Death Progress Bar

Chapter 125

Chapter 125

Social Animal

Notice Temporarily unedited, read at your own risk

Lian Jun appeased Shi Jin for a while. After calming his lover, he looked at Uncle Long again. “Do I have to start the drug therapy immediately?”

“The sooner the better,” Uncle Long replied resolutely. “I know what you’re thinking but it’s impossible. I won’t give you medicine to temporarily suppress the toxin again—it’s too harmful to your body. Jun-shao, this window that is the right time for treatment is not something you can make open again as you wish, and your body is not a reusable modeling clay that you can reshape again and again.”

Since the doctor said this much, it seemed Lian Jun had only one choice left.

“Then start the therapy as soon as possible,” Shi Jin said firmly, taking the decision out of Lian Jun’s hands. The look on his face stated he wouldn’t accept any objections. “Uncle Long, please make preparations. If Lian Jun really won’t be able to attend the conference, I’ll go in his stead.”

Everyone in the room stared at him in shock.

“Shi Jin!” Lian Jun actually raised his voice at Shi Jin, which he normally never did.

“It’s no use shouting at me.” Shi Jin turned his head to look him in the eye. “If you were in my position, I believe you would do the same. Lian Jun, I’m the deputy leader of Annihilation—you personally confirmed this to other organizations through Zhang Zhuoyuan’s mouth. This means I have enough standing to participate in the conference instead of you. Don’t try to stop me.”

Shi Jin had many good qualities, and one of them was always doing what he said he would, no matter the difficulties. Lian Jun looked at Shi Jin’s serious expression, all kinds of arguments on the tip of his tongue, but he couldn’t say a word—he knew with absolute certainty that he wouldn’t be able to dissuade Shi Jin.

In the end, he only tightened his grip on Shi Jin’s hand. “Shi Jin, I now regret that at that time, I pushed you into the foreground and let everyone know how important you are to me. This year’s conference won’t be the same as in the past years; Annihilation is certain to be targeted by the other four top-echelon organizations. You have no experience, I can’t—”

“Then teach me,” Shi Jin interrupted him, squeezing his hand back. “You can teach me what I need, and you’re so smart, you can definitely find a way to keep me safe and away from the front line. I trust you. Besides, Aunt Lu will also be there. It’ll be fine.”

Lian Jun’s brows furrowed and didn’t reply.

Shi Jin didn’t speak either. He had no intention of backing down.

Uncle Long glanced between them. He thought Shi Jin’s solution was reasonable. Personally, he believed Lian Jun should rely on Shi Jin more. The young man was not some fragile greenhouse flower that needed to be protected—on the contrary, in certain matters, Shi Jin was more responsible and dependable than most people in the world.

As the two parties were locked in a stalemate, Li Jiuzheng, who had been sitting quietly on the sofa, suddenly spoke up. “From what I understand, you want to shorten Mr. Lian’s treatment time as much as possible?”

Surprised, everyone looked at him. After Uncle Long took notice of Li Jiuzheng, his eyes flashed and he measured him with his eyes.

Li Jiuzheng leaned down to pick up the tablet Shi Jin dropped and put it on the coffee table, then stood up. “I’m a doctor,” he said. “Although I don’t specialize in neurology, one of my senior brothers does. Perhaps I might be of help.”

“Fifth Brother…” Shi Jin called out to him, dazed.

Li Jiuzheng smiled at him. “It’s alright, I’ll do everything I can to help you,” he said comfortingly, then approached Uncle Long. “Can you show me Mr. Lian’s medical records and the examination results?”

Uncle Long didn’t answer but looked at Lian Jun.

The physical condition of the leader of an underworld organization was usually known in detail only by his personal doctor. No matter how excellent a doctor was, it was not good to let an outsider know too much. Li Jiuzheng was indeed an outstanding doctor, but it was not up to Uncle Long to decide whether to accept his help.

At Uncle Long’s inquiring gaze, Lian Jun frowned. He squeezed Shi Jin’s hand again. “Show him.”

“Thank you for your trust,” Li Jiuzheng said, glancing back at Lian Jun. Noticing that Shi Jin standing beside Lian Jun was still staring at him blankly, he turned around and came over to him. He stroked Shi Jin’s hair, reassuring him, “Don’t be afraid, everything will be fine.”

“Fifth Brother.” Shi Jin looked up at him, suddenly not knowing what to say.

Li Jiuzheng stroked Shi Jin’s hair again. His movements were a bit awkward and clumsy, but very careful. Seeing that the youth didn’t avoid his hand, his smile deepened. He nodded at Lian Jun, then turned back to Uncle Long. “Let’s go. I need to see the detailed records, and time waits for no one.”

Uncle Long looked at Lian Jun and Shi Jin. As Lian Jun didn’t stop him, he nodded and took Li Jiuzheng away.

Shi Jin watched his brother leave, tightly gripping Lian Jun’s hand.

Death Progress Bar is translated by Betwixted Translations. Read on the original translator’s site to get the fastest updates!

The New Year holiday came to an abrupt end. Li Jiuzheng put on a white coat and shut himself in the lab, and Shi Jin, no longer in the mood to have fun, coerced Lian Jun into giving him “conference prep classes”.

Though Lian Jun had yet to cave in, the news that he was about to start treatment quickly spread. The relaxed atmosphere on the island was swept away, and invisible tension filled the air.

“The general course of the conference is the same every year. You accompanied me last year, so I don’t think it requires much explanation,” Lian Jun began as he pushed down anxiety and worry, watching Shi Jin, who was sitting opposite him earnestly taking notes. “The difficulty lies not in the conference itself, but dealing with the authorities and contending with the leaders of various organizations. They’re all wily old foxes; you need to be careful not to play into their hands. If there is a conflict during the conference, or if someone tails you and sets up an ambush…” He suddenly paused.

Shi Jin looked up at him, confused.

“Shi Jin, I will never let you go to the meeting instead of me.” Lian Jun said with unusual for him unreasonable attitude, forcefully closed the folder in front of him. “Zhang Zhuoyuan and Lu Shan are still fine; even if they don’t help you, at least they’re unlikely to make trouble for you. Meng Qing from Meridian Gate and Qi Yun from Epoch won’t be so easy to deal with, however, and Yuan Peng from Snake Fang is a fool who can’t control his temper. Things won’t go the same way as last year—this time, Annihilation is being targeted. If they suddenly start making things difficult for you, you—”

“Lian Jun,” Shi Jin interrupted him. He leaned forward to take his lover’s hand. “Lian Jun, you know these guys are not stupid enough to try anything right under the government’s eye, and they’ve just formed an alliance. Their main purpose during this conference should be to feel us out, not to attack me directly. Don’t even say you’ll let Gua One go as your representative—Meng Qing and the others won’t accept it. They’ll definitely make an issue of it and demand for the authorities to remove Annihilation from the list of legal organizations on the grounds that Annihilation’s leader failed to attend the conference. We can’t allow this to happen as Annihilation still didn’t finish moving its businesses out of the underworld, so I’m the only possible choice. I’m your partner and the person you officially announced as your deputy leader—except for you, I’m the only one they will acknowledge.”

Shi Jin’s analysis was sharp and to the point, but Lian Jun wasn’t happy at all; no one would feel happy if they were forced to personally send their lover into danger. He held Shi Jin’s hand tight and didn’t reply, his expression dark.

Shi Jin got up, leaned over, and cupped Lian Jun’s face, forcing him to look into his eyes. “Lian Jun, I want you to be healthy and accompany me for the rest of my life,” he said earnestly. “Even if just for me, can you please care about yourself a bit more?”

Lian Jun looked at him, his fingers tightening and relaxing. Suddenly, he stood up and pulled Shi Jin into his arms.

Shi Jin hugged him back, offering silent comfort.

They hugged for a while before Lian Jun felt the tension drain from his body. He took a deep breath, forcing himself to come back to his senses, and loosened his embrace. “…I will contact Aunt Lu and ask her to mix more with Meng Qing and the others,” he said, touching Shi Jin’s face. “Let’s try to get through the conference as smoothly as possible.”

He finally gave in.

Shi Jin was overjoyed, and hurriedly nodded his head like a well-behaved child. “Okay. This conference is unlikely to be dangerous, though. You really don’t need to be so worried. Besides, I’ll have Gua One and the others, they’ll also help me.”

Seeing the look of relief on Shi Jin’s face, Lian Jun caressed his cheek, then hugged him again. So damn useless, this body of his. Shi Jin was not even twenty yet, why must he go through those kinds of things for him?

Noticing the arms holding him tighten more and more, Shi Jin patted his lover’s back in a soothing manner. “Don’t worry, I’ll come back safely.”

“…There will be no next time,” Lian Jun whispered, his hands clenching until his fingers turned white. “This will never be allowed to happen again.”

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

One day after that, Uncle Long decided on the time when to start the treatment—a week later. For the next week, Lian Jun needed to keep a strict diet and have regular injections of adjuvant drugs to prepare for the drug therapy.

Li Jiuzheng was still shut in the laboratory looking through Lian Jun’s thick medical record file and other information but since he was not a neurologist, no one really expected him to turn the tide and suddenly shorten Lian Jun’s treatment time to less than a month. As such, the preparations went on with the assumption that Shi Jin would be going to the conference in Lian Jun’s stead.

Once the decision was made, Lian Jun’s work productivity immediately increased. He first called a meeting with Gua One and the rest, asking them to start preparations for the conference ahead of schedule, then he contacted Zhang Zhuoyuan and told him he would not attend this year due to health reasons.

Alarmed, Zhang Zhuoyuan hurriedly inquired about his physical condition in more detail. He was greatly relieved to hear Lian Jun was merely sick, not seriously ill and about to breathe his last, and in a tactful manner asked if he needed assistance with medical treatment.

Lian Jun said that there was no need, but solemnly requested Zhang Zhuoyuan to take good care of Shi Jin, who would attend instead, and ensure his safety.

Right now, in Zhang Zhuoyuan’s heart, Lian Jun was of importance akin to venerable ancestors. Naturally, he agreed to Lian Jun’s request and repeatedly promised to look after Shi Jin.

The government side dealt with, Lian Jun contacted Lu Shan again and explained that he was about to start treatment and that Shi Jin would attend the conference instead of him.

Lu Shan’s reaction was similar to Zhang Zhuoyuan’s. After a few seconds of stunned silence, she asked in a raised voice, {Wait, are you really going to get the treatment? It’s not that something bad happened to you? I hope you’re not lying to me, brat, or there’ll be hell to pay.}

“I’m not, I promise. Anyway, Shi Jin will go instead of me—please help him as much as you can,” Lian Jun replied, then his tone softened. “Aunt Lu, Shi Jin is very important to me. Nothing can happen to him.”

Lu Shan was quiet for a moment. {Alright, I know. I’ll take care of him,} she replied, her voice calming down. {Don’t worry so much, just relax and focus on getting well… You little brat, you’re finally giving me some good news. I’ve been worrying for years, always afraid you’ll leave before me…}

There was a quaver in her voice as she was trying to suppress her emotions.

Lian Jun’s heart felt warm. “It’s been hard on you all these years, Aunt Lu.”

{What are you talking about? Life is tough in general.} Lu Shan quickly got herself under control. She assured, {You can start the treatment with peace of mind, I’ll look after Shi Jin. I promise you Meng Qing and others won’t even lay a finger on him.}

“Thank you, Aunt Lu. Please pay attention to your safety, too,” Lian Jun thanked her earnestly.

After ending the call, Lian Jun put down the phone and glanced at Shi Jin, who was sitting on the sofa, engrossed in reading through various information. He stood up and went over to him, then stroked his hair.

Shi Jin blinked and looked up from the document. “Have you got me a strong bodyguard?” he asked with a smile.

“Mm.” Lian Jun bent down and hugged him. “I’ll get better as soon as possible… And then I’ll come pick you up.”

“Okay.” Shi Jin returned the hug, soothingly patting his lover’s back.

Death Progress Bar is translated by Betwixted Translations. Read on the original translator’s site to get the fastest updates!

That very evening, Lian Jun had the first injection of the adjuvant drug. At this moment, the treatment officially began, and could not be interrupted arbitrarily.

Lian Jun didn’t sleep well that day. The pain in his legs, which hadn’t appeared for a long time, tormented him all night. Shi Jin never left his side, and for the first time, he experienced the feeling of complete mental and physical exhaustion.

“This is just an adjuvant medicine. How much pain will he be in when the real drug therapy starts…” Shi Jin muttered to himself, staring blankly.

< Darling’s progress bar dropped distinctly even after just one injection. Everything’s going well… > Xiao Si consoled him.

“I know.” Shi Jin buried his face in his hands and closed his eyes. “It’s just… He hasn’t shivered with pain like this for a long time… I just feel so useless. I can’t help him at all.”

Xiao Si didn’t know how to comfort him. It could only repeat, < Things will get better. The beginning is always the hardest, you know? It’ll be fine… >

Shi Jin also was sure that things would get better, but… He looked at Lian Jun lying in the bed, who didn’t stop frowning even when asleep, and his fists tightened—but the process of getting better was just too painful, and it would take three months or even half a year.

For the first time, Shi Jin felt this kind of hatred flame inside him, to the point that he wanted to dig up Long Shi’s grave and whip the corpse to vent his anger.

Around midday the next day, Li Jiuzheng finally emerged from the laboratory. He went to find Lian Jun, who had just woken up, and had a long discussion with him. Three days later, a helicopter landed at the island airfield, delivering a serious-looking man about 40.

“This is Shao Jianping, my senior brother. He’s also a doctor, a neurologist,” Li Jiuzheng introduced, explaining, “After reviewing Mr. Lian’s medical record and data of each stage of treatment, he determined that Mr. Lian’s treatment plan can be further optimized. He knows more about neurological problems than I do, so I asked him to help me.” He looked at Shao Jianping and motioned towards Shi Jin. “This is my brother, Shi Jin.” Then he turned to Lian Jun. “And this is Lian Jun, the patient in question and my brother’s boyfriend. He has already started treatment and his legs have a severe pain response to the adjuvant drugs.”

Shao Jianping seemed to be the kind of conscientious, no-nonsense doctor for whom the patient’s health always took precedence. At Li Jiuzheng’s words, he dispensed with the niceties and immediately got down on one knee to carefully examine Lian Jun’s legs with a murmured, “Pardon my rudeness”. Brow furrowing, he asked, “Is the pain constant?”

Lian Jun shook his head. “It lessens over time.”

Shao Jianping’s frown eased a little. “May I ask who is your attending doctor? I’d like to ask in detail about the treatment plan and your current physical condition.”

Lian Jun called out Uncle Long’s name. The doctor had been standing in the back, and upon being summoned, came over to talk with Shao Jianping.

The two went aside to confer. Shi Jin watched them leave, and leaned down to help Lian Jun tidy up his clothes. Feeling the comforting caress from his lover, he smiled at him and straightened up. He looked at Li Jiuzheng, then went over to him and gave him a hug. “Fifth Brother, thank you very much.” A doctor of Shao Jianping’s status would come to help just because Li Jiuzheng asked him to? His brother must’ve gone out of his way to arrange this and likely owed someone a big favor now.

Li Jiuzheng froze in surprise, then hugged him too, patting his back a bit awkwardly. “No need to thank me… Xiao Jin, Mr. Lian’s condition is very complex, and on such short notice, I couldn’t figure out how to reduce the treatment time. As a temporary measure, I tried to come up with a way to make the treatment less demanding on his body… I’m sorry I wasn’t able to help.”

“No, you’ve already helped a lot.” Thinking of Lian Jun’s past few sleepless nights, Shi Jin felt his eyes getting hot. “Fifth Brother, really, thank you very much.” Relieving the pain was already good enough. Right now, all he wanted was for Lian Jun to be able to get a good night’s sleep.

Li Jiuzheng was extremely sensitive to Shi Jin’s emotions. Noticing a nasal quality to his younger brother’s voice, he immediately panicked and hurriedly patted his back in a gentle manner, coaxing him incoherently.

Lian Jun watched them, then touched his legs, his eyes dimming—in the end, he still made Shi Jin worry.

After Shao Jianping came, Lian Jun could finally sleep through the night again. Shao Jianping was much less timid with medication than Uncle Long; he’d seen more complex neurological diseases than him and knew how to relieve the pain of patients. Uncle Long felt a load off his shoulders as he’d been worrying about how to ease Lian Jun’s pain during the treatment. Li Jiuzheng bringing in Shao Jianping was really a great help.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, especially Shi Jin, who immediately dragged Lian Jun off for the afternoon nap. They had to make up for all the sleep his lover had missed in the past few days!

Two days later, as Lian Jun’s routine had slowly returned to normal, another helicopter landed at the island airfield.

Shi Jin stared aghast at Fei Yujing, who was led into the study by Gua One, almost dropping the notes in his hand. “Second Brother, what are you doing here?” he asked in shock.

“I and Lian Jun have a work relationship. Of course, I’m here to work,” Fei Yujing replied, pushing down the teenager’s head. He looked at Lian Jun. “Have you decided to let Shi Jin attend this year’s conference by himself?”

Lian Jun nodded. “I already let the government side know.”

Fei Yujing frowned and glanced down at Shi Jin, who was staring with a silly expression on his face. “Then I’ll go with him.”

Shi Jin snapped back to his senses and scowled. “No! Second Brother, you’re here to work on the business integration, why would you need to go to the conference—”

“Children shouldn’t interrupt when adults are talking.” Fei Yujing flicked him on the forehead, then turned back to Lian Jun. “I’ll give you my contacts in the energy industry. These people are experienced and efficient in dealing with this kind of matters, and I can pretty much guarantee they’ll help you handle all the issues before the conference starts. Therefore, on the premise of the business matters being finished before then, I’d like to accompany this stupid younger brother of mine to the conference to watch the fun. Would that be fine?”

Lian Jun glanced at Shi Jin, who was still trying to stop Fei Yujing, and replied, “If Shi Jin agrees to take you with him, I have no objection.”

“Of course he will.” Fei Yujing ignored Shi Jin’s protest and asked, “Where is the study arranged for me? Please show me the way. Also, send me a copy of all the information related to business integration. I need to get the work underway as soon as possible.”

Lian Jun called Gua One, instructing, “Take Mr. Fei to the small study next door. Bring the documents with you.”

Gua One nodded and motioned Fei Yujing to follow him.

“Xiao Jin, let’s have dinner together tonight.” Fei Yujing patted Shi Jin’s head again, then turned around and left with Gua One. ‘Coming and going like the wind’ was a fitting expression here.

Shi Jin stared blankly at the closed door, touching his head that was repeatedly assaulted by Fei Yujing. A moment later, he reacted and yelled, “Listen to what people are saying, you asshole! Why are you ignoring me as if I’m invisible? Don’t even dream of me taking you to the conference! Like hell I will!”

The steps of Fei Yujing, who faintly heard the angry roar in the corridor, paused for a second, but he continued into the small study as if nothing had happened and glanced around. Noticing there were many high school textbooks on the bookshelf, something flickered in his eyes. “Who used this study before?” he asked.

“Shi Jin,” Gua One replied. “He’s been studying here with a teacher from the organization to prepare for the college entrance exam.”

Sure enough.

Fei Yujing walked over to the bookshelf, pulled out one of the textbooks and flipped through it. He found a sheet of paper inside. When he took it out, he found it was an essay with the topic “Family Picnic”. The score was 0. He couldn’t help chuckling.

Zero points for an essay? How did Shi Jin even do it?

His laughter slowly stopped, the smile fading from his face. He looked at Shi Jin’s handwriting on the essay paper, which was very different from the past, and slowly closed the textbook. How could a child of the Shi family get any points for an essay on such a topic.

“What a childish essay topic,” he commented expressionlessly, putting the textbook back. He walked to the desk and set down his briefcase. “Where are the documents?”

Gua One took out a flash drive and put it on the desk.

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

In the big study room, Shi Jin stared sideways at Lian Jun, a silent question in his eyes.

Lian Jun looked him in the eye. “I didn’t ask him to accompany you to the conference,” he said softly.

Seeing him like this, Shi Jin’s anger dissipated at once. He went to the desk and caressed Lian Jun’s haggard face, murmuring with dissatisfaction, “Why are you in such a hurry to deal with all this work, even asking Fei Yujing to come over in advance? Right now, what you should focus on is resting properly…”

“I’ve been resting well these past few days. You don’t need to worry,” Lian Jun reassured him, taking his hand and kissing it.

“How can I not worry? You’re probably trying to get as much work done as possible while your body can still bear it…” At his lover trying to distract his attention by acting intimately, Shi Jin squeezed his hand angrily, but this was as much punishment as he could bear to mete out. Instead, he rummaged through the pile of documents on the desk to find some he could handle, sat down, and started working on them, replacing words with action.

Heart feeling warm and soft, Lian Jun reached out to stroke his lover’s hair.

At dinner, Fei Yujing met Li Jiuzheng. It was then that he found out the doctor also was on the island and had been here all along. He stared at Ii Jiuzheng, who was trying to keep a nonchalant expression, and said evenly, “Well played, Fifth.”

Li Jiuzheng focused on the meal, pretending not to hear his words.

“Let the others know you’re safe. They’re worried because they’ve been unable to contact you.” Fei Yujing didn’t bother him further but turned to Shi Jin, who was visibly sulking. “Are you angry?” he asked despite knowing the answer.

Shi Jin also concentrated on eating, pretending that he was deaf. These days, Lian Jun was on a strictly controlled diet and didn’t have meals with him, so he could eat whatever he wanted.

Fei Yujing leaned back in his chair and eyed his disobedient younger brothers, holding back an angry chuckle. “Stop playing dumb and talk to me.”

Shi Jin “obediently” opened his mouth. “I won’t take you to the conference, you are too annoying.”

Li Jiuzheng’s chopsticks paused mid-move. As if afraid that Fei Yujing didn’t hear clearly, he glanced at him and “clarified”, “Second Brother, Xiao Jin thinks you’re annoying.”

At this, Fei Yujing really laughed angrily. He put down his chopsticks and said, “I don’t care. Shi Jin, if you want Lian Jun to feel at ease while he’s undergoing treatment, you’d better take me with you—and not only me, but also Fifth. Dr. Long must stay here to attend to Lian Jun, and you can’t go to the conference without a reliable doctor around.”

Taken aback, Li Jiuzheng blinked, then immediately defected to the enemy side. “Xiao Jin, Second Brother is right,” he said in a serious tone. “It’s too dangerous for you to go alone, so take me and Second Brother with you.”

As an ally became the enemy’s lackey, the situation took a sharp turn for the worse. Shi Jin almost choked to death while swallowing a mouthful of food. He glanced at Li Jiuzheng in disbelief, wanting to scold him for his traitorous deed, but was afraid of hurting his fragile glass heart. In the end, frustrated, he glared at Fei Yujing and spat out, “Despicable.”

“Learn more.” Fei Yujing exposed a smile belonging to a superior social animal. He affectionately put a piece of fish on Shi Jin’s plate, adding, “Eat more fish, Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your brain.”

Shi Jin barely stopped himself from stabbing him in the face with chopsticks.

Translator: Eques

Editor: –


Next chapter’s gonna be harrowing (at least I find it harrowing) and might upset you. You might want to wait until chapter 127 is posted and read it together.

The whole arc ends around chapter 135.

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