The second round of preliminaries revealed the team match rules in advance, which excited all the participants. If forming teams in the first round was merely for self-preservation, this time it was about true honor and disgrace.
Unfortunately, due to the randomized groupings, even the participants who successfully advanced had little acquaintance with each other. Therefore, without each other’s communication codes, almost everyone chose to enter the arena early to find teammates. In this team-based competition, personal strength was no match for the lack of teamwork. If they encountered other teams with strong cooperation, they would likely face a crushing defeat.
On the day of the match, Lu Jingning surprisingly woke up early and saw Wen Xingchen sitting at the dining table. He smiled and greeted him, “Good morning, Wen-ge.”
For Lu Jingning to say “good morning” was as difficult as passing the imperial navy’s all-subject exam with a perfect score. Wen Xingchen saw his fresh and cheerful appearance, and his gaze paused for a moment before he replied, “Morning.”
Lu Jingning didn’t hesitate to pull up a chair and sat down casually, picking up a breakfast bun and taking a bite. While munching, he asked, “So, have you picked your teammate yet?”
Wen Xingchen had already checked the list of participants in his group yesterday but didn’t find anyone who seemed strong enough. He casually replied, “I’ll decide after we enter the map.”
Lu Jingning gave him a thumbs-up and praised, “As expected of you!”
Wen Xingchen chuckled and asked teasingly, “Have you become the master of flattery today?”
Lu Jingning raised an eyebrow, “Why not? Isn’t it normal to praise one’s boyfriend? Don’t you like it?”
“I like it,” Wen Xingchen said, leaning toward him, “Continue, flatter me some more.”
Lu Jingning playfully pushed him away, saying, “I’ve used up today’s rainbow farts. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow.”
Wen Xingchen laughed lightly, “Tomorrow is fine. I wonder if someone can get up early enough.”
For someone who had difficulty waking up, that seemed to be a problem. Wen Xingchen looked at him with a faint smile and said, “If you can’t get up, I can come to your room and wake you up.”
Lu Jingning couldn’t maintain his composure under Wen Xingchen’s direct gaze. He glanced outside, pretending to be indifferent, and mumbled, “Alright, come find me tomorrow. I promise not to hit you. Satisfied?”
Wen Xingchen pondered for a moment and said, “Should I be grateful for not being killed?”
“That sounds reasonable,” Lu Jingning chuckled. Just as he was about to say something else, he glanced at the time inadvertently and exclaimed, “Oh no!” He jumped up from the chair with the bread in his mouth and dashed out, “I’m late! I have to go!”
Without waiting for Wen Xingchen’s response, he hurriedly rushed out.
Wen Xingchen watched his departing figure thoughtfully for a while, then picked up his coat from the back of the chair and followed.
Standing at the staircase, Bing Yunlin couldn’t help but look back at the man behind him, smiling with some emotion, “Young people are full of vitality, aren’t they?”
“…” Wen Ye was confused, “Hmm?”
When he raised his head again, Bing Yunlin had already walked downstairs. He didn’t mention his random comment from earlier and instead stood at the staircase, smiling as he looked at him and asked, “What breakfast do you want today?”
Wen Ye thought for a moment and smiled back, “Anything is fine, you decide.”
When Lu Jingning entered the competition map, it was already bustling with people. Many participants had already formed teams, and others were actively shouting, trying to sell themselves to higher-ranked players.
After all, everyone wanted to secure their position by getting the support of a strong teammate.
As the first-ranked player in his group, Lu Jingning naturally attracted a lot of attention. Once he entered, several people immediately approached him, surrounding him.
A burly man took the lead and showed off his perfect biceps, saying with a smile, “Looking for a teammate? Look at my physique; action speaks louder than words!”
Lu Jingning gave an objective assessment, “A bit oily.”
The burly man’s face twitched, and before he could say anything, another person nearby pushed him away, “Get out of here! This isn’t a beauty pageant. What’s so impressive about a few muscles?”
The burly man glared at him, “You’re so arrogant with those small arms and legs. What can you do?”
The other person smiled lightly, “I’m nothing special, just got third place in the first round of the preliminaries. It’s a humble achievement, pardon my showing off.”
The burly man rolled up his sleeves, “Third place? Let me see what you’re made of!”
Since the preparatory stage of the map didn’t have a damage system, they could brawl without causing any harm to each other. Lu Jingning couldn’t help but feel speechless. These people were so energetic; the match hadn’t even started yet, and they were already so enthusiastic.
However, while these two were fighting, the others took the opportunity to gather around Lu Jingning and started promoting themselves:
“Hey, friend, check me out! I’m good at long-range attacks, excellent positioning, and I won’t drag you down!”
“I have excellent defensive skills, a must-have for home and travel! You won’t regret teaming up with me!”
“Ignore them, come join our team! We already have four people, all ranked in the top ten of the first round. One more and we’ll secure our advancement!”
“There’s also a spot in our team, not just a four-one setup, but a four-support-one super strong team. You deserve to be a part of it, my friend!”
Each person’s pitch was more enticing than the last. If Lu Jingning hadn’t already made up his mind, he might have been genuinely tempted. However, in their current group, there was only one star player, which couldn’t be ignored.
Considering the overall game experience, Lu Jingning felt responsible for himself and wanted to avoid any impulsive decisions.
So, he directly declined the invitations of the others. After scanning the surroundings, his eyes landed on the eye-catching blue-haired figure.
His lips curved into a friendly smile, and he approached Lan Yuanzhou with a cheerful tone, “Xiao Zhouzhou, want to team up?”
If someone unfamiliar saw this scene, they would think these two had been close friends for many years.
Lan Yuanzhou had been called “Xiao Zhouzhou” by people online, but he hadn’t been addressed so intimately in the competition before. Hearing the voice, he turned around with a somewhat perplexed expression, “Are you sure you haven’t mistaken me for someone else?”
Lu Jingning opened the current team lineup and blinked, “Of course not! Absolutely no mistake! Look, your team still has a spot, and it’s missing me!”
Lan Yuanzhou’s current team indeed only had three members. He had joined because the team leader happened to be one of his die-hard fans. Now, looking at Lu Jingning’s calm and composed demeanor, Lan Yuanzhou’s eyelids twitched. He reminded him, “Have you forgotten something? I seem to have told you that if I ever met you again, I wouldn’t let you escape!”
“We’re teammates now, and we’re all aiming to advance. What’s the point of talking about escaping? It’s so awkward!” Lu Jingning walked up to the team leader of Lan Yuanzhou’s team with a smile and handed him his participant code, encouraging him, “Come on, scan it, and you’ll have the me that countless teams are yearning for!”
The other teams that desperately wanted him watched this scene and couldn’t help but clutch their chests, almost spewing blood.
People truly live tough lives, my friend!
The team leader of Lan Yuanzhou’s team was his loyal fan. He had noticed their interaction earlier, and although he felt they were indeed familiar with each other, something still seemed off. He looked up at Lan Yuanzhou, seeking confirmation.
Seeing the hesitancy in the team leader’s eyes, Lu Jingning also glanced at Lan Yuanzhou, “Your team still needs one more member, right? This is an important round for advancement. How can you act impulsively now? Aren’t you still an alpha?!”
Lan Yuanzhou sighed, “Fine, add him.”
He had a hunch that if Lu Jingning continued, he might end up not just losing his alpha status, but he might even lose his identity as a human being.
Forget it. For a laid-back life, it is not worth holding grudges.
As a free-spirited bounty hunter, since the other party had voluntarily given in, why bother making a fuss about a newcomer like this?
Seeing his name appear on the team list, Lu Jingning smiled contentedly and sincerely extended his hand, “Let’s get to know each other again. I’m Lu Jingning, your most reliable teammate for this round.”
Lan Yuanzhou said calmly, “I’m Lan Yuanzhou.”
Lu Jingning beamed, “I know, Xiao Zhouzhou!”
Lan Yuanzhou: “…”
The team leader and Lan Yuanzhou’s fan clenched their teeth.
Damn, they also wanted to call their idol so affectionately! Envy!!!
After shaking hands, following his bounty hunter instincts, Lan Yuanzhou suddenly shivered without warning.
He looked around the empty waiting area of the virtual map with a puzzled expression, frowning.
Was there a temperature system added to the virtual map? Why did he suddenly feel a little cold?
Author’s note: Teaming up with Lu Jingning is such a delightful thing. If you feel cold, then that’s just right!
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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