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274 How Naive

 He Zhichu clenched his fists, his cool thin lips pressed together in a tight line as his eyes hardened. He was silent for a moment. Either possibility Huo Shaoheng was implying could spell big trouble for He Zhichu. He certainly had no feelings for Wen Shouyi and barely knew Dou Qingyan. However, He Zhichu was aware that someone had set up such a trap, so he had been happy to see the pieces to fall into place-he had done nothing to prevent the situation and had even borrowed a jet plane to help things along. Never had he expected that Huo Shaoheng would link the two seemingly unrelated things and question him about it. However, He Zhichu had gone through just as much adversity as Huo Shaoheng, and had perhaps survived even more dangerous situations than Huo Shaoheng had, he supposed. This sort of problem he could still deal with. The corners of his mouth lifted into an empty smile as he said in a voice as cold as winter's first frost, "So, it looks like Mr. Huo thinks lending a big jet is a sign of affection?" He snorted. "Isn't that sort of affection too cheap?"

"Cheap?" Huo Shaoheng shot back. "Professor He, are you flaunting your wealth now?"

"Well, you can interpret it as such." He Zhichu leaned back against his chair, hands on the armrests like he was a cold blooded ruler. "To me, this jet is the same as the cars in Mr. Huo's garage. It's just a transportation tool; there's no distinction of wealth. Since my assistant needed it, it didn't hurt to lend it to her." He was using his ease of wealth to completely crush this suspicion.

Huo Shaoheng nodded and made a note to be far more vigilant against He Zhichu now. Not only was this person intelligent, but he also had immense wealth and had been able to dig into Nianzhi's past based on his influences. He Zhichu had his eyes on Nianzhi, so Huo Shaoheng needed to pay closer attention to him. "Although your excuse is a little flimsy, it's not altogether unacceptable." Huo Shaoheng crossed his legs and raised his chin slightly. "But with the He family being unheard of, despite Professor He's kind of wealth, it's no wonder that people have had such conjectures."

"There's no way around it then. What others think is their own business. I can't go and stuff their mouths and keep them silent now, can I?" He Zhichu shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly. "Now do you believe that I have nothing to do with Dou Qingyan?"

"Professor He, you drove here in the same car as Dou Qingyan. It's a little ridiculous to completely refute that you have anything to do with her."

Huo Shaoheng smiled, then Gu Nianzhi's voice suddenly sounded in his headset. "Huo Shao, Professor He definitely knew Dou Qingyan, and they were close too. Before she'd shown me the photos that day, he had personally told me at the Prime Minister's official residence that you and she looked like a good couple, a perfect match, even. He clearly knew about the existence of those photos!"

Huo Shaoheng listened carefully for a while, then looked up at He Zhichu with a calm expression. Ending the call on the headset, he said to He Zhichu, "Professor He, someone just told me that they had heard you speaking with Nianzhi at the Prime Minister's official residence, and that, apparently, you knew about the photos since long before. You also seemed to have known about what happened between me and Dou Qingyan...?"

He Zhichu pursed his lips as he immediately thought of Gu Nianzhi-she had been the only one who had heard him say those things. There had been no other people there when it had been said; only her. Enraged, He Zhichu's face fell as he laughed mirthlessly, "Who "overheard" this? Have her come out and confront me!" He sat straight in his seat, his rigid back resembling a soldier's posture.

"We naturally can't allow that right now." Huo Shaoheng had to deflect this demand.

"Then I have nothing to say." He Zhichu was no longer interested in speaking and his expression was clearly displeased.

Seeing that nothing was getting past He Zhichu at this point, Huo Shaoheng didn't continue asking and nodded slightly. "We'll talk about this again later."

He Zhichu rose from his seat with a stony expression. "Will you allow me to see Nianzhi?"

"Why do you want to see her?" Huo Shaoheng also stood up. "She's just finished interrogating Wen Shouyi. Are you sure you want to see her?"

He Zhichu suddenly looked up at Huo Shaoheng, his eyes full of daggers, "What? You're making her do these sort of things for you?!"

Folding his hands behind his back, Huo Shaoheng replied calmly, "It doesn't really count as doing things for me. She is the negotiating expert that we have specially hired."

He Zhichu grew even more furious, his face white and his eyes full of rage. His cheeks flushed pink: he was at his most angry state. "Huo Shaoheng, don't step on the backs of women to pave your road to success!" He Zhichu slammed his fist hard on the table, "I want to see Nianzhi! Right now! Immediately!"

Next door, Gu Nianzhi was so shocked that she covered her mouth. Zhao Liangze walked up to her side to watch the interrogation room with her. Upon hearing He Zhichu's words, Zhao Liangze gave her a conflicted look, then glanced at the interrogation room and asked quietly, "Do you want to go?"

Gu Nianzhi nodded and said tearfully, "I'll go, I don't want to see Professor He and Huo Shao fight." Although she would definitely take Huo Shao's side, she could also never go against Professor long as he didn't deliberately cause trouble. As a professor, He Zhichu had always taken great care of Gu Nianzhi, so she couldn't speak without a conscience. "Huo Shao, let me speak with Professor He for a bit." Gu Nianzhi called Huo Shaoheng over the headset.

Huo Shaoheng agreed and looked down to tidy the things on the table as he said to He Zhichu, "Nianzhi will be here right away."

Soon after he left, Gu Nianzhi opened the door of the interrogation room to enter. "Professor He." Gu Nianzhi bowed respectfully.

He Zhichu froze for a second, and said "Nianzhi, why are you being so polite?"

"Professor He is my mentor, so of course I need to respect you." Gu Nianzhi smiled as she pulled out the chair for him to sit. "Please."

He Zhichu sat down reluctantly, then stared at Gu Nianzhi silently.

Gu Nianzhi smiled at him, "Professor He, I heard everything you said to Huo Shao just now. I'm so happy."

"You're so happy?" He Zhichu raised his brows. "What are you happy for?"

"I'm happy that Professor He has nothing to do with this incident," Gu Nianzhi said plainly.

He Zhichu snorted and rubbed his nose in disbelief. "Nianzhi, I didn't say anything. Aren't you being premature with your happiness?"

"I know that Professor He may not be entirely unaware of this incident, but as long as you didn't really get involved, I still have to be thankful for Professor He and thank you." As Gu Nianzhi spoke, she rose to give him another respectful bow.

He Zhichu was shocked. He looked at Gu Nianzhi with a conflicted expression and didn't speak nor stop her.

"I know with certainty from studying under Professor He in the United States for six months, that with Professor He's influence in the States, the photos would have leaked long ago if you truly were involved." Gu Nianzhi said with earnest. She'd figured this out when she was next door and had heard He Zhichu say that lending the plane was no big deal to him.

He Zhichu could only laugh. "Don't think of me as being that great. I have my own motives." Huo Shaoheng had laid traps for him, and He Zhichu returned the favour. He looked pointedly at Gu Nianzhi, many words tossing in his heart but refusing to come out.

"Regardless, if it was intentional or not, this situation is still under control and I'm thankful to Professor He for that." Gu Nianzhi decided to butter He Zhichu up. "It's my great privilege to be able to become your post-grad student." No one could resist compliments, and even someone as elegant and not lacking anything in life as He Zhichu couldn't resist Gu Nianzhi's honeyed words.

"Fine, fine, I understand what you're saying." He Zhichu gazed down at her arrogantly, the corners of his eyes twitching slightly as he peered at her. "Whether Huo Shaoheng lives or dies has nothing to do with me. But I will not stand for him using you to do things for him."

"Professor He, Huo Shao didn't use me. I was willing!" Gu Nianzhi tried to dispel He Zhichu's strange thought. "Besides, I study law, and by helping as a negotiating expert, I'm learning communication and debate skills. This counts as useful learning-don't you agree, Professor He?"

"How naive." He Zhichu's face was cold and his voice became icier. "What department does he work for that he needs a university graduate who didn't even get her law license yet to be a negotiating expert? Nianzhi, you've been fooled by him. He's the kind of person you'd cheer for even if he sold you off!"