Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
It was still that familiar pampering tone and attractive deep voice. In the past, when Gu Nianzhi heard Huo Shaoheng speak like that, her legs would become weak. Don’t even get her started about looking at his enticing eyes. His attentive gaze could make you feel like you were the only thing he was interested in in this whole world. But what was the truth?
Gu Nianzhi shook her head slightly and looked up at Huo Shaoheng with indifference in her eyes. Her eyes were big, and when her gaze was fixed on you, you could see your reflection in her eyes. At that time, that pair of soul capturing dark blue eyes were as clear as an autumn lake. But they weren’t those addictive and happy eyes that he was familiar with. Huo Shaoheng’s heart sank.
Gu Nianzhi smiled as she looked at him. “In Mr. Huo’s eyes, am I still that insensible child?”
“Of course not.” Huo Shaoheng looked away and sat closer to her.
“Then what kind of person am I in Mr. Huo’s eyes?”
Huo Shaoheng was speechless. Of course, he knew what kind of person she was. So obedient that it was cute, clever, and quick witted. Also very kind, sympathetic and having a sense of justice. In short, he raised her himself. How could he not know what kind of girl she was?
Huo Shaoheng didn’t say anything. He stretched out his hand and stroked the long hair behind her back. Gu Nianzhi reacted to his movement by moving away. Seeing that Huo Shaoheng was not saying anything, Gu Nianzhi could only talk to herself. “In Mr. Huo’s eyes, am I so obedient that it is cute, clever, and quick witted, also very kind and sympathetic?” Exactly what Huo Shaoheng thought of her.
He wet his lips and said in a low voice, “Yes.”
“Ha,” Gu Nianzhi laughed grudgingly. “See? That’s the difference between us.” She straightened her sleeves. Gu Nianzhi scooted away again. She was almost at the edge of the sofa. “Actually, I’m not like that. I’m only like that because I know you want me to act that way. That’s why I acted that way in front of you. See, didn’t you fall for it?”
Huo Shaoheng’s hand stopped, and he put it behind the sofa. “Is it not?”
“Of course not. I’m actually not an obedient person. If you contact my classmates, my school professors, teachers, you will know that Gu Nianzhi was never an obedient person. I like to question authority. I like to have challenges. I’m smart and clever, but I’m also stubborn. When I’m stubborn, it makes people want to beat me up. I have a bad temper. I get angry at the drop of a hat. Mr. Huo, you should be happy because I never let you be the target of my anger. I’m always scheming.”
When Huo Shaoheng heard that, he didn’t know if he should be happy or hurt. He raised his brows and said indifferently, “Who doesn’t have a temper? I know about your little shortcomings, but to me they are not shortcomings.”
Gu Nianzhi smiled. “Yes, you’re great and generous. Of course, you don’t care about my little shortcomings. But they are a part of me. I’m narrow minded. I’m possessive. There are some things that I would rather break than share.”
Huo Shaoheng just looked at her with keen eyes. His brows narrowed. Gu Nianzhi picked up the iPad. Her finger slid on the screen that was as smooth as glass. It sounded cold, as if it were ice from the Alps formed during the Ice Age. She said it one word at a time. It pierced Huo Shaoheng’s cold, hard heart.
“Mr. Huo, you think my attitude had changed. It’s not something you’re familiar with, but do you know the reason behind it?”
Huo Shaoheng continued to lean on the sofa, but he scooted closer to Gu Nianzhi. Gu Nianzhi was already at one end of the sofa. She couldn’t scoot any further. Huo Shaoheng’s big, tall figure closed in. He confined her to that corner. Gu Nianzhi was thinking of the past deeply. She wasn’t paying any attention to his movements. She didn’t notice what he was doing.
“I thought I was going to die when those two fake police officers put me in Seth’s car. I know what kind of person Seth was better than most people. The way he treated Li Haiqing. He sadistically killed her. But I was lucky and woke up unharmed.”
The corners of Huo Shaoheng’s eyes twitched involuntarily a few times.
“I saw an opportunity when Seth was thinking of his evil deeds. I kicked him, then I jumped out of the car. At that time, it was raining heavily. I was on a mountain path in the Alps running toward any paths there were. I didn’t dare stop any cars because there were cliffs on both sides of the road. I was afraid that before I even got away, I would fall off a cliff. But in the end, I still ended up at the bottom of the cliff because I had nowhere else to go.”
Huo Shaoheng’s lips pressed together until they became a thin line. His heart beat madly. To him, this level of danger was nothing, but it was different for Gu Nianzhi. She had never experienced this kind of danger before. Although he had taught her how to survive in the wild, it didn’t include how to survive falling off a cliff. It was an exceedingly difficult drill for special forces soldiers.
“During that time, I thought I might not be able to see you again.” Gu Nianzhi talked about how she felt with indifference. She talked about the past as if she were telling someone else’s story.
Huo Shaoheng moved closer to her and put his arm around her. He wanted her to lean on his chest. Gu Nianzhi didn’t lean on it. She was still sitting there with her back straight. She looked straight ahead as if she were looking at a rainy night in the Alps.
“Then, I woke up. They were still after me. From falling down the cliff to four fake cops trying to kill me. I could only keep on running. That whole time, I ate wild food, slept in the open, and contended with animals. Good thing I met a cute little black bear. It helped me out quite a bit.” Gu Nianzhi breathed through her nose. “I miss it.”
Huo Shaoheng clenched his fist. Then one of his hands was on Gu Nianzhi’s shoulder, and the other hand held her arm. He only had to use a little strength, and he would be able to lift her up and put her on his lap. But Gu Nianzhi was stiff and sitting very straight. Her face was pale like delicate porcelain. He didn’t dare use too much force. He was afraid that if he squeezed too hard, he would break her.
“They went to great lengths to kill me. I didn’t dare call you guys because I was afraid it would affect your work. I was at the end of my rope. That was why I called Brother Chen. I never imagined that the call would end up killing two field agents.” The nasal sound Gu Nianzhi had earlier was now stronger than before.
Huo Shaoheng knew she felt guilty. He patted her on her shoulder. “Don’t be upset. It wasn’t your fault.”
“Although I didn’t kill Boren, Boren died because of me. How could I not feel guilty?” Gu Nianzhi earnestly asked.
She only realized how close Huo Shaoheng was sitting to her when she raised her eyes. His body was giving off warmth. She was enveloped in his breath. Gu Nianzhi looked at him. Her complexion had returned to normal. “Even though I was in such danger, I hated bothering you guys. But where were you? What were you doing at that time? Were you with the prime minister’s daughter looking at the sea, or were you listening to the rain with her?”
Huo Shaoheng was speechless.
“I’m not blaming you. I know those missions were given to you by the big boss. But in my opinion, they were all f*cking stupid.” The foul language spilled out of Gu Nianzhi mouth unrestrained.
Subconsciously, Huo Shaoheng wanted to correct her, but after considering it carefully, she was right. That mission was really f*cking stupid. He patted her back and said, “…Sorry.” She had longed for his rescue when she was in the wild and in the mountains. But what was he doing? No wonder she was so hurt. He took a deep breath, but he didn’t explain the danger he had encountered before. There was no need to find excuses when you were wrong.
“You don’t need to apologize. Really.” Gu Nianzhi took out the gift she was planning on giving to Huo Shaoheng, the Zippo lighter. “Then I encountered Reinitz and Als. I didn’t investigate and fell into their trap. But when I realized it, I didn’t make it easy for them, either.” Gu Nianzhi played with the Zippo lighter and cast a sidelong glance at Huo Shaoheng. “I breached their system and wiped out their entire intelligence channel. Did you guys receive those emails?”
“We got them.” He firmly grasped her shoulder. He realized she was much thinner than before. Before, she was soft, smooth, and round. Practically couldn’t feel the shoulder blade. Now it was scary how bony she felt in his hands. “Thank you.”
That information was valuable, but because they got it three days late, it already made them lose a lot of opportunities to eliminate the traitor. But just that one top secret file among all those files contained so much information that it would take them eight to ten years to analyze.
“You’re welcome. You guys have protected me for so many years. That’s the last thing that I can do for you,” Gu Nianzhi said as she pulled Huo Shaoheng’s hand open and put the lighter in his palm. “This lighter was supposed to be a gift for you. It saved my life. It’s also the last gift I’m going to give you. You don’t mind that it’s used now, do you?”
Huo Shaoheng looked at the lighter that still had Gu Nianzhi’s warmth. His arms tightened. He finally pulled Gu Nianzhi close to his chest. He tried to convey his guilt-ridden conscience and pain that he was unable to put into words in that embrace. Gu Nianzhi closed her eyes. She stretched out her arms and patted him on the back. “It’s ok now. I don’t mind it anymore. If it weren’t for what you taught me all these years, I would not have been able to survive in the Alps. In any case, I’m very grateful to you.”
The more courteous she was, the more he was not used to it. Huo Shaoheng’s heart ached. He quickly lifted her chin and was about to kiss her water chestnut lips. Gu Nianzhi didn’t evade it or avoid it but just looked at him like that. The way her clear eyes reflected his tense facial features, he suddenly couldn’t kiss her. Their lips were so close to each other that they could feel each other’s warm breath blowing on the corners of their eyes. They were close, but there was an invisible wall between them.
“When Als was electrocuting me, I really couldn’t handle it. I would think of your embrace. Think of you coming to rescue me. That way it wouldn’t be that painful, but after Reinitz saved me, I saw you with the prime minister’s daughter… I felt like I would rather continue to be electrocuted in that little bar.”
Huo Shaoheng’s heart was cut into pieces. He put her head on his chest and firmly embraced her.
Gu Nianzhi’s tears rolled down. “Huo Shaoheng… let’s break up.”