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239 Fishing for the Truth

 Oh. My. God!


The room erupted into noisy chatter.

Everyone had previously heard that Huo Guanchen had divorced Song Jinning because she had been too mentally impaired for the two of them to continue living as husband and wife. Huo Guanchen had dissolved their marriage, but had been kind enough to allow her to continue living in the Huo residence. Not only that, he had even hired personal caretakers for her.

Huo Guanchen's honorable behavior had earned him widespread praise; he had shown himself to be a responsible man who did his best to provide a comfortable life for his ex-wife, even when his heart had eventually found someone else to love...

But what Gu Nianzhi had just said changed everything..

"What's going on? Evidence of General Huo being cheated on?! That means his ex-wife... had an affair?!"

"...That's the only explanation, right? I mean, she did say something about it tarnishing Madam Song's reputation."

Although the guests consisted of top-ranking officials in the Huaxia military and political circles, they were just as fond of gossip as everyone else. They began exchanging their speculations with one another, unable to restrain their curiosity.

Bai Jinyi heard what the guests were saying, and grew increasingly livid with every passing minute. She clenched her jaw; she was so annoyed her teeth were in danger of shattering.

She glared balefully at Song Jinning, who had not said anything and was merely standing there smiling at her. She was supposed to be mentally impaired-where was all this coming from?

Bai Jinyi inwardly spat on Song Jinning: I thought of you as my best friend, but you betrayed me. You began seducing Huo Guanyuan, right after I told you my feelings for him... If you hadn't seduced him, Guanyuan would never have treated me like I was invisible...

Bai Jinyi's anger had reached boiling point. She gave a mirthless laugh, and said, "Gu Nianzhi, you ignorant child, don't stick your nose in matters you know nothing about. Guanchen came up with a completely irrelevant reason to divorce Song Jinning because he wanted to protect her reputation. Why are you airing her dirty laundry now? You think you're doing her a favor? You're just making things worse for her!"

"I'm making things worse for her?" Gu Nianzhi arched an eyebrow. "Prove it. You can't just say that in front of everyone without any evidence to back up your claims. Have I been mistreating her on a daily basis for the last 16 years? Have I terrorized her, oppressed her? No. So how exactly am I making things worse for her?"

Gu Nianzhi looked directly at Huo Jialan as she said that.

Huo Jialan's face was full of anger; she stared defiantly back, unrepentant.

Gu Nianzhi smiled at her. She made a gesture that said: "Just you wait-you're next."

"Don't change the subject. I'm talking about what you're doing right now, at this very moment. The last 16 years have nothing to do with it." Bai Jinyi clenched her fists as she looked daggers at Gu Nianzhi. "Song Jinning was an immoral woman. She was having an affair with her brother-in-law. Guanchen wasn't going to put up with that, naturally!"

"Shut up!" Gu Nianzhi's expression was stern. "Didn't you hear what I said? You need evidence to back up your accusations. If you try to tarnish Madam Song's reputation in public, we will take you to court and sue you for defamation. Everyone here is a witness. If the court calls on any one of you to testify in court, I hope that all of you will be brave enough to do your duty."


General Ji and Chairman Long were seated in a private area within the hall, away from all the other guests. They gaped at the scene unfolding before them, wondering if they had accidentally stumbled onto a rehearsal for a farce. They exchanged a look, and smiled wryly as they shook their heads.

"General Ji, where have you been hiding this young lady? Gu Nianzhi, eh? Such daring eloquence..." Chairman Long laughed heartily. "She should go into politics and run in the elections. What a waste of talent!"

"Careful there, Old Long-Shaoheng will tear the Senate hall apart if you get any funny ideas!" General Ji chuckled as he gave Chairman Long a good-natured shove. "Let's see what happens next!"


Bai Jinyi wasn't afraid of Gu Nianzhi's threats. She said with a sneer, "Evidence? Of course I have evidence. Why would I stoop to baseless slander?"

"Oh? So what's the evidence?" Gu Nianzhi was deliberately piling the pressure on Bai Jinyi, like a vicious dog ruthlessly snapping at her heels. She wasn't going to let Bai Jinyi wriggle out of this. "Did you catch them red-handed? Do you have photos and videos of them together in bed? Or do you have some other evidence?"

"I don't have to catch them in bed together. Luo Xinxue, Huo Jialan's mother, found the love letters they sent each other. Isn't that enough? Why would I have to catch them in the act?!" The veins on Bai Jinyi's forehead were visible now. She glowered at Gu Nianzhi, her face contorted with anger. She looked like a dragon about to breathe fire.

"Love letters? Hah!" Gu Nianzhi gave a slow clap. "Those are the forged evidence I was referring to, duh!"

Gu Nianzhi took a deep breath. She was still waiting for the test results from the forensic science department, but that wasn't going to stop her from giving Bai Jinyi a good scare.

A good lawyer had to be bold in their assumptions, but meticulous with the evidence.

"What did you say?!" Bai Jinyi was furious. "Can you prove that the love letters were forged?!"

"I don't know about the other letters, but I know the one letter from Madam Song is definitely a fake." Gu Nianzhi was talking very fast now, leaving no room for Bai Jinyi to cut in and refute her claims. "Think about it: Madam Song was gravely injured in the lab accident 16 years ago. Her brain was affected, and the hospital diagnosed her to be suffering from a serious mental disorder. She could not even take care of herself, so how was it possible for her to write a love letter to Huo Guanyuan 10 years ago? Huo Guanyuan had already been dead for six years by then. Like I said, you should have come up with a less clumsy way to frame Madam Song and destroy her marriage. Your shameless ploy speaks volumes for your character, but the shoddy, incompetent work of forgery says even more about your intelligence, or lack thereof. I'm worried about your IQ..."

"Shut your mouth!" Bai Jinyi did not like anyone questioning her intelligence. Gu Nianzhi's fixation on Song Jinning's letter puzzled her, however. She was beginning to get a little flustered, but she kept her wits about her. "That letter was written 16 years ago! Why do you say it was written 10 years ago?!"

"How do you know the letter was written 16 years ago?" Gu Nianzhi was now ruthlessly tearing into Bai Jinyi's every word. "Can you prove it? It was only discovered 10 years ago, but you keep saying it was written 16 years ago. You're a physicist-where's the logic in that? Are you stupid?"

"You clearly haven't done your research," Bai Jinyi said dismissively. "Don't let your assumptions get the better of you."

Gu Nianzhi casually crossed her arms. "Enlighten me, then." She began tapping her foot.

Her true motive was to bait Bai Jinyi into spilling the beans. Gu Nianzhi knew the likelihood of Bai Jinyi accidentally revealing something she shouldn't have increased with every word, as long as she kept her mouth running.

If Bai Jinyi chose to remain silent, Gu Nianzhi would have a much harder time getting her to mess up.

There was little to no chance of that, however; Gu Nianzhi had tailored her plan according to her understanding of Bai Jinyi's personality, which had proved to be right on target. Bai Jinyi launched into a furious tirade, unaware that she was being led around by the nose.

"16 years ago, there was an accident in my mentor's laboratory. Song Jinning was the only survivor. Huo Guanyuan lost his life in the accident-he had been the military representative for the experiment. After his death, the military sent Huo Guanyuan's belongings back to his wife, Luo Xinxue, and that was when Luo Xinxue discovered the love letters between Huo Guanyuan and Song Jinning. She kept the letters a secret for six years, but committed suicide ten years ago, when the shame and bitterness finally overwhelmed her. This is why the rest of us only learned of the love letters ten years ago. Guanchen was furious when he saw the letters, and decided he could no longer stand to be married to Song Jinning, who had cheated on him. So he... filed for divorce."

Bai Jinyi's account of all that had happened was brief but comprehensive. She had even provided a few additional details Gu Nianzhi had not known about.

Gu Nianzhi smirked inwardly; Bai Jinyi had jumped headlong into her trap. She spread her hands in an exaggerated display of resignation. "So it all boils down to one thing: General Huo divorced Madam Song because of that fake love letter. I don't see how you've proven me wrong-you set up the whole thing by first volunteering to be Madam Song's psychotherapist, so that you would be able to spend more time with her husband, and then faked the love letter to make Madam Song out to be an unfaithful wife, tarnishing Huo Guanyuan's good name in the process. You wanted to marry your best friend's husband, so you neglected to find a cure for her condition, and forced her to live in a nightmare for 16 years. Physicist Bai, you killed two birds with one stone! Impressive! Still, as the saying goes, god's mill grinds slow but sure-you've made your bed, and now you'll have to lie in it! Justice will prevail!"

Gu Nianzhi's little speech triggered another uproar.

All the guests present were shocked: had Bai Jinyi truly gone to such shameless lengths to steal Huo Guanchen?

The methods she had used could be summed up in two words: "dirty" and "underhanded."

There was no other way to describe what Bai Jinyi had done. When her best friend had been gravely ill, Bai Jinyi had seized the opportunity to aggravate her condition and steal her husband.

And this wasn't just a simple case of husband-stealing-not when it involved medical malpractice, abuse of power, attempted murder, and fabrication of evidence!

Bai Yueran's expression darkened as soon as she heard what Gu Nianzhi had said. She looked disapprovingly at Bai Jinyi.

She leaned over to Bai Jiancheng and whispered in his ear: "Father, did you know about this?"

"No, of course not..." Bai Jiancheng was clearly annoyed. "I told her to be honest with us the other day, but she said she had everything under control. And now her secrets are out in the open, exposed by a complete stranger..."

As far as the Bai family knew, Bai Jinyi had taken an interest in Huo Guanchen after his divorce, not before, and the two of them had only officially gotten together six months later.

But if the real reason for Huo Guanchen's divorce was because Bai Jinyi had deliberately wrecked his marriage, well, that was utterly scandalous. Her reputation would never recover.

Most of what Gu Nianzhi had said was little more than guesswork. She had publicly accused Bai Jinyi of seducing her best friend's husband when she was supposed to be working in a professional capacity as her primary doctor, but she had done so only because she wanted to force Bai Jinyi into a corner. A cornered rat was more likely to spill the beans...

Gu Nianzhi's ploy worked: Bai Jinyi was now shaking with anger. She spat out: "Lies! What do you mean, I was secretly in love with Huo Guanchen the whole time?! Stop making things up, this counts as character assassination!"

"You were secretly in love with General Huo, don't deny it. You've been head over heels in love with him from the moment Madam Song introduced him to you, isn't that right?" Gu Nianzhi added, with deliberate emphasis, "Everyone says there are three things you have to be wary of in life: fire, theft, and the person who claims to be your best friend, your soul sister. They were right! Everything you've done, you did it solely to snatch General Huo away from his wife!"

"What are you blabbering about now?" Bai Jinyi looked down at Gu Nianzhi from the stage, her expression frosty. "Listen closely, young lady: I was never secretly in love with Huo Guanchen. Not in the past, not now, and not in the future!"

"You're right, you were never secretly in love with him-you were openly in love with him!" Gu Nianzhi clucked her tongue disapprovingly. "You were so open about it you're now getting engaged to him. Pah! I feel so sorry for Madam Song. What did she ever do, to end up with a backstabbing traitor like you for her best friend?"

None of that was true: Song Jinning had told Gu Nianzhi that Bai Jinyi wasn't actually her best friend, and that the person Bai Jinyi was in love with wasn't Huo Guanchen, but Gu Nianzhi barged ahead with the accusations anyway. It was part of her plan.

Gu Nianzhi had done some research on Bai Jinyi, and she knew that Bai Jinyi was exceedingly conceited: she was obsessed with her reputation, and was fixated with getting the last laugh, even over the most insignificant detail.

Gu Nianzhi's plan was to drive her into a corner with baseless accusations.

Bai Jinyi fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. She was so riled up now she could no longer think straight. The looks of contempt on the faces of the guests fueled her anger, while the expression on her brothers' faces terrified her. She knew the reputation she had painstakingly built for herself over the years was about to be destroyed overnight, and the thought sent her over the edge. In a fit of panic, she blurted out: "I was never in love with Huo Guanchen, either secretly or openly! The person I love has always been Huo Guanyuan! Don't you dare accuse me of things I didn't do!"