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205 Seduce Me

 Huo Shaoheng rested an arm on his bent knee as he glanced at Gu Nianzhi, who had lowered her eyes in embarrassment. He averted his gaze and looked out the window as he said, with a faint smile: "What do you want me to say?"

Her heart immediately sank.

It wasn't supposed to be like this!

She had poured her heart out to him-he owed her a reply!

Gu Nianzhi lifted her head angrily and said boldly, "I said, I love you. What about you?"

"Oh." Huo Shaoheng nodded. He added nonchalantly, "Thank you."

Gu Nianzhi was reeling. She got up and threw the pillow in her arms at Huo Shaoheng.

Huo Shaoheng raised an arm to block the pillow; it bounced off his arm and flew to the other side of the room.

Gu Nianzhi saw that her pillow attack had been laughably ineffective. She launched herself at Huo Shaoheng instead, pinning him down and glaring at him.

Huo Shaoheng extended an arm to catch her, and made her sit beside him. He patted her on the back as he calmly said, "What are you going all crazy for? Can't you let me think about it?"

Gu Nianzhi was even more furious now. He had hugged her and kissed her-and he still needed time to think about it?!

"What's there to think about?! Are you going to tell me you were drunk and that you didn't mean any of it?" Gu Nianzhi was annoyed and frustrated: she no longer cared to think about what she was saying. "If that's the case, I'll... I'll run away from home, and I'll leave you!"

Gu Nianzhi glowered at Huo Shaoheng. Deep down, however, she was stricken with fear and panic: what if he told her he wanted nothing to do with her?

Huo Shaoheng had always been strict with her, after all. It did not matter how much of a fuss she made about it-he never gave in to any of her demands, if he found them to be unreasonable.

She still remembered what had happened when she was 13 years old: she had been addicted to videogames, back then.

Huo Shaoheng had discovered her addiction upon returning from a mission one day, and had dealt with it by imposing a complete ban on video games. She had thrown a tantrum, gone on a hunger strike, and run away from home, but he had gotten her to obey him in the end. There had been no room for discussion.

She had gotten over her video game addiction, but had also learned to fear Huo Shaoheng after that. The fear had stayed within her ever since.

She leaned over to Huo Shaoheng and grabbed his arm. She looked at him nervously.

Huo Shaoheng turned his hauntingly beautiful face to her and regarded her silently. He smiled.

Snow was steadily falling outside, beyond the window, but Gu Nianzhi suddenly felt as though spring had come. His smile dazzled her, and sent her into a swoon.

A moment later she heard his voice from somewhere up above her. "Want to know my answer? Seduce me."

"Seduce... you?!" Gu Nianzhi's breath caught in her throat. Her mind reeled from the shock.

H-h-how... How had he known that I'd wanted to seduce him?!

"Yes. If you can do it, I'm yours." Huo Shaoheng leaned forward and patted Gu Nianzhi on the cheek. He grinned at the dazed look on her face.

She had never seen him as relaxed as he was now. He leaned back on the oversized pillow behind him. His eyes lingered on her briefly, before moving to look outside the window.

Gu Nianzhi was shocked at his careless request.

She gaped for a full minute, before she regained control of her tongue. She stuttered, "Y-y-you... Are you serious? If this is a joke, it isn't funny!" She was so nervous she looked like she was about to cry.

"It isn't a joke." Huo Shaoheng turned around. He reached out and lifted Gu Nianzhi's chin. "I always mean whatever I say to you."

Gu Nianzhi closed her eyes and moved her chin away in indignation. The petty side to her was shouting angrily inside her mind: Bring it on, then! Who's afraid of you? I'm going to seduce you, just see if I don't!

The small voice cursing away within her was interrupted by Huo Shaoheng, who casually added: "But if you run away from home, you'll never be able to seduce me."

The petty shadow inside Gu Nianzhi screamed in frustration. Somehow, she was not surprised by this turn of events: of course she would have to get Huo Shaoheng's permission to even begin seducing him. This was Huo Shaoheng, after all.

"But, you kissed me..." Gu Nianzhi was reluctant to let Huo Shaoheng call all the shots. She protested weakly, "Doesn't that mean you like me?"

"Like you said, I've been drinking," Huo Shaoheng replied indifferently as he smoothed his pajama pants. "It's not my fault you won't believe me."

Gu Nianzhi had run out of ammunition. She bowed her head and said, defeated, "Oh. Well, I hope you'll bear with me if my seduction skills aren't up to par."

"Well, just try to improve, going forward." Huo Shaoheng patted her on the shoulder. "I'll keep an optimistic outlook." He looked as though he were sincerely looking forward to being seduced.

Gu Nianzhi frowned as she quietly scrutinized Huo Shaoheng. She could not tell what he was really thinking.

The passionate kiss had been a flash in the dark, a momentary loss of control for Huo Shaoheng.

She wished it had gone on for longer.

Gu Nianzhi left Huo Shaoheng's room in a daze, and returned to her bedroom.

Once she was back in her room, she remembered that she had thrown a tantrum. She suddenly felt impossibly tired, and was asleep as soon as she collapsed on her bed.


After Gu Nianzhi left, Huo Shaoheng did not go to sleep. He turned to look out the window, the smile on his face gradually fading into the darkness.

He got out his phone and toyed with it. Eventually, he opened the list of contacts on his phone and found General Ji's number.

It was only nine o' clock. General Ji was in his study, reading a book. He saw the incoming call from Huo Shaoheng on his phone, and happily took the call. "Shaoheng? Still up?"

Huo Shaoheng nodded. "Yes. Did I catch you in the middle of a book, General Ji?"

"Yes. I have a few translations of books written by foreign military. They're a fascinating read, very thought-provoking." General Ji had removed his reading glasses; he put them back on now. "So why are you calling me at this hour? Did something happen?"

It was rare for Huo Shaoheng to call him outside of the usual working hours; he only did it when he had something important to say.

This time, however, Huo Shaoheng chatted amiably with him for a minute before asking a few personal questions. "General Ji, if I want to get married, how long would it take for the government to approve it?"

"Marry?!" General Ji almost fainted. In the next second, he had leapt out of his chair. "When did you get a girlfriend?! You never told me about it, and now you're getting married?!"

Huo Shaoheng burst into laughter. "I'm just asking about the process, to get an idea of how long it takes. You know that I don't have a lot of time to spend on my private life. If I have to marry, I have to get everything in order, as soon as possible."

Huo Shaoheng was not an ordinary man. He was a high-ranking officer in the military, and also the core member of the military's elite forces. If he were to marry, his partner had to be a woman whose social relations and family background had been vetted thoroughly, going back eight generations. Depending on the circumstances, it may take several years for the government to review and approve his marriage application.

"Oh, I see. You almost gave me a heart attack." General Ji slowly returned to his chair. "It's good for you to plan ahead, but I've been there and done that, and I think you should hear this: don't marry just for the sake of getting married. Find someone you love, and who loves you back, and see how you get along with her before you think about settling down. Don't worry about the marriage review-as long as your lady is worthy of you, the review will be over before you know it. If they drag their feet, well, tell me and I'll prod them along!"

Huo Shaoheng chuckled, and did not argue with General Ji. He launched into a few other questions about the correct procedure for the marriage review.

He had always thought these were unnecessarily troublesome, and had never paid any attention to them. He had never imagined that he would have to deal with the military agency in charge of the marriage review one day.

After they were done discussing the marriage review, a thought occurred to General Ji. He asked about Gu Nianzhi. "Shaoheng, how is Nianzhi? She's already 18, she doesn't need a guardian anymore. I heard you brought her to your home?"

"Yeah." Huo Shaoheng put on a Bluetooth headset and continued talking with General Ji as he turned on his computer. He found the documents for the governmental review from the intranet, and began to read them carefully.

"She's a good girl. It's unfortunate we don't know where she came from. If it weren't for that, I'd have given her special permission to enlist in the army as your attendant by now." General Ji laughed heartily. "Pity. Such a pity."

Huo Shaoheng's fingers tightened around his mouse as he gave a non-committal grunt in reply. He added: "We're still investigating her origins, so she'll be sticking with me for now. Do you have any objections, General Ji?"

"No, not at all," General Ji replied hastily. "If she's okay with that, all the better. Don't push her away. Stay vigilant-I have a feeling she'll turn out to be a very important person."

"Of course not." A faint smile appeared on Huo Shaoheng's lips. "You have nothing to worry about, General Ji."