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641 Who Sent Them

 Gu Nianzhi bore the pain as she put down the habit she had made into a bag. She took out the brand new undergarments Josephine gave her, and from among them, she found a tank top. She wrapped it twice tightly around the arm that had been grazed by the bullet, then she quickly put the habit and the black head covering on. Even if they had a telescope, they would have a difficult time spotting her in this outfit. At night, black clothes didn't reflect light, so it was easy to blend into the dark.

She sat down and took a break after changing. She was finally able to relax. Gu Nianzhi breathed quietly. She leaned against the cave as she closed her eyes while forming a firm fist. She began to ponder who had such bitter and deep-seated hatred for her that they wanted her dead, and who had such power to maneuver the police and the army to kill her. These questions had narrowed down the list, but she was still unable to pinpoint anyone.

For as long as she could remember, she had been with Huo Shaoheng. Huo Shaoheng had protected her superbly, and there was no way he was the one behind this. Right now, her identity was that of Gu Xiangwen's daughter. Was it because of that?

Gu Nianzhi's mind immediately thought of her pretend sister, Gu Yanran. Was she the one who wanted her dead? She quickly shook her head and crossed Gu Yanran off the list, not because she thought she wouldn't kill her, but because she wholeheartedly believed she didn't have the power.

If Gu Yanran really had incited Germany's Munich police force to kill her and was capable of finding such skillful mercenaries to kill her, then in the past she wouldn't have been hiding from the mercenaries, and she wouldn't have had to stick so close to Huo Shaoheng.

These mercenaries could really act. In order to make it seem like an unintentional discharge while hunting, they had used a hunting gun instead of a sniper rifle. Gu Nianzhi knew that if they really had used a sniper rifle or even an anti-material rifle, she would have been dead long ago.

What was so rare about an anti-material rifle shooting through a tree? The best anti-material shooter could shoot through a brick wall and burst your head open. For now, Gu Nianzhi could only rejoice that they couldn't openly kill her. She needed to hide. Whether it was disguising themselves as cops or hunters, they didn't want to expose their real identity.

Why was that?

It meant the person behind all this was probably afraid of the people supporting her. That was why they were exerting so much effort in disguising themselves. Who were they really afraid of? Was it Huo Shao or was it Professor He?

Gu Nianzhi lowered her head to take out her cell phone, only to see that her phone battery was only at 5%, but she still had half a signal bar. Should I try to call Huo Shao and Professor He? She couldn't call Huo Shaoheng directly, but she could still call Yin Shixiong. Calling Brother Xiong was the same as calling Huo Shao. They were the only ones who could save her.

Gu Nianzhi's dependence on Huo Shaoheng was like a religion. She believed there was nothing he couldn't do and that he would definitely come save her. But before he could come save her, she needed to save herself and make sure that she was alive before he arrived.

She relied on the starlight to dial Yin Shixiong's number, but it didn't go through. Half a signal bar was not enough to call the Hua Xia Empire. Gu Nianzhi could only give up. Then she thought of Professor He. She knew he was quite a powerful man in the United States, but this was Germany. Would it be the same?

She knew that it was because his father had suddenly become seriously ill that he had had to go back home. She hastily called him. Would she be giving Professor He a hard time? She thought about it again and again, and in the end, still decided to call He Zhichu. Like Yin Shixiong's phone, the call didn't go through. Gu Nianzhi sighed and gave up on calling.

She leaned on the wall of the cave half dreaming, half awake. She dozed with anxiety. The gunshot wound to her arm was probably infected because she had a high fever in the middle of the night. The cave was cold at night to begin with, but now she had a fever. It was cold on top of cold.

She hugged her legs and put her head between her knees. The wound was now numb. She couldn't feel the pain anymore. Her head was dizzy, and it was not the normal kind of headache. It was like the pain was inside her brain. She could only clench her teeth tightly because she didn't even dare to make a groaning sound.

The night was finally over, but when the sun shone on the dark cave, Gu Nianzhi woke up with her head full of sweat. She was covered in sweat, as if she had gotten soaked in the rain. Her legs were weak, and they didn't feel like her legs. Her whole body ached. Only her arm didn't hurt.

Gu Nianzhi composed herself and undid the tank top on her wound and touched it. The bloodstain had turned a dark brown. It was stuck on her arm. She couldn't see the wound. It really didn't hurt anymore. She used her hands to press on the wound, and it no longer hurt like it was piercing her heart they way it had yesterday.

She blinked and blinked. She closed her eyes to sleep for a little while, then she supported herself using the cave wall. She staggered as she stood. It was like her legs were not her own. She wanted them to move forward, but they wouldn't listen. It was too strenuous. She could only move one step at a time, and then take a break, and then continue to move forward. She walked and stopped for four or five hours, only to make it out of the other side of the mountain. It was only a short distance.

The moment she got out of the cave, she saw a dark blue lake. Around the lake was lightly scattered yellow and withered grass, evidence of autumn drawing ever closer. Further from here were the Alps. It was a bit less steep than the mountain on the other side of the cave. It wasn't as precipitous.

The nearby lake water was so blue and clear that it was like the most sparkly blue gem had fallen on the ground, melted, and become the lake. But as she walked closer, it was more of a light jade green. It was the same color as that of the clearest sea. It looked blue from afar because the whole sky was reflected in the water.

Gu Nianzhi lifted her head to look at the sky. This was the ultimate blue gem. It looked like a certain Tibeten sky that she had seen online. It was also the highest point above sea level under the heavenly blue body.

That was what was so good about the Alps. There were lakes and rivers everywhere. No wonder the lakes from the north of Europe to the south of Europe got their water from the Alps.

Gu Nianzhi became more cautious. She looked around the outside of the cave for a while, making sure no one was around. Then she slowly walked out of the cave and walked toward the lake.

Dandelions grew by the side of the lake. The green leaves supporting the little fluffy balls moved back and forth in the wind. Gu Nianzhi walked toward a greenish rock, and squatted and rinsed the tank top that had been tied around her wound. The tank top dyed the water near the shore light pink. She dipped into the lake and softly cleaned the brown bloodstain on her arm. She did so drop by drop, afraid that it would touch the unhealed part.

Dandelions could stop bleeding. She had decided that if she was still bleeding, she would pluck some dandelions, pound them to pieces, and apply them to her wound. This was something she had learned from Huo Shaoheng and the Special Operations Forces' field survival course. The first few years that she followed Huo Shaoheng around, she didn't go to school. However, the things she learned were definitely not less important than what school taught her.

Her arm became clean little by little. The dark brown bloodstain disappeared and exposed a clean white arm without a single pore in sight. Where is the grazed wound? Gu Nianzhi searched from head to toe, but she couldn't find the wound.

If it wasn't for her cleaning the dark brown bloodstain just now, she herself would have thought she hadn't been grazed by a bullet. Gu Nianzhi touched her arm and felt confused. What was wrong with her? Was there indeed something wrong with her, or was there something wrong with this world? The day before yesterday, she fractured her bone, and the next day, it was as good as before. Yesterday, she was grazed by a bullet and bled quite a bit, and today it was as if nothing had happened... And it was always after a night of high fever that she recovered-or maybe her high fever was a miracle cure?

If she was ill or hurt in the future, she wouldn't need to take any medication. She would just need to have a fever to fully recover. She thought about it and felt like it was too ridiculous. She slapped her mouth and hugged her knees as she sat by the lake, not knowing where to go.

Ever since she came through that little cave, she knew she had probably passed through one of the Alps' little mountain ranges. Right now, she was on the side of the mountain.

She sat by the lake for a long time until her stomach started growling. She took a deep breath, accepted her fate, and looked for food. There were fish in the lake, but it was deep-a lot deeper than the little lake by the mountain. Those fish wouldn't swim to the shallow shore, and she didn't dare jump into the river. They would be difficult to catch. She had to come up with other ideas, since she couldn't eat the fish. She needed to find berries, then she would find some bird eggs.

Because of what had happened yesterday, Gu Nianzhi was wary of all hunters in the Alps. She knew she was a little overly cautious. However, she was alone, and she only had one life. So no matter how overly cautious she was, she was not overdoing it.

She walked around the mountain for half a day and found a nest of eggs. She took four or five eggs out of the nest and picked a bunch of berries back at the lakeshore. She buried the eggs in the ground and made a fire to cook them. Then she ate the berries to replenish her vitamins.

She sustained herself with those foods as she walked and stopped along this amazingly big lake for two days. She finally saw a family. Putting it another way, she saw a cabin standing tall and upright gracefully on the grass halfway up a hill. From the angle of the lake, one could see the muddy, red-colored wooden wall with a black log cabin roof. There was a white fence surrounding the cabin. What excited her the most was that the cabin's roof had a satellite dish.

She slid open her phone as she looked at the umbrella-shaped satellite dish basking in the sun's silvery rays. There was only 5% battery left, but the phone displayed two bars. She was going to cry.

Gu Nianzhi's hands shook as she hastily tapped on the address book. She called Yin Shixiong as soon as she saw his number but ended up with another voicemail. She almost felt like someone had installed Trojan malware that was controlling Yin Shixiong's phone. Then again, with Little Ze, there was no way Brother Xiong's phone could've been controlled. There was no way. Then why?

She quickly thought of the time difference. Right now, with daylight savings, it was around six in the evening in Germany. That meant it was probably around midnight at the imperial capital, so maybe Brother Xiong was sleeping. But this time, Gu Nianzhi didn't dare leave a message. She closed the phone without saying a word.

The first day she was in danger, she remembered calling Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze, and she even left messages. However, they hadn't returned her calls even now. It was odd. Gu Nianzhi was more and more worried, but she shook her head and thought of it no more.

She raised her head and looked toward the cabin and decided to ask for lodging. While she was there, she could charge her phone. Of course, if they didn't have an iPhone charger, then there was nothing she could do about it. She would just be unlucky. She wouldn't blame them.

After Gu Nianzhi washed her hands and face by the lake and combed her hair with her hands, she walked over to the cabin. Behind the fairytale-like, blackish-red cabin was a forest reaching towards the sky. The accumulated snow covered the mountain peaks behind the forest. Red, black, green, and white all enhanced each other's beauty. The evening sun's golden rays almost reflected a rainbow. Gu Nianzhi's eyes were mesmerized by this beautiful scenery as she walked leisurely toward the cabin's white fence.

There was a green lawn in the front yard. It was cut neatly and cleanly. There were snowy white screens on the windows with big beautiful roses under them. The roses looked like they had just been watered because the petals still had sparkling and translucent droplets on them. When the droplets rolled down from time to time, they disappeared in the blink of an eye and fell into the lawn.

There was no one in the front yard, but Gu Nianzhi could hear the sound of someone cutting wood in the backyard. She thought about it but decided to not give a loud greeting. Instead, she walked around the fence and toward the sound of the wood being chopped.

The cabin was sitting on the north side, but it faced the south. The evening sun shone on the backyard sideways like melted gold, and it matched the evening clouds harmoniously.

A strong man with no shirt on swung an ax. His back was to Gu Nianzhi. There was a very cool motorcycle near the fence. Next to it were ten thick tree trunks. On the other side was a big pile of firewood, probably the by-product of tree felling. Each piece of firewood was one-third of a meter long and about an inch thick. They were piled neatly. One could tell by looking at the pile that it was for the fireplace in the winter.

Gu Nianzhi was tongue tied while thinking it must not be easy using such a primitive fireplace in this day and age. All the fire places she had seen used either electricity or gas. They imitated a real fireplace's effect without actually burning wood. It looked like this was probably a German country family that burned wood.

Gu Nianzhi stood to the side and watched. The man was well-built with incomparably healthy and beautiful muscles. His back was facing the sun. His light bronze-colored skin and muscles had beads of sweat on them. His arm muscles were bulging. His shoulders were broad, but his waist was narrow. He displayed perfect deltoid muscles, giving off the vibe of an ancient Roman sculpture.

The man was only wearing jeans and knee-length rain boots. One of his feet was pressing down on his work station. He had one hand on the trunk and the other worked a two-handed saw. His arms made big movements. The rhythm was full of power and beauty. He had an ideal, perfect body. This man's figure involuntarily made her think of Huo Shaoheng. She was a little perturbed. Her eyes were glued to this man's back.

When the man finished sawing the tree trunk, he casually turned his head and took a look at Gu Nianzhi, then calmly bent down to pick up his shirt from his work station. He had a cigarette in his mouth. He had a high nose bridge and deep set of eyes, blond hair, amazingly beautiful blue eyes, and dark eyebrows neatly shaped as if lined by a ruler.

The way he had the cigarette in his mouth also reminded her of Huo Shaoheng. They both had that indifferent, stoic, and composed attitude, like he was so far and yet so close. His facial features were that of an ideal German man. His chin had a little grove. He had an expressionless face like that of an ascetic, but his aggressive figure formed a strong contrast.

Gu Nianzhi momentarily forgot to speak because she was staring at the way he smoked. Maybe it was because she was staring so intensely that he took the cigarette out of his mouth and threw it on the grass, crushing it with his foot.

Gu Nianzhi's eyes followed the fallen cigarette, then followed the man's knee-length boots and watched as the boots brought the owner every step closer to her until he stopped three steps from her, leaving a very courteous distance between them. At first, Gu Nianzhi was nervous, then she relaxed.

Then the man started speaking German. "What's the matter?" The man's voice was supposed to be impressive and powerful, but instead his voice was gentle. It was like that of a ripple caused by a gentle breeze caressing a lake. It sounded as if it wanted to pierce your heart. Another big contrast. The man's testosterone was full to the brim, but unexpectedly, he spoke so gently. Such disharmony.

Gu Nianzhi's ears moved involuntarily. She had forgotten all the German she had learned not too long ago. She had just learned German by cramming at the last minute. She could only understand some everyday conversation, some law terms, and a few news terms. That way, she wouldn't speak too indistinctly and slowly. She sighed, and with a red face, she asked the man in English, "Do you speak English?"

The man looked like he was dazed. The outline of his face became even sharper under the evening sun. He was stern and quiet. His blue eyes set him off from the clouds and the light in the sky, strongly attracting Gu Nianzhi's line of sight. He pressed his thin lips together. Only after staring at Gu Nianzhi intensely for a while did he finally give her a little nod. He started speaking English. "Yes, I know a little." His English was like how Germans typically spoke English, with a bit of German pronunciation habits.

Gu Nianzhi's spirit slowly came back. She smiled at him and said in fluent English, "That's great. It's like this. I'm vacationing in the Alps with my friends, and I got lost after wanting to see too much at once. I've been walking for days. This area is too remote and often doesn't have signal, so I want to ask you if you have a charger, an iPhone cellphone charger?"

Because he was a man, Gu Nianzhi changed her mind. Instead of staying overnight, now she only wanted to borrow his charger. Furthermore, she hinted that she had friends this time, unlike that time at the convent when she said that she was alone. Gu Nianzhi was a very cautious person to begin with, but she was even more on guard now and was wary of everyone.

The man looked at her from top to bottom, from her tattered sportswear to her unclear shoe colors and to the little black bundle on her back. It was obvious that she was lost, and yet she said she came with friends. He raised his eyebrows as he looked at Gu Nianzhi for a moment in silence.