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Death Progress Bar (Web Novel) - Chapter 72 - Wardrobe

Chapter 72 - Wardrobe

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

Wardrobe

By the time they arrived at the airport, it was already dark.

Shi Jin settled Lian Jun first, then sat next to him. He took out the business card Fei Yujing gave him. After some pondering, he saved the number on his phone.

It didn’t matter if he didn’t want it—the progress bar wasn’t eliminated and the whole mess with the Shi family hadn’t been solved yet, so it was better to keep Fei Yujing’s number just in case.

Just like when they first came to the Southeast, they returned on a specially chartered plane, but there were fewer people on board this time.

The official liaisons and the lawyers all stayed behind to deal with the extradition of Phantom’s members.

Uncle Long also stayed in L country. He needed to make an antidote for Old Ghost’s subordinates and Zuo Yang and would be very busy in the foreseeable future.

Shi Jin put away the phone. Thinking of something, he looked at Lian Jun. “That, Long Shi’s remains…”

Lian Jun was reading documents on his tablet. Hearing Shi Jin’s question, he turned to him and replied, “Zuo Yang’s deputy cremated his body soon after he died. He will deliver the ashes to Uncle Long within the next few days.”

After learning the news, though they hesitated for some time, they still chose to tell Uncle Long the whole truth about Long Shi’s death. Uncle Long didn’t turn a hair, but he stayed in the lab that whole night. The next day, he found Lian Jun and said he wanted to handle the funeral arrangements—no matter how things turned out in the end, they’d still been father and son once upon a time. Lian Jun agreed and promised to contact Zuo Yang’s deputy, hence Shi Jin’s question.

Shi Jin sighed.

It was better this way. Uncle Long would’ve probably felt even worse if he had to see Long Shi’s body up close, as he had changed beyond recognition after the plastic surgery.

“Don’t think about it anymore. Do you want me to play a few games of mahjong with you?” Lian Jun asked in warm voice, taking Shi Jin’s hand.

Shi Jin emerged from his thoughts. Seeing Lian Jun’s care and consideration, he didn’t resist the urge to lean over and kiss him. “Ok, we haven’t played mahjong together for a while, and we just happen to have some free time,” he said, pleased. “By the way, I bought a new avatar for your account. Tell me if you like it.”

Lian Jun remembered the couple’s character set and his heart melted again. “I like anything you buy.”

Shi Jin was happy to eat his sweet talk. He promptly found his tablet, opened the mahjong app, and moved closer to him.

Lian Jun closed the document and also opened the mahjong app. He looked at the character on the screen, then glanced at the different yet similar character on Shi Jin’s tablet, and couldn’t stop the corners of his mouth from rising a little, his eyes filled with contentment.

The sound effects of the game filled the air. On the other side of the aisle, Gua Two looked away from them, put on the sleep mask, and settled more comfortably—after being busy for so long, he could finally relax for a few days. What a pity, that Gua One and Gua Three had to run around for a while longer.

Playing and sleeping, time flew by. They changed planes once, and finally landed in B city at 5:30 the next morning.

Shi Jin’s head was heavy with sleep. His only response to Lian jun calling his name was a drowsy blink.

<JinJin, after we arrived, your progress bar went up to 500,> Xiao Si warned.

This was effective in waking Shi Jin up. He opened his eyes, saw Lian Jun’s face just in front of him, and reached out to hug Lian Jun’s neck. He buried his face in his lover’s shoulder and rubbed hard, letting out an unhappy groan—how did he forget that B city wasn’t a place to rest and relax, but a hotbed of trouble? Some time ago, Shi Weichong had attempted to give Shi Jin back the shares. Though Shi Jin refused, he still earned more hatred from Xu Jie, Shi Weichong’s mother.

I’m so tired of all this. Can’t I just relax in peace for a few days?

Lian jun’s heart softened at Shi Jin’s clingy action. He returned the hug and asked in a low voice, stroking his hair, “What’s wrong, are you still sleepy? Hold on until we get in the car, then you can go back to sleep.”

Lian Jun really is the best.

Forcing himself to cheer up, Shi Jin gave Lian Jun a big smack on the lips and sat up straight. “Energy recharge complete. All right, let’s go home!”

It took Lian Jun by surprise. He smiled at Shi Jin, who was full of energy once more, and leaned over to kiss him, saying, “Then I’m going to recharge too.”

His response caused Shi Jin’s heart to swell with love like a balloon. He hugged Lian Jun again, happiness bubbling in his chest—Lian Jun was so nice, so gentle, so considerate, so handsome, and to Shi Jin’s surprise, he actually liked him! It was just like the best dream ever!

Filled with an inexplicable sense of gratitude, Shi Jin, as if he was protecting a treasure, shouldered away Gua Two, who wanted to help push Lian Jun’s wheelchair, and personally took his lover off the plane, humming a cheerful song.

Speechless, Gua Two looked at Shi Jin’s back and rolled his eyes. “As if anyone wants to rob you… Whatever, see if I’m concerned about your wound again, you ungrateful dog.”

Gua Five and Gua Nine passed by, and looked at him as if he was mentally handicapped. They left without a backwards glance—disturbing people in love, who did he expect to pity him?

The party stepped out into the dawn light and headed straight to the club. Finally, around 7 a.m., they passed through Nightlight’s gate.

When he got off the car, Shi Jin glanced towards the yard on reflex. Of course, he didn’t see the ugly snowman, only a carpet of green. He couldn’t help but sigh with emotion.

Time passed really fast—he’d left this place in late winter, but it was early summer when he came back. After thinking for a moment, he calculated that he’d arrived in this world almost a year ago.

Lian Jun noticed the change in his mood and slid his wheelchair over to take his hand. “If you like, we’ll make another one in the winter.”

Shi Jin woke up from his thoughts and held Lian Jun’s hand in return. “All right, then this year we’ll make it together in a real sense,” he replied with a smile, nodding.

Everyone took their own luggage and entered the club, going up to the sixth floor together. Shi Jin first sent Lian Jun to his room, then picked up his bags and prepared to return to his own room.

Lian Jun grabbed his hand. “Where are you going?”

Shi Jin stopped and looked back at him. “To my room, I want to take a shower,” he said, as if it should be obvious.

The other man took the luggage from his hand, put it on the floor, and pointed to the bathroom in the room. “You can wash here.”

Hmm?

Shi Jin’s heart skipped a beat. He turned around to face him.

Not looking at him, Lian Jun leaned down to open the suitcase he took from him, saying, “I’ve asked someone to buy some summer clothes for you. They’ve been put in the closet—go and see if you like them. If you don’t, we’ll buy more.”

Shi Jin knew which closet he was talking about straight away. He turned to look at the walk-in wardrobe in Lian Jun’s room, which was almost as big as a cloakroom, and couldn’t resist the impulse to walk over and pull the door open.

He saw a large amount of summer wear—on the left, a variety of Chinese-style robes, on the right, an assortment of more ordinary clothes. These two completely different styles should look incongruent, yet they gave off an inexplicable sense of harmony.

Shi Jin pulled out the underwear cabinet drawer and found that even the underwear was in the right size. Pursing his lips to stifle a smile, he closed the drawer and turned to look at Lian Jun.

Lian Jun was also looking at him, holding the clothes he had taken out of his suitcase. Shi Jin’s expression wasn’t quite right, and he glanced down to avoid his gaze. After a moment of silence, he asked in a low voice, “Live with me, okay?”

Xiao Si shrieked, <Okay okay OKAY! JinJin agrees! JinJin agrees to everything! Hurry up! Live together! Sleep in the same bed, sleep now! I support!!!>

The tender emotions gently rolling through Shi Jin’s heart were blown away by Xiao Si’s scream. It also broke the serious expression on his face, so he gave up and walked over to Lian Jun with a smile. He crouched down in front of him, put his hands on his lover’s knees, and asked, “What will you do if I say no?”

When Lian Jun saw him smile, his tense expression relaxed. He leaned forward to hold his face in both hands, and replied, “I will have your previous room and all the empty rooms sealed so you can’t live anywhere except with me.”

Shi Jin chuckled, hugged him, and raised his head to kiss him.

Everyone was idle on their first day back. After unpacking their luggage, they just hung around in the club, playing or relaxing here and there. They made the head of logistic staff in charge of keeping the sixth floor in order so vexed that his face turned black. Shi Jin went to the kitchen to refresh his baking skills and made an ugly cake to celebrate everyone’s safe return.

Gua Two took a picture of the cake and sent it to Gua One. Gua One texted back, [Additional training for you when I’m back].

So it was game over for Gua Two.

After the lively dinner, Shi Jin pushed Lian Jun back to the room and gave him a massage. Then, when he sent Lian Jun to the bathroom to take a bath, he was dragged inside too.

It took the two more than an hour to finish washing. When they came out, Shi Jin had swollen lips and some suspicious marks on his body, and Lian Jun’s hair was messy, but his face much rosier than before.

They turned off the light and got into bed. Lifting the covers, Shi Jin made an unexpected discovery. On Lian Jun’s simple and austere king size bed, there sat a poached egg pillow.

“For me?” Hugging the pillow, Shi Jin turned to look at Lian Jun.

Lian Jun reached out and pulled the pillow out of his embrace, then opened his arms. “Come here.”

Shi Jin glanced at Lian Jun, glanced at the new pillow, and hugged Lian Jun without hesitation, snuggling into him with contentment.

“Sleep, good night.” Lian Jun kissed him on the forehead.

Shi Jin smelled the scent of same shower gel on his body. Sighing with satisfaction, he replied, “Good night.”

Although he lived in the same room with Lian Jun when they were staying in L country, it was not the same as living together at home. Now, the feeling that he and Lian Jun were a couple, a family, became much more real.

This makes me feel so at ease, and so fulfilled.

A change in surroundings always changed people’s moods as well. After just one night’s sleep in B city, what happened in the Southeast seemed to become a distant matter. The news from L country still kept coming, though.

Zuo Yang woke up after a few days in a coma. He struggled between saving his life and Nine Eagles and ultimately, he chose his life.

Gua One personally delivered the antidote to Zuo Yang. He returned with quite a bit of vital, confidential information on Nine Eagles.

A few days later, the government officially charged Nine Eagles with colluding with foreign organizations and helping them infiltrate China, and began to deal with Nine Eagles’ forces. After the news came out, Zuo Yang’s deputy took his boss and disappeared in the Southeast, abandoning Nine Eagles in a straightforward manner.

Only now did the leaders of China’s underworld organizations find out that the real reason for Annihilation and Nine Eagles’ conflict wasn’t because Zuo Yang provoked Lian Jun at the conference, but because Annihilation discovered that Nine Eagles was in league with foreign forces and had attempted to manipulate the domestic situation.

So Annihilation made waves because it was cleaning up a “double agent”?

Everyone’s mood was complicated—Annihilation’s way of “policing” was rather unique. However, the mood was just that; they were all happy that Lian Jun got rid of Nine Eagles, who liked to hide moles everywhere. The only regret they had was that Nine Eagles croaked far too easily and didn’t cause Annihilation any great damage.

And so, the leaderless Nine Eagles completely collapsed within two months of being targets by the government, and the resources it occupied were gobbled up by various forces. Before long, it was no longer mentioned; like countless organizations that had fallen in the years before, it became a nameless stepping stone for the newcomers to climb over.

Nine Eagles’ fall was a big event. Then, Phantom also made a big move.

After rescuing his subordinates, Old Ghost actually applied to the government to remove Phantom from the list of legal underworld organizations, voluntarily liquidated all businesses, and announced the dissolution of Phantom.

Even Lian Jun was surprised at the news. He took the initiative to call Old Ghost and ask about the situation.

Old Ghost’s reply was straightforward: {I just don’t want to lose any more brothers. This is the point at which I quit—although I have given up the wealth and power that we’ve worked hard to accumulate, at least I’ve managed to save everyone’s life. Lian Jun, I’m not you—I don’t have the ability to secure a stable and clean future for my brothers, so I have no choice but to do it the stupid way. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to give up on all this and start over again.}

Lian Jun’s eyebrows knitted. “You gave up everything, Old Ghost, but it’s not so easy to wash your hands of the past. While the government can let you go, your enemies won’t. Without any power, all you can do is to watch your brothers die.”

{They won’t die.} Old Ghost’s voice was relaxed, full of confidence and a sense of liberation. {I hired a good lawyer. Anyway, I’ll do my best to save all of their lives. Thank you, Lian Jun, goodbye.} With that, he hung up.

Lian Jun didn’t quite understand the meaning of those words. Just in case, he ordered Gua Two to pay attention to the movements in the dark. If he discovered anyone who thought to take advantage of the situation to kick Phantom while it was down, he should give appropriate help.

However, it turned out to be superfluous—Old Ghost was more determined, and more unfettered, than Lian Jun had imagined.

Originally, Old Ghost hired Fei Yujing to help him extradite his subordinates back to China using financial crimes as a pretext, which was the surest way to get them back safely. What no one expected was that Old Ghost would use the same method to send most of the middle- and high-level members of Phantom to prison.

Prison—a place which would save their lives, though at the cost of their freedom.

Old Ghost was quite clever: he actually used the official institution most feared in the underworld as a means of protection. In a few years, when the members of Phantom would be released, the scenery would likely have changed beyond recognition. At that point, they would have become old history, and could perhaps have a new beginning.

And with Fei Yujing, they would definitely get a chance to start anew.

Old Ghost didn’t forget about the low-level members. Following Fei Yujing’s advice, he sent everyone as much money as possible in the form of severance pay due to the companies’ bankruptcy. It wouldn’t be easy for some of them to leave the organization, due to enemies waiting to kill them; those people Old Ghost asked Fei Yujing to help arrange to be smuggled abroad.

Barely within a week, the government removed Nine Eagles from the list of legal organizations and Phantom announced it was disbanding. Two major organizations withdrew from China’s power struggle, causing an upheaval comparable to a magnitude 8 earthquake.

All at once, the underworld became turbulent. Some people wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to expand their forces, others sniffed out that something wasn’t right and began a low-key retreat. There were also those who turned their gazes to Lian Jun in secret, wanting to see how Annihilation would respond.

However, despite being the last organization to be involved with Nine Eagles and Phantom, Annihilation’s reaction was—no reaction.

Rumors were flying all over. Everyone knew that the dissolution of both organizations had to have something to do with Annihilation, but like an immovable mountain, Annihilation didn’t budge, and didn’t rush to grab the territory and resources that had been freed all of a sudden. Completely ignoring the outside world and its disturbances, it returned to being the usual low-profile powerhouse.

Everyone… Everyone hated this! But there was nothing they could do—Annihilation was too strong and no one dared to provoke them.

But all of that was still in the future. On the fifth day of Shi Jin officially moving in with Lian Jun, the news that the authorities had moved in on Nine Eagles and that Phantom was disbanding was still fresh. Everyone gathered in Lian Jun’s study to discuss the current situation… except for Shi Jin, who was doing schoolwork again.

Gua Two was the first to speak. “Nine Eagles is down, and Phantom is withdrawing. Now, besides us and Tarantula, there are five organizations left in the top echelon. A free slice of pie like this is just too tempting—some ambitious guy will definitely make a big move before the year ends.”

“We’re not afraid of big moves,” Gua Five interjected, tone cold and callous. “Whoever moves first will die.”

{Over the years, the largest organizations have disappeared one by one, but none of the middle-level organizations rushed in to fill the vacancy. What’s more, every year, the number of small organizations that are allowed to be officially listed is decreasing. Now that Nine Eagles isn’t there to distract everyone’s attention, I’m afraid that soon, someone will notice that something is wrong,} Gua One said, his face grim over the video call.

In recent years, due to the covert cooperation between Annihilation and the government, the power of the underworld was decreasing bit by bit. Although the total number of legal organizations seemed to have grown, it was a deception—what increased was the number of small organizations with no strength. It was only Nine Eagles who grew and prospered, but that was because it had been left alone on purpose. On the contrary, many large and medium-sized organizations had quietly left the stage, their power weakened in all kinds of bizarre conflicts.

In fact, the overall strength of all the legal organizations in China had been weakened more and more. It was only the rapid development and high-profile arrogance of Nine Eagles that gave the underworld organizations the illusion that they still had the upper hand over the authorities.

Now that both Nine Eagles and Phantom had disappeared, someone would surely realize something wasn’t right—and once they realized, they would likely guess what game Annihilation and the government were playing. At that time, the “traitorous” Annihilation was sure to become the target of every organization.

“This was always going to happen, stop fretting,” Lian Jun said. His voice was calm and confident, which settled everyone’s hearts. “The situation is still under control. In the short term, even if someone notices something, they won’t be rash and confront us. We still have time. What’s more, there’s Tarantula; even if we are targeted, we won’t just sit there and take it.”

Gua One looked a little better. {I understand. I will finish the work here as soon as possible and hurry back.}

Official business almost out of the way, Gua Two asked, “By the way, what about Uncle Long? Jun Shao is waiting for him to return and arrange his physical examination.”

The pen in Shi Jin’s hand paused. He snapped his head around, eyes bright.

{Today, Uncle Long flew to the island with Long Shi’s ashes. He should arrive in B city the day after tomorrow,} Gua One replied with a sigh. In the end, Uncle Long’s soft heart won. He chose the place that was safest, the most beautiful, and the most similar to their old home for Long Shi’s eternal rest.

Everyone fell silent, and a few heaved a quiet sigh.

“We’re done here,” Lian Jun said, interrupting the sad mood. He commanded, “Gua One, Gua Two, keep an eye on the situation in the underworld. If you see Phantom members in trouble, help them if you can.”

Gua One acknowledged the order and ended the call.

Everyone got up, preparing to leave the study. Seeing Shi Jin holding the tablet and watching Lian Jun like a puppy, Gua Two just couldn’t stop himself. He leaned over and asked in a low voice, “How does it feel to live with Jun-shao?”

Shi Jin gave him a narrow-eyed glance. Pulling the corners of his mouth into a not-quite-friendly smile, he answered, “The bed is very comfortable. Maybe I should buy you the same model? Oh, but it would have to be a single bed, you have no need for a double.”

At this indirect taunt, Gua Two choked, rolled his eyes with contempt, and walked away.

The moment the study emptied, Shi Jin rushed straight to Lian Jun’s side and said with all the seriousness he could muster, “All right, no more delaying. Uncle Long will come the day after tomorrow, so you need to start preparing: eat light food and… and don’t mess around at night. Anyway, keep up your spirits and get ready for the check-up.”

“I know,” Lian Jun replied, stretching out a hand. “Have you finished the problems?”

“I have.” Expression bitter, Shi Jin handed him the tablet. “I don’t know what’s up with Mr. Feng recently, but he keeps giving me preparatory papers for the college entrance exam. Why would he? I’m not taking the exam.”

Looking at the tablet, Lian Jun said, “Who says you’re not taking it?”

Shocked, Shi Jin stammered out, “I’m taking the college entrance exam?” Hadn’t he been studying to become a proud high school graduate? College entrance exam? He hadn’t heard anything about this!

“Of course you are.” Lian Jun checked his total test score and frowned, but his eyebrows quickly smoothed out. “With your current level, you should pass it easily. Have a good rest for the next two days, and the day after tomorrow, I’ll accompany you to the examination venue.”

I’m taking the college entrance exam?

Feeling a chill run down his spine, Shi Jin took a look at the calendar. Seeing that the day after tomorrow was really the day of the college entrance examination, he couldn’t breathe for a moment. He opened his mouth, ready to bargain, but Lian Jun interrupted him.

“When we were on the ship, we made a bet. In the end, we both promised to fulfill the other’s one request. My request is that you participate in this year’s college entrance exam. Shi Jin, you aren’t going to break your word, right?”

Shi Jin froze and for a moment, he could only see darkness in front of his eyes. He realized that he’d fallen into Lian Jun’s trap, and that he himself had blocked all of his roads to retreat.

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