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817 I Have Objections

 When it was time to order food, Gu Nianzhi was still distracted.

Ma Qiqi wanted to remind her, but Yin Shixiong shot her a look and whispered, "Don't disturb her. It's fine if we order ourselves."

The Tan family's restaurant prepared famous aristocratic cuisine for imperial officials. They were known for cooking all sorts of dried and fresh seafood, and were especially renowned for shark fin. They could have essentially written a book about 108 ways to cook shark fin.

Yin Shixiong began by ordering appetizers: stir-fried duck liver, oysters with vermicelli and garlic, and five-spice anchovies. Then he ordered braised shark fin in white wine sauce as the main course.

Braised shark fin in white wine sauce was made using free-range, yellow hens. The chicken was nearly cooked into liquid and coupled with the rich, smooth shark fin. The dish was fresh, soft, and not too heavy.

He looked at the menu again, then ordered a bird's nest and vegetables in clear broth. This was actually filtered broth, and there were countless ingredients when it came to chicken, duck, ham, and dried scallops.

Ma Qiqi had never eaten such delicious food before, so in the moment she couldn't look away as she ate. She had no eyes for anything else except the food on the table, which was her greatest treasure. She looked at the food with such a loving gaze that Yin Shixiong thought he was getting jealous of the food right about then...

However, the food was tasteless in Gu Nianzhi's mouth. She only robotically put the food into her mouth and wanted to feel full. The shark fin tasted about the same as vermicelli to her.

Yin Shixiong was flabbergasted to see this, but he didn't disturb her.

This was such an important matter, so Gu Nianzhi must be using her smart brain to analyze it, and he shouldn't get in the way.

After dinner, Ma Qiqi burped from eating all the food. Gu Nianzhi seemed to finally return to her senses and looked at Yin Shixiong as she asked, "Does Huo Shao know about this?"

Yin Shixiong poured a bit of white wine for himself, swirling it in the glass as he replied, "According to normal procedure, foreign affairs are typically compiled into internal reports. I'm not sure if this incident was included in the internal report or not."

Gu Nianzhi instantly understood what Yin Shixiong said as soon as he said it.

Huo Shao should know about this, but he wasn't in a position to tell her. Recalling how Yin Shixiong reacted and the things he said when Gu Yanran was telling them these things, Gu Nianzhi smiled knowingly.

This was very likely the reason why Yin Shixiong had especially come to treat her and Ma Qiqi to dinner tonight.

Huo Shaoheng sent an agent to watch over Ye Xuan, and now that he had gotten in trouble, Huo Shaoheng should be the first to know about it.

At that moment, Gu Nianzhi was very worried about the field agent that Huo Shaoheng had sent to watch over Ye Xuan. She was afraid that he was in trouble, too...

Since the two field agents had sacrificed themselves in Germany, Gu Nianzhi was still feeling horrible about it.

Although she hadn't gotten them killed, she had indirectly caused their death, even though she hadn't wielded the knife. Gu Nianzhi was still very uneasy about it.

She contemplated how to ask the question in order to allow Yin Shixiong to answer her without violating his code of conduct.

"Brother Xiong, how are you all doing lately? Although work is busy, please be mindful about your health as well." Gu Nianzhi probed carefully, "Shouldn't you at least go back and inform Huo Shao about the news from the United States?"

Yin Shixiong's eyes flickered. "Yeah, it's fine. We are all good. It hasn't been too busy lately."

He was subtly answering Gu Nianzhi's question-that field agent hadn't gotten involved with the trouble.

Gu Nianzhi sighed in relief, and the smile on her face became relaxed.

Ma Qiqi laid against the chair and used a napkin to wipe her mouth. She could finally spare some energy to gossip now.

"Nianzhi, why was Gu Yanran using that kind of tone earlier? It gave me goosebumps to listen to her." Ma Qiqi shivered. "Even though she got into that kind of trouble, she's still walking around like nothing is wrong. I'm actually impressed by her. She's not even wearing sunglasses."

Gu Nianzhi, who was accustomed to examining herself in three ways daily, couldn't help thinking that maybe she was too easily ashamed?

But when she thought about how Gu Yanran did things that typical people could never manage, she found some relief.

It wasn't that she felt ashamed too easily, but that Gu Yanran didn't even have any shame to begin with.

"I'm also impressed by her. Her psychological quality is too good." Gu Nianzhi finished all the bird's nest and vegetables in clear broth in her bowl with a few bites. She took a cup of Biluochun green tea from the side to rinse her mouth and said, "Bother Xiong, thanks for dinner. I still have work to do and need to go back to campus now. You and Qiqi can take it easy..." As she spoke, she picked up her bag and rushed out.

"Nianzhi! Don't leave me behind!" Ma Qiqi reached out to call after her, but Yin Shixiong had already blocked her hand. "Nianzhi is very busy. Don't get in her way."

Ma Qiqi froze. Her gaze drifted down gradually until it fell on their interlocked hands.

Yin Shixiong smiled. Just as he was about to quickly let go of her hand, Ma Qiqi instinctively grabbed onto it.

This was the first time they had held hands, so they were both quite nervous. Their palms sweat, but neither of them let go.

They held hands just like that, keeping their hands locked together even after they paid the bill and walked out the door of the Tan family's haute cuisine restaurant.

When they got in the car, Yin Shixiong finally let go. Ma Qiqi sat in the car with a red face and used her one hand to continuously rub the other one that Yin Shixiong had been holding. He had no idea what she was thinking.

Yin Shixiong actually hadn't thought too much about it before grabbing Ma Qiqi's hand today. He just didn't want her to get in Gu Nianzhi's way.

But after grabbing it, he discovered that he couldn't let go.

Neither of them spoke, and they drove back to the B University female graduate student dormitory just like that.

Ma Qiqi got out of the car frantically and didn't even say goodbye.

Yin Shixiong sat in the car and leaned against the steering wheel as he watched Ma Qiqi's somewhat panicked retreat. He wanted to laugh, but he also felt a sweet feeling he had never experienced before rise in his heart. It felt like responsibility as well as some kind of urge.

He was very certain that at the age he'd lived to be so far, this was the first time he had experienced this feeling of responsibility mixed with an urge.

Perhaps it was time to come clean to Ma Qiqi.

Yin Shixiong raised a brow as he looked in the direction of Ma Qiqi and Gu Nianzhi's dorm before pressing down on the accelerator and driving away.

...

Gu Nianzhi had returned to campus first, but she hadn't gone back to her dorm. She went to the library instead and found a quiet corner to do research.

She read the American news over and over again, not skipping over any kind of video or text article she could find online. She especially focused on how the local police station kept holding press conferences to report the progress of the investigation to the media.

She was certain that Huo Shaoheng's side probably had even more information, because that field agent should be close to Ye Xuan. Of course, he was hidden in the shadows-he wouldn't and shouldn't expose himself.

Time passed by slowly, the sky gradually darkening.

Gu Nianzhi propped her head up on her hand as she looked at the slowly darkening sky outside the library's large windows. She resisted the desire to find Huo Shaoheng for more information.

Finally, she understood that while the information from Huo Shaoheng's side was useful to them, it was useless to Gu Nianzhi.

That information could never be used as evidence presented in court.

Since it couldn't be used as public information presented to the court, she didn't want it, either.

She needed to find clues from the news published in the United States to prepare a defense against possible attacks from Gu Yanran and Jin Wanyi.

...

The trial began at 8am the next day.

The second day of the trial in the estate dispute case of Gu Nianzhi suing Gu Yanran was in session in the first courtroom inside the Imperial Capital People's High Court.

This time Yin Shixiong and Ma Qiqi came to attend the trial, but Huo Shaoheng and Zhao Liangze didn't come.

On Gu Yanran's side, she had only brought her female English housekeeper.

There were only a few people seated in the spacious courtroom, and because this was also a trial that was not open to the public, the media and normal civilians could not attend the hearings.

There were only a few courtroom officials-as well as people like Speaker Long's assistant and General Ji's personal secretary-attending the hearings.

At 8am sharp, everyone had arrived.

The judge announced the theme for the second day of the trial: to verify and divide the inventory of the Gu family's assets that Gu Yanran had submitted. Additionally, in regards to Gu Nianzhi's adoption papers-because Gu Yanran's side said that they still required three more months to verify-they would not be discussing that topic today.

The judge struck his gavel and declared solemnly, "Plaintiff, do you have any objections to the inventory of assets submitted by the defendant?"

The court had also sent Gu Nianzhi a copy of the inventory submitted by Gu Yanran.

Before entering the division process, both parties needed to come to an agreement about the total value of the assets in these kinds of estate disputes.

Gu Nianzhi carefully studied the inventory of assets that Gu Yanran had submitted, and when she compared it to the version from Ye Xuan, she noticed that this one only contained one-third of the assets.

Gu Yanran had indeed listed all the patents, but she only listed a very small portion of the bank accounts, investment funds, and bank safety deposit boxes, as well as antiques and holding companies in the Cayman Islands.

Gu Nianzhi considered how things like patents were easily investigated, so it would be difficult for Gu Yanran to hide them. However, it was very easy to hide the other assets.

So when the judge asked if Gu Nianzhi had any objections with the inventory of assets, she immediately said, "Your Honor, I have objections."

Gu Yanran raised a brow and exchanged a knowing look with Jin Wanyi.

Jin Wanyi sneered as she waited for Gu Nianzhi to lose her temper.