continue bombarding Lu Zhe and Shen Qiao with questions on their respective Weibo accounts.
But Lu Zhe and Shen Qiao were way worse than the others. They didn't even put up a single picture of themselves during their trip!
If they weren't occasionally spotted in group photos with their other teammates, fans would have started to suspect they hadn't gone on the trip at all!
But this couldn't be blamed on Shen Qiao.
Lu Zhe had entered his rut near the end of the world championship. He hadn't had much of a chance to find relief, but he'd suppressed it and acted more or less like a decent human being in front of his teammates. Even Shen Qiao had started to assume that Lu Zhe had simply gotten past it by ignoring it.
But in the end…
Starting from the second day after they set out on their trip, Shen Qiao wasn't able to leave his room for three or four days.
Every day, while his teammates happily went outside to enjoy the sights and local cuisine, he was still laid up in bed. And every night, when his teammates returned to the hotel to play card games, Shen Qiao was still in his room.
If it weren't for the fact that they had to switch locations after a few days, Shen Qiao had a feeling Lu Zhe would have kept going.
With the voting period for the all-star event right around the corner, fans were starting to get more and more anxious. Without official confirmation, shippers couldn't help but feel that the sugar they'd gotten wasn't sweet enough. The day the voting link went live, a post popped up in DG's official supertopic—
[@DG-Wolfy, @DG-ZHE Are you two there? If you don't come out and make an official announcement, I'm going to vote for you both, you know? I'm going to make sure DG's top laner and jungler are torn apart! I won't let you enjoy your break, I'll make you work overtime! Sisters, come on! Let's all vote them in!]
That post was met by a sea of laughter.
[Good idea, sisters! Since neither of these men will become mine in this lifetime, breaking them up sounds pretty good. Charge! Who's with me?]
[I'm in! When I think about Lu Zhe not being able to sleep with my Wolf Cub because he's too busy preparing for the all-stars event, I feel so much more relieved.]
[Our little Wolfy is so fierce on the outside, but you just know he's the type that likes to be spoiled on the inside! Usually, he's very attentive to his bullet comments too. Hmph, I want to snatch him away from Captain Lu! Everyone, vote! Drag them to all-stars!]
The situation grew more dire.
Lu Zhe and Shen Qiao were good-looking to begin with, and they were excellent players as well. In the eyes of other alphas, they were the ultimate existence. And in the eyes of betas and omegas, they were even more dreamy.
As soon as voting began, the two of them left every other top laner and jungler in the dust. Plus, as the new two-time champions, DG had reeled in a lot of new fans. It was natural that all their fans would want to see them at the top of the all-stars vote.
That night, Shen Qiao—with shaking hands—plugged his phone in to charge. Then he unlocked it and saw a certain message that made him promptly kick Lu Zhe out of bed.
After that, he opened up Weibo and put up a new post.
One vote from you, one vote from me, and Wolf Cub will return tomorrow for all to see. [link]
What kind of vacation was this? He couldn't take it anymore. He wanted to go back to work! Right now!
He wanted to compete. When was the spring tournament starting this year?
Could the league move it up? If he had to take another half a month of this, he would be found dead in bed one day!
Shen Qiao's fans were all stunned by his post.
They all hastily clicked on the link he put up and saw that it led them to vote for Shen Qiao for the all-stars event. They all started to voice their praise for him—
[Little Wolfy is so career-oriented. He's so strong! Mama is a bit too shy to say what she's really thinking now. Embarrassed.jpg]
[How cute! He's adorable when he calls himself Wolf Cub! I'm in love all over again!]
But some people did sense something strange about this message from Shen Qiao. They couldn't help but voice some doubt—
[Why do I feel like Wolf Cub is really happy about us trying to send him to all-stars? Is he having some sort of crisis with Dog Lu? Do I have a chance with him again?]
Lu Zhe sat on the floor by the bed and laughed. After he got up from the carpet, he climbed back onto the bed and wrapped his arms around Shen Qiao's waist to sneak a peek at what he'd posted. Then he pressed his forehead to Shen Qiao's shoulder and remorsefully said, "I think I saw we both had quite a lot of votes today. We'll probably get into all-stars for sure."
Shen Qiao slapped his hands away and calmly retorted, "Mm. We'll be living up to our fans' expectations. As we should."
Lu Zhe shifted his hands lower, bit by bit. His tone was still calm and proper as he said, "In that case… how about we take this final chance to indulge a bit more?"
By the time he finished speaking, his voice was already full of intensity.
Shen Qiao sensed Lu Zhe's pheromones wafting towards him again. He felt like he was being closely watched by an oversized predator. He immediately tensed up and tried to push Lu Zhe away, but Lu Zhe had already sealed their lips together.
The next day.
Some new content popped up on Lu Zhe's Weibo as well. He'd shared Shen Qiao's post, and also added a comment of his own—
Gege, don't forget to take me with you~! ^v^
Shen Qiao, who'd called out 'gege' all night without succeeding in making Lu Zhe stop, saw this Weibo comment and immediately responded—
And upon seeing that exchange, all the fans who'd originally thought they were together were thoroughly baffled.
What exactly was the situation here?
After half a month—
Lu Zhe's rut passed, and the team's vacation ended. Old Wo, who'd gotten a bit of a tan while they passed the winter in the south, made a beeline for his computer as soon as they got back to the HQ, in order to make up his streaming hours for the month.
But when he got to the training room, he discovered the layout had been changed slightly. He didn't bother going all the way to his own station on the other side of the room. Instead, he just waved a greeting to Zhao Yue, then borrowed the computer next to Shen Qiao.
His eager fans were already waiting in his streaming room.
Old Wo greeted them one by one.
Other fans quickly rushed in. Some of them asked about Qian Bao, and some asked if he could turn the camera to Lu Zhe and Shen Qiao for just a second. In order to log enough hours, Old Wo was pretty much willing to do anything to pass the time. He spun the camera around, letting the viewers get a look at Shen Qiao, who was putting on his headset and getting ready for a game.
Shen Qiao glanced over at the camera, but didn't say a word.
The bullet comments instantly asked—
[Did you guys have fun on your trip?]
Shen Qiao didn't see those comments, but Old Wo did. Old Wo thought of something or the other and answered on Shen Qiao's behalf—
"Ai, it wasn't all that fun. The sights were just okay, the hotel was just okay, and we're a bit strapped for cash, you know. We had to trouble the captain and Wolf Cub to share a room. Tragic, right?"
The bullet comments—
Two alphas in one room!
What could happen there?
The fans and anti-fans in the comments all had the same question—
[Did they get into a fight?]
Only, the fans and anti-fans were thinking of different types of 'fights'.
Old Wo chuckled mysteriously and refused to answer. Shen Qiao was a bit bothered when he heard that laugh. He couldn't help but look over. Upon seeing that question, he inexplicably lifted a hand to the nape of his own neck. In the heat of the moment, Lu Zhe had wanted to bite him there, hard. And yet he'd held back, not wanting to leave too deep of a mark.
After a moment, Shen Qiao casually responded, "We did."
[DETAILS! WE'RE LISTENING!]
Lu Zhe saw Shen Qiao's movements and heard his voice from afar. He'd just finished brewing a cup of tea. He brought it over and took a look at the question that was being addressed.
"Of course we 'fought'," he answered. "We even broke the bed, right?"
Shen Qiao fell silent.
The bullet comments went wild—
Old Wo gave them a round of applause. "Thank you for making my stream livelier than ever! Now today's votes are going to go to me, right? And what are you newcomers doing? Hurry up and give me a follow! Ah, I'm kidding, kidding. But don't you dare unfollow once you're here! Where else can you go to listen to our team's beautiful love story?"
Lu Zhe huffed a laugh and lifted a hand to massage Shen Qiao's nape. He casually added, "If you want to hear about a beautiful love story, shouldn't you be asking me?"
The bullet comments—
[Then open your stream! If you want us to ask, start streaming right now!!!]
A few minutes later.
DG's mythical streamer Lu Zhe opened up his streaming room and patiently waited a few minutes for viewers to flood in. Once his viewer count hit five million, he unhurriedly began to speak.
"I just have one thing to say in today's stream.
"Shen Qiao and I are together. When do you guys think we should get our marriage license?"
The viewers were speechless.
Fans: Although we guessed this already, hearing you flaunt it still makes us want to say one thing… SHUT UP!