Chapter 15: Following the Vine to Find the Melon (3)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The sound of running footsteps filled the hallways of Fortune Palace. The stragglers who had yet to leave the private rooms were confused. What was going on?
Before the staff had time to react, policemen in full face masks kicked open the doors to the private rooms, their guns at the ready.
Light rushed into the dark rooms.
The occupants had been in there the entire night. With the sudden bright light streaming in, they reflexively closed their eyes; their brains were too sluggish and dulled to understand what was going on.
These were no ordinary policemen: they were the Special Taskforce, equipped not only with guns but also with cameras. An officer immediately began snapping photos of everyone in the private room.
“Police! This is a raid! You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Now put your hands on your head and squat in the corner!”
“Don’t move! Run and we’ll shoot!”
A gunshot rang out. A man who had been about to bolt for the door immediately knelt down to the floor with his hands on his head, trembling with fear.
Feng Yixi, her mind in a complete haze, was still lying underneath a pile of men and had to be extracted from them by a policewoman. She had only her blouse on and was totally naked from the waist below. Her underwear nowhere to be seen.
“Group licentiousness!”  One policeman spat contemptuously. “Where’s your ID?”
“Oh? Been snorting drugs, too? What’s this?” Another officer found some white powder on the sofa and on the round table in the room, and was sweeping the substance into a plastic evidence bag with his gloved hands.
“Crystal meth? Can’t wait to put a foot in the grave, eh? Take them away!”
Feng Yixi had just regained her senses, and was now looking about in fear and bewilderment. Suddenly, she felt a breezy sensation below her waist. She looked down and immediately screamed as she covered herself. Tears streaming down her face with the sudden shame and distress she felt, she asked shrilly, “Where’s my skirt? Where is it? Let me put on my skirt!”
A policewoman in a full face mask looked around and found a pile of torn rags that looked like it could have been a miniskirt once. She picked them up with her baton and showed them to Feng Yixi. “Is this your skirt?”
Feng Yixi grabbed the rags and covered her lower body with them. She stammered out, “W-w-what’s going on? I want to see my lawyer!”
“You’ll see your lawyer alright—when they post your bail at the station.” With that, the policewoman ordered everyone to stand in a line, hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. They were then marched out, greeting the day with stunned and disheveled appearances.
Feng Yixi’s cousin was completely unconscious, drunk out of his mind. There wasn’t a single shred of clothing on him, not even his underwear. He was the only one who had to be carried out on a stretcher because the policemen couldn’t get him to stand on his own two feet.
By the time the riot police marched the pathetic group out of the building, a crowd of curious spectators had already formed outside.
Some of the people in the crowd, upon seeing that some of the women in the group were only half-dressed, immediately whipped out their phones and snapped photos. One of the nosier gawkers was overly excited and had called the news hotline when the heavily armed policemen first stormed the building. Thanks to him, all the TV stations, internet self-media, and national newspapers already had their reporters and crew on stand-by. Passerby who enjoyed micro-blogging and sharing news on Weibo also rushed over, eager to be the first to cover the latest developments.
On that morning, nobody paid any attention to the morning news, the empire’s official Weibo, or even the top influencer accounts in C City. The raid conducted by the C City Special Taskforce had effectively hijacked everyone’s newsfeed.
The internet was swarming with the events at the Fortune Palace.
Netizens were quick to mash the ‘like’ button on photos of the Special Taskforce, leaving comments such as “OMG!” and “So cool!,” but they were also just as quick to drool over the photos of those who had been arrested.
One of the photos that made its way to the online headlines was of Feng Yixi, her eyes vacant and her buttocks as bare as the day she was born. As worn out as she was, she had the best figure out of the bunch, so naturally her photo attracted the most attention and comments. The photo ensured that Feng Yixi was already viral before even setting foot in the police station.
Although her half-naked photos were quickly taken down from most websites, the photos just as quickly turned up on the “Hot Right Now” section of certain private websites. Soon enough, her name began to appear on the trending lists: “#Feng Yixi: C City Fortune Palace’s half-naked student druggie.” She had become a true “internet celebrity.”
By this time the main entrance to the Fortune Palace building had taken on an almost festive-like atmosphere. An inconspicuous gray car was parked on the street nearby. Inside the car, all was silent. Huo Shaoheng’s face betrayed no emotion. His expression changed only when Zhao Liangze, who was sitting up front, handed over the phone he had been fiddling with and said, “Sir, look, Miss Feng got her wish. She’s an internet celebrity now.”
Both Yin Shixiong and Fan Jian were dying of curiosity, but they kept silent. They did not dare ask what was going on. Huo Shaoheng and Zhao Liangze were the only ones who knew. Zhao Liangze had already thoroughly investigated what Feng Yixi had said and done in the last 24 hours. His extensive methods had yielded excellent results, and had uncovered a dangerous plot: Feng Yixi’s ploy to sabotage Gu Nianzhi. It was pointless to ask how he had managed to access the information. He guarded his methods zealously.
Gu Nianzhi would have suffered a terrible fate, one that was a hundred times worse than Feng Yixi’s, had it not been for Gu Nianzhi’s quick thinking and the fact that her body’s unique response to the aphrodisiac has worked in her favor. Nevertheless, she was still paying a heavy price.
Zhao Liangze shook his head and said a silent prayer for the Feng family.
How had they managed to raise a vicious, silly, and ignorant girl like Feng Yixi? The Feng’s deserved their unlucky fate. An eye for an eye—that was one of the mottos of the Imperial Military’s Special Operations Forces.
It had, naturally, originated from Huo Shaoheng, the founder of the Special Ops.
The crowd outside gradually dispersed. The traffic police made their appearance, and soon enough the vehicles on the road began to move.
“Start the car.” Huo Shaoheng finally tore his eyes away from the building in front of him.
Fan Jian started the car, turned a corner, and drove back to the base.
The whole commotion had started because someone had alerted the authorities to the illegal activities taking place in Fortune Palace. The C City police responded by sending the Special Taskforce to deal with it.
For the moment, the Imperial Military was seemingly uninvolved.
Huo Shaoheng’s division only concerned themselves with matters related to the 6th Military Region. Drugs developed by Oda Masao—the biomedicine specialist under the employ of the Imperial Hospital of Japan—fell under their jurisdiction, as it was necessary to assess what kind of threat the drugs posed to the empire.
In other words, the Special Operations Forces could only take over the case if the Special Taskforce turned up something that was of interest to them in their interrogations.
Back at the base, Huo Shaoheng retreated to his office to deal with official paperwork for the establishment of the 6th Military Region. This was followed by a string of video conferences with the higher ups in the military and in the Senate. By the time he returned to his quarters for dinner it was already dark.
On the table were four large pieces of medium-rare mignon steak, drizzled with a thick cheese gravy, Huo Shaoheng’s favorite. There was also a small bowl of mashed potatoes, another one with oyster bisque, and a large plate of Caesar salad. A bottle of red wine sat on the side.
Chen Lie had just finished his dinner; he stacked his plates in the dinner basket for the orderlies to whisk away.
Huo Shaoheng stopped before him, and quickly looked in the direction of the bedroom. “How is Nianzhi?”
“Still feverish. And still unconscious.” Beads of sweat broke out on Chen Lie’s pudgy face.
The central air-conditioning in the house kept the rooms cool and comfortable year round—nevertheless, it was still possible to feel warm under the collar, for reasons entirely unrelated to the temperature.
 Group licentiousness—defined as sex between three or more people—is an offense punishable by up to five years in prison in the PRC.