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538 Bros Before Hos 5

 "What... request?" Gu Nianzhi thought she was hearing things and struggled against Huo Shaoheng's embrace so she could pick at her ear.

However, Huo Shaoheng pressed her against his chest, his voice drifting down from the top of her head. There were no lights inside the car, and the warm yellow glow of the streetlamps only made the interior of the car appear darker and more surreal. Gu Nianzhi was totally confused. She only wanted to fall in love properly. How were they suddenly talking about marriage?!

They hadn't even fallen madly and deeply in love yet, but somehow they had immediately jumped to the final stage?! The end of love was either parting ways or getting married, but it all meant the same thing.

Nuzzling against Huo Shaoheng's chest, Gu Nianzhi hugged his muscular waist tightly and mumbled, "Marriage is the grave of love... Huo Shao, are you sure you want to doom our love before it even blooms fully?"

"Nonsense." Huo Shaoheng patted her head gently. "What's all this cynical blabbering?"

"It's true. I read a psychologist's theory on the three stages of love." Gu Nianzhi finally looked up from Huo Shaoheng's embrace to gaze into his eyes that were as dark as a starry night. She murmured, "The first stage is testing and flirting, the second stage is powerful and inseparable love, and the third is the stage of emotional transformation..."

"Emotional transformation?" Huo Shaoheng looked down at her. "What does that mean?"

"That's when love transforms into another emotion. It can be friendship, familial love, or nothing at all," Gu Nianzhi stated confidently, one hand caressing Huo Shaoheng's chest. "There is little passionate love between a married couple because it's more familial love.The existence of love is short-lived and dazzling, Huo Shao... Let me continue to enjoy the sweetness and thrill of love..."

"...You just want to keep playing coy." Huo Shaoheng lifted her chin up with one hand and asked calmly, "Isn't that right?"

"Of course not." Gu Nianzhi denied it instantly, cocking her head to move her chin away from his hand. "Huo Shao, I..."

Huo Shaoheng raised a finger to press against her lips and successfully prevented her from continuing. "Let me finish, I just submitted the marriage request, and the military is still discussing it. They have to cast a vote, then begin the background check." For the first time, Huo Shaoheng explained the entire procedure to Gu Nianzhi in detail.

Gu Nianzhi listened blankly. She only knew about the background check from before but now finally realized that the background check was only carried out after the military agreed to their marriage. If the request was rejected, there wouldn't be a need for the background check. Her large bright eyes stared unblinkingly at Huo Shaoheng, intently focusing like a child being serious.

Huo Shaoheng continued, "According to normal procedures, it may take six months for the standing committee of the Supreme Military Council to discuss and cast a vote on the decision."

Gu Nianzhi was speechless.

"There is a background check after the vote is held, so the entire process may take anywhere from a year to three." Huo Shaoheng glanced at her. "So you don't have to worry. We're not getting married tomorrow. You can keep playing coy and keep enjoying the sweetness of being in love."

Gu Nianzhi's face burned hotly, but she wasn't willing to be snubbed by Huo Shaoheng. She answered unhappily, "What's wrong with enjoying being in love? How can Huo Shao insult me like that?"

"I insulted you?"

"Yes, you kept saying that I'm playing coy for enjoying being in love..." Gu Nianzhi glared at Huo Shaoheng, but because her large eyes were so doe-like, it didn't appear threatening at all.

"You've always been coy." Huo Shaoheng laughed when he saw her get angry. He whispered in her ear, "...Fine, you can be as coy as you like in front of me. Just not in front of anyone else."

"Really?" Gu Nianzhi looked up at Huo Shpaheng briefly but couldn't tell from his faint smile if he was joking or being honest. "You really don't think it's annoying?"

"I think it's annoying, but I don't dislike it," Huo Shaoheng answered honestly.

Gu Nianzhi was stunned speechless and turned away angrily. "You already think I'm annoying, so why submit the marriage request?"

"To take one for the team. You can just annoy me instead of everyone else." Huo Shaoheng locked her against his chest. "Be good, I might go on a mission abroad very soon."

Gu Nianzhi froze instantly. "A mission? You're already a Major General, not some footsoldier. Why do you still have to go personally?"

"Because the mission requires a Major General to personally get involved."

Lips quivering, Gu Nianzhi wanted badly to ask what the mission entailed that made it worthwhile for Huo Shaoheng to go. But she knew he couldn't disclose his work to anyone and telling her there was a future mission was already an exception. After battling in her mind for a long time, she finally chose to not mention it and hugged Huo Shaoheng's neck as she reminded him, "You must be careful and come home soon. I'll wait for you."

"Yeah." Huo Shaoheng patted her head and tucked her messy chest-length hair behind her ear. "You have to be good, too, and be more inconspicuous while I'm abroad. You can be as coy as you want when I come back."

"Then you must come back, and if you don't, I'll be coy with someone else." Gu Nianzhi sniffled and used a threatening tone.

"You dare?" Huo Shaoheng glanced at her coolly. "Then you'll have to get punished according to family rules when I come back."

"Family rules? We have such a thing? Why didn't I know about it?" Gu Nianzhi didn't back down and wanted to argue back.

"You want to know?" Huo Shaoheng whispered in her ear, his voice raspy and seductive. "...How about you come back to the apartment with me tonight, and I'll demonstrate our 'family rules.'"

Cheeks flushing red immediately, Gu Nianzhi was thankful the car was dark so they couldn't see each other clearly. Otherwise she'd be mortified. "No." She shook her head. "I have to go back to the dorm. I already took so many days off, and today isn't a weekend, so I still have class early tomorrow morning..." If she went home with him to get "punished according to family rules," there was no way she could get out of bed tomorrow.

Huo Shaoheng was truly the ace of the Special Operations Forces. His physical endurance was no joke. Although Gu Nianzhi was physically stronger than normal, even she couldn't take a whole night of getting tossed around by him... How would she get to class tomorrow? Gu Nianzhi didn't want to miss more classes. Unfortunately, she didn't know that Huo Shaoheng still had business, so he actually couldn't spend time with her, even if she agreed. It was already hard to squeeze in an hour to have dinner with her. "Ok, then I'll take a raincheck and redeem it when I'm back." Huo Shaoheng laughed quietly, his fingers stroking Gu Nianzhi's cheek gently. The pads of his fingers were slightly calloused and smelled faintly of nitre from the guns. It was pungent, yet gave Gu Nianzhi a sense of security.

After a long while, Gu Nianzhi finally answered him and said, "You have to be careful." Huo Shaoheng used to go on missions in the past as well, but Gu Nianzhi had never felt so lost and nervous before. Their relationship was different now, so her feelings had changed, too... Huo Shaoheng walked her out of the car, and they went to the entrance of her dorm building together. Gu Nianzhi looked up at him and asked, "When are you leaving?"

"I'll leave when I have to." Huo Shaoheng could only tell her that much. Gu Nianzhi watched him leave before drifting back to the dorm in a daze. Ma Qiqi was already asleep, so her room was dark. Gu Nianzhi jumped on the bed as soon as she got inside. Burying her head in the pillows, her mind reverberated. Oh my god! Huo Shao actually wants to marry me!

But he hasn't proposed yet.... How can he just say he'll marry me?!

Fine, Huo Shao has the ability to marry whoever he wants, but can I get married just like that?

She barely slept the whole night with the two voices in her mind arguing the entire time, so the bags under her eyes were especially dark the next day. When she went to He Zhichu's classroom for the lecture, He Zhichu took one look at her exhausted face and said coolly, "What is it? Did you rob a house last night?"

"Huh? Rob a house? No? I was sleeping in my dorm the whole time." Gu Nianzhi was extremely sleepy and mind-numbed, so she couldn't even make sense of what He Zhichu was implying.

He Zhichu snickered and brought a glass of warm milk to her. "Drink a bit of milk to relax."

Gu Nianzhi sipped from the glass and actually felt even more tired. She sat on the couch to listen to He Zhichu explain a case study and got so groggy, she actually fell asleep. Luckily, she was the only one in the class, so He Zhichu stopped lecturing and got a thin blanket to cover her before going to his study to prepare for lessons.

...

Huo Shaoheng went to the Senate after driving Gu Nianzhi back to B University. Speaker Long and General Ji were both waiting for him. There were many things that hadn't been explained clearly over the phone, so he needed to have a meeting with them to understand the next mission in detail.