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643 Ups and Downs

 German girls tended to be a bit taller. Eleven or 12 year olds were close to 1.7 meters tall, which was Gu Nianzhi's current height. That's why Mother Hanna thought she was only 11 or 12. It was according to German girls' standard height. She wasn't blindly guessing.

Gu Nianzhi angrily put on the dress Hanna gave her. It was a traditional German dress with blue and white stripes. The bodice was a lake-blue corset, and the top part of the skirt was like a waistcoat that cinched in her waist, making her breasts more noticeable. Looking like this, she definitely did not look like a girl who hadn't started developing.

Gu Nianzhi was in a better mood and pulled herself together. She then clenched her fist. She wanted to eat, eat, and eat! Not only was it unhealthy to be this thin, but there was no way she could have enough energy to escape. After what happened at the convent, she wouldn't believe that she was safe.

She found a hairdryer in the bathroom. Gu Nianzhi started drying her hair until it was half dry. The moment she put the hairdryer down, she heard a knock at the door. She went to open the door with her hair down. Standing at the door was Reinitz.

He couldn't believe that she would look like a different person just from showering and a change of clothes. Her long, seaweed-like hair that was naturally a bit curly hair hung loosely about her back. He almost couldn't control his hands due to his impulse to touch her hair, so he secretly clenched his fists.

Her small, palm-sized face was still damp from the shower she had just taken. Her cheeks were naturally flushed, and she had perfect, plump lips. As Gu Nianzhi looked at him quizzically, her upper lip curled as if she were asking for a kiss. Reinitz's eyes shifted unnaturally from her lips to her lofty bosom, then he immediately looked up and said, "Dinner's ready. Come eat." He then turned and walked straight ahead.

She smiled and nodded. "Ok, I will be right with you." She went back to her room, braided her half-dried hair, and tied it with her old rubber band. Then she went to the kitchen.

Maybe Hanna knew she was famished, because dinner was plentiful. A white porcelain bowl was filled with rich soup. It smelled like seafood, but that couldn't be. Gu Nianzhi wondered how there could be seafood. More like lake food, she thought.

Other than the plates set in front of everyone, there were also five more oval-shaped plates. One had freshly baked veal, and another had several pieces of bread in the shape of a rod. Thankfully, there were no blueberries on it.

There was also a long porcelain dish filled with chopped white sausages. The fourth plate was of a glutinous-looking pig hoof, and on another long porcelain dish there was a small, freshly baked cake. It smelled so good. Only by taking a deep breath was she able to calm herself down.

"Come sit here. I made this clam chowder specially for you." Hanna greeted her warmly and filled up her bowl.

Gu Nianzhi couldn't control herself anymore and used her spoon to eat a mouthful of it. It really was clams made into soup. She was right about the smell.

Reinitz smiled and cut her a slice of bread. He put a few white sausages on the porcelain plate in front of her and softly said, "Eat slowly. There's more in the pot."

"Are you guys not eating?" Gu Nianzhi looked at Hanna, and she dared not eat anymore.

Reinitz looked at her with the same look as before and ate a white sausage from her porcelain plate. Then he ate a slice of bread, and a little bit of her clam chowder. He smiled at her as he held his beer glass in his hand.

Hanna immediately said to Reinitz, "Reinitz you have your own portion. Why did you eat Cereus's food?"

Gu Nianzhi knew that Reinitz had eaten the food off of her plate because he wanted her to eat without worry. That thought made her even more impressed with Reinitz's thoughtfulness. She smiled sheepishly at Hanna. "Let's all eat. It will be merrier."

"Ok!" Hanna happily scooped herself a bowl of clam chowder and said, "Reinitz brought this from Berlin. He really likes seafood, and so do I. It's just that we live so far from the big cities and the sea, it's difficult to get it."

"Can't you buy it online?" Gu Nianzhi asked curiously.

"We live outside of the online delivery zone." Reinitz smiled faintly and took a sip of his beer.

Gu Nianzhi took a few bites of her bread. A question popped into her head, so she asked, "Reinitz, you work in Berlin?"

"Yes."

"Then how did you get here?" Gu Nianzhi asked as her eyes lit up. If Reinitz could come from Berlin to this isolated area deep inside the Alps, then she could find a way out of here. Forget about getting back to Munich. As long as she could find a place with Wi-Fi, she would be able to be out of harm's way.

The reason why she was so passive was because her phone had no service nor Wi-Fi. She was totally disconnected from the outside world. If it weren't for that, they would have come to save her already.

Reinitz smiled while looking at her. "I rode my motorcycle here. First, I flew from Berlin to Munich, and then from Munich, I rented a motorcycle and rode it all the way here."

Gu Nianzhi immediately remembered the cool motorcycle she saw in the backyard. "Ohhh," she said with a look of sudden realization on her face.

Hanna and Reinitz both laughed. The mother's and son's smiles were kind and gentle, making one feel drawn to them. There was truth behind the saying, "the face is the index of the heart."

Gu Nianzhi sighed to herself. She mustered up the courage to ask, "Reinitz, when will you go back to Berlin? Can you take me with you? I don't need to go to Berlin, you only need to take me out of the mountains. The nearest town will be fine." Afraid he would refuse, she immediately added, "I'll pay. I won't be a freeloader and ask you to pay for everything."

Reinitz's smile faded. He lowered his head as he took a drink of his beer and gently said, "Ok, I'll take you out of here. You don't need to pay." He left without another word.

Gu Nianzhi keenly perceived that Reinitz's mood had gone sour... She glanced at Hanna and whispered, "Mother Hanna, is Reinitz upset?"

She raised her thin eyebrows and said objectively, "Is he upset? I don't think so..."

Gu Nianzhi was speechless. It was very apparent. How could one not have felt it?

"Reinitz has always been like that. He has a good temper, he's never upset, and never loses his temper." Hanna then said to Gu Nianzhi in a secretive tone, "Besides, we are women, and he is a man, and a man must let a woman have her way. If he doesn't, then he's not a gentleman, and then he won't be able to find a wife."

Gu Nianzhi was speechless. Really? Reinitz's facial features were more handsome than the average American and European's. He couldn't lose to the American or the European male celebrities.

Gu Nianzhi felt that her aesthetic sense was normal, so she didn't take Mother Hanna's words to heart. She didn't think anything of it and only said, "Reinitz's very handsome, Mother Hanna. Is it because you see him so often that you don't feel that way?"

Afterward, she spent the rest of the evening complimenting Mother Hanna's cooking. She also ate a lot. Gu Nianzhi was still eating her seventh white sausage when Mother Hanna sleepily went to her bedroom. Reinitz had finished smoking and stood outside for a while, waiting for the smell of the smoke to dissipate from his body. Then he went back in. That's when he heard Gu Nianzhi and Hanna having an animated conversation. He didn't interrupt. He leaned on the kitchen doorway as he silently listened in.

Hanna finally went to bed because she was sleepy. Reinitz quickly moved aside. Gu Nianzhi stood up as she watched Hanna leave, but she didn't see Reinitz at first. When Hanna came out, she finally saw Reinitz. Without saying a word, she gently patted him on the shoulder. She smiled and walked away.

Reinitz continued to stand by the doorway and watched Gu Nianzhi with deep interest. He only walked in because she was still eating. He sat down next to her, then put his hands on her knife and fork and gently said, "Don't eat the last white sausage. It's not that I'm being stingy, but I'm afraid you can't handle it. You'll get an upset stomach tonight."

After several days of hunger and stuffing herself after resting for a bit not too long ago, Reinitz's gut told him that this girl's body wouldn't be able to handle all of that food. Gu Nianzhi's eyes dimmed as she remembered her strange body. "So what? I told you I'm not a freeloader. I'll give you guys money."

"You think I care about money?" The normally gentle Reinitz was finally a bit angry. "You're always talking about money. Even if you ate 100 white sausages, would it cost that much? The fact is, your body will not be able to handle it. Come on. Stop eating and drink some milk, and then wash up and go to sleep."

He smoothly placed one of his hands on the nape of her neck as the other hand brought a glass of milk to her mouth. Gu Nianzhi opened her mouth and took a sip of the milk. Reinitz smiled warmly and praised her, "Good girl." He then urged her to wash up. "Go rest, I will clean this up."

When Gu Nianzhi had first arrived and had eaten a little snack, it was Reinitz who had cleaned up. This time, it was also him cleaning up. It felt wrong. "Let me help you," Gu Nianzhi said as she stood up.

"No, there's not much. It's faster if I do it myself," Reinitz said as he stacked the porcelain plates that Gu Nianzhi had eaten from. He looked at Gu Nianzhi and chuckled. "It's good that you can eat. I don't like girls that eat like a bird."

Gu Nianzhi pursed her lips, smiled awkwardly, and said in a low voice, "I'm not like this at home. I was really hungry this time."

"Uh huh." Reinitz glanced at her, not exposing the lies she told him when she first arrived.

Gu Nianzhi felt bad. She stood beside Reinitz as he washed the dishes. She handed him the dish detergent and said bashfully, "Um... I'm... I'm actually lost."

"I know."

Gu Nianzhi was again speechless. Her face turned redder. Gu Nianzhi told him the truth."...I ...I walked around the mountain for days. During that time, I only ate berries, sometimes eggs and grilled fish. I couldn't help myself today, everything was delicious."

"I already told you, it's ok. I want you to stop eating because I am worried that your body won't be able to handle it." Reinitz lightly touched the area above her stomach with the back of his hand. "This is going to hurt. Do you want some digestive medicine?"

Gu Nianzhi smiled and shook her head. She said, "I'm good. Nothing's going to happen, right?" She wanted to test out her body and see how strong it could be.

Reinitz stopped trying to persuade her. He washed the porcelain plates, knives, and forks. Then he dried them and put them back into the cupboard. Gu Nianzhi gave him liquid hand soap so he could wash his hands. Reinitz laughed. His blue eyes looked intensely at her as he asked, "Didn't you need to charge your phone?"

"Yes, yes, yes." Gu Nianzhi quickly took out her cellphone. "Do you have a charger for this kind of iPhone?"

Reinitz looked and said, "That's last year's model. I happen to have the same model." He walked out of the kitchen as he was talking and headed to his room to grab his charger. Gu Nianzhi followed behind. As she walked along, she realized Reinitz's room was next to the one she had just showered in.

Reinitz brought his charger out of his room and saw that Gu Nianzhi's complexion was different from before. He constructively thought about it for a moment and said, "The house is small. Please bear with it. There's only these few rooms. If you don't want to stay in this room, you'll have to stay with Mother Hanna."

Of course, Gu Nianzhi didn't want to stay with anyone, so she immediately shook her head. "It's ok, it's ok. I understand." Immediately after saying that, she wished Reinitz a good night.

Reinitz smiled and nodded as he said, "Goodnight," and went back to his room.

Gu Nianzhi also went to her room. The two rooms were right next to each other, but the insulation was probably pretty good, because after Gu Nianzhi closed the door, she couldn't hear a thing outside.

She plugged the charger into the outlet on the wall, then plugged the phone in. Her phone had less than two percent battery left. Thank goodness. Her luck really did go up and down.

She slid her phone open while it was charging. She saw that there were two signal bars, so she tested the Wi-Fi. It looked like she could connect, but it was too slow. She couldn't even read text messages or get any news. She could only give up for now.

She opened the phone's address book. She wanted to give Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze another call. This time, the phone rang for a long time, but it finally went through. It was not voicemail, but it was the Special Operation Forces' call center operator who picked up the call. "Hello, Special Operation Forces' headquarters call center. How may I help you?"

Gu Nianzhi didn't say anything. She blankly hung up. How could Yin Shixiong's number be the call center? No way... Could it be that special operations division had a major change during the month she had been gone?

She finally decided to call Chen Lie after holding her phone for a long time. It rang soon after she dialed the number. Someone answered. Gu Nianzhi was very delighted and quickly said, "Brother Chen, it's Nianzhi!"

It seemed like the person on the other end froze for a second, then a tender female voice said, "Nianzhi? I'm Ye Zitan. Doctor Chen is currently performing a major operation on the chief of military affairs. He still needs ten more hours. Do you need something?"

Gu Nianzhi's spirit came crashing down at once. "Brother Chen is performing an operation? Then tell him I have something urgent that I need to get in contact with Brother Xiong and them about. I left them messages, but they haven't gotten back to me. Can you ask Brother Chen to ask Brother Xiong if they have received my messages?"

Ye Zitan amiably said, "Ok. Nianzhi, don't be in such a hurry. According to what I know, Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze are also on a mission. They left about ten days ago. They can't take their original cell phones with them when they are on a mission."

"Ah? Oh..." Gu Nianzhi understood and finally let out a sigh. Knowing they were not purposely ignoring her calls and not purposely not replying to her messages was good enough.

Gu Nianzhi believed that Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze were definitely not traitors, but she was afraid that they were being used by the traitor. She felt relieved knowing they were on a mission. "Ok, that'll be all. Thank you, Dr. Ye!" Gu Nianzhi said quickly and immediately hang up.

Ye Zitan also hung up but did so slowly. While wearing a smile on her face, she opened a small program that clearly displayed Gu Nianzhi's location.

With her stomach full, Gu Nianzhi fell asleep quickly. She couldn't wait until her phone was fully charged. She was already soundly asleep. It should've been the best and most comfortable sleep she had had in the past eight or nine days, but she woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache. She tossed and turned for a while, but she couldn't take it anymore and went to the bathroom.

After she came back to her room, she thought she would feel better. However, she had to go back to the bathroom within two minutes. After going to the bathroom three or four times, she wondered if she had been poisoned. However, she felt better after using the bathroom. Finally, she threw up her stomach full of food and started to have a light fever. Being poisoned definitely didn't feel like this. It was probably because she had eaten too much at dinner.

After the fifth time, she came out of the bathroom and crawled onto her bed with no energy. She heard a knock on her door. "Cereus? Are you ok?" Reinitz's beautiful baritone voice asked.

Gu Nianzhi struggled to get up. She leaned against the door and said weakly, "Fine... I'm fine... just having a bit of diarrhea... I'm better already. Go back to sleep." Gu Nianzhi felt embarrassed, but her legs were very weak. She couldn't even stand. She slid down the back of the door and started panting.

It was quiet outside the door. Reinitz probably had gone back to his room. Gu Nianzhi let out a sigh of relief. She hugged her knees and put her head on them as her stomach continued to ache. She really didn't want to go to the bathroom, but it seemed like she couldn't not go.

Gu Nianzhi's mind was debating when she suddenly heard a clicking sound from the window. She looked up feebly, and she suddenly opened her eyes wide. Her window was being opened from the outside. Reinitz's big figure leaped through the window and walked toward her. He was half kneeling and half squatting before her, and he put his hand under her chin and raised it. "What's wrong? You overate, didn't you?"