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300 Pry Open Her Mouth

 Luo Xinxue rented a safety deposit box at the bank. The bank was not privy to what was stored and allowed clients to put it anything they wanted so long it didn't violate bank regulations. Only presentation of identification was required in order to withdraw any items. As for the footage of the bank safe Gu Nianzhi mentioned, it was only to scare Huo Jialan. It would only prove the identity of who made the withdrawal, but couldn't pinpoint what was taken out.

Director Wang had once spread his palms regretfully at her and sighed, "...The most important evidence is often the one that is missing."

Gu Nianzhi refused to accept it, so her job was to use other ways to recover the two pieces of missing evidence. "Ok, for now I will believe that Huo Jialan didn't see this birth certificate when she went to withdraw Luo Xinxue's items from her safety deposit box." Gu Nianzhi began to analyze as she displayed the inventory of items in Luo Xinxue's will so that everyone in the courtroom could see. "But this list had been notarized, so every item on it should have been accounted for, verified and signed for by the notary office." Gu Nianzhi continued, "This proves that the birth certificate does exist. We can think about it, why would Luo Xinxue put a birth certificate in a bank safe deposit box? And officially list in on her will?" When Gu Nianzhi raised this question, she gazed steadily at Huo Jialan--she was basically saying the birth certificate had something to do with Huo Jialan.

Huo Jialan remained silent but sneered internally. She was not timid and had been summoned as witness, not the suspect after all..."Lawyer Gu, I don't know how your question relates to the case?" Huo Jialan pouted disdainfully, "What are you trying to prove exactly?"

Gu Nianzhi cocked her head with a smile, "You don't get it? I am currently searching for a lost item of your mother's. Because she was murdered in the heavily guarded Huo manor, it is sufficient to say that she couldn't have possibly been randomly killed by a stranger. This also proves that the murderer must have had a specific reason to kill her. In order to find this reason and convict the murderer, I must find the missing links in the chain of evidence."

"Then I'm sorry. Lawyer Gu should change professions and become a detective instead." Huo Jialan snubbed Gu Nianzhi, "You are clearly still looking for evidence, but had already taken someone to court. I truly don't understand this logic."

"Well, you wouldn't be uttering such things to chill your mother's heart in heaven if you understood." Gu Nianzhi turned to the judge, "Your Honor, we can prove that this missing birth certificate likely has a crucial connection to Luo Xinxue's death."

The judge looked at Gu Nianzhi for a while, then shook his head with reluctance, "Please prove the so called crucial connection."

The Bai's sighed in relief once again, they hadn't expected this change of course--Huo Jialan was a witness but was now suspicious as well.

Lawyer Jin was very satisfied by this turn of events and smiled at his jury, "...Get it? A rookie is daydreaming if she thinks she can win this case. She's basically handing over the victory to us."

Bai Jinyi was silent at the other side, her expression even more contorted than before. Gu Nianzhi expressed understanding of the judge's question and bowed slightly at all present in the courtroom as she began to explain the reasoning, "First of all, has everyone considered this before? Why would Luo Xinxue put a birth certificate in a safety deposit box? Why would this disappeared after her death?"

The courtroom grew silent. "Lawyer Gu, you don't even know who the birth certificate belongs to. How are you going to convince Your Honor and everyone else that this is related to the case?" Lawyer Jin didn't want Gu Nianzhi to lead the discussion and took initiative to take her down a notch.

Gu Nianzhi's mind was very keen and worked differently from others because she excelled at reverse thinking. Upon listening to Lawyer Jin's words, she immediately dismissed him, "Of course I'm doing this in order to unearth Luo Xinxue's intention. She especially stored a birth certificate in the bank safety deposit box, so according to logic it must belong to either the person dearest to her, or herself. But because it's now missing, I can rule out it belongs to Luo Xinxue. She has passed away so regardless of how convoluted her birth was, it no longer matters and is not worth anyone's time to tamper with. Therefore, the only possibility is that the birth certificate is the proof of birth of someone who is still alive. And this person made it 'disappear' because they didn't want anyone to see it." Gu Nianzhi looked directly at Huo Jialan as she said this and made it amply clear that the birth certificate must have to do with her.

Huo Jialan blanched as she clenched her fists and gritted, "...What are you looking at me for? I never saw this birth certificate!"

"I never said it was related to you, I was just inferring according to common sense." Gu Nianzhi tapped at the computer and the image on the large screen changed to the three identification photos of Huo Guanyuan, Huo Jialan and Luo Xinxue. Everyone was in uproar when the three images appeared because Huo Jialan's photo looked nothing like either of her parents.

"Gu Nianzhi, what is the meaning of this?! Are you saying I'm not a Huo just by using these photos?" Huo Jialan was furious but secretly very nervous.

"I didn't say anything." Gu Nianzhi raised her brows, a hint of smile appearing on her face, "Also, what day and age are we in now anyway? How can we just use photos to determine biological relationships? If we need to verify that, then we can simply use DNA testing. This is not ancient times where the people had to rely on the erroneous method of using blood to test for kinship?"

The judge looked impassively at Gu Nianzhi, "Are you saying that... you want to verify the DNA of your witness, Huo Jialan?"

"Yes." Gu Nianzhi looked at her laptop, then changed the photos again, "I ask Your Honor to please allow use to verify Huo Jialan's DNA."

Sitting in the dock, Bai Jinyi looked up in shock. She stared at Huo Jialan like she had never seen her before.

The judge considered it for a while, his expression still stoic. He remained quiet for a long time, and perhaps the silence in the courtroom became too heavy for Huo Jialan to bear. Even Huo Shaoheng's lie detector couldn't pry her mouth open, but they finally had a breakthrough with Gu Nianzhi's trick with the birth certificate that "disappeared." Huo Jialan's pupils shrunk abruptly, her lips quivering as she finally complied to Gu Nianzhi, "...Lawyer Gu, you repeatedly brought up my parent's missing belongings as evidence, and I thought of something."

"What is it?" Gu Nianzhi asked with great interest, "Is it related to the death of your mother, Luo Xinxue?" Gu Nianzhi remembered hearing Huo Jialan say that she was first to find Luo Xinxue dead in the bed... If Huo Jialan wasn't the murderer, she must be the one who had the most information about the murderer. But for some reason, she was covering for them. Gu Nianzhi had the intuition that Huo Jialan seemed to not really care about how her mother died, but only wanted to have someone to channel her hate into and shoulder the responsibility of her death. It was like... only by doing this could she face her mother's spirit in heaven. This feeling was strange and Gu Nianzhi couldn't help but think that Huo Jialan knew more about her mother's death than she revealed. So Gu Nianzhi's strategy of debate in court was to pry open Huo Jialan's mouth. All the previous actions, searching for evidence and verification of inventories was to achieve this one goal. Gu Nianzhi was very fortunate that she succeeded. Although she was extremely excited, she was able to conceal it very well and no one could see her true emotions.

Huo Shaoheng was the only one to notice it. He had raised her for six years and she had been by his side form the age of 12 to 18, so he knew her every behaviour and expression all too well. For example right now, he was able to discern that Gu Nianzhi was very excited, because the pale tips of her ears would flush faintly when she was truly excited... Huo Shaoheng's gaze rested on Gu Nianzhi's ears for a second, then casually moved away.