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577 Are They Here for Me?

 "Why do you always like to twist the intention of my words, Nianzhi? You know I didn't mean that." Gu Yanran was slightly upset now. She raised her voice a little and walked over to take a seat on the sofa. "Alright, I shall not talk further. Come up quickly. Ye Xuan has gone down to receive our meal delivery." Gu Yanran hung up and did not give Gu Nianzhi any opportunity to reply.

Gu Nianzhi made a face at the phone call that had already been hung up. If I hadn't promised Brother Chen that I'd find out the details about Gu Xiangwen's aircraft accident, I wouldn't even want to go up for dinner... She entered the elevator and arrived at the entrance of Gu Yanran's apartment. Then, she pressed the doorbell and waited for Gu Yanran to answer the door.

"Come in." Gu Yanran was waiting for her in the corridor. "Ye Xuan has already brought our dinner up. They were all your favorites when you were younger, especially the deep fried lotus. This restaurant makes it really well."

Indeed, Gu Nianzhi liked deep fried lotus. She also liked lotus stewed with pork ribs. However, it was summer and slightly too hot for eating it now. She preferred to have it during the winter. "Thanks, sis." Gu Nianzhi made peace and walked into the corridor to change her shoes. Gu Yanran had placed a couple of home slippers in the corridor. They were UGG casual slippers. She chose one pair randomly and followed Gu Yanran into the dining hall.

The decorations were extremely elegant. A light purple tablecloth was draped over the dining table. The material looked like silk. How extravagant... Gu Nianzhi sat down wordlessly and looked at the dishes on the table. Even though dinner was takeout, it had been placed in jade-colored ceramic bowls and plates that had gold rims and butterflies etched into them. One could tell that they had put in effort to make the setting elegant.

"Help yourselves. We're all family." Gu Yanran took the sharing chopsticks and took a piece of scallop for Ye Xuan. "Ye Xuan, try this."

Gu Nianzhi saw that there was green bean soup among the dishes. She took a bowl unceremoniously and drank it.

Gu Yanran laughed. "Nianzhi, we eat before drinking soup. You forgot?"

Gu Nianzhi drank some soup before putting down her spoon and smiled. "Sissy, we should drink soup before eating. It helps with losing weight and protects our stomach."

"Oh is that so? Who told you?" Gu Yanran was extremely interested. "We have been eating before having soup all the while in Barbados. I forgot that you've lost your memory."

"Everyone says that here." Gu Nianzhi smiled cheekily. "The wealthy, knowledgeable, and influential families here are all particular about health. They don't eat 'til they're bloated at every meal!"

Gu Yanran nodded eagerly. "We really cannot be compared to those big families. Nianzhi, Huo Shao taught you that, didn't he?"

Even though Huo Shaoheng did teach her that, Gu Nianzhi did not want to admit it to Gu Yanran. She tilted her head and began having her meal after glancing at Ye Xuan. "Everyone eats like this. I just followed them."

Gu Yanran seemed to be really interested in this subject. "Then what about the sequence when you eat? Like is there anything you should or should not eat first?"

Gu Nianzhi smiled widely. "They also have this rule about not talking during meals..."

Gu Yanran smiled awkwardly, the corners of her lips twitching. "Always so cheeky, Nianzhi." However, she stopped asking questions or talking after that. There were only the delicate clinking sounds from the cutlery and their breathing in the dining room.

Finally, they were done with dinner. Gu Nianzhi got a cup of green tea and went to a room that adjoined the dining room to digest her dinner. Ye Xuan stood up silently and began clearing the table.

Gu Nianzhi and Gu Yanran talked for a while, before bringing up the topic of Gu Xiangwen's accident. "Sissy, what exactly happened to the aircraft that father was in?"

"I have no idea. The cause of the MH210 crash is still a mystery, even now." Gu Yanran leaned on her luxurious tatami, a cup of green tea in her hands as well.

"Yes. I remember they were saying that it was only after searching for a couple of years that they found the remains of the aircraft. Sissy, how did you find father before the search party?" Gu Nianzhi was even more curious now.

"I wasn't extremely quick, either." Gu Yanran furrowed her brows and began recalling. "Father had a miniature contact device on him at that time. It always sent out signals and had an extremely long battery life. Even though that device was badly damaged, it was still emitting signals. I confirmed father's location using those signals. However, I was still too late."

"Too late?"

"Yes. Had I been faster, I might have been able to save mother as well." Gu Yanran covered her face with one hand, and her voice cracked. "Mother was severely injured. The island was barren, and she passed on there. The moment mother left us, father collapsed as well. When I found them, father was hugging mother's body tightly. I thought that both of them were gone... but I didn't want to give up and asked the doctors to check. Then they found that father was still breathing but had become a vegetable. Mother... left an hour before I found them."

Gu Nianzhi's heart wrenched. "Then how did father look then? Do you remember? I mean, did he become a vegetable because of head injuries or injuries in other areas? Do you remember what he was wearing when you found him?"

Gu Yanran thought carefully for a long time before shaking her head. "I don't remember what he was wearing when I found him. It took me a month to locate them. I was panicking like mad. When I saw them finally and realized that father was still alive, I was so happy that I fainted. When I woke up, father had already been carried onto the helicopter, and mother was buried on that island."

Did this mean that she did not remember the details of Gu Xiangwen's injuries? "What about his medical records? Do they still have the medical records from when father had just been admitted?"

"Medical records?" Gu Yanran laughed lightly. "When your Huo Shao burned the hospital in Barbados, most likely all the medical records in there were also burned."

Gu Nianzhi chuckled. "People still use paper documents to store medical records in this day and age? Didn't they use the computer or save anything on hard drives? What about cloud storage?"

"Barbados is not as advanced as the Hua Xia Empire, Nianzhi. They're still using the traditional method of writing down their patients' medical records," Gu Yanran informed Gu Nianzhi matter-of-factly. "Don't expect all countries to be as advanced as America or the Hua Xia Empire. There are many countries out there that are rather backwards in technology."

Gu Nianzhi supported her delicate chin on her hand and tapped her cheeks with her fingers absentmindedly. Then, she nodded like she was deep in thought. "Alright, it makes sense. But if it's like that, it will be harder for father to recover."

"You're not a doctor. Why should you worry about this?" Gu Yanran comforted her as she smiled. "Nianzhi, leave professional things like this to the doctors. We just need to wait for results."

There was nothing Gu Nianzhi could do anymore. Even though something told her that it wouldn't be so simple, she couldn't find any immediate flaws in Gu Yanran's recollection. The law had always emphasized evidence. Since she didn't have any now, she could only accept what Gu Yanran had told her.

After dinner and some chatting, Gu Nianzhi felt exhausted. She stood up and announced her departure. Gu Yanran walked her to the door, not wanting her to go. "Nianzhi, you don't want to stay a bit longer? You don't come often. I still want to chat with you."

"There'll be other opportunities." Gu Nianzhi smiled as she nodded. "Sissy, I spent the entire afternoon cleaning the house. I'm so tired. Let's talk again tomorrow, okay?"

Gu Yanran turned around and called for Ye Xuan. "Ye Xuan, take Nianzhi back."

Gu Nianzhi waved her hands. "Whatever for? I just stay downstairs. But..." She rolled her eyes and moved closer to Gu Yanran. "Sissy, is he your somebody?"

"What?! Him?!" Gu Yanran shook her head in denial. "Of course not! He's younger than me. I don't have boyfriends who are younger than me."

"What a waste, Sissy." Gu Nianzhi shrugged. "He seems really interested in you."

"Since when... He's as nice to you as he is to me." Gu Yanran refused to acknowledge the love he had for her written all over his face.

Gu Nianzhi did not say anything else. It wasn't her business, and anyway, she did not have time to gossip. "I'll go now. Sleep early, Sissy." Gu Nianzhi turned and walked towards the elevator.

Gu Yanran pushed Ye Xuan out and insisted that he take her back. Neither of them wanted the other to be there. After the elevator door opened on Gu Nianzhi's level, she exited without even saying goodbye. Ye Xuan also couldn't be bothered to exit the elevator. He quickly pressed Gu Yanran's level and headed back.

Gu Nianzhi fell asleep the moment her head hit the pillow. It was a deep sleep with no dreams.

...

On the other side of the world in America, it was about eight or nine o'clock in the morning. After appearing in public last time, Huo Shaoheng rested for a couple of days in his rented apartment. He had decided to make another appearance again today. The route would be identical to the previous one. He took a train from New Jersey and a subway into the city.

This time around, even though he had blue eyes and a curved nose, he noticed that he was already being followed. It wasn't just him, though. Every single man who was about his height was being followed.

He roamed the airport again and realized that there were additional dogs around. Specifically, they were trained military dogs and were the most popular German Shepherd purebreds. These dogs were big with smooth, black fur.

Huo Shaoheng remembered that when he had been there previously, even though there were dogs, they were drug-sniffing dogs. However, this time around, the trained military German Shepherds were way stronger.

Are they here for me?