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    Chapter 85: The Late Arrival of the Gown (3300+)

    All eyes turned to Qing Si in unison, with not a single voice breaking the silence.

    Qing Si bent down to pick up his hat and reached for the mask in Huo Lanjing's hand.

    Unable to pull it off, he eventually gave up.

    However, Huo Lanjing suddenly stepped forward, grabbing his wrist firmly, looking at him resolutely. "Le Le?"

    Qing Si expressionlessly pushed away his hand.

    With his focus entirely on Qing Si's face, Huo Lanjing didn't notice the action and was thus pushed aside.

    Qing Si took a few steps back.

    Qing Yi, who had witnessed the entire scene, noticed Huo Lanjing attempting to approach again. He intercepted, saying, "You must have mistaken him. His name is Qing Si."

    Qing Si's face was an exact replica of Luo Le's.

    Their figures bore an uncanny eight-point resemblance, albeit slightly thinner than before.

    It was precisely due to this observation that Huo Lanjing had approached to remove Luo Le's mask.

    Regaining his composure, Chen Wuxing stepped forward and asked with a smile, "Apologies for the breach of etiquette. May I ask, has Qing Si grown up alongside you two?"

    "Yes," a cool voice answered before Qing Yi could respond.

    It was Qing Si who spoke.

    Qing Yi suppressed his doubts and replied, "Indeed, we may not be blood-related, but our bond is as strong as siblings."

    Chen Wuxing glanced back at Qing Yi. "Oh, I see. It seems we've made a mistake. Please wait for us in the car; I have something to discuss with the General."

    Qing Yi nodded, and the four of them preceded to leave.

    Qing Si brought up the rear, and as they walked away, Chen Wuxing caught the restless Huo Lanjing by the arm.

    "General, do you truly believe he is Luo Le?"

    Xu Ming glanced down at their hands and gave Chen Wuxing's waist a vicious twist.

    Chen Wuxing let out an "Ouch," releasing his grip. Upon seeing his expression, she reached out to hold his hand, but he evaded her touch.

    Huo Lanjing didn't even turn his head. "Mm."

    Chen Wuxing sighed. It wasn't appropriate for an outsider like him to comment on matters concerning a married couple.

    Just as I was about to say something more, a figure darted out from my right side.

    Chen Wuxing gazed at the figure ahead, turned his head to bid farewell, then hurriedly jogged to catch up, his urgency apparent.

    Huo Lanjing, looking forward, overheard the conversation between the two individuals, one tall and one short.

    "Xiao Ming, wait for me, please don't walk so fast."

    "Stop pulling me."

    "I'm sorry."

    "What did you do wrong?"

    "I shouldn't have... I'm sorry, Xiao Ming. I really was wrong."

    "It seems like you don't even know what you did wrong. Those rumors spread because of your lack of boundaries, didn't they? Didn't their divorce happen because of this?"

    "Huh?"

    "Can you use some common sense for once and not..."

    Their voices faded into the distance.

    Huo Lanjing's gaze darkened as he fell into thought.

    On the way back, Chen Wuxing glanced at Qing Si several times, but held back from speaking.

    Unable to bear it any longer, Qing Er sat up and asked, "You've been looking behind us. Is there something we need to do?"

    Caught in the act, Chen Wuxing felt a bit awkward. "You should know who we need to be cautious around, right?"

    All power of attorney documents are customarily reviewed by Qing Yi. Out of confidentiality considerations, he selectively discloses only the non-essential and necessary information.

    Qing Er, Qing San, and Qing Si, in obedience to the command, proceed accordingly.

    It has always been thus.

    Upon seeing this, Qing Yi remarked, "I've gathered information on Mr. Xu's three uncles and aunts, as well as the child from the Xu family's rival clan."

    Chen Wuxing nods. "Yes, roughly. Then let's proceed with your original plan."

    After a while, the car came to a stop in front of a small, four-story villa.

    This is the house Chen Wuxing prepared for their marriage.

    At the entrance stood several servants.

    Xu Ming was still fuming with anger and alighted from the vehicle first, striding straight ahead into the interior.

    Chen Wuxing attempted to follow and console, but was stopped by the cold words "don't bother with me."

    He sighed and approached Qing Yi and the others. "Follow them. They'll take you to a place to rest."

    Just as he finished speaking, Qing Si stepped out of the vehicle.

    Chen Wuxing told him, "Stay here."

    Qing Si didn't respond verbally, but his foot lifted in mid-air, seemingly conceding to the request.

    Qing Er was about to speak when Qing San covered her mouth and nudged her to catch up with Qing Yi.

    In an instant, only the two of them were left at the entrance.

    Neither of them spoke first, and the silence was so profound that even the faint chirping of fledglings in the distance could be heard.

    It wasn't until the hovercar's arrival announcement sounded that Chen Wuxing snapped back to reality.

    "I'm sorry," he said.

    Qing Si lifted his gaze slightly but remained silent.

    From the moment he laid eyes on Qing Si, he had only said one word: "Yes." His expression hadn't altered throughout.

    This was altogether different from the obedient youth he remembered. Were it not for their striking facial resemblance, he would have found it impossible to connect these two individuals.

    Chen Wuxing cleared his throat with a soft cough before lowering his gaze. "There truly was nothing between the General and myself prior to this. The matter on the forum, it's all idle speculation; we genuinely share nothing more than a commonplace comradely bond."

    Qing Si gave him a faint glance, her eyes devoid of any emotion.

    Chen Wuxing continued, "Before I knew about your relationship with the General, I inquired casually. The General mentioned that you were family, and you looked relatively young. So, I mistakenly assumed you were his younger brother. Please forgive me; there was absolutely no intention of provocation back then. I sincerely apologize. The General was occupied with state affairs, and I was engrossed in military matters, hence the oversight…"

    "It has nothing to do with me," Qing Si interrupted, enunciating each word.

    Upon seeing Qing Si's face, Chen Wuxing couldn't help but blurt out his thoughts.

    But upon further reflection, he found it absurd. Perhaps the person just happened to resemble Luo Le?

    Still, he didn't regret his words. What if Qing Si was indeed Luo Le?

    Luo Le's face was a testament to Nuwa's favor; how could there be an exact replica?

    Chen Wuxing smiled and apologized, "Sorry for the randomness. It's nothing; just consider me momentarily insane."

    Qing Si pointed inside, and Chen Wuxing followed his gaze, saying, "I'll show you the way up."

    Qing Si nodded in agreement.

    As soon as they were upstairs, Qing Er was eager to interrogate Qing Si about what had happened, but Qing Si simply stared at Qing Yi without uttering a word.

    Qing Yi asked if he didn't wish to share.

    Qing Si affirmed that he indeed did not.

    Qing Yi then refrained from pressing further and also silenced Qing Er from asking any questions.

    Qing Si expressed his gratitude and retreated into his room.

    meanwhile, on their way back, Huo Lanjing remained in a somber mood.

    Despite Chen Chen's attempts to engage him in conversation, Huo Lanjing's responses were consistently unrelated or off-topic.

    He then quietly returned to his seat.

    After dinner, Huo Lanjing sat lost in thought, staring at the book in his hands.

    Curiosity getting the best of him, Chen Chen climbed onto his lap and tapped his cheek. "Uncle."

    Huo Lanjing barely snapped back to reality. "Hmm?"

    Chen Chen: "Uncle, are you not happy today?"

    Although he didn't particularly like this uncle, the man had been quite nice to him over the past three years.

    Surely Father wouldn't be angry if he asked just this once, right?

    Huo Lanjing's dark red eyes flickered, reflecting Chen Chen's face.

    Recalling the identical pair of eyes he had seen earlier that day, he couldn't help but put down his book and reach out to touch them.

    Chen Chen asked in confusion, "Uncle?"

    Huo Lanjing said, "It's okay. Is Grandpa He almost here?"

    No sooner had he finished speaking than the doorbell rang.

    Upon hearing this, Chen Chen immediately slid down from his lap, sitting up straight with a serious expression as he gazed at the entrance.

    Huo Lanjing, observing the scene with the whole city as his audience, couldn't help but curve the corners of his lips into a subtle smile.

    The gloominess that had been weighing on his mind began to dissipate.

    After Luo Le's staged death, life hadn't been easy, though it was likely thanks to this little fellow's perseverance that he had made it this far.

    With this thought, the dispelled gloom reconvened.

    The next day, outside the wedding room of Chen Wuxing and Xu Ming.

    The hovercar parked at the entrance.

    A group emerged from the entrance.

    Qing Er gazed at the pair before him and couldn't help but remark, "Despite the freedom in marriage and the option to legalize it, I still truly admire you two. But living together as two Omegas might make life a bit more challenging for you in the future. How about this? I don't have much to offer, but on my own behalf, I'll grant you a free call upon my services. I'll be there to protect you whenever needed. What do you think?"

    Xu Ming, overhearing this remark, couldn't help but let out a chuckle.

    Qing Er appeared puzzled. "What's the matter?"

    Xu Ming waved his hand without speaking, while Chen Wu Xing had a faint smile at the corner of his mouth.

    Chen Wuxing spent the entire night consoling Xu Ming last night.

    Fortunately, she was placated; otherwise, there would be no hope of selecting the wedding gown today.

    Qing San, standing aside, twitched the corner of his mouth and slapped his back forcefully.

    Qing Er turns back, "Why the hell did you hit me?"

    Qing San explained, "You might not even be able to defeat Mr. Chen. The position of the second-in-command in the First Army isn't something one can claim casually."

    Qing Er suddenly realized, "Oh right, my apologies. But once a gift is given, I don't take it back. Just let me share in the joy, please."

    Chen Wuxing replied, "In that case, we'll accept it. Thank you."

    They chatted merrily, while Qing Si and Qing Yi remained silent throughout.

    Just as they were about to get into the car, they noticed another vehicle parked behind theirs.

    Huo Lanjing leaned against the car body, a cigarette dangling from his fingers, almost burning his hand.

    Chen Wuxing approached, puzzled, ready to speak when Huo Lanjing beat him to it, "Looking for me?"

    It took Chen Wuxing two seconds to comprehend, then he responded, "Actually, we're going to pick out wedding attire, and we wanted your opinion."

    Huo Lanjing slid halfway into the car, extinguishing the cigarette.

    "Let's go."

    Huo Lanjing sat behind Qing Si, resting his hands on his knees with his eyes closed, pretending to sleep.

    Nonetheless, since Huo Lanjing got into the car, Qing Si could sense a lingering gaze sweeping over him.

    For a moment, he adjusted his mask and cap with a relaxed yet cautious grip, ensuring they were securely in place.

    The boutique for the dress was chosen by Xu Ming, and he selected the one that the Huo family frequently orders from.

    As they entered, the shop assistant greeted them warmly, "Good day, may I ask how I can assist you?"

    The manager who was busy on the other side saw Huo Lanjing and Xu Ming and trotted over quickly: "General, Mr. Xu, you are here. Are you friends of the general and Mr. Xu? It's really disappointing, little a, bring the freshly made pastries to VIP Room H."

    After giving the instructions, the manager glanced at the two people following him and began to exchange pleasantries again. However, no one responded to him. He continued to talk to himself, guiding them to the private room as he spoke.

    After expressing their requirements, the manager had someone come over to take measurements for Chen Wuxing and Xu Ming.

    Then, preparing to head out to meet the designer, as he passed by Qing Si, he suddenly furrowed his brows and asked, "Sir, you seem familiar. Haven't you visited our shop before?"

    Qing Si's icy gaze flickered toward him, but that was the extent of her reaction.

    Qing Er, familiar with Qing Si's disposition, stepped in to mediate. "I doubt it. We brothers rarely venture into the Empire."

    "Oh, I see, it must have been a misunderstanding. By the way, Admiral, your lady... she ordered a dress in our shop previously, in... your size, if I recall correctly. The finished garment has recently become available. Would you like to try it on?"

    Was it Luo Le's choice?

    Huo Lanjing's heart stirred, and he turned to look at the face that resembled Luo Le's. "Sure."

    The manager acknowledged with a "yes" and was about to leave.

    But then, Huo Lanjing spoke up again. "What color is it?"

    The manager replied, "Black, with a slight purple sheen when illuminated by light."

    Huo Lanjing pursed his lips. "Make another one in white, same style."

    The manager nodded. "Of course."

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