– “Thank you for the 1st place! Ah… It’s not really something to be thankful for since I earned it myself, right? No, I still want to thank the Noeul members.”
“Idols, huh, idols.”
As Kim Seonghyeon’s first-place interview played on the screen, Black Call’s vocalist returned with a laugh.
“Wow~, kids these days have such stamina~.”
“Jeongwoo-hyung, you’re getting old.”
“Whose fault is it that I aged so quickly….”
Joo Woosung, who had been stretching his legs, laughed sheepishly.
Black Call had a particularly gentle atmosphere.
From the start, they didn’t seem too eager for first place.
It was the kind of composure that came with having high recognition even without trying to appear on camera for an extra second, like other groups.
“What’s next? Rhythmic gymnastics?”
“Yep, and then archery after that.”
Since none of our members participated in rhythmic gymnastics, we quickly got up during the setup time, went to the waiting room, and got a box directly from our manager.
It was a counterattack lunchbox we had been preparing since yesterday.
“Our fans probably haven’t eaten either….”
Members usually have their meals prepared by their agency, but our members insisted on using their own money to prepare a modest lunchbox, just like how they treat themselves.
As we approached Noeul with the boxes, the fans screamed.
We smiled and laid down the boxes and greeted them.
“You must be hungry.
It’s already 9 o’clock.”
“Ya!! You guys must be hungrier!”
“We just grabbed something quick to eat.”
Seong Jiwon carefully opened the boxes and cautiously handed out the lunchboxes one by one.
Although the breakfast was relatively light sandwiches, they were all handmade, so they looked thoughtful.
“I hope it’s delicious….”
The Noeul members almost cursed in awe as they received the lunchboxes.
Each lunchbox had a handwritten note from the members.
“You guys probably don’t have enough time to practice….”
“I’m sorry it’s not much.
We should give you something better.”
“I tried it earlier, and it was delicious!”
“Did you eat it?!”
Seong Jiwon covered Jeong Dajun’s mouth and bowed his head.
Thanks to him, laughter erupted among the Noeul members.
We chatted for quite a long time, and then one of the fans’ voices caught my ear.
“You don’t have to get first place today.
Just don’t get hurt!”
Jeong Dajun smiled brightly and nodded.
As the rhythmic gymnastics event was about to begin, we quickly returned to our seats.
An idol group of a similar age to us was performing rhythmic gymnastics, showcasing their ribbon skills.
Their dazzling costumes and tension that could be felt all the way to their toes made it obvious that they were grinding their teeth during the performance.
So, I also came out here with clenched teeth…
Jeong Dajun stood and clapped for a while before sitting back down.
The idol, with a proud expression, checked their score and went backstage.
The next event was archery.
However, there was a sudden commotion among the staff, and they began to move hastily.
“Huh? What’s going on?”
“Isn’t the next event archery?”
The announcer quickly checked a note handed over by the staff and managed not to panic, smiling naturally.
– “Next up, everyone, is e-sports!”
Ah, it must be because of the time distribution….
While setting up for each sport, they constantly squeezed in e-sports preliminaries.
However, it seemed that the actual playtime differed from the estimated time, so they moved e-sports forward, even if it meant pushing back archery.
As I turned around with a tsk, Kang Ichae, who was participating in the last semi-final match, chuckled.
“Ah… Is it my turn now?”
With an arrogant tilt of his head, Kang Ichae, who had been obsessed with a strange concept for days, smiled.
He swept his hair back, then did a high-five with each member.
Even the Black Call members sitting next to him got swept up in the atmosphere and did the high-five.
Such an unthreatening guy….
The e-sports team consisted of Seong Jiwon, Jeong Dajun, Kang Ichae, and one member each from Refined and Nightmare.
Joo Woosung, sipping some juice next to me, asked,
“Aren’t you participating?”
“I already failed when our team chose the candidates.
What about you, Woosung?”
“I’m bad at games from the start.
What about Seonghyeon?”
“…I thought I was good.”
“Ha, you won the gold medal in the 100m, so it’s fine.”
As Kim Seonghyeon spoke with a slightly disappointed tone, Joo Woosung patted his back and laughed heartily.
At Kim Seonghyeon’s genuinely happy reaction to the simple compliment, the Black Call members also snickered.
The semi-final started with a member from Refined.
There wasn’t an interview or live broadcast for the previous e-sports rounds since they were only edited for short cuts.
The announcer, who had brought each team’s information, made a puzzled face.
– “Oh! What’s this about The Dawn team? It seems like The Dawn team is the main team, but what does ‘Nire’ mean at the end?”
– “It stands for Nightmare and Refined. Only three members from The Dawn are participating, and the other two spots are filled by members from the other groups.”
Sensing that an interesting interview was about to take place, the announcer approached and asked for the reason.
– “Ichae, The Dawn has five members, so you could have participated just as a team.
Why didn’t the other members participate?”
Kang Ichae, with one corner of his mouth raised as if he had been expecting the question, responded.
– “That’s because a member who contributes negatively isn’t a member….”
– “Wow, that’s harsh.”
As Kim Seonghyeon and I lowered our thumbs and booed, the camera didn’t miss the chance to capture us.
– “Yes! Kang Ichae, quick to cut his losses.
Shall we listen to the interviews with other members of Refined and Nightmare?”
The remaining Refined members glared at their teammate who had joined The Dawn with faces twisted in anger.
– “They abandoned their teammates for the sake of victory and went over there.”
– “What do you think?”
The announcer shoved a microphone in the face of a Refined member who had joined The Dawn.
He responded with a relaxed expression.
– “You know the saying, ‘A white heron should not go where the crows play’…”
As the Refined player responded lightly, laughter broke out from the audience.
The Refined fans didn’t seem too surprised, as if the members’ squabbling was a daily occurrence.
– “Refined team, The Dawn-Nire Team, please take your seats!”
– “Putting a man’s ‘pride’ on the line… Battle ON.”
Despite Kang Ichae’s game-nerd enthusiasm, Seong Jiwon kindly played along and continued to smile brightly, waving his hand.
– “Now, let’s start the first preliminary match!”
The commentators stepped back, and the pro-gamer analysts took their seats.
Their faces didn’t seem to hold much expectation.
– “Ah, the players are heading toward their towers from each camp.
Seong Jiwon the ADC, and Kang Ichae the Support.
Are they trying to show off The Dawn’s teamwork?”
– “Kang Ichae’s submitted rank is quite high.
But Seong Jiwon doesn’t have a rank posted?”
– “He didn’t submit it for ranked matches.”
The analyst laughed.
It was a “don’t expect much” kind of statement, but the fans who knew Seong Jiwon well didn’t have high expectations either, so it didn’t matter.
However, as the game progressed, the analysts’ eyes sparkled with excitement.
– “Oh~! The opposing Refined Jungler is coming down right now.
It’s a gank, but unfortunately, their vision is limited on the top side.
This might work.”
“Yeah, I saw it.”
You saw it?
As soon as he said that, Seong Jiwon swiftly moved his mouse.
His character’s brown hair flew around as he dodged the grab coming from the darkness and alternated between basic attacks and skills.
– “Oh, oh, oh!”
– “Seong Jiwon dodges and exchanges damage at the same time!”
– “Support Kang Ichae comes in simultaneously! He gives him some movement speed!”
– “Refined members are flustered and retreating! They should’ve boldly engaged here!”
– “First Blood! Seong Jiwon gets First Blood!”
Seong Jiwon calmly spoke, without any excitement from getting First Blood.
“Ichae, shall we dive?”
– “Diving here? Wow, they’re more aggressive than expected!”
– “It’s too risky for the Support to dive; their health is too low! They’ll die quickly!”
Just before they entered the enemy’s turret range, Seong Jiwon killed an enemy, leveled up his skill and set it up in the incoming area where the Refined members were.
Kang Ichae dealt magic damage to the approaching enemies, and their health rapidly decreased.
– “Refined! Refined is going under their turret!”
“The Support is too weak! No, The Dawn is going in! They’re going in!”
As soon as Seong Jiwon went in, he immediately landed basic attacks and skills.
[‘The Dawn Seong Jiwon’ Double Kill!]
One enemy died instantly, and a pet lunged at the remaining player with a sliver of health, killing them.
[‘The Dawn Seong Jiwon’ Triple Kill!]
As the turret started attacking, Kang Ichae cunningly applied healing and movement speed at the perfect moment.
They took damage, but both survived unscathed.
– “Wow! What an amazing play!”
– “Seong Jiwon gets his first Triple Kill!”
– “If Kang Ichae hadn’t healed just now, they would’ve gotten a kill there! If his reaction was even 0.5 seconds late, it would’ve been over! Actually, even if Kang Ichae had died here, it would’ve been a gain for them! But he survived!”
– “Wow, The Dawn’s teamwork is quite good.
This game is turning out to be quite interesting~?”
The commentators got increasingly excited with the unexpectedly thrilling game.
Although they were pros watching an amateur match, they were riding high.
– “Bottom lane completely pushed their line.
They haven’t even used their ultimate yet…”
“Want some ice cream?”
“No such thing (flavor).”
While Seong Jiwon and Kang Ichae were involved in a virtual life-and-death situation, we were leisurely sucking on ice cream while watching.
To begin with, I didn’t know much about the game… Of course, the excited commentators didn’t care about other people’s reactions.
“Hyung, come this way.”
– “It seems like player Kang Ichae is in charge of overall management, right?”
– “Yes! But right now, in the top lane, Refined’s player, Yeongjun, quietly got a kill! They’re pushing the top lane too!”
– “And here at the bottom! The Dawn’s bottom lane doesn’t care about pushing and pulling, they want to finish it quickly! They show strong determination and destroy the turret!”
Kang Ichae clicked the mouse rapidly.
– “What is player Kang Ichae doing with the minimap? Did they see everything at once?”
– “Player Seong Jiwon! They’re heading to the valley! But, oh no, Refined’s players saw them! They’re rushing over, but the physical difference is overwhelming! Kill! Kiill!”
[‘The Dawn Seong Jiwon’ is going wild!]
– “Player Seong Jiwon, unbelievable!”
– “This is natural sense, a sense!”
The commentators jumped up.
The Dawn’s fandom was already noisy.
Seonghyeon and I sucked on our ice cream and shook the slogans casually.
The whole commentary team burst into laughter, except for the commentators focused on the game.
– “The remaining Dawn members, are they cheering or not~?”
– “It seems like they’re saying, ‘Try winning without us, just try it!’”
The Dawn team that swept away the whole fight destroyed the opponent’s base inhibitors and the last turret in just 20 minutes.
– “Ah~!!! The Dawn team grabs the victory, victory~!!”
– “Wow~! In this game, Players Seong Jiwon and Kang Ichae really stood out.”
Despite the commentators’ continuing words, Jeong Dajun threw off his headphones and excitedly ran out.
“Hyung! Ichae-hyung! Jiwon-hyung~!!”
“…Clean up, done.”
That annoying guy…
Kang Ichae’s downcast head concept remained unchanged amid it all.
“You were amazing just now!”
The Dawn-Nire team huddled together, hugging each other and making a big fuss.
In contrast to their hot atmosphere, Kim Seonghyeon and I continued to feel chilly.
“It keeps making me want to nag….”
We sat crookedly in our seats, pouting and grumbling.
 ‘나리’ comes from the combined initials of two words, “나이트메어” (for Nightmare) and “리파인드” (Refined)’.
 “까마귀 노는 곳에 백로야 가지 마라” implies that someone (the white heron, a symbol of purity) should avoid bad company or negative things (the crows, often symbolizing trouble) in order to maintain their reputation and integrity.
 If you’re like me and haven’t played League of Legends before, let me break down the roles for you.
ADC (Attack Damage Carry) is the main damage healer.
Support, well, supports the ADC.
A Jungler operates in the jungle (get it?), farming jungle monsters, securing objectives, and ganking/assisting lanes to provide strategic advantages for their team.
 First blood refers to the first kill that occurs in an LoL match.
 Diving refers to a maneuver where one or more players aggressively engage an enemy under their turret in order to secure a kill or force them out of lane.
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