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69 Dispatch

 The power outage led to a few people wandering outside of their rooms, protesting and complaining to one another while they tried to make sense of what was happening.

"D*mn it!" one man yelled, "what the h*ll?! This resort is so unprofessional! Are they deliberately trying to piss off their guests, or what? No phone signal, no internet, and now, no electricity! The landlines don't work either! How could they run their business this way?"

The resort guests in the other courtyards had only just noticed the abnormality of their situation, and were now causing a ruckus, demanding to speak with the resort management.

However, the rain quelled the heated conversations, a natural and effective deterrent. They withdrew into their rooms. They would wait for the rain to stop before storming out to give the resort managers a piece of their minds.


Over at the resort's administration building, the bright lights in the managing director's office suddenly flashed twice before going out.

Yang Dawei was sitting in the executive chair when the lights went out. He was startled by the sudden darkness; he looked up at the ceiling lamp, and asked one of his men, "What happened? A power outage?"

"I'll go take a look, Boss." Another one of his men walked out of the room, gun in hand.

Yang Dawei was uneasy. His right eyelid twitched uncontrollably.

It was said that when left eyelid twitched, it signified incoming wealth. A jumping right eyelid, however, signified incoming disaster.

His twitching right eye made him frantic with fear; it was an ill omen. Consumed by his superstition and panic, he clapped a hand over his insolent right eye.


Over at Qingfeng Garden, everyone had already learned from Mei Xiawen that there was trouble brewing in the resort. They were also told that the students in Class Two, had been knocked out. Scared and confused, the students of Class One were now obediently hiding in their rooms, debating amongst themselves on how to protect themselves.

While they were already badly frightened, the moment the lights in their rooms died out, many students were sent into a terrified frenzy. The danger was escalating.

Strongman made rounds and comforted his classmates, room by room. "It's all right, ok? The lights have gone out because the Class Rep and Gu Nianzhi have cut off the power. This is a good thing. I mean, it's not like we had been able to use our phones or access the internet earlier, right?" He tried to joke. "You know what? We should try living as our ancestors did back in the Stone Age. Who needs electricity, anyway?"

Little Temptress, Green Tea Fang, and Lady Cao stood together, nervously staring in the direction of the gate. They were waiting for Gu Nianzhi and Mei Xiawen to come back.


The two gangsters who had just arrived at Mingyue Court had also been caught off-guard by the power outage. In fact, they were probably the ones most surprised by it. They had just finished searching the first room when the lights had abruptly went out. "Sh*t! What the f*ck! Why are the lights out?!" One man cursed.

They had been walking around Mingyue Court with photos in their hands, trying to identify their targets, but so far it had been a slow and cumbersome process. The students of Class Two were lying about in all kinds of positions, unconscious. The gangsters had to turn their heads to check their faces, one by one.

The men went out to check out the situation and found that the entire resort was shrouded in darkness.

Just moments before, the villa courtyards scattered among the mountains had glistened and glittered in the rain like wet pearls. Now, however, there wasn't a single light to be seen in the entire resort. They were greeted with darkness no matter which way they turned. It was beginning to feel like eerie somehow.

The two Big Circle Boys members had no choice but to continue searching the rooms with their flashlights.


Gu Nianzhi and Mei Xiawen stumbled out of the power room and hurried back to Qingfeng Garden, hand in hand.

It was still raining, the ground beneath them muddy and slippery. There were no street lights to guide them, and the two of them dared not use their flashlights. They could only trust that their instincts would lead them back to Qingfeng Garden safely.

Mei Xiawen had a good sense of direction. He led Gu Nianzhi around in the dark, his eyes gradually adapting to the night.

Soon enough, Gu Nianzhi saw a familiar road sign. "Over there."

The two returned to Qingfeng Garden. Strongman stealthily crept up to them, and said, "I saw flashlights over at Mingyue Court. What do you think they're up to?"

Gu Nianzhi thought about what Strongman had said: the two gangsters were armed with guns, and had looked like cold-blooded killers. Her heart thumped furiously in her chest. She bit her lip and looked at Mei Xiawen. "How about I go check it out?"

"No!" Mei Xiawen vehemently objected. "They have guns. You'd be like a lamb sent for slaughter!"

Gu Nianzhi inwardly mused: Ah, but who's the lamb, and who's the butcher? Xiawen, you would be in for a surprise.

She did not argue with Mei Xiawen before her friends, however. Instead, she asked worriedly, "What if they realize we've swapped rooms? They might come for us."

Everyone panicked at the thought. "You're joking, right?!"

"What do you think?" Gu Nianzhi walked over to her bed and got out her swimming apparel, which more resembled a wetsuit. "I'll go over via Little Mirror Lake. Any objections?"

"Little Mirror Lake?" Mei Xiawen frowned. "You want to swim over?"

"Yes. I swam over to Mingyue Court yesterday, so I know the way." Gu Nianzhi was already inside the bathroom, changing into her swimsuit.

Mei Xiawen did not say anything. He silently returned to his room and changed into his swimming trunks. He was going with Gu Nianzhi.


Elsewhere, in C City, several wealthy, distinguished families were roused from their sleep by the ringing of their phones. It was late at night.

"Is this the Mei family? Your son is in distress, over at Dufeng Mountain Resort Villa. You'd better find a way to save him, and fast."

"Is this the Cao family? Your daughter is in trouble, over at Dufeng Mountain Resort Villa. Please hurry to save her, or it may be too late!"

Several families in other cities, including B City, the capital of the Empire, also received similar calls.

It sounded like a prank, but the heads of these families would rather not take their chances; they immediately called their children.

However, try as they might, they couldn't get through-neither by mobile phone, nor the listed landline number for the Dufeng Mountain Resort Villa. They texted their children using instant messaging apps, but did not get a reply. They sent FaceTime requests, but did not get a response.

The gravity of the situation was undeniable now.

Several families immediately made calls to the C City Police Headquarters.

They called the police HQ, and quickly learned from their inside connections that the police station near Dufeng Mountain had just called HQ for emergency backup. Reports on the matter came one after another:

There was an ongoing situation at Dufeng Mountain Resort Villa

Someone had been shot and killed!

The gangsters were armed with multiple guns!

The students' parents had been upset and restless; their distress was further amplified upon receiving this news. It was no longer possible for them to go back to sleep.

They demanded to go up to Dufeng Mountain Resort Villa with the police. They would not be able to rest until they saw, with their very own eyes, their children walk out of the villa, safe and unharmed.

The police were at a loss. These were distinguished families, and it was important to address their concerns; however, it would have made no difference even if they had been poor families-the perilous situation made it difficult to infiltrate the resort and rescue the students in lieu of the murder of a police officer. A reckless approach founded on the urgent feelings of the families would do nothing; rather, it could jeopardize the safety of the families' children.

The higher-ups at the police HQ were therefore treating the matter very seriously. They put their most competent man, the deputy commissioner, on the case. He immediately ordered for a SWAT team and one hundred riot police to be dispatched to Dufeng Mountain.

It rained the entire way: from C City to Dufeng Mountain Resort Villa.

The police HQ sealed off the highway, so the SWAT team would be able to get to the scene faster and save the students.

The SWAT team was made up of the best men on the police force. They were especially skilled at dealing with high profile and high level cases.

The deputy commissioner got into a helicopter; he would be flying directly to Dufeng Mountain.

In the dark, rainy night, a long string of police cars raced along the highway towards Dufeng Mountain Resort Villa, sirens blaring and lights flashing the. It was a formidable sight.

A group of helicopters rose into the night sky. It flew through the pouring rain and towards the airport near Dufeng Mountain.


Over at the C City Special Operations Forces military base:

Zhao Liangze and Yin Shixiong stood at attention before Huo Shaoheng. Their faces were pale. "Sir! Little Li and Gu Nianzhi are in danger!" Zhao Liangze said.

Huo Shaoheng was seated at his desk, his hands folded on the table. He slowly raised his head. His beautiful face was still as expressionless as ever, but his voice had gone icy cold. "What's happened?"