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522 Duel 3

 Gu Nianzhi had also practiced with semiautomatic machine guns back in the city base of the Huaxia Imperial Special Operations Forces. She hadn't picked them up for several years now, but her training came back to her as soon as she touched the weapon. Scrunching her tiny face, she accepted the semiautomatic submachine gun from Yin Shixiong and fiddled with the bolt to load several times. After familiarizing herself, she quickly followed Yin Shixiong out to the stairway on the other side of the hallway.

"Follow me!" Gu Nianzhi waved her hands to the director of the hospital, the nurses, and the guards who quickly followed them up the stairs.

Yin Shixiong carried Gu Xiangwen on his back and ran in a crouch while Gu Nianzhi held the semiautomatic machine gun. She constantly checked behind them for any movement.

Alone, Huo Shaoheng carried an AMR and changed positions by the window on the third floor. With a single shot of his gun, a black and red cloud of flames would erupt downstairs. Like a judge of the underworld controlling the life and death of the human realm, Huo Shaoheng's strapping figure hid in the shadows by the window-every shot eliminating the life of the black-cloaked figures downstairs.

The black-cloaked figures finally grew too nervous to advance. They scattered about to find hiding places. Huo Shaoheng took note of their movements and immediately used his communication system to relay orders.

"A Team, three targets are moving forward in the seven o'clock position. Over. B Team, two targets are moving forward in the three o'clock position. Over. C Team, four targets are moving forward in the six o'clock position. Over."

Standing on the third floor, Huo Shaoheng looked down at ground level from above. He solemnly reported the orientation and the movements of the black-cloaked gunmen. Gu Nianzhi followed Yin Shixiong and the others down the rear stairs, allowing Huo Shaoheng to attract the attention of the firepower from the third floor. Their path was unobstructed, and the group quickly arrived on the first floor. However, the hospital director assumed the danger had passed and didn't want to follow Yin Shixiong and Gu Nianzhi's group anymore. He subtly cast a look to his staff, and they began dragging themselves to their feet from behind. When they saw that Yin Shixiong and Gu Nianzi had exited, they quickly bolted out of the building.

"Where are you going?" Gu Nianzhi screamed at the people when she noticed them not hiding in the hills but running up instead.

The director of the hospital only was able to wave behind him and didn't even get to speak before a wave of gunshots black guns in the trees knocked him to the ground.

"Someone got killed! They killed someone! This is a hospital! You people can't do that!"

The black nurse suddenly mustered the courage to scream furiously in the direction of the gunmen's shots. But they were clearly professional killers who were cold-blooded and ruthless, unperturbed by the black nurse's cries.

Boom!

With another shot, the black nurse also fell in a pool of blood.

Gu Nianzhi hugged her semiautomatic machine gun tightly and hid behind a large rock with Yin Shixiong. Hearing the execution-like gunshots, Gu Nianzhi couldn't take it anymore and poked her head out from behind the large rock. Cocking her semiautomatic machine gun, she fired a whole belt of ammunition at him!

Ratatatatat!

The semi-automatic machine gun spat out a flaming tongue that rolled toward the crazed gunman. While the gunman was very much enjoying executing others, he began shrieking horribly when he was shot by the submachine gun. However, he grew quiet after a short moment and convulsed on the ground as he lay dying in his own blood.

Yin Shixiong had wanted to stop Gu Nianzhi, but seeing how ruthless the gunmen were with murdering the hospital staff, he knew they would be discovered eventually. So he didn't stop her and crouched at her side as a spotter. Gu Nianzhi fired off a whole belt of ammunition and seemed to terrify the enemy. They didn't come back but retreated into the woods.

Yin Shixiong broke into a run while quickly dragging Gu Nianzhi in the other direction and whispered, "Run now! They're going to use a flamethrower!"

As soon as he spoke, a great wave of flames climbed up the back of the large rock they hide behind. They would certainly be burned to a crisp if they had stayed there. Gu Nianzhi grew scared with a second thought. Clenching her gun, she ran even faster than Yin Shixiong. The Special Ops members who were providing backup had arrived, so they informed Yin Shixiong of their locations using the Bluetooth headsets and quickly eliminated all the gunmen on their path before regrouping with Yin Shixiong.

"Why are there so many gunmen? Didn't we investigate it beforehand?" Yin Shixong asked their backup with a grim expression.

"We did investigate it, but this is Barbados, not our own Empire. There are many things here that even the local government may not know about." The soldier also wore a mask in order to not reveal his identity in Barbados. He looked at Gu Nianzhi as well as Gu Xiangwen on Yin Shixiong's back. "Come with me. Our cars are parked over there. It's just past this point here."

"...But Huo Shao hasn't come back yet," Gu Nianzhi whispered as she looked toward the building, refusing to leave with the others.

Yin Shixiong also glanced anxiously in that direction. "How is Mr. Huo's situation?"

"Mr. Huo is clearing targets from a fixed position," the soldier replied succinctly, then waved his hand. "Let's go now. You can't help him from here."

"But he's alone there..." Gu Nianzhi muttered, her eyes lingering on the building.

"Let's go." Yin Shixiong didn't say another word before grabbing Gu Nianzhi's arm and running toward the exit.

Gu Nianzhi wanted to stay with Huo Shaoheng, but it was obvious that she would become his burden if she followed him-she could only grit her teeth and follow Yin Shixiong out. Just as they began to run, she heard the gunshots and explosions getting louder from behind her. It was almost like an explosion scene in a Hollywood war film. She couldn't help stopping to look back at the building, which had suddenly erupted into great flames. The thick smoke completely blotted the blue sky with black.

Gu Nianzhi became very anxious and grabbed Yin Shixiong to ask, "Brother Xiong! What about that building? Will he be ok?"

Yin Shixiong turned around to stop and look, his own heart beating violently. He shared the news he got from the Bluetooth headset. "He should be fine. Mr. Huo lured most of the gunmen over to the building to help us escape..."

"Oh?!" Gu Nianzhi shuddered with the shock, her voice trembling on the brink of tears. "What should we do?!"

As strong as Huo Shaoheng was, with so many enemies surrounding him, there was bound to be a moment when he overlooked something...

Gu Nianzhi's eyes turned red, but she forced the tears from falling. She looked at Yin Shixiong and enunciated carefully, "I have to go find him!"

"You can't go. My mission is to escort you and your father." The normally well-tempered Yin Shixiong replied in a businesslike manner, unwilling to give in. He was even willing to tie Gu Nianzhi up to prevent her from running around.

His fellow soldiers carried guns vigilantly and were also worried when they looked back at the building. But the mission was the most important thing, so they couldn't go to save Huo Shaoheng even if he was in mortal peril. Their mission was to escort Gu Xiangwen onto the airplane.

"Let's go!" The soldier beside Yin Shixiong pushed Gu Nianzhi. "There's no more time!"

Gu Nianzhi ran, stumbling from being shoved, but kept looking back at the building behind them.

...

Earlier, Huo Shaoheng had noticed that the gunmen had suddenly surrounded the building and knew that Yin Shixoong's group had been discovered. He immediately decided to run in front of various windows in the building to allow the gunmen to see his shadow. As expected, the gunmen downstairs discovered him and immediately changed their tactics. They only sent a scant number of gunmen to scout the back of the hospital and kept most the gunmen running toward the building.

Huo Shaoheng was engaged in a gun battle from the building-like a street battle during World War II, this was a world of snipers. One shot eliminated one target, and one's position was changed with each shot.

Huo Shaoheng retired from the third floor as he eliminated as many gunmen as possible while retreating downstairs. At the same time, he left enough detonators and explosives at all the corners of the staircase. As soon as he exited the first floor, he turned back to unleash a storm of bullets and marked the beams of the exit with endless bullet holes. It crashed down with a large boom and was half-buried in fallen bricks. The gunmen following him saw that their exit was blocked, so they immediately turned around to run out the back door. This was all timed by Huo Shaoheng; as soon as he ran out of the building, he detonated the remote explosives.

Boom! Boom! Boom!

Even larger explosions rang out through the clouds, and black mushroom clouds spurred from the highest point. Like a vicious devil, it loomed over the earth.

Gu Nianzhi, Yin Shixiong, and the rest of the group all turned around to see the building completely collapsing from the massive explosion. The quaint three-story building had been reduced to ashes before their eyes.

Gu Nianzhi covered her mouth tightly, her tears falling uncontrollably. She desperately ran back to search for Huo Shaoheng, even if all she could find were his bones...

Yin Shixiong and the other two men couldn't hold her back, their foreheads covered with sweat.

Suddenly, they noticed a tall figure standing up from where the building smoldering and raining ash nearby. He held an AMR in one hand and a semiautomatic machine gun in the other, walking toward them through the ash. Towering flames were the backdrop of his rise, and, like a war of god emerging from a sea of flames and explosions, he stood tall between the sky and earth.

Gu Nianzhi looked at him with disbelief, wiping her glazed eyes with the back of her hand. Yet she couldn't clearly see who that was... Her vision was very blurry, and the tears streamed down without end. Wiping her eyes with her hands over and over again, her face was soon streaked with black and white like a tabby kitten. But she didn't care as she stared wide-eyed as Huo Shaoheng walked to her side, then passed her by.

Huo Shaoheng ordered the group solemnly, "Why are you all standing here? Hurry up and retreat!"

"Let's go!" Yin Shixiong was the first to run out and follow the fellow Special Ops soldiers providing back up.

"Let's go!" Huo Shaoheng pushed Gu Nianzhi, and she quickly ran forward.

Huo Shaoheng guarded their backs with his sniper rifle. When they escaped from the building, they noticed that the whole hospital was in chaos. Patients, doctors, and nurses were running everywhere, but no one knew what was happening. They all screamed, "Help!" Some hid in the wards, and others hid in the woods or ran outside the hospital. The hospital guards were nowhere to be seen, and Huo Shaoheng's group managed to meld into the crowd and successfully leave the hospital. They got into the several Jeeps parked nearby and sped off toward the airport.

Gu Yanran's procession of vehicles nearly passed by them on the road.

"Wait!" Gu Yanran jerked her head back and stared at the several cars leaving, then at the thick smoke rising from the hospital. "I'm afraid we were a step too late. Go to the hospital to see what's going on-you and you, come to the airport with me! Right now! Immediately!"

Gu Yanran decisively made a U-turn on the road, leading two other cars behind her. They turned and chased after the Jeeps that had just left.