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312 Dont Be Insolen

 Huo Shaoheng was silent for a while. This involved interests between the government and businesses, so it couldn't be explained in just a few words. For now he didn't want Gu Nianzhi to know about such complex things. Taking Gu Nianzhi's hand, he changed the subject, "...Where do you want to go celebrate now that you've won the lawsuit?"

Gu Nianzhi composed herself and gave Huo Shaoheng a sidelong glance, "...Huo Shao, what about the principal you owe me? When do you plan on returning it?" On the first day of the trials, Huo Shaoheng had promised her to first pay back "interest, " and then "the principal"....

Before Huo Shaoheng could reply, Yin Shixiong sitting on the other side of Gu Nianzhi killed the mood unknowingly, "Nianzhi, you lent Mr. Huo money? How much? I'll give it back to you." As Huo Shaoheng's personal secretary, Yin Shixiong managed his salary and expenses.

Zhao Liangze also turned around with a frown, "Nianzhi, how can you charge Mr. Huo interest even if you lent him money? Is that really a good thing to do?" He didn't need to mention Huo Shaoheng raising Gu Nianzhi for the past six years, footing all her bills and even gifting her an apartment... When Gu Nianzhi mentioned "principal," the two secretaries naturally thought about "interest."

Gu Nianzhi, "..." She wanted to beat them to a pulp!

Huo Shaoheng didn't offer an explanation and only propped an arm up against the window to support his head. Smiling at Gu Nianzhi, he remarked dryly, "Yes, I worked so hard raising her and she's actually charging me interest just because I borrowed a bit of money from her. What an ungrateful wolf we've raised..."

Gu Nianzhi couldn't help pinching his hand. Deliberately teasing her now, was he? Well she could kiss him on the spot now to get back her "interest" he owed from the last time!

Huo Shaoheng saw she already had two bite marks on her lower lip and decided to stop teasing her. He glanced at Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze to send a silent warning.

Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze rubbed their noses sheepishly and didn't interject again.

Huo Shaoheng looked down to ask Gu Nianzhi in a gentle voice, "...How should we celebrate?"

Gu Nianzhi immediately perked up and stopped pinching Huo Shaoheng's hand since she wasn't too angry to begin with and he was coaxing her so nicely. Hugging his right arm, she looked around and said, "Brother Xiong and Brother Ze are right, you've treated me so well so I shouldn't charge interest when I lend you a bit of money. How about this, Huo Shao doesn't need to pay me back the principal either--I just want you to choose a free day before Lunar New Year and go shopping with me. Is that ok?" She actually only wanted to spend time alone with Huo Shaoheng, just doing nothing and walking around with him would make her extremely satisfied. They would just be like a couple strolling on the streets... Gu Nianzhi silently painted the image in her mind. Of course, she wouldn't do anything inappropriate, although holding hands should be ok? Gu Nianzhi looked Huo Shaoheng with hope in her eyes--she had complete affection, devotion and trust in him. Even though his heart was stone, Gu Nianzhi's look made him soften slightly.

Huo Shaoheng silently looked at Gu Nianzhi and raised a hand to smooth her long hair, "Ok, what day do you want to go?"

"I can go any day! Let's see when Huo Shao is free!" Gu Nianzhi's eyes glittered, her face glowed with happiness.

Yin Shixiong asked from the other side of Gu Nianzhi, "Nianzhi, do you want Brother Xiong to go shopping with you too?"

Gu Nianzhi was the most displeased with Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze today. If only she had a lamp cord to tie these two up so they wouldn't get in way of her and Huo Shaoheng! She shook her head unhappily and inched closer to Huo Shaoheng to mutter, "It's Huo Shao who owes me money, not you guys?"

Yin Shixiong rolled his eyes at her and secretly thought about how it wasn't as if he and Zhao Liangze didn't have to accompany the little princess when she goes shopping with Mr. Huo anyway? He knocked on Zhao Liangze's seat in the front row, "When is Mr. Huo free in the next while?"

Zhao Liangze opened the electronic calendar to check, "Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, he's free then. Today Mr. Hup still has to go the Supreme Military Council to participate in the last annual meeting with the highest chief of staff." Although Huo Shaoheng wasn't a chief of staff, he was responsible for the Special Operations Division and was required to conclude on the year's work at the last annual meeting with the highest chief of staff.

"That's just tomorrow then?" Gu Nianzhi was delighted, clasping her hands together and stars glittering in her eyes.

Huo Shaoheng nodded, "Yeah, that's just tomorrow."

"Huo Shao you're the best!" Gu Nianzhi couldn't hold herself back from lunging at Huo Shaoheng's neck to give him a kiss.

Huo Shaoheng blocked her with one hand and secured the back of her neck with the other. He put the seat belt on her, "Sit still and put on your seat belt."

Yin Shixiong chuckled from the side and nudged Gu Nianzhi's shoulder, "Nianzhi, you're already 18 now, so you can't be hugging and touching Mr. Huo like a little kid like before. It's ok if we see it, but Mr. Huo can get in trouble if others see it."

Gu Nianzhi sent a murderous glance at Yin Shixiong. He froze and only saw disdain in Gu Nianzhi's eyes when he looked at her again. She pouted and said cooly, "Don't I only act like this when there are no outsiders around? I'm not stupid, why would I let other people see..." If it wasn't for her not wanting Huo Shaoheng to see her unattractive eye rolling, she would still be doing it.

"I know, I'm just reminding you." Yin Shixiong snorted. He thought Gu Nianzhi was way too insolent and always bickering with him over nothing--she was getting better and better at arguing too, so even a well recognized smooth talker like himself wasn't able to outtalk her now. He was exhausted...

Gu Nianzhi also knew Yin Shixiong was right, but couldn't express her sadness in front ofHhuo Shaoehng. She could only huff and looked down sullenly.

Zhao Liangze saw Gu Nianzhi's expression from the rearview mirror and felt bad for her, so he tried to defend her, "Big Xiong, you're nagging too much. Is Nianzhi someone who doesn't understand how to be serious? She only just turned 18 and is still young. She can only stick to Mr. Huo before he has a girlfriend or gets engaged. When Mr. Huo has someone, Nianzhi wouldn't be able to stick to him then." These words made Gu Nianzhi want to cry. Brother Ze, will you die if you sat quiet?!

Yin Shixiong thought Zhao Liangze made sense and nodded in agreement, "That's right! Little Ze you're getting better at speaking, you're sounding a bit like me!"

Zhao Liangze turned back to give him the middle finger and a look of disdain.

Gu Nianzhi blanched. Her left hand originally holding Huo Shaoheng's wrist suddenly let go, but he instantly grabbed it again. Gu Nianzhi was unhappy and secretly tried to wrench her hand out from Huo Shaoheng's grip. However he firmly grasped her hand and was tightening the grip, though not to the point it hurt her. She was unable to pull away.

Huo Shaoheng wore a navy shirt with a steel grey military style alpaca coat. It wasn't a uniform so he was dressed casually. His posture ramrod straight, nothing appeared amiss apart from holding Gu Nianzhi's hand inside his large sleeve. No matter how much Gu Nianzhi's delicate hand struggled or clawed at Huo Shaoheng's palm, his expression remained the same and no one else in the car knew about the fight that was happening inside his coat sleeve. Gu Nianzhi squirmed for a bit more and felt exhausted, but Huo Shaoheng still appeared stoic. He looked down at her, the words, "don't be insolent" etched in his dark eyes. It was like she was being unreasonable.

Feeling ashamed, Gu Nianzhi stopped struggling and let him hold her hand for awhile. She still felt unhappy and seeing that there were no outsiders, she slowly rested her head gently on Huo Shaoheng's shoulder. Huo Shaoheng didn't move away or adjust his body to make her more comofrtable. He remained in his original posture, still as a statue.

Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze were beginning preparations for Huo Shaoheng's meeting today and outing tomorrow, they were so busy that they didn't notice Gu Nianzhi's tantrum.

Gu Nianzhi leaned on Huo Shaoheng's shoulder and calmed down gradually. It was only normal that she was still feeling a little jealous. If she was completely unaffected by the earlier conversation, that meant it was doubtful she even really liked Huo Shaoheng...

When they returned to the Special Ops base, Huo Shaoheng's car parked at the entrance of his official residence. The car doors opened and the driver Fan Jian, Zhao Liangze in the front row and Yin Shixiong in the back row got out first, and went to prepare for Huo Shaoheng's meeting at the military headquarters.

Only Gu Nianzhi and Huo Shaoheng remained in the car. He finally let go of her hand and they were both not used to the loss of sensation after holding hands the whole drive. Gu Nianzhi rubbed her left hand and looked at Huo Shaoheng to ask quietly, "Huo Shao is going to a meeting now?"

"Yeah." Huo Shaoheng replied, "You've been tired lately, rest early."

Gu Nianzhi wanted to ask him what time he'd be back for dinner, but she knew from the way he spoke that he wouldn't be back in time. "Ok." Gu Nianzhi didn't appear unhappy at all and pouted her lips slightly. Recalling Zhao Liangze's earlier words, she felt a thorn at her side. She had to get rid of it now so it didn't fester. Gu Nianzhi didn't want to have this horn with her in the new year. Hugging Huo Shaoheng's arm, she looked around to make sure no one was there before moving to his ear and whispering, "...Will Huo Shao ignore me once you have a girlfriend or fiancee in the future?"

Huo Shaoheng glanced at her before peeling her off his arm so she sat properly, "Of course. Why would I care about you if you're not my fiancee?"

Gu Nianzhi's tears welled up and she thumped her fists at Huo Shaoheng, "No, no! You have to care about me even when you have a wife!"

She couldn't imagine Huo Shaoheng not caring about her. She used to think that she could distance herself from him and leave on her own when he falls in love with someone else. But now she understood it would be impossible. At least for right now, it was downright impossible. "Huo Shao, don't get another girlfriend ok?" Gu Nianzhi begged him softly, somehow leaning against his chest, "You said that you're mine if I can seduce you, how can you go back on your word?"

"I didn't go back on my word." Huo Shaoheng was flirting with danger, one arm draping over Gu Nianzhi's waist, "I said that I'm yours if you can seduce me. You can continue seducing me."

"But what if someone steals you away?" People in love often acted irrationally, and even the confident Gu Nianzhi sometimes asked questions lacking in confidence.

Huo Shaoheng stroked her cheek, "Then you have to try even harder and be better than anyone else."

"Bit I've never seduced anyone else... I don't have experience..." Gu Nianzhi stuttered, "How about I try to seduce someone else..."

"Gu Nianzhi, don't you dare seduce anyone else." Huo Shaoheng interrupted her, slightly displeased with what she was saying.

Gu Nianzhi looked at Huo Shaoheng for a bit then asked nervously, "Huo Shao, are you also nervous about me seducing someone else?"

Huo Shaoheng looked at her with lidded eyes, then said nonchalantly, "Yeah. I'm worried you won't seduce them properly and embarrass me."

Gu Nianzhi gasped, hitting Huo Shaoheng again, "Since when did I even embarrass you? I'm great at it, you just wait and see!" She appeared extraordinarily beautiful when she looked at him with a pout.

Huo Shaoheng didn't want to give her too much pressure because it could be counterproductive, like a rubber band snapping from being stretched too hard. "Be good." Huo Shaoheng tightened his arm around her and pulled her close, "Don't go seduce anyone else. I'll break your legs if I find out."

"Huo Shao, are you jealous?" Gu Nianzhi looked at him suspiciously

However Huo Shaoheng appeared so calm it was impossible to see any changes to his mood. "I never get jealous." Huo Shaoheng patted her cheek, "Stop overthinking it. Be good, I have to go to a meeting."

"...Ok, you rest early too. Tomorrow you have to spend the whole day with me." Gu Nianzhi reminded him again.

"Don't worry." Huo Shaoheng nodded, "Tomorrow I'll be all yours."

Delighted, Gu Nianzhi stuck out her palm at Huo Shaoheng, "Promise!"

Smack! Huo Shaoheng also took out his palm and gave her a high-five. Gu Nianzhi came out of the car happily but didn't go inside the house right away. Instead, she waved at Huo Shaoheng's car and watched him leave. When she went inside Huo Shaoheng's official residence, she immediately went back to her room to refresh. First she went to shower and shampoo her hair, then used all sorts of body products over her body. She continuously applied face masks--hydrating, exfoliating, brightening and serum masks to give her skin the greatest protection with the most intensive procedures. Although she was very pale to begin with, she couldn't help stocking up on a box of brightening masks. After completing the procedures, several hours had passed. She finished showering and wrapped her hair in a towel then went to the closet to pick out an outfit for tomorrow's trip. After mulling over it for a long time, she settled on a green wool high neck hooded sweater and slim fitting pants to wear with tall boots and a leather jacket. Combined with a violet Hermes rudder print silk scarf and Prada baroque sunglasses, Gu Nianzhi looked fashionable and cool. Girls were born to play dress up. Before she knew it, she had already spent the whole afternoon in her room. By the time she was finished and went outside to have dinner, she was practically radiant.


Song Jinning was the only one in the dining room. When she saw a refreshed Gu Nianzhi enter the room, she put down her iPad and nodded to her with a smile, "You're in a good mood, did you win the case?"

Gu Nianzhi couldn't help feeling guilty. She was so preoccupied with taking care of herself after getting back that she actually forget to tell Song Jinning about the lawsuit. Gu Nianzhi hastily sat in front of Song Jinning and started by telling her the verdict for Bai Jinyi, "...Death penalty, but with suspension of execution for two years."

Bai Jinyi stirred the bowl of sea cucumber stew and mused, "The Bai's are formidable, it's likely she'll get away with it if she's not executed immediately."

Gu Nianzhi pressed both hands on the dining table and gritted, "I know, so I'll keep an eye on them. As soon as they try anything, I'll be on them."

Song Jinning didn't encourage Gu Nianzhi to let it go, but nodded solemnly instead, "I don't understand the law, but I know that a person has to pay for their crimes. Bai Jinyi must pay with own life since she killed Luo Xinxue."

Gu Nianzhi couldn't help clapping her hands, "Auntie Song you're so right! Although I study law, I also believe you must pay for your own crimes! That's why I never agreed with abolishing the death penalty." As the ancestors said, justice means giving people what they deserve. Why should murderers get more attention than their victims? Did murderers think about the consequences of their crime? This was just like how laws protecting minors did nothing to protect minors and only promoted criminal behaviour in minors. Song Jinning smiled and watched Gu Nianzhi speak eloquently about her views on the law, nodding from time to time and interjecting occasionally to continue the conversation. The two women chatted happily and even brought out a bottle of red wine to enjoy with their conversation. The dinner stretched out to two hours but had yet to end.

It was nine in the evening when Huo Shaoheng returned, he passed his coat to the orderly and asked, "Are Mrs. Song and Nianzhi asleep?"

The orderly smiled, "Good evening, Chief! --Mrs. Song and Miss Nianzhi are still having dinner."

"Still having dinner?" Huo Shaoheng was shocked, "How long have they been eating for?"

"Over two hours. They were just having dinner, then Miss Gu wanted to have a drink and ordered a bottle of red wine to share with Mrs. Song."

Huo Shaoheng walked to the dining room and saw not one but two empty bottles on the dining table... Gu Nianzhi was shaking the empty bottle drunkenly, staring at it with her huge misty eyes, "...Huh? Why isn't it pouring? There's still wine left?"