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476 Heartache

 "It's not really a skill, just something I've become accustomed to." Huo Shaoheng picked up a ladle and filled a bowl with creamy snake stew. He set it down before Gu Yanran. "Have a taste?"

Gu Yanran smiled happily and quickly used her spoon to try a bit. She savored it on her tongue replied happily, "It tastes even better than it smells! Mr. Huo, you're amazing! Not only are you an Imperial Major General at such a young age, but you're also an excellent cook!" She giggled. "Whoever you choose to be your wife will be a lucky girl."

Huo Shaoheng picked up the ladle again and served himself the snake stew. He didn't reply to Gu Yanran and easily changed the topic. "Miss Gu, do you know anything about the gunmen who abducted you?"

Gu Yanran paused for second and frowned in deep thought. "My family has always been careful and reserved. I have no idea why they'd come looking for my father." As she spoke, she looked at Huo Shaoheng with sincerity. "The truth is, although my father didn't die from the aircraft accident seven years ago, it still left him in a coma. Honestly, he's no different than a dead person. I don't know why the gunmen went through all that trouble to find him."

Huo Shaoheng immersed himself in his thoughts. "What is the name of your father? Did he survive an aircraft accident? This is fortune amidst misfortune. Our ancestors once said that survivors have their luck turned against them. I'm sure your father will wake up again."

Gu Yanran and Huo Shaoheng sat at the dining table together with there bowls of creamy snake stew in front of them. As she stirred the stew gently and took a few bites, Gu Yanran sighed. "Mr. Huo, you've saved my life so I won't hide anything from you. My father's name is Gu Xiangwen. Did you hear about flight MH210's accident seven years ago?"

Huo Shaoheng nodded. "Of course, there aren't many people who didn't hear about it. But I know there were no survivors, may I ask if your father..." He trailed off.

At the time, the accident commanded the full attention of global media. For two months nearly everyone was speculating about the airplane's location. Even the United States' 24 hour GPS systems failed to find any traces of the missing flight. All sorts of conspiracy theories emerged and it nearly became a field of academic research. I wasn't until two years later, five years ago, that the wreckage was found on a small island in the Indian Ocean and the case was finally closed.

Gu Yanran took a few sips of the snake stew and emptied the bowl before setting down her spoon. She wiped her mouth with a tissue and spoke quietly.

"Since you're asking, I won't conceal anything. Although my father was reserved, he was not a normal man. In fact, he is a very famous scholar within the international academic realm. He was very serious about our family's privacy, so he never appeared in public."

Huo Shaoheng stirred his bowl slowly and listened to Gu Yanran. When she paused, Huo Shaoheng looked at her intently. His encouraging eyes could compel anyone to spill their secrets and speak from their heart.

Gu Yanran was no exception, and she got very emotional. "Before the accident, my parents were flying from Southeast Asia to the United States to attend an academic conference. Afterward, they were set to return to Barbados. However, the flight had problems in the middle of the journey and deviated from its flight path. Then it disappeared from the radar. It finally crashed onto a small island in the Indian Ocean. My father customized his phone, and even under such extreme circumstances, I was able to locate my parents. I was the first to rush over."Find authorized novels in Webnovel,faster updates, better experience,Please click for visiting.

Huo Shaoheng was shocked. "Your father created something that advanced? What kind of phone is it? Can I see?"

Gu Yanran nodded and set her phone on the dining table. "Please have a look."

Huo Shhaoheng picked up Gu Yanran's phone to scrutinize it carefully. From the outside, Gu Yanran's phone was just the most popular iPhone. She pried open the side and showed it to him.

"See, my father developed a mini positioning system. It uses any surveillance satellites in orbit to determine the user's location. Apparently, it's a very simple system, but unfortunately, I don't understand it."

Huo Shaoheng stared at it a long time then took a pair of small pliers from his Swiss army knife to carefully pull the chip out of Gu Yanran's phone. It was incredibly tiny, and 100x magnification was required to clearly see the circuitry. It was amazing Gu Xiangwen had created such an advanced piece of technology. In regards to microchips, Huo Shaoheng was practically an expert. He asked Gu Yaran. "Do you have a magnifying glass?"

Gu Yanran nodded quickly. "My father has one in his study. Would you like to chat in there?

Huo Shaoheng looked down at the nearly invisible microchip in his palm, and his eyes moved quickly over the snake stew Gu Yanran finished before nodding. "Ok, if you don't mind."

Gu Yanran led Huo Shaoheng to her father's study. The moment he walked in he became more alert. The more he knew about Gu Xiangwen, the more impressed Huo Shaoheng felt. There were very few people in the world who could sincerely impress Huo Shaoheng. Gu Yanran found her father's magnifying glass and passed it to Huo Shaoheng. Huo Shaoheng used the it to carefully pore over the microchip on his finger. The workmanship was awe-inspiring.

"Did your father really make this himself? Or did he design the plans and have someone else make it?" The best circuitry was not made by machine but polished by hand.

"My father made it by hand." Gu Yanran sounded proud. "He's amazing."

Huo Shaoheng stared at the microchip again and again before returning it to Gu Yanran's phone. "In other words, you just used the microchip in the phone to locate your father after the accident?"

"Yes, you must know more about the situation than me. The whole world was focussed on the Southern seas, but I was sure it was in the Indian Ocean. I didn't want to draw attention, so I used our own family ships and planes. We didn't spend a penny of anyone else's money." Her eyes turned red at the memory of the situation and Gu Yanran choked. "But what's the use of this positioning system? By the time I found him, he was unconscious and holding my mother's corpse..." Gu Yanran couldn't continue speaking and used a tissue to cover her mouth as she sobbed.

Huo Shaoheng remained silent and leaned against the edge of the desk. He put both hands in his trouser pockets and waited for Gu Yanran to finish crying before passing her another tissue. "Miss Gu, my condolences."

"It's been seven years and every day I think about how wonderful it would be if my parents and sister were still alive." Beads of tears streamed down Gu Yanran's face, and her nose turned red.

Huo Shaoheng gave a neutral smile and secretly recalled how it hadn't seemed like she'd missed her family when he met her last year. At the time, the proud Gu Yanran was a representative of the International Distinguished Women. She had a powerful aura and calculated all situations to maximize her personal benefit. Her current state of helplessness and distress was unbefitting to her. It suited Gu Nianzhi more. Huo Shaoheng's thoughts naturally drifted to Gu Nianzhi, and he felt as if she was wretching his heart violently in her hands. His heart ached, and he pressed his palm against his chest.

"Mr. Huo, what's wrong? Are you unwell?" Gu Yanran noticed Huo Shaoheng's subtle movement and quickly asked. "Are you hurt? Let me see!" In a rush to get close to Huo Shaoheng, Gu Yanran lunged towards him but stopped when she was about to lean in. "I'll go get the first aid kit!" She ran out the door but suddenly slumped to the floor. It appeared as if she had passed out or fallen asleep. Her breathing was even, her chest moved up and down, and her cheeks were even pinker than before.

Huo Shaoheng put both hands in his pockets, walked over slowly, and smiled. "Many-banded krait stew and buttercup should help you sleep through the night." He walked past Gu Yanran and closed the door carefully before he left.

As soon as Huo Shaoheng walked out of the study, his entire demeanor changed. He completely removed the mask he used in front of Gu Yanran and resumed his normal capable and strong personality. He took out the thin transparent gloves he carried and cut off the power for the entire house. The house plunged into complete darkness. After cutting the power, the surveillance equipment was not able to function. He knew all the footage would be lost, and his movements would never be detected. Putting on his night vision goggles, he began searching for traces of Gu Xiangwen in the cabin. Huo Shaoheng didn't expect to find Gu Xiangwen there, but this was the first place he'd had the opportunity to search.

As he walked through the dark hallway made of logs, his eyes scanned over the walls. He couldn't help wondering if this was a place little Gu Nianzhi had once run through. She could've worn little leather shoes and a fluffy skirt as she dashed around.

On the second floor were five rooms. Four of them were bedrooms, but the last was a chess and gym room. From the various exercise machines inside, it was apparent that Gu Xiangwen loved to exercise. However they'd all been covered in dust for a long time, so it was clear no one had used the room since Gu Xiangwen's accident. Gu Yanran was obviously not someone who liked to exercise, and as for Gu Nianzhi... Huo Shaoheng couldn't help smiling when he thought of her. No one knew better than him how much Gu Nianzhi hated exercise. The room had wooden floors covered in dust, so Huo Shaoheng didn't go inside, but merely looked in from the hallway. He wanted to avoid leaving footprints. The curtains were half drawn to allow the moonlight to filter in, and the dust danced in the moon's glow.

Huo Shaoheng gently closed the door and headed towards the largest bedroom on the second floor. This, he assumed, was Gu Xiangwen and his wife's room. He found the door locked. He tried to push it open but decided it wasn't worth going back to Gu Yanran to find a key. He took out his small toolkit and fiddled with the lock for a few moments before it popped open. The room was thickly carpeted so there was no worry of leaving footprints. Huo Shaoheng stepped inside. The entire room was about fifty square meters and very spacious. The large wood frame windows had one-way crystal panes which allowed people to view the outside while prohibiting others from looking in. It was extremely private. There was a fireplace in the lower corner of the east wall and several picture frames on the mantle. Huo Shaoheng walked over and adjusted the brightness on his night vision goggles to take photos before looking at the picture frames. Despite his years of cultivation, one glance was all it took to make his heart skip a beat. The middle photo was showed a family of four. An elegant and intelligent looking man and a quiet and graceful woman sat in the middle, while two girls stood at their sides. The older one was about 16 or 17, and the younger one was around 11. The older girl was obviously Gu Yanran, her face looked exactly the same, but the younger girl was no one other than Gu Nianzhi from seven years ago! But other than him, there wasn't a single person who could ever guess the girl in the photo was really Gu Nianzhi.