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686 Scared of What?

 Tina was shocked by Gu Nianzhi's words. Not only that, but she was also panicked and no longer relaxed as she had been when she was mixing drinks at the bar. She brought a glass of red wine over, and her wrist trembled, splashing the whole thing onto Gu Nianzhi's face. She snapped back coldly, "A smart mouth gets torn apart. Miss Gu sure is a pretty girl. You don't want your pretty face to be cut like the smiling man's, do you?"

"The Smiling Man" was a famous novel by the French writer, Victor Hugo. The main character was an aristocrat abducted and disfigured at a young age, so a smile was cut into his face from ear to ear. He looked like a clown and seemed to be smiling even when he cried. Although Gu Nianzhi never read the novel, she knew it couldn't be a good thing from the title. Also, Tina splashing red wine on her face irritated the swollen areas where Als had beaten her. It burned painfully like it was chili water.

Gu Nianzhi mulled how she would put an end to herself if there was no other choice... It was bad enough Als had gone crazy, but if Tina lost her mind as well, then she wanted to figure out the quickest way to die. Gu Nianzhi began scanning through the lobby and finally settled on the gun in Als' hand. If she could provoke Als into shooting her, then she could die respectfully and painlessly. Gu Nianzhi had truly given up on her life, or perhaps she had prepared to die the moment she chose to use devourer.exe to forward emails instead of wiping her login information.

With her many years together with Huo Shaoheng and his men, she had been influenced by them in many ways. For example, the constant vigilance she practiced in day to day life as well as constantly preparing for death without hesitation... She regretted not being able to meet Huo Shao or Professor He one last time before she died. Especially Professor He. He'd probably be sad to only find her corpse after expending all that effort looking for her.

Gu Nianzhi's distracted eyes infuriated Als and Tina. Can't this girl focus!? They were torturing a confession out of her! Als decided to cut to the chase and took out a portable high-voltage electric baton. He pressed it against Gu Nianzhi's arm and asked with menace, "Last chance. Tell me who you contacted and asked to attack our system?!"

He was tasering her? Gu Nianzhi instantly recalled the shocks she suffered in the blue hole on the Carribbean Sea and couldn't help smirking to herself. Can this baton be more powerful than the electrical fence on the blue hole's waters? That was the invention of her so-called father, Gu Xiangwen! Gu Nianzhi appeared unperturbed, but Als' screaming reminded Tina of something. She shouted, "I think I know who it is!"

"Who?!" Als and Gu Nianzhi shouted in unison. Als was happy to see Gu Nianzhi appear anxious and asked Tina, "Who did you think of?"

"Als, how could you forget? She sent a distress video to someone in the Hua Xia Empire! That person must have contacted her!" Tina exclaimed excitedly.

The shock froze on Gu Nianzhi's face. Qiqi? Was she talking about Ma Qiqi?

Tina got even more excited. "She used Karl's work phone to send a distress video! We caught it a long time ago! I'm going to call Karl now and have him bring his work phone!"

Karl was the name of the bartender. Gu Nianzhi's heart sank, and she was secretly wondering if this would affect Ma Qiqi. But then she recalled how the instant messaging app had tens of billions of accounts, and Ma Qiqi had never verified her real name, so what was she scared of? She calmed herself down but pretended to look afraid and curled up under the wrought iron floral railing as she avoided Als and Tina's eyes.

Tina called Karl in a huff, "...Right, your work phone. Bring it over now! If I don't see you in five minutes, I'll be coming to your house!"

Karl arrived in less than five minutes. Just as he was about to open the bar's doors, Tina pushed him out. In a split second, he was shocked to see the snarling Als as well as Gu Nianzhi cuffed to the wrought iron floral railing with half her face red and swollen. Karl was secretly shocked and passed the phone to Tina as he asked with hesitation, "What are you guys doing?"

"Nothing." Tina didn't hesitate to push him away. "You're not needed here anymore. Go home." She turned back inside and slammed the door shut.

Karl was a newbie on the job and wasn't accustomed to seeing his colleagues act like Nazis. He quietly turned away and got in his car, then took out his personal phone to call Reinitz. "...Right, they're in the bar, Als and Tina. They... seem to be torturing a confession out of Gu Nianzhi."

"Did you say Als?! I clearly told Tina to lock the room up." Reinitz was very uneasy. No one knew better than he did what kind of person Als was. He smoked gloomily at his window before finally throwing away the cigarette butt and running out the door.

...

"Still going to stay quiet? Then I'll stop playing nice." In the bar's lobby, Als turned on the electric baton and pressed it against a finger on Gu Nianzhi's cuffed right hand. The voltage wasn't very high in the beginning and only caused some minor numbing on her finger. The pain was nothing for Gu Nianzhi. But soon after, Als continuously increased the voltage, and Gu Nianzhi's finger began to hurt more and more. As the saying goes, human fingers connected directly to heart. Pain in the fingers was more unbearable than anywhere else on the body. However, Gu Nianzhi bit hard on her lower lip and forced herself to swallow the screams at the back of her throat. She didn't want to give this abuser any satisfaction of achieving his goal. She wasn't brave but merely stubborn to a fault.

Tina took out Karl's phone from the side and had already opened the instant messaging app. She used their monitoring program to find the login and password Gu Nianzhi used before and logged in. Ma Qiqi noticed as soon as Gu Nianzhi's account went online. It was currently Sunday morning, seven or 8am in the Hua Xia Empire. Ma Qiqi just woke up and saw Gu Nianzhi was online as soon as she checked her phone. She was incredibly happy and quickly sent a message, "Nianzhi? Are you ok?"

"Haha, they're online." Tina waved the phone at Gu Nianzhi. Gu Nianzhi screamed in panic but Ma Qiqi didn't start a video chat, so she couldn't see or hear sounds from the other side.

Tina glanced at Als and nodded. She started a video chat on the instant messaging app and aimed it in Gu Nianzhi's direction. Als understood and suddenly increased the voltage on the electric baton. "Ah---!!!" The sudden increase in voltage made Gu Niazhi lose the shred of control she had left amid the anxiety. She couldn't help screaming. Her red and swollen face, contorted expression, and scream was like a sharp knife that seemed to jump out from the phone screen across the vast sea, traversing 5,000 miles of time and space. The sound suddenly filled Ma Qiqi's ears.

Ma Qiqi was caught off guard and screamed so loudly, she threw the phone out of her hand. She had lived in a peaceful nation all her life and grew up in a safe environment. The most pain she had ever suffered was being cheated on by her boyfriend. When had she ever witnessed a person being cuffed and electrocuted on live video? Covering her face, she started screaming uncontrollably in her dorm and was even louder than Gu Nianzhi on the other end.

Als laughed maniacally and finally found a hint of pleasure for his sadism with the painful screams of the two women. The tyrannical element lurking in him reached its peak, and just as he was happy to continue the turoture, the bar's doors were kicked open with a boom. Tina cursed to herself when she saw Reinitz standing there solemnly. She quickly logged out of the instant messaging app and shut off the phone before stuffing it into her pocket. Als' lost reasoning slowly returned when he looked up to see Reinitz had arrived. Gu Nianzhi was on the brink of death from the electrocution and lay panting feebly on the ground.

Reinitz walked over and reached his hand out to Als. His voice was as deep as wind blowing from hell. "The key." His eyes were like daggers that forced Als to look away uncomfortably, but he still managed to set the handcuff keys into his palm. Reinitz unlocked Gu Nianzhi's handcuffs and carried her out of the bar.

Als and Tina looked at each other, and even though they knew Reinitz was going against regulations, they didn't dare say a word in the face of his oppressive aura. With wide eyes, they watched him carry the unconscious Gu Nainzhi out of the bar and carefully put her inside his car. He brushed away the strands of sweat-soaked hair on her forehead and sped off in his sports car.

Als chased after him and sighed in relief when he saw him drive off in the direction of his villa not far away.

...

Ma Qiqi covered her face and wailed hysterically in the dorm. Her eyes were swollen like small golf balls. After a bout of venting, her fear and anxiety finally found relief, but her knees were too weak to stand on. Her phone had been flung under the desk and she was laying near her bed, so the phone was on the other end of the room, and she couldn't reach it with her fingers. Because she couldn't stand up right away, she panicked and crawled with a roll to get under the desk and grab her phone. With shaking hands, she tried several times before opening Yin Shixiong's contact and calling him.

....

Yin Shixiong had been running around the past few days trying to rescue Gu Nianzhi. He accepted that he couldn't contact Huo Shaoheng, but since he was now in charge of investigating the disappearance of Gu Nianzhi and the two field personnel, he had the authority to use all technical means and personnel necessary. However, it was election day before he could even walk through the doors to the central control system room. The Special Operations Forces, which was never never allowed to interfere with domestic politics, was entrusted by both prime minister candidates with the important task of monitoring the electronic voting and balloting processes! The world class central control room of the Special Ops was requisitioned accordingly, and the Deputy Chief took a dozen technical professionals and loyal men into the room for a whole three days. Yin Shixiong couldn't even touch the door.