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572 Overthink

 Gu Nianzhi took one glance at the man and knew he was mixed race, probably a combination of Huaxia and Caucasian bloodlines with some Latino. That was why his features were refined and as elegant as a handsome sculpture.

Gu Yanran noticed Gu Nianzhi's lingering glance on Ye Xuan's face. She took her hand with a smirk. "Nianzhi, this is Ye Xuan. Do you remember him?"

Gu Nianzhi said nothing.

"You forgot? We used to play together all the time when you were little. He went to boarding school in the United States after but wrote letters to each other often." Gu Yanran also grabbed Ye Xuan's hand to join all three together and sighed. "I didn't think we could still see our childhood friend after all these years."

Gu Nianzhi didn't know what to say and pulled her hand back as she muttered, "...Really?"

Ye Xuan had been studying Gu Nianzhi as soon as she walked in. Could this beautiful young girl with sparkling, dark eyes be the fat and ill-tempered Gu Nianzhi from all those years ago? He was deeply confused.

Gu Yanran coughed slightly when she noticed Ye Xuan staring intensely at Gu Nianzhi. "Nianzhi, Ye Xuan was one the orphans Father sponsored back then. He just arrived from Barbados to visit Father in the hospital."

Ye Xuan finally looked away to peer at Gu Yanran. "Yanran, let's go see senior Mr. Gu."

Gu Yanran nodded. "I wonder how Father has been doing lately. We will have to ask Dr. Chen."

Gu Nianzhi kept quiet and followed them into the ward. Chen Lie was adjusting the medical devices for Gu Xiangwen and turned around to look at them. "You should speak with him more often. Maybe it'll help wake him up."

"Dr. Chen, can my father really wake up?" Gu Yanran asked worriedly. "We hired the best American experts back in Barbados, but there hadn't been any progress in seven years."

Gu Nianzhi put her hands in her pockets and slowly walked over, shooting Chen Lie a glance. However, Chen Lie ignored her and merely smiled at Gu Yanran. "Miss Gu, I don't know how skilled your American expert was, but it's not true that there hasn't been any progress in your father's condition for the last seven years. In fact, it's been deteriorating. We've stopped it from getting worse now, but there will still be a long process when it comes to waking him up. You should come visit him more when you have a chance, this will help his condition improve."

Gu Yanran frowned. "Dr. Chen, perhaps your treatment methods are different. Regardless of my father's condition, I know those doctors tried their best."

Gu Nianzhi shook her head in disagreement and walked before Gu Xiangwen's bed. She bent over to peer at the data on the monitoring devices, then reached out to straighten his blankets. "Doctors are supposed to treat and save patients. If they can't even do that but worsen the patient's condition, then I don't think we can use 'they tried their best' as an excuse to gloss over their incompetence and misconduct."

Gu Yanran stiffened then smiled. "Nianzhi is still sharp-tongued as ever." She walked over to take her arm and urge kindly, "Nianzhi, Father and I haven't been by your side all these years. It's not good that you developed such an unforgiving temper. Remember to forgive and forget. You mustn't be too harsh to others."

Gu Nianzhi's memories hadn't recovered, so she didn't form any emotional connection to Gu Xiangwen or Gu Yanran yet. Now that Gu Yanran was chiding her, it naturally wasn't well received. Gu Nianzhi turned her head away from Gu Yanran's smile and stated without reservation, "If asking doctors to fulfill their duties is too harsh, then you are a bit pretentious with your saintly nature."

Gu Yanran's face fell. She was temporarily shocked by Gu Nianzhi calling her a "pretentious saint" in front of all the others.

But Ye Xuan had already come to Gu Yanran's defense before she could even refute Gu Nianzhi. "Gu Nianzhi! How can you speak to Yanran like that? Where is your respect?!" Ye Xuan immediately chastised Gu Nianzhi.

"I'm only being honest." Gu Nianzhi spread her palms. "Also, Ye Xuan, why is an outsider like you in a position to scream at me when I'm speaking with my sister?"

Ye Xuan's face darkened instantly. All these years, no one from the boarding school or the Gu manor in Barbados had dared to use this tone with him and remind him of the fact that he wasn't part of the Gu family. Clenching his fists, Ye Xuan moved a mere step away from Gu Nianzhi's face.

"Gu Nianzhi, you've always acted out against us ever since you were a kid. I didn't think you'd be even more unbearable now that you're grown up!"

"While you remember what I was like as a kid, I don't. So your evidence is just one-sided, and I won't take it to heart." Gu Nianzhi smiled at Ye Xuan, not at all frightened into silence.

Ye Xuan stiffened. He had a nagging thought that the Gu Nianzhi before him now was too different than when she was young. But thinking about how he'd last seen her, when she was only seven or eight years old, it was completely understandable for her to be different, since girls changed so much as they grew up.

Gu Yanran giggled from the side and wagged her finger. "You two are still exactly the same, fighting right in front of Father as soon as you disagree." She grabbed Gu Nianzhi's arm. "Don't fight, Nianzhi. Ye Xuan doesn't mean that. Don't overthink it." She then said to Ye Xuan, "Ye Xuan, you're a grown man. You should not bicker with a girl."

Gu Nianzhi pouted. Stepping aside, she allowed Gu Yanran to walk before Gu Xiangwen's bed and said, "I won't take his words to heart, so of course, I won't overthink it. Sister truly treats Ye Xuan better than her own sister."

Defending him at every turn and looks of love and concern-Gu Nianzhi said it to only point out an objective fact. But the words held a different meaning when heard through Gu Yanran's ears. She gazed between Gu Nianzhi and Ye Xuan, then finally smiled after a long moment.

"Ok, I misspoke," she said. "Is that all right? Don't be angry, either of you. Nianzhi, you are my sister, and Ye Xuan is my brother. I love you both the same way."

"Really? The same way?" Gu Nianzhi was amused. "Not that I want to start something, but I'm your actual sister. He's only a student sponsored by Father, yet you actually said you love us the same way. Then doesn't that mean that you have a deeper love for Ye Xuan?"

Gu Yanran muffled her laughter. "Nianzhi, you're a really talented lawyer. Your silver tongue will be incredible in the courts!"

Gu Nianzhi could tell she was changing the topic but didn't point it out. Instead, she walked out of the ward and stood by the window in the hallway to contemplate.

Chen Lie followed her out to see her standing aimlessly in the hallway. He asked her with curiosity, "Why don't you go in? That's your father, too."