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843 Lurking Forces II

 He Zhichu didn't move at all. He remained in a lazy position, leaning into the couch, left elbow propped on the armrest and holding his head up on his hand. The fingers on his right hand casually tapped his thigh, his sultry, shimmery eyes slightly angled upwards and carrying a shocking air of allure. However, his voice was colder than ice as he looked at Gu Nianzhi. "Just a little toy from the United States Army Research Laboratory. It's not worth mentioning."

Ye Xuan didn't know much about firearms, but it being an advanced US prototype was the only possible explanation. Most of the world's most-powerful weapons came from US defense programs. Even the internet-which was now an indispensable part of people's lives-began as a military communication network. Thus He Zhichu's explanation made perfect sense to him and he nodded earnestly. "That thing was so powerful. It must've been very expensive to produce."

He Zhichu's raised his chin coldly. "It cost me quite a bit of money. You should know that my family runs a big business, so we have to save something to protect ourselves when we go abroad for work. But now, you all know about my family's treasure. You'll have to give me a break in the future." He looked at Huo Shaoheng suggestively. "...Especially Major General Huo, you'll have to show me some mercy and let me off easy."

Huo Shaoheng smiled faintly and answered calmly, "Our nation forbids carrying of private firearms. As long as Professor He's family treasures are not brought into our country, there will be no problems."

"Major General Huo, please don't worry. I guarantee it will not cross your borders." He Zhichu shifted his body to indicate his response to Huo Shaoheng.

Gu Nianzhi was feeling somewhat regretful. Clasping her hands in front of herself, she replied with a sigh, "I only wish I could've personally seen this world-class, famous gun."

He Zhichu looked at her before saying, "You think that's a world-class, famous gun?" He snorted. "You've seen too little of the world..."

Huo Shaoheng's eyes flickered before he quickly exchanged a look with Yin Shixiong.

Yin Shixiong didn't change his position nor even his expression. He maintained the same look of exaggeration as Gu Nianzhi and laughed. "It truly is a pity, we've all become country bumpkins in comparison to Professor He."

"Right, if only I had a gun like that. Then I wouldn't have been hunted down like a stray dog in Germany." Gu Nianzhi was still bitter about falling into the enemy's trap last time and had yet to figure out who the real mastermind had been.

Thinking about the difficult and dangerous journey she faced in Germany, she couldn't help but recall that psychotic killer, Seth. She also remembered how they injected her with that H3ab7...

Gu Nianzhi's eyes drifted to Huo Shaoheng's side. She squinted her lucid, bright eyes before studying him quickly.

Huo Shaoheng's felt her eyes on him, but his personality allowed him to ignore it. He remained motionless and only looked at Ye Xuan. "You've suffered a lot, but have you thought about who framed you and why? Also, did you contact that lawyer?"

Although Huo Shaoheng actually knew what Ye Xuan had done in the United States, Gu Nianzhi didn't. In addition, no one else knew he was aware of this, so he still needed to get Ye Xuan to say it himself.

As expected, Ye Xuan's expression darkened and his hands involuntarily balled into tight fists. Closing his eyes, he finally managed to say it. "...It was all Gu Yanran doing. She wanted me dead."

God only knew how hard it had been for him to say that aloud. For the past few years, he'd spent day and night giving all his love and energy to that woman. He had been so blind, yet also so devoted... After all that, her betrayal had been so real and so painful.

Ye Xuan's eyes had turned red. Quickly taking a deep breath, he looked up at the crystal chandelier in the living room, trying to control his agitation.

Gu Nianzhi habitually bit her lower lip as she contemplated, leaving two tiny bite marks on her plump, curvy lips.

Huo Shaoheng coldly glared at her bad habit and reached over to lift her chin. His thumb lightly pressed her chin to rescue her lower lip from her teeth. "Watch it. Don't bite your lip in front of outsiders, it affects your personal image."

Gu Nianzhi was enraged, so she instinctively pushed away Huo Shaoeng's hand and her shiny eyes nearly spurted flames. She stared at Huo Shaoheng and lowered her voice to enunciate each word clearly, "Huo Shao, please mind your manners!"

He Zhichu was also very angry. He straightened his back and looked at Huo Shaoheng to retort coldly, "Huo Shao, I already warned you about that!"

Huo Shaoheng dismissively waved his hand. "Bad habits must be corrected in time. This is not being physical, this is discipline."

"I'm already an adult! I don't need your discipline!" Gu Nianzhi stood up and sat down on the single seater couch on the other side of the coffee table.

He Zhichu also stood and just as he was about to speak, the doorbell rang. The food had arrived. Opening the door, he had the hotel wait-staff set the table and paid them a tip. He told them to come back in two hours to pick up the cutlery.

"Okay, dinner is here. If you don't mind my humble abode, please sit down." He Zhichu was in a pleasant mood and politely invited everyone to have dinner in the dining room.

Huo Shaoheng actually didn't have any appetite at all, but if he didn't have dinner now, it would seem like he was throwing a temper tantrum, the same as Gu Nianzhi. He was so much older than her, so if he'd appeared in a foul mood or refused to eat, he would appear too immature. So instead, he calmly walked over.

He Zhichu's dining table was a long, Western-style one. He had also ordered individual plates for the set menu. He Zhichu sat in the host position at the head of the table, and to his immediate left was Gu Nianzhi. Ma Qiqi sat next to her. Ye Xuan sat across from Gu Nianzhi and Yin Shixiong originally sat next to Ma Qiqi, but he couldn't help standing as soon as he saw Huo Shaoheng walk in. Huo Shaoheng didn't mind at all as he raised a hand and waved downwards to give Yin Shixiong permission to sit. He sat next to Ye Xuan.

Everyone had a dinner plate in front of them and in the middle of the table was a feast of seventeen courses. The food was kept hot using a small alcohol heater underneath, and smelled as fragrant and delicious as if it had just been freshly plated from the pan. Everyone ate as if it was buffet, choosing what they wanted and putting it on their dinner plate.

Although Ma Qiqi had cheerfully watched the drama, she liked eating even more. She was a true foodie. Therefore, when she saw the delivery arrive, she'd immediately started itching to indulge herself. First, she had some sea cucumber and corn chowder to warm her belly, then she took a charcoal-grilled scallop and chewed it carefully.

Gu Nianzhi didn't have much of an appetite to begin with, but when she saw Ma Qiqi eat so happily, she also took an oyster to try. As far as seafood went, she only seemed to dislike oysters. She casually ate one, but didn't touch them again. After, she only ladled a bowl of soup and cradled it in her hands to drink.

Huo Shaoheng didn't eat anything at all. He only sat at the table and had a glass of red wine by his hand as he idly chatted with Ye Xuan. His voice was very quiet, so no one else could hear them.

Gu Nianzhi took a bite and glanced across the table like she was still very angry.

He Zhichu stopped eating after having one shrimp. He picked up his red wine glass and swirled it as he began chatting with Gu Nianzhi. "How's your paper coming along? And the lawsuit with Gu Yanran?"

Gu Nianzhi had grown up with Huo Shaoheng and originally abided to the principle of "no conversation during meals." However, when she spied Huo Shaoheng not following this principle himself, she followed his lead. "The paper is still lacking a bit-I only wrote half and need to do some more research. As for the lawsuit..." she looked at Ye Xuan, who was busy talking with Huo Shaoheng, "Ye Xuan is the key witness."

He Zhichu took another sip of red wine. His expression seemed a bit impatient, but he chose his words carefully and nodded. "It's good that you have a plan. Just let me know if you need help with anything."

Gu Nianzhi quickly said, "I've already bothered you so much this time around. If it weren't for you, Ye Xuan wouldn't have come home alive."

He Zhichu wasn't humble, so he beamed at her. "It's good that you know that."

On the other side, Huo Shaoheng finally turned his head to glance in Gu Nianzhi and He Zhichu's direction. He wanted to say something, but when he saw Gu Nianzhi's stubborn and disgusted expression, he swallowed the words back down.

Ma Qiqi was the only person eating happily at the entire dinner table.

After dinner, Ma Qiqi was so satisfied she could scarcely walk. Yin Shixiong pulled her out to the living room to walk in circles and digest, so she wouldn't interrupt the other conversations.

Huo Shaoheng set down his wine glass and saw that He Zhichu had already finished eating. "There's something I'd like to ask Professor He. Would it be possible to speak in private?"

He Zhichu set down his napkin and coldly stared at Huo Shaoheng.

Huo Shaoheng still remained calm and reliable, his emotions unreadable.

"Yes, please come with me." He Zhichu got up and took Huo Shaoheng to the study.

Gu Nianzhi and Ye Xuan were the only ones left in the dining room, so it was the perfect opportunity to talk. She glanced at Ye Xuan, who kept his head low. "Are you sure that Gu Yanran was really the one responsible?"