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281 Everyone’s a Drama Queen

 Dou Qingyan paled. All the strength went out of her, and she had to steady herself on the horizontal bar before her. She trembled all over, her teeth chattering loudly.

The lawyer representing Dou Qingyan walked to the front of the courtroom with an unhappy expression on his face. He showed the judge Dou Qingyan's medical records from six years ago, and pointed out her history of mental illness. "Your Honor, Dou Qingyan did not mean to do it. She had a mental breakdown six years ago, and had to leave the military because of it."

The lawyer turned around. His gaze swept nonchalantly across Huo Shaoheng's face. "As the saying goes, it takes two to tango, and matters of the heart are never simple. But it would be pointless to argue about it here; it's all in the past now, and no one can say who was wrong and who was right in a failed relationship. I would like to remind everyone present, however, that the law states that the mentally ill cannot be held legally accountable for their actions. You cannot convict them, not even if they personally killed someone. And we know the two Special Ops men died by accident, so..."

Huo Shaoheng stood up and interrupted the lawyer. He calmly said, "As this is a secret trial that will never be made public, allow me to remind you that the two Special Ops soldiers who died did not lose their lives by accident. It was an act of revenge, related to the mission I undertook with Dou Qingyan in Europe seven years ago. That is all, Your Honor. I hope you will take what I have said into consideration."

When Huo Shaoheng stood up to speak, Dou Qingyan's eyes immediately lit up. Her face brightened.

After listening to what he had said, she seemed to lose herself in the memories of their mission together. A parade of emotions flickered across her race: joy, heartache, fear, and profound sorrow.

She suddenly began to sing.

"When the pear trees are a-bloom, and the river is veiled with a gentle mist, Katyusha stands on the steep banks, singing a song of spring..."

"The young warrior stationed at the border longs for his sweetheart, so far away, but he bravely fights to defend the motherland, because he knows Katyusha's love will always belong to him..."

Dou Qingyan had a beautiful singing voice, and the song "Kaytusha" had a haunting melody. But Huo Shaoheng thought the lyrics to the song were exceedingly ironic, coming from her.

He interrupted her singing. "...You don't deserve to sing this. Your Honor, if you'll excuse me, I have other things to attend to."

Huo Shaoheng turned and walked out. Dou Qingyan abruptly stopped singing.

She stared at Huo Shaoheng's retreating back, unable to believe her eyes, and gave a loud, sorrowful cry: "...Huo Shaoheng! Is your heart made of steel?! Are you even made of flesh and blood?! You're nothing but a killing machine! I curse you, Huo Shaoheng: you will spend your entire life alone, and every girl who falls in love with you will end up paying for it!"

Huo Shaoheng stopped walking. He raised his head to the ceiling, but did not say anything for a few seconds. He turned to look at Dou Qingyan, and said: "You appear to be lucid enough to curse me. Your mental illness has been miraculously cured, congratulations. Your Honor, please add 'faking a mental disorder' to her list of crimes. I hope you will conduct a fair trial, and show our fallen soldiers that there is still justice in the world."

As the saying went: "Justice may be delayed, but it will never be denied."

There were no longer any doubts as to Dou Qingyan's innocence.

Dou Qingyan's lawyer was shaking in his boots. He knew they had lost, and it took him every ounce of his self-discipline to remain in the courtroom and see the trial through instead of bolting for the door.

Bai Yueran testified against Dou Qingyan and her four accomplices.

She had evidence proving that the four men had not only stolen the secret prop photos, but other confidential information from the Special Ops computers, culminating in Prime Minister Dou's miraculous "counterattack" in the previous general election.

The judge presiding over the special military court made no attempt to hide his disdain. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon, the judge announced his verdict. "Dou Qingyan stole confidential military intelligence and leaked them, resulting in a massive setback for our Special Operations Forces men working in Europe. She falsified her medical records and pretended to be mentally ill in an attempt to avoid punishment for her crimes. She is also guilty of character assassination. I now sentence her to life imprisonment, and she is to be stripped of her political rights."

When Dou Qingyan heard this, she swayed on her feet, before her knees finally gave out on her. She collapsed in a dead faint onto the bench in the dock.

Her four accomplices standing behind her did not faint, but each and every one of them had turned as white as a sheet.

Each of the four men were found guilty of being an accomplice to Dou Qingyan's crimes, and of betraying their organization and selling confidential information. Like Dou Qingyan, the four men were sentenced to life imprisonment.


Once the trial was over, Bai Yueran dialed Huo Shaoheng's number and left him a message: "It's a life sentence for her, sir, with no possibility of parole."

Huo Shaoheng did not answer the phone. The matter had been dealt with, and he had moved on; he had to focus on Bai Jinyi's case, and get a new investigation team to re-examine the laboratory accident from 16 years ago.

The sentence handed to Dou Qingyan was relayed to the Prime Minister's office. Yan Qiuying, the Prime Minister's wife, fainted as soon as she heard it.

The family doctor rushed to her aid. One oxygen mask, massage, and injection later, she finally opened her eyes.

As soon as she woke up, she grabbed Prime Minister Dou's collar and wailed sorrowfully: "What are we going to do? What's going to happen to Qingyan? You have to think of something! She's only 27 years old! She's too young to spend the rest of her life in prison!"

Dou Haoyan stood beside his mother, comforting her. "Don't be sad, Mommy. This is a bad time for us, so we can't do anything for the time being. Once the storm has passed, we'll plead on Qingyan's behalf, and get her out on bail."

"We can do that? Really?" Yan Qiuying looked eagerly at her husband. She was like a drowning woman, desperately grasping at every straw.

Prime Minister Dou averted his gaze. He gave a non-committal grunt in reply, before adding: "Let's wait. Two of their men have died, we should give them some time to quell their anger..."

"The deaths of those men have nothing to do with Qingyan! They died because of Huo Shaoheng's incompetence! He messed up, and now he wants to shift the blame to Qingyan! What a heartless villain-Qingyan must have been blind to fall in love with him!" Yan Qiuying was angry with Huo Shaoheng, and she made no effort to hide it in front of her husband and son. She wanted badly to march up to Huo Shaoheng and yell curses to his face.

"Mommy! What are you saying?!" Dou Haoyan had to keep himself from rushing over to his mother and clamping his hands over her mouth. "You're still a suspect! This isn't the time to step on Huo Shaoheng's toes!"

"What can he do to me? Huo Shaoheng ruined my daughter's life. Does he dare harm me, too?" Yan Qiuying thought of her beloved daughter having to spend the rest of her life behind bars, and the tears began to flow, unchecked.

"All right, stop crying." Prime Minister Dou waved his hand, annoyed. "You didn't ask for my consent when you asked my men to help you get the photos. Now all four of them have been sentenced to life imprisonment. Do you honestly think you can shrug this off and pretend you had nothing to do with it?"

"Wait, are you blaming me?" Yan Qiuying was so angry her tears stopped flowing. "You were the one who planted them in the Special Ops, they would never have been able to get in without your connections. All I did was drop a few hints asking for their help. They have no physical evidence or witness to prove what I've done. Do they think they can accuse me of a crime, just because they said so?"

"You're absolutely sure you didn't leave any traces behind?" Prime Minister Dou breathed a sigh of relief.

"Yes, I'm sure." Yan Qiuying was not a careless person. She had not gone directly to her accomplices for help; instead, all she had done was drop a few hints to their wives, and everyone had understood what needed to be done. How could they ever trace it back to her?

Dou Haoyan let out a sigh of relief. "Okay, we don't have to worry about that then. Mommy, you need to go out and get more media exposure, make sure to publicize all the charity organizations you're involved in. Get public opinion on your side, so the Special Ops won't be able to touch you without incurring the wrath of the public."

Yan Qiuying recollected herself. "Yes, it's time for another visit to the orphanage. Haoyan, help me send word to the media. I'll go tomorrow."

Prime Minister Dou nodded. "I have to attend a meeting now. Remember not to overdo it, it has to look natural."

"I know."


Early the next morning, the Prime Minister's wife, Yan Qiuying, put on a simple, unassuming dress and took the bus to the orphanage.

The media "bumped" into her on the bus, and followed her all the way to the orphanage, where they photographed her talking to the orphans and playing games with them.

Just as Yan Qiuying decided she had done enough for the day and was about to wrap up her visit, a middle-aged woman with wild, unkempt hair and red, puffy eyes slipped through the main entrance and threw herself at Yan Qiuying's feet.