Chapters 111 – 113
In the criminal meeting, Meredith comes up with a plan to kidnap Seiko and demand Mike bring the diaries as ransom. She instructs her team not to involve the Harding family and to avoid Yuki. The operation must take place before the weather clears in order to avoid Kaida. She also has Valentine, anxiously waiting to get involved, as her back-up plan. The team executes the plan and get Seiko in their custody. Mike and Alex soon discover that Ricky left the diaries in the now-locked ski lodge. Gibson’s team refuse to allow more time. The boys are desperate, but Caroline, who has been spying on them, takes charge. Although Conrad objects, they enlist the help of Ashley, who seems to know her way around a set of lock picks. Conrad and Caroline return to the Hardings’ cabin to protect them.
With Ashley’s help, the boys break into the cabin and recover the diaries. They proceed to set up a safe exchange as Caroline suggested. Meanwhile, Kaida becomes anxious about her pregnant friend stuck in the storm and convinces Allison to drive her back across the mountain. Kaida’s worries are founded because Brigit is starting signs of premature labor. Yuki and Caroline volunteer to trek three miles to a ranger station that contains an emergency radio. While awaiting the boys’ arrival, Seiko converses with Gibson and discovers that he was acquainted with her mother, that they had “traded shots” a few times. She presses him for more information, but he claims he didn’t know her well.
Meredith mistakenly believes Yuki is going to interfere with her team, so she sends Valentine to intercept her. Yuki manages to radio medical assistance for Brigit before Valentine cuts her off. A brief hand-to-hand battle ensues. Valentine dodges every attack before pinning Yuki to the ground and injecting her with an anesthetic. Caroline manages to knock him out briefly, but he recovers before she can react. He binds Caroline and tortures her for his amusement until he gets a call from Meredith that Kaida has returned and must be dealt with.
Mike arrives alone at the criminals’ cabin and tells them that Alex has the diaries at another location. Gibson’s associates Cass and Derek make secret plans to kill Seiko and Mike, as Meredith requested, once the books are secure. The group then follow Mike to the ski lift. Seiko and Mike are placed at the bottom and the books at the top to begin the exchange. At the Hardings’ cabin, Ashley acts as midwife to Brigit. Conrad makes himself useful by taking the family dog Puck out for a walk, but Puck gets away from him and heads for the ski lift. Near the lift, Conrad has to restrain the dog, who has a vicious reaction to guns. Seeing the situation with Cass and Derek aiming at Seiko, he releases Puck and takes a shot with his own revolver.