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162 Teach You

 Gu Nianzhi turned back in shock, not expecting Zhao Liangze and Brother Huang to say the same thing. She was closer to Zhao Liangze because she had met him when she was 12 years, old and had practically grown up with him.

Clutching Zhao Liangze's elbow, Gu Nianzhi refused to let him go and began pouting. "You both are so wary! Did you team up like this just to bully me?" Gu Nianzhi looked up at Zhao Liangze. "Brother Ze, tell me clearly, how do I lack a conscience? I'm clever, smart, and I always get the top marks in any subject. I cracked the Copernicus code before as well, so tell me, how do I lack a conscience?"

This was an insult! Gu Nianzhi thought.

"Getting top marks and cracking codes are not related to whether one has a conscience or not. You've proven my point if you ask me such things." Zhao Liangze yanked his arm away and ruffled her hair. "Like your Brother Huang, you treat him like a senior classmate and joke around with him, but you have no idea what is on his mind and what he has to deal with. So, you have to keep your distance! Keep a distance, got it?"

"Hmph!" Gu Nianzhi shook her head and stuck her tongue out at him. "Don't talk about my classmates that way! They're nice to me."

"Hmph!" Zhao Liangze made the same childish pout and then laughed. He took her hand and sat down with her on the couch. Then he said, "I'm a man too, so how could I not understand the look Brother Huang was giving you?"

"Brother Ze, don't flatter yourself. You say that you're a man? Gu Nianzhi teased him instead. "You're 25 right? Have you had a girlfriend? Have you 'popped your cherry'? If you haven't, then don't act all high and mighty in front of me!" she defiantly continued, "Also, Brother Huang warned me about you too. He said that since we're staying alone together, I should be careful. See, he isn't as bold as you're saying "

Zhao Liangze's jaw dropped. "Have I popped my what?! My cherry? Y-You... where did you learn to speak this way?! Also, how's that the same? My relationship with you and your relationship with him are on different levels. I'm practically your guardian! I treat you like a little sister."


Gu Nianzhi slapped his head with a pillow. Her face was flushed and her usually friendly eyes were glaring st him in anger.

"That crossed the line! You're just older by a few years. I hate it when you act as thought you're so much more older and wiser than I am just because of our age gap. I'm a young woman, but I'm not naive, and I don't need to be sheltered all the time!"

Zhao Liangze hadn't expected such a strong outburst and felt bad at having hurt her feelings. He immediately tried to comfort her, running to the fridge and then back to her with a glass of milk in his hands, and a plate of her favorite cookies. "Don't be angry, don't be angry! That was just a figure of speech to express my affection for you. Elders will never have ulterior motives for youngsters, only unquestionable love and care. Why are you so caught up with the term? I'm not taking advantage of you, it was just an example." He sighed and then said, "You've been with us at the base for the past six years, so just consider how we've we've treated you. Even normal parents don't treat their children as preciously as we treat you."

Gu Nianzhi didn't understand why she was so enraged. She only felt a lodge in her heart, like she was trapped in a small, windowless room and couldn't breathe. She held the milk and gulped it down, quelling the unease in her heart. She looked away, and Zhao Liangze remembered the scrawny and reckless, wild girl she had been when she had first arrived. Watching over her all these years, he had been there by her side supporting her as she grew from a brat into the woman she was now.

Zhao Liangze was very proud that she had grow up to be so beautiful and bright. He sat by her and spoke sincerely. "Nianzhi, I understand how you feel. I'm afraid I understand your situation more than anyone else, because I have felt the same."

Gu Nianzhi gave him a suspicious glance, not believing his words.

"Believe me." Zhao Liangze tucked one arm under his head and leaned back against the sofa. "Back then, I was probably too smart for my own good, but the rest of society saw the makings of a child prodigy. I started university when I was 10, even earlier than you. I graduated from my undergrad at 13, then studied broad in the States as a Computer Science post-grad and had completed my doctorate at 15. I was the same as you back then; I thought I was smart and could do anything I wanted. I did whatever I wanted online and was invincible. I was the king of the Internet!"

Gu Nianzhi finally giggled. "Sure, keep on making things up."

"I'm telling you the truth." Zhao Liangze lazily stretched his legs. "Back then, I didn't know any better and only did the things I liked. I didn't want to find a job after graduation and only wanted to beat the Russian and Eastern Europeans hackers. Then eight years ago, I was taken in by Mr. Huo and came back to the Empire to join the Special Ops." Zhao Liangze looked at her. "After going through all sorts of training with the Special Ops, I finally realized that I had just been an idiot that had known a lot about computers and programming."

Gu Nianzhi looked at him. "That's it? I thought that the end of your wild ways would be due to a girl who appeared out of thin air and touched your heart. That she had taught you how to be a man. I guess I was overthinking it."

"A girl?" Zhao Liangze thought of Bai Yueran, his expression changing for a moment, before laughing the sudden thought of her away. "What girl? I haven't come across from a girl who makes me feel that way yet. But in my eight years at the Special Ops, I've learned a great number of and skills outside of academics and computers."

Gu Nianzhi was curious. "Like what?"

"Like how to judge a person's true intentions, how to cope with flirting, how to determine if someone is telling the truth. Also, how to make someone completely trust you during a mission."

Gu Nianzhi was stunned."What on earth were you guys learning?! 108 ways to seduce girls?"

"That's just a small part of what we have to study, so don't assume that's all." Zhao Liangze corrected.

"Gu Nianzhi, honestly speaking, in contrast to 10 kilometer cross-country running, or obstacle courses, or shooting practice, I think these studies are more important for you. Unfortunately, Mr. Huo won't listen to me. You are smart enough, but can you tell if a man is interested in you? Would you know how to tell if a man is being sincere? Can you see the truth in extreme situations? These things aren't taught by textbook, but for a genius like you, you'd excel at it!" Zhao Liangze gave a confident smile and leaned closer to Gu Nianzhi, speaking conspiratorially. "Even more importantly, could you tell by a man's gaze, if it's a man's desire for a woman, or the platonic affection between friends and family? If you can differentiate this, it'll save you a lot of unnecessary trouble in the future."

Gu Nianzhi's mouth gaped slightly, her eyes focused intently on Zhao Liangze. His words had opened up a new world to her. "Brother Ze, I'll be your disciple! Please teach me!" Gu Nianzhi stood up and dragged Zhao Liangze to the computer. "Tell me and I'll write it down. What is the procedure!"

Zhao Liangze couldn't help sighing. These were skills that couldn't be put into words, so how could he write out the procedure? He also suddenly realized he had said too much. If Mr. Huo found ever out, he would probably send him to the ends of the earth.