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"…Even though Song Jinning's mental disorder was caused by structural disorders, it is, in fact, a mental illness. It requires caretakers to be extremely patient, and having a comfortable environment for recuperation. However, Song Jinning had been living in the attic in Huo's family home for decades. A low ceiling, plus having more things piled up over the years; these will make even a normal person uncomfortable emotionally, wouldn't it be worse for someone who had a severe mental disorder?"
"Therefore, Song Jinning's illness got worse over the years. She even began to have symptoms of Depression towards the end. If Doctor Chen hadn't been decisive and discovered the root of her illnesses, Song Jinning would've been tortured to death. She wouldn't even live past next year."
Huo Shaoheng had been sitting calmly amongst the audience until this moment. He frowned.
As he was thinking, his gaze fell upon the Gu Nianzhi who was standing straight in the front of the courtroom.
To be honest, he had been too familiar with Gu Nianzhi's looks from 12 to 18. From the time she arrived when she was 12, the average looking girl who was a little plump, to the gorgeous girl who looked like she walked right out of anime when she turned 18, he had already been accustomed to her. He wasn't as impressed as how everyone felt whenever he or she laid eyes on her.
Whether she was gorgeous or ugly, he did not really mind.
This was due to the fact that she had already become a part of him; a part of his life.
Huo Shaoheng crossed his arms. It was obvious to him that the defendant had already lost, even though the argument was still ongoing intensely.
Gu Nianzhi still had one final piece of evidence. This evidence was enough to let Bai Jinyi go straight to h.e.l.l.
"My lord, even though the Plaintiff has all these evidence and witnesses, I would like to remind the court that these are secondary evidences. They do not have any primary evidences to prove that my client is in any way related to Luo Xinxue's murder." Jin Dazhuang told the judge agitatedly.
"Yes, it was true that my client took the phone belonging to the victim's husband. However, there were no laws indicating that someone committed murder just because they s.n.a.t.c.hed a phone!"
Gu Nianzhi listened quietly to Jin Dazhuang's closing speech. Once he was done, she stood up and retorted: "I hope to remind My Lord, that although we only have secondary evidences and witnesses, we can also convict a culprit. There were cases like this before. Also, we do have primary evidences for this case."
"What primary evidence do you have? Stop trying to lie and slander!" Jin Dazhuang couldn't contain his anger anymore. Throughout his time as a lawyer, the worst closure was that both parties decided to settle amicably. He had never lost a lawsuit before!
If he lost to Gu Nianzhi this freshly graduated lawyer, he would never be able to continue as a lawyer in the future.
Gu Nianzhi waved her hand subtly, looked at the people in court, and told the judge: "This is the autopsy report from Forensic Scientist Zhu. He has found Bai Jinyi's DNA in Luo Xinxue's nails. This shows that a fight happened between the two of them earlier. Why was there a fight? If we think along the lines of Luo Xinxue being forcefully fed a strong dose of sleeping pills by Bai Jinyi, wouldn't everything match then?"
"Objection! The plaintiff lawyer is using a.s.sumptions on the case again!" Jin Dazhuang was panicking. He objected everything from Gu Nianzhi.
Gu Nianzhi sighed, and opened her arms, "Jin Dazhuang, I remember the first lesson when I was still a student in the Law faculty, a professor said this: if there was a bird, walking like a duck, quacking like a duck, looks like a duck, and eating like a duck; that thing will undoubtedly, be a duck."
Jin Dazhuang fell silent.
"…Just like your client Bai Jinyi, she was with the victim, Luo Xinxue, a couple of hours before her death. She s.n.a.t.c.hed Luo's belongings and forcefully fed sleeping pills to her. Luo Xinxue died after she left. Towards people like this, we call them the murderer. The logic from this inference isn't based on nothing, but common sense." Gu Nianzhi began her closing speech.
"What is a primary evidence? Must we have the exact footage of Bai Jinyi's actual murder to consider it as a primary evidence?" Gu Nianzhi raised her eyebrows and looked at Bai Jinyi, "Bai Jinyi admitted on her own accord that she would kill if there was a motive important enough. Does this count as primary evidence, then?"
Jin Dazhuang was stuck. He could not reply to any of Gu Nianzhi's questions.
Judging from situation, Bai Jinyi just remained quiet. She closed her eyes and chuckled coldly, ignoring Gu Nianzhi.
Gu Nianzhi walked to her, bent down and faced her. She asked, "Bai Jinyi, why were the data from Huo Guanyuan's phone of such importance? You have a final chance to tell us the truth. If you do, your lawyer might have a chance to fight for a lighter sentence."
Bai Jinyi's eyes remained closed. She smiled coldly, "You have already made the judgment, what else can I say?"
"Good, then I will hand the phone to Song Jinning. She has recovered fully. A true physicist, and not someone of such reputation like you should lead the Inst.i.tute of High Energy Physics. It's the honor of our country to be rid of a physicist like you!" Gu Nianzhi knew that Bai Jinyi could only be angered by the mention of Song Jinning.
Expectedly, Bai Jinyi's eyes flew open upon hearing her words. "What did you just say? Who were you going to give it to?" Bai Jinyi gritted her teeth.
"Why should you care who I'm giving it to, it isn't your phone to begin with. She toyed the phone in her hands, "The research that you've been doing for the past decade didn't even have an outcome. If it was Mdm Song, who knows? Maybe she could come up with an outcome within a year. Let's hope you're still awaiting your death sentence when she manages to come out with a conclusion for the research."
"Bulls.h.i.+t! Impossible! I've been thinking about it for 10 years! If I am unable to solve it, she wouldn't, too!" Bai Jinyi was losing her mind. She jumped from the stand and tried to strangle Gu Nianzhi.
Gu Nianzhi was quick. She moved a step backwards, with the phone in one hand; she used the other to push Bai Jinyi down onto the stand.
A couple of police officers ran forward and handcuffed Bai Jinyi.
The judge warned her as well: "Please control your emotions. It's against the law to attack the plaintiff lawyer as well."
Gu Nianzhi walked back to the witness stand and handed Huo Guanyuan's phone to Song Jinning. "Mdm Song, we believe that the contents of this phone will be of tremendous help to your research. The army will fill you in on the details once the case is over."
Song Jinning held on to the phone tightly and nodded her head, "I've rested for 16 years; it's time to get back to work."
The final judgment for Bai Jinyi's case was announced by the Coroner's court 3 days later.
Bai Jinyi was found guilty of murdering Luo Xinxue. On top of that, delaying the treatment for Song Jinning and causing great loss of human resources to the country, guilty as charged. Bai Jinyi was sentenced to death, but the sentence will be carried out in 2 years.
Even though Huo Jialan did not need to bear any form of criminal responsibility in the murder of Luo Xinxue, it was clear to everyone that she did not rescue her mother in time.
After the verdict, she returned to the Huo's family home alone. She wanted to pack and leave, but Grandpa Huo and Huo Guanchen stopped her.
During the verdict, Gu Nianzhi stood alongside Huo Shaoheng. She felt extremely excited.
This was the very first lawsuit in her professional career!
When faced with the 15 elite lawyers from the biggest law firm in the country, she did not falter, responded with logic, force and wit. She practically became famous overnight!
She raised her head, looked at Huo Shaoheng and whispered, "Young Master Huo, you've finally found justice for your mother and Mdm Luo."
Huo Shaoheng bent down, and hugged Gu Nianzhi.
Gu Nianzhi was still feeling excited. She wanted to return Huo Shaoheng's hug, and secretly hoped that he was admitting her position in public…
But Yin s.h.i.+xiong turned around as well, and gave her a hug too.
Subsequently, Zhao Liangze hugged her as well. He even caressed her head while praising her: "Well done, Nianzhi, congratulations!"
Gu Nianzhi was speechless.
She was furious. It took her all of her willpower to not kick the two guys.
There she was, thinking that Huo Shaoheng wanted to announce the their relations.h.i.+p to everyone; now they've ruined it!
Truth be told, everyone was in shock when Huo Shaoheng hugged Gu Nianzhi, but after seeing Yin s.h.i.+xiong and Zhao Liangze giving her hugs as well, they understood what happened, and laughed.
This is a hug of success, a congratulatory hug, and a hug from a friend.
No one thought otherwise henceforth.
Dejected, Gu Nianzhi pouted. All the excitement and happiness she felt just now disappeared like a puff of smoke.
She looked at Huo Shaoheng serenely.
All of a sudden, a group of people came up to them. Not to congratulate Gu Nianzhi, but Huo Shaoheng.
This was a secret trial. The only thing that could be announced was the verdict.
Those who were able to attend the verdict announcement were already the insiders.
They all knew that the person behind Gu Nianzhi was Huo Shaoheng. This victory actually belonged to him, and not her.
Therefore, after acknowledging her presence, all of them went to shake hands with Huo Shaoheng.
Look at how calm and composed he was entertaining everyone; he kept a polite distance between everyone, no matter his or her status. He had perfect manners, and did not show any form of happiness nor displeasure.
All of these emotions could not compare to the hug he gave Gu Nianzhi just now. It was just so honest.
Perhaps, it was the best he could do for someone like Huo Shaoheng?
Gu Nianzhi's mind was in a mess. She just could not calm herself down.
She could not control herself – her gaze would just return to Huo Shaoheng unknowingly; looking at his every move, every word, noticing his different smiles and how he moves his head.
She lowered her head, and tried to stop herself from ogling at Huo Shaoheng too much. She cannot allow others to see through her feelings; she did not want to be a burden to Huo Shaoheng.
If he was unwilling to publicize their relations.h.i.+p, then Gu Nianzhi would never reveal it on her own accord.
Looking at how freely he was behaving in front of others, she knew clearly that she was the one who fell deeper for him. She'd even be the one who was more proactive in this relations.h.i.+p.
Therefore, she wanted to let Huo Shaoheng have the final decision. It'd be nice if he wanted to publicize their relations.h.i.+p; but if he doesn't want to, she wouldn't request for it as well, because she trusts him.
The rays from the sun seemed blinding when they walked out of the court.
Gu Nianzhi looked at the clouds in the clear blue sky. There were doves flying past occasionally; their chirps echoing… She looked at the magnificent back view of Huo Shaoheng again. He who was so popular with everyone; whom everyone wanted to get close to… He was so near, but so far away.
She forgot that she wasn't supposed to look at him so much in public. She was looking at him, lost in thoughts.
All of a sudden, Huo Shaoheng turned around. Their eyes met.
He smiled at her, held out his hand and called out to her: "Come here, Nianzhi."
Gu Nianzhi's face lit up. It was more beautiful than the glowing rays in spring.
She walked towards everyone, and placed her hand into the warm and calloused hand of Huo Shaoheng.
"It was all thanks to Nianzhi for our victory today. If not for her, our army wouldn't have won so smoothly." Huo Shaoheng praised Gu Nianzhi openly in front of everyone. She was so touched she almost cried.
She lowered her head. It looked like she was shy at the attention, but in fact; she was hiding the tears that were threatening to fall from her eyes.
She only looked at Huo Shaoheng again when she managed to control her emotions a little. She looked at him, full of admiration.
General Ji observed the scene in front of him in silence while sitting in the car in on the side of the road in front of the courtroom. He looked at Huo Shaoheng, who was full of smiles. His gaze travelled to the Gu Nianzhi whose hand was held by Huo Shaoheng, and frowned.
He initially intended to get off the car and meet Huo Shaoheng, but decided against it. "Go back", he told his driver.
The driver started the engine, and returned to the military supreme council.
Huo Shaoheng's phone rang the moment he settled into the car with Gu Nianzhi.
The number to reach Huo Shaoheng directly on this phone was known by only a handful of people. It did not require the army to transfer any calls at all.
Huo Shaoheng looked at his phone. Realizing that it was General Ji, he answered the call immediately: "General Ji?"
"Yes, it's me." General Ji was in his car, and congratulated him with a smile: "The case was well done; it added glory to the army. It was the widow of a treasured military person; we can't let her die without justice. You've worked hard for this case. The army will record it down in a while."
Huo Shaoheng smiled, "This is what I should do. Luo Xinxue was my Aunt in-law; I wouldn't accept the honor from the army even if you want to give it to me. Lets just forget about it."
Hearing Huo Shaoheng rejecting the honor, General Ji did not push further. He just replied: "Sure, it does make some sense now that you put it this way. Then we'll just keep it as a record in your profile. Shaoheng, you're the General the army put in the most effort to groom. You know you are not allowed to make mistakes yes?"
Huo Shaoheng was puzzled. He adhered to every single rule for the Special Forces at work, and does not fool around in his private life as well. He definitely hadn't been blacklisted before. Thus, he replied promptly: "Rest a.s.sured General Ji, I've been compliant to orders all along."
"That's great to hear." General Ji laughed heartily. He felt relieved. "I pa.s.sed by the entrance of the court just now and saw all of you, but it was too crowded so I decided against congratulating you in person."
"General Ji came out in civilian outfit?" Huo Shaoheng recalled with utmost attention and understood almost immediately.
They would have closed the entire road if he were to come out officially; there will be no way he did not notice him.
"Yes, I was worried about you, so I came over to have a look." General Ji replied kindly, "It was a relief knowing that you won. I'm about to arrive at the base already so we shall talk again when we are both available."
"Yes, General." Huo Shaoheng replied, only putting away the phone when the line on the other side was cut off.
Gu Nianzhi was sitting down on the Huo Shaoheng's side quietly.
Huo Shaoheng held her hands, "You've worked hard. Please rest well, it's almost New Year."
Gu Nianzhi looked at the clear sky outside, and smiled, "will it be warm this New Year?"
"How would it be?" Zhao Liangze joined the conversation from the front, "There's going to be a change in weather in a few days. I saw the weather forecast; there's going to be a period of transition for the cold wind some time around New Year's Eve, it's going to be way colder than the past years."
She will be going back to school after New Year.
Gu Nianzhi's thoughts drifted to He Zhichu all of a sudden. She remembered the argument in his study, and frowned in discomfort.
Her phone rang with He Zhichu's call just when she was thinking of him.
She didn't want to answer it initially, but Huo Shaoheng saw it as well, and asked, "It's your lecturer, why aren't you picking up the call?"
Gu Nianzhi knew that Huo Shaoheng was attentive and clever. He knew her inside out too. So, in order to not let him be suspicious, she picked up the call. "Professor He?"
"Yes, it's me." He Zhichu was standing in front of the French windows in his apartment, a hand in his pocket. "Congratulations on winning your first case."
"There wasn't much I could do to be honest," Gu Nianzhi did not want the credit. "Young Master Huo and his men were very well prepared; I was merely the middleman helping them to showcase their preparations."
"You're too humble." He Zhichu's voice was clear, and naturally cold. He paused for a bit, and continued: "I saw court records."
Gu Nianzhi couldn't find her voice.
Wasn't it supposed to be a secret trial, and nothing should be publicized other than the verdict? How did He Zhichu get the court records?
"You don't believe it?" He Zhichu chuckled, "JD's Jin Dazhuang is now the chief lawyer in my law firm. The court record for this case was the answer he gave me for the interview."
Gu Nianzhi felt suffocated: "Isn't Jin Dazhuang the chief lawyer from JD? How did he end up at yours?"
"How is it strange? He lost this case and offended the Bai's. Of course JD would not engage him anymore. No other people would've dared to employ him other than me now." He Zhichu said casually, but Gu Nianzhi knew that things were not that simple.
She sighed, "The Bai's really did that?"
Bai Yueran didn't look this unreasonable.
"Of course they didn't have to do it themselves; but the verdict is in the public. JD still has to survive. The only way to let the Bai's know that they're on their side is to fire Jin Dazhuang." He Zhichu sounded like he knew these things really well.
"Then… Professor He isn't afraid to offend the Bai's?" Gu Nianzhi asked after pausing for a while.
"Now, Nianzhi, are you worried about me?" He Zhichu asked lazily. He had been feeling down for the past few days, all of a sudden, he felt cheerful.
"…Goodbye Professor He." Gu Nianzhi hung up.
Huo Shaoheng narrowed his eyes and asked, "What happened?"
"Jin Dazhuang has been fired by JD law firm. He went over to Professor He's law firm instead." Gu Nianzhi shook her head, "It was just a case, must they be like that?"