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For a long time, Shi Jin did not speak and only stood there, covered with paper ribbons.
Lian Jun waited at his side, also keeping his silence.
Xiao Si cried out in a pleasant surprise, but its voice gradually quietened and it asked anxiously, <What’s wrong, JinJin?> As far as it knew, both Shi Jin’s and original ‘Shi Jin’s’ birthdays were on the same day, so this surprise should have been a real birthday surprise.
“It’s nothing.” Shi Jin came back to himself after hearing Xiao Si’s voice in his mind. He raised his hand and wiped his face, then smiled and shook the ribbons off his head. Turning to look at Lian Jun, he felt the red envelope in his hand and intentionally asked, “Jun-shao, what did you give me? Why does it seem to be a card, not money?”
Lian Jun gave him a glance and ignored him, moving his wheelchair intending to enter the living room.
Shi Jin daringly grabbed the armrest and dragged the wheelchair back. He bent forward and reached out his hands to Lian Jun, then asked while trying to hide his nervousness: “Jun-shao, can I… can I hug you?”
Lian Jun looked up at him, very clearly unwilling.
“Today is my birthday, can’t I? Please?” Shi Jin shamelessly took advantage of his birthday boy status.
Lian Jun stared at him for a moment, then, apparently deciding he had no choice, raised his hand and put it on Shi Jin’s shoulder, leaning forward slightly. Then he immediately let go and moved back, saying, “Go and cut the cake. Also, Gua One and others have presents for you.”
The hug was perfunctory and lacking, but Shi Jin was satisfied with it. He smiled widely and grabbed the wheelchair handles. He said graciously, his voice unconsciously rising because he was happy: “Jun-shao, today I will allow you to eat a piece of cake, and you don’t need to drink soup at supper!”
Lian Jun scowled, warning him, “Don’t push your luck.”
“Hehe.” Shi Jin let out a silly laugh and increased his speed, rushing toward the cake.
Others were always very cautious when pushing Lian Jun’s wheelchair—the speed would be comfortable, not too fast or too slow, and they never dared to do anything excessive. Lian Jun was surprised by Shi Jin’s sudden acceleration and instinctively grabbed the wheelchair armrests; when he managed to get hold of himself, the sweet cake smell blew into his face. He slowly relaxed and the corner of his mouth turned up slightly, but he still reprimanded Shi Jin: “You’re an adult now, why are you still fooling around? In the future, you should act with more dignity.”
Shi Jin responded with a perfunctory hum, already preoccupied with inserting birthday candles into the cake.
As soon as the candles were lit, Gua One and others pushed in a serving trolley full of all kinds of food. Its frame was wrapped with multi-colored Christmas lights, which was probably the most exquisite decoration the rough men managed to come up with.
Shi Jin did not mind and happily helped everybody set things up, then he moved a chair to the side of the tea table and climbed on it to be at the proper height. After making a wish and blowing out the candles, he cut the cake.
The first piece had obviously been given to Lian Jun and Shi Jin took the second, then passed the knife to Gua One, letting others get their own portions. Gua Two scolded him for having no conscience, but Shi Jin ignored him and huddled beside Lian Jun to open the presents.
After eating the cake and opening the presents, Shi Jin took advantage of his birthday boy status again, making the clubhouse employees move the table in the living room away and bring a mahjong table in.
Gua One raised his eyebrows and recalled Shi Jin’s feats in the mahjong hall in Y Province. Not even waiting for Shi Jin’s invitation, he directly refused to play and said that he would never participate in such gambling activities.
Foiled, Shi Jin sneaked a glance at Lian Jun.
Lian Jun looked back at him with eyes as cold and indifferent as death.
Shi Jin had to dispel the idea of sharing the happiness of mahjong with his ‘golden thigh’, so he turned around and grabbed Gua Two, then called out to Gua Three and Gua Five. Gua Nine, a member newly transferred to the club, was an always sleepy baby-faced young man; right now, he was dozing on the sofa, so Shi Jin did not bother him.
The four people sat at the mahjong table. Gua Two was a point-losing king—his technique was so bad that people couldn’t bear to look at it, yet he still loved to play. Taciturn Gua Three had some ability and kept making big plays without saying a word. Gua Five’s skills were as simple and honest as his face, but he looked as if he always had fun, not caring whether he won or lost. Naturally, the grandmaster Shi Jin was far ahead of everyone in terms of skills, but even when he won, he only won by a little bit, and was smiling from ear to ear all the time.
As a mahjong-addict, Shi Jin had been playing fervently till midnight, when he was thrown back to his room by Gua One and ordered to sleep. He kept playing mahjong even in his dreams, completely forgetting about the whole excitement of meeting his brothers that day.
However, when he woke up, the cruel reality came knocking—Shi Weichong did not leave after their talk last evening. Instead, he had his assistant bring a car and spent the night outside the clubhouse, repeatedly demanding to see Shi Jin.
Shi Jin looked out of the window on the second floor of the clubhouse, watching the black luxury car parked before the front door. He asked nervously, “Xiao Si, what does this mean? Does he want to kill me with his own hands?”
In fact, Xiao Si was also panicking, but it managed to say comfortingly, <Don’t be afraid, JinJin. This place belongs to Darling, your brothers won’t be able to get to you.>
“But I can’t stick to your Darling all my life like glue, never leaving his side. Even if I wanted to, he wouldn’t agree.” Shi Jin felt a bitter taste in his mouth. He said with chagrin, “Acting on impulse was a mistake, I shouldn’t have let everything out in the open yesterday. Saving my life is one thing, but our main task is to empty the progress bar. How can I do this now, when we shed all pretenses?”
Xiao Si groaned. It also couldn’t offer any good suggestions and could only worry.
“No, I have to find a way to ease the relationship with these brothers, at least enough to bring progress bar back down to the safe value.” Shi Jin gripped the window frame tight, looked down at the car again, then turned to run towards Lian Jun’s study.
Shi Weichong showed great persistence, spending days and nights in front of the club. Even when he had to occasionally leave because of work or basic life needs, he would come back in a few hours, making clear he would not give up until he met Shi Jin again.
After six days of this, Shi Weichong had been allowed to enter Nightlight once more.
Shi Jin met him in the reception room, and there were several documents on the table in front of him.
“Xiao Jin, I need to talk to you,” said Shi Weichong as soon as he entered. His brows were wrinkled, indicating his mood was not good.
“Wait a minute, Big Brother, listen to me first,” interrupted him Shi Jin. He motioned him to sit down, then placed the documents in front of him and explained, pointing at each one, “This is about the bid for the west area of Y City, you should give up on it, it’s a trap; this is the development plan of K District of J County, I suggest you follow up on it, it would be good for Ruixing’s further expansion; this is the three-step program Dad had planned before his death, you can read this for reference; this is… Finally, this is the list of Dad’s confidants. If you want to move Ruixing’s business back to China, I advise you don’t use them, they’ll make problems for you.”
The longer Shi Weichong kept listening, the more serious his expression became. He picked the documents up and flipped through them one by one, then looked up at Shi Jin as if he didn’t know him and asked, “Where did you get these?” There was even information on a deal he’d just started planning.
“I used to follow Dad around. If he knew something, of course I would too,” answered Shi Jin. He poured Shi Weichong a cup of tea and said, “I’ve finished what I wanted to say. Big Brother, what do you want to talk about with me?”
Xiao Si was discouraged. <Your progress bar is still at 900. You gave Shi Weichong such juicy information, why there’s no change?>
Shi Jin was also a little frustrated, but he still reassured it: “Don’t worry, let’s listen to what Shi Weichong wants to talk about first. At least now that I proved I’m not completely opposing him, his attitude should become softer.”
When Shi Weichong heard Shi Jin saying that all the information came from Shi Xingrui, his expression became inscrutable and he started to read the documents carefully. The tense atmosphere around him relaxed slightly and he asked in a calmer tone, “Why are you telling me this?”
“For the same reason I chose to give up the inheritance.” Shi Jin gave him a composed look and repeated his earlier question, “Big Brother, what did you want to talk about?”
This time, Shi Weichong answered very quickly: “I want you to come back with me.”
“I don’t want to.” Shi Jin’s rejection was blunt.
The second part of the conversation reached a dead end just like that.
Shi Weichong’s face stayed calm and he stopped speaking.
Shi Jin braced himself. While reluctant to do this, he was prepared to fall out with his brothers completely if he had to—thanks to the existence of Lian Jun, he would manage to keep his life even if things went pear-shaped.
The air seemed to slowly solidify. After a long time, Shi Weichong finally opened his mouth again and asked, “Were you living well after you left?”
Shi Jin: “…Eh?” Isn’t this script a bit wrong?
“You’ve changed so much. You’ve lost weight, you’ve grown taller, your taste in clothes is different…” Shi Weichong’s eyes closed slowly while he was saying this, and a trace of powerlessness and fatigue showed on his face. He sighed. “I kept worrying about you every day since you disappeared. After all, you were being spoiled from childhood, how could you live by yourself in the outside world?”
Shi Jin began to get goosebumps. He couldn’t understand how the things turned out this way at all, and asked with a foolish expression, “Xiao Si, what is he doing? Is he trying to deceive me by playing on my emotions?”
Xiao Si was hesitating. <May, maybe? He probably knows Darling is too powerful and he can’t win by force, so he decided to try this method?>
“Then he’s a more devious schemer than a harem woman.”
Xiao Si nodded madly, completely agreeing with him.
“Your silly expression is still the same as when you were a kid, it hasn’t changed at all.” Shi Weichong looked at Shi Jin’s shocked face and smiled suddenly, but the smile was quickly replaced by a low sigh. “Xiao Jin, if you don’t want to go back with me, I won’t force you—I can’t force you. I just want you to understand that you’ve misunderstood us. We are your brothers and if you change your mind, we will always welcome you home.”
Welcome me home to control me and crush me like a bug in your hand? Shi Jin gave him a bland smile and refused politely: “I like my current life very much, and I also like staying by Jun-shao’s side.”
Shi Weichong fell silent, then whispered, “Is that Jun-shao really more important to you than your brothers?”
What a load of crap, of course my life-saving straw is more important than a bunch of murderers!
Shi Jin, who couldn’t bear Shi Weichong ‘warmth attack’ and would rather they came to blows, squirmed in his seat and didn’t answer.
“I understand.” Shi Weichong sighed. He hesitated for a moment, then continued earnestly: “Xiao Jin, you’re still young and don’t understand many things. Lian Jun is not as good as you think. His and his family’s past… is not really clean.”
Xiao Si became so angry it was about to explode: <Wah, he actually dares to slander my Darling! JinJin, don’t believe him, he just wants to drive a wedge between the two of you!>
Shi Jin also became livid—sure enough, Shi Weichong was a scheming bitch! He couldn’t force Shi Jin, but would still try to discredit Lian Jun, despicable!
“Devious schemer/scheming bitch” [心机boy] – scheming, shrewd boy. This Internet slang term is used to describe a person whose behaviors are self-serving. It can be used positively to tease a friend or an idol or negatively to criticize someone (copied from this site, you can find slightly different explanations if you search the term). As you can see, I took some liberties with my translation.
Shi Jin is dense. Shi Jin is dense. Shi Jin is DENSE – yes, this is worth repeating. He has no idea how others interpret some things he says and does (and it will only get worse).
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