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Death Progress Bar (Web Novel) - Chapter 36: God’s Will

Chapter 36: God’s Will

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

As expected, someone shot at him—most likely a member of Black Rose.

Shi Jin broke out in a cold sweat. He stabilized his body and just breathed a sigh of relief when he noticed his progress bar jumped up into the death zone. His pupils shrunk down to pinpricks. Without thinking, he rolled behind a street trash can.

The next second, the bullet grazed the trash can. Shi Jin let out a muffled grunt and clutched his shoulder.

Too bad—the can was too narrow to provide sufficient cover for such a big target.

Shi Jin shrunk his body as much as possible, trying to hide, and the burning pain in his shoulder made him hiss. As his progress bar refused to budge, he looked around and found a narrow alley not too far behind him. It had a large metal dustbin standing against one wall. Gritting his teeth, he took off the bulky bear’s head. After Xiao Si gave him the speed and enhanced hearing buffs, he threw it as far as he could. Then, he jumped toward a nearby pile of trash bags, rolled again, and lurched forward in a hunched run, hoping the heap of rubbish and the head would buy him a bit of time.

Pew pew pew.

It was the sound of a few missed shots. Shi Jin was certain he felt the turbulence of the air as the bullets passed by. His nerves stretched to breaking point, he finally saw the entrance to the alley near. He dropped to the ground and rolled into it safely, taking cover behind the dustbin.

Pew, pew pew.

The bullets hit the wall and ricocheted off the metal surface, and gradually stopped coming. Shi Jin’s enhanced hearing could no longer detect any suspicious sounds.

He leaned against the wall. The rusty metal dustbin partially blocked the alley’s entrance, and he had no idea where the unseen exit led. The wound on his shoulder was getting more and more painful and the feeling of blood loss became more and more obvious. Once he was sure he was temporarily safe, he took a deep breath to brace himself, sat a little straighter, and took off the bear costume. While vigilantly observing the alley’s entrance, he peeled off a partof its lining, unzipped his jacket and wrapped his wound to at least slow down the bleeding. Then he tidied up his clothes, hid the costume in the corner, and walked toward the alley’s other end, supporting himself on the wall.

<Are you okay, JinJin?> Xiao Si’s voice was trembling. This was the first time it saw Shi Jin be injured.

“It’s fine,” Shi Jin soothed, trying to adjust his breathing. Keeping an eye on his surroundings, he said, “The sniper ambushed me on the old street while I was dressed as a bear. Now that I left the street and took the costume off, he shouldn’t be able to find me anymore.”

<I’m not talking about the sniper, I mean your wound.> The system was about to cry from panic. It kept giving Shi Jin buffs, one after another. <You’re bleeding, a-a lot…>

Immediately, the pain significantly eased and Shi Jin’s body temperature, which had fallen due to the injury, returned to normal. He realized it was due to Xiao Si’s help and managed to smile. “I won’t die. Don’t I have you? You’re my golden finger—”

Crash!

The alley was unlit and full of trash. As Shi Jin shuffled through it, he didn’t notice there was a tangle of fishing line in a pile of junk in front of him. He avoided the pile, but the fishing line caught his feet, causing him to stumble and fall. Unfortunately, he landed on his injured arm, and an excruciating pain shot through his body. He felt as if all the strength he had left drained away into the ground beneath him.

<JinJin!> Xiao Si shrieked.

“I’m…” Shi Jin turned over to lie on his back and dark spots appeared before his eyes—it seemed the fall harmed him more than he thought. Resignedly, he changed what he had planned to say. “I’m not fine. Xiao Si, help me watch the alley, okay?”

His phone, which he’d tucked away in the jacket’s inner pocket, survived all the excitement. He took it out, sighing inwardly—in the end, Lian Jun would have to clean up his mess. He selected the number on the top of his call list and pressed the call icon, but it took a long time for the call to connect. Clinging to the last vestiges of consciousness, he shouted, “Jun-shao, help,” and reported his position in as much detail as possible. Then, he passed out.

Ten minutes later, a black car stopped next to the alley’s entrance. The rear door opened and a slender man in a long black coat got off, holding a phone that was showing it was in the middle of a call. He softly trod on the dirty snow in the alley and stopped in front of Shi Jin crumpled on the ground.

Crack.

The man stepped on Shi Jin’s mobile phone, which had slipped from his hand, and stooped down. He reached out to touch the pale, bloodless face, his slender fingers stopping over the small beauty mark on the teenager’s nose. After a long moment, he leaned over and lifted him from the ground.

Xiao Si was so frightened it was about to crash. It goggled at the man’s face with shock, not daring to believe its eyes. It looked at Shi Jin’s progress bar, which rose from 700 to 800 at the moment the man appeared, glanced at the cracked phone, and felt like weeping. Wishing it had a save file it could reboot itself from, it wailed, choking out, <JinJin, wake up, JinJin… You called the wrong person… Please, wake up now, you tried so hard to make your progress bar fall and it’s going up again… JinJin, waaah…>

On his side, Lian Jun, who wasn’t able to settle down, finally dialed Shi Jin’s number, but the call couldn’t get through because the other party was on the phone. His eyebrows wrinkled and the uneasy feeling in his heart got stronger. He called the club and asked for someone to find out what Shi Jin was doing.

A few minutes later, his subordinate reported back and said that they had checked the whole six floors, but did not see Shi Jin—the teenager disappeared.

Lian Jun’s face darkened. He recalled the appearance of the plush bear throwing out fireworks; the more he thought about it, the more familiar it felt. He ended the call and ordered, “Gua One, go back. Shi Jin is not in the club—that bear was probably him.”

In the midst of shocked silence, Gua Two blurted out, “What?! That was Shi Jin?!”

Gua One frowned and changed the direction at once, rushing back to Solidarity.

When they arrived, the government people had already got the situation under control and caught most of the members of Black Rose present. The street was littered with trampled remains of fireworks, candies and balloon debris, bringing to mind the sad scene one would see the next day after a festival.

The official in charge noticed Lian Jun’s car coming back and hurried toward it, inquiring, “Mr. Lian, why are you back? You can rest assured that all the enemies have been caught, and there were no casualties among your people.”

Lian Jun did not beat around the bush. “What about the man in the bear costume that helped us out?”

“The bear? He’s gone. Wasn’t that someone you sent to hinder Black Rose’s shooters’ line of fire? I followed your earlier instructions and ordered my people to let him leave,” the official responded, not understanding why Lian Jun’s face looked so ugly.

Gua Three said with a dignified expression, “We sent three waves of people to obstruct the enemy. One wave was the ‘cleaner’ who at that time was approaching the community along the street, the second was the scouts inside who were about to reach the gate, and the ‘delivery boy’ and ‘plumber’ who were supposed to waylay the enemies waiting in ambush. Finally, the last wave was the people infiltrating all the possible sniping positions. There was no one in the bear costume.”

The other man was bewildered. “But didn’t you say you wanted someone to escort him? I thought he was from your side, so I ordered my man to cover his retreat to the edge of the buffer zone. All the members of Black Rose were here, he should’ve been safe away from the battlefront.”

Gua One’s face turned ugly—covering someone’s retreat to the buffer zone was escorting him to safety? He was safe since he was away from the battlefront? Taking into consideration the snipers’ possible attack range, casually determining the scope of ‘battlefront’ and ‘battlefield’ was sheer idiocy!

“Drive down the street,” Lian Jun ordered, his voice sinking. He didn’t want to waste any more time with the official.

Gua One immediately started the car and began to search for traces along the street. Gua Three called his people, instructing them to look for the man in the bear costume.

Five minutes later, the car stopped beside the tricycle at the end of the old street. Gua Two opened the door and got off to examine it. He found a backpack with some items inside and turned towards the car with an unsightly expression: “This is Shi Jin’s backpack, I was with him when he bought it.”

So the bear really was Shi Jin.

“All the snipers were caught. The attack range of one of them included this place.” Gua Three ended the call and relayed what his subordinate just told him.

Looking tense, Lian Jun said, “Get off the car and look for him.”

The bullet marks, garbage strewn on the ground, bear’s head that rolled to the corner… The more traces they found, the deeper their hearts sank. However, it wasn’t until the moment Gua Nine found the bloody bear costume tucked behind a dustbin in a small alley that their expressions changed drastically.

“There’s blood on it, Shi Jin is hurt. Judging from the place, he was shot in the shoulder.” Gua One handed the costume to Lian Jun.

Lian Jun took it. Perhaps because of the freezing weather, his face took on an almost deathly pallor. He touched the bloody marks, then rolled his wheelchair forward for a while, until he reached Gua Two, who was walking in the front looking for clues.

Gua Two stepped over the fishing line lying in the middle of the alley and took a few steps forward. He picked up a mobile phone with a broken screen from the ground and looked at Lian Jun, saying, “It’s Shi Jin’s phone. There are man’s footprints coming from the street over there to this place and back; Shi Jin should have been taken away.”

Lian Jun stared fixedly at the bloodstain on the ground, which was hard to make out because of all the dirt. His eyes resembled the pools of darkness, and his voice was so tight it seemed to be squeezed out from the cracks between his teeth: “Check it. Copy Shi Jin’s call history and find out who he called last!”

Shi Jin woke up in a room permeated with the smell of antiseptic. He was dizzy and couldn’t feel his body. He struggled to crack open his eyes, but catching sight of a man sitting beside the bed, he let his eyelids fall, bitter. Please, not again. He felt that each time he woke to this kind of scene, nothing good ever followed.

Unfortunately, it turned out his intuition was disgustingly accurate.

Xiao Si found out he regained consciousness and hurriedly said, <JinJin, the person next to you is Li Jiuzheng. He saved you, but he seems to want to kill you at the same time—your bar went up to 800 after he took you away. You are in a private clinic near the B City University, owned by an elder disciple of Li Jiuzheng’s master. He and your brother took the bullet out and treated your wound. Li Jiuzheng searched you and took all your belongings, I don’t know where they are. Right now, you two are the only people in the clinic.>

Li Jiuzheng? How come? Didn’t he call Lian Jun?

Bewildered, Shi Jin snapped his eyes open, only to see Li Jiuzheng’s scalpel hanging right in front of his face, pointing at his eyeball.

He took a cold breath and almost fainted in fear. He instinctively tried to back away, but behind him was the headboard.

“As I thought, you woke up.” A voice, mellow and pleasant to hear, but lacking any emotion, came from the bedside. The scalpel suspended in front of Shi Jin’s eyes disappeared.

Shi Jin let out a relieved sigh, his heart thumping wildly. He stiffly turned his head to the side to look a the speaker.

Like all Shi Xingrui’s sons, Li Jiuzheng’s looks were extraordinary.

Unlike the eldest brother’s mature charm, the third brother’s bewitching beauty, and the fourth brother’s rugged good looks, Li Jiuzheng’s face appeared cold but tender. The soft line of his cheek, the eyebrows curving in a gentle arc over the slightly drooping eyes, light-colored lips, straight nose… When he turned his eyes downwards and didn’t speak, it created the illusion he was a meek, melancholic beauty. However, this was just an illusion—once Li Jiuzheng raised his eyes, the person he looked at would quickly realize he wasn’t a man to be trifled with. There were indifference and a sense of alienation in his eyes that would never appear in the eyes of a truly gentle person.

Li Jiuzheng wasn’t melancholy at all, quite the opposite, he made other people melancholy—such as Shi Jin right now.

It was a small ward separated from the rest of the room by curtains. Shi Jin was lying in the bed and Li Jiuzheng sat at his bedside, wearing a white doctor’s coat. There was only one lit lamp. Its light, pale and dim, cast the long shadows that obscured the expression on Li Jiuzheng’s face.

Shi Jin swallowed with difficulty, suppressing the panic that tried to overwhelm him at the sight of Li Jiuzheng’s emotionless eyes. Warily eyeing the scalpel in the man’s hand, he forced a stiff smile and said, “Fifth, Fifth Brother, did you save me? Thank you.”

“The voice stayed the same,” Li Jiuzheng spoke. The sound of his voice seemed to float in the air and cool it down. His eyes deepened, and the strange look that had been misunderstood by the original ‘Shi Jin’ countless times appeared in them again. He whispered, “Shi Jin, why did you lose weight…”

Shi Jin kept silent—these words sounded familiar.

Xiao Si was scared to death: <Again, the progress bar has gone up again, to 850! JinJin!>

Fucking hell! Li Jiuzheng really wants to kill the original ‘Shi Jin!’ And his killing intent is quite strong!

Shi Jin’s heart rose to his throat. His eyes swept over the room, catching sight of the red Fú characters pasted on the windows, and inspiration struck him: “I, I’m just not used to China yet! That’s why I got thinner, I’m missing home! But isn’t it Spring Festival already? After I eat all those festive dishes, I’ll get fat again. But Fifth Brother, it’s New Year’s Eve, why are in B City alone? When did you come here? Why aren’t you with your family, aren’t they worried?”

<900, JinJin! And he seems to be even scarier!> Xiao Si shuddered.

Shi Jin was shocked. He couldn’t understand which of his words set his brother off so he shut up, not daring to speak any more nonsense. As he was wondering how to salvage the situation, Li Jiuzheng abruptly stood up and went to the bedside cabinet, exchanging the scalpel for a syringe. He drew a small amount of an unknown liquid, turned around, and took hold of Shi Jin’s numb arm, then injected the liquid into it.

Shi Jin’s eyes opened wide, bulging from terror. He wanted to struggle, but his body wasn’t listening to him.

“I, I’m not going to die, right?” Shi Jin asked tremblingly in his mind.

Xiao Si was about to cry. <I will try to help you suppress the effect of the drug as much as possible, so you have to hold on, JinJin. The progress bar stopped at 900 and didn’t rise—this shouldn’t be anything dangerous.>

“But Li Jiuzheng is extremely dangerous.” Xiao Si’s words failed to put Shi Jin at ease.

When the drug entered his bloodstream, it felt a little cold. However, Shi Jin was horrified to find that he was also getting sleepy, and his eyelids kept getting heavier and heavier.

“You’re too noisy.” Li Jiuzheng leaned in, his face becoming an indistinct shape in Shi Jin’s blurry vision. There was a touch on his cheek, then on a fragile neck. “I was trying to avoid you, why did you have to come to me on your own…”

Shi Jin couldn’t see clearly anymore, but he managed to open his eyes a little bit. His lips moved, and he whispered in a nearly inaudible voice, “Brother… What did I do wrong…”

The palm of that touched his neck paused, then slowly moved away, covering his eyes instead.

“Don’t look at me.” Li Jiuzheng’s voice dropped slightly. His back hunched as if he was being overwhelmed by something invisible. “You did not do anything wrong… You simply shouldn’t have been born.”

In Nightlight, Lian Jun got Shi Jin’s call record. When he saw the final name, a deep furrow appeared between his brows, and he called Shi Weichong straight away.

Shi Weichong rushed over as fast as he could. The moment he entered the door, he asked anxiously, “What do you mean Xiao Jin is missing? He sent me New Year’s wishes not too long ago, how did he suddenly disappear?”

“It was my negligence,” Lian Jun said, his face expressionless. He handed the older man the printed-out call record. “I’ll give you an account later. Now, I need you to make a phone call.”

When he woke again, Shi Jin found himself in a car. Li Jiuzheng sat next to him, talking intermittently.

“Sorry, I turned off my phone before going to bed last night… eh? Oh, he did call me, but then he didn’t speak, so I put the phone aside and went on to do something else. I don’t know when he hung up… Yes, I’m still in Chengdu… He sent me a New Year’s message too. Perhaps he dialed the wrong number… Well, we’ll get together some other time… Something happened to him?”

{Just a little trouble, don’t worry about it.}

It was Shi Weichong’s voice!

Shi Jin’s head cleared and he wanted to shout for help, but Li Jiuzheng’s reaction was lightning-quick. As soon as the teenager’s mouth opened, he blocked it with his palm.

“Is that so… Let me know if there’s any news, I haven’t seen him since Dad died… No, that’s all. Bye.” Li Jiuzheng hung up, taking away his hand.

Shi Jin instantly asked, “Fifth Brother, what are you doing? Why didn’t you tell Big Brother I’m with you?”

“I’m going to take you somewhere first.” Li Jiuzheng leaned back, traces of fatigue visible on his face. Then he said something inexplicable: “Maybe this is God’s will.”

“God’s will? What is?” Shi Jin continued to ask.

“Don’t speak.” Li Jiuzheng didn’t look at him. He closed his eyes. “You’re noisy. I don’t want to give you another injection.”

As Shi Jin didn’t want to lose consciousness again either, he fell quiet at once. He turned his head to look around and found that the sky was already bright, and the car was driving along an unfamiliar highway.

“Where is this?” He silently asked his system.

Xiao Si’s answer was prompt: <We have left B City and are now heading towards L City. Li Jiuzheng seems to intend to take you back to Chengdu with him.>

To Chengdu?

Shi Jin frowned. He moved his sight away from the window and toward the front of the car.

The driver was a kind-looking, middle-aged man of medium build. He happened to be watching Shi Jin in the rearview mirror when the teenager looked at him. Their eyes met; the man was startled, but quickly looked away and concentrated on driving.

“Um, you are…” The teenager began.

The driver instantly raised the partition wall between the seats—as non-verbal signals go, this was a pretty obvious ‘I don’t want to talk.’

Shi Jin: “…” You look like a nice guy, how come your character is like this?

He closed his mouth, making a face, and sneaked a look at his brother.

Li Jiuzheng leaned against the car seat motionlessly, as if asleep. The diffused light from the window behind him softened his profile, creating an illusion of fragility.

Clearly, he didn’t want to talk either.

Shi Jin looked away from him and attempted to move his legs. When he succeeded, he tried with his torso and the wound on his shoulder made its presence known again. He could feel pain—it proved that he regained control over his body.

The situation wasn’t tragic. Shi Jin let out a sigh of relief and leaned back. However, he couldn’t relax completely—he might be able to move, but in his injured state, he didn’t think he would be able to successfully escape from both Li Jiuzheng and the driver.

It seems I have to come up with a plan.

And judging from the phone call just now, Shi Weichong knew about his disappearance; most likely because Lian Jun notified him.

“I goofed up…” Shi Jin sprawled listlessly on the car seat. “Right now, Lian Jun probably can’t wait to kill me. Not only did I disobey his order to stay in the club, but also I made such a stupid mistake like calling the wrong person for help…”

At this point, Xiao Si was a bundle of nerves. It said anxiously, <JinJin, Li Jiuzheng’s murder intent is completely real—he truly wants to kill you. Chengdu is his territory, and his private hospital is there. Once you got in, it will be almost impossible for you to leave.>

“I know.” Shi Jin sighed and turned to look at Li Jiuzheng. “I’ll look for an opportunity to send out a message… In the novel, even though Li Jiuzheng wanted to kill the original ‘Shi Jin,’ he did nothing for a long time. This means we still have a chance. Besides, he’s not a professional kidnapper and must have left a lot of clues when he took me away—Lian Jun is probably already on his trail. We have to buy as much time as possible; as long as we hold on until Lian Jun arrives, we’ll be safe.”

Xiao Si hummed consolingly in reply. It watched the progress bar stuck at 900, silently hoping Lian Jun had discovered it was Li Jiuzheng a long time ago and would appear here any minute now.

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