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618 Great Responsibility

 Gu Nianzhi nearly put her hands on her hips and burst out laughing over the phone. She replied cheerfully, "Great! Scum like him deserve to go through that!"

"...You think he deserved to be beaten?"

"Of course." Gu Nianzhi lifted a leg on the couch and kicked twice in the air. "If I'd been there, I would have been sure to kick him a few more times!"

He Zhichu chuckled quietly. "It's good-if he was really beaten."

"Could it not be real?" Gu Nianzhi's smile disappeared instantly. "No way. Could they be faking a serious injury to get away from punishment?!"

"I don't know. We'll see when we go to the hospital tomorrow," He Zhichu replied coolly. "The media is hounding the hospital entrance now, it won't be easy for him to get bailed out due to serious injury."

"Bail due to serious injury?" Gu Nianzhi was shocked. "This only applies when one is injured to the point of paralysis. Otherwise, it's impossible..."

"Yeah. So we have to go to the hospital to see tomorrow," He Zhichu replied and hung up.

Not long after he set down the phone, it began to ring once again. This time, it was a call from back home. He was a bit surprised as he unlocked it to answer, "Auntie Qin?" It was actually her calling.

"Chu, your father wouldn't let me tell you, but I don't think I can hide it from you." Auntie Qin's voice shook as she tried to suppress her sobs. "Your... Your father fell down in the garden yesterday and happened to hit the back of his head on a small faux mountain. He passed out right away and just woke up this afternoon. He's very weak right now..."

He Zhichu stood up right away, his face ashen. "He hit the back of his head?! Is it serious?"

"...Dr. Qin said that your father has a blood clot at the back of his head, and they are discussing whether to operate or not." Auntie Qin's voice gradually steadied. "Chu, will you come back home to see what to do?"

He Zhichu looked at his schedule. The next few days all had to do with setting up the new branch. He could leave the hiring process to the four lawyers to distribute among themselves, and all the legal documents requiring signatures had already been signed. They had just filed a civil claim for Li Haiqing's case today, and there were still two weeks before the hearings began, so he ought to have some time to go back.

He Zhichu sat rigidly on the couch and was speechless for a long time. Although he had never been close to his father, he was still his father, regardless. Now that something had happened to Senior Mr. He, He Zhichu just couldn't leave him be.

"Chu? Are you still listening?" Auntie Qin couldn't help nagging him after getting a long silence from the other end. "You'd better come back... You've been the most important person to your father ever since your mother passed away, and although he doesn't say it, I know what he thinks. No one is more important than you. Can you... forgive your father...?"

He Zhichu still remained silent but tightened his fist hanging on the side.

"Chu, I suspect... I suspect..." Auntie Qin mumbled and didn't seem to want to say it.

He Zhichu finally asked her, "What do you suspect?"

"I suspect that your father... Doesn't want to live anymore. He wanted to follow your mother..." Auntie Qin whispered very quietly, as if she was afraid of being overheard. Muffling the phone, she continued, "This isn't the first time. I've noticed that he always refuses to take his medication when he gets sick. I asked him, but he kept saying he forgot. This time, he was just walking around the garden and fell down like that. With so many people accompanying him, how could he get so seriously injured from a fall?"

"Could someone be trying to hurt him?" He Zhichu calmed down. Walking to the window, he opened the curtains to watch the dark Munich night sky. His eyes were dim and even darker than the sky.

"Oh? You think that's possible?" Auntie Qin grew anxious over the phone. "Then you'd better come back right away to investigate. I have no way of managing these things outside the household. There are no other men at home right now. Chu, can you come back first...? I'm worried..."

He Zhichu closed his eyes and rubbed at where his brows were furrowed together. He replied after some contemplation, "I'll come back right away."

Auntie Qin sighed deeply, her relief apparent. "Chu, it's great that you can come back. I really can't hold it together anymore."

"It's ok." He Zhichu comforted Auntie Qin and ended the call. He then checked the flights to see that there happened to be a flight to New York at 1:00 a.m. After booking first-class tickets, He Zhichu thought about his work at hand and called Gu Nianzhi. "Nianzhi, come over here. I have something to tell you."

Gu Nianzhi had just put on a face mask and was lying on the bed reading a German dictionary to learn legal provisions. "Oh, is it very important? I'm about to sleep. Can we talk tomorrow?" She was feeling sleepy and couldn't help yawning.

"No," He Zhichu replied coolly. "Hurry up and come over here. Don't be lazy."

Gu Nianzhi made a face and crawled up from the bed. After taking off her sleeping robe, she changed into casual clothes and slippers to knock on He Zhichu's door. He Zhichu opened the door to let her in and calmly glanced at the face mask she still had on.

"You're sleeping like this?" he said, pointing out her earlier lie.

Gu Nianzhi wasn't shy either and giggled. "I can sleep as soon as I take it off. It's convenient and doesn't need to be washed off."

He Zhichu walked to the coffee table to take out the schedule he had been looking at and passed it to her. "This is my schedule for the next two weeks, as well as a progress chart for the case. You take it."

Gu Nianzhi stiffened and took the two forms from He Zhichu to read. Peeling off her face mask, she threw it into the garbage and turned to look at He Zhichu. Under the chandelier light, her freshly masked face was fully hydrated, fair, and soft like the finest white-jade tofu. However, it was warm like pure white jade, and her emotional, dark eyes stared at him pointedly.

"Professor He, what is the meaning of this?"

"Something happened to my father. I need to go see him right away."

He Zhichu glossed over it, but Gu Nianzhi could see that he was clenching his right fist very tightly. This was something serious...

The smile disappeared from Gu Nianzhi's face, and she nodded seriously. "Your family is the most important. Professor He doesn't have to worry about things here. My four colleagues and I will make sure to work hard and not embarrass Professor He."

He Zhichu walked to her side and stared at her fixedly. His gaze was dark and solemn, like a black hole hidden in a starry night-not only was it vast and limitless but also bottomless.

Gu Nianzhi didn't dare to lock eyes with him and instinctively looked away. "Was there anything else Professor He needed?"

He Zhichu's throat bobbed as he'd swallowed hard, choking back his words along with it. Stroking Gu Nianzhi's hair, he said, "It's fine. It'll be ok. Consult with your colleagues if anything happens. If you can't decide, then drag it out and wait for me to come back."

Gu Nianzhi nodded solemnly and felt the great responsibility that had just been placed on her shoulders. But people only grew up from increased responsibility. She was now much more reliable, after a month in Germany, than she'd been when she was still in school.