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172 The 18th Birthday 2

 Gu Nianzhi and Zhao Liangze were now living in the capital of the United States, Washington, DC. Most Caribbean cruises departed from the New York Harbor, so they first flew there to board the ship.

Gu Nianzhi was fascinated. "I heard that Professor He had specially ordered Imperial fireworks to be flown in, so maybe we'll see them tomorrow night?"

"You don't see enough of it back home?" Zhao Liangze smirked. "One year on National Day, you kept whining about going to see the fireworks and Mr. Huo actually took you. But then you fell asleep halfway through the show and so he had to carry you all night; we couldn't even pull you off him. You were like a koala, that's how tightly latched onto him you were."

Gu Nianzhi blushed when she recalled the incident and said, "I was young and foolish. Uncle Huo must've been exhausted."

"Not quite."Anyway, I just wanted to remind you of that time, in case you were thinking that He Zhichu is so much cooler for ordering those fireworks."

"Of course not." Gu Nianzhi widened her eyes, "Plus I only got so excited because I thought I'd be watching them with Uncle Huo."

Zhao Liangze patted her head. "Just go to bed."

The two went back to their separate rooms and woke up early the next morning. Gu Nianzhi wore a backpack and towed along a small cherry blossom pink suitcase, while Zhao Liangze had a giant travel backpack and a large suitcase. They were going to be on the cruise for two days and two nights in international waters, so Zhao Liangze had made the usual precautions. This was out of professional habit, since they could never be too prepared; it was better to be safe than sorry. At about eight in the morning, the taxi arrived and took them to the airport.

"Teaching Assistant Wen had us wait here for you. This is the private jet Professor prepared for you. You both will be flying there directly." Two beautiful blonde flight attendants walked off the plane and took the luggage from Zhao Liangze and Gu Nianzhi.

"Let's go, we don't want to be late." Zhao Liangze said breezily as he handed his suitcase to an attendant. Gu Nianzhi giggled and lugged her small suitcase behind her as she boarded the private jet with Zhao Liangze. The aircraft was medium-sized and could seat eight passengers, excluding the pilot, co-pilot, and the two flight attendants. Of course, Gu Nianzhi and Zhao Liangze were the only passengers on this flight. Once they boarded, Zhao Liangze remembered to ask Gu Nianzhi about Brother Huang. "Is your Brother Huang coming too?"

Gu Nianzhi nodded. "Yes, but he's going with Teaching Assistant Wen."

Gu Nianzhi had made reservations for four guests:Huo Shaoheng, Zhao Liangze, Yin Shixiong, and Mei Xiawen. Mei Xiawen hadn't been able to come, so there were only three guests; however, they were actually among the most important peopleto her.

Zhao Liangze pursed his lips and looked down as he texted Huo Shaoheng.

"Mr. Zhao? Please turn off your phone. We're about to take off." The blonde hostess walked over and served them drinks. She also reminded Zhao Liangze not to use his phone during take off. Zhao Liangze gave a smile as he turned the phone onto airplane mode and shut it off. Gu Nianzhi asked for a cup of coffee to warm herself up with. Soon after, they heard a deafening roar and they took off. Through the cabin window, Gu Nianzhi saw the land retreat at a rapid speed and the outside world blur as they rose off the ground. The houses, cars, and pedestrians shrunk to the size of tiny chess pieces below them. After the plane settled in the sky, it quickly stabilized. The flight attendants then brought their meals to them. Gu Nianzhi savoured her meal and watched a newly released movie after eating.

Four hours later, at around three in the afternoon, they finally entered the high seas of the Caribbean. Looking down from the cabin, the entire ocean glimmered like the finest sapphire, with small islands scattered about dotting the water. The cobalt waters reflected the white clouds, and palms trees lined the white beaches, painting a lush tropical picture. Gu Nianzhi couldn't wait to change into a grass skirt, wear a strand of orchids on her neck, and dance with the locals.

...

The jet landed on a small island in the high seas of the Caribbean. Wen Shouyi wore a bold red and black maxi dress and a large brimmed hat. "Let's go, the cruise ship is over there. We're taking a speedboat." Wen Shouyi waved at Gu Nianzhi and nodded at Zhao Liangze.

Gu Nianzhi looked around and only saw Wen Shouyi, "Teaching Assistant Wen, where are the other guests?"

"They will arrive shortly." Wen Shouyi smiled and pointed to a pink cruise ship close by. "See that? Professor He especially prepared it for you. It's a brand new cruise ship released this year and was even named after you!"

Gu Nianzhi pushed her sunglasses up to her forehead and widened her eyes. Between the sea and sky was the anchored vision of the pink cruise ship, emblazoned with "Nianzhi" in a floral font and "My Princess Gu" below it in smaller letters. Gu Nianzhi was completely mortified. She pursed her lips and gave a nervous laugh. "How interesting, Teaching Assistant Wen. Professor He is too kind."

"He's more than just kind." Wen Shouyi said suggestively before she ushered them to the speedboat waiting at the dock. The speedboat cut through the waters and quickly arrived at the cruise ship. A rope ladder was lowered and the trio climbed on. Gu Nianzhi and Zhao Liangze's luggage had been transferred onto the ship a long time ago. As soon as they boarded, the speed boat took off.

Gu Nianzhi and Zhao Liangze felt overwhelmed as they stood inside the pink Princess cruise ship. Wen Shouyi was right: this was indeed a brand new model; it still had the faint smell of paint. They entered through the second level banquet hall and were greeted by a sparkling chandelier hanging above them and illuminating the hall into a starry sky. One level below the hall was a dance floor, the floorboards freshly waxed and gleaming. Plenty of seats were scattered around the dance floor, and there was also a bar and DJ booth. Although it was still empty, Gu Nianzhi could already hear the music. Wen Shouyi guided them through all the levels of the ship. The third was where the cabins were located, which were suites with private bathrooms and sound insulation. Once they entered the suites, not even the sounds of crashing waves could be heard. The fourth floor was the highest and contained an open amusement park. It was a scene out of a fairytale, including a Ferris wheel, swimming pool, springboard, carousel and windmill. It felt like a dream to be on such a huge cruise ship, floating on the water, just the three of them under the clear black sky.

Gu Nianzhi's palms grew sweaty. She looked at the self-assured Wen Shouyi and asked, "Where are the other guests? Why isn't anyone else here?"

Wen Shouyi smiled but changed the subject. "There are also sailors and cooks, I didn't get to show you earlier." She noticed Gu Nianzhi's consternation and then said, "The other guests are flying in through a commercial flight and transferring by speedboat from Barbados." She looked at her watch "Soon, they'll be here in two or three hours, before sunset."