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402 One Must Have A Dream

 "Nianzhi, Nianzhi! Get up right now!" Ma Qiqi pounded on Gu Nianzhi's door fiercely. "Big news! It's so amazing! Probably the news of the century!"

Gu Nianzhi had no class that day. After leaving He Zhichu's building yesterday, she'd gone straight to the library to edit her thesis and didn't return home until 7pm. Her brain had been exhausted from the day's events and she tiredly took a shower before passing out on the bed. When she was roused by Ma Qiqi the next day, she saw that it was already 9am. She'd slept a full 12 hours. Gu Nianzhi sat up from the bed in a daze before removing the blankets and putting on a silk and cotton robe and opening the door.

Ma Qiqi's hand was raised in md-kock and froze when she saw Gu Nianzhi's sleepy state. She giggled. "Nianzhi! You overslept!"

Gu Nianzhi smoothed her hair and sheepishly. "I had no class today so I wanted to get some more sleep. What's going on? You almost broke down my door."

"You're exaggerating." Ma Qiqi peered at the door though, just in case. "Where did I break it?" She smiled at Gu Nianzhi happily. "Don't change the topic! I just saw breaking news: that haughty Professor He Zhichu is recruiting a Teaching Assistant within the Faculty of Law!"

Gu Nianzhi's heart thumped; she secretly thought that He Zhichu was indeed a man of action. He'd just told her yesterday that he was going to make the posting and did it the next day. "Is he really recruiting within the faculty?" Gu Nianzhi asked dubiously. "Where did you see this?"

"Here, see for yourself." Ma Qiqi passed her iPad over. "This is our faculty app. You can see it pushing the hottest news!"

Gu Nianzhi looked down to take Ma Qiqi's iPad and carefully read from it. He Zhichu's recruitment posting was concise-he required a teaching assistant and planned to recruit from the Faculty of Law; everyone, from undergraduates to doctoral students, was welcome to apply. The conditions were also simple but high: the candidate must have outstanding academic ability, good conduct, and have at least three recommendation letters. The applicants needed to also pass an exam He Zhichu would administer. If selected, the applicant would be employed as a Teaching Assistant for three years and receive a generous salary.

Gu Nianzhi looked at the iPad with a conflicted expression before returning it to Ma Qiqi. "Are you applying?"

"Of course! You must understand that it's always good to have a dream, and maybe one day it'll come true!" Ma Qiqi giggled as she tapped on the application page on the faculty site to enter her email application. Every B University student had their own unique email address to receive official emails and contact their instructors. It basically acted as a student ID and internal applications only required logging into their email accounts. "Nianzhi, you should apply too." Ma Qiqi pulled her arm to the iPad. "Enter it now!"'

Gu Nianzhi was still hesitating. He Zhichu had an odd temper and severe mood swings. She was already his masters student as well. If she became his teaching assistant on top of that, she would be with him all the time.

Ma Qiqi raised her brows as Gu Nianzhi hesitated to apply. "Nianzhi, what's stopping you? Why are you making things difficult for yourself?" She urged good naturedly, "Are you going to give up such a precious opportunity?"

Yes, it was truly a precious opportunity. Not only did the position provide a generous salary, but it would make for an impressive record on her resume in the future. He Zhichu was a well respected name in both the Imperial Empire and American legal domains. With his reference on her resume, finding a job would be much easier. Additionally, becoming his teaching assistant would also be a chance to learn many new things. Gu Nianzhi thought about it carefully and finally came to a decision. "Ok, I'll apply."

"That's the way to do it!" Ma Qiqi slapped her shoulder. "We'll make the pact now: whoever gets accepted will have to pay for dinner!"

"Ok!" Gu Nianzhi high-fived Ma Qiqi three times as a promise. In the time it took for Gu Nianzhi to apply, she found that she was already applicant #402. The B University Faculty of Law comprised of about 600 students in total, from undergraduate to postgraduate. In other words, two thirds of the faculty were vying for the position.

"Look, this is a highly desirable position! A true testament of power!" Ma Qiqi giggled. "At this rate, this is even more dramatic than electing the new dean!"

Gu Nianzhi became anxious when she saw the number of applicants. Could she even compare with them?"

"Let's see here, looks like everyone applied-even the ones who don't qualify." Ma Qiqi looked at the email addresses of the applicants. "Look, I know this person too. She's in her fourth year so she'll graduate in the summer but applied anyway, Professor He already made it clear he's looking for a teaching assistant to work for the next three years, this girl is about to graduate and didn't even apply for post-grad studies. Who is she kidding?! Huaxia people ought to kick the bad habit of joining in for fun."

Gu Nianzhi laughed, "You're so whiny. Anyway, go prepare now. I still need to wash up and take a shower." She pushed Ma Qiqi out and closed the door to prepare a bath.

He Zhichu sat in his office, watching the applicant names appear on his computer. After waiting for a long time, Gu Nianzhi's name finally appeared. He made two marks by her name and shut down the application interface. The application deadline was over. He then began preparing the exam.

After Gui Suyao scrambled home in a daze, she cried to her mother about what happened at school but didn't dare tell her the truth. She merely said she had accidentally offended Professor He and so, she may no longer be able to continue as his doctoral student. She added to her son story that since she had also double- crossed her previous mentor, there was no where she could go. Gui Suyao felt that her world was ending-her promising future had been totally destroyed by Gu Nianzhi. The more she thought about it, the angrier she became. The initial terror slowly transformed into blame and finally hatred for Gu Nianzhi. Just as she was wishing for nothing more but to bring Gu Nianzhi down with her, her mother connected to her uncle, Prime Minister Dou. Of course, they weren't able to talk to him right away and had to leave a message for the operator.

Prime Minister Dou called back as soon as he finished work for the day. When he heard about Gui Suyao's experience, Prime Minister Dou agreed that He Zhichu was being too dramatic. Forgetting to relay a message was no ground for expulsion.

...

At noon, He Zhichu received a call from Prime Minister Dou himself. "Lawyer He, I heard that my niece has caused some trouble recently and angered you?" Prime Minister Dou chuckled. "It was wrong of her and I've already scolded her. I've asked her to apologize to you and she's willing to accept academic penalty. Please forgive her childish behaviour."

He Zhichu was stunned but replied cooly, "Your mischievous niece is already 26. I've never heard of a someone that age being regarded as a child."

Prime Minister Dou laughed heartily. "Professor He is so humorous. Fine, I can't argue as well as you can. I'll have Little Gui go apologize and you can punish her as you see fit; she will never dare say anything contrary."

He Zhichu smiled and after Prime Minister pleaded for a long time and even offered to pull favors for He Zhichu's Sovereign Law Office by promising them several large government contracts, He Zhichu finally agreed reluctantly. "Since Prime Minister Dou is so sincere, I can only accept your kindness. In this case, Gui Suyao may return for now and her behaviour will be observed."

In other words, Gui Suyao had no other chance after this if she made another mistake. Prime Minister Dou was satisfied as long as He Zhichu accepted Gui Suyao; he accepted all the terms. As soon as he set the phone down, his study door was opened and his youngest daughter, Dou Aiyan, burst in excitedly. "Dad! Professor He is recruiting for a teaching assistant! Can you write a recommendation letter for me?"