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573 Love Me, Love My Dogs

 "I know." Gu Nianzhi looked at them from afar. "I'll go in after they've left."

Gu Yanran, Ye Xuan, and Gu Xiangwen looked more like a family when they were standing together. Gu Nianzhi felt like an outcast. However, she did not want anyone to know, because she felt disgraceful thinking like that...

"You don't like them?"

"No, but I don't exactly love them, either," Gu Nianzhi answered truthfully. She turned around to look at Chen Lie, her eyes big, black, and sparkly, just like two black grapes. They looked so sweet and attractive. Then, she shook her head. "I'm not close with them."

"You'll get to know them better as time passes." Chen Lie could only comfort her this way. He patted her shoulder and was about to leave when Gu Nianzhi called out to him, "Brother Chen, how is my father, exactly?"

Chen Lie turned around to look at her and was wondering how to let her know. The corridor was quiet. The rays from the afternoon sun shined through the windows, making the dust look shimmery and pretty. Gu Nianzhi looked at Chen Lie fixedly and waited for his reply.

After contemplating for a while, Chen Lie was about to speak when they heard a neat set of footsteps from the other end of the corridor. Chen Lie and Gu Nianzhi looked over at the same time. A group of soldiers in uniform with stars on their shoulders was walking towards them. They were not exactly marching. However, due to being in the military for so long, walking in formation was a deeply ingrained habit.

Chen Lie gawked at them, his jaw dropping. Gu Nianzhi was taken aback as well. She did not recognize anyone, but the person leading them was none other than General Ji. Seeing that, she stood at immediate attention with Chen Lie, just like they were about to salute.

Huo Shaoheng had trained her posture of attention personally. It was comparable to the soldiers in the army. It was even better than Chen Lie's, who was at most considered half a soldier.

"Good afternoon, sir!" Chen Lie and Gu Nianzhi said simultaneously. Chen Lie, being an active duty soldier, saluted General Ji. Gu Nianzhi wasn't a soldier, so she stood beside Chen Lie quietly with a stern expression.

General Ji saw Gu Nianzhi from afar. She was tall. Her pretty face still looked slightly clueless but stern at the same time. There was an indescribable sense of maturity emanating from her. General Ji raised his hand and acknowledged Chen Lie. "You've worked hard, Doctor Chen."

Chen Lie was so emotional at that comment, he almost blurted out, "It was a pleasure to be serving the citizens..."

Gu Nianzhi watched Chen Lie gawk and coughed slightly. Chen Lie snapped back to reality and blushed furiously. He smiled awkwardly and asked, "General Ji, you're here to visit old Mr. Gu?"

There was only one patient on this level. It was none other than Gu Xiangwen. The place he was in was heavily guarded. Nodding, General Ji stood in front of Gu Nianzhi and asked kindly, "Nianzhi's here to visit your father?"

Gu Nianzhi acknowledged him with a smile and said, "I visit him every week. Thanks for remembering my father, sir."

"I should have been here earlier. Here..." General Ji turned around and pointed to the soldiers he brought along with him. They were all about 40 years old, mostly ranked colonel and above. "I brought them here to visit old Mr. Gu. Their obstacles wouldn't have been cleared so easily if not for him, and our skies would not have been so safe."

Gu Nianzhi understood in an instant. These soldiers were most likely from the Hua Xia Empire's Air Force. She glanced past the soldiers and nodded in acknowledgement. "Nice to meet you."

"You're Gu Nianzhi?" One of the men who was standing near General Ji nodded back. "I saw you a couple of years ago. You were just this tall." He used his hand and indicated her height then. Gu Nianzhi laughed. That was her height when she was 12. This colonel should be the one who had taken the map from Huo Shaoheng, then.

"Alright, let's go in. How is old Mr. Gu's condition?" General Ji waved to Gu Nianzhi and she walked over beside him. General Ji took good care of Gu Nianzhi, just like how he would his very own granddaughter. He brought her into the ward. Gu Yanran and Ye Xuan turned around in surprise. They did not understand why there were so many people all of a sudden.

Chen Lie rushed over to introduce them. "General Ji, this is Gu Yanran, old Mr. Gu's eldest daughter. This..." Chen Lie paused as he glanced at Ye Xuan before continuing, "is Gu Yanran's bodyguard."

Ye Xuan's brows furrowed. He looked at Gu Yanran and realized that she did not explain further. Instead, she just went towards General Ji happily, holding out her hand. "You're General Ji? I've heard a lot about you!"

However, General Ji did not shake her hand. He merely nodded politely and turned around to ask Gu Nianzhi, "Nianzhi, how is your father?"

Gu Yanran's hand was stuck in midair awkwardly, and she shot Gu Nianzhi a look. However, Gu Nianzhi did not look at her. She looked at General Ji and replied, "My father is still in a vegetative state, General Ji, but he's way better now compared to how he was in Barbados. At least he isn't malnourished."

The soldiers behind General Ji chuckled, but they managed to quickly control themselves. Gu Yanran was taken aback. She felt like she had just been slapped in the face. Putting her hand down, she said, "It wasn't so serious. It was just that I was a tad too busy at that time and couldn't always go to the hospital... And they took advantage of that..."

"No one said it was Sister's fault," Gu Nianzhi answered peacefully and brought a chair over for General Ji to sit. She looked at the soldiers behind him.

General Ji turned to look at them as well. "Come and salute old Mr. Gu and hope that he makes a full recovery soon. Then you can go back."

"Yes, sir!" The soldiers followed General Ji instructions immediately, standing in a straight row at attention before saluting him. It was so neat and on point that they could have written a book to teach other soldiers that this was the perfect way to salute. In a matter of seconds, these soldiers neatly left the ward. The place finally felt spacious again. There was only General Ji, Gu Nianzhi, Chen Lie, Gu Yanran, and Ye Xuan left in the ward. There were also two of General Ji's secretaries and four bodyguards.

Only then did General Ji sit down. He gently tugged Gu Nianzhi over to take a seat by him. He had never been so nice to Gu Nianzhi before. She was slightly taken aback and asked, "General Ji, would you like some coffee or tea?"

"You're not a soldier. Don't address me with such formality." General Ji laughed heartily. "Since you're so close to Shaoheng, just call me Uncle Ji."

Gu Nianzhi's heart skipped a beat. She looked at Chen Lie but saw him turning away to check Gu Xiangwen's vitals. That made her even more uncomfortable. However, she did not show it. She sat down obediently, and before she could say anything, Gu Yanran had already come over and taken a seat beside her, smiling. "Nianzhi, since General is so nice, quick, call him Uncle Ji."

Gu Nianzhi had no choice. "Uncle Ji."

"Yes, good girl. I'll always help you. Your father, Gu Xiangwen, made tremendous contributions. The Nation and its citizens remember him for them. Take good care of him and hope that he will make a full recovery soon," General Ji said clearly, looking stern. Then, he called Chen Lie over and asked about Gu Xiangwen's condition.

Chen Lie had been taking care of Gu Xiangwen for more than a month. He knew Gu Xiangwen's condition like the back of his hand. Therefore, he replied confidently, "His brain activity is normal. There are no clots. Therefore, I was unable to discover the exact reason he's still in a coma." After that, he looked at Gu Yanran. "There are some things that I need to know from Miss Gu Yanran, as she saved him then. I need to know the exact situation truthfully, in order to treat him. I hope that Miss Gu will cooperate fully with me on this."

Gu Yanran nodded eagerly. "Of course. Please ask whatever you wish to know, Dr. Chen. I'll be totally honest."

"Good. I'll be at ease, then." General Ji nodded contentedly. Then, he stood up and walked to Gu Xiangwen's bedside and tucked him in. Gu Nianzhi followed and stood up as well. She felt suffocated, like her heart was all tangled up.

Chen Lie breathed a sigh of relief. With General Ji, Gu Yanran finally agreed. Let's hope that we'll be able to get something useful out of her this time around...

After visiting Gu Xiangwen, General Ji had to rush off to a meeting. Gu Nianzhi knew that for someone of his rank to arrange ten minutes to visit Gu Xiangwen specially, and to be concerned about his condition, Gu Xiangwen must really mean something to them. She took General Ji to level one gratefully.

General Ji was extremely polite to her all the way. His attitude was too good to be true. The more polite he was trying to be to her, the more Gu Nianzhi felt uneasy. However, as Gu Yanran was following them to take General Ji down as well, Gu Nianzhi did not dare to ask some of the things that she really wanted to get off her chest.

Her opportunity came when General Ji was just about to get into his car. Gu Yanran's phone rang, so she had to step aside to answer it. Gu Nianzhi immediately whispered, "General Ji, do you happen to know when Huo Shao will be back, please?"

She knew that she shouldn't ask, but General Ji had been so nice today, Gu Nianzhi really didn't want her thoughts to stray to where they shouldn't. However, General Ji's expression remained the same. Chuckling, he looked at Gu Nianzhi. "Are you beginning to miss your boyfriend now, Nianzhi?" General Ji's secretaries laughed along. Gu Nianzhi was too embarrassed to ask anymore. She remained there until General Ji's car left the hospital building.

Gu Yanran returned after her call and said, relaxed, "General Ji is really nice to you, Nianzhi. Are you close to him?"

"Nope." Gu Nianzhi stopped looking and turned to face Gu Yanran, smiling as she said, "General Ji was just concerned about Father's condition. As for me, he was merely behaving as if he likes the things I like, too."

Gu Nianzhi wasn't sure if "the things she liked" referred to Huo Shaoheng or Gu Xiangwen. She assumed that it was truly Huo Shaoheng.

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Watching General Ji's car disappear into the distance, Gu Nianzhi said after a while, "Father is such a remarkable man, isn't he? He's not even conscious, but already so many important people are concerned about his health."