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115 Crazy Rich

 The four of them returned to Huo Shaoheng and Zhao Liangze's hotel, but did not go up to their room.

Zhao Liangze alone returned to the room they had booked. He hastily packed their things and paid the bill. They left the hotel after that.

They had to look for a new place to stay.

After driving around Vienna, they finally decided on the most expensive luxury hotel in the city: the Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof. Naturally, they had disguised themselves. They had washed the paint off their faces, and changed out of their camouflage wear.

Huo Shaoheng was now dressed in a tailor-made navy blue casual suit. His jacket was open, revealing a light blue Egyptian cotton shirt underneath. His slacks were loose; the outfit was supposed to be casual, but it looked formal and dignified on him all the same.

He opened the car door and got out of the car. Although he was wearing sunglasses, it did little to conceal his incredibly handsome features.

He had a hand in his trouser pocket; his other hand hung loosely by his side, the cuffs turned up to reveal a Jaeger-LeCoultre Hybris Mechanica watch. It was an ultra-thin tourbillon minute repeater watch; the complex, yet deceptively simple design suited Huo Shaoheng's imposing and self-effacing demeanor. It seemed almost to have been designed with him in mind.

The bellboy noticed the watch as soon as Huo Shaoheng walked through the doors of the hotel. His eyes lit up. He noted the casual nonchalance with which Huo Shaoheng wore the watch, which he knew to be worth at least 10 million euros-this man was probably as wealthy as a European crown prince.

Huo Shaoheng casually pulled out his Black Card, as Zhao Liangze stepped forward to interpret for him. He spoke in fluent German, and asked for two of the hotel's luxury suites.

Everyone in the hotel was watching them: they were cowed by Huo Shaoheng's aura of wealthy indifference.

The deputy managing director of the hotel personally attended to them. He helped the men check in and led them to the hotel's best luxury suites. He showed them the highlight of their accommodations: a picture perfect bird's-eye view of the beautiful city of Vienna and its surroundings, framed by a wide window that faced the room's entrance and ran along with the length of the room.

Huo Shaoheng had not spoken a single word. He kept his hands in his pockets as he stood before the window and looked out at the deep blue sky.

Zhao Liangze bustled about, ever the dutiful attendant; he was a Personal Secretary, after all.

The two injured soldiers had put on sunglasses, too. They stood motionless behind Huo Shaoheng, pretending to be his bodyguards. Altogether, they looked like the entourage of a crazy rich Asian billionaire who had come to Vienna for business.

The managers of the Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof attended to the men with the utmost respect. They helped settle the guests into their rooms and were rewarded with extremely generous tips for their efforts. They accepted the money happily and finally left Huo Shaoheng and his men alone.

As soon as they had gone, Zhao Liangze and the two men from Squad A immediately got out their infrared and electronic signal detectors. They combed the suite meticulously: top to bottom and inside out.

The men only relaxed when they were satisfied that the rooms were free of hidden cameras, microphones, and EMI devices.

Huo Shaoheng nodded to the two injured men from Squad A. "Rest up. Your only mission for the next few days is to recover from your injuries."

The two men thanked him sheepishly and withdrew to their suite next door.

Zhao Liangze had finished setting up his computer and electronic instruments. He said to Huo Shaoheng, "Big Xiong's worried about not being able to get in touch with us. We were in such a rush to leave this morning that I only had time to send him an encrypted, password-protected email."

Huo Shaoheng grunted in reply. He seated himself in the armchair before the window.

Both the armchair and Huo Shaoheng were shielded from view by the beige window curtains. Huo Shaoheng sat casually: his legs were crossed, and his hands were folded on top of his knees. His posture was relaxed, but he was still imposing and alert. He did not have to speak; his presence alone was enough to assert his dominance and control over the situation.

Everyone in the 6th Military Region thought of Huo Shaoheng as the backbone of the organization. In their hearts, Huo Shaoheng was as formidable as a mountain, lofty and insurmountable. Huo Shaoheng knew what the men thought of him, and played his part: he made sure to never show any sign of weakness.

He needed to be calm, steadfast, decisive, and ruthless in the darkest hours of the night, while all hope seemed lost and nothing seemed certain.

Zhao Liangze knew that this was one of those moments where matters seemed to have taken a hopeless turn.

Huo Shaoheng lifted his eyes and looked straight at him. "Call Big Xiong."

"Call him?" Zhao Liangze was taken aback. "Just two days ago, you told us we were no longer allowed to connect to the system. Are you saying we should use the hotel's Wi-Fi connection?"

Just earlier, Huo Shaoheng and his team had been using the Empire's Nandou Global Satellite Navigation System.

The Nandou System was not only capable of locating any object on the planet, but it was also capable of establishing a real-time communication link from anywhere on the planet.

Huo Shaoheng and his men often coordinated with each other via the Nandou System whenever they operated outside of the Empire's borders.

Their mission had hit a snag this time, but they had not been able to discover why. Huo Shaoheng had ordered his men not to contact anyone unrelated to the mission for the time being.They had, therefore, avoided connecting to either the Austrian intranet or the Nandou System.

Zhao Liangze had gone to a cybercafé earlier and hijacked a server from the Austrian government just to send Yin Shixiong the email. Huo Shaoheng lowered his eyes and thought about it. "Use the hotel's Wi-Fi. We paid a fortune for these rooms-they should be able to guarantee the security of their internet connection, at least."

Zhao Liangze gave Huo Shaoheng a skeptical look, but said nothing. He picked up the hotel guidebook, found the password for the Wi-Fi, and connected to it.

He was a hacker, first and foremost, and could not shake his old habits: he hacked into the hotel's central control system and added a layer of encryption to the connection in their room. Now, even if someone managed to intercept every single byte of data going out from the room, they would still have to crack the encryption first.

Once he was connected, Zhao Liangze opened the software that would allow him to call Yin Shixiong.

In a few moments, a series of beeps sounded over the laptop speakers, indicating that a connection had been established.

Yin Shixiong's face appeared on the laptop screen.

"Little Ze, is everyone okay? What happened?" asked Yin Shixiong as soon as the video call was up and running.

Zhao Liangze smiled at him. "Everything's fine. Did you really think we were in trouble? C'mon, who do you think we are?"

The two of them exchanged a few pleasantries. Zhao Liangze asked about Gu Nianzhi.

"How's Nianzhi doing? Is she settling in all right? What's this about attending classes at Harvard? Wasn't she supposed to intern at the US Congress?"

"I'm not too sure myself. You'll have to ask Nianzhi about it." Yin Shixiong tried to look over Zhao Liangze's shoulder. "Is Mr. Huo there? Does he want to talk to Nianzhi?"

Zhao Liangze turned to look inquiringly at Huo Shaoheng.

Huo Shaoheng thought about it. He looked at his watch. "What time is it, over in the US?"

Zhao Liangze looked up the time difference. "One o'clock in the afternoon, I think?"

"That's okay, then. Nianzhi must be having her afternoon nap," said Huo Shaoheng indifferently. He got up with the intention of going to the bathroom.

However, Yin Shixiong had already hurried to get Gu Nianzhi.

"Nianzhi! Nianzhi! It's Mr. Huo! A video call, from Mr. Huo!"

Gu Nianzhi had just crawled into bed. Her eyes flew open as soon as she heard about the video call. She pushed her blanket away and ran out of her room, clad only in a black T-shirt.

The black, thigh-length T-shirt hung loose on her body; her long, slender legs ran swiftly as she hurried to see Huo Shaoheng.