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269 Déjà Vu 3

 Gu Nianzhi was immediately wide awake. She jumped out of bed, humming cheerfully to herself, and gave Huo Shaoheng a quick "I'll see you later" before hanging up. She rushed to her wardrobe and rummaged through it, before settling on a women's suit made of light gray merino wool. She had chosen a trouser suit instead of a skirt suit as it was already evening and chilly outside. At the door, she put on a cashmere coat before going out.

She did not know where Huo Shaoheng was, but that did not prove to be a problem: as soon as she walked out of his residence, she saw that Huo Shaoheng had already sent one of his subordinates to wait by the door and escort her to him.

Zhao Liangze was also waiting for her. As soon as he saw her, he immediately played the video recording of the interrogation. He shook his head and said, "Look at this! She evaded all the important questions. And she kept blocking me with one legal provision after another. Goddammit! I wish I'd studied law in college instead!"

Gu Nianzhi gave a snort. She fast-forwarded through the video. "Interesting, very interesting. I'll make her sorry for messing with you, Brother Ze, just you wait and see!"

"She's inside, knock yourself out," said Zhao Liangze, pointing towards the window. "Man, she was so snooty I felt like punching her in the face!"

"You mean she desperately needs a b*tch slap." Gu Nianzhi smiled as she shut Zhao Liangze's laptop. "Can I take your laptop with me?"

"Sure, go ahead." Zhao Liangze looked at Huo Shaoheng. "Any other instructions, sir?"

Huo Shaoheng stood before the window, his hands clasped behind his back. He kept his gaze upon Wen Shouyi as he said to Gu Nianzhi: "Nianzhi, once you're done with Little Ze's questions, you're free to ask whatever you want. Ask her about her relationship with He Zhichu, for example."

"Huh?" Gu Nianzhi frowned as she hugged the laptop to her chest. "Why do I have to ask about them? I'm not interested in any of that, like, at all..."

Huo Shaoheng's lips curved into a faint smile. His eyes were as dark and as magnetic as a black hole; Gu Nianzhi felt herself being drawn towards them. "...Be a good girl and listen to me."

His words were like a magic spell. Gu Nianzhi immediately nodded. "Okay, I'll do it..."

Fine, I'll go with whatever you say, Huo Shao, you handsome stud ╮(╯▽╰)╭.

...

Wen Shouyi had just lowered her head to take a sip of water when the door to the interrogation room opened before her.

She smiled and looked up. She was by no means a tall woman, but her expression seemed to convey a certain lofty haughtiness.

However, she had not expected to see Gu Nianzhi enter the room, cheerful and smiling. The smile on Wen Shouyi's face immediately froze in place; her sense of superiority had disappeared, replaced by profound distrust and dread.

The change of expression lasted only a few seconds, however. Wen Shouyi quickly recovered herself, and said to Gu Nianzhi in a gentle, affable manner, "Nianzhi, why are you here?"

Gu Nianzhi placed Zhao Liangze's laptop on the long table, and seated herself in the chair Zhao Liangze had vacated. Her tone and attitude were entirely professional when she said, "Please state your name, nationality, and a brief account of what you've been doing in the last 30 years."

Wen Shouyi's eyes widened in surprise. "What's this? Are you pretending not to know who I am?"

"Quiet. You're sitting in the interrogation room of the Huaxia Empire's Special Operations Forces HQ. This place is equivalent to the Supreme Court in the United States, I advise you to show proper respect." Gu Nianzhi did not even lift her head from the laptop. "Your name, nationality, and a brief account of what you've been doing in the last 30 years, please."

Gu Nianzhi was acting like a lawyer questioning the defendant in court.

Wen Shouyi was momentarily tongue-tied. She stewed inwardly over Gu Nianzhi's attitude, before finally clenching her jaw and saying, in an unhappy monotone, "My name is Wen Shouyi and I have a US passport. I'm afraid I can't tell you what I've been doing in the last 30 years."

"Why?" Gu Nianzhi raised her head from behind the laptop. She asked, with a face entirely devoid of expression, "Are you hiding something? Shady things you can never tell anyone?"

"Watch what you say, young lady." Gu Nianzhi's words had succeeded in stoking the coals of anger within Wen Shouyi. She placed her clenched fists, trembling with rage, on the table before her. "I'll sue you for defamation!"

"And I'll counter sue you for obstruction of justice!" There was a resounding smack as Gu Nianzhi brought a hand down upon the table. "What, do you think you should be getting preferential treatment here in the Huaxia Empire just because you have a US passport? Why can't you cooperate?! I asked a simple question, why are you being so difficult? I can send you to prison for life, you know, and I don't think the US government would even give a fig about you."

Wen Shouyi had always kept her calm and composure before Gu Nianzhi, but now her temper threatened to get the better of her. With great effort, she pulled a lid over the anger boiling within her, and grated out, between clenched teeth: "...I'm only 24. How am I supposed to tell you what I've been doing in the last 30 years?!"

"Oh? You're only 24? Sorry, it's just that you look like you're 34. Honest mistake on my part. If you're offended, well, I apologize. You should go for beauty spas more often, and treat your skin better. Also, you should try losing weight-if you do all that, I'm sure you can at least pass for 28." Gu Nianzhi smiled slightly. She was only 18, and her sweet smile was full of enviable youthful radiance. She was deliberately trying to push Wen Shouyi to the edge by flaunting her youth at her.

Wen Shouyi wasn't tall, but she was curvy. She was in no way fat, not in the way Gu Nianzhi was suggesting-perhaps a little "chubby," but even that was a stretch.

Gu Nianzhi knew there were two things you should never call a woman, not unless you wanted to offend her, and she had deliberately combined the two for maximum effect by suggesting Wen Shouyi was both old and fat. She had to destroy Wen Shouyi's oddly inflated sense of self-importance to break down the barriers around her heart and get more information out of her.

Wen Shouyi was trembling all over with rage. She had to gather all her strength just to keep her anger in check. The gunshot wound in her chest, which was supposed to have healed over, began to ache.

She put a hand to her chest. She had to take a few minutes to get her ragged breathing under control. When she finally spoke again, her voice was hoarse: "I'm sorry, but my gunshot wound still hurts. Please let me catch my breath."

She was subtly reminding Gu Nianzhi that she had saved her life.

Gu Nianzhi understood, and felt guilty. She waited for Wen Shouyi's expression to ease before saying calmly: "Tell me about your personal history, from the time you started going to school."

Wen Shouyi gave Gu Nianzhi a long look that seemed full of hidden meanings. She gave Gu Nianzhi a brief account of her educational background, beginning with her grade school and ending with her post-grad Law School.

Gu Nianzhi discovered that Wen Shouyi had skipped many grades: she had graduated from college at 18, completed Law School at 21, and attained a tenured teaching position as a professor at Harvard Law School at the age of 24. She was a genius, through and through.

Gu Nianzhi was surprised by Wen Shouyi's accomplishments. She had not bothered to look into her background before this because of her dislike for Wen Shouyi.

Gu Nianzhi realized she had underestimated her, and decided to give credit where credit was due.

Gu Nianzhi went over Zhao Liangze's questions, and Wen Shouyi's answers to them. Gu Nianzhi smiled and asked: "Miss Wen, what lawsuit did you help Dou Qingyan with in the United States?"

Wen Shouyi's mood suddenly improved. A large smile spread across her face as she said triumphantly, "I already told Mr. Zhao, but that is strictly between me and Qingyan. She's my client, and I'm her lawyer. The attorney-client privilege between us means I cannot tell anyone else about our private discussions."

Gu Nianzhi patiently waited for Wen Shouyi to finish explaining how the attorney-client privilege worked in the US, an amused expression on her face. When Wen Shouyi was done, Gu Nianzhi nodded and said: "Oh, I know all that, which is why I wasn't asking whether the two of you are involved in shady dealings. I merely asked about the lawsuit you helped her with. Don't underestimate me; I may not be an expert in American law, but I know that you can look up every lawsuit brought to the US courts on their website. It's public information, available online. Surely you're not saying that disclosing information about the lawsuit counts as a violation of the attorney-client privilege? If that's what you mean, wow, lucky you, you should start suing all the US courts, I'm sure you'll be able to rake in a fortune."