Chapter 23

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10:00 AM, inside the [Gods War - Supreme Gods] group chat.

[Reporter Zhao]: Holy shit, why is Xiao Bai playing the Illusionist? I haven't seen enough of his Abyssal Lord yet.

[Reporter Zhao]: He wants to snatch away the National #1 Illusionist title, continuing his smackdown of Brother Fish?

[Reporter Zhao]: I seriously can't wait to see that, hahaha!

Reporter Zhao recalled a message.

[Reporter Zhao]: Sorry, wrong chat.

[Zhou Zhou]: ……Little Zhao, you're up so early?

[Reporter Zhao]: Ahem. Captain Zhou, you're up super early too?

[Zhou Zhou]: I heard Team Jingzhe's captain @[I'm Very Square] has been getting up very early to play ranked lately. Our coach is urging us to learn from Captain Fang's diligence and get up earlier for training too. SlightSmile.jpg

This slight smile… no matter how you looked at it, it just radiated displeasure.

[I'm Very Square]: Zhou Zhou, good morning.

[Zhou Zhou]: Morning, Captain Fang.

Outside the window, the sun was shining brilliantly.

These people hadn't seen the morning sun in a very, very long time.

Why have all these professional esports players, typically accustomed to waking in the darker hours of the afternoon, started rising with the sun?

Of course, it was because they were being nagged at by their coaches.

At the beginning, it was just news of Team Jingzhe rising early to play in ranked games that began to circulate quietly. Then all the coaches of other major teams decided to imitate their new habits. These coaches believed that only health problems awaited the young players who stayed up late to train every night. There was no good in damaging your body so much at such a young age; it would be detrimental to the players' futures. Ultimately, the coaches decided to follow along with the example Jingzhe had set—moving forward, they would train in the mornings too.

After all, if the laziest alpha in the entire league, Fang Zhengqing, could get up bright and early in the morning, how could anyone else have the audacity to sleep in?

If the players had a game in the afternoon, the coaches would just let them take a midday nap to build up some energy.

But Coach Chen knew the truth behind this change. The fuse of this huge shift had actually been lit… by a streamer named Xiao Bai.

Countless alt accounts belonging to members of top-tier professional teams were lurking in Xiao Bai's streaming room now. Many scouts were sure to be eyeing him as well. Whenever an 'amateur expert' popped up online, all major teams would take the time to consider them. If the amateur was suitable for professional esports, the next step would be trying to snatch him away from all other teams.

Gaining a powerful teammate and gaining a powerful opponent were two completely different things. That was why Coach Chen had been watching Xiao Bai all this time. If he could confirm that this person was suitable for professional play, he would snatch him up right away!

The race for the National #1 Abyssal Lord title had already come to a close. Xiao Bai had rushed straight to a battle power of 12,000, leaving Brother Fish and his battle power of 10,300 in the dust. Xiao Bai had achieved all this just three days after the Abyssal Lord went live, which was more than enough to prove he had a thorough understanding of this hero. He won the title of MVP in practically every match he played as well, which also served as a testament of his skill.

However, it wasn't enough for professional players to only know how to play one hero. Players who only knew how to play one type of hero were also unacceptable.

When determining whether or not a player was suitable for professional play, one had to consider the player as a whole.

Xiao Bai was charging the national leaderboards with the Illusionist this week. It was the perfect chance for Coach Chen to observe him some more.


At 10:45 AM, another ranked match was about to begin in Xiao Bai's stream. His viewers all fixed their glimmering eyes on their screens.

Just then, a message popped up at the lower left corner of the screen—

Honored VIP [Jungler No. 8] had entered the room.

Ye Shaoyang smiled and greeted, "Good morning, boss."

Chi Shuo typed: [Switched over to the Illusionist?]

Ye Shaoyang said, "Already got the Abyssal Lord up the national rankings, so I'm switching it up. Boss, do you need someone to double queue with you right now?"

Chi Shuo: [Not right now. I have something to do today. You go ahead and play, I'll watch.]

The game was about to start.

Ye Shaoyang had the fifth pick on his side. He sent out a request in the chat—

[Xiao Bai]: Please help me grab the Illusionist. 10 games played, 100% win rate.

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: Battle history: Frost Goddess, 1600 games played, 55% win rate.

With that, the player with the first pick locked in the Frost Goddess.

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: You think you can brag about winning ten times? I could get a 100% win rate if I only played ten times too.

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: Lie down and relax. My 1,000+ games of experience with the Frost Goddess will carry you to a win.

[Xiao Bai]: ……

This sort of situation was very normal. He and this player were hoping to play the same position. Big Daddy Will Carry You was also a mid laner, and he had the first pick, so he immediately chose a hero for himself and stole away the mid lane position.

In Xiao Bai's streaming room—

[Host's mid lane position has been snatched away. This round is doomed!]

[More than a thousand games, 55% win rate… you can only say that's a player who's familiar with this hero. Can't really call them an expert, right?]

[Xiao Bai, Xiao Bai, what are you going to do? It seems like you only know how to play mid laner!]

[Host, just pick a random hero and lose the match. Then say: This round, my cat was playing.]

[Yeah, let your cat play!]

On the couch, where the webcam was pointed, the little kitty had gotten tired after playing. It was sprawled out and sleeping soundly. Ye Shaoyang looked over at Xiao Bai, then smiled and said, "My cat is sleepy, says it doesn't want to play right now. I'll handle this match."

Both teams swiftly locked in their heroes.

Ye Shaoyang looked at his own side's team comp—the first pick had been the Frost Goddess for the mid lane, followed by the Holy Knight for the top lane, the Radiant Shield for their support, and the Godly Sniper as their marksman.

That left Ye Shaoyang with the position of jungler.

Ye Shaoyang locked in the Illusionist as their fifth pick.

[Xiao Bai]: I'll play jungler as the Illusionist.

Everyone in the streaming room spammed '???' into the chat.

The reaction in his team chat was even more explosive—

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: It's too early in the morning, huh? You're still living in dreamland?!

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: Choosing a fragile mage as a jungler? Is there something wrong with your head?

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: I'm a master mid laner with over a thousand games of experience, and you want to steal the position from me? #$(&!@$

This mid laner was clearly very volatile. He instantly filled up the chat with profane objections.

Ye Shaoyang simply typed—

[Xiao Bai]: Support, please get me eyes on the blue buff in early-game. We'll be good once I hit Level 6.

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: ……

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: You think you're enough by yourself? You and your jungler who's as fragile as a piece of paper? You'd better wake up, fast.

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: Go get your head checked at the hospital, quit spending your mornings griefing in ranked.

Ye Shaoyang frowned, but didn't respond to him.

Most heroes played as junglers were assassins or fighters. Using a fragile mage to play jungler was incomprehensible to most people. Forget about his teammates. Even the viewers in his streaming room were going wild.

[Host, you've lost it!]

[Illusionist in the jungle… you really don't see that often!]

[The enemy fighter is going to stun you in one blow, and then you'll be dead before you know it, yeah?]

[National leaderboards sprint with the Illusionist, as jungler? Host, are you unwell or are my eyes deceiving me?]

In the midst of all those doubts, a golden comment suddenly popped up on the screen—

[Jungler No. 8: The Illusionist can be played as a jungler.]

Comments from VIP viewers would always be displayed in a bright, golden font. They were very eye-catching.

[Jungler No.8: Get the jungler's blade with the magic damage boost. Once you stack that effect, you can instakill glass cannons.]

Ye Shaoyang smiled and said, "See, even the boss says it's fine. You guys cool it and don't rush to insult me. You can do that after I lose. For now, just go research some fresh new insults to use."

His viewers were all left bewildered.

Question marks filled up the comments section again. There were also some more intellectual viewers who started to offer their opinions—

[The boss is a big spender, so anything the boss says is right!]

[You noobs haven't even heard of using magic damage to jungle?]

[Mage-type junglers have even been played in professional games! What are you all arguing for?]

[Xiao Bai, just you wait. I'll be looking up new insults right now!]

Since starting to stream last week, Ye Shaoyang had been playing mid laner the whole time. But in reality, he also knew how to play jungler. Exceptional mid lakers had to have a thorough understanding of their jungler's rhythm. That was the only way they could provide assistance to their jungler.

And the best way to understand your teammate's rhythm… was to play your teammate's position yourself, to gain some real combat experience in that field.

When he played ranked games in his past life, he'd often swapped positions with his teammates. In this world, it would be his first time playing jungler. But he'd double queued with his boss from the streaming room for so many matches already. He was already very familiar with the rhythm of a jungler in this game.

At the start of the game, Ye Shaoyang temporarily didn't venture into the jungle. He hid in the woods and placed a marker on the blue buff on the map.

The support in this match was pretty knowledgeable about the game. Upon seeing Ye Shaoyang's marker, they immediately went over there to help him establish visibility. As Ye Shaoyang had expected, he saw the enemy jungler and support heading into their jungle to steal their blue buff.

The Illusionist was a mage who badly needed the blue buff to flourish. The enemy surely knew that the Illusionist was very fragile in early-game, so they were coming over to steal his blue buff while they could. That they would try to bully the weak was totally expected.

Ye Shaoyang swiftly crept along the river to the other side of the map, targeting the enemy's buff.

You want to steal my blue buff?

Then I'll go steal yours.

An eye for an eye. No losers here.

As a result, after the enemy jungler finished stealing Ye Shaoyang's blue buff, they returned to their own jungle and found their own blue buff missing. Furthermore, after stealing the enemy's blue buff, Ye Shaoyang had also killed off the river crab on his way back to his own side of the map.

The little crab that spawned at the side of the middle lane awarded a huge amount of experience.

Ye Shaoyang's Illusionist was already a whole level ahead of the enemy jungler.

The enemy's invasion netted them no gains whatsoever. In fact, it could be seen as their loss.

The opposing jungler was pissed beyond belief; they started to focus solely on farming monsters in the jungle, leveling up as quickly as possible.

In the blink of an eye, Ye Shaoyang reached Level 6 first. He crept up to the top lane and placed a new marker, signaling his teammates to prepare to attack.

At Level 6, junglers didn't necessarily have to try to gank the enemy team's glass cannons. They had to analyze the conditions of the entire map, then determine what they should do.

In this match, for example, the enemy support could heal and had crowd control skills as well. The marksman was at full health; with a healer pocketing that marksman, Ye Shaoyang was sure to die even if the marksman was a relatively fragile hero.

But things were different on the top lane. The opposing top laner was running the Berserker, whose base defense stat wasn't all that high. Plus, the two top laners had hacked away at each other earlier—they were currently both sitting at around 50% HP. Ye Shaoyang could go up there and instakill the enemy.

When he saw the enemy Berserker straying close to his position, Ye Shaoyang instantly hit his E skill and blinked in. He followed that up with his W skill, Dizzying Illusion, to stun his enemy in place. Immediately after that, he flung out a combo—Illusory Missiles, Illusory Shards!

A well-aimed purple cannonball blasted the enemy Berserker in the head.

Countless purple fragments surrounded the Berserker's body, like the shards of a broken mirror. They shot towards the Berserker, one after another. The damage from each shard swiftly added up, until the Berserker went from half-health to dead in an instant!

First Blood!

The Illusionist had taken first blood.

After getting that kill, Ye Shaoyang immediately retreated to the jungle. His own side's blue buff was about to respawn.

At that moment, another fatal fight suddenly broke out in the middle lane.

The mid laner on Ye Shaoyang's side had strayed too far forward, accidentally allowing the enemy mid laner to solo kill him.

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: Jungler, are you blind?

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: The enemy mid laner was down to just a drop of blood. You passed by and didn't even stop to help?

[Xiao Bai]: No skills up.

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: You're such a joke for choosing a mage as a jungler.

[Big Daddy Will Carry You]: Running into a moron like you first thing in the morning is really bad luck.

Ye Shaoyang didn't waste time typing anything else.

Once his skills came off cooldown, he prioritized taking the blue buff in his side's jungle first. Then he went to the middle lane to lurk around in the woods, waiting for the opposing mid laner to draw near. The enemy mid laner had just gone back to their base to heal and buy new equipment. As expected, they returned to the middle lane in short order.

Taking advantage of the fact that the enemy mid laner was out of position, Ye Shaoyang once again stunned his enemy with a W, then followed up with a skill combo to take down his opponent in an instant.

Xiao Bai (Illusionist) killed Strawberry Milkshake (Tidal Goddess)!

After offing the enemy mid laner, Ye Shaoyang returned to the jungle to farm more resources. Then he went down to the bottom lane to gank the opposing marksman.

By then, he had already obtained the first piece of magic damage boosting gear. Combined with the attack multiplier that came with the jungler's blade, he could take down the enemy marksman even with the enemy healer buzzing around.

He wandered down to the bottom lane; just then, the enemy jungler happened to reach the bottom lane as well.

A 3v3 team fight unfolded. After all their skills were expended, all six heroes were left in critical health. Ye Shaoyang instantly hit the command to order a retreat. The three heroes on his side uniformly backed up to their defensive tower, and the three enemies fell back as well.

Neither side gained much in that little brawl.

The enemy support was out of mana and couldn't provide any more heals, while the three heroes on Ye Shaoyang's side were all left with just a sliver of health.

Both sides silently agreed to retreat to their own sides.

However, no one could have imagined that Ye Shaoyang would retreat halfway, then suddenly slip away to boldly circle around from the side. He hid himself in the woods near the enemy's outer turret. When the enemy marksman and support hit the command to start recalling to their own base…

Ye Shaoyang suddenly emerged, instantly offing both of those critically wounded heroes!

Xiao Bai (Illusionist) killed Shooting Down Your Sarcasm (Divine Archer)!

Xiao Bai (Illusionist) killed Cutie Bear (Forest Envoy)!

The enemy marksman and support were rendered speechless.

WTF! Didn't this guy go home?! Why did he suddenly pop up here?!

The success of this sort of sneak attack—pretending to go home, then turning back—was highly dependent on instinct.

Chi Shuo, watching from in front of his own computer, lightly curved his lips into a small smile. He murmured softly, "Not bad."

After that, the Illusionist was by far the most developed hero on the map. He had four kills to his name, and he already had two pieces of magic damage boosting equipment on his body. Once the third piece was ready, he could traverse the canyon with impunity.

Double Kill!

Triple Kill!

These notifications rang out in his ears, one after another.

An Illusionist who appeared and disappeared without any warning, whose deadly purple shards flew all over the rift… his enemies were left quaking in fear.

Wherever the Illusionist went, heads would roll.

This was the most fearsome aspect of a powerful assassin mage like the Illusionist.

The viewers in his streaming room who had doubted him at first all started spamming '666' in the chat.

What was a jungler's rhythm?

A good jungler with a strong sense of rhythm could make all his teammates dance to the beat of his drum as he swiftly established his dominance in the rift.

When Ye Shaoyang went up to the top lane, the enemy top laner died; when he went to the bottom lane, the enemy marksman and support died; and when he went to push towers, invade the enemy jungle, slay the minor dragons, confront the grand dragon…

His might snowballed endlessly, until he secured a guaranteed victory for his team!

The closing results—

Illusionist: 10 kills, 0 deaths, 8 assists.

Frost Goddess: 1 kill, 4 deaths, 4 assists.

Ye Shaoyang's teammates led their minions to the enemy team's base. The game was about to end.

Ye Shaoyang swiftly sent a few messages into the chat—

[Xiao Bai]: @[Big Daddy Will Carry You] You should just be good, lie down at the base, and wait to be carried.

[Xiao Bai]: Practice matches against A.I. teams might be more suitable for you.

[Xiao Bai]: 1,600 games with the Frost Goddess?

[Xiao Bai]: Is that all?

As soon as he finished, the word 'VICTORY' splashed across the screen.

Even if the other party was pissed beyond belief, there was no way for him to retort.

Ye Shaoyang didn't usually like to taunt others when he played.

But if someone picked a fight with him, he wouldn't hesitate to fight back. And he would always retort at the very last second, leaving the other party with no means of responding and no choice but to die mad.

His viewers were quickly learning something about Xiao Bai's style of taunts—they didn't seem to deal a lot of damage, but they were humiliating to the max.

For example, the words he'd left Brother Fish with: Good game. ^_^

And now, his parting remarks to the mid laner from his last match: Is that all?

The viewers in his streaming room repeated those three words like crazy, filling up the whole screen with that mantra.

Chi Shuo watched as those words flooded the screen. He couldn't contain the smile that tugged at the corners of his lips.

This Xiao Bai was really far too interesting.

He could actually play jungler, and his jungling style was exactly the same as Chi Shuo's own.

Xiao Bai was such a fast learner. It was no wonder he could keep up with Chi Shuo's pace.

Chi Shuo sent him a private message in the game: [Playoffs this weekend. Are you going to watch?]

Ye Shaoyang answered: [Going. Boss, are you going too?]

Chi Shuo: [Mm, I'll be at the venue. If you have time, let's get to know each other then.]


Author's Notes:

Our main character began attracting attention by being a streamer, so he's becoming known as an 'amateur king' in the game. That's why there'll be bullet comments from viewers, and there will be audience comments when he plays official games too. They're not just filler~

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