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Home > Hello Mr Major General

247 Sincerely Proud

 Huo Shaoheng leisurely leaned backwards into the sofa. His face was indifferent, but there was a sharp, stubborn glint in his eyes. "Chairman Long, my mother survived the laboratory mishap, but she was also a victim. Please do not use loaded terms to make it sound like my mother deliberately caused the accident."

Chairman Long was stunned to hear this, but quickly recollected himself. He laughed. "You cheeky boy-arguing semantics with me, eh?"

The Huaxia Empire's parliament was responsible for enacting laws and regulations; arguing semantics was their forte.

Huo Shaoheng wasn't used to getting into verbal arguments, but he always made sure to protect the people important to him.

"I meant no disrespect, Chairman Long." Huo Shaoheng lifted his chin slightly. "What I mean is, I went to great lengths to save and cure my mother. Surely you understand that I don't want her to be subjected to unfair treatment after all that? I hope that Chairman Long and General Ji will be able to relay my message to everyone interested in reopening the case-tell them that I don't mind them asking my mother for assistance in the investigation, but if they try anything fishy, or if they try to control my mother's freedom... well, I'm sorry to say this, but I have only three words for them: in your dreams."

Chairman Long stared at Huo Shaoheng, dumbstruck. It was a full minute before he turned to General Ji and said, amidst loud, booming laughter, "Old Ji, you sly devil! So you got the jump on me and found a worthy successor without telling anyone about it. If only my successor were at least half as capable as yours..."

He shook his head, too disheartened to drink even his favorite green tea. He began slapping one knee with an irritable hand as he complained: "I'm not getting any younger here, but the two houses in parliament are still at loggerheads with each other. How I wish someone would be able to smack some sense into those unruly goblins and imps!"


General Ji could not help it. He sprayed his mouthful of tea out, onto the coffee table before him.

"Old Long, did I hear you right?! Did you just call your fellow assemblymen a group of unruly goblins and imps?!"

Huo Shaoheng's lips curved into a faint smile. He said calmly, "Well said, Chairman Long. Most of the people in parliament right now are despicable and frustrating to work with. 'Unruly goblins and imps' would be putting it mildly."

"You're one to talk! The other countries all hate our Special Operations Forces. What right have you to call other people 'despicable,' when you're the American CIA and the British MI5's top-hated enemy?" General Ji pointed a finger at Huo Shaoheng as he pretended to admonish him. In fact, he was sincerely proud of the Special Ops.

"Hah, would you rather the CIA and the MI5 sing our praises? I'm sure you'd be crying by now if they actually like the Special Ops, instead of hating us," said Huo Shaoheng in a rare display of candid humor. He was in a good mood.

"Hahaha... true! You've got me there!" General Ji laughed heartily.

Chairman Long had not been kidding about being envious; he was truly jealous that General Ji had been able to find such a reliable successor. In a fit of moody restlessness, he suddenly asked Huo Shaoheng: "By the way, have you discovered where Gu Nianzhi came from, yet?"

Earlier that evening, Gu Nianzhi had utterly destroyed Bai Jinyi with a few succinct phrases. Everyone who knew a thing or two about debating had been impressed by her eloquence and intelligence. Even Chairman Long, who had high, exacting standards, had been thoroughly awed and excited to see such promising talent; he could hardly wait to get her to join him.

Huo Shaoheng's blood briefly ran cold, but he did not show it. He shook his head and said impassively, "Not yet, but we've found a few promising leads. We just haven't had the time to follow up on them."

"Really?! That's wonderful news!" Chairman Long was elated to hear there was a new lead. He jumped to his feet in his excitement and clapped his hands, laughing heartily. "Excellent! Shaoheng, once you find out who she really is and where she came from, I'll have her join the parliament! She's quick-witted, and an exceptionally eloquent speaker. I'll personally groom her to be my successor-by the time I retire, she'll be the supporting pillar in parliament!"

Huo Shaoheng: "..."

General Ji: "..."

"What's wrong? You don't approve?" Chairman Long was perplexed by the odd looks on Huo Shaoheng and General Ji's faces. He walked over to General Ji and bent over to ask him: "But I don't need your approval, right? You're no relative of hers."

General Ji could barely keep himself from bursting into laughter. He shook his head and said: "Gu Nianzhi just turned 18-and you expect her to smack some sense into your gang of unruly, stubborn senators within the next few years?! You may be setting the bar a little too high there, Old Long!"

"She's only 18?!" Chairman Long let out a long sigh. "The youngsters these days just can't wait to surpass us, eh?"

Chairman Long lapsed into a few minutes of silence as he restlessly paced the living room. Finally, he said to Huo Shaoheng stubbornly: "Well, I don't care how old she is. Once you find out where she's from and her background gets the all-clear, I'm going to convince her to join the Senate."

"...Chairman Long, Nianzhi is still a young girl. She still has to go to graduate school," said Huo Shaoheng calmly. He looked every bit the patient, understanding parent. "Let's wait until she graduates."

"If she's a graduate student, she needs to do more than just sit around sticking her nose in her books all day-she should intern at the Senate!" Chairman Long circled the living room as he thought this over. He stopped and looked sideways at Huo Shaoheng: "Where's Gu Nianzhi now?"

"Asleep," lied Huo Shaoheng with a straight face. He knew that Gu Nianzhi was still awake.

It wasn't like Chairman Long would go upstairs to the bedrooms to check, anyway.

Chairman Long looked at his watch and discovered that it was almost midnight.

He sat down and said to Huo Shaoheng: "Well, looks like I'll be ushering in the New Year here tonight." He turned to look at General Ji. "How about a round of Go, Old Ji?"

Both Chairman Long and General Ji were fond of playing Go. They were more or less evenly matched in skill, and therefore enjoyed playing against each other.

Huo Shaoheng instructed an orderly to bring a Go board. When the board was set up and they were ready to play, he got up and said: "Take your time. I'll head over to the kitchen to order supper, and then check in with Chen Lie in the study."

"Go on, don't mind us!" General Ji and Chairman Long did not even look up as they waved him away; they were already fully engrossed in their game.

Huo Shaoheng ordered his orderly to stay and attend to the two older men, before exiting the room to look for Chen Lie.

Chen Lie was in his small study, nervously preparing Song Jinning's official medical record of her condition and treatment history. He went over it repeatedly, deleting bits and pieces to create the "perfect" record-it had to hold up to the closest scrutiny.

When Huo Shaoheng opened the door, Chen Lie jumped and almost fell out of his chair.

When he saw that it was Huo Shaoheng, Chen Lie wiped the sweat from his brow and said, his heart still beating wildly, "Knock before you enter, dammit! You almost gave me a heart attack!"

Huo Shaoheng did not bother with a reply. He immediately walked over to check the medical record Chen Lie had prepared. As he looked it over, he asked in a low voice: "You made sure to leave out the things no one else can know, right?"

"Yes, of course." Chen Lie pushed his round glasses back into place; it had slid off the bridge of his nose, which was now glistening with sweat. "Don't worry, I've got this. You know you can trust me-10 years ago, when I was still just a medical student, I became your accomplice and helped you pull off one of the most daring swaps ever. No one ever found out about it. You really should have more faith in me, you know."

Huo Shaoheng flicked the medical file with a slender finger. "Well said."

Gu Nianzhi's name had not appeared in the file, not even once. There was no mention of her donating her bone marrow; all the report said was that they had performed a bone marrow transplant on Song Jinning with a compatible match from the hospital's secret bone marrow storage, and that had allowed her weak, compromised body to rapidly recover.

The medical community still did not fully understand the how's and why's of mental disorders: it was difficult to say for a certainty what caused them, and just as difficult to say whether they could be cured.

Chen Lie was an expert when it came to fudging the truth. His report made it sound like Song Jinning's recovery had been a miracle brought about by medical expertise and pure luck. There was no mention of Gu Nianzhi at all in his report.

Gu Nianzhi had appeared in public with Song Jinning earlier in the evening, looking fit as a fiddle. No one could have guessed that she had just donated her bone marrow.

If it had been anyone else, they would have been bed-ridden for half a month. It was impossible for them to be up and about in just two days.

Huo Shaoheng relaxed once he was sure Chen Lie knew what he was doing. He thought about it for a moment, and decided to go up to the third floor to check on Song Jinning.

Song Jinning was, as far as Huo Shaoheng could tell, already asleep: her bedroom door was shut tight. He did not open the door; instead, he checked with Zhao Liangze over his Bluetooth headset. Once Zhao Liangze confirmed that Song Jinning had not left her bedroom after entering it, Huo Shaoheng walked away, reassured.

There were surveillance cameras watching the corridors, but none inside the bedrooms, after all.

He descended the stairs from the third floor, but paused briefly at the second floor; after a moment's deliberation, he walked towards the bedrooms.

The master bedroom on the second floor took up almost the floor. The remaining space was taken up by three guest rooms, a living room, a study, a meeting room, a gym, and a small kitchen.

Huo Shaoheng went to the master bedroom first.

He opened the door and looked inside, fully expecting Gu Nianzhi to be in the bedroom-but she wasn't there.

He was so surprised by this he automatically called Zhao Liangze to ask if he had seen Gu Nianzhi on the surveillance cameras, but he caught himself in time and hung up as soon as the call went through.

He walked out of the master bedroom and checked the guest rooms along the opposite corridor.

Gu Nianzhi had moved into the middle of the three guest rooms, the one exactly opposite his bedroom door.

Huo Shaoheng opened the door, walked around the folding screen, and saw Gu Nianzhi.

She was still awake. She had let down her long, silky hair, changed into one of his black T-shirts, and was now sitting on the floor in front of the bed, hugging her panda pillow.

"Why haven't you gone to bed?" Huo Shaoheng's deep, alluring voice resonated like a cello in the dimly lit bedroom.

Gu Nianzhi looked up. She saw Huo Shaoheng's tall, strapping body slowly fill her vision with every step he took towards her. He was still in his military uniform; her eyes drifted to the buttons on his jacket and followed them upwards to his neck.

She watched him approach with unblinking eyes. Her head continued to tip backwards, until it was almost at right angles with her back.

Huo Shaoheng squatted down in front of her. He reached out and slipped a hand behind Gu Nianzhi's head, supporting it. "Keep leaning backwards and your head will fall right off your shoulders."

Gu Nianzhi watched Huo Shaoheng's beautiful face, entranced. He was so very close... She couldn't resist wetting her lips with her tongue. She swallowed heavily.

Huo Shaoheng's lips curved into a smile as he approached her. "...What, are you thirsty?"

"...Huh? I'm not thirsty." Gu Nianzhi was puzzled. "Why do you ask?"

"Why were you licking your lips, then?" With a short, forceful tug, Huo Shaoheng pulled Gu Nianzhi's face towards him. There was now less than a single finger's length between their faces; their skin tingled with the warmth of each other's breaths.

A small smile spread across Gu Nianzhi's face. She said coyly, "My lips are dry." She paused, before boldly continuing her attempt at seduction: "...Huo Shao, would you like to help moisten my lips?"