Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 144 Romeo And Juliet, Again
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In the end, they more or less agreed on how they'll handle the selection process. They'll prioritize picking a female to abide by Kai's sense of equality but they won't just approve of any female player. The candidate will have to be at least Lv.30 and show enough determination.
In addition, Yuel was planned to look over the highest-ranked male candidates regardless. If any of them is close to Platinum, they'll become a promising player. Therefore, if the female candidate is nowhere near that level, Yuel will have to push for that high-ranked candidate to be accepted instead. That'll surely get him into another argument with Kai...
[I kinda wish no girls apply for the club this year.] Yuel felt a little guilty thinking like this but he simply didn't attach any special value to female players. As far as he was concerned, female candidates were only going to make the selection process more awkward due to Kai's special rule. If no girls apply, the club will be able to peacefully pick the best candidates based on rank and skill.
"Hey," Lars smacked Yuel on the back. "What's with the long face? I thought you guys resolved all that difficult stuff?"
"We did, kind of. But, that doesn't mean I'm satisfied with it. I still think we should pick the best player regardless of gender. Actually, I'm surprised you didn't agree with me on that. Would you be fine with losing your opportunity to join a club just because you're a boy?"
"h.e.l.l no," Lars shook his head. "I'd challenge everybody in the club to a 1v1 and claim my spot!"
"So, you're in my camp after all."
"Yeah, but I get where Kai is coming from too, ya know? If we didn't play with July back in grade school, she probably would have dropped the game ages ago. She didn't have any girlfriends to play with and most boys in the cla.s.s didn't take her seriously."
[I think she kept playing because she was interested in a certain goof.] Yuel smiled wryly. "I get what you're saying. But, I don't think this tiny club has the luxury to push for gender equality. We have to pick the best players we can get."
"Yeah, I agree with that, too."
"You agree with everything, don't you?"
"Haha, that's not true. It's a difficult topic, okay? Gimme a break here, yo."
"This whole conversation today made me realize something," Lars looked far into the distance with a soft smile. "I've been kinda taking July for granted all this time. She was always hanging around and, at some point, she started playing a h.e.l.la solid Mid."
[That's because Ellen and I coached her in private.]
"So, at some point, I stopped thinking of her as a girl and treated her like another strong dude on the team."
"You probably should never tell her that," Yuel advised.
"Hm? I meant I had total respect for her as a strong player, yo."
"Yeah, but... Well, let's just say I warned you."
"Hm, okay," Lars shrugged. "Anyway, I'm saying July became a natural part of our group and then a part of the club. But, if you think about it, she's a girl but she spent so much of her free time hanging out with us two. It was probably rough."
"Why?" Yuel asked. "I don't think we ever treated her poorly."
"Nah, but she's still a girl, ya know? She was the only one in our group. It must have been all sorts of lonely. Like, I can't imagine being stuck as the only boy in a group of girls like that."
"Yeah, that may be a little..." Yuel pursed his lips. Judging by his experiences with girls so far, he'd be executed in a week if he were stuck in such a group. Gulp.
"So, I was thinking today," Lars said. "Maybe we put too much pressure on July in the selection match and that's why she broke down like this. She hasn't been answering my calls ever since. Any luck on your side?"
"No. She seems to be adamant about not contact us," Yuel said. He didn't mention Julia's parting words about crus.h.i.+ng both of them at the regionals. She clearly didn't want to see their faces right now. Especially, Yuel's face.
"Maybe it's my fault," Lars hung his head. "I was cheering her on and everything but maybe that put too much pressure on her."
"I think she was happy to get your support."
"Yeah, I hope. But..." Lars fell silent for a moment and then exploded. "Okay, that's it! I'mma go see her face-to-face and tell her I'm sorry for everything!"
"Yep, right now! Wanna come?"
"No, I'll pa.s.s," Yuel averted his eyes. "I'm the last person she wants to see right now."
"C'mon, don't be like that. I know July acts mean to you sometimes but I think that's because she really likes ya."
[The one she really likes is YOU.] Yuel sighed. "I just don't want to make it more award. I'm sure she'll be happier to meet you alone."
"Welp, if you say so," Lars went ahead. "Okay, I'mma go catch her on the way from school. I'll drop by your place later."
"Good luck," Yuel said. "By the way, she lives in that direction."
"Ah, whoopsie! Haha," Lars backpedaled and headed in the direction Yuel pointed.
"Do you even know where she lives?"
"Nope! But, I'mma find her with my ace detective skillz!"
"You could just ask, you know."
"Nah, where's the adventure in that?" Lars chuckled. "But yeah, you're right. Okay, Mr. Watson, help me solve this mystery. Where's the scene of the crime?"
"What kind of detective needs help finding the scene of the crime?"
"Good point, haha!"
Yuel gave the address and entered it into a navigation app on Lars's phone to make sure the goof won't get lost. Though, it was probably safe to trust in Lars's ability to find the place. This goof was gifted with a strong sense of direction.
"Then, I'm off!" Lars waved and dashed away.
[I hope they can talk things out.] Yuel prayed. Even though Julia declared herself as their "enemy", Yuel still wished for her to overcome the trauma of the selection match and make full recovery. Julia played well and didn't deserve to suffer so much just because she couldn't bring victory in that one match. Hopefully, meeting Lars will energize her.
"Okay!" Lars stopped in front of a tall building and checked his phone. [Seems like the right place.]
"Whoa..." Lars gazed upwards. Such a tall skysc.r.a.per. This big boi stretched all the way to the moon! It felt like his gaze was sucked into another dimension. If Vincent were here, he'd dub this building the Tower of Babel, yo!
[That's some fine building, lemme tell ya.] Lars nodded repeatedly. His old man bought a h.e.l.la cheap apartment back in the day, so Lars was living in some generic building. It was big enough and all but it didn't compare to this gigantic tower. This was the future! It was one step away from building s.p.a.ce colonies, yo!
[But, I didn't come here for sightseeing.] Lars looked around. [I wonder if July already went in?]
"Ah, Lars..." A familiar voice.
"Oh!" Lars jumped and turned around. It was Julia! ... or, so he thought. "Huh? Wut?" He rubbed his eyes.
A girl stood in front of him. Her voice and face seemed familiar but, at the same time, she looked like a totally unrecognizable person.
"Oh, I get it," Lars said. "You must be July's older sister, right?"
"I ain't got no sister!" The girl exploded. "It's me."
"No way. Where did your hair go?"
"Why everybody reacts like this. I still got a bunch of hair," The girl pulled her hair to show she still had some left. Well, of course, she did; she wasn't bald or anything like that. But, her trademark ponytail was nowhere in sight. Like, whoosh. Gone. Just like that. And, it seemed like she shortened the rest of her haircut too so it gave her an unexpected tomboy-ish look.
"That's one heck of a makeover you did there," Lars said. "It's almost like you took off a wig, haha."
"Does it really look so weird?" Julia glanced away. "You don't like it?"
"Nah, it's cool," Lars gave a thumbs up. "Just gonna take some time to get used to. Like, a few months probably, haha."
"It'll grow back by then"
"Yep and that's when I'll get used to it!"
"Oh! You smiled!" Lars grinned. "So, you're doing okay? Me and Yuel were super worried about you."
"You were?" Julia fidgeted. "Sorry, I should've answered your calls."
"Nah, it's okay. We were all feeling like c.r.a.p after that selection match. I wanted to bury myself after all the dumb stuff I did that match."
"Really? But, you played so well."
"Nah, whatcha talking about? I kept walking into Ellen's traps left and right like a total tool."
"But, you've been dominating the games otherwise," Julia insisted. "In the first two games, you dominated the early-game and, in the last game, you were killing it during the late-game."
"Yeah, I had my moments," Lars said. "But, in the end, I fudged up big time and let Ellen walk all over me. So, it all came to nothing. I messed up and we lost the game."
"That's not really..." Julia chewed her lips. [So, Lars also blames himself for his mistakes. Even though he was so amazing back then...]
The way Julia saw it, Lars was the pillar of the team's offense the entire match. He dominated through sheer strength and that allowed the team to push closer to victory. Without him, the team couldn't have gotten anywhere.
And yet, Lars was blaming himself over the couple of small mistakes he committed. Even though he has done so much good, he was still troubled by the few fatal mess-ups near the end of the match. In other words, he was feeling the same frustration that has been eating Julia from inside this whole time.
"That's why," Lars continued. "I really wanted to say sorry for all that."
"Eh?" Julia blinked. "Sorry? For what?"
"After I died at the end there, all the responsibility was dropped on you. n.o.body else was alive and you've been playing all sorts of aggressive that game, so everybody just naturally expected you to carry the game to victory. That must've been some h.e.l.la pressure to deal with."
"And, I failed to deliver ..." Julia hung her head.
"Nah, no need to feel bad," Lars came closer and grasped Julia's shoulders. "You did great!"
"E-Eh!?" Julia jumped.
"You were put on the spot after I died but you held really well! It's the first time I saw you play aggressive like that and you probably weren't used to carrying the game and all. Heck, I still get gooseb.u.mps sometimes when people place all that heavy responsibility on me."
"Really?" Julia blinked. Wasn't Lars a natural at that kind of thing? She always thought that carrying the team came naturally to him because he was a superman of unrivaled strength.
"Yeah, it can be h.e.l.la rough," Lars nodded. "Knowing that the entire game is riding on your performance makes ya sweat, no joke. And, just because I derped at the end there and died, all that pressure suddenly dropped on you. Heck, I was even rooting for ya and everything, telling you how you can totally do it. I'm the worst."
"N-No! That's not true at all!" Julia practically shouted. "Ah, I mean, I... I was happy that you rooted for me."
"Yeah, it was rea.s.suring," Julia smiled softly. "If not for your support, I might have caved under pressure on the spot. But, because you and everybody kept believing in me, I could focus on the fights and keep trying my best. Though, in the end, my best wasn't quite enough..."
"Thanks!" Lars hugged Julia.
"W-W-W-W-W-Whaaaaa....!" Julia trembled like a helpless kitten.
"Thanks for fighting your best till the very end," Lars let go and smiled at her. "Even though it should've been my job to close the game and it was unfair to dump everything on you, you never gave up. You're a really amazing player."
"T-Thanks," Julia felt like her face became a toaster. [Oh G.o.d, am I turning red? Please tell me I don't look like an expired tomato!]
"That game taught me a huge lesson," Lars said. "From now on, I gonna make sure I'm more careful about stuff. Being the Carry is a huge responsibility so I shouldn't charge into every fight like this. It's more fun to play wild like this but it gets me killed and then somebody else gotta clean up the mess afterward. I don't want that."
"I see," Julia reluctantly agreed. She understood where Lars was coming from but, at the same time, she couldn't help but feel it was a waste. Lars's straightforward att.i.tude of rus.h.i.+ng into trouble without a second thought was a big part of his charm. He always challenged the impossible and came on top, that's the Lars which Julia fell in love with.
"Ya know, it's kinda awkward things turned out like this," Lars scratched his head. "I really wanted to keep playing with you on the same team."
"I also..." Julia's stopped herself. [Will it sound bad if I say it? After all, they didn't exactly choose this.]
As much as Julia resented the boys for transferring without her, she understood it wasn't a decision they made because they wanted to. If they had the choice, they would've stayed in StormBlitz just like her. But, they didn't make the first-string so there was nothing promising for them in the upcoming year.
Compared to them, Julia had options. She could either stay on the first-string or transfer with them. Her situation was completely different. Therefore, for somebody with such luxury to say she would have liked to keep playing with the boys felt pretentious. It's like she was some mighty queen who was willing to grace the commoners with her presence.
So, Julia remained quiet and accepted Lars's kind words. Truly, it was unfortunate things turned out this way. Putting aside her fiasco with Yuel, Julia was still on good terms with Lars. In fact, it felt like Lars saw her in a new light during the selection match and respected her more than ever as a player.
Alas, they were playing for different teams now. They were enemies.
"How is the new school?" Julia asked. "It has a Mancers club, right?"
"Yeah, it sure does," Lars said. "It's in the bas.e.m.e.nt."
"Yep, haha. The school hates us so much it didn't even give us a proper clubroom. So, we hang out in the bas.e.m.e.nt. We call it the Den of Undiscovered Potential!"
"That sounds... interesting," Julia forced a smile.
"It's h.e.l.la cool, yo! It's like we're an underdog team that's undercover right now. Then, one day, we gonna appear outta nowhere and take the world by storm!"
"Is that so," Julia replied vaguely. Lars was probably pus.h.i.+ng himself to appear positive because all that stuff sounded horrible.
Julia always thought StormBlitz was a pretty budget club but being forced to literally play in the school's bas.e.m.e.nt? Yikes, that's a whole new level of budget. Julia felt a little guilty for it, but this news made her glad she stayed in StormBlitz. [No way I gonna hang out in a bas.e.m.e.nt for some game, even if it's Mancers. No thanks.]
"Welp, that's what the school thinks of our club's level right now," Lars shrugged. "Everybody thinks we're some scrubs who ain't even gonna pa.s.s the first round. But, we gonna prove 'em all wrong! We gonna take the regionals by storm, yo!"
"I'm sure you will," Julia smiled.
"So," Lars stretched a hand. "Let's both do our best. Let's keep winning at the regionals and eventually play each other!"
"Yeah," Julia accepted the handshake. Lars's hand was big and warm. Julia would have loved to hold onto it for a while longer to enjoy its touch. But, she wasn't allowed to. They were opponents now, so this wasn't the time for her to bare her feelings.
"Also," Lars continued. "You should come play with us like before at Yuel's place."
"Eh? But, we're playing for different teams now."
"Hm? So what?"
"Well, we're kinda enemies now."
"Nah. That only applies to the tourney, right? Other than that, we're still buddies and everything."
"Well...." Julia made a difficult expression. The compet.i.tion between clubs wasn't confined solely in the tournament itself. There were also scrimmages and data gathering. Arguably, the most important part of the fight began before the tournament itself. But, all these things didn't seem to bother Lars so Julia remained quiet.
"I'll come if I feel like it," Julia glanced away.
"Cool," Lars nodded. "I really wanna fight against that aggressive style you showed at the selection match."
"Eh? You do?" Julia jerked from the mere mention of it. The amount of yelling and cursing she did at the time... It was so embarra.s.sing.
"Yeah," Lars nodded. "That stuff was sick! Ya even gave Tai a run for his money. I never knew you were at such a high level in fights. We definitely gotta spar sometimes!"
"I'll think about it," Julia smiled faintly. Maybe not everything about the selection match was a disaster, after all. At least, it helped Julia come to terms with her aggressive side and she discovered that Lars was supportive of it. In fact, he was overly hyped about it for some reason.
Too bad that match ended up separating them. Julia planned to win and look good in front of Lars, then confess to him while he was still celebrating the victory. She believed she had a higher chance of scoring that way.
However, they lost and the defeat tore them apart. Thus, Julia lost her opportunity, possibly forever.
[Maybe I should tell him now?] Julia gulped. Despite all the empty promises she has been making about meeting up with Lars and Yuel again, she knew she probably won't ever dare to show her face at Yuel's place again. Therefore, right here and now, it might be her last chance to confess her feelings to Lars.
[Nah, that'll be awkward as h.e.l.l.] Julia stopped herself. Even if Lars returned her feelings, what's next? It won't change the fact they were enemies. They won't be able to maintain a relations.h.i.+p like that.
Besides, Julia didn't deserve it. She promised herself she'll confess to Lars if they win the selection match. But, they lost. And, on top of that, her numerous mistakes played a big part in that defeat. Therefore, she didn't deserve to confess to him now.
"Welp, I gotta go," Lars said. "You wanna come?"
"Training with Yuel again?"
"Yep, as always."
"Nah, I'll pa.s.s," Julia smiled wryly. She'll pa.s.s on this invitation today. And tomorrow. And every other day after that. She won't show her face there ever again. She and Lars were heading in opposite directions now.
"Hey, what's wrong?" Lars asked.
"E-Eh?" Julia turned around and wiped her eyes. "Ahaha, just something got into my eye. Okay, now it's gone." She turned to Lars again, wearing the best smile she could muster.
"Okay," Lars smiled back. "Then, I'mma go now. Make sure to drop by sometimes!" He shouted from afar as he waved goodbye.
"Sure," Julia retained her smile until Lars vanished from view. Then, her lips quivered and a tear fell down her cheek.
Why? Why did things have to end like this? Despite everything that happened, she was still on such good terms with Lars. In fact, Lars appreciated her more than ever as a strong player after that selection match. He even wanted to duel with her so much.
If Julia tried harder, she probably could have salvaged her relations.h.i.+p with Yuel too. The three of them could go back to being good friends who gathered together every day to play Cla.s.smancers for hours.
[When did I start thinking of that as a fun pastime?] Julia smiled wryly. She only ever complained about the crazy amounts of training the boys have been doing. But, at some point, this daily routine became precious to her and she never realized that until she lost it. If only she figured all of that earlier, she could've...
[Nevermind. What's done is done.] Julia wiped her tears and stared in the direction Lars disappeared in. This might very well be the last time she got to talk with him like this. The next time they meet, they won't be friendly like that with each other; they'll be opponents.
Maybe it'll be easier to patch up this relations.h.i.+p after Howard and Ellen graduate. But, right now, both sides were at each other's throats and Julia belonged to the camp of Lars's sworn enemy. There was no way they could casually hang out together without that fact looming over them.
[Goodbye, my love.] Julia exhaled deeply. This was reality and she had to accept it. Until the end of this year, she had to forget everything about her feelings toward Lars. Instead, she'll train her hardest to monopolize the Mid spot on StormBlitz and get a chance to fight against Lars at the regionals. That's what Lars wished for as well.
[And, this will give me a chance to murder both of them!] Julia grinned madly. With all said and done, she still couldn't get over how the boys transferred on their own and only informed her post-facto.
So, this will also be a good opportunity to give them a piece of her mind. She was the only junior who made it into StormBlitz's first-string, so she had to be worthy of that spot. In other words, she had to be able to mop the floor with Yuel and Lars in a real match. Only that way she'll prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that she deserved to be here.
[Let's meet again at the regionals and have a blast.] Julia turned around and dashed into the building. After gobbling down her lunch, Julia sat down in front of her computer. It was time for some Cla.s.smaners!
Even though she just finished a long day of training at the club, she already wanted to play again. The day was still young and the weekend was upon her, so she'll get lots and tons of practice. By the time the regionals come, n.o.body will stand a chance against her. She'll dominate the compet.i.tion and prove she deserved to stand at the top along with the rest of StormBlitz's first-string.
"Time to murder some idiots, ahahaha!"
"July? You said something?" Her mom asked from the living room.
"Ack! It's nothing, mom!" Julia quickly shut the door and returned to her desk. Phew, that was a close one.
And so, Julia spent the entire evening playing Cla.s.smaners until she dropped.
Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 144 Romeo And Juliet, Again
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Classmancers - A MOBA Esport Story 144 Romeo And Juliet, Again summary
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