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908 I Have Conditions Too

 After Song Jinning said all this, aside from the ever-calm Huo Shaoheng, everyone appeared as shocked as if they had been struck by lightning.

Huo Guanchen could even taste the sweet and metallic flavor of blood at the back of his throat. He wanted to spit.

He glared fiercely at Song Jinning and balled his fists so tightly that the knuckles cracked. It was unclear how much effort he was using to keep himself from losing control.

Prime Minister Tan and Cai Shengnan were stunned speechless. Although they had always been glib-tongued and quick-witted in front of others, they couldn't think of a single thing to say.

Tan Guiren looked truly shocked and terrified. Her brain couldn't think properly. Forsaking her elegance and the need to avoid conflict of interest, she directly asked Huo Shaoheng fearfully, "Major General Huo, did you actually think that?! I didn't..."

Her eyes filled with tears and her delicate body trembled in fright. She looked a lot like a little bunny that had been severely frightened.

Huo Shaoheng remained calm. His gaze was turned straight ahead and he refused to speak.

Song Jinning snorted as she looked at Tan Guiren with sympathy. "Young girl, why don't you take care of yourself? Why would you ask a son about his father's business?"

She then said to Prime Minister Tan, "You and your wife are too much. I already told your wife that there is something wrong with how you raised your daughter, but she didn't believe me. Just look at how you've raised such a good daughter. That is all I have to say. This conversation ends here. If you let me hear anything related to this again, you'll be sorry, Prime Minister Tan."

Song Jinning lifted her chin slightly, her expression distasteful. "...Never underestimate to what extent a mother will go for her children. If you don't understand that, go home and ask your wife. She's sure to understand what I mean. Goodbye!"

Song Jinning finished speaking and walked away.

Huo Shaoheng followed after her without a word and walked out of the military hall.

Watching the mother and son depart, Tan Guiren finally knew that her beautiful dream had been shattered into pieces. She would never be happy for the rest of her life...

Covering her face, tears seeped out from between the cracks of her fingers and dampened the front of her dress.

Cai Shengnan was at once happy and sad. She was feeling very conflicted as she put her arm around Tan Guiren's shoulders and said confidently, "Cousin, don't cry. It'll be okay, it's sure to be okay."

Prime Minister Tan watched the apple of his eye sob with heartbreak. His heart was torn into pieces and he wanted nothing more but to strangle Huo Guanchen to death.

He walked up to block Huo Guanchen's way as he said quietly, "...What does Director Song mean by that?! I never crossed her! Is this what you mean when you say there are no problems?! Shouldn't General Huo give us a proper explanation?!"

Huo Guanchen was so livid about Song Jinning's behavior that he gritted his teeth hard. He was too lazy to deal with the Tans now. He'd had no idea that Song Jinning had such a bad impression of Tan Guiren or that she would react to her so strongly. Naturally, he wouldn't dare to let them get near each other again.

Adjusting his military uniform, Huo Guanchen replied coolly, "Nothing forcibly done will be agreeable. Since this didn't work out, let's forget about it. Goodbye." As he spoke, he hurried away from the military hall.

The three Huos had departed, leaving only Prime Minister Tan, Tan Guiren, and Cai Shengnan in the hallway,

"Uncle, are you going to give up just like that?" Cai Shengnan probed. "How about we forget about it? The Huos... aren't a typical family, after all. We shouldn't offend them if we can afford not to."

However, Prime Minister Tan truly couldn't swallow this indignation. He bared his teeth, his smile nearly a scowl. "...That's fine too. I'll accept this as long as he never gets married for the rest of his life!"

Cai Shengnan shuddered internally, not daring to reply.

...

Late winter nights in the Imperial Capital were cold and windy. The night sky glowed a dim yellow from the reflection of the streetlamps. The thick clouds appeared in heavy layers that pressed down over people's heads.

Huo Shaoheng called for Fan Jian to bring the car over as he said to Song Jinning, "I'll drive you back."

Song Jinning had driven her car there and had planned to drive it back. But when she thought about it, it would be nice to speak with her son.

She nodded. "My car is still in the parkade. Please ask someone to drive it back for me." As she spoke, she threw the car keys to Huo Shaoheng.

Huo Shaoheng caught them and casually passed them to Fan Jian. "Drive Director Song's car back to the Institute of High Energy Physics when you have time."

"Roger, Chief." Fan Jian caught the keys backhanded and put them in the glovebox of the car.

Huo Shaoheng and Song Jinning sat on either side of the back seat.

The car drove steadily as they left the military hall and headed in the direction of the Institute of High Energy Physics.

Song Jinning has just purchased a house that was still being renovated. She currently lived in a dorm at the Institute of High Energy Physics.

The two of them sat in the back of the car, neither of them speaking.

After driving for some time, Song Jinning crossed her arms and glanced at Huo Shaoheng. "Shaoheng, you're not young anymore. You can't blame your father for planning for your marriage."

She could tell that her son was a highly desirable commodity. Anyone would want to marry him!

Huo Shaoheng was silent.

"You're not going to say anything?" Song Jinning sighed quietly, her voice softening. "How do I say this? I can understand what your father is thinking, which is wanting to find a girl who matches your status to be your wife."

Huo Shaoheng finally snorted, though he still declined to make any comment.

"Don't disagree." Song Jinning shifted on her side. "I'm telling you, I have my conditions too. Don't think that your father is the only one with conditions."

"What conditions do you have?" Huo Shaoheng's voice was very calm. "This is rather refreshing."

Song Jinning had never been so open with Huo Shaoheng about this issue before.

It was likely because she had been agitated by Huo Guanchen and Prime Minister Tan's scheme today that she had grown interested and wanted to speak about her thoughts.

"Of course I have conditions," Song Jinning said cheerfully. "To tell you the truth, family statuses need to match. I don't object to it. However, I've always believed that having the families' statuses match is a way of making up for insufficient personal qualities. If someone's personal quality is strong enough, then why should matching statuses be required? Your wife should be able to hold up the family status all by herself."

Song Jinning paused and continued to further appease Huo Shaoheng's mind. "...You'll be spending the rest of your life with that person, not her family. Never mistake the lesser thing as the most important thing."

Huo Shaoheng thought this was quite interesting, so he turned around shared eye contact with Song Jinning for a while before smiling. "Then your conditions are even more stringent than General Huo's."

Naturally, Song Jinning wasn't concerned about concealing her prejudice at all. "Your mother has no other requirements. Family background and appearance don't matter. The important thing is intelligence and virtue. Worst case scenario, poor virtue can be bolstered by upbringing after birth. However, the innate factor of intelligence can never be bolstered by anything during upbringing. You have to consider that when a mother has low intelligence, the child cannot be saved."

Huo Shaoheng didn't have a reply to that part.

He smirked and half-joked, "Then I'll need Ms. Song to help me keep a lookout. So, anyone who wishes to be your daughter-in-law must pass your intelligence test?"

"Yes." Song Jinning agreed. "I'll write a set of questions when I get home. 100% will be the full score, and anyone who scores under 90% will not be considered."

Huo Shaoheng was quiet again.

He shifted uncomfortably and thought about how with his mother's obsession with science and research, perhaps she would be able to do such a thing. After hesitating for half a moment, he replied quietly, "...It's a pretty good idea to write the questions. So, which aspect do you want to focus on?"

He wanted to know in advance, just in case these were all questions about high energy physics or biochemical medicine. Huo Shaoheng was worried that someone would pummel his chest with her tiny fists one day.

Song Jinning held back her laughter as she stated in all seriousness, "I haven't decided which aspect it will be on yet. However, I'm quite busy as of late. I'm worried that if I don't take the time to write the exam questions, it will delay your marriage. How about this, I'll go ask Nianzhi to help me write questions? There are so many girls in your life, I think she's the only one with an IQ exceeding my standard."

The corners of Huo Shaoehng's mouth couldn't help but lift high. He held back a smile and answered casually, "And that's not good? Are you openly cheating?"

"Cheating?" Song Jinning purposely widened her eyes. "Hmm? I never said that that I would ask Nianzhi to take the exam. How could that be considered cheating?"

Huo Shaoheng was surprised. He was getting played by Ms. Song...

Seeing Huo Shaoheng reveal a rare embarrassed expression, Song Jinning began to laugh happily.

Fan Jian heard everything clearly from the front seat and couldn't help but feel emotional. She was a real mother, a proper real mother, a real mother who poked fun at her son...

After laughing all she wanted, Song Jinning finally grabbed Huo Shaoheng's hand and said warmly, "Shaoheng, mom never participated in your childhood and she missed your teenage years. Mom doesn't want to keep making the same mistakes."

Huo Shaoheng wasn't too accustomed to tender moments like these, so he quietly coughed before discreetly pulling his hand away from Song Jining and changing the topic. "Because you've said this today, Prime Minister Tan's side shouldn't be making sneaky moves anymore. But as for General Huo's side, I'm afraid he won't be giving up on you."

Since Song Jinning's seat had been arranged to be next to Huo Guanchen's today, it was obvious what his intentions were.

Huo Shaoheng didn't want to see his parents get together again, but this was his parents' matter. He would not voice his own opinion or give his parents even more trouble.

Song Jinning worried about Huo Guanchen the least of all. She turned her head and said with a frown, "There is absolutely no possibility of anything happening between your father and me anymore. Shaoheng, you don't blame me, right?"

Huo Shaoheng quickly raised both hands. "Ms. Song, I won't interfere with you guys if you guys won't interfere with me. Is that okay?"

That meant that he was washing his hands of it.

Song Jinning remained quite polite toward Huo Guanchen superficially because she cared about her son, Huo Shaoheng. At the very least, she had never publicly disrespected before Huo Guanchen like she had today.

Today, Song Jinning had discovered that Huo Guanchen ignored her son and her wishes as a mother. He'd forcibly pushed her son together with that foolish girl, Tan Guiren, making Song Jinning finally lose her temper.

Her father, Song Haichuan, had been a prodigy since he was very young. She had always been a genius her entire life. When it came to her son, although he was no genius, he was precocious and even more impressive than a genius. He had always known how to conceal his talents since he was a young boy.

Song Jinning didn't want the intelligence to disappear when it reached the generation of her son's children.

"...The best thing that parents can leave behind for their children is not fortune or property, but intelligence." Song Jinning pointed to her head. "Consider it carefully. Don't allow yourself to be led astray by your father's misguidance."

...

Inside Bar Jinling, the Christmas ball for the first-year Master of Law students from B University had reached its climax.

The ballroom dance songs had already been replaced. The DJ was now playing powerful and rhythmic remixes of Christmas songs.

The intoxicated men and women on the dance floor were dancing madly like they had lost their minds.

He Zhichu had stepped away a long time ago since he wasn't interested in the vigorous dancing of young people at all.

Gu Nianzhi didn't dance either. However, it wasn't because she wasn't interested, but because she didn't know how to. She knew a bit of Latin dancing and dancesport, but she didn't know how to do this kind of dancing at all. Of course, the main problem was that she couldn't dance because of the outfit she'd worn.

Sigh.

She had only danced with He Zhichu a few times before He Zhichu sat down with her on the side to chat. Someone came to invite Gu Nianzhi to dance, but He Zhichu only had to look up at them to make them go away.

He Zhichu had already had quite a few drinks but didn't appear drunk at all.

Seeing Gu Nianzhi sitting on the sidelines and mad with boredom, he couldn't help but ask, "Want to go home?"

Gu Nianzhi nodded and looked down to send a text to Huo Shaoheng.

He Zhichu had already stood up. "Let's go. I'll take you back to the dorm."

He reached out and Gu Nianzhi could immediately smell the strong scent of alcohol on him. She couldn't help but grow quiet and say, "Professor He, maybe I should drive."

Not driving while drunk was common sense.

It wouldn't be too late if she waited to call Huo Shaoheng until after she got back to campus.

He Zhichu shook his head. "I'm fine, let's go."

He walked ahead. Gu Nianzhi was worried about He Zhichu so she had no choice but to hurriedly say goodbye to a classmate before chasing after him.

Not long after they walked out of the bar, someone outside made a phone call.

...

Gu Nianzhi got into He Zhichu's car and sat in the driver's seat. She started the car.

He Zhichu sat in the front passenger seat and draped a hand over his forehead. He took out a pill and threw it into his mouth before saying dryly, "I have sobering medication, I'm fine."

Gu Nianzhi scrunched up her tiny nose. "I'll open the window, it reeks of alcohol."

He Zhichu laughed. By the time the smell of alcohol dissipated from the car, he had already sobered up. He said to Gu Nianzhi, "You should just let me drive, I'm fine."

Gu Nianzhi refused. "I'm also a pretty good driver, please don't worry."

She would be driving slower anyway. She wasn't scared.

He Zhichu noticed her insistence so he didn't say anything more as he quietly sat on the side. He watched her step on the accelerator and drive onto the main street.

There was nearly no traffic on the main streets of the Imperial Capital late at night.

Gu Nianzhi drove at a steady speed. The traffic was clear the entire way.

She was in a pretty good mood and turned on the car speakers to find some music to play.

He Zhichu smiled as he looked ahead, wanting nothing more than for this moment to last all eternity. Until she drove to his home...

But soon afterward, He Zhichu straightened his back and peered at the rearview mirror. He quietly said to Gu Nianzhi, "...Someone is following us."

Gu Nianzhi also glanced in the rearview mirror to discover two cars that appeared to be modified sports cars.

"We're not far from campus now. We'll arrive once we make this turn and drive ten minutes from there," Gu Nianzhi looked at the GPS and replied calmly. Her foot suddenly slammed fiercely on the accelerator.

Although He Zhichu's car wasn't a modified sports car, it was not something a sports car could compete with once it showed off its prowess.

As soon as Gu Nainzhi's foot slammed on the accelerator, the car was like a quiver that had just left its bow.

The cars behind them were left far behind. They gradually became two tiny dots in the rearview mirror.

Gu Nianzhi sighed in relief and prepared to slow down. She extended her foot to step on the brakes.

Once, twice, three times...

Sweat suddenly beaded on her forehead.

"Professor He..."

"Hmm?"

"...The brakes seem to have failed."