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482 Eye-catching

 "All murdered?" Yin Shixiong widened his eyes and asked in a dramatic tone, "The criminals are that vicious?!"

"Yes, it was truly too vicious. Everyone is saying that the gunmen were looking for Mr. Gu and they guess that it's his enemies from before seeking revenge!" The driver's spittle flew as if he were acting out a great legend.

Zhao Liangze was rendered speechless. He turned to look out the window and grumbled, "You know that, too? What a vivid imagination. Why don't they become scriptwriters?"

On the other hand, Huo Shaoheng listened with great interest. Arms crossed, he rubbed his chin with one hand as he asked the driver quietly, "Didn't you say that Mr. Gu is kindhearted and did a lot of charity work? How would he have enemies?"

"Sir, think about it. Mr. Gu is wealthy yet discreet. Honestly speaking, we had no idea who he was before his aircraft accident because he did his charity work anonymously. Then he became comatose, and his older daughter especially hired the Pope from the Vatican to hold mass to pray for their family. That was when his identity was publicized. Only then did we know Mr. Gu had secretly helped us so much." The driver was very emotional as he bowed several times in the living room before continuing, "I think you should all leave now. Many people died here, so no one would dare to come again."

Of course, Huo Shaoheng and his men weren't afraid of the dead. But they had to appear frightened in front of the driver, so they seemed like normal people.

Yin Shixiong shivered dramatically, his voice shaking as he said, "Sir, we'd better leave now. It's so creepy here..." His gaze swept around the living room and didn't see anything suspicious before he gave Zhao Liangze a look. They flanked Huo Shaoheng's back, then looked down to take out a Cuban cigar and used a blade to cut off the end before lighting it.

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Huo Shaoheng also reached out to him. "Give me one."

The three men lit their cigars and said to the driver, "We're leaving now. What about you?"

The driver grew excited. "Cuban cigars? That's some good stuff! I can tell it's good just from the smell." As he spoke, he also produced a cigar and waved it at them. "I have some too, but they're not as good as yours. Yours smells so wonderful!"

Yin Shixiong then took out a Cuban cigar for the driver. "Here. Let's all smoke together."

With smoking the cigar as an excuse, they left the living room and walked around Gu manor. The mansion appeared to have been very secure in the past, but most of the equipment was aged and not maintained. Perhaps no one had been repairing them since Gu Xiangwen had his accident? Huo Shaoheng and his men were experts, so their hearts itched upon seeing the exquisite technology going completely to waste. They badly desired to uninstall the equipment to take back to the Huaxia Empire to analyze it carefully.

Huo Shaoheng held his cigar and looked at Gu mansion with a conflicted expression. He thought he hadn't acted too professionally in front of Gu Yanran.

It was more than an hour later when they finally left the Gu mansion. The taxi driver took them to a small tavern before driving off. Huo Shaoheng, Yin Shixiong, and Zhao Liangze would never eat at such a place, and they had only come here because it was a good place to talk. A boisterous place where all sorts of people gathered was the safest place to have a conversation.

"Mr. Huo, what are you planning to do after seeing all that?" Yin Shixiong gave Huo Shaoheng a bottle of locally brewed blueberry rum. "Try this. It tastes pretty food. I had some earlier, and it's safe."

Playing with his glass, Huo Shaoheng was silent for a long time before saying, "If Gu Yanran insists that we escort her father, she will think of a way for sure. We might as well wait and see."

"...But Mr. Huo, what if she finds someone else? Didn't we come here because of... her father?" Zhao Liangze was concerned.

"Yes, and we must get ahold of Gu Xiangwen. But Gu Yanran might not ask us to escort him to the United States." Yin Shixiong sipped his drink, clapping his hands to the beat of the song the dancing female singer performed on the stage.

"Right. I remember that she's very close with Professor He and with the He's influence in South America. It'd be a piece of cake for them to send someone to escort them to the United States." Zhao Liangze voiced his concerns. He was very worried about Huo Shaoheng's decision.

Although Huo Shaoheng wasn't yet certain, he would still consider Yin Shixiong's opinion. As he thought about it more, he knew he wasn't making a mistake. He never explained his actions to his subordinates and had only told them about his thoughts this time because he required them to cooperate with his little act.

"If you think about it this way," he said, "if Gu Yanran didn't ask us but the Hes, then it would lure out the Hes, and we would be able to clearly observe their power without even having to go to South America. If Gu Yanran insists we escort her father, that means she's not as close to the Hes as she claims. Or it could even mean that the Hes and the Gus have some conflict, so she cannot completely allow the Hes to take control." Huo Shaoehng wrote a few words on the table using the drink, then quickly wiped them away.

Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze finally understood their superior's intentions. They laughed sheepishly. "Mr. Huo, you don't need to explain. This was our fault, and we actually crossed the line."

"That's fine. When we are on missions, the situation may change in a single second, so we need to cooperate with each other instead of you blinding obeying me." Huo Shaoheng consoled his subordinates. "Ok. Remember that we are Huaxia Imperial soldiers, not mercenaries. We cannot accept Gu Yanran's request. But we also can't let the Gus out of sight, so we have to act discreetly and continue observations."

The three men drank for a bit more before heading back to their hotel.

In the evening, they got into the car sent by the governor-general of Barbados to take them to his official residence. The governor-general of Barbados had especially hosted a banquet for them that night, and it was a national banquet, though it was not quite as elaborate since Huo Shaoheng was only representing the Huaxia Imperial military but not the entire nation. They got out of the car at the huge European-style official residence, and Huo Shaoheng looked up at the two great white pillars with numerous Biblical stories engraved into them. The craftsmanship was exquisite and the images so realistic that even the folds on the clothing could be clearly discerned. Folding his hands behind his back, Huo Shaoheng glanced at the carvings with interest before nodding at the governor-general who had come out to greet them.

"Good evening, Governor-General."

"Hello, Major General Huo. It's our honor that you can attend our banquet."

The Governor-General was a heavyset black man in his sixties. He was very polite, and it was apparent he had a prestigious upbringing and hadn't come from the poor quarters.

Huo Shaoheng nodded to him and shook his hand briefly before following him inside the official residence. The spacious hall glittered brilliantly with five large crystal chandeliers illuminating the interior as bright as day. The lighting was especially soft. Every woman's makeup looked exquisite and beautiful, like they were under professional soft filters. Their skin appeared soft and flawless.

Gu Yanran wore a bright red halter mermaid gown with black trim. Her long hair was arranged in a bun at the back of her head, topped with a diamond crown. The diamonds were of excellent quality, so the chandeliers' lights almost refracted a tiny rainbow on them. Under the rainbow lights, Gu Yanran was as breathtaking as a jewel, and all eyes of women and men, old and young, were attracted to her. She was obviously close with everyone in attendance, as she carried a colorful cocktail and made her way through the esteemed guests of the hall, chatting and laughing quietly. She toasted them from time to time as if she were practically the hostess. After a while, she walked before Huo Shaoheng and took a cocktail from a waiter's platter to pass to Huo Shaoheng.


Huo Shaoheng accepted the glass with a faint smile. "Miss Gu is in a great mood."

"Yes, I'm feeling great because my problem has been solved." Gu Yanran smiled kindly. "Mr. Huo, you'll hear about it very soon."

She elegantly turned around to leave after speaking to him, only leaving behind the image of the creamy expanse of her back and her slender neck to Huo Shaoheng.

Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze stood at Huo Shaoheng's side and gawked at Gu Yanran's evening gown with sharp exhales. "What an eye-catching gown!"

"Yes! The front is so modest and shows no skin, but it's actually completely backless!" Zhao Liangze couldn't help but fall into his work habits and take several photos of Gu Yanran.

Huo Shaoheng looked at Gu Yanran's back once with a frown, then quickly averted his gaze. Walking to the window, he connected to his Bluetooth headset to call Gu Nianzhi.


It was 6:00 or 7:00 a.m. in the Huaxia Empire at the time, so Gu Nianzhi had just gotten up and was washing up in the bathroom. When she came out, she saw that she had missed Huo Shaoheng's call. Instantly frustrated, she quickly called him back. Huo Shaoheng guessed that Gu Nianzhi must have been washing up or having breakfast when she didn't pick up his call easier, so he wasn't surprised at all when Gu Nianzhi called back soon after.

"Huo Shao, is that you?" Gu Nianzhi's surprise was evident through Huo Shaoheng's Bluetooth headset. Her voice was very close to his ears, almost like a tiny hand fondling his earlobes to gradually turn them red.

"Yeah. Are you up, Nianzhi?" Huo Shaoheng went to sit down at the sofa by the window. He crossed his legs. His eyes were still darting over all the guests in the hall as he observed every single person.

"I just woke up and went to wash up in the bathroom earlier, so I missed your call." Gu Nianzhi's crisp voice was alluring like an oriole. She couldn't stop speaking as soon as she started. "Huo Shao, what are you doing? What time is it over there?"

"It's around 7:00 p.m. here. I'm at a banquet at the official residence of the Governor-General of Barbados."

Huo Shaoheng spoke nonchalantly, with no intention of hiding from Gu Nianzhi. There was no need to conceal these things because he was making an official visit and not conducting a secret mission. His itinerary was known to the Huaxia Imperial government, the military, and the Senate. As his family, Gu Nianzhi was also allowed to know of his whereabouts.

Gu Nianzhi laughed. "Is there lots of yummy food there? What are the specialties in Barbados?"

Huo Shaoheng chuckled with a shake of his head. "All you know is food."

Just as he was about to tell Gu Nianzhi about a few specialty dishes of Barbados, Gu Yanran's voice suddenly called out clearly from behind him, saying, "Mr. Huo is here? I must go now. I wanted to say goodbye."

The Bluetooth headset picked up the voices too well, so Gu Nianzhi could also hear everything from her end. She froze for a second, then realized it was Gu Yanran. She thought about the fact that Gu Yanran was in Barbados-could Huo Shaoheng's visit have something to do with her? Gu Nianzhi was slightly unhappy because Huo Shaoheng had only said he was going to Cuba. He had never mentioned Barbados.