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After entering the secret passage, Lian Jun’s progress bar began emptying and quickly dropped to 500, which meant he was basically safe. Shi Jin’s own progress bar also fell back to 690.
Shi Jin let out a sigh and ground his teeth, feeling both relieved and annoyed. At the same time, he had some speculation in his heart. “Every time the immediate danger is over, your Darling’s progress bar will fall down to 500, these remaining 500 points…”
Xiao Si asked obediently, <Do you have an idea, JinJin?>
Shi Jin glanced at Lian Jun in front of him, who was being pushed by Gua Three, and guessed: “Won’t the remaining 500 points be related to Lian Jun’s physical condition?”
<I think JinJin guessed right. JinJin is so smart! JinJin nest greasy!> Xiao Si flattered Shi Jin enthusiastically, trying to make him happy.
Shi Jin mind almost collapsed because of Xiao Si’s ‘praise’. He pinched himself to calm down and asked, “What’s wrong with your Darling’s body? Is he sick?”
Xiao Si’s tone of voice became serious. <No, Darling’s body is congenitally weak. What’s more, there’s a problem with his nerves.>
“What do you mean?” Shi Jin frowned.
Xiao Si sighed and explained, <Darling was born prematurely. His body had been frail and his legs weak, but it wasn’t that serious before. He could walk normally and do some basic physical exercises, he simply couldn’t exercise for too long and too intensively or his legs would feel uncomfortable for a long time.
In fact, if it was just that, then with Darling’s perseverance and effort, his condition would gradually improve—it would only be a matter of time. However, a few years ago, because of a conspiracy in Annihilation, Darling was poisoned with a new type of neurotoxin and almost died. Although they barely managed to come up with the antidote and save his life, the damage was too deep and his body broke down.>
The longer Shi Jin listened, the deeper the furrow between his brows became. He continued, “Then his legs…”
<He can stand up and walk, but no more than a few steps, and because of the leftover toxin, the pain nerves in his legs became very sensitive. Have you heard the story about treading on sharp knives? When he walks, Darling probably feels like that.>
Treading on sharp knives.
Shi Jin couldn’t help but look at Lian Jun sitting in the wheelchair again. He was lost in thought for some time, then unexpectedly, the wrinkle in his forehead slowly smoothed out. He asked, “Xiao Si, would the progress bar show a lethal factor that is impossible to eliminate?”
Surprised, Xiao Si was silent for a moment, then replied: <It won’t, otherwise this game would be too unfair to you and Darling.>
“Then it’s simple!” Shi Jin regained his spirits and said happily, “There is no lethal factor that can’t be eliminated—this is a proof your Darling’s body can be cured. If we are able to find the right method, he will certainly become healthy again!”
Xiao Si was stunned, then felt increasingly happy. After a few seconds, it said joyfully: <You, you’re right, the progress bar won’t lie, if the remaining 500 points are really caused by the situation of his body… Wah wah wah, JinJin, you’re so kind, JinJin’s nest is so lovable! Can you see the lovable monkeys in JinJin’s nest—>
Shi Jin’s voice was quiet: “Are you into self-mutilation?”
<…JinJin, we can see the end.> Xiao Si diverted his attention, getting off the hook.
Shi Jin raised his head. The secret passage had indeed come to an end, and the iron door barred their way.
Gua Three went to open it and Lian Jun turned his wheelchair towards Shi Jin, asking, “Why are you so quiet? What are you thinking about?”
Shi Jin glanced at him, looking at his frail body and pale face, and sighed in a complicated mood. “I’m wondering whether you will give me a reward this month because I helped you to capture Gua Four.”
Lian Jun had not expected to hear such an answer. In silence, his fingers tapped the armrest of the wheelchair and he simply went along with Shi Jin: “So what kind of reward do you want? Money? Or… freedom?”
Huh? So the reward can be something other than cash?
Shi Jin hadn’t understood the underlying meaning of Lian Jun’s words. As he was preparing to wave his hand and ask for a double salary, he swallowed his words back, confirming: “About this reward, you promise to give me whatever I want, right?”
After he asked this, the tapping of Lian Jun’s finger paused. Gua Three and Gua Two, who has appeared from behind the door, stopped talking and turned to stare at them.
Shi Jin was perplexed. “What’s wrong with you all? Did I say anything strange?”
“No.” Lian Jun repressed his emotions, waved his hand at Gua Three and Gua Two to make them look away and promised, “What do you want? Say it and I will give it to you.”
Shi Jin felt relieved after getting Lian Jun’s assurance. “Then I want—”
A huge explosion could suddenly be heard from a distance, drowning Shi Jin’s words. He looked around to find the source of the sound, but wasn’t able to—the small infirmary, which lay behind the door of the secret passage, had no windows and he couldn’t see what happened outdoors.
Lian Jun frowned and told Gua Two and Gua Three to deal with the Gua Four’s accomplices that still seemed to cause trouble outside. Moving the wheelchair closer to Shi Jin, he said, “Don’t be distracted. Shi Jin, what do you want?”
He is surprisingly persistent about this issue, he looks as if he won’t give up until he gets the answer.
Shi Jin turned his head and tried to open his mouth again.
Another series of loud explosions came, this time from a few different directions. Shi Jin was unable to calm down, crying out in alarm, “They won’t blow up the whole orchard, will they? My pillow is still in the dormitory!”
Repeatedly interrupted by explosions, Lian Jun has lost his patience. He raised his hands, grabbed Shi Jin’s arms squeezing it hard to draw his attention, and asked in a low voice, “Shi Jin, what do you really want?”
His hands were so icy that Shi Jin felt cold. He finally realized that there was something wrong with Lian Jun’s mood and wanted to move away, but Lian Jun kept holding his arms, stopping him. Shi Jin frowned. He carefully peeled the other man’s hands off and caught them in his, rubbing them gently to warm them up. He said, “Why are you so anxious? I just want to eat with you every day. And how come your hands are so cold, temperature today is not that low.”
Eat together every day?
Lian Jun was stunned. Looking at his hands being rubbed gently, the expression in his eyes fluctuated for a few seconds. Slowly relaxing his tense arms, he narrowed the distance between the two of them and asked in an almost seductive voice, “What do you mean? You want to be like Gua One and the rest, have the same status as them and stay close to me? Or perhaps, you wish to become closer to me than they are…”
Why did you suddenly get so close? Shi Jin stepped back and shook his head. “No, I just want to eat with you. After all, your food is definitely better than the food in our dorm. The canteen cook has a heavy taste and adds too much oil and salt, I really can’t get used to it.”
Lian Jun’s expression stiffened. His eyes fell on Shi Jin’s retreating feet and he asked, “…That’s it?”
“That’s it. Wait a moment, somebody’s coming.” Shi Jin’s face turned solemn. He pulled out his gun and held it in his hand while pushing Lian Jun into the corner of the room. Then he moved closer to the door and listened carefully to the gradually approaching footsteps.
Three meters, two meters, one meter… Shi Jin cocked the gun, his eyes fixed on the slowly twisting door handle.
Click. When the door opened, Shi Jin immediately pointed the gun at the person wanting to come in and touched the trigger with his finger.
“Don’t get excited, it’s me.” Gua Two raised his hands in a gesture of surrender. After settling Shi Jin down, he looked inside the room. Upon finding Lian Jun, who was moving his wheelchair away from the corner, he reported, “The enemies have been taken care of. As expected, Gua Four has colluded with some other forces and planned to attack from both inside and outside. Just now, the police finished dealing with people lying in ambush outside.”
Lian Jun approached the door and said, without looking at Shi Jin, “That’s good.” After that, he turned his wheelchair and left.
Gua Two was confused. He then stared at Shi Jin with disbelief, “You pissed Jun-shao off?”
Shi Jin first shook his head, then nodded, replying hesitantly, “Probably…”
“What did you do? Jun-shao may look cold, but in fact, he’s really good-tempered. If you truly made him angry, you must have some special skills.” Gua Two felt his interest stirring.
Shi Jin sighed, “I told him I didn’t like the food in our canteen and wanted to eat with him because his food was better… Is that really too much?”
Gua Two: “…Pff.”
Shi Jin squinted at him and tried to break his finger.
“Ow ow ow, stop it, don’t… ah, you…” Gua Two grabbed and held his hand, desperately trying to hold back, and finally could not resist laughing. He reached out and patted his shoulder, sighed “silly boy” and left.
Shi Jin’s face looked as black as the bottom of the pot—you are silly! Your whole family is silly!
At dawn, the disturbance caused by Gua Four was finally settled. Gua Four was captured alive and all of his accomplices have been uncovered. However, the Flowery Orchard lay in ruins and the damage caused by the explosions was immeasurable.
Shi Jin’s dormitory was also blown up. After a busy night, when he wanted to finally rest, he found out he had no bed to sleep in.
Gua Two, walking past with a bag, consoled him, “Don’t think about it, just be patient for a while. We are moving today, the car will come in a minute. You can sleep in the car.”
Shi Jin turned to look at him and asked, “Moving? Where?”
“To B City. In fact, we should have left half a month ago. If we hadn’t wanted to deal with the hidden danger caused by Gua Four before moving, we wouldn’t have stayed in this poorhouse for so long. For people in our line of work, staying in one place for a long time is a big taboo,” explained Gua Two. Then he seemed to remember something. “By the way, we can’t wear the Flowery Orchard clothes in B City. Come with me, we’ll go get new equipment.”
Shi Jin nodded. He gave the dormitory he lived in for such a short time a last nostalgic look, then turned to follow Gua Two.
Half an hour later, the orchard employees, who had changed their clothes, get onto a modified minivan and headed for the Y Provincial Airport.
The seats inside were arranged in the shape of “U”. Shi Jin sat on the one side of it, next to Gua Two. Across from him was Gua Three and ‘simple and honest’ Gua Five, whom he rarely met. Lian Jun and refined-looking man, that is, Gua One, sat on the middle side of “U”, in the central position.
At this time, Gua One was holding a tablet PC and tapping on it. No signs of injury could be seen on him, except for his pale face.
The car was quiet and nobody spoke. Shi Jin was somewhat uneasy. He squirmed in his seat and was just about to distract himself by talking to Xiao Si when Gua One stood up and connected the tablet to the car TV with a data cable.
When the TV was turned on, a surveillance video appeared on it. Shi Jin was shocked to find that the person in the video was himself—it was from last night when he was riding the bicycle like crazy.
After adjusting the picture, Gua One turned and looked at his audience, his sight focusing on Shi Jin, and said: “As we currently have some free time, and at the request of Jun-shao, let’s review our newcomer Shi Jin’s performance during the last night’s traitors’ cleanup operation.”
Shi Jin: “…”
Have you heard the story about treading on sharp knives? [刀尖上的舞蹈] – Xiao Si probably meant “The Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen. In the original fairytale (which is pretty gruesome), the little mermaid was told by the witch, “Every step you take will be as if you were treading upon sharp knives, so sharp as to draw blood,” and it was so. If you feel curious (or bored), here: 9 Ways The Original ‘Little Mermaid’ By Hans Christian Andersen Is Actually Seriously Disturbing
Or it could be some Chinese story I don’t know about.
Do you remember the men Shi Jin met in chapter 3? The ‘plain and ordinary’ was Gua Three, ‘simple and honest’ was Gua Five and ‘refined and polite’ was Gua One, who also acted as ‘Uncle Huang’. Gua Two appeared one chapter later, and was described as a ‘handsome young man’. As you probably realized, their names are code names, and the numbers in them come from their rank—Gua One is the most important one, Lian Jun’s right hand, and can give orders to all the others.
Shi Jin is by no means stupid, he just can be so dense sometimes… It will make Lian Jun repeatedly frustrated in the future, but I guess things turned out fine in this chapter.
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