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376 Where Are They?

 "My parents and family?" Gu Nianzhi shook her head helplessly. "Didn't you see my information? I'm an orphan. Both my parents died when I was a little girl."

"Are your parents really gone?" He Zhichu walked a step closer to Gu Nianzhi. " Where are they buried? Have you ever visited their graves?"

The resentment Gu Nianzhi had felt towards He Zhichu dissipated as she looked at him with shock. Aside from Huo Shaoheng, He Zhichu was the first person to ask after her parents and even mention visiting them. This was a form of respect and as her parents' daughter it was difficult for her to resent someone respecting her parents.

Gu Nianzhi looked at He Zhichu, taking a long time to decide between lying or keeping quiet. She finally shook her head and said honestly, "No, I don't know where they are buried."

"Didn't you say your parents passed away? How could you not know where they are buried?" He Zhichu scoffed, but Gu Nianzhi was no longer disgusted by him. Instead, she stayed quiet for a moment again before she said reluctantly, "Actually, I'm only guessing that they aren't alive anymore."

"Why are you guessing?"

"Because I don't remember my past." Gu Nianzhi grabbed her backpack straps tighter and felt uneasy. "I don't know if my parents are dead or if they're living somewhere else. If they are still alive why aren't they looking for me?" She appeared very stubborn but had finally uttered the words that had been trapped in her heart for so long. In the deepest recesses of her mind, she still believed that her parents had already passed away. They hadn't found a trace of her parents despite Huo Shaoheng's abilities and extensive searches. Even if her parents had abandoned her, it was impossible to hide so well with someone like Huo Shaoheng actively looking for them. Because of this, Gu Nianzhi fully believed that they were no longer alive. Sometimes she wondered what would hurt her more-that her parents were both dead, or that they didn't want to find her and recognize her as their daughter? However, Huo Shaoheng had always insisted that her parents were still alive and did his best to find them. He had never given up.

"Do you really not remember your past?" He Zhichu walked closer yet again, his voice trembling uncontrollably. "Then, at what age is your earliest memory?"

Gu Nianzhi rubbed her temples and murmured, "12...I really don't remember anything before I was 12."

"Then what about after you turned 12?" He Zhichu was now standing before her and looked down.

Gu Nianzhi's dark hair was so thick and glossy that she always felt impatient with it and so normally wore it in a ponytail. He Zhichu wanted to reach out to stroke her hair but his hand froze midway. He attempted to maintain composure. "Then why don't you remember what happened before you were 12? Human brain cells should be fully developed after the age of six and have the ability to store long term memory. Why did you forget what happened before you turned 12?"

"About that..." Gu Nianzhi hesitated for a moment and then said, "Professor He, can you promise me not to tell anyone?"

He Zhichu's barren heart finally warmed at these words. He agreed. "I won't tell anyone. I will never share anything you say to me to anyone else."

Gu Nianzhi laughed bitterly. "Thank you Professor He, but actually, my student profile has already been circulated throughout the department, so the fact that my parents are dead isn't some secret. I thought Professor He saw my information and wouldn't be asking me such things."

"What student profile?" He Zhichu froze. "Is it your postgrad student application?"

"No." Gu Nianzhi knew that He Zhichu came from the United States so he probably didn't know about student profiles in the Huaxia Empire. She patiently explained it to He Zhichu who frowned when he finally understood, "That's personal information! How can just anyone look at it?"

"Of course not. But it's fine. It's not like it was anything important. There's nothing in my profile for me to be ashamed about." Gu Nianzhi no longer wanted to discuss this because everyone had read it already; getting angry wouldn't amount to anything. It wasn't as if she could get the teacher who circulated her profile fired. She couldn't sentence her either. Gu Nianzhi knew that she could only swallow this incident because it was a totally different case than what happened with Miao Yunxiao.

He Zhichu saw that Gu Nianzhi no longer wanted to pursue the matter and so he stopped bringing it up. He continued asking her about the memory loss. Gu Nianzhi quickly changed the topic. "The thing is, I was in a serious car accident when I was 12. I was rescued, but lost all my memories when I woke up."

He Zhichu studied her carefully and tried to prevent his expression from changing as he asked again, "You forgot everything? What kind of accident would make you forget six years of memories?"

"It was a huge accident." Gu Nianzhi gestured with her hands.

Even the serious He Zhichu was amused by her. "Can you even describe a car accident like that?"

"Indeed." Gu Nianzhi relaxed. "There was also a huge explosion and I can remember all the smoke that blocked out the sky even now. Sometimes I dream of that day and wake up with fear. However, I wake up in my bed instead of that car, so I feel luckier than anything."

A hint of indescribable pity and sorrow flashed through He Zhichu's eyes, but he didn't reveal it. Instead, he folded his hands behind his back and walked away to a safe distance from Gu Nianzhi. The safe distance between humans was 1.2 meters, and people become uneasy when a stranger steps any closer than this. He Zhichu wasn't a stranger to Gu Nianzhi, but they had had a previous altercation so Gu Nianzhi was wary of him. Thus, He Zhichu could only keep a stranger's distance from her. He watched her silently, not sure if they could return to the way they were. Perhaps they never could because she was now all grown up. Gu Nianzhi was now a young and beautiful girl, and not the tiny toddler who had followed him all day. " Did you go see a psychiatrist to recover your memories?" Although they couldn't return to the past, He Zhichu didn't want to give up. He was a part of her previous life and he didn't want her to forget him completely.

Gu Nianzhi shrugged and smiled dryly. "I've seen several so many times. I'd seen a psychiatrist once I'd woken up after the car accident. A few years after even the psychiatrist didn't want to see me anymore."

He Zhichu smiled back at her. "Which psychiatrist was this? Was he a shoddy doctor? I know a renowned doctor in the States. How about I invite him here when we have the chance and you can chat with him? Would you be willing to?"

Gu Nianzhi recalled Chen Lie's face and couldn't help bursting into laughter. "I'm fine but I don't think it'll work."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because I've already seen the best psychiatrist." Gu Nianzhi straightened up and made her way to the door. "Ok Professor He, I'll be going now if there wasn't anything else."

"You don't want to talk about graduating early anymore?" He Zhichu raised a brow. "I had just made some coffee."

Just as Gu Nianzhi was hesitating, her phone rang with Huo Shaoheng's ringtone. Gu Nianzhi quickly took it out and wanted to take the call, but looked at He Zhichu with uncertainty.

He Zhichu turned around unhappily. He poured coffee from the machine and said, "One of the the rules for my meetings is that everyone has to set their phones on vibrate."

Gu Nianzhi stuck her tongue out quickly behind his back and gripped her phone as she replied, "Professor He, it's getting late. I'll be going now so as to not further disturb your rest. As for graduating early, we can talk about it later. We have plenty of time."

Liking the sound of that, He Zhichu agreed and saw that Gu Nianzhi had already left when he turned around. "She runs like a rabbit..." He Zhichu smiled as he took the coffee from the kitchen and looked out the window. Several minutes later, Gu Nianzhi emerged from his building while talking on the phone. He couldn't see her expression from the angle but she appeared to be singularly focused on whomever she was speaking with because she almost crashed into a few people several times. There was no doubt she was on the phone with that person again. Unwilling to see anymore, He Zhichu walked away from the window and returned to his room.

...

Gu Nianzhi stepped out of the elevator and started jogging as she spoke to Huo Shaoheng on the phone. Huo Shaoheng had know that she had a meeting at night so he had waited for over two hours before calling. He hadn't expected her to pick up right away because this had never happened before. He waited for a while and the call finally connected when Gu Nianzhi's sweet voice sounded. "Huo Shao?"

"What are you doing? Why did you take so long to pick up?"

"Sorry, Huo Shao. I was in a meeting with Professor He so I couldn't take the call."

"He Zhichu?" Huo Shaoheng pursed his lips and threw his cigarette butt at the bullseye of the dartboard.