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666 Meeting

 No way? Someone bugged the phone? Could Als have found her already?! With the Gestapo's power from all those years ago, bugging calls was no difficult task, but when Gu Nianzhi thought about it carefully, she realized it wasn't possible. If they had already discovered that she was here, Als could simply bring personnel to raid the place. Why were they lurking around and bugging calls? Gu Nianzhi was very anxious and didn't dare to make any calls again.

Apparently, Als had already accounted for any methods she could use to contact the outside world... With this fact, it meant she couldn't exactly trust the internet, either. If the enemy could bug a normal landline and cellphone, that also meant they could control her internet usage, and monitoring internet usage was far simpler than bugging a landline.

Gu Nianzhi went back to her room unhappily to sleep. She suddenly thought that she couldn't consider herself as having successfully escaped, because she was still under Als' omnipresent surveillance. She had no idea how Reinitz was doing... Gu Nianzhi had originally wanted to find out if Als would subject Reinitz to collective punishment, but now realized how naive she was. How would she check, go back and see? Haha, Als must've prepared ample personnel there to wait for her to fall into their hands.

The Gestapo's speciality was its omnipresent network. It could enshroud a village, a town, or even every single person in a city to expose all their secrets. With such intensive surveillance, could she even leave Berlin for Munich?

Gu Nianzhi had a hard time falling asleep. She crawled up and turned on her laptop again to look up the map of the surrounding area. There was a subway five miles away that could take her to the city or the airport. Gu Nianzhi's mind began to work. She could take the subway directly to the airport and buy a flight there, but she soon deflated. Without a passport or German identification, there was no way she could buy tickets! So she could only take the train from Berlin to Munich... Gu Nianzhi decided on the place she would go the next day and finally felt tired enough to fall asleep.

She woke up early the next morning and went to the small bathroom to wash up before changing into the nun's habit. The soldiers must've told Als what she was wearing when she escaped last night, so the habit provided a temporary disguise. Nuns were common in the area, and Gu Nianzhi had seen a castle-like nunnery in the mountains when she went out walking with Reinitz on the maple tree-lined path one day.

As she was leaving the employee's break room, Gu Nianzhi saw a baseball bat propped up against the wall. Thinking about how she had nothing to defend herself with and how baggy the habit was, it would be easy to conceal the baseball bat. She grabbed it on the way out and stuffed it under her habit to tie to her side, then left 50 US dollars in the employee break room.

...

The blonde bar owner remembered Gu Nianzhi was there, so she came back to the bar much earlier, before the other employees arrived for the day. She noticed a nun coming out of the room and nearly shrieked. Soon after, she realized that it was Gu Nianzhi. "You really scared me." She pouted at Gu Nianzhi playfully. "Are you going out looking like that?"

Gu Nianzhi nodded and crossed herself. "Thank you for giving me a place to stay last night. God bless you."

The bar owner laughed. "That's pretty believable." She passed the paper box she was holding. "I got you breakfast. Eat it while it's still hot."

Gu Nianzhi happened to be hungry and was planning to buy some food. Now that the bar owner was nice enough to get it for her, she took it to have a look. The bar owner got her a donut, a milk carton, and two freshly cooked Weisswursts. Gu Nianzhi's eyes gleamed as she giggled. "Thank you! I love Weisswurst!"

"No problem. Weisswursts are the only good food around here. Everything else is so yucky." The bar owner chuckled. "Sausages are the only good food in Germany. When I studied in Paris, that was truly a food lover's paradise."

Gu Nianzhi laughed as she secretly thought how the Hua Xia Empire was the real paradise for food lovers, but she didn't argue and just smiled. "Thank you. I'll eat it after I leave. It's already getting late. I'd better go right away."

The bar owner noticed her insistence and didn't force her to stay. Her blue eyes crinkled as she smiled. "Safe travels."

Gu Nianzhi bowed again in thanks and took the box of food with her. In the beginning, she walked away happily. She ripped apart a bit of the breakfast to feed the wild ducks on the side of the road and finally ate when she saw the ducks were okay. After finishing the food and throwing the box into the garbage, she continued on her way.

When she was about a mile away from the train station, she saw a line forming ahead. She was walking down a small country road that wasn't meant for cars, so she mostly saw mountain bikes the entire time. A lineup on a small road like this was very strange. Gu Nianzhi went up and walked to the end of the line to ask a kind looking old woman, "Why is there a line ahead? Isn't this road for pedestrians and bikes?"

The old woman smiled. "I heard there is a checkpoint ahead. They are trying to catch an escaped criminal."

Gu Nianzhi didn't appear worried at all, but her heart dropped. She stood next to the old woman and had full body shudders when she got on her tiptoes to see men in black uniforms standing not too far away. As expected, they wore the same uniforms as Als...

They didn't look like his colleagues, so these must be his subordinates. That meant they considered all the possibilities including internet, phone, and modes of transportation. Gu Nianzhi had a feeling Als would capture her one way or another. She gave Als the middle finger from under the baggy nun's habit and turned to leave. If this way was blocked, then she had to find another way.

After milling around all day, she had already familiarized herself with the town and discovered it was very small. However, she couldn't leave and was too ashamed to go back to the bar and give the kind bar owner more trouble. At nightime, she realized she'd be sleeping outside again, but this was unlike when she slept outside in the Alps, when she was in a lot of pain and was forced to do it. Now, she was enjoying it because it was her own decision. She'd rather have the sky as her blanket and the ground as her bed than to live a luxurious life under constant surveillance.

Stretching her back, Gi Nianzhi skillfully found an empty spot in the forest to sit down. People had picnics and barbecues nearby, so there were some metal grills in the field. Gu Nianzhi found some firewood and dried leaves to put in the grill, then used her zippo lighter to ignite it. Closing the lid, the grill would keep the fire on yet hide the light and prevent it from burning out.

Sitting near the grill, Gu Nianzhi felt very warm. She gradually fell asleep but remained alert, even in her dreams, and was not totally asleep. She didn't know that her earring flashed red once again. Not too far from her, two Hua Xia Imperial Special Operations Forces personnel wore Bluetooth headsets and were correcting coordinates in real time according to the instructions from the headset. Someone suddenly slit their throats from behind, and their bodies were buried under the leaves.

...

Gu Nianzhi was half asleep as she held her small bag with one hand and a baseball bat with the other. That way, she kept constantly vigilant and could instantly jump up to attack, even though she was in the wilderness. Suddenly, the sound of branches and leaves being crunched could be heard. The sound was very familiar to Gu Nianzhi, and after her experience in the Alps, it nearly became her nightmare.

She quickly got up and looked around. The fire in the grill beside her should be out by now and was only emanating the last traces of warmth, but it was still hot enough that she wasn't chilled... Crunch... There was another sound of leaves being walked on. The corners of Gu Nianzhi's mouth twitched as she quietly crawled away and ran off crouching as she carried the baseball bat.

Hiding in the forest, she used the moonlight on the empty field to see two people walking over from the forest to stand where she had been just now. They looked around like they were searching for something. Under the moonlight, one person turned around and Gu Nianzhi was shocked when she saw his face clearly. That man was Chinese, just like her! What are they doing here? Gu Nianzhi hadn't seen another Chinese person in over two weeks. She hid in the trees without moving and held her breath to see what those people wanted. She had always been careful, and her experiences in the last few days taught her that she could never be too careful. She only had one life.

The two men walked around in a circle and fiddled with their Bluetooth headsets like they were listening to something. They finally looked at each other and said, "...Should be here."

"The signal stopped here, and the coordinates are accurate within ten meters. She should be in the forest."

"Then the thing is still on her?"

"It should be. Otherwise, it wouldn't keep moving."

The men kept mumbling quietly, but it was loud enough for Gu Nianzhi to hear. She listened in confusion. What are they trying to do? Just as her suspicion was at its peak, the two men suddenly walked towards where she was hiding. It was very dark inside the forest, but the middle of the field used for picnics was very bright under the moonlight. The two men wore peculiar smiles as they slowly made their way to where she was hiding. Gu Nianzhi could feel the hair on the back of her neck stand up. She always had a natural sense of danger, and this time, her instinct told her something was wrong. Just as she was about to sneak away, she heard the two men finally speak. "...Miss Gu? Are you there? Don't be scared, Huo Shao sent us to rescue you..."