Chapter 17: Following the Vine to Find the Melon (5)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The rain, which had started out light in the early morning hours, had gotten heavier. The sky, too, had grown darker.
The few people out on the streets were eager to get out of the rain and, therefore, did not stop to look about. No one paid any attention to the unusual number of cars parked on the street.
The employees of Fengting Home Improvement Company had just arrived at their building for yet another day of work.
Suddenly, a troop of law enforcers barged in waving a search warrant. Without wasting a moment, they confiscated every single item they could find in the office.
By the time they were done, the office of the company’s CEO, Feng Guodong, was as barren as a cave. Nothing had been spared from the inspection, not even the trash can.
The company’s secretary and managers frantically called Feng Guodong on his phone. By the time they finally got ahold of him, his phone had been ringing for nearly an hour. Feng Guodong got in his car and sped to the office as quickly as he could.
“What are you doing? This is a perfectly legitimate business we’re running here, you can’t just barge in and ransack the place!” Feng Guodong furiously confronted as he rushed into his building. He had stayed up the entire night trying to sort out Feng Yixi’s mess. The last thing he had expected was for his company to come under fire as well.
One of the law enforcers presented the search warrant. “The bank is suing you for fraud. We’re just here to collect the evidence.”
Feng Guodong felt a rush of anxiety squeeze around him in its clammy grip. Half an hour later, the law enforcers exited the building with boxes in a variety of sizes: they all contained an assortment of documents, computer hard drives, laptops, as well as mobile phones and tablets.
The last person to come out was Feng Guodong. With his bound together by the cuffs, Feng Guodong shoulders were hunched as he shuffled along with a resigned gait. The man was the pathetic image of an upper-class elite brought down from his glorified perch. When Feng Guodong finally appeared outside, reporters from national TV stations and online publications were already waiting for him. Cameras and phones scrambled as they struggled to get the best angles for photos while questions were fired at the disgraced Feng Guodong. Thus, another trending headline was given to the eager masses by the Feng family.
Huo Shaoheng sat in a Chrysler RV parked opposite the building. He watched the scene unfold without saying a word. When everyone had been taken away he calmly said, “Let’s go.”
In the afternoon, Fengting Home Improvement Company’s application to be listed on the stock exchange was officially rejected by the CSRC. In addition, the bank asked the Fengting Home Improvement Company to repay their loan, effective immediately.
The Feng family’s phone rang incessantly throughout the successive setbacks that occurred, one after another.
Hu Qiaozhen had just returned home, her younger siblings and Lawyer Yan in tow. She barely had time to get a drink of water when her eldest daughter, Feng Yichen, came to her looking as pale as a ghost and her phone in her hand. She said, “Mom, we’re finished.”
Lawyer Yan immediately asked,”What’s wrong? I’ve already spoken to the police about your sister. They’ll release her once they’re done with the investigations.”
“It’s not about Yixi. It’s about our company”, said Feng Yichen. The phone trembled in her unsteady hand before falling to the ground with a thunk.
Hu Qiaozhen was anxious to go to the police station to pick up Feng Guodong, but before she could get ready two policewomen showed up. Announcing that she had falsified the accounts for the bank loan, they arrested her on the spot. Hu Qiaozhen was the financial director of the company, as well as the legal representative. Her legal liability was therefore greater than her husband Feng Guodong’s.
To top it all off, the family house had been bought under the company name. The company going bankrupt meant that the house would soon be repossessed by the bank.
While the Fengs were still reeling from the sudden twist in their fate, Huo Shaoheng had already quietly returned to the military base.
It was now evening. The rain was still falling, but it had calmed down to a light drizzle.
Huo Shaoheng did not have an umbrella. He walked to his quarters, all alone, his hair wet from the rain. Drops of water glistened in his hair; the evening gloom outlined his solemn face and enhanced his breathtaking beauty.
Numerous female officers sent amorous looks his way as he made his way back home.
Huo Shaoheng did not notice any of them, however. Upon reaching his home he headed straight to the bathroom, grabbed a bath towel, and began drying his hair.
Chen Lie came out of the bedroom where Gu Nianzhi still lay. He saw that Huo Shaoheng was back and did not wait for him to ask the inevitable question. He immediately raised his hands and said, “Nope, she’s still out, and the fever hasn’t broken, either.”
Huo Shaoheng bit his lip. He dropped the towel and strode to the bedroom.
This was the first time he had stepped into his own bedroom in the last three days. The light was still on; Chen Lie had forgotten to turn it off before exiting the room. Beside the bed was an IV stand. Gu Nianzhi lay on the bed, unmoving; a thin arm rested on the the dark purple blanket, an IV needle attached to the back of the hand. Huo Shaoheng’s face was blank. He sat on the bed and touched Gu Nianzhi’s forehead, but quickly retracted his hand.
Her forehead was burning with fever. Even so, Gu Nianzhi’s face did not have the sickly flush commonly seen in feverish patients. She lay on the bed with her eyes closed, her skin as pale as the moon. Her thick lashes, dark as a raven’s wing, were like two small paper fans that had closed over her large and usually lively eyes.
Huo Shaoheng was suddenly hit with nostalgia. He longed to see Gu Nianzhi’s long lashes flutter animatedly again, the way they always did when she talked to him.
Although it was almost always a one-sided discussion, with Huo Shaoheng grunting a non-committal reply most of the time, Gu Nianzhi never seemed to tire of it. She enjoyed talking to him, even if it sounded like she was talking to herself.
Now, the little girl who had once been so lovely and full of life lay unconscious on the bed, feverish. God only knew if an uglier fate awaited her.
Huo Shaoheng stood up, his brows furrowed, and walked out of the bedroom.
Time was not on his side. He would have to report to the military if Gu Nianzhi did not get better.
As soon as he walked out of the bedroom, his Bluetooth headset began to ring.
It was Zhao Liangze.
“Sir, Hu Chuanxin said that he bought H3aB7 from a Japanese woman. This means we’re dealing with hostile forces from outside the country, so this falls under the jurisdiction of the 6th Military Region. We’re involved now, whether we like it or not. The Special Taskforce over at the police station have already contacted the Special Ops base. They said they’ll be transferring Hu Chuanxin to our interrogation office ASAP.” There was a brief pause as Zhao Liangze checked the GPS tracking system. Then he said, “They’re already on their way.”
Hu Chuanxin was blindfolded and taken to a special interrogation room at the C City Special Operations Forces base.
The C City Police: Special Taskforce were ultimately officers of the law and therefore were not permitted to use any method that was considered out of the ordinary to get Hu Chuanxin to talk.
Even so, the policemen had intuited that Hu Chuanxin was hiding something, and whatever it was had to do with foreign hostile forces. They had immediately tossed him over to the Special Operations Forces for them to deal with.
“He’s still hiding something?” Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze rushed to the door of the interrogation room, sardonic smiles on their faces. “He colluded with foreign forces to sabotage a fellow countryman. We don’t have to play nice with traitorous scum like him!”
Huo Shaoheng walked in. His face was grim, and his entire being seemed to exude a ruthless, bone-chilling aura.
Those in the monitoring room next door could feel the hair on their arms stand on end.
The last time Major General Huo had looked so grim was when a certain country had gone on a massacre, indiscriminately killing the descendants of those who had immigrated from the Empire.
The Empire had made no official comment, but the Special Operations Forces had been dispatched to that country, for one night. Afterwards, the government of that particular country had been forced, as a form of apology, to publicly conduct a large-scale religious ceremony to pacify and send off the spirits of the victims of the massacre.
This time, the unforgiving aura around Major General Huo was even more terrifying than it had been during that last occasion.