Just by seeing Lu Jingning, who came over as if nothing happened to invite him for a meal, Wen Xingchen knew that he probably forgot everything from last night again.
Wen Xingchen raised an eyebrow slightly and gathered the books in his hands, “You woke up at the right time. The commander said there’s something he wants to discuss with us. He said to wait for you to get up before going together.”
“Weren’t we just back at the base? Why is he looking for us at this time? Could it be another mission?” The hangover from yesterday made Lu Jingning feel like his entire head was throbbing. He furrowed his brow, rubbing it, and suddenly a thought flashed through his mind, “Ah, could it be news about recognition for our deeds so soon?”
“It’s possible.” Wen Xingchen patted his head and pulled him outside, saying, “Let’s go and find out.”
There was no one else in Jiang Quan’s office. It seemed like he had been waiting for them. Seeing the two enter, he calmly closed the door behind them.
Sensing the serious atmosphere inside, Lu Jingning glanced at Wen Xingchen, feeling puzzled.
This expression doesn’t seem like good news. Could he have misunderstood something?
Fortunately, Jiang Quan wasn’t interested in prolonging the suspense. He placed an electronic document in front of them, getting straight to the point, “Both military departments are highly concerned about this matter. Yesterday, I met with your Empire’s authorities. According to them, theoretically, your performance this time can be considered as outstanding merit, earning you the rank of Colonel, which isn’t unreasonable.”
Lu Jingning was initially pleased, but then his thoughts turned, realizing it couldn’t be that simple. He asked with a half-smile, “But?”
Jiang Quan, being seen through, maintained a neutral expression and continued, “However, because the discovery this time is of significant importance, to ensure our strategies against the insect race in the future and recover the energy stones, this matter cannot be disclosed to the public for now.”
Lu Jingning’s expression shifted from disdain to disgust, “So, are they planning to casually brush aside the merits we’ve risked our lives for? These high-ranking officials in your military are all the same, one more sinister than the other, squeezing us, the labor force at the bottom.”
Hearing this, Jiang Quan choked a bit on his own words, unable to suppress a cough.
Having led so many soldiers, at least those individuals outwardly advocated for the greater cause of their race. Seeing someone so shamelessly rushing for credit was a first for him.
As if anticipating this, Wen Xingchen timely offered a prepared cup of tea.
However, at this moment, the calm and composed demeanor only added an uncomfortable undertone to the situation.
Jiang Quan glanced at him with a complicated expression, finally calming himself after a few sips, and said, “Kid, if you can’t speak sensibly, better keep quiet! The military has always rewarded based on merit. None of your deserved merits will be discounted! But, it’s just not the right time yet!”
Lu Jingning’s expression changed from disdain to contempt, “Is this how the current military operates? Still holding debts? I… “
He was about to say something more when he felt the intense pressure in Jiang Quan’s glare, so the words at the tip of his tongue changed very timely, “I… think this is fine! Look, everything is clearly stated in this document. Although it can’t be disclosed externally until we officially engage the insect race, in practice, both Wen Xingchen and I have rightfully attained the rank of Colonel. Isn’t that what it means?”
“If you like to understand it that way, then do so!” Jiang Quan gritted his teeth, trying to explain as calmly as possible, “All corresponding privileges at the Colonel level within the military system have been granted to you both. Except for not being publicly disclosed yet, you can unconditionally enjoy all benefits of the Colonel rank.”
At these words, Lu Jingning’s eyes completely lit up, sincerely saying, “Thank you, Commander!”
However, Jiang Quan had no intention of giving him any more attention, impatiently waving his hand, “Now, go!”
Exiting the office, Lu Jingning was practically bouncing in his steps, as if he could fly at any moment.
His dreams, his life’s goals, from this moment, seemed to have finally gained acknowledgment of their existence.
While walking, he couldn’t help but boast to Wen Xingchen, “Brother Wen, we’ve only been in the service for a short time, and now we’re already Colonels!”
Wen Xingchen watched his ecstatic expression and added at the right moment, “And currently the youngest Colonels in both military departments.”
Lu Jingning continued to swell with pride, “No, I should say, the only Omega Colonel in the entire galaxy!”
Wen Xingchen chuckled, “You’re amazing!”
Lu Jingning, uplifted by his words, suddenly realized something was off and stopped, looking suspiciously, “You’re being so supportive today. Honestly, do you want something from me?”
Seeing his thoughts shift so quickly, Wen Xingchen didn’t hide anything, raising an eyebrow and suddenly closing in, pinning him against the wall.
Their gazes met at a breath’s distance.
Wen Xingchen didn’t show any panic at being seen through but smiled faintly, speaking calmly, “This morning, Wen Muqiao called me, saying both Uncle Lu and he are quite eager. So, I thought I should request your permission. When can we take some time off and arrange our engagement?”
Under the enveloping scent of Alpha, Lu Jingning unconsciously responded to his words, “Ah, this matter can be approved, no problem.”
Wen Xingchen lightly touched his face, “Then, thanks in advance, Brother Lu.”
Having received the answer he wanted, Wen Xingchen chuckled softly, stood up, and left.
Lu Jingning stood in place for a while, his gaze lingering on that departing figure for a long time before he snapped out of it.
Damn, did he just agree too casually?!
What surprised Lu Jingning was that the urgency in Lu Kongbin’s insistence on his engagement wasn’t something made up by Wen Xingchen.
That same night, he received a communication from his own father, setting a date and warning him to return home early, or else the engagement wouldn’t proceed.
Lu Jingning stayed silent for a long time in response to this complete reversal of attitudes. Only after asking did he realize that incidents from earlier had reached the ears of both sets of parents.
The recent crisis made them suddenly aware that their sons, after entering the Joint Elite Force, faced too much uncertainty during missions. Some things needed to be sorted out quickly.
But with this pace, Lu Jingning strongly suspected that the next step might involve them being urged to have grandchildren.
Given his father’s instructions, he did request time off from Jiang Quan.
Probably understanding the purpose of their return, when approving the leave, Jiang Quan didn’t inquire much, just raising an eyebrow at them, “Don’t forget my invitation.”
“Of course, we won’t!” Lu Jingning smiled warmly, but as he turned away, he secretly sighed.
Damn, if that hadn’t been brought up, it might’ve been overlooked!
Since they couldn’t travel together, Wen Xingchen saw Lu Jingning off as he boarded the ship, lightly embracing him and whispered near his ear, “The next time we meet, it’ll be at the engagement banquet.”
Lu Jingning didn’t feel much initially, but with this tease, his ears suddenly felt a bit warm.
Just as he was about to say something, Wen Xingchen released him, gently patting his head, “Until then, my soon-to-be fiancé.”
Lu Jingning was briefly startled, then smiled, “Until then!”
Initially, it sounded more like an impulsive decision for an engagement ceremony made by Old Lu. Surprisingly, it was meticulously arranged.
It wasn’t until Lu Jingning returned home that he realized even Lu Jiyuan and Lu Xuebai, the two perennially absent bigwigs, had also stayed at home, an uncommon sight.
The engagement agreement was personally drafted by Lu Jiyuan.
The two engagement rings were said to be made of rare minerals sent by the Wen family, customized by Lu Xuebai using the latest scientific techniques, exquisite and unique.
Even Lulu, the little robot, cheerfully wore two bright roses on its head, one on each side, wrapped in black silk, resembling the two pigtails of a character from an ancient mythological book.
Lu Kongbin was busy finalizing the specific arrangements for the banquet with the Wen family. Ye Ling was repeatedly confirming the number of arriving relatives and friends for that day.
In comparison, Lu Jingning, the protagonist, oddly became the most idle one.
Roaming aimlessly from upstairs to downstairs, then downstairs to upstairs, he, who usually attracted attention wherever he went, was now being treated like a mobile signboard, ignored by everyone as if he were just a moving figure.
When Lu Jingning engaged in a holographic video call with Wen Xingchen that night, he vented about the cold treatment he received.
After listening, Wen Xingchen had a meaningful smile in his eyes, “Do you know what state you’re in right now?”
Lu Jingning: “What state?”
Wen Xingchen glanced at him, “Pre-wedding syndrome.”
Lu Jingning: “…………”
He hadn’t thought about it before, but now, when he reflected on his overall state in the last few days, involuntarily imagining himself as a bride-to-be, surprisingly, he felt no dissonance.
After a moment of silence, he retorted, “Just engaged, what does that have to do with pre-wedding syndrome? Unless, do you want to skip the wedding?”
Wen Xingchen smiled faintly, “Of course, we’ll have the wedding. But since we’re already engaged, do you think I’d let you run away again?”
“Know that it was my big brother who drafted the engagement agreement? Don’t be too sure. After you’ve seen it, dare to sign it then!”
Seeing Lu Jingning’s pretend calmness, Wen Xingchen couldn’t help but let out a laugh.
Lu Jingning glared at him, “What’s so funny? Be serious!”
“Uh-huh, serious.” Wen Xingchen cleared his throat, though the curve of his lips disappeared, his voice still carried a hint of suppressed laughter, “But Ah Ning, as long as I can keep you by my side forever, do you think there’s any agreement I wouldn’t dare to sign?”
Even though it was just a holographic image, under the firm gaze of the other, Lu Jingning suddenly felt a bit overwhelmed.
In the end, with a flushed face, he forcefully squeezed out a sentence, “Signing is a must! If you dare not sign, on the day of the engagement, I’ll break your legs!”
Wen Xingchen pondered for a moment, his brows slightly raised, “A must-do, obvious thing, I won’t dare not to do so.”
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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