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190 A Dream Not Like A Dream

 Although Gu Nianzhi wasn't too fond of the colors in the room, she could see that all the furnishings had been meticulously chosen. They were all brand name pieces, and there were several antique pieces as well-like the magnolia carved from a single piece of variegated green jade. The lighter green parts had been carved into leaves, to accentuate the white petals, making it appear luminous under the lights. Gu Nianzhi set her luggage down and expressed her gratitude to Huo Jialan. "Thank you, Sister Lan."

"You're welcome." Huo Jialan gently pat her shoulder."This is a small suite. Behind the entrance is the living room and when you walk through the small door there's the bedroom." She explained as she opened the door with Gu Nianzhi.

The bedroom was to her liking, everything was white except for the pink bedspread and canopy. The room wasn't too big, but was warmly furnished with a plush loveseat in the east side and two angel shaped lamps serving as nightstands for the bed. A white desk with a white laptop was placed across from the bed, by the door. The south wall of the room had a wide window covered by a blush pink curtain; it looked sheer at first, but Gu Nianzhi noticed that it blocked out the light the view of the scenery outside .

Huo Jianlan noticed Gu Nianzhi staring at the curtain and walked over, pulling a corner back with a smile. "There's a small private garden with your suite; it also connects to the outside garden. You could have your breakfast or leisure time out there, if you so chose ."

Gu Nianzhi thanked Huo Jialan happily and saw her out. It had been an exhausting day and apart from having lunch on the flight from C City to the capital, she hadn't had anything to eat or drink for more than 12 hours. She thought about finding something to sate her appetite, but decided to forgo the trouble since it was her first time at Huo Shaoheng's home. It was going to be morning soon anyway and she was going to have a hearty breakfast then. Until then, she would focus on getting a good night's rest.

She opened her suitcase to take out her toiletries and towel and take a shower. After showering however, she felt even hungrier and scoured the living room, finally finding spring water and juice in the mini fridge. She drank half a bottle of water to quell her hunger, then quickly felt tired and fell asleep as soon as she hit the mattress. After a tiring day and experiencing such tumultuous emotions, even Gu Nianzhi's strong countenance couldn't handle such stress all at once.

Later in the night, the lights in the Huo manor were turned off one by one. Huo Shaoheng appeared troubled as emerged from the third floor to check on Gu Nianzhi. He saw that her door was locked and realized there was no sound from inside the room; he assumed that she had finally fallen asleep and didn't disturb her further. He returned to his room on the other side of the hall. The suite was also on the first floor, but much larger than Gu Nianzhi's. It had three bedrooms and two living rooms to total 150 square meters, which was about the size of an average apartment. As Huo Shaoheng was promoted up the ranks, he had began to fully utilize the entire room. Returning to the space he hadn't been back to in six years, Huo Shaoheng scanned through it and found that almost everything was the same as he remembered-including the navy blue sheets on the bed. The suite was furnished simply in blue and white, appearing elegant and stately, with a certain solemn air.

Huo Shaoheng proceeded to wash up in the bathroom. Afterwards, he opened his computer to check his inbox and saw an email from Zhao Liangze. It appeared that much had happened since their return to the 6th Military Region's main base. He glanced through the email and replied to him before turning off the computer and retiring for the evening. The only light in the entire Huo Manor glowed faintly from the top of the third floor. The heavy curtains were drawn and nothing could be seen.


Gu Nianzhi was experiencing a curious dream. She had gone to sleep hungry, so even her dreams were about eating. She dreamed that she sat at a round table laden with all the food and desserts she liked, her favourite freshly squeezed mango juice, iced milk, as well as a platter of steaming roast duck. Gu Nianzhi didn't know why she was dreaming of roast duck, since she hated eating it. Perhaps it was because the roast duck in C City was not as authentic as the ones in the Imperial capital. Yin Shixiong would always say that when they had moved to the capital, they had to take Gu Nianzhi eat the most authentic roast duck in of all of the Huaxia Empire. Gu Nianzhi could even smell the roast duck in her sleep, but a sudden icy gust turned the steaming duck frozen; even the fat solidified. Gu Nianzhi complained egretfully in her dream, but couldn't help licking her lips and reaching out to tear off a leg. Unfortunately there was no onion, so she dipped it in sweet sauce and put it to her mouth. Suddenly, she felt pain on her tongue--she had bit her tongue while dreaming about eating. Gu Nianzhi's eyes brimmed with tears as she woke up. Opening her groggy eyes, she was shocked to see a person in white sitting at her bedside and looking at her! The room should have been pitch black, but when Gu Nianzhi woke up, light penetrated from outside the curtain and she could feel a cold breeze. The person's back faced the light, their face hidden in the shadows. The cold wind blew again and Gu Nianzhi's body was stiff and immobile as though she were paralyzed. She tried to open her eyes wider to adjust to the darkness in the room, and was finally able to make out a blurry face. It was a woman! An indescribably beautiful woman! Sweat beaded on Gu Nianzhi's forehead as she desperately tried to move, but she remained frozen. For a second, she wondered if she were still dreaming. It seemed like a dream inside a dream, where she thought she was awake but really wasn't.

The woman reach out to caress Gu Nianzhi's cheek. Her fingers were like ice, making Gu Nianzhi shudder as soon as she felt them. When she shook her head away, she realized that she had her voice again. She instinctively screamed, "Someone! Uncle Huo! Huo Shao! Help!" She didn't know if she could be heard, but the only thing she could do was scream. The woman appeared frightened by her and suddenly stood up. From the faint light let in by the opened curtains, Gu Nianzhi could see that the woman was wearing a long white fluffy robe and was barefoot. She left her bedside and ran towards the French windows. The light from outside the window instantly vanished, casting the room into darkness. Gu Nianzhi found that she was able to move again and frantically crawled up, screaming and crying as she rushed out, "Uncle Huo!" She was too afraid to look outside the French windows and only wanted to leave the room to hide beside Huo Shaoheng. "Huo Shao! Uncle Huo! Where are you?!" Gu Nianzhi wrenched her door open and stormed out from the suite, crying as she ran to the living room.

"What happened?"

"What is it?"

The orderlies on night shift immediately rushed in with loaded guns, turning on the the lights and aiming their weapons at Gu Nianzhi. Standing alone in the middle of the living room, Gu Nianzhi was barefoot and only wore a pink cotton nightgown. Tears streamed down her face, her thick, silky hair tumbling down her back; her fair face under the lights appeared just as luminous as a full moon's. The orderlies relaxed when they realized that she was woman brought in by Huo Shaoheng; however didn't lower their guns when they questioned her.

"Miss Gu, what happened?"

"Someone...someone was in my room." Gu Nianzhi sniffled. She hadn't been this frightened in a long time, and was also exhausted, starving, and upset.

Huo Jialan was the first to run down the stairs to see Gu Nianzhi stand alone in the middle of the living room with orderlies pointing their guns at her. She quickly said, "Hey! Put away your guns!"

The orderlies remained still and completely ignored her.

Huo Jialan was somewhat embarrassed, then turned around to see Huo Guanchen had arrived. "Uncle, please have them lower their guns."

"What's going on?" Huo Guanchen's voice was solemn. "Where's Shaoheng? Why's he still sleeping at a time like this?"

Huo Jianlan grew even more embarrassed and coughed lightly, "Uncle, Elder Cousin's room is soundproofed, he probably didn't hear-"

"Then go call him out!" Huo Guanchen suppressed his rage. "Go now!"

The orderlies lowered their weapons and one went to ring Huo Shaoheng's doorbell. Huo Shaoheng had just fallen asleep. His suite was renovated throughout the past six years to be completely soundproof, so he could only hear the doorbell from outside. Of course, he had no idea his room had been totally renovated since he left and that the suite's doorbell was connected directly to his headboard. As soon as the doorbell sounded, Huo Shaoheng jolted awake. He opened his eyes to see the watch read three in the morning and immediately frowned. He spoke into the intercom, "What is it?"

"Mr. Huo, please come out. There's something wrong with Miss Gu."

Huo Shaoheng quickly lifted the blankets and shot from his bed, leaving the suite in his pajamas. When he arrived in the living room, Gu Nianzhi was frantically dodging away and hiding behind the sofa. Huo Jialan, Zhang Wenna and Zhang Wenjie were doing anything they can to coax her out. The corners of Huo Shaoheng's lips turned down as he strode over and gave his hand to Gu Nianzhi behind the sofa, "Nianzhi, come out."

Looking up with her tear streaked face, Gu Nianzhi saw Huo Shaoheng and began sobbing as she grabbed his hand to allow him to carry her out. Huo Shaoheng lifted Gu Nianzhi to his chest and noticed her cold body. He didn't have time to ask, so he quickly carried her to his room.

Huo Jialan, Zhang Wenna, and Zhang Wenjie all looked at each other with shocked expressions.

"What's going on with Miss Gu?" Huo Jialan frowned deeply. "She was fine earlier, so what happened to her?"

"I think Miss Gu said that someone went into her room." The leader of the orderlies offered. "That's what she was screaming about, anyway."

"Someone went into her room?! That's impossible!" Zhan Wenna looked at Huo Jialan. "Sister Jialan, that's a suite. If it's locked from the inside, unless someone had the key, then it be opened it from the outside."

Huo Jialan sighed. "I don't know what should be done. Maybe we should take a look at her room?"

An orderly stepped forward to block their path. "Please return to your rooms, Mr. Huo will handle this."

Huo Shaoheng was the one who took over the household whenever he returned. Huo Guanchen went upstairs without another word. He didn't object because he supported Huo Shaoheng's decision. Huo Jianlan couldn't say anything more and retreated upstairs as well.

Zhang Wenna and Zhang Wenjie had even less to say when it came to Huo Shaoheng's matters, and could only return to their rooms.

"Sis, do you really think someone went to Miss Gu's room?" Zhang Wenjie asked in a very quiet voice, but Huo Jialan still heard him from the front.

She turned around to give the siblings a stern look. "Miss Gu is just staying here for a few days. Do I have to teach you what you should and shouldn't say?"

"No, Sister Jialan," Zhang Wenna and Zhang Wenjie quickly said. They did not dare gossip again.


Huo Shaoheng carried Gu Nianzhi back to his room and saw that she was barefoot. He promptly held her feet with his hands to warm them and sat diagonally on his beside to hold and comfort her, "It's ok, it's ok."

Gu Nianzhi tightly clutched at Huo Shaoheng's collar and kept shuddering besides him. She felt very cold and moved desperately to the heat source. Huo Shaoheng's body was like a furnace. In the long winter night, how could she resist the warm embrace? Gu Nianzhi snuggled even closer to Huo Shaoheng, but his body suddenly stiffened for a second. He looked up at the bedroom ceiling and took a deep breath, biting his lip. He moved back slightly to shift his protruding manhood away from Gu Nianzhi's soft body. His large hand continued to stroke her back and calm her nerves.

Gu Nianzhi was still sobbing quietly. "Huo Shao, someone...someone came into my room just now."

Huo Shaoheng nodded, "Don't be scared. I'll go look, ok?" He got up to leave, but Gu Nianzhi held him tighter. "Don't leave me alone here!" Gu Nianzhi grabbed Huo Shaoheng's shirttail in panic. "I'm scared!" She was unfamiliar with this place and although it was Huo Shaoheng's home, it didn't assuage her fears. Adding to this the inexplicable encounter from earlier, Gu Nianzhi felt very uncomfortable in this environment.

Huo Shaoheng thought for a moment and then took out his slippers. "Put this on, and come look at your room with me."

Gu Nianzhi sniffed as she got off the bed, still clutching his shirt. She put on Huo Shaoheng's large slippers and followed him out of the room. The slippers were far too big for her, so only the shuffling sounds could be heard as she made her way over. Huo Shaoheng stifled a small laugh m and took Gu Nianzhi's hand as they walked to the suite on the other side of the living room. Several orderlies heard the noise and wanted to laugh when they looked down to see Gu Nianzhi wearing gigantic men's slippers.

"You all follow me." Huo Shaoheng ordered without turning around.



When they arrived to Gu Nianzhi's room, Huo Shaoheng was the first to enter. The living room appeared fine and the bedroom was pitch black. Huo Shaoheng turned on the light at the door. Soft light spilled into the bedroom, but there was no trace of any intrusion. The French windows were tightly closed and a corner of her blanket had been folded up, probably when she rushed up from the bed.

Gu Nianzhi followed in to see this and gasped in shock. "I-I-I definitely saw someone sit at the bedside! It was a woman! She was very beautiful!"