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466 Seven Years

 Gu Nianzhi shook her head and listlessly replied, "no."

"Then what's wrong?" He Zhichu's shimmering, sultry eyes were full of concern, yet his thin lips appeared stoic.

"It's nothing, just mood swings. I'll be fine in a bit." Gu Nianzhi was already used to He Zhichu's contradictory nature of suppressed concern. She looked up and tried to smile at him.

"That time of the month?" He Zhichu raised his brows. "Take a few days off if you're feeling unwell."

Gu Nianzhi was so embarrassed she didn't dare meet He Zhichu's eyes. "No, that's not what I meant."

He Zhichu realized he'd made a wrong assumption, and he felt awkward as well. He got up and walked to the kitchen then came back with a plate of muffins. "Have one, I remember you said you liked this brand best."

Gu Nianzhi looked and saw it was her favorite kind. She licked her lips and reached out to eat one slowly then washed it down with a sip of warm milk. She instantly felt better. He Zhichu could tell Gu Nianzhi had something on her mind, but as she was unwilling to talk about it, he didn't bring it up again. He went on to discuss her academics and future career.

"Nianzhi, your grades and your work as a teaching assistant are going well. You're excelling. Have you thought about taking some time to intern at a law firm?" He Zhichu placed a stack of cases in front of her. "Take a look when you have the time. These cases are not only from the Huaxia Empire but from overseas as well. My hope is you'll work hard and take the American Bar Exam when you've got the time. Then you can also practice law in the United States."

Gu Nianzhi thought this was a great suggestion. She was already qualified as a practicing lawyer in the Huaxia Empire, but if she could obtain an American license, it would give her even more career options after graduation. Gu Nianzhi felt excited, but she quickly replied, "the American Bar Exam is administered per state, and many require American academic credits. I'm afraid I don't qualify."

"The State of New York doesn't require American academic credits. They also recognize foreign law school credits. If you want to try the exam, you can send your transcript to their designated international transcript assessment agency for evaluation. They will convert your credits into the American equivalent, then you'd be able to take the test." He Zhichu was very familiar with this process and explained it in detail.

"I see. I haven't considered it yet, but if you think I should give it a try, I'll make preparations." Huo Shaoheng was leaving for a mission, and Gu Nianzhi knew she'd have more free time. She wanted to busy herself, so she wouldn't end up pining after Huo Shaoheng all the time.

"Yes, your grades will definitely meet their requirements. Your English is also much better than your classmates. It's practically your native language." He Zhichu picked up his coffee cup and studied her through the rising steam.

Gu Nianzhi remembered what He Zhichu had said about the person related to her past, and she hesitated for a moment. It had been a few days, but he had yet to say anything. She decided to finally ask, "Professor He, last time you said... that you'd help ask the person related to my past. How is that going?"

"You really want to know?" He Zichu looked down to avoid Gu Nianzhi's longing stare. "Your memories haven't recovered. Would you even believe me if I told you?"

Gu Nianzhi considered this problem. Aside from Huo Shaoheng, she didn't trust the word of others, and that included He Zhichu. But she's been feeling increasingly friendly and safe towards He Zhichu. She already trusted him more than she had in the past. Of course, she knew it was not wise to trust everything He Zhichu said unconditionally, but gathering new clues was always a good idea, right? She could logic her way through what was likely and unlikely to be true. She didn't want her heart to continue drifting and spinning aimlessly like a rootless weed in the water. She picked up her glass and sipped the warm milk. She felt the heat calm the nerves in her stomach. She looked up at He Zhichu steadily and said, "if you tell me, I'll analyze whether it's true or not."

Of course, He Zhichu wasn't satisfied with her answer, but what could he do? The only solution was to take it step by step. Ideally, Gu Nianzhi's memories would recover naturally, but with the state of the medical facilities in the Empire, this was unlikely to happen. On the other hand, He Zhichu knew that what Gu Nianzhi most required and craved was a concrete identity.

Let's just go with it, for now, He Zhichu thought as he crossed his legs on the spacious sofa. He glanced at Gu Nianzhi before taking out his phone and calling a number. After a long moment, the other person finally picked up.

"Lawyer He, what's going on? I didn't expect a call from you at this hour." Gu Yanran's slightly raspy voice came from the phone. Gu Nianzhi thought she had a natural, lazy charm to her voice.

He Zhichu peered at the call tracking location displayed on the phone and looked surprised. "You're not in the Empire?"

"No, I returned to Barbados the day before yesterday." Gu Yanran laid on the bedroom terrace in Barbados and felt the gentle night breeze cool the daytime heat. She was in a joking mood and said, "what is it? Could it be that Lawyer He misses me?"

He Zhichu smiled faintly, and his shimmering, sultry eyes flashed. "Of course, I missed you. You are our firm's most important client. We all miss you."

Gu Yanran giggled and tightened the tropical silk robe across her body. "Lawyer He, that's mean. You only miss my business, not me?"

"Miss Gu, you're too polite." He Zhichu's voice softened. He no longer sounded aloof and icy, and Gu Nianzhi noticed that he was much more friendly towards Gu Yanran than others. "We've known each other for so many years. We know each other better than anyone else, in business and personal life."

"I know. I wouldn't dare joke with you otherwise." Gu Yanran changed her position on the lounge chair and laid back. "Okay, give me a straightforward answer. What's going on?"

He Zhichu nodded. "Okay, I'll skip the courtesy." He pondered for a few minutes then took out another phone, opened a file, and looked at the screen. "Miss Gu, you first became our client seven years ago. You authorized us to become your legal representative and deal with all legal matters regarding your younger sister, Gu Nianzhi. Is that correct?"

Up until this point, Gu Nianzhi had been in a cloud of confusion and hadn't known what He Zhichu was plotting, but when He Zhichu said this, she jerked her head up violently. She muffled her mouth and stared at him in shock. His words echoed in her brain. Deal with the legal matters related to your younger sister, Gu Nianzhi. Deal with the legal matters related to your younger sister, Gu Nianzhi. Who was this Miss Gu? Gu Yanran?

Gu Nianzhi recalled that Gu Yanran had once told her she had a younger sister also named Gu Nianzhi. Gu Nianzhi had told Huo Shaoheng, but she hadn't thought much about it after they'd checked and discovered they were not related. There were so many people in the world, and it was not unusual to have people with the same name. But when Gu Nianzhi heard He Zhichu's words, everything changed. Gu Nianzhi had always presumed that He Zhichu knew about her past. So now they'd gone full circle, and Gu Yanran actually had played a part in her past?

On the other line, Gu Yanran was also feeling surprised. She wore a headset and looked up at the starry night sky where the stars glittered on a velvet blue backdrop. The broad-leafed tropical plants swayed quietly in the ocean breeze, and she could hear the crash of waves from somewhere nearby. She felt as if she was alone on top of the world.

He Zhichu waited for a long time but eventually urged her to speak. "Miss Gu?"

Gu Yanran snapped out of her thoughts and said quietly, "Seven years ago, my parents had an accident, and I had to rush over to deal with it. I left my sister, who was 12 at the time, alone in Barbados. When she went out to sea, she disappeared. I couldn't find her anywhere. Yes, I fully authorized your law firm to help me with the related matters. I've contacted many renowned detective agencies from around the world, and I've worked with both the American and Barbadoes police, but I still can't find my sister.

He Zhichu laughed, and his cold voice carried an indescribable weight. "Yes, Miss Gu. It's been almost seven years now." Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click for visiting.

In the case of missing persons, Gu Nianzhi knew there was a huge difference in "seven years have passed" and "almost seven years have passed." In many countries, a person is considered legally deceased when they have been missing for a total of seven years or more. The case of Gu Yanran's missing sister, Gu Nianzhi, was still unsolved, but once the full seven years passed, and she had yet to be found, the case would automatically close, and she would be presumed dead.