The first day of the preliminaries ended quickly, and the number of participants was halved as many contestants returned home with their belongings packed. Among those who successfully advanced, in addition to the famous star players from previous years, there was a group of newcomers who caught the intense attention of the media due to their outstanding performance.
That night, the exclusive forum for the Bounty Tournament witnessed a frenzy of new threads. Soon, every participant who had performed remarkably in the first round had a dedicated thread of their own. Lu Jingning and Wen Xingchen undoubtedly deserved this special honor, but unfortunately, with so many groups and scattered viewers, their popularity still lagged behind those already famous star players.
As for Yan Hebin, who barely made it to the 20th place in the group, he had no outstanding highlights throughout the event and remained a typical low-key qualifier. Yet, for this aloof overachiever, it seemed he preferred staying out of the limelight and not attracting too much attention.
Lu Jingning had already explained the matter of the bug-like man to Wen Ye and the others. Both of his senior brothers made speculations similar to his own, believing that the bug-like man was most likely after the rewards of this tournament.
One thing was certain: this mission had to be successful.
Lu Jingning felt the need to gain deeper insights into his future opponents. After finishing dinner, he propped himself up on the table and started operating the terminal.
He first entered Bai Chen’s topic thread without hesitation, but after scrolling through it, he found that the so-called “revealing information” in the top post was just close-up shots, leaving him speechless, and he exited the thread.
Then, he randomly clicked on several popular topic threads and inadvertently ended up in Wen Xingchen’s post.
Unbeknownst to him, Lu Jingning was immediately captivated by the handsome figure in the top picture.
As he read through the comments, his eyes scanned the replies one by one:
Comment 4: Ah ah ah, this guy is so handsome! I feel my heart fluttering!
Comment 6: OMG, his movements are so swift and decisive. I seem to see the unparalleled Bai Chen.
Comment 7: Where’s Starforge Entertainment? Why aren’t they promoting him? This person has both talent and looks; he’s amazing!
Comment 33: Can you all stop for a moment? Don’t you see he’s a student from the Empire’s top military academy? Why talk about promoting him? He doesn’t need it.
Comment 34: I don’t care whether he needs it or not; I’ve fallen in love!
Comment 35: Can someone get me his contact information? I want to follow his star blog! Ugh, what a breathtaking Alpha!
Comment 87: Does this handsome guy have a partner? I want to date him! I’m young, beautiful, and gentle!
Lu Jingning: “…”
As he continued reading, he couldn’t help but roll his eyes at the fangirling posts. He intended to exit the thread, but the host kept updating new refined pictures, and he was unwilling to leave. He ended up scrolling through the entire thread.
After a moment of silence, Lu Jingning returned to the top comment and saved each picture one by one. In his mind, he couldn’t help but grumble, “What’s the use of having a crush? Even if he’s exceptionally stunning, he’s already mine! Give it a rest!”
Just as Wen Xingchen passed by, he saw Lu Jingning deeply engrossed in operating the terminal. He couldn’t resist walking over, leaning down, and softly asking, “What are you doing?”
Lu Jingning was so focused on admiring the newly saved pictures of his boyfriend that he didn’t notice anyone approaching. Startled by the voice, his heart skipped a beat.
Feeling a bit flustered, he involuntarily fumbled with the terminal and accidentally pressed a nearby button, causing the images to be displayed in full view.
The clear image that appeared in front of them was the final frame of Wen Xingchen, standing over a defeated opponent with an indifferent expression. The way his clothes fluttered slightly in the chilling wind added a unique charm to his familiar face.
Wen Xingchen unexpectedly saw his own image, and he couldn’t help but pause for a moment. But quickly, a faint smile appeared on his lips, and he looked at Lu Jingning with a teasing gaze, asking, “What? You can’t get enough of me even when I’m right here?”
Lu Jingning couldn’t help but blush.
It was absolutely impossible for him to admit that he was fangirling. At this moment, he staunchly replied, “Who’s interested in looking at you? I’m just collecting evidence!”
Wen Xingchen raised an eyebrow, “Evidence?”
“Yeah, evidence!” Lu Jingning maintained a stern expression, showing all the photos he had collected in front of Wen Xingchen. He was straightforwardly the first to accuse, “You told me to take it easy before the match, but what about you? You already attracted so many genuine fans after the first preliminary round. I thought you wanted to keep a low profile, Wen-ge?”
Seeing Lu Jingning’s act of trying to cover up, Wen Xingchen couldn’t help but find him cute. Rather than exposing him right away, he cooperatively said, “Indeed, I was wrong. So, what do you think would be the best way to handle it?”
Even though it seemed like Lu Jingning had the upper hand, he couldn’t shake the feeling that things weren’t so simple when he looked at Wen Xingchen’s expression.
After a brief pause, Wen Xingchen seemed to have thought it through and sincerely suggested, “As compensation, how about I let you give me a kiss?”
Lu Jingning: “???”
What kind of compensation was this?
Before he could react, in the blink of an eye, Wen Xingchen had already reached out and pulled him in.
Their gazes met as they came close, their eyes just inches apart.
Wen Xingchen teased, “Do you really want to punish me? Hm?”
The lazy tone in his voice was incredibly alluring.
Lu Jingning was momentarily stunned by Wen Xingchen’s unexpected move, and in the next moment, various idioms sprung up like bamboo shoots in his mind.
Bewitching charm, deliciously enticing, captivating like a fox… and not to mention, “You don’t kiss, you don’t kiss.”
Without any hesitation, Lu Jingning tilted his head back and, before Wen Xingchen could speak again, firmly pressed his lips against his.
Wen Xingchen had only intended to play with him, but he hadn’t expected Lu Jingning to actually kiss him. For a moment, his body stiffened in surprise.
Lu Jingning noticed the short pause and, satisfied, used his fingertip to trace his lips, as if savoring the taste of the perfect kiss.
Smugly, he asked, “How does it feel to sell your charm, Wen-ge?”
Wen Xingchen’s expression flashed subtly, and he leaned closer, saying, “It feels good. I want to sell some more.”
From Lu Jingning’s perspective, Wen Xingchen’s collar had opened slightly due to his position, revealing a clean and sexy neck, full of tempting allure.
Perhaps inspired by the earlier topic thread, Lu Jingning’s gaze shifted from the partially exposed charm, and in a sudden realization, he unexpectedly took out his terminal.
Before Wen Xingchen could react, a series of virtual camera shutter sounds rang out as Lu Jingning took several pictures.
With a sense of contentment, Lu Jingning thought, “That’s right, he’s right here. Why would I want someone else’s second-hand pictures? Perfect, I’ll just keep these photos as my secret stash!”
Even Wen Xingchen hadn’t expected that his private photos would be exposed in this situation. He suppressed the corner of his lips and wordlessly leaned down, sealing Lu Jingning’s lips with his own, kiss after kiss.
Lu Jingning didn’t anticipate that Wen Xingchen would get angry and take direct action. Feeling a mix of irritation and amusement, he tried to push him away, but with each affectionate peck, the passion was stirred, and he couldn’t help but melt into the warmth of Wen Xingchen’s embrace.
After a long while, Wen Xingchen released him and looked down at Lu Jingning with sparkling eyes, chuckling, “What’s the use of hiding photos? Isn’t the real person much better than those pictures?”
Lu Jingning’s reddened face “tch”ed, giving a haughty smile, “I don’t mind!”
Wen Xingchen didn’t argue back and just teased, “Alright, your willingness is the most important thing.”
Everyone noticed that Lu Jingning seemed to be in a very good mood after the first match.
He often stayed quiet, hugging his terminal for quite some time, which was a sight they had never seen before.
However, as the second round of the preliminaries was about to begin, Wen Ye reminded him to check the groupings for the next match. Lu Jingning and Bing Yunlin had conducted a thorough investigation of the bug-like creature known as Bai Chen. The feedback they received indicated that although it belonged to the insect race’s army, its specific rank remained unknown, and the information had been encrypted. Not the best news.
The insect race’s energy system differed from the human information molecule system. Male insects were scarce and physically weak, usually staying on the mother planet for reproduction. On the other hand, female insects had undergone a long process of evolution and had several different forms. Bai Chen, as a female insect, seemed to be a highly advanced warrior, if her appearance was any indication.
Most importantly, Bai Chen was in the same C-zone as Lu Jingning, which meant they were very likely to encounter each other in the upcoming matches.
After the reminder, Lu Jingning finally stopped indulging in his fantasies and entered his personal code on the tournament website to check the grouping for the second round.
The results showed that Bai Chen wasn’t in his group, but he noticed another name that was somewhat stubborn — Lan Yuanzhou.
Thinking of Lan Yuanzhou’s unwavering determination to challenge him, Lu Jingning couldn’t help but feel a headache.
His gaze swept across the rules of the next match and lingered on the words “team mode” for a moment. He rubbed his chin and said, “Big brother, you’re pushing me to this point…”
The author has something to say: Wen-ge is willingly selling himself, ah!
T/N: Hey there! There is plenty more where that came from, so stay tuned! And stay healthy! Straighten your posture, so some stretches and drink some water before continuing hehe~
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