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597 She’s Very Desolate

 Gu Nianzhi no longer had her previous security privileges. When she had gone abroad, customs hadn't issued any new warnings because her passport had been changed, and the Level 1 Warning System on the customs' computers still targeted her original passport. As a result, when her new passport was scanned at customs, no alerts were issued. If it wasn't because Gu Nianzi was worried Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze would look for her, she wouldn't even plan on telling those two, either. She had been worried that they would stop her from going to Germany to bother Huo Shao if she told them... But in the end, she still took the initiative to tell the men, and it was ok. Neither Yin Shixiong nor Zhao Liangze stopped her but instead encouraged her to take the opportunity to have fun abroad. Aside from being happy, Gu Nianzhi once again confirmed that Huo Shaoheng should be in Germany, because those two men were happy to aid in her quest and gave her much confidence.

Of course, Gu Nianzhi discovered it was much too difficult to find Huo Shaoheng once she actually arrived there. She had no idea where to start, and Huo Shaoheng also didn't seem to take the initiative to appear or contact her. She wouldn't stupidly ask around about Huo Shaoheng's whereabouts. In the deepest recesses of her heart, her wildest fantasy was nothing more than a chance reunion on the Isar River... Now that she had received a call from the Hua Xia Empire, Gu Nianzhi was a bit anxious. She calmed down and said to Gu Yanran, "Sister, I went traveling abroad."

"Abroad? Where did you go?" Gu Yanran's voice was suspicious. "Did you go with Mr. Huo?"

Gu Nianzhi wanted nothing more than that and secretly wished that was case! But unfortunately, it wasn't... However, Gu Yanran didn't need to know. Gu Nianzhi mumbled vaguely like she had an olive in her mouth, "I went with a few friends. Sister, did you need something?"

"I was worried about you. I haven't seen you in many days now, and when I went to your dorm to find you, your roommate said you were out. I asked where you went, but she said she didn't know." Gu Yanran was acting like the perfect sister. "Nianzhi, you sure are naughty. You ran off so far without saying anything, just like when you were young."

Gu Nianzhi somehow thought the words sounded especially grating. Of course she acted just like when she was young, she was still the same person! Gu Yanran's brain wasn't too bright... Gu Nianzhi kept thinking about her sister's lack of intelligence as she laughed. "I didn't tell Qiqi, so she also didn't know where I was going. Wouldn't it make sense that she was confused when you asked her?"

"Then where did you go? Shouldn't you at least let me know?" Gu Yanran pressed the landline against her ear and on the other side of the room, Ye Xuan sat on the couch. On the coffee table in front of him was a machine with continuously flashing red and blue lights. It was tracking Gu Nianzhi's cell phone signal.

No one could ask Gu Nianzhi about something she didn't want to talk about. Of course, she wouldn't merely refuse to answer but typically chose to change topics so the other person would forget what they were asking. Gu Nianzhi held the phone and sat on a sofa as she dried her hair and replied cheerfully, "Sister, how is father? I've already recovered my identity as his daughter for so long now, when will you allow me to officially return to the Gu family? I listened to you about not using Huo Shao's money, and I charged this overseas trip on a credit card. Are you going to pay it for me? I don't want to be a credit slave..."

Gu Yanran couldn't help sighing in relief and laughed. "Ok, when are you coming back? I'll be honest with you, all these years our family has spent more than it's earned. While others might see us living luxuriously, it's all a front. You'll understand when you come back. Ok, I have to go now, I need to talk to someone about business. It's not easy to earn money!"

Gu Nianzhi sounded very disappointed. "Oh? Sister! Don't be so busy just yet! When are you sending me the money?"

Just as she was asking, an icy voice could be heard over the phone. "Gu Nianzhi! That's enough! Your sister has been working to the bone to support the Gu family, and what have you been doing!? All you know is spending money!" Somehow it was Ye Xuan's voice.

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Gu Nianzhi froze. "Sister? You gave the phone to Ye Xuan?" The call ended, but the sound was especially strange, like it was electricity or the clanging of a machine. Ye Xuan was somehow at her sister's home at this time of night? Gu Nianzhi glanced at her watch and saw it should be about 8pm in the Hua Xia Empire. They must've had dinner together? Pouting, Gu Nianzhi looked at her phone unhappily as she tried to think about the strange sound she heard over the phone.

...

On the other end of the phone,Gu Yanran put away the landline and chastised Ye Xuan. "Oh, you can't you keep quiet, even for a second? Did you track her down?"

Ye Xuan shook his head. "I can only see that she should be in Europe. Anti-tracking software is on her phone, so it's not easy to pin down."

"Europe? What is she doing there?" Gu Yanran frowned. "This child also refused to tell me the truth. All she does it worry me..."

"Yanran, why are you so nice to her, anyway? You're not even actually sisters." Ye Xuan frowned as he put the devices on the coffee table into a special suitcase.

"Xuan, I can't allow you to say that. She is a Gu, so she is part of our family. Why does it matter if we are actually sisters or not?" Gu Yanran replied gently and appeared very protective of Gu Nianzhi.

"You're so kind-hearted, but that Gu Nianzhi refuses to appreciate it. I feel so bad for you." Ye Xuan closed the suitcase with a click and picked it up. "Fine, I'll be going now and not bother you anymore."

"Xuan, don't be angry." Gu Yanran embraced Ye Xuan from behind. "I'm worried about her, and you know she's left my side for so many years now. I'm worried she was led astray." Her big sister tone was the reason Ye Xuan couldn't resist her. His breathing grew heavy as he suddenly threw down his lockbox and turned around to embrace Gu Yanran. His lips kissed her fiercely...

...

In a suite in the Munich Hilton Hotel, He Zhichu had been standing silently by Gu Nianzhi's side. He finally asked when she hung up, "Gu Yanran called?"

"Yeah, that was so random. She kept asking where I was." Gu Nianzhi began to laugh. "So I purposely changed the topic and talked about things she instinctively avoided, so she stopped bothering me about where I am."

"Yeah, you don't have anything to say to her." He Zhichu smiled and sat on the sofa in the living room. "Don't let her know where you are for now. It might not be secret for very long, because the American law firm's website posted the employee list for this trip. She only needs to make a simple search to find it."

"Oh." Gu Nianzhi was unbothered. She went abroad to work, so it didn't matter, even if Gu Yanran found out about it. Worst case, she would scold her for keeping it from her, but Gu Nianzhi didn't feel an obligation to tell Gu Yanran the truth. It didn't affect Gu Yanran's interests, so shy would Gu Nianzhi report everything to her? Did Gu Yanran really think she was her older sister? Gu Nianzhi's memories had yet to be recovered, and she hadn't even grown her affection before Gu Yanran's attitude destroyed any chance of it. What could she do? She felt desolate...

Leaning back into the sofa, Gu Nianzhi felt the back of her neck get sore again and reached back to rub it. "Appearing in court is actually very tiring. I thought I already had experience, as this wasn't my first time appearing, but I didn't think I would still be nervous anyway."

"Neck is sore?" He Zhichu reached out to help Gu Nianzhi massage it, but she quickly moved aside and laughed. "I don't dare to bother Professor He. I've only ever seen disciples service their mentors, never the other way around."

"Then you might be in for an experience today?" He Zhichu smiled and stopped pursuing it when he saw Gu Nianzhi tense up. He stood up to ask, "Where do you want to go for dinner?"

"I don't know anything about that. The weisswurst this morning was good, but it's only for breakfast, right?" Gu Nianzhi couldn't stop thinking about the Bavarian weisswurst from the morning.

"This hotel only serves it in the morning, but we can go out and look if you want to have more. It should be easy to find." He Zhichu turned to ask her, "Do you want to go?"

"Oh, ok." Gu Niaznhi went back to get her Chanel boy bag and followed He Zhichu out of the hotel. They hailed a cab at the hotel entrance and asked the driver for a famous restaurant to go to. He recommended a four-star Michelin restaurant, and they headed that way happily.

It turned out the driver's recommendation was excellent. Germany was known for all sorts of pork knuckle-based dishes, like the famed Schweinshaxe known by all foodies on the Blue Planet. It was similar to the famous braised pork trotters in the Hua Xia Empire, but it didn't use sauces. It was roasted until the gelatin in the pork knuckle was nearly melted, and just this one dish was enough to fill Gu Nianzhi for the whole afternoon.

He Zhichu ordered black pepper seafood and pork knuckle hotpot. It was salty and fresh, and even someone like him who liked to have only red wine with every meal decided to eat several slices of whole wheat bread with the pork knuckle hotpot. He Zhichu paired red wine with the pork knuckle while Gu Nianzhi drank grape juice with her meal. She ate with gusto and almost wanted to lick her fingers clean as she asked He Zhichu longingly, "Professor He, the pork knuckle here is so delicious. It's so fragrant and good. This could compete with the specially provided meat back home." Also, she could actually taste the ingredients, so it wasn't just the heavy taste of many seasonings. The best food came from the taste of the actual ingredients, while the seasonings should be used to enhance but not overpower the original flavors of the food.

He Zhichu was very picky with his food but had to admit the pork there was similar to the pork he had back home. "Eat more if you like it. I'll ask if they deliver. If they do, then we can order meals from here for the next few days." He Zhichu got up to call the waitress over and asked in German if they delivered. This was a local restaurant that provided dine-in as well as delivery. He Zhichu ordered lunch and dinner with daily changing menus to be sent to the Hilton Hotel.

After lunch, He Zhichu and Gu Nianzhi left the restaurant. From the map on their phone, they saw the Hilton Hotel they were staying at wasn't too far away. They didn't hail another cab but walked around to aid digestion.