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292 Inseparable

 Gu Nianzhi looked suspiciously at him and refused to walk over.

He Zhichu waited for a while and saw that Gu Nianzhi wasn't going to come closer. He cocked his head at her, then pulled out a revolver from his pocket to place on the coffee table.

Gu Nianzhi's face was blanched with fear as she stuttered, "Professor... Professor He, what on earth are you doing?!"''

He Zhichu looked at the revolver and said coldly, "You don't have to be afraid, I already said that won't happen again, so it won't. If you don't believe me, this gun is loaded. You can hold on to it and point it me: I know you can shoot very well. As strong as I am, I'm still weaker than a gun. So, you may be reassured now."

The corners of Gu Nianzhi's mouth twitched. She now had a new understanding of He Zhichu's difficult nature. Looking up at the recessed ceiling lights, she regretted having insisted on applying as his graduate student. At the time, she could have never known that He Zhichu was such a person! Of course, He Zhichu's reputation had always been commended, so she had never heard of him harassing female students, and while there were many rumors of female students trying to seduce him, they were shot down. Why would He Zhichu treat her differently? Gu Nianzhi reflected on herself: had she somehow given him the wrong signal to make him think she was interested? But still, she had made her feelings clear.

"Professor He, what happened today made me very scared and I really don't want to talk about it anymore. I want to go home." Gu Nianzhi was determined and still didn't move closer.

He Zhichu stopped when he caught onto this and sat on the sofa as he eyed the revolver on the coffee table, stating dryly, "I came to Huaxia Empire to find someone. You... look a lot like her."

"I look like her?" Gu Nianzhi touched her face. "Is that true? Do you have a photo?"

He Zhichu shook his head, then said, "The photo is at my family home. I didn't bring it here."

"You didn't bring it here?" Gu Nianzhi wasn't convinced. He was talking about looking for someone, yet hadn't any photos on him-who would believe that? She grumbled to herself.

He Zhichu seemed to know what she was thinking and laughed mirthlessly, murmuring, "Actually it doesn't matter if I bring it or not, I can't find her anymore..." He cradled his head, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees. His body was as rigid as a bow. Without his usual cold dignity and indifference, he appeared helpless and lost. It was the first time Gu Nianzhi was seeing the powerful Professor He appear so weak. Pursing her lips, Gu Nianzhi silently lowered her head . She felt peculiar, looking at this resigned man. "Who is she to you? A relative?"

"You could say that."

Gu Nianzhi understood now; it turned out that her special treatment from He Zhichu the past six months was because he had been mistaking her for someone else. No wonder he'd been so nice to her. She hugged her backpack, rummaging through it as she whispered, "Professor He, don't be discouraged. Maybe things will turn around?"

He Zhichu turned to look to her. "You think so?"

"How would you know if you don't try?" Gu Nianzhi took out a wet wipe to clean her face, removing all traces of her tears. Thankfully, she didn't wear makeup, otherwise her face would have looked even worse, she mused.

He Zhichu sighed gently. "Nianzhi, you really don't have to defend yourself against me. I was just so sad earlier. I've been lying to myself all this time, and I've finally understood today. I won't force it anymore. Really, it won't happen again."

"It's hard for me to believe that," Gu Nianzhi muttered, not convinced by He Zhichu's words.

"What are you saying?

"I'm saying that it's hard to say what might happen in the future." Gu Nianzhi mustered her courage. "I won't feel relieved until the day you find the person you're looking for."

"You're overthinking it." He Zhichu looked up, the bitterness in his eyes forming into tears. "Actually, seeing you cry so hard today forced me to accept the truth. Even though it's cruel, I still have to admit that I won't be able to find her."

He Zhichu cocked his head at Gu Nianzhi, tears brimming in his eyes. Gu Nianzhi froze when she saw the aloof He Zhichu actually cry. When she looked closer, He Zhichu had already shifted his gaze. She tried to probe him. "Professor He, how about I help you out? Huo Shao and his people have many contacts and have ways of finding people, maybe they can help you."

He Zhichu turned to look in the direction of the French windows and shook his head. "Don't worry about it. Nianzhi, thank you. Please don't tell Mr. Huo about it. This is between me and her and I don't want anyone else to know."

"Why not?"

"Because she's someone inseparable from me, for the rest of my life." He Zhichu looked down, his voice seeming to come from the bottom of his heart and overflowing with regret and self-blame. "She'd followed me since she'd started learning how to walk. I never thought she would leave me. But, I went out one day and came out to find that she had... disappeared. I started looking for her and went everywhere. I searched for so many years and thought this time that I had found a clue. But when I arrived here, I realized everything had changed."

"Oh? Really? Then did you... find her?" Gu Nianzhi felt even more uneasy seeing his pained expression. She had always been curious, but didn't want to ask anymore now.

"It's not what you think. She's... probably not alive anymore." He Zhichu smiled bitterly and apologized to Gu Nianzhi again. "I'm sorry, Nianzhi. I shouldn't have seen your photo and pretended you were her. I just miss her so much."

Gu Nianzhi smiled awkwardly. "It's good that Professor He thought it through. I finally know now that my good luck was all thanks to that girl's blessings. Don't give up; please thank her for me when you find her one day."

"You're a good person." He Zhichu sighed heavily. "Even though I have no hopes of finding her, I'll let you know if I meet her again one day."

Gu Nianzhi nodded. "Ok, thank you Professor He."

He Zhichu stood up. "I scared you today, I'm sorry for that." He paused, and said, "Are you sure you don't want to show me the notes you prepared and discuss the case with me?"

Gu Nianzhi shook her head. "No thanks, Professor He. I want to go home." She paused, then whispered, "I won't tell anyone ...about what happened today." This meant that she wouldn't notify the school. In the United States, professors harassing students was a very serious allegation, over which professors lost their jobs or even ended up in jail. Even though it was not as serious a crime in the Huaxia Empire, it would be a fatal blow to the professor's reputation. He Zhichu knew these policies very well, so his heart still trembled when he heard her say she wouldn't tell anyone. He walked in front of Gu Nianzhi and stopped a meter away from her.

Gu Nianzhi instantly became very vigilant.

He Zhichu smiled bitterly and folded his hands behind his back. "You see, you're still cautious around me."

"I'll be ok after a while, but I can't act like before right this moment," Gu Nianzhi stated plainly. "Professor He, you really scared me earlier."

"I'm really sorry." He Zhichu put his hands in his pockets and stared fixedly at Gu Nianzhi's pale face. It was as though he were trying to imprint her image into his memories.

"I don't want to say that I'm ok right now." Gu Nianzhi smiled wearily, avoiding He Zhichu's heated gaze. "May I go now?"

"I'll walk you downstairs." He Zhichu reached out to enter the password into the lock and opened the door.

Gu Nianzhi immediately strode out and turned to wave back at him. "Professor He should continue with work, you don't have to walk me out."

"It's ok, let's go." He Zhichu walked quietly beside her and they left the suite together.

At the same time, the door to Wen Shouyi's suite also opened. She wore a cream colored velour sweater and was seeing Dou Aiyan and two friends off. When Wen Shouyi witnessed He Zhichu and Gu Nianzhi also coming out of the room, she stopped for a second then smiled at them. "Professor He, are you going out?"

"I'm walking Nianzhi downstairs." He Zhichu didn't even look at Wen Shouyi and took Gu Nianzhi into the elevator.

Dou Aiyan was ecstatic, bolting into the elevator and standing next to He Zhichu. "Professor He, I'm Aiyan. Do you remember me?"

He Zhichu nodded slightly, "Miss Dou." On the night of the Prime Minister's banquet, she had been by his side the entire night. How could he forget?