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Shi Jin was pacing nervously around the room.
Xiao Si was so anxious that it began to gnaw on its metaphorical nails. <Maybe you should accept the inheritance after all,> it suggested.
Shi Jin completely rejected its proposal. “In the story, when the brothers learned ‘Shi Jin’ inherited everything their hearts turned completely cold and they started their abuse! If I accepted it, the progress bar wouldn’t rise just by half a point!”
Knock knock knock.
Both of them paused and looked at the door in unison.
“Young master, the eldest young master is calling.” The butler’s voice sounded from the outside.
Shi Jin’s brows furrowed and he whispered: “The murderer no. 1 is on the phone, should I answer it or not?”
Xiao Si’s voice trembled: <Would it really make a difference?> With only 0.5 points left until filling up the progress bar, there really wasn’t any room for error.
Shi Jin hesitated, “Will I die immediately after the progress bar is filled?”
Shi Jin’s eyes brightened.
Xiao Si sounded as if it was going to cry, adding, <But you’ll lose control of your body and watch yourself go to your death as the story progresses.>
This is way scarier than immediate death!
Shi Jin felt he was about to go insane. He scanned the room, then approached the desk and pulled out the utility knife inserted in a penholder, ejecting the blade and drawing it across his wrist.
Blood started to flow.
Xiao Si instantly became mad: <Ah, ah, what are you doing!>
“I’m saving myself, of course. This phone call can’t be answered; if I pick it up and say the wrong thing, increasing my brother’s enmity, then everything will be over.” Conversely, in the face of imminent crisis, Shi Jin calmed down instead. After cutting his wrist deeper, he quickly searched for all the documents and cash of the original. Then he picked up the cucumber pillow on the bed and went to the bathroom to fill the bathtub with water.
Xiao Si was greatly alarmed by his actions. <Why are turning the water on?> Cutting your wrist and filling the bath with hot water, isn’t this a standard suicide setup?
Shi Jin has already got in the bathtub. Withstanding the dizziness caused by blood loss, he carefully unstitched the part of the cucumber pillow, putting all the documents and cash into it. Then he lay back, holding the pillow and closing his eyes: “It’s a retreat in order to advance, it will buy some time… This place is too dangerous to stay in, we have to find an opportunity to slip away.”
The youngest of the five brothers in the family was nine years older than the original ‘Shi Jin’. All of them have already made successful careers with the support of their mothers and they pretended to dote on ‘Shi Jin’. Shi Xingrui was gradually deceived by this illusion, inadvertently allowing them to put a lot of traps and snares around Shi Xingrui and ‘Shi Jin’. The current Shi Jin was powerless and lacked connections, it was impossible for him to win; still, his top priority was simply saving his life.
The water in the bathtub was soon red with blood. If Xiao Si was human, its face would be completely pale. It called out with a quavering voice: <Jin, JinJin…>
“Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing”, Shi Jin consoled it. Hearing the faint sound of the opening door, his heart loosened. After making Xiao Si promise to help him hold on to the cucumber pillow, he felt reassured and let go of his consciousness.
The smell of disinfectant filled his nose. Shi Jin opened his eyes and looked drowsily at a tall figure sitting beside the bed.
<The pillow is in your arms. After the news of your attempted suicide spread, the progress bar decreased to 997. The person sitting beside you is Shi Weichong, the eldest son of the Shi family,> Xiao Si provided a timely reminder.
Shi Jin reassured himself, his arms tightening around the pillow. He looked at the man beside the bed and called out weakly, “Big Brother.”
The man turned his head. His long and narrow eyes, similar to those of Shi Xingrui’s, were full of disapproval and worry. He asked gently: “Xiao Jin, why?”
Shi Xingrui’s genes were very good; all of his sons were very handsome, with only the little fatty Shi Jin being the odd one out. Shi Weichong was Shi Xingrui’s eldest son and he resembled their father strongly. Clear eyes under straight eyebrows, thin lips, straight nose—with his refined features and calm temperament, he was the very definition of a handsome mature man. In addition to Shi Jin, he was the only child allowed to take the Shi Xingrui’s surname and also the brother who supposedly loved Shi Jin the most.
Shi Jin looked away from him, secretly pinched himself under the quilt to get a sour nose and red eyes, and whispered, “I know that none of you likes me.”
After those words, the air became tense.
Shi Weichong did not speak, the gentleness in his eyes diminished slightly. His look became thoughtful and scrutinizing, as if trying to judge whether Shi Jin’s feelings were feigned.
<998 points! Wah, JinJin!> Xiao Si screamed in panic.
Shi Jin’s eyelashes trembled and the tears gathered in his eyes have flowed down. His lips tightening, he turned back to Shi Weichong and hesitantly grabbed his hand. “Big Brother… If, if there is a next life, then I hope I would become the older brother of all of you… Then I would be able to repay you, return everything I owe to you…”
“Xiao Jin.” Shi Weichong pulled his hand out of Shi Jin’s hold and put his hand back on the bed. “Don’t talk nonsense, your elder brothers will always be your elder brothers.”
<998.5! It has risen again! Waah, JinJin, don’t die!>
What an impregnable defense! This older brother is much more difficult to defeat than I expected.
Shi Jin knew things went south. He decisively abandoned the idea of softening Shi Weichong with words and closed his eyes pretending to be exhausted, whispering, “Big Brother, I’m tired…”
Fortunately, the progress bar did not rise again. Shi Weichong covered him with the blanket and left the ward.
Over the next two days, Shi Jin’s eldest brother came several times. The absent brothers also made a lot of calls. Shi Jin remained completely silent, neither speaking nor answering the phone. He stayed in the ward all day and just looked out of the window like a puppet who had lost his soul.
During this time, Shi Jin tried to hurt himself again, this time with a fruit knife. The nurse found out and told Shi Weichong about it. Shi Weichong, like a normal older brother, became worried and angry and scolded Shi Jin harshly.
Shi Jin pinched his thigh and cried silently facing Shi Weichong’s anger. “Xiao Jin.” Shi Weichong was helpless. He moved closer and grasped Shi Jin’s shoulder, asking gently, “Tell me, what is wrong with you? Look, you even lost some weight.”
Shi Jin managed to smile at him—this was what he wanted to hear, missing several meals was worth it.
Shi Weichong looked at this smile and the emotions on his face suddenly faded away, leaving only expressionless, unfathomable mask.
This was the first time Shi Weichong showed this expression to Shi Jin. Shi Jin stopped smiling, lowered his head and hugged the pillow tightly. His heart was full of vigilance—here it comes, Shi Weichong is going to tear off his mask of kindness.
“Xiao Jin, dad’s lawyer called me today and said that the inheritance had been divided up as you wished, into five parts, without your part.” Shi Weichong said abruptly, his tone vague, missing its earlier gentleness.
Shi Jin looked up at him, and there was no smile on his face—he didn’t force it out this time. He said, “I told you, I would repay my brothers everything I owe them.”
Shi Weichong looked at him keenly, saying, “The change in the distribution of inheritance requires your signature.”
Shi Jin nodded: “I will sign it.”
Silence fell once again. Shi Weichong did not say anything more, turned around and left the room.
After dinner that day, Shi Weichong brought over several documents. Shi Jin did not read them, he signed them directly and then gathered the blanket around himself.
Shi Weichong gathered the documents, then stood beside the bed for a moment. “Why?”
“I just want to make my brothers happy,” Shi Jin replied, hugging his last trump card—the cucumber pillow.
Shi Weichong’s eyes swept over the blood that had dried up on its surface and asked: “Why do you hold it all the time?”
Shi Jin’s heart skipped a beat. He pinched his thigh frantically, looking back at Shi Weichong with reddened eyes and saying in a barely audible voice: “This is the last gift I have gotten from my brothers… I can’t lose it, if I lose it… it would be completely gone.”
Xiao Si applauded hard in Shi Jin’s brain, praising his quick thinking and acting skills.
Shi Weichong apparently did not expect to hear such an answer. He stared at him for a few seconds and frowned, suddenly unable to look directly into those eyes full of trust and dependence. He turned his head slightly and said, “You should rest. Your second brother will arrive tomorrow, he has already boarded the plane.”
That’s really bad news.
Shi Jin was so dejected that he hung his head down, burying his face in the quilt.
Shi Weichong took a step forward and hesitated. He turned back and gently touched Shi Jin’s hair, the look in his eyes changing briefly. Then, for some unknown reason, his expression became cold. He turned around to leave.
Xiao Si’s voice was a little weak: <I’ve felt like on a roller coaster just now, the progress bar first dropped to 900, then suddenly rose to 950, scared me to death.>
“It’s down to 950?” Shi Jin was surprised. He lifted the quilt and got out of bed. Checking the progress bar, he was very pleased with himself. “Now then, the problem of inheritance was resolved, so it’s time to run away.”
Xiao Si was puzzled. <Run away? Why? You haven’t even met with your other brothers yet.>
Shi Jin’s voice was placid: “I only have a margin of error of 49 points. Do you think it would be enough if I say a wrong thing to those murderous people?”
<…> Xiao Si was unable to refute, but its heart was full of misgivings. <What if after discovering you ran away their killing intent skyrockets?>
“Don’t worry.” Shi Jin’s tone was confident. He checked the documents and cash in his pillow and said, “In order to empty the progress bar, I have to reduce the lethal factors. Distance from the brothers should also be considered a lethal factor. What if I hide in a place where my brothers won’t be able to find me? Do you still think the progress bar will be filled up?”
Of course, if they’re unable to find him, the five brothers will be unhappy, but even if they decide to kill their younger brother directly… If their target is missing, they won’t be able to either make any plans or start implementing them. Immediate danger was a key part of the lethal factors. As long as the progress bar wasn’t filling up and his brothers were far away, Shi Jin would be able to slowly decide on his long-term course of action. It would be different from the current dangerous situation, where he had no freedom of action an could only adapt to circumstances.
Xiao Si raised its thumb and squealed: <JinJin is so smart, dumb blondes will love you!>
Imitating the handwriting of the original, Shi Jin left a message: “Without me, brothers will be happier. Xiao Jin hopes brothers will be happy.” Then he asked Xiao Si to help him avoid the people in the hospital and holding the cucumber pillow, he silently slipped out during the night.
More than a ten hours later, Shi Jin stepped onto the soil of B City, China. He was still wearing hospital clothes, and he was still carrying the cucumber pillow in his arms. That and a little bit of money left over after buying a plane ticked were his only possessions.
“I hate rich people who have the habit of having credit cards instead of hard cash.” Shi Jin’s face was full of tears, cursing the previous owner of his body.
Xiao Si suddenly panicked: <We are done for, your progress bar started its rollercoaster ride again—your brothers must have found out you disappeared. Waah, JinJin, I’m scared!>
Shi Jin’s ‘chrysanthemum’ tightened. He stared at the progress bar, which was going up and down crazily, with wide eyes.
980… 990… 930… 990… Progress bar fluctuated madly, finally stopping at 910.
Shi Jin let out a long sigh of relief and sat down on the ground outside the airport.
<It seems that distance really is one of the lethal factors.> Xiao Si’s voice relaxed. <JinJin, your life has been saved for the time being. What should we do next?>
Shi Jin looked over his meager belongings, his expression full of vicissitudes of life: “First, let’s find a job to support ourselves…”
“…dumb blondes will love you!” – again, not literal. Originally 伦家超爱你的.
Shi Jin’s ‘chrysanthemum’ tightened – I just had to leave it in ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°).
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