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650 A Generous Reward

 Even the highest ranking NATO commanding officer had to grovel to this man, so the German officials and senators certainly couldn't ignore him. "We've always known that you are legally representing the Hua Xia female exchange student and attending trials here. We never imagined you had such a status in America. We have been neglectful..." The Mayor of Munich nearly bowed at 90 degrees.

He Zhichu nodded slightly and had a half smile on his face. "I certainly only came here for the case and never expected to ask Mr. Phillips for help. But the Munich police is too impressive. When my able assistant helping me with the Li Haiqing case went missing, my subordinates went to the police station to report her missing and ask for help looking for her. However, your police station refused to file the case and argued with us about the age of legality..." If He Zhichu really had the ability to get NATO involved, that meant military control. This wasn't typical ruthlessness!

"Oh? Your able assistant went missing? Where... did she go missing? The Mayor of Munich stuttered upon hearing this, and large beads of sweat slid down his forehead. They were completely aware of the case He Zhichu had come there for, but how could they have known about He Zhichu having such a background and status at the time?! Everyone had automatically sided with York and Seth... They were fellow German citizens, after all, and they had to be loyal to their own people. Also, York knew how to please them and also had his muscle, so all the high-ranking officials more or less benefited from York and turned a blind eye to the stalemate on the Li Haiqing case.

Germans typically had no regard for Eastern countries, especially the Hua Xia Empire. It had been so backward and weak all those years ago, and the stereotypical impression was that the Hua Xia Empire was still isolated internationally, an Eastern country shackled by stronger nations. They didn't expect this weak country to leap ahead and have their national strength skyrocket from being a third-rate developing country 20 years ago to now emerging as the second most powerful nation in the world! They were second only to the United States and had long surpassed older European countries like Germany many years ago. But because the Hua Xia Empire had gained power so quickly, it had yet to accumulate enough prestige and influence internationally, and was thus often overlooked or ignored. It could be said that if the victim in the Li Haiqing case had been American, the German police and courts would have never dared to interfere so brazenly.

He Zhichu understood the nature of these people very well. He looked straight ahead and headed to the police station. "We will discuss the specifics later, but I'm here today for something else."

The faces of the Mayor of Munich, the German Minister of Justice, and the President of the Munich Regional Council all flushed hotly. All three men were secretly angry with how York had overextended his influence. It was one thing for him to control the Roslau region, but he even tried to dabble in the Munich police. Aside from He Zhichu being displeased, even the Mayor of Munich was unhappy with the situation. When the four men walked to the entrance of the Munich Regional Police Station, the regional Chief of Police heard the news and rushed over. He walked out the door and waved to the Mayor of Munich from a distance. "Welcome, Mayor! Please forgive me for not welcoming you sooner!"

The Mayor of Munich was expressionless as he shook hands with the Munich Regional Chief of Police. He introduced He Zhichu to him. "This is Mr. He, a friend of Mr. Phillips, NATO's highest commanding officer. He has something to speak to your police station about."

He Zhichu was no stranger to the Munich Regional Chief of Police and could guess why he was there. He just never imagined that He Zhichu would have the support of NATO's highest commanding officer, the Mayor of Munich, the German Minister of Justice, and the President of the Munich Regional Council. "Mr... Mr. He, may I ask what counsel you have?" The Munich Regional Chief of Police nearly bowed to the ground, his bald head gleaming so brightly, it was unknown if it was from oil or sweat.

"I don't dare to give counsel. Yesterday, my employee came to report a case. My able assistant has gone missing in your area, but you refused to file the report, and I would like to know why." He Zhichu folded his hands behind his back, his sharp gaze directly aimed at the Munich Regional Chief of Police. "You don't suppose that you should give us a proper explanation?"

The Munich Regional Chief of Police instantly knew what He Zhichu was referring to, because two of his assistants had just come by yesterday to report their colleague as missing and asked for the police's help to find her. They had rejected the case. "Is, is, is it regarding your assistant going missing?" the Chief of Police stuttered, his brain continuously thinking of a way to handle it. Denial was out of question, but how would he deal with York if he agreed?

The Munich Regional Chief of Police cursed York for being a brainless tw*t. Seth wasn't even his own son. How was this worth it?! He had done it for his useless stepson and dragged them all into this mess! "Well, about that, it was actually because... our officers didn't refuse to file the case, they only said that there was insufficient evidence and asked your employees to gather more evidence..." The Munich Regional Chief of Police sweated profusely and kept dabbing at his forehead with a handkerchief. He politely invited He Zhichu, the Mayor of Munich, the German Minister of Justice, and the President of the Munich Regional Council to his office to discuss it. "Mr. He, are you here today to report your able assistant as missing?" the Chief of Police asked with great respect and was a whole head shorter, both in terms of dignity and stature, than He Zhichu before him.

He Zhichu had brought two burly bodyguards, who were obviously looked like mercenaries. They went into the Munich Regional Chief of Police's office, and He Zhichu sat on the couch with his legs crossed. With one hand draped on the hand rest, he appeared intimidating as ever and coolly scanned the Chief of Police's office. He sneered with a shake of his head. "Of course not. The incident doesn't matter now, as my assistant has already come back. My employees got anxious and caused you trouble." He Zhichu would never publicize Gu Nianzhi's disappearance. Also, Seth was connected to her disappearance, so He Zhichu would loathe having other people link the two events. Public clamor could melt metals, and when people with ulterior motives started rumors online, he didn't have to imagine what horrible things they'd circulate.

Consequently, he didn't mention Gu Nianzhi's disappearance at all and steepled his hands as he continued to speak, "I'm here today because of another matter. I lost an important possession and am worried it'll be smuggled out of Germany, so I'm here to report it." He continued, "I don't need the police's help with retrieving my lost possession, since it was lost due to my own negligence. Although it went missing in your area, I have no way of dealing with your contrary and slacking work ethic, so I will personally finance and hire people to find it, but I need your authorization to allow me to undertake necessary means of action within German borders."

The methods, of course, included but were not limited to violence. The truth was, He Zhichu also didn't believe the Munich police would truly dispatch officers to find Gu Nianzhi, and even if they took the initiative to find her, He Zhichu didn't want to make her disappearance common knowledge. There was no way He Zhichu would put Gu Nianzhi's photo in Germany's missing persons file or allow her photo to be sent to everyone's phone as a missing person.

The Munich Regional Chief of Police was the first to applaud He Zhichu. He truly didn't want to help search for Gu Nianzhi. It didn't take a genius to know that the female lawyer's disappearance was related to York and Seth... Right now, the Munich Regional Chief of Police only wanted to separate himself from this incident and get out the endless mess.

He Zhichu personally said that his assistant had returned, but that he had lost an important possession that needed to be found. The Munich Regional Chief of Police was naturally happy to turn a deaf ear and not reveal the farce. "I agree! I totally agree! I can immediately assist Mr. He by applying for a court order. That way, you can freely search for your precious possession within Germany!" The Munich Regional Chief of Police rubbed his hands together and wanted nothing more but to take He Zhichu to court to apply right then...

He Zhichu nodded with satisfaction. He looked at the Mayor of Munich. "What do you think?"

The Mayor of Munich had originally wanted the local police to personally help He Zhichu find his able assistant, because that would make a strong impression on He Zhichu. But his Chief of Police was already starting to wash his hands of the matter, so he had no choice but to follow suit. He chuckled. "Ok! No problem! But there is still legal procedure we have to follow. Your staff must at least have the qualifications of a detective..."

The German Minister of Justice shook his head and helped He Zhichu with the legal basis. "He doesn't necessarily need staff with the qualifications of a detective. As long as the court permits, Americans, especially the US garrison, can take necessary measures in Germany as long as they have respectable members of society as guarantors." He was truly the Minister of Justice and knew the legal provisions inside and out.

He Zhichu's typically cold and sullen face finally broke into a small smile as he spread his palms. "Thank you, Mr. Minister. My staff is indeed all American, so they would meet the legal requirements of your country."

The President of the Munich Regional Council had waited a long time to appeal to He Zhichu and immediately remarked, "Wonderful! How about I directly help you apply for the court approval? This case occurred in Munich, and as the representative of Munich's citizens, I have a responsibility to maintain the personal property and safety of all the citizens in the jurisdiction, including but not limited to German citizens, as well as legal immigrants, tourists, and workers traveling on business."

He Zhichu had lost his possession, so it went without saying that the security of his property was compromised, and this was within the scope permitted by law. The three men who accompanied He Zhichu today were nearly the top leaders in Munich. With their help, He Zhichu was able to successfully apply for the approval. By noon, He Zhichu had already received a permit from the court allowing him to take necessary means of action within Germany's borders. With this permit, he would be able to use searching for important lost property as an excuse to privately search for Gu Nianzhi. He had decided early on to do this, thus he had brought almost 50 of his personal American subordinates with him. Aside from the four bodyguards, the rest were all especially recruited to find Gu Nianzhi. These people were either detectives in America or American veterans who were experts in tracking and investigating in the military.

When they began searching in Munich, not a single local media outlet reported news of Gu Nianzhi's disappearance, and even Smith and his three colleges understood He Zhichu's intention. So, they bit their tongues and all claimed Gu Nianzhi had returned from her travels, and she hadn't been picking up because her phone was stolen. She was having so much fun with her friends that she forgot to tell her colleagues about her new number.

Even the Consulate General of the Hua Xia Empire in Munich received He Zhichu's notification that Gu Nianzhi had returned and didn't require their personnel to help with the search. The Embassy was too happy to wash their hands of it, so they quickly reported back to the Hua Xia Empire and said it was ok, since Gu Nianzhi had returned. The Hua Xia Imperial Ministry of Foreign Affairs had their own procedures, and when they received the second internal reference from the Munich embassy stating that Gu Nianzhi was safe, news of her disappearing had already been reported to the higher ups. However, it was suppressed by a certain department within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and no one escalated it, so domestically, no one knew of the incident for the time being. Once news of Gu Nianzhi was suppressed, He Zhichu began searching for her.

...

"Lawyer Gu last appeared at the Königssee, a two-hour drive away from Munich." He Zhichu sent the coordinates of the Königssee to them. "This is your permit. You are able to use violence when necessary." This was actually similar to an arms license, but those were only issued to domestic citizens, while a general permit was issued to foreigners. He Zhichu's search team consisted of 41 personnel with four teams and ten people per team. Each team had a leader, and the last person was the team captain overseeing all four teams.

"What do you plan to do?" He Zhichu asked the captain in charge.

The captain was a veteran in his thirties and was previously a special forces soldier in the US Navy SEALs. He was an expert in investigations and sniping. The captain took out a tablet and opened up the nearby geography and surroundings around Königssee, then pointed. "Lawyer Gu has already been missing for ten days now, and in this period, there have been several heavy rain storms, so it'll be hard to determine anything if we search there now." The initial golden 36 hours for missing persons had long passed, so they had to use another way to find her.

He Zhichu nodded. "Interesting, go on."

The captain continued, "Look here, Königssee is a famous attraction near Munich, and there are many tourists every day. I was thinking we could cooperate with the Munich government's department of tourism and say that in order to promote the tourism resources of Königssee, we can have a video contest with the theme being travels in Königssee within the last month. We will ask for videos with the scenery as well as people, and also specify the time and location. We will prevent any traces of editing to ensure totally natural footage and have an expert rank three winners. It'll be good to set a higher prize money amount for greater social influence."

He Zhichu understood that by using this method they could discreetly filter out footage from the day of Gu Nianzhi's disappearance, and from there, check if she had been there. With their current situation, this was the best way. "Ok, I agree." He then turned to the personal assistant he had brought over and instructed, "You go contact the Munich Department of Tourism, but not in our name. Just find a random American company and use their name to cooperate with the Department of Tourism. The first place prize will be a single one for 100,000 Euros, the second place is ten prizes of 50,000 Euros, and the third would be 100 prizes of 10,000 Euros. Make the deadline tight. The submissions will end in five days."

Offering so many prizes was to attract more participants, and everyone would give the third place prize a shot, even if they couldn't win first place. For many Germans, 10,000 Euros was a large sum of free money. Also, trying to win this free money wouldn't take up too much time or effort, because all they had to do was submit footage of the scenery from Königssee within the last month. He Zhichu's personal assistant recorded all his requirements and immediately set out to find an appropriate American company as a front, then contacted the Munich Department of Tourism.

By noon, the contest had become viral at an unprecedented rate through all of the German media. It was broadly covered, and countless Germans thought they had a chance to win when they saw the ad. Many people looked through their phones to find footage. Many tourists had visited Königssee in the last month, with the majority being Munich locals.

By 10pm, He Zhichu's contest website had received countless video submissions. And when these videos were uploaded, it was also required to indicate the date and time of recording from beginning to end to the exact second. So it as very easy when He Zhichu and his personnel had to sift through the videos to find their desired time frame. That night, the team member responsible for viewing the videos nearly stayed up all night. By early morning, one of the team member's eyes had swollen up from looking. He suddenly spied the figure of a young girl wearing purple sportswear. She stood elegantly under a large tree by Königssee. He instantly jumped up and shouted, "I found her! I found her!"

He Zhichu, who had been sitting silently behind them the entire time, walked over and bent down to look at the screen. "Where?"

The team member pointed to the frame paused on Gu Nianzhi and exclaimed, "There! There!"

He Zhichu moved the cursor over and continuously enlarged the image until he was certain it was Gu Nianzhi. The time stamp indicated it was 9:55am, ten days ago. He Zhichu sighed deeply and pressed play. The video continued, and this time, a couple embracing each other walked into the frame and headed towards Gu Nianzhi's back. Gu Nianzhi seemed to notice someone walking towards her and turned back to look before stepping aside. The man suddenly came up with his arm raised to pat Gu Nainzhi's back.

"Pause," He Zhichu immediately barked. His eyesight was extraordinary, and he had already noticed something strange. "Magnify that man's hand." The team member clicked quietly to gradually enlarge it until everyone could see something gleaming in the man's hand. From its shape, it looked to be a syringe.