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440 Probing the Past 2

 Huo Shaoheng made a fist and covered his smile with it before answering noncommittally. "It seems that we have different understandings of the phrase 'taking care of.''"

"Please elaborate," He Zhichi replied dryly. He wanted to know what tricks Huo Shaoheng had up his sleeve.

"While Nianzhi is under my care, I want to teach her how to live independently. I don't want her to end up a giant baby incapable of adulthood." Although Huo Shaoheng was casual, his sarcasm was obvious.

He Zhichu licked his lips in an attempt to quell the anger in his heart. Leaning forward to take his coffee from the table, he held the cup and slowly took two sips before snickering.

He answered cooly, "Nianzhi is not a stupid person. She wouldn't turn into a giant baby no matter how she's taken care of. The point is whether the person caring for her is concerned for her."

"Indeed, whether someone is concerned makes a big difference in the standards and methods they use." Huo Shaoheng casually brought up how he rescued Gu Nianzhi. "The first time I saw Nianzhi, she was only 12 years old. She'd gone through some kind of trauma. She had nightmares all the time and couldn't be alone. Sometimes she woke up and would start screaming and crying if there wasn't anyone there. Honestly speaking, I was still in my early twenties and didn't know anything. If the military hadn't requested me to do it, and if I hadn't been the only one Nianzhi recognized, there's no way I could've taken care of her."

Veins gradually popped on the back of He Zhichu's hand and he gripped the coffee cup so tightly his joints protruded. However, his expression remained unchanged as he half squinted. He was so still even his long eyelashes didn't move. It was impossible to guess anything was wrong from his facial features alone.

Huo Shaoheng sighed deeply as he casually continued. "She was just a little girl. I really don't know why she had all those nightmares."

"Yes, well did you ask her what she dreamt of?" He Zhichu set his cup down and looked up with a face of curiosity.Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click www.webnovel.com for visiting.

"Maybe it had to do with her past experience, or it was related to her car accident. Who knows?" Huo Shaoheng shook his head. "So you're concerned about Nianzhi's past?"

"I'm not a gossip," He Zhichi denied instantly. "It's just that I've studied a bit of psychology, and I know nightmares are a natural psychological and physiological reaction. If one can determine the trigger, one can help prevent the nightmares from recurring. Have you tried this before? If a little girl is constantly having nightmares and can't sleep, it can seriously impact her physical and mental health."

"Then you believe Nianzhi is physically and mentally unhealthy?" Huo Shaoheng smiled as his eyes drifted over to the small study Gu Nianzhi was in. The adult Gu Nianzhi was lively and lovely, tall and pretty, humorous and cheerful. She wasn't stubborn. No matter how one saw it, she was not physically and mentally unhealthy.

Regardless of how dissatisfied He Zhichu was with Huo Shaoheng, he had to admit Gu Nianzhi had grown up well. Much better than he could've imagined...

"How did you do it?" He Zhichu also looked in the direction of the study. Through the closed door, they could almost hear Gu Nianzhi's sweet and melodic voice.

Straightening his back, Huo Shaoheng smiled. "It's very simple. I had her train with my soldiers. She was exhausted, so she always slept deeply. She ran ten kilometers every day and did a variety of physical training. This went on from when she was 12 to 16 years old. How else would she have grown so tall?"

He Zhichu was speechless for a moment. Before the age of 12, Gu Nianzhi had been below the average height and above the average weight for children the same age. She was not as healthy as she currently was. No matter, she'd still been He Zhichu's Gu Nianzhi. This new, perfect Gu Nianzhi no longer belonged to him.

He Zhichu looked up and replied coolly, "so your 'care' was brutality. A delicate princess was trained like a brawny soldier. The only reason she turned out well was because she was healthy, to begin with."

Huo Shaoheng immediately latched onto the clue in He Zhichu's speech and questioned him. "Oh? How would you know Nianzhi used to be a delicate princess? I can't see that at all."

He Zhichu recognized his slip and realized Huo Shaoheng had been probing him about Gu Nianzhi's past. He was instantly alert, but he knew he couldn't make too firm an excuse. He had to overcome Hao Shaoheng in order to reunite with Nianzhi. Otherwise, there would be too many obstacles. He Zhichu, of course, knew what to say and what not to say. He also knew he couldn't rush. Nianzhi still had animosity towards him. The wrong move could wipe out all his past efforts.

He Zhichu smiled. "Mr. Huo, how would I know whether or not Nianzhi was a delicate princess? I was just making a logical inference. All girls nowadays are little princesses as long as they have parents, don't you agree?"

"So you were guessing?" Huo Shaoheng said suggestively, "It sounded like you knew about Nianzhi's past circumstances. I'm very sad her roommates made fun of her background. We've been working hard to find Nianzhi's parents for a long time, but for some reason, we haven't found anything."

"She's had a good life with you. I don't think she even wants to find her parents." He Zhichu also began playing mind games with Huo Shaoheng. One man made a request while the other gave the condition. They were both weighing whether or not the other could maximize their benefits, and of course, it was all for Gu Nianzhi's benefit.

"That's because she's an obedient child. She didn't want to become a burden." Huo Shaoheng sighed before looking down to reply, "but I know deep in her heart, she must really want to find her parents and family."

"Why do you say that?" As cold as He Zhichu's voice was, it now had a hint of sadness.

"One time, when she had a high fever she called out to her parents' names." Huo Shaoheng gave a purosefully vague description. Gu Nianzhi had only mentioned her father, not her mother.

"Oh? She only mentioned her parents' names? She didn't mention any other names?" He Zhichu controlled himself but finally couldn't help revealing obvious disappointment.

Huo Shaoheng shook his head. "No, she only mentioned it once. When we investigated that name we couldn't find anything."

He Zhichu's face was as frigid as an ice sculpture. He eyes fell on the door to the study. He was silent for a long time. Huo Shaoheng didn't pressure him. He looked at his already cold coffee then got up to walk around He Zhichu's living room a few times. When He Zhichu looked away again, Huo Shaoheng bent over to ask, "may I ask if you have any more coffee? This cup is already cold."

"Yes, it's in the kitchen over there." He Zhichu pointed in the direction. "You can make some more yourself." He could tell Huo Shaoheng hadn't had any of the coffee. This was a habit he also practiced.

Huo Shaoheng nodded and went into He Zhichu's kitchen. He saw the coffee machine right away. He got the coffee, put it into the machine, and watched it brew.

...

Zhao Liangze finished writing the reflection essay, and Gu Nianzhi copied it word for word. She read the entire thing and didn't see anything wrong with it.

"Is this okay?"

"Of course it's okay. Who do you think wrote it?" Zhao Liangze smirked smugly.

Gu Nianzhi grinned and took the report before gently opened the study door to poke her head out. She saw He Zhichu sitting in the living room alone. Huo Shaoheng was nowhere to be seen.

She called quietly. "Professor He? I finished the reflection essay."

Snapping out of his thoughts, He Zhichu nodded at her. "Let me have a look."

Gu Nianzhi came out with the reflection essay and passed it to him with embarrassment. She muttered, "my handwriting isn't great. Please don't laugh at me."

He Zhichu held his coffee cup with one hand as he took the paper with the other. Seeing Gu Nianzhi's messy scrawl, he laughed quietly and whispered, "it's been so many years and your writing still hasn't improved."

"What did you say?" He Zhichu spoke quietly, and Gu Nianzhi was so busy looking for Huo Shaoheng she didn't hear him properly.

"I said you'd better practice your handwriting if you want to improve this essay." He Zhichu set his cup down and folded Gu Nianzhi's reflection essay. "I'll keep this for now. Don't worry, I won't put this into your academic file."

Gu Nianzhi sighed deeply and grinned "Really? You really won't put it in my file?"

"No. What happened between you and Miao Yunxiao was anything but simple. This time, it wasn't your fault. I asked you to write the reflection report so you could learn a lesson." He Zhichu's expression was a bit cold. "They had a lot of nerve messing with my girl. We'll see how many spare lives they have!"