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646 They Finally Noticed

 Reinitz heard her calls and turned back suddenly. He grabbed her hand in time to prevent her from slipping forward. "Be careful, the mountain paths are extremely rugged." If she had really slipped, they'd have rolled off the mountain. Reintz was very worried about her and decided to grab her hand and hold it without letting go as they walked.

Gu Nianzhi had also been shocked earlier. She wasn't accustomed to long mountain hikes, so it was better to follow Reinitz. They walked in silence for a while, and Reinitz also looked back at Mother Hanna's cabin and interjected, "Mother Hanna adopted me."

Gu Nianzhi was speechless.

Reinitz lost himself in the memories. "I was an orphan and grew up in the orphanage. Mother Hanna adopted me when I was 12." Reinitz paused, his throat catching. "I'm very thankful towards her. Without her, I wouldn't be who I am today."

Gu Nianzhi didn't know what to say. After a moment, she consoled him with compassion. "Mother Hanna is such a good person, she will have good karma. Nothing will happen to her."

"Really?" He didn't seem to believe it much. "This is what Eastern people believe? Good people have good karma?"

"Yes." Gu Nianzhi winked. "What's there to be suspicious about?"

Reinitz laughed and didn't argue with her. He continued, "I was very naughty as a child in the orphanage, and no one wanted to adopt a naughty boy. When I turned ten, I realized that no one would adopt me if I was bad. So I started being good and by then, I was already 11, and not many people were willing to adopt kids over the age of 11."

Gu Nianzhi glanced at the gentle and elegant Reinitz. If he hadn't appeared so resolute and ruthless earlier, she would've assumed he was a kind gentleman. Of course, he was still a gentleman but couldn't be considered gentle. He had his own toughness, and Gu Nianzhi admired it. He did what he had to and was very decisive. But regardless if he was gentle or ruthless, neither were even close to "naughty." Gu Nianzhi couldn't help imagining what Reinitz was like as a child...

"I was very depressed at the time and thought I wouldn't become better. I wanted to continue being naughty and a bad kid. That was until Mother Hanna came to the orphanage when I was 12 and adopted me," Reinizt said calmly, his expression serene. Gu Nianzhi could only squeeze his hand in consolation. Reinitz squeezed her hand back and gave a small smile. "So I hope that what you said about good people having good karma will come true." That way, Mother Hanna will be safe.

"I'm sure." Gu Nianzhi nodded, full of confidence.

Reinitz pursed his thin lips and changed the topic. "Who were the people trying to kill you today? Do you know?"

Gu Nianzhi felt she had to be honest with Reinitz, and of course, she would be honest as much as possible. However, she still had some things she couldn't be honest about or was too embarrassed to tell him. After some thought, she chose what she could tell him and said, "I'm a lawyer and offended a very powerful person. Nine days ago, he plotted to hurt me, but I escaped."

"And then?" Reinitz didn't ask who she offended but only how she escaped.

"I rolled off a cliff and landed on that side of the mountain." Gu Nianzhi pointed to the mountain range across from them. "Afterwards, they started trying to kill me again, and in the chaos, I managed to pass through that tiny cave."

"Yeah, I know about that cave. I played there with my friends often when we were kids." Reinitz nodded, convinced by her words.

"Really? You also had childhood friends?" Gu Nianzhi asked curiously, "Didn't you say that Mother Hanna's house is the only one in a dozen miles?"

"Yes, there used to be other people living here, but gradually, they moved away." Reinitz was very emotional. "Afterwards, I went to university and then worked in Berlin, so I come back once a year."

"Oh? What a coincidence?" Gu Nianzhi sighed sincerely. "See, that's an example of good people having good karma. I helped others, so I met a kindhearted person when someone was trying to hurt me." She deliberately looked at Reinitz to let him know he was the kindhearted person.

Reinitz looked at her with a hint of a smile and said purposely, "But most lawyers are bad people. That's always on TV and in the movies."

That made sense, and Gu Nianzhi was actually speechless.

"Just kidding." Reinitz was in a better mood and changed the topic once again. "Logically speaking, if you've already jumped off a cliff, and with the Alps being such a big place without inhabitants, they couldn't have found you so easily."

"I think it's strange, too..." Gu Nianzhi cocked her head in thought. "In the beginning, four fake police officers pursued me, and I thought it was because I called the police, and they were in cahoots with those criminals. Then at the nunnery, it could have been because the Reverend Mother called the police. But the hunters who came after and the people who followed me to your house, I can't explain it at all." The truth was that she had a lurking hypothesis in her head but thought it didn't make sense, because it always seemed like there was a detail she was missing.

"I think there should be a reason." Reinitz analyzed it for her. "If you weren't alone but with friends, then I would guess that perhaps someone betrayed you. But you've been on the run alone all this time, so who would betray you? Who would be able to?"

Gu Nianzhi nodded in deep agreement. "Yes, yes, I've always been all alone, so how did those people find me? They were so precise and on time, it was almost like I betrayed myself.." She froze as soon as she spoke. How could she forget?! Her phone! She was only thinking about how Smith and her colleagues' phones were probably infected by a Trojan virus that blocked all her calls and texts, but what about her own phone? She was very certain that her phone wasn't infected with a Trojan virus, but all phones sent out signals as soon as they were turned on. Regardless of whether or not there was a tower nearby, the phone would automatically search for connectable networks.

Gu Nianzhi quickly recalled how she had immediately turned on her phone to look for a cell signal as soon as she saw the nunnery! Also, her first reaction when seeing Mother Hanna's cabin was to also turn on her phone and get a cell signal! She also remembered how ecstatic she felt when she saw the two bars of signal on her screen... And after each bout of ecstasy were close calls with the murderers. It was like those people knew where she was.

Reinitz's words reminded her that the area around the Alps was nearly uninhabited, so how could those people find her exact location in the middle of the mountains? Their method would be nothing short of looking for a needle in a haystack! But what if this needle had a locating system, such as the European Copernicus Global Satellite Navigation System!? Then with a satellite positioning and tracking system, it would be entirely possible to locate this needle within ten meters. A ten-meter margin of error was negligible whether on sea or land. It was like exposing herself to her enemies.

Gu Nianzhi raised her phone up and looked at it expressionlessly. She never imagined that the enemy had the ability to mobilize the Copernicus Global Satellite Navigation System! Most people knew that cell signals could be tracked via satellite, but Gu Nianzhi had learned through her participation in the Nandou Global Satellite Navigation System incident exactly how much energy and expense was required to use a satellite to track a specific cell signal! Merely changing the light satellite orbital itself in order to trace a specific cell signal would cost upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars. Additionally, it also required large scale teamwork in order to track her right on her heels. There was no way they could track her whenever they pleased, nor would just anybody's phone be worth tracking... So from the beginning, she never considered this possibility!

Now that she understood this, she was extremely proud of herself! She had such a high price on her head that those people were spending hundreds of millions to kill her. That was amazing! She must protect herself well, as there was no way she would lose her precious life for nothing! The person behind all this now seemed more important than Gu Nianzhi had initially thought. Gu Nianzhi sneered to herself. It looked like the enemy was right on her heels because they had already used all their abilities and were starting to leave trails. There were only a handful of people capable of using the Copernicus Global Satellite Navigation System.

Reinitz turned around, his mind also spinning into gear. "There's something wrong with your phone?"

"Someone knows my number, so they were using a satellite positioning and tracking system to find my position when I turned my phone on. They value me too highly," Gu Nianzhi replied calmly as she turned on the phone again and unlocked it with her fingerprint. She went into the settings and reset everything back to factory settings. Everything on her phone was wiped to restore the phone. The sapphire screen on the iPhone flashed several times before extinguishing. Gi Nianzhi looked at the phone that had accompanied her for the past two years and caressed it longingly. She then turned to ask Reinitz, "Is there a lake or river nearby?"

"Yeah, there's nothing but lakes and rivers here." Reinitz realized what she wanted to do and took her on a small path going downhill. They didn't have to walk far before Gu Nianzhi saw a lake that was even larger and deeper than the one she saw near Mother Hanna's cain. The lake reflected the sky and clouds so vividly blue, she couldn't tell where the sky and water separated. Looking down at her phone, Gu Nianzhi gritted her teeth and suddenly swung her arm to draw an elegant arc in the sky. Her rose gold phone landed on the lake with a splash, then sank down. Gu Nianzhi's heart felt empty after she threw her phone into the lake. It was like she had lost all her support and the resource she relied on.

"Let's go." Reinitz gently grabbed her shoulder. "It's ok, I'll buy you a new phone when we get out."

Gu Nianzhi composed herself and smiled at Reinitz with a shake of her head. "It's ok, I don't want to use a phone for now. I can buy my own if I need one."

Reinitz didn't press her but took her hand, and they headed along the small mountain path. He replied, "That's good, too. Stay with me for now until your parents and family come to pick you up."

Gu Nianzhi's shoulders slumped. "I don't have parents." She then realized what she said. "I don't have a mother, only a father. He just found me."

Reinitz seemed a bit surprised. He stopped walking and looked at her gently. "You were also an orphan?"

Children who didn't have parents with them could only be called orphans. Gu Nianzhi actually didn't know anything about her past. Although she'd found her father, her memories weren't recovered, and the period from her childhood to teenage years was still a blank. Someone without a childhood was incomplete. However, she didn't tell Reinitiz any more and only nodded. "I guess so. I didn't know I had a father until a few months ago."

"Then we'll wait for your father to pick you up."

"He won't come to pick me up. He's comatose, and has been for many years now."

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Reinitz didn't think that the delicate-looking girl would not appear pained or embittered when she said this. Gu Nianzhi said it calmly like she was talking about someone else. Reinitz felt even more confused and squeezed her hand without elaborating too much. "That's ok, you'll have me from now on."

Gu Nianzhi laughed. "Reinitz, thank you for making me feel better. But I'm an adult now and don't need a guardian anymore."

Reinitz grew quiet and continued walking. After some time, he said, "I know. I'm saying now you can stay with me until you can go home."

"Yeah, thanks for your help." Gu Nianzhi wasn't fussy enough to reject his kindness. She truly needed someone to help her get home at a time like this. There was no way she could do it alone, and if she insisted on leaving, Reinitz would let her go. However, Gu Nianzhi thought that was too rude. She didn't want to leave a bad impression with someone being unconditionally nice to her. "I'll find a place to go online and call my family when we get to that small town ahead. I won't be using my own phone, so it should be much safer." Gu Nianzhi sighed, looking ahead and seeing that there weren't so many twists and turns anymore.

They walked all day, and Gu Nianzhi got sick again right before they saw the light at the end of the tunnel, despite being fine after wandering around the Alps for more than a week before. She was drowsy from fever and needed Reinitz to carry her out of the huge mountain.

...

Today was the tenth day since Gu Nianzhi had left the hotel. Smith and his three colleagues had started feeling anxious a few days ago. They received Gu Nianzhi's text from ten days ago saying that she was seeing friends and would be returning in ten days. At the time, they didn't think much of it because they were busy with their own work. Also, they received news that Seth had escaped from the hospital the day after Gu Nianzhi left, so they were busy keeping an eye on the police, hospital, and courts to usher them to arrest Seth and bring him to justice.

A week passed. They were truly too busy, and the four of them weren't enough, so Smith wanted to call Gu Nianzhi to ask if she could come back early. However, from that day on, they had called numerous times but never got through to her. Each call would be sent to voicemail. They were fine the first time the call didn't go through and assumed her phone had died. However, when they couldn't call her over the next three days, it was getting strange.

Although the four men were anxious, they remembered Gu Nianzhi saying she was leaving for ten days, so perhaps she didn't want to work and shut off her phone during the vacation. Smith and his colleagues did that as well. If they truly wanted a break, the only way to escape from the unending business was to shut off their phones or not bring them along. However, Gu Nianzhi should've returned by today no matter what. If she couldn't come back, she should have at least called or sent a text to let them know.

In the end, they waited from dusk to dawn but didn't receive any communication from her. They called her again, and she was no longer in service area... Smith walked around with his arms crossed, and the other three lawyers sat on the couch in his room, worry etched on their faces. They didn't speak, but it was obvious from their faces that they were worried and concerned.

"Smith, can you stop pacing around? It's making me dizzy." One lawyer reached out to wave his hand downwards. "Hurry up and sit down. We should discuss what's going on."

"I think something happened to Lawyer Gu." Smith relaxed his arms, his expression dark. His lawyer's intuition told him that Gu Nianzhi was probably in trouble if she hadn't reached out in ten days. If something had actually happened, then they had missed the precious initial 36 hours. By the time they noticed she was missing, the golden 36 hours were long over. Missing persons who weren't found within the first 36 hours had a low likelihood of ever being found. Smith and his three colleagues were very depressed and angry. They had actually only noticed she had gone missing ten days later! Were they idiots?! They were too stupid! They all assumed she was traveling with friends but finally realized something might've happened!

They all thought about how Gu Nianzhi was before, and how they weren't actually close with her. She was always reading and studying alone in her room. She had been so quiet and would only speak or meet with them when they needed her. She was always studying at other times or writing trial summary reports or using a translation device to learn German. Her time was well spent and happy. Also, when they even made a slight joke with Gu Nianzhi in the past, Lawyer He's cold expression would appear before them. As time passed, they found themselves in various kinds of trouble, so they all instinctively knew to distance themselves from Gu Nianzhi to avoid angering Lawyer He... So when they realized she hadn't reached out in a long time and couldn't get through to her phone, they finally thought she might have gone missing. The four men anxiously discussed it in the hotel room for a while.

"Smith, should we call the police?" one lawyer asked with uncertainty.