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238 Stealing The Thunder

 On the laptop display, the Huo manor living room was beautifully decorated with bouquets of white roses everywhere. On the wall facing the main entrance was a full wall of roses. Gu Nianzhi whispered, "This is an engagement? Why does it look more like a wedding?" A stage with two steps leading up to it from the floor was set up under the rose wall. The platform was of an oak material, but shone with the luster of rosewood under the adornment of the white roses. The Huo manor living room was very large, and the sofa and coffee table in the middle had been moved to clear up the space and make a large dance floor. The guests were evidently rich and important people dressed in the most lavish fashions. They held cocktail glasses and chattered in groups of twos and threes. The men all wore black tuxedos, while the women were in all sorts of evening gowns-backless, shoulder baring, low cut, high slits that revealed thighs, or completely unlined lace gowns with the skin barely hidden under a shawl. Necks and wrists were adorned with understated but luxurious jewelry, some of them, Gu Ninazhi noted, being first class pieces that had been won from Sotheby's or Christie's auctions. Standing under the rose wall, on the oak stage, was a couple who was undoubtedly the center of attention.

It was Huo Shaoheng's father, Director of the Political Department of the Ministry of Military Affairs, and Bai Jinyi, Director of the Institute of High Energy Physics. Huo Guanchen was already 50 years old, but had maintained himself very well and looked no older than 40. His hair was short and dark, and the handsome features on his masculine face were somewhat similar to Huo Shaoheng's chiseled visage. He neither had a trace of a smile nor sadness on his face, but appeared solemn as he stood on the stage holding the waist of the female companion besides him. Bai Jinyi was all dressed up, but age had taken its toll her. She had often gone around the world to conduct experiments at sea or in the depths of wilderness, so she was less well maintained than Huo Guanchen. Her skin was therefore tanned and had just returned to a light olive tone, and the deep wrinkles at the corner of her eyes couldn't be covered by any amount of foundation or concealer. She was of a rather slim build and so the tailored white qipao still appeared loose on her frame. Her feet were clad in white satin Manolo-Blahnik high heels that added to her charm.

Bai Yueran wore an deep purple strapless evening gown and held a crystal glass. Standing beside her father, Bai Jiancheng, she looked at her Aunt, Bai Jinyi, under the rose wall and gave her a toast.

"Everyone, quiet please." An MC stood on the stage and tapped his wine glass. "General Huo and Director Bai's engagement ceremony is about to begin." The hustle and bustle in the living room immediately quieted down and all eyes were on the couple.

"Thank you for coming to witness our engagement ceremony." Huo Guanchen nodded to the guests. "I hope that everyone can enjoy themselves and give us their blessings during the New Year."

The MC walked over to them with a smile and said, "General Huo, are you willing to ask for Bai Jinyi's hand in marriage? Will you wait for her at the end of the aisle?"

Huo Guanchen was silent for a long moment, his eyes darting over the quiet Bai Jinyi. He smiled and said, "I will." Producing a ring box, he knelt down on one knee to present it to Bai Jinyi and asked, "Jinyi, will you marry me?"

In that moment, Bai Jinyi was truly moved and couldn't help shedding tears. She gazed at Huo Guanchen's face and nodded. "Yes."

Thunderous applause immediately broke out from under the stage. Huo Guanchen stood up to kiss Bai Jinyi's cheek, then put a six-carat teardrop diamond on her finger; the lovely champagne color of the stone sparkled in the stage lighting. Bai Jinyi smiled and waved at all the guests as she thanked the crowd. The Huo manor living room was filled with joy, laughter, and applause. The popping of champagne bottles didn't stop as countless petals fell from the ceiling and sprinkled on the rose table. The main part of the engagement ceremony had finally completed after Huo Guanchen and Bai Jinyi exchanged rings.


Huo Shaoheng issued a command to Zhao Liangze to stop the video and the inside of his car suddenly became eerily quiet.

Song Jinning's chest heaved as she used all her strength to not cry out in sorrow. She recalled the two people she saw on the laptop screen-they should have been the two people she was most familiar with, yet they now seemed like complete strangers. She didn't recognize them at all. Song Jinning covered her face and leaned against the window on the other side of the car. Gu Nianzhi turned to look at her and wanted to sit with her to offer consolation, but was stopped by Huo Shaoheng. She looked at him quizzically, then pointed to the heartbroken Song Jining.

Huo Shaoheng leaned over to her and whispered into her ear, "Let her be for a bit."

Gu Nianzhi blinked her huge eyes and her pink lips frowned in disagreement.

Huo Shaoheng didn't bother with further explanation and took the laptop from Gu Nianzhi's lap. He glanced at the long down coat she was wearing, and saw the tall boots and hem of the large petticoat that ended just above her knees.

Gu Nianzhi hastily adjusted the hem of her skirt and said nervously, "It's longer when I stand up, it's just a bit short when I sit."

Huo Shaoheng shifted his gaze and opened his laptop to continue working. Gu Nianzhi realized that neither of them wanted to talk, so she replayed all the information Zhao Liangze had gathered about Bai Jinyi. These were the fruits of the afternoon's labour. Although the time had been tight, Zhao Liangze had put in his greatest effort and unearthed many things about Bai Jinyi. "Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril." Or so the saying went. Gu Nianzhi was in the midst of preparing for a lawsuit, so it was necessary to have everything in order. Bai Jinyi was truly an intelligent and hardworking person. She had a strong family background, but had been unlucky and too headstrong. She'd gone ahead with her mistakes and had now ended up like this. Since the mistakes had been made, she naturally couldn't pretend that they didn't happen. The group was silent the whole way and quickly arrived to the Huo manor. When Huo Shaoheng, Song Jinning, and Gu Nianzhi exited the vehicle, the Huo family servants gaped at them. "Young... Young Master! Didn't Miss say that you're not coming back?!"

"Yeah but, I changed my mind," Huo Shaoheng said bluntly as he turned to look at Gu Nianzhi. "Go inside with my mother first," he said.

Gu Nianzhi nodded her head and linked arms with Song Jinning's elbow to head inside the Huo manor. Huo Shaoheng was in no rush to follow them, so he immediately ordered his orderlies to take control of the Huo manor guard duty and rounded up all the servants who had witnessed their arrival; He didn't allow them to notify the people inside. Afterward, he returned to the car and ordered Zhao Liangze to share the video stream again. He needed to know everything that was happening inside the house.


"General Huo, today is the day that you are getting engaged to Director Bai. Your 10-year relationship has come to fruition; may I ask what thoughts you have to share with everyone?" The engagement ceremony in the Huo manor living room was coming to a close, and it was time for the soon to be wed couple to share their feelings. The MC moved aside with a smile to allow Huo Guanchen to come forward.

Huo Guanchen and Bai Jinyi both wore headsets with microphones, so they could speak to everyone without additional mics. "I'd like to thank Jinyi for her 10 years of love. I'll get engaged with her as long as she wishes it to be so. I'll marry her as long as she wishes it to be so as well." Huo Guanchen's deep voice emitted through the speakers in the laptop. He sounded hoarse and aged, and he was so emotional that he had to speak slowly.

Tears immediately fell from Bai Jinyi's eyes as she walked up to take Huo Guanchen's hand. "Guanchen, we have known each other for six years, and then loved each other for ten years. I never knew how much you cherished me, I would have married you ten years ago if I had known."

Suddenly, a loud clap emitted from the entrance of the house, breaking the silence in the living room. Everyone turned around to see two beautiful women appear. The more mature woman wore a carmine single shoulder mermaid gown, her face indescribably beautiful and her figure astonishing. The girl beside her was very young and looked like she had stepped out of a fairy tale. She wore a pea green and white silk princess gown with a fitted waist, tall heels, and her long hair flowed down her back. She was beautiful beyond words. The one clapping was the younger girl.

Someone in the living room recognized her and immediately widened her eyes in shock. "Gu Nianzhi?! What are you doing here?" Huo Jialan was the first to break from the group to approach them.

Gu Nianzhi didn't even look at her and said to the couple, her voice raised, "So this is what Physicist Bai has been doing for the past 16 years. You used all that time, yet you had still failed to replicate the experiment. You used 16 years and your best friend, ex-wife of General Huo, who had been unconscious. To me, these were all distractions for your ulterior motives-Physicist Bai, you weren't interested in your best friend's illness, but in her husband." Gu Nianzhi laugher bitterly. "You ignored the national interests and instead had used treating Mrs. Song's illness as an excuse to seduce her husband. Your blatant abuse of power isn't just a question of character, but also of intelligence. No wonder you've repeated an experiment for 16 years and still hadn't gotten anywhere."

Someone in the living room couldn't help snorting. Bai Jinyi clenched her fists-she wanted to pounce on Gu Nianzhi and stuff her mouth: she dared question her intelligence?! This was her sore spot and her Achilles heel: it angered her more than having her personal character being questioned!

Gu Nianzhi smiled smugly at her. From the information she received on Bai Jinyi, Gi Nianzhi was keenly able to predict what was Bai Jinyi's sore spot, so she stamped on it without mercy. This was the mettle of a good lawyer.

"Gu Nianzhi!" Huo Jialan was also furious by her goading and screamed, "Where are the servants? Someone! Kick them out! How did they get in without invitations?!"

"Miss Huo, please move aside. This isn't your engagement ceremony, what are you stealing all the attention for? --Wait over there." Gu Nianzhi's sharp tongue was enough to make people choke.

Huo Jianlan indeed turned purple from Gu Nianzhi's words and was about to shove her when several female soldiers appeared besides Gu Nianzhi to surround her and Song Jinning. Huo Jialan was pushed aside.

Bai Jinyi's face fell as she looked at the silent and beautiful woman besides Gu Nianzhi. Huo Guanchen hadn't moved his eyes from that woman as soon as he had laid eyes on her. Gu Nianzhi and Song Jinning only looked forward and walked towards the rose wall on the other side of the living room. The guests all parted to form a path for them and watched in silence.

Bai Yueran squinted and then huddling over to her father to whisper, "Father, take Mother and go first. I'll stay here," She paused, the continued, "Also take Third Uncle and Third Aunt too."

Bai Jiancheng remained motionless and spoke quietly, "It's no use, we can't leave now. Huo Shaoheng prepared for this."

Bai Yueran's eyes scanned the living room and didn't say anything more. On the other side, Gu Nianzhi and Song Jinning had already reached the rose wall and were looking up at the couple on stage.

"Physicist Bai, there's no question that you've committed the crime of destroying a military marriage. I want to ask about how you forged evidence ten years ago to slander the seriously ill Mrs. Song's reputation. You led General Ji to think he had been cheated on, causing their divorce. Is that how you treat the General Huo who cherishes you so much?"