Chapter 13: Following the Vine to Find the Melon (1)
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
“Feng Yixi?” Huo Shaoheng’s finger tapped the conference table, once, twice. He spoke quietly into his Bluetooth headset. “Give me everything you can dig up on Feng Yixi, Gu Nianzhi’s classmate.”
Gu Nianzhi’s classmates had already been subjected to a background check once, before her transfer to C University two years ago. She had been cleared to study there only when each and every one of her classmates had proven to be ordinary and law-abiding citizens.
Huo Shaoheng’s database soon uploaded all available information on the Feng family and projected them onto the screen in the conference room.
Huo Shaoheng idly toyed with a gold coin in his hand as he looked over the information. His dark eyes narrowed. “No evidence? What do you mean, there’s no evidence?”
“Of course we don’t have evidence. We only have what Nianzhi told us, and she may not remember a thing when she wakes up. We need hard evidence, Boss!” Chen Lie reminded Huo Shaoheng.
The corners of Huo Shaoheng’s mouth curved upwards. He slammed the gold coin onto the conference table and stood up. “Did you forget our biggest evidence? H3aB7.”
Chen Lie jerked his head up and stared at the Feng family dossier that was displayed on the screen. He slapped his head. “You’re right! How could I have forgotten?”
Huo Shaoheng walked towards the screen, arms folded. The black T-shirt on his back was supposed to be loose-fitting, but on him it was tight;the muscles on his chest were visible beneath it.
“I recall hearing you talk about this drug, once. You said that according to the data, it’s a highly potent drug. Naturally, I wanted to use it on our men as part of their training, but you said you couldn’t get it for me because it’s very rare. You also said that even in Japan, only the top dignitaries get to enjoy it.” Huo Shaoheng stopped in front of the screen.
Chen Lie nodded. “That’s right. So…”
“So tell me, knowing what we do of the Feng family: how did Feng Yixi get her hands on it?”
The Feng family may be filthy rich in the eyes of most ordinary folk, but ultimately they were just wealthy businessmen, nothing more.
H3aB7 was not something you could buy with money alone. Even Chen Lie, a high-ranking Medical Officer backed by the Special Operation Forces, had never gotten his hands on the real thing, only bits and pieces of data regarding it. So, how on earth did Feng Yixi, a mere college senior, pull it off?
Huo Shaoheng turned; once again, he barked orders into his Bluetooth headset. “Zhao Liangze, get someone to look into what Gu Nianzhi’s classmate, Feng Yixi, was up to before and after her birthday party yesterday evening. Who she met, what she did, the things she said, everything. You have half an hour to compile a complete report on her last 24 hours.”
Zhao Liangze was Huo Shaoheng’s other personal secretary. He was meticulous, thorough, and had an exceptional memory. He was also a computer whiz, and usually helped Huo Shaoheng take care of confidential matters.
Zhao Liangze answered in the affirmative. Huo Shaoheng grunted in reply and disconnected the call.
Chen Lie flashed Huo Shaoheng a thumbs-up. “The Bossman does it again! Nothing escapes you!”
Huo Shaoheng slipped the gold coin on the table into the pocket of his camouflage pants. “Let’s go. We’ll know what the deal is when we hear from Zhao Liangze.”
Chen Lie followed behind Huo Shaoheng. He said, ruefully, “I really want to know how Feng Yixi got her hands on the drug. And so much of it, too.”
Something stirred inside Huo Shaoheng. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he felt that something was amiss.
He returned to the third floor. He looked at the door to the bedroom but could not bring himself to enter.
He was saved by a phone call from Yin Shixiong. “Sir, Miss Gu’s interview has been postponed to three days from now, and will take place at eight o’clock in the morning.”
Huo Shaoheng said, impassively, “Understood. Now, I want you to report to the small conference room as soon as you’re back.”
He turned and said to Chen Lie, “Keep an eye on her. I have things to take care of.” Then he left.
Half an hour later, both Yin Shixiong and Zhao Liangze entered the small conference room for a meeting with Huo Shaoheng.
Zhao Liangze stood before the screen and presented his findings.
“There was nothing particularly suspicious about Feng Yixi’s behavior in the last 24 hours, aside from the fact that she bought a yellow pear-shaped diamond ring from her cousin for one million yuan.”
A photo of the pear-shaped diamond ring appeared on the screen. Huo Shaoheng stared at the protrusion in the middle of the pear-shaped diamond ring, and then said, “Zoom in on the ring.”
The ring on the screen grew bigger and bigger, until at last every single groove could be seen clearly. It was scary how much detail could be seen on a high resolution photo.
“Where’s the diamond ring now?”
“Still on Feng Yixi’s finger,” said Zhao Liangze as he pulled up a photo of Feng Yixi; in it she was stepping out of a black car, her left hand resting on the top of the open door. Clearly visible on her left middle finger was a yellow pear-shaped diamond ring.
“This photo was taken just fifteen minutes ago, when she returned to her house after completing her university interview,” said Zhao Liangze.
“Interview?” asked Huo Shaoheng, surprised. “What interview?”
“Feng Yixi and Miss Gu both sat for the postgraduate entrance exam for B University’s Law School. Miss Gu came in first place, Feng Yixi, second,” said Zhao Liangze. He exchanged a look with Yin Shixiong.
Yin Shixiong recalled that Gu Nianzhi did not go for her interview that morning, and also that General Huo had specifically asked him to help arrange her leave of absence. He turned to Huo Shaoheng and asked, “Sir, does Miss Gu have something to do with all this?”
Huo Shaoheng did not reply. His face was grim as he gave the order. “Keep digging. Find out where Feng Yixi’s cousin got the ring from.” Having said this, he took the flash drive containing all the information from Zhao Liangze, and marched off to find Chen Lie.
Chen Lie took the flash drive from him and immediately transferred all the information into his laptop. He began analyzing the ring.
Although he had never seen the ring with his own eyes, it was possible to calculate the actual dimensions of the ring with the help of the high-res photo. This meant that it was also possible to ascertain how much liquid the protrusion at the top of the ring could have potentially carried.
An hour later, Chen Lie aborted the program running the complicated calculations on his laptop. “The volume matches the amount of H3aB7 that was injected into Gu Nianzhi yesterday.” He rubbed his bloodshot eyes, and looked up at Huo Shaoheng. “It’s ironclad. It’s definitely her.”
“I know, but she may be just another puppet. Someone else may be pulling the strings.” Huo Shaoheng changed into his military uniform. He put on his black fingerless leather gloves; he was going to the firing range for shooting practice.
Chen Lie said nothing. Like Huo Shaoheng, there was now a flicker of uneasiness inside him.
Night had fallen. The evening lights had just come on at Fortune Palace, C City’s luxury club. Inside, well-groomed men and women laughed and talked in low voices.
The club occupied the top five floors of a high-rise building. On the top floor, in a private room at the very end of a corridor, a well-dressed young man was so drunk he could hardly make out who he was talking to. He mumbled vaguely, “You want H3aB7? It ain’t cheap…”
“How much? Name your price,” said a fat, oily-faced man, in a voice oozing with greed. “I have all the money in the world!”