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Death Progress Bar (Web Novel) - Chapter 85 - Breakthrough Point

Chapter 85 - Breakthrough Point

This chapter is updated by Wuxia.Blog

Breakthrough Point

By the time the plane landed in M province, the sky was completely dark.

Shi Jin walked out of the airport with his head spinning. As soon as he and Gua Two got in the car that was waiting for them, he collapsed in the back seat, eyes closed.

“Serves you right, for staring at all those densely packed words the whole flight. Now, you haven’t even met with Xu Chuan yet, and you’ve already made a mess of yourself.” Gua Two took a bottle of water from the car’s refrigerator and put it on the teenager’s forehead. “Here, better now?”

Shi Jin shuddered at the sudden cold and dodged his head away from the icy bottle. “It’s not like I did this on purpose,” he said feebly. “But Xu Chuan is smart, cautious, and very tight-lipped. If I can’t find a way to make him crack, then even if I meet with him, it will just end up being a waste of time.”

“So what? I think you’re making this too complicated. Right now, Xu Chuan is in the palm of our hands; you can see him any time you want. If you can’t pry the information out of him this time, you can just meet with him again—sooner or later, he’ll let it slip. Don’t worry too much,” Gua Two reassured him, unscrewing the water bottle and offering it again.

Shi Jin thanked him and took a sip of water, then leaned back, stifling a sigh as he looked up at the ceiling of the car. Nothing Gua Two had said was wrong, but Lian Jun was waiting for him back in B City, so he didn’t have time to waste here. He had to find a way to make this a short, decisive battle instead of a drawn-out siege.

The car drove to an Annihilation-owned hotel in M province, where Gua Two arranged the Presidential suite for Shi Jin to live in.

“Gua Five and I will stay in the rooms next to you, and all the staff on this floor are protection personnel Jun-shao transferred here. This place is completely safe, so you can be at ease,” Gua Two explained as he led Shi Jin to the suite.

Shi Jin took a look at the tall cleaners passing by in the corridor, and his eyebrows twitched. After thanking Gua Two, he brought his luggage into the room, closed the door, and made a video call to Lian Jun to report his safe arrival.

The phone was answered in seconds. When the call connected, Lian Jun first gave Shi Jin a once-over; noticing that the teenager looked subdued, he frowned. {What’s wrong? Was the journey so exhausting?}

“No.” Shi Jin gave his face a quick rub to refresh himself and continued, “I just overused my brain. I was trying to figure out how to pry Xu Chuan’s mouth open the whole way here, but I still have no clue.”

He didn’t have any kind of information advantage over Xu Chuan. The investigation yielded a lot of information, but it was highly likely the lawyer already knew everything they’d found out—after all, he had been Shi Xingrui’s close confidant and was also one of the people involved; in fact, he probably knew more than Shi Jin. Shi Jin came here to ask some things about past events and Xu Jie. If Xu Chuan adopted the policy of silent resistance, as he did when he was arrested, then this trip would just end up a fool’s errand.

Seeing him so upset, Lian Jun drummed on the armrest of his wheelchair unconsciously. Abruptly, he said, {After you left, I examined the reports on Shi Xingrui, Xu Chuan, and Xu Jie.}

Shi Jin blinked, surprised, then instinctively glanced at Lian Jun’s desk, visible in the camera. Spotting a stack of documents still waiting to be checked and approved, his eyebrows wrinkled. “Why did you do that, when you still have so much work to do…”

After returning to B City, everyone else managed to rest for a while, but Lian Jun still kept busy, dealing with a heap of documents every day. Shi Jin hadn’t asked much about Lian Jun’s work, but he could guess that Lian Jun had been under a lot of pressure recently. After Nine Eagles and Phantom ceased to exist, the situation in the underworld was turbulent, with the possibility of conflicts breaking out at a moment’s notice; before everything descended into chaos, Lian Jun had to finish Annihilation’s transformation, so that everyone could safely survive to greet a peaceful world where underworld organizations didn’t exist.

Every time Shi Jin went to Lian Jun’s study, Lian Jun had a file in his hands and more waiting to be dealt with. What’s more, Lian Jun currently spent the mornings exercising and undergoing physical therapy, leaving him less time available for work. And now, he had sacrificed his precious working hours to help Shi Jin analyze information, so he would definitely work overtime at night again.

{I don’t have many documents to approve today, so I didn’t have to put anything off, and now that Gua One is back, he can help me out if needed,} Lian Jun appeased, seeing through Shi Jin’s thoughts at a glance. He raised the report in his hand and continued, {It’s said that ‘you can’t see the forest for the trees’—maybe an outsider’s perspective will be useful to you as a reference. Of course, it’s not that I’m trying to interfere in your private affairs, I’d just like to help you, even if only a little.}

…How can there be someone so considerate and thoughtful in this world?

Shi Jin looked at Lian Jun, bent over the data, and his heart melted into a puddle. He wished he could go through the screen and give Lian Jun a big hug and a kiss.

Every time, as long as he ran into some kind of trouble, Lian Jun would help him, either actively or in secret. Not only that—when giving a hand, he was always very tactful and measured, never interfering with Shi Jin’s decisions or dictating what he should do.

All of a sudden, he wanted to grab his bag and go back to Lian Jun’s side. If only it weren’t for all this crap.

If you’re seeing this notice, you’re reading this chapter on pirate site – the original translator of Death Progress Bar is Betwixted Translations. Read on Betwixted to get the fastest updates!

“I miss you,” he said, unable to stop himself, his expression collapsing a little.

Lian Jun looked up when he finished arranging the file and saw his face. His voice growing lower and lower, he replied softly, {Me too.}

The two were silent for a moment. Shi Jin adjusted his mood and said, “I’ll come back as soon as possible.”

Lian Jun waved the information in his hand and answered with a smile, {So, I’m just helping you to come back as soon and possible.}

Shi Jin couldn’t help but give him a smile in return, the fatigue on his face completely swept away. He walked to the sofa, found a tablet stand to prop up the tablet so it faced himself, and lay down. “I spent the whole whole afternoon working out the timeline. Please tell me your guesses, it’ll help me brainstorm new ideas.”

Lian Jun watched him make himself comfortable. Setting his heart at ease, he put down the file and said, {I have three conjectures. First, although Xu Chuan and Xu Jie are relatives, Xu Chuan should not be regarded as Xu Jie’s long-term ally; second, Xu Chuan was Shi Xingrui’s confidant, but there may have been a crisis of trust between them, and Shi Xingrui took precautions against Xu Chuan to some extent; third, combining the two above points, I suspect Xu Chuan doesn’t know about the relationship between your mother and Jian Jinwen.}

Shi Jin sat up, stunned. “How did you come to these conclusions? There’s nothing like this in the data.” It was precisely because he didn’t know exactly how much information Xu Chuan had and how firm the cooperation between Xu Chuan and Xu Jie was that he was unable to decide where he should attack the lawyer’s defenses from. If Lian Jun’s speculation was correct, then weren’t things simple? He just needed to bombard Xu Chuan with information.

Lian Jun looked at his goofy expression and explained, {It’s all about interests and benefits. I’ve read not only the audit reports for Ruixing Corporation, but also all kinds of information related to it, dating back to the time of its founding. Judging by the changes in equity and shares of proceeds, the period of absolute trust between Xu Chuan and Shi Xingrui lasted from the establishment of Ruixing by Shi Xingrui to half a year after Xu Jie gave birth to Shi Weichong. After that, Xu Chuan stopped being Shi Xingrui’s business partner and lawyer and became simply his lawyer. To put it in simple terms: before then, Xu Chuan worked with Shi Xingrui—the two of them were on the same level; after that point, Xu Chuan worked for Shi Xingrui—their relationship changed to that of a boss and employee.}

Information about Ruixing?

Shi Jin gaped, wide-eyed. How could he forget that Ruixing, the center of interest for nearly everyone involved, could hide many secrets? He had only paid attention to the investigation reports and ignored such a treasure trove of information.

He patted his forehead, gathered his thoughts, and pondered Lian Jun’s words again. His attention was fixed on one point: the relationship between Shi Xingrui and Xu Chuan changed six months after Shi Weichong’s birth. Wasn’t it at that time that Shi Xingrui abandoned Xu Jie?

In the afternoon, when he went over the data again, he found that in fact, Xu Jie could be considered special among Shi Xingrui’s many women. Not counting Yun Jin, he’d abandoned all of them right after they had a baby, but Xu Jie was different—after giving birth to Shi Weichong, the three of them lived together for half a year, like a normal family.

He had never doubted this before, thinking that it was Shi Xingrui still having a little conscience when he became a father for the first time, but now it seemed that wasn’t it.

So something must have happened at that point, something which led to Shi Xingrui abandoning Xu Jie and “demoting” Xu Chuan. However, it must not have been serious enough to cross Shi Xingrui’s bottom line or he would’ve completely discarded both of them.

But what could it have been… He couldn’t help but look up at Lian Jun.

Lian Jun quietly waited for him to finish thinking. Once Shi Jin looked at him again, he explained, {As for the relationship between Xu Chuan and Xu Jie—Xu Chuan’s attitude towards Shi Weichong is no different from that towards your other brothers, and he also had a clear opportunity to manipulate Shi Xingrui’s will to favor Shi Weichong, but he didn’t do it. Judging from this, even if he and Xu Jie cooperated in a certain period of time because they were relatives and their interests happened to coincide, they certainly hadn’t become long-term allies. In business, Xu Chuan could be regarded as having been completely loyal to Shi Xingrui. Putting aside their possible cooperation at the very beginning, if Xu Chuan does work with Xu Jie now, that cooperation must’ve been established after Shi Xingrui’s death.}

His words immediately engulfed Shi Jin’s attention. He thought back on Xu Chuan’s actions over the years, and agreed with this speculation. “Indeed, Xu Chuan put his heart and soul into working for my dad before he died.”

{But Shi Xingrui did not completely trust Xu Chuan,} Lian Jun said with a tone of certainty. He raised several pages of information to show them to Shi Jin. {Xu Chuan is not only an excellent lawyer, but also an excellent businessman. During the expansion period, Ruixing underwent restructuring many times. Shi Xingrui had such a talented person like Xu Chuan at hand, but instead of using him, he chose Xu Tianhua, someone he knew wasn’t loyal to him, as the deputy chairman. Later, after Ruixing was stabilized, though Xu Chuan was given some dividends and position, it was empty, without any real power. If it was like this even in business matters, then Shi Xingrui certainly wouldn’t have revealed too much information about his personal affairs to Xu Chuan; they were much more important.}

Shi Jin looked at the data in his lover’s hands, full of various charts and statistics. Feeling dizzier the longer he looked, he hurried to turn his gaze away. “So you concluded that Xu Chuan shouldn’t know the relationship between my mother and Jian Jinwen?”

Lian Jun nodded, putting the information down. {Yes. Mind you, this is just a guess, without any proof.}

Shi Jin was inclined to believe this guess was the truth. He closed his eyes and continued thinking, speculations whirling around his mind.

It was nearly impossible to discover the relationship between Yun Jin and Jian Jinwen. Jian Jinwen was Shi Xingrui’s obsession; after experiencing the stimulus of all the substitutes he found turning out to be failures, he would’ve absolutely attached tremendous importance to the young Yun Jin, the perfect double. He definitely wouldn’t disclose the truth about her to Xu Chuan, a subordinate who was already “flawed” in his eyes.

When making the timeline this afternoon, Shi Jin had come to the conclusion that Xu Chuan should have truly regarded Jian Jinwen as a friend. This could be inferred from Xu Chuan’s violent reaction to seeing Shi Jin after he’d lost weight. He even had a faint suspicion—perhaps Xu Chuan had also fallen in love with Jian Jinwen? However, he wasn’t really certain about this; he had never heard about someone who would continue to work faithfully for his love rival after the death of the person they both loved.

But if all their speculations were true—if Xu Chuan didn’t know about the blood ties between Yun Jin and Jian Jinwen, if he really didn’t think of Jian Jinwen as just a friend, and if the cooperative relationship between Xu Chuan and Xu Jie wasn’t as solid as he originally thought—then if he told Xu Chuan that he was Jian Jinwen’s blood-related nephew…

Unable to stop himself, he punched the sofa cushion and looked at Lian Jun, excited—this was the perfect information to breach Xu Chuan’s defenses!

Lian Jun leaned back in his chair and waited for Shi Jin to finish thinking. Seeing the teenager’s eyes brighten, he knew that he had figured it out. {So, now, will you sleep well tonight?} he asked, the corners of his mouth pulling up.

“I will, I will, I will sleep super well!” Shi Jin pounced at the tablet and gave the screen an exaggerated smooch. “You’re so smart, baby!” he said happily.

Lian Jun’s eyebrow rose. {‘Baby’?}

“Baby!” Shi Jin replied without shame, turning this question into a declarative sentence, then changed the subject. “You’re not allowed to work overtime today—if you’re not done with all those documents today, leave them for tomorrow. You have to go to sleep on time.”

Lian Jun took a look at the time. No longer teasing him, he said, {You shouldn’t stay up late either.}

“All right!” Shi Jin promised. They chatted for a moment longer, then he reluctantly hung up the phone.

The next morning, after breakfast, Shi Jin got in a car and headed to the prison.

Seeing that his expression was relaxed, and that he was even in the mood to play mahjong, Gua Two asked with surprise, “How come you aren’t worried about the meeting with Xu Chuan anymore? You decided to give up?”

“Why would I? I’m not worried because I got some outside help and I’ve already figured out how I should attack,” Shi Jin replied without raising his head, drawing a tile with a great momentum and completing a winning hand.

Gua Two didn’t need to think about who Shi Jin’s “outside help” was. He rolled his eyes and leaned back in his seat, whispering, “You should’ve asked him before nearly killing yourself yesterday. You know your brain’s no good…”

Shi Jin’s ears pricked up, and he unleashed a lightning-quick Foshan shadowless kick on him.

If you’re seeing this notice, you’re reading this chapter on pirate site – the original translator of Death Progress Bar is Betwixted Translations. Read on Betwixted to get the fastest updates!

The prison was in the outskirts of M province. The car arrived at its gates after about an hour’s drive.

Gua Five took out his phone and made a call; soon after, a uniformed man came out and personally escorted them inside, then guided them to the visitation room.

“Xu Chuan is quite an odd prisoner. Since he was brought here, he’s always kept to himself—he doesn’t talk with other prisoners, doesn’t accept visits, refuses to answer phone calls or accept letters from outside, and rejects the once-a-week chance to access the internet… In short, he resists anything even close to a social activity. He’s very silent and spends all of his free time reading books. As a prisoner, he’s very easy to manage, but impossible to get close to as a person,” the prison officer explained, frowning, as they walked. “This time, he has no choice about your visit, but he himself resisted it vehemently. You’d better be prepared—he’s forced to see you, but he definitely won’t cooperate and talk with you.”

Shi Jin didn’t expect that Xu Chuan would act like this in prison. Eyebrows knitting, he thanked the man for the heads-up, then looked towards the visitation room that had already appeared before them. He touched the photos in his pocket and let out a shallow breath.

The iron door opened with a squeak. Shi Jin stepped into the room and looked at the only person inside.

Xu Chuan raised his head at the sound. Seeing Shi Jin, he fell into a daze for a moment, but quickly recovered and lowered his head again, looking down at the table under his handcuffed hands. “As the saying goes, ‘The victor becomes a king and the loser an outlaw’. What, you came to whip this pitiful loser’s corpse?”

Shi Jin walked over to sit across the table from him. “I don’t have a hobby of whipping corpses. Besides, I don’t really hate you. I came here to ask you something and to tell you something.”

Not looking at him, Xu Chuan replied coldly, “There is nothing to say between me and you.”

“If I told you that Jian Jinwen is my uncle, would you still think we have nothing to say to each other?” Shi Jin asked straight out, closely watching Xu Chuan’s face, observing his expression.

Xu Chuan was stunned for a moment, then raised his head and tried to stand up. “What did you say?” he asked, shocked. “Whose name did you just say? Who did you say is your uncle?! You don’t have the right to speak his name, you third-rate imitation—”

Shi Jin took out several photos and pushed them over. “These two people are Wei Ming and Guan Jiajia, the biological parents of Mr. Jian and my mother. This is a picture of Mr. Jian as a child. This is a picture of my mother as a child. Xu Chuan, if they are not related by blood, do you really think there will be two children in this world that look as identical as this?”

Xu Chuan looked at the pictures on the table and his eyes widened. His hands, cuffed to the chair, struggled desperately, trying to pick up one of them.

“In addition to the photos, I also have the detailed information about the circumstances of Mr. Jian and my mother’s birth. If you want to see them, I can show them to you.” Shi Jin reached out and gathered all the pictures on the table, deliberately leaving Jian Jinwen’s for last.

Xu Chuan’s gaze was glued to Jian Jinwen’s photo, the expression in his eyes a bit frightening.

Shi Jin stifled a sigh, in a complex mood—sure enough, Xu Chuan’s feelings for Jian Jinwen were more than just those of a friend.

“Now, do you still think there is nothing to say between us?” Shi Jin said, his voice cold, turning the photo face down and putting it in the stack with the rest. He looked at Xu Chuan, whose gaze followed his hand, and pointed to his own face. “When I saw you last time, you said I didn’t deserve this face, and that ‘the lips are the most similar’. At that time, I thought you meant my mother but now, I think you were actually talking about Mr. Jian.”

As Xu Chuan looked at Shi Jin’s face, his expression tightened bit by bit, and a shudder ran through his body. Abruptly, he fell back into his chair and said, “I have nothing to say to you… Even if you’re blood-related to Jinwen, you’re not him and you never will be.”

Shi Jin frowned. It seemed he had to raise the stakes or fold his hand.

“Of course I’m not Mr. Jian and never will be Mr. Jian.” He leaned back in his chair, interlacing his hands on his abdomen; there was a shadow of Lian Jun in the posture. “But I’m Mr. Jian’s nephew, his last relative in this world. You know, while investigating all this, I went to see Mr. Jian’s adoptive father. He’s a kind, admirable old man. He has always been very grateful to you. Alas, he never knew that in reality, you were just a liar, a swindler who helped the devil monitor Mr. Jian.”

Xu Chuan’s body shook and his hands clenched into fists, but he still didn’t speak.

“I promised to help him learn Mr. Jian’s origins and his relationship with my mother. I also promised that if we turned to be blood relations, I would go tell him in person and accompany him to offer Mr. Jian incense.”

Xu Chuan snapped his head up to look at Shi Jin and said through clenched teeth, “You’re not worthy.”

Shi Jin stood up with a sneer. Asking Xiao Si to give him some buffs, he said, “Why am I not worthy? My mother was a victim, and I’ve never done anything that I would have to apologize to Mr. Jian for. Of course I can call him uncle with a clear conscience! Go and light incense at his grave! But you, you’re different. You’re a liar who approached him with false motives, deceived him, an accessory who helped the devil imprison him! You’re the one who’s really unworthy! You even tried to help someone kill me, kill Mr. Jian’s only living relative! Let’s see, if Mr. Jian knew that his friend wanted to kill his nephew, what would his reaction be? Disgust? Hate? Ah, that’s unlikely—Mr. Jian was a truly kind person, he wouldn’t feel such a negative emotion. He would probably only be disappointed in you, and heartsick, and would never want to see you again.”

Xu Chuan’s expression became more and more terrifying as Shi Jin’s words began to grow faster and faster. As he looked at Shi Jin’s aggressive appearance, somehow, he seemed to see Jian Jinwen watching him with sadness and disappointment. His heart tightened and he jumped up, yanking at the handcuffs on his wrists again, shaking his head violently: “No! No, I didn’t, I—”

“Shut up!” Shi Jin snapped, interrupting him. Looking into Xu Chuan’s eyes, he lightened his voice to almost a whisper, and said, “Xu Chuan, Mr. Jian’s adoptive father is already old and will probably live for another ten years at most. Ten years later, you will still be in prison. The only remaining person who would be able to go sweep Mr. Jian’s grave and offer him incense will be me. Do you really want me to die?”

Xu Chuan’s pupils constricted sharply. He stared at Shi Jin for a long time, his chest heaving; suddenly, he raised his head and took a deep breath, then sat back in his chair and said in a hoarse voice, “Photo… I want Jinwen’s photo. All the pictures I had were taken away when I was sent to prison.”

A flicker passed through Shi Jin’s eyes. He sat back in his chair as well, pulled Jian Jinwen’s photo from the stack on the table, and pushed it towards Xu Chuan.

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