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357 Mutual Destruction

 Grandfather Huo froze for a moment, then understood right away. He quickly glanced at the camera in the corner of the room then turned around to look at Zhang Feng before walking away.

"Elder Huo! Elder Huo! You can't leave me like this!" Zhang Feng was finally terrified and chased after him tearfully.

Huo Shaoheng turned around to close the door, shutting out Zhang Feng's crying.

Grandfather Huo stood by the door and looked back his grandson to reply calmly, "She's timid, she would never dare to tell anyone else."

Huo Shaoheng smiled, "Let's go then. This ends here. I won't get involved anymore and you shouldn't either, let the military sentence her."

Zhang Feng had leveraged Grandfather Huo's power because although he was already elderly, he still hadn't retired and was thus considered an active serviceman. At the time, she assumed she just had to stay by Grandfather Huo's side, but then realized she could no longer delay when the military gave official notice that he must formally retire. That was why she rushed to marry Grandfather Huo--so she could stay with him forever. Never did she expect that her years of planning would come to bite her back. She was going to suffer a more severe punishment from the military.

Huo Shaoheng followed behind Grandfather Huo and asked quietly again, "Are you sure you don't want to give her another warning? If she gets desperate enough, you will be in a very passive position."

Grandfather Huo replied coldly, "She wouldn't dare, and I know her. She's timid even though she's greedy. She's still loyal to me."

Huo Shaoheng couldn't say anything more because he had warned his grandfather with what he could. All he could do was not make things even more difficult for Zhang Feng's son and grandchildren. Huo Shaoheng accompanied Grandfather Huo back to the manor, where Huo Jialan was waiting to greet them. "...Elder Cousin." She tightened the mink shrug around her shoulders, "There's something I want to talk to you about."

Huo Shaoheng stopped in his tracks to glance at her.

"Grandfather's health hasn't been great leately, and he's been stressed day and night over the Zhang's." Huo Jialan explained carefully and kept her eyes on Huo Shaoheng's expression, "I was thinking that maybe I can take grandfather somewhere else to rest, and avoid the Zhang's too."

"No need." Huo Shaoheng turned to leave, "You'd better account for all your own assets, the summons for your civil lawsuit is about to get delivered."

Huo Jialan watched Huo Shaoheng stride out of the entrance but didn't dare chase after him. She paced around the living room in frustration.

Huo Guanchen came back home for lunch and saw Huo Jialan still standing at the entrance so he asked, "Jialan, what are you doing here?"

Huo Jialan's eyes turned red at the sight of Huo Gunchen and she sobbed, "Second Uncle, Elder Cousin just told me that he's suing me."

"Sue you? For what?" Huo Guanchen frowned, "You didn't have anything to do with your mother's death, didn't the court already conclude the trial?" His expression darkened at the thought of Bai Jinyi. She had been sentenced to life without parole and Huo Guanchen was upset to see her end up like this because they had been together for many years and he truly loved her. But when he was reminded of how Song Jinning was tortured for 16 years because of Bai Jinyi, Huo Guanchen couldn't find any pity for her and blamed himself for being so blind.

Huo Jialan's heart trembled at the sight of her uncle's expression and whispered, "I want to bury my mother with my father, can Second Uncle help me?" Huo Guanyuan had perished in the laboratory experiment all those years ago and was left without a corpse. He didn't have a true grave and only a small ash container with his clothes inside to serve as a cenotaph. Huo Jialan's mother, Luo Xinxue's body had just been returned from the court and remained in the morgue in the basement of the hospital to await the family to make preparations for her burial.

"That should be right." Huo Guanchen nodded, "Contact the memorial home and arrange for a proper funeral so we can bury your parents together."

Huo Jialan nodded, "I was hoping for that." As they spoke, they went into the dining room to prepare for lunch.

Grandfather Huo was already inside and he sat down solenmly. He looked up out of habit and said, "Little Zhang, get me a bowl of soup."

Huo Jialan and Huo Guachen froze. They sat across from Grandfather Huo, while Zhang Feng had always been the one to sit next to the elderly man to serve him during the meal. Though she was a nurse, she acted more like a caretaker... Huo Jialan reacted quickly and stood up to serve a bowl of soup to Grandfather Huo, "Please enjoy, Grandfather."

Finally realizing what he said, Grandfather Huo felt miserable and slammed his chopsticks on the table, "I don't want to eat. You go ahead." He left the dining room alone and went back to his room to rest. Looking at the empty room and the photo of Xie Ziyan on the fireplace, his eyes got teary. He walked over slowly to stroke the face in the photoframe and mutter, "...Ziyan, I'm sorry..." His tears fell onto the photo, while the woman in it smiled happily.


The next day, Zhang Feng was tried by the military court to question her about her supplying of shoddy product, embezzlement, inability to explain large sums of money and money laundering overseas. She had no way of denying the charges.

"Zhang Feng, you only repaid half the debt. Accordingly to the law, we can confiscate your remaining assets to compensate the losses suffered by the military." The person interrogating her ordered the bank to freeze all Zhang Feng's bank account and forcibly auction off all the properties under her name.

Zhang Feng stared at the results of the trial and couldn't believe her eyes. Her teeth chattered and whole body trembled, starbursts flashing in her eyes. She almost couldn't even see what the verdict said. After a long time, she stared at the words, "confiscate all illegal proceeds" and screamed, "...My assets aren't illegal proceeds! You can't confiscate it all! I want a lawyer! I want a lawyer!"

"Zhang Feng, you have not explained the origin of your money and logically speaking, this appears to be illegal proceeds from your armament business transactions. Therefore is it to be confiscated. If you disagree, you can provide evidence and we will investigate accordingly. If your proceeds had been obtained legally, then the military shall not confiscate it." The judge of the military court explained succinctly and didn't allow Zhang Feng the possibility of weaseling her way out.

Zhang Feng hesitated to reply, "I still need to think about it some more, I'll explain after some consideration."

"Ok, the court is temporarily adjourned and will resume session in three days. I hope you are able to clearly explain the origin of your assets by then."

Zhang Feng was sent back to the detention centre and after a full day and night of thinking, she finally asked to see Chief Huo Xuenong for the last time. Everyone knew she was Huo Xuenong's head nurse and that he came to visit her after she got arrested and even pleaded her case. So her request was quickly sent over to the Huo manor. "Chief, Zhang Feng asked to see you and said she has something to tell you."

Huo Xuenong held gardening shears and was trimming Xie Ziyan's favourite plants in the garden. He didn't even bother turning back and said, "I don't have time, just do what you have to do and respect the law."

Zhang Feng waited another two days to send a final message to Huo Xuenong before the trial resumed, "...If you don't come now, don't blame me for being heartless."

Huo Shaoheng had always been keeping tabs on Zhang Feng so he knew exactly what she was up to. He ordered someone to record Zhang Feng uttering the threat and sent it to Grandfather Huo for him to see for himself.

Grandfather Huo looked at the hysterical Zhang Feng on the phone screen and responded coldly, "Tell her that she can't blame me for being heartless if she keeps acting out."

The personnel delivered Grandfather Huo's message to Zhang Feng before the trial. She finally lost all hope for him and knew her time had passed. Grandfather Huo had truly abandoned her and she was actually going to jail... No, going to jail for her crimes was the lesser punishment--it was likely she was would receive capital punishment... Zhang Feng was terrified, she didn't want to die yet. She hadn't even enjoyed her wealth after painstakingly accumulating it... Since Grandfather Huo was leaving her to the suffer, then he can't blame her for being heartless. When the trial resumed, she calmly told the military court, "My large amount of assets was gifted by Huo Xuenong."

The court was silent. After a long moment, the judge asked, "From General Huo Xuenong? Why did he give you all that money? Where did he get all that money to begin with?"

"Because I gave him a son, do a DNA test if you don't believe me." Zhang Feng threw down the gauntlet, "He was worried I'd expose the truth and impact his career, so he kept paying me off. He had a lot of money because he inherited it all from his wife, Xie Ziyan. You can summon him to court to confront me if you don't believe it."

Soon after Zhang Baochen was subject to a DNA test, the military court summoned Huo Xuenong. At the same time, the Supreme Military Council had also stripped Huo Xuenong of his rank of General and forced him to retire according to applicable laws. Grandfather Huo sighed when he stared at the subpoena and the neat uniform he had just taken off.

Huo Shaoheng and Huo Guanchen looked at him from the door. Huo Guanchen asked with concern, "Father, are you really appearing in court?"

Grandfather Huo snapped, "Can I ignore a subpoena? I've never been so humiliated!"

But who can he blame? Huo Shaoheng folded his hands behind his back and replied calmly, "You can request a lawyer represent you in court. I suggest you do that."

Grandfather Huo snorted, "A family's shame has to stay within the family, do you want even more people to know about this?" Because the case implicated Grandfather Huo, the military court did not publicize the latter part of the trial out of respect for Huo Guanchen and Huo Shaoheng. Only the parties involved and their lawyers were present. Grandfather Huo didn't wish to be represented by someone else.

"I'll go with you." Huo Guanchen volunteered.

Huo Shaoheng shook his head, "I'd better go and also check to see if the trial is confidential." Grandfather Huo finally agreed to allow Huo Shaoheng accompany him to court. Gu Nianzhi also wanted to go, but Huo Shaoheng didn't ask her this time and went alone with his grandfather. When they arrived, Grandfather Huo did not deny his relationship with Zhang Feng and also testified his mistake all those years ago. However he had no idea Zhang Feng gave birth to the child in secret.

Huo Shaoheng had made much preparations ahead of time and laid out each piece of evidence to prove that Grandfather Huo didn't intentionally conceal the bastard child from the military. Because he had already been stripped of his rank and forced to retire, the military court theoretically no longer could do anything to him. However he vehemently denied giving Zhang Feng the assets as she claimed. Huo Shaoheng also submitted the details of Zhang Feng's bank account, as well as evidence of Dacheng Industries Ltd. depositing money into it. It perfectly explained that the origin of her money was from several large armament deals. She had lied about Grandfather Huo paying her off to keep her quiet and thus proved his innocence. With all the evidence present, even Zhang Feng's glib tongue was completely useless. The military court quickly ruled that Zhang Feng had participated and bidded in armament business transactions as military personnel to supply shoddy product, embezzle, obtain large sums of illegal proceeds and attempt to launder money. She also refused to cooperate and had no remorse. Because the amount of funds was so great, the court not only confiscated all Zhang feng's assets but also sentenced her to life without parole. After listening to the verdict, Grandfather Huo stood up solemnly and left the courthouse without looking back. Zhang Feng was left to cry hysterically before passing out.