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401 A Familiar Stranger

 Gu Nianzhi silently glanced at He Zhichu with faint tremors in her heart. She was not an ungrateful person, and although he had a bad temper he had treated her fairly well. He also helped protect her in many different ways. Gu Nianzhi blinked, "Professor He, I didn't suffer it alone. Didn't I recover all my losses today?"

He Zhichu's shimmering sultry eyes curved into a smile, his cool and indifferent expression suddenly becoming indescribably handsome. "Gui Suyao is Prime Minister Dou's relative, so I can't kick her out for now..." He Zhichu didn't finish his sentence before Gu Nianzhi's eyes dimmed and she interrupted, "Professor He, I understand so I won't make things hard for you. It was enough you scolded Sister Gui today. There's no need to be too severe and make Sister Gui lose face, because that's also disrespecting Prime Minister Dou." She thought Profesor He was urging her to let it go since Gui Suyao's support was much too powerful... Prime Minister Dou was one of the three most powerful politicians in the Imperial Empire. Even Huo Shaoheng had to salute him whenever they met.

He Zhichu appeared slightly stunned as he replied unhappily, "You think I'm asking you to back off?"

Gu Nianzhi blinked her huge eyes, the long lashes fluttering like butterfly wings, "Aren't you?"

"Do you think I'm that kind of person?" He Zhichu tucked his hands into his suit trouser pockets, his posture as straight as a tree trunk. He had an unyielding aura about him.

"Professor He, you've always been a good instructor in my eyes and you've just started your own law firm in the Imperial Empire so damaging your relationship with Prime Minister Dou will also impact your business." Gu Nianzhi turned around and was about to walk out of the conference room.

He Zhichu reached out to grab her arm, then let go immediately. His hand was so hot that Gu Nianzhi's skin felt branded where he touched her. Rubbing her arm, Gu Nianzhi stopped in her tracks and looked up at him, "Professor He, was there anything else?" Her tone was polite and distant like they were only strangers.

He Zhichu took a deep breath like he would never be able to tell her if he didn't do it now. He blurted, "Nianzhi, I don't know if anyone's ever taught you to that you can't be too absolyte when dealing with people and situations; if you forced someone into a corner they'll come back to bite you on a day you don't except. With Gui Suyao, she will certainly channel all her anger on you if I really kick her out this time,"

Gu Nianzhi looked at He Zhichu fixedly, the eerie feeling growing in her mind. He was actually thinking of her and considering everything..."Gui Suyao comes from a normal family but her uncle is the Prime Minister, so that makes her not a normal person. Of course, I have no need to fear him, but what what about you? You have Huo Shaoheng, but is he always protecting you with how busy he is? With Prime Minister Dou's power and previous conflict with Huo Shaoheng, you are completely helpless if he decides to take the opportunity to seek revenge on you. --Are you willing to hide behind Huo Shaoheng and never be independent for the rest of your life?"

Gu Nianzhi looked at him thoughtfully and considered it carefully. She certainly didn't want to hide behind Huo Shaoheng and never be independent for the rest of her life. Huo Shaoheng probably also didn't need a woman who can't even dare to go out in public as a wife. When she thought about it carefully, He Zhichu had his point. If Gui Suyao was forced into a corner, then no one could predict what she would fo. Gu Nianzhi agreed with He Zhichu, if he truly kicked her out she would hate Gu Nianzhi to the bone, not He Zhichu. Because most people were all the same, they would instinctively bow down and acquiesce to those more powerful than themselves, then channel their anger on those weaker than themselves. Gu Nianzhi was considered a weaker person in Gui Suyao and Miao Yunxiao's eyes, so she was someone they could bully without fear of consequence. Of course, they overestimated themselves and underestimated Gu Nianzhi. Gu Nianzhi also didn't want to be constantly paranoid about people setting traps for her, just one Miao Yunxiao alone was already a big headache. However she could only ignore Miao Yunixao like she was invisible, it's not like she could totally cut her off? The Huaxia Empire was a society governed by law and as a student of law, she couldn't ignore the law. She nodded with regret, "I understand Professor He's good intentions and I should be grateful. But I can't get over how I was wronged. Tell me, why do I have to stress over whether or not to attack back after they've treated me lkie this? Is it easier to be the villain? Do only good people consider consequences?"

He Zhichu couldn't hold back a subtle smile, it flashed across his face for an instant before disappearing, "I understand how you feel and I already made plans for you."

"Oh? Plans for me?" Gu Nianzhi asked suspiciously, "Then you're going to let me suffer the the indignation of seeing Gui Suyao everyday?"

He hadn't wanted to say it, but Gu Nianzhi was too sensitive around him and because they had so many misunderstandings between them, he didn't bother to explain. The more he tried to explain the worse it sounded. In a moment, he made the decision, coughing lightly with both hands still in his trouser pockets, "Have you ever seen a blindfolded donkey with a carrot dangling in front of his head?"

"Not in real life, but in comics." Gu Nianzhi stated honestly.

He Zhichu's smile grew as he stared at Gu Nianzhi like he could see within her perfect and tiny face was the little girl that had run in front of him ever since she was 6 years old. "The donkey will only pull the cart forward dutifully as long as it smells the carrot. For the same reason, you must allow people like Gui Suyao and Prime Minister Dou to see hope in the near future. There is no need to let them know that the hope is actually a mirage to them, they will never attain it."

Gu Nianzhi instantly understood, so He Zhichu was using the position of his doctoral student to keep Gui Suyao on a leash so she refused to give up and couldn't give up. And as long as Gui Suyao didn't give up her goal, she would remain kind to Gu Nianzhi because that was the condition He Zhichu set in order for her to stay. "...The more she desires, the more she has to worry about. It's less likely she'll abandon it all recklessly." He Zhichu reached out in attempt to tuck a strand of silky hair behind Gu Nianzhi's ear, but she stepped back reflexively. He could only retract his hand and continued explaining, "At the same what I'm doing with Prime Minister is pelting the rat for fear of smashing the vase beside it. I hope that we won't destroy our relationship."

"Professor He has no need to explain to me." Gu Nianzhi mumbled, "You're the professor and I'm the student so I'll support any decision you make."

He Zhichu dropped his smile, "Don't worry, I won't allow her to give you trouble again. How about this, you will have class separately from them from now on. It's not right for you to go to the same class as a master's student when they are all doctorates."

"Oh?" Gu Nianzhi looked up once more suspiciously at He Zhichu, "You want to give lectures separately? But I'm the only one..." He was being too nice to her? An esteemed law professor like He Zhichu would give her private lectures?! He was basically a private instructor, this was crazy...

"Not so fast." He Zhichu resumed his typically cold tone, "My teaching assistant went back home and won't be coming back, so I need a new one. In a few days I'll be recruiting for a new teaching assistant from the Faculty. You can also apply if you'd like."

Gu Nianzhi's eyes widened even more, "I can be a teaching assistant?! Students are eligible too?!"

"Of course. Don't you remember the older law students you met at Harvard? All the American post-grad masters students are teaching assistants for their professors and many of them also teach undergraduates." He Zhichu's voice suddenly grew warm and kind like he was luring her, "Also, my teaching assistant will receive a monthly wage from the university as well as a stipend from my teaching expenses. All in all, it's about 20000 RMB a month."

Gu Nianzhi swallowed, should she compete for such a good opportunity? She felt conflicted...

"However, there will certainly be many people applying by then. You can apply if you're interested and ignore it if you're not." He Zhichu walked off and reminded her, "Close the door for me when you leave, and as for the comments for your thesis, I've already sent them to your inbox. Edit it again according to my comments." He turned away without looking back.

He Zhichu's impartial attitude gave Gu Nianzhi's nervous mind a tiny bit of reassurance. She put on her backpack and left He Zhichu's professor's building to head back to her dorm room with her head confused. He Zhichu did as he promised. Early next morning, a piece of news lit up the entire B University Faculty of Law. The most esteemed Professor He Zhichu was publically recruiting for a teaching assistant!