Chapter 19: Cause of Death
Shi Weichong continued, “I used these past few days to investigate Lian Jun and found out that not only his hands aren’t clean, but he also made a lot of enemies. It’s dangerous for you to follow him.”
Shi Jin immediately became alarmed. “Somebody wants to harm Jun-shao? Who?”
Hearing this, Shi Weichong swallowed back the rest of his words. He loosened his tie irritably, took a sip of the tea and mulled things over for a moment. Then, apparently deciding to cut his losses, he changed the subject: “Xiao Jin, do you think we’ve found you just by coincidence?”
Shi Jin blurted out in surprise, “You haven’t?”
“Of course not. When Zhouzhong saw the dance video, he began to suspect it was you, but you’ve changed too much and he thought he might be mistaken, so he contacted Aoting. As you know, because of his job, he’s much better in recognizing people than your average person.”
Shi Jin was taken aback, then broke out in cold sweat—how could’ve he forgotten that trained soldiers didn’t identify people solely by their outer appearance? He himself was able to see through Gua One’s disguise, so naturally, Xiang Aoting could recognize Shi Jin despite his weight loss, not to mention some of the videos captured his whole face clearly.
Xiao Si stuttered, <But, but JinJin, at that time your progress bar didn’t rise at all, did they re-really recognize you?>
This was exactly what Shi Jin wanted to know right now!
Seeing Shi Jin’s shocked expression, Shi Weichong sighed again and continued, “After we were more or less sure the person in the video was you, Aoting and I began to investigate further and found out you’ve visited the shopping mall where we met a few days ago. Not long after, Zhouzhong received a message from the government, saying you’re an undercover agent and he shouldn’t publicize your video like that.
We were confused—did we really have the wrong person? But we were also afraid to miss you if this wasn’t a mistake, so we let Aoting contact the officials while taking turns watching the shopping mall.
The day we finally found you was your birthday. I thought you might go to the mall to buy something again, or to celebrate, so I asked Zhouzhong and Aoting to come with me, and fortunately, we really met you.”
Shi Jin was stupefied as he listened to this. He frantically tried to remember the changes in his progress bar during that time, and the more he thought about it, the more bewildered he felt. “Xiao Si, why do I feel it’s strange?” He asked in his mind.
Xiao Si was confused. <What is strange?>
“The way my progress bar is rising… Uh, I don’t have time to explain right now.” Shi Jin frowned and glanced at Shi Weichong sitting opposite him, looking exactly like a loving elder brother. Shi Jin’s entire prejudice came from knowing the plot, but if he put it aside and relied only on his present impression, Shi Weichong really seemed to be sincere.
However, the progress bar wouldn’t lie and right now, it was stuck at 900 and not budging. If Shi Weichong truly loved his younger brother as much as he showed, why hadn’t the progress bar gone down at all?
“Big Brother.” Shi Jin’s palms were sweating. He felt that either he had been deceived by the plot or Shi Weichong was trying to make him fall into the trap right now, or maybe both. He asked, “Why do you want me to go home so much? Aren’t you afraid that I will secretly join hands with Dad’s henchmen and cause trouble for you?”
Shi Weichong looked at him as he would at someone soft in the head: “Xiao Jin, you should stop watching those rich family dramas on TV, they will affect your IQ.”
Shi Jin: “…”
Shi Weichong said sincerely, “Xiao Jin, I’m trying to convince you so much because it’s not safe for you to stay with Lian Jun, and he isn’t good to you. You’re still so young, but he made you get close to this scum Xu Huai like that… If we hadn’t found you, what would you be sent to do next time? Seduce someone and sleep with him?”
Shi Jin, somewhat desperate, said in his mind, “Xiao Si, what should I do, I think I’m starting to believe him… Does he really want to harm me?”
<But JinJin, your progress bar hasn’t dropped at all. It’s still 900…> Judging from Xiao Si’s tone, it also was wavering.
“Xiao Jin,” Shi Weichong’s voice was getting more and more earnest, “At your age, you should still be going to school, not be involved with the underworld. I know that father’s death hit you hard and made you have many doubts in your heart, probably even resent me. I can understand this, but I really don’t want to watch you jump into the fire pit, so come home with me, okay?”
Shi Jin felt that if it hadn’t been for the progress bar, he probably would have been touched by Shi Weichong’s brotherly love. Unfortunately, there was no ‘if’.
“Big Brother, I’m sorry.” Shi Jin’s expression was awkward, but his tone was firm. “Jun-shao is not a criminal, and I feel safe staying with him. Still, thank you for worrying about me, it makes me happy.” If it’s true.
The conversation hit a dead end once again.
Shi Weichong looked at Shi Jin in total silence, as if he had no idea what to say to him.
Being watched like that made Shi Jin uncomfortable, and he suddenly felt he was overdoing it. He stood up and forced a smile, the corners of his mouth barely moving, then said, “I have training in a few minutes, so… Excuse me.” After that, he left the reception room without looking back, rushed to his room, turned on the bathroom faucet, and stuck his head under it.
Swoosh. It was winter, and even though the room was heated, Shi Jin shivered when the icy water hit his head. Feeling the cold, he forced himself to calm down.
“Xiao Si, the plot must have some loopholes. We need to be more thorough and think about other possibilities.” Shi Jin turned off the tap. He glanced at the nearly frozen fool reflected in the mirror, then wiped the water from his face with his hand, grabbed a towel, and left the bathroom.
Xiao Si had already begun to have doubts because of Shi Weichong’s actions. It immediately asked, <What possibilities?>
“We have to consider that maybe in reality the five brothers do not want to kill their youngest brother as much as the novel said.” Shi Jin sat on the sofa with the towel on his head, pulled out a tissue and blew his runny nose. “From what I know about Shi Weichong, I feel that if he really wanted to kill me, he wouldn’t have personally stayed outside the clubhouse in order to meet me, and said so many unnecessary things. I think that perhaps he was actually moved by my giving up the inheritance and suicide attempt, and started to care about me.”
Xiao Si was hesitant. <Is, is it really like this?>
“Maybe, maybe not. I just don’t want to let ourselves to be too limited in our thinking because of the original plot and ignore the true lethal factors.” Shi Jin threw away the wet tissue, pondered quietly for a moment, then said, “Xiao Si, let me see the original book again, I need to confirm something.”
Shi Jin spent three days examining the novel, which was rather short, word by word. He finally determined one thing, though it made him quite vexed—in the story, there was no clear and direct evidence the original ‘Shi Jin’ had been killed by his five brothers; even the original ‘Shi Jin’ had no real proof.
‘Shi Jin’s’ process of death was really long and painful. He had been abducted soon after Shi Qingrui’s death, and although he was rescued, his face became disfigured and he lost two fingers.
After that, his ownership of Ruixing was taken away by the five brothers and he was “imprisoned” in Li Jiuzheng’s private hospital, not being able to leave at all. By that time, the original ‘Shi Jin’ had already firmly believed that it was his brothers who harmed him. As for the reason—his brothers did not love him as much as before, his brothers robbed him of his legacy, his brothers mocked him, his brothers were all hypocrites and liars!
Shi Jin: “…” Kid, while your brothers were indeed hypocrites and liars, isn’t your way of determining who had killed you a little too rash and subjective…
The “imprisonment” lasted for half a year. Six months was enough time for ‘Shi Jin’s’ injuries to heal almost completely, so Shi Weichong brought him home again and sent him back to school, but because of the scars on his face, ‘Shi Jin’ suffered severe discrimination there. He felt very miserable and thought Shi Weichong made him go back to school to humiliate him!
The flames of hatred in the original ‘Shi Jin’s’ heart burned higher. Unable to bear it, he contacted Shi Xingrui’s trusted subordinates and tried to hinder Shi Weichong, who had just taken over the Ruixing Corporation at that time. And yet, he didn’t even manage to truly begin doing this when inexplicably, he got into a car accident and was critically injured.
It took him one year to die. ‘Shi Jin’ had become confined to the hospital bed, suffering and unable to move. He could neither eat normally nor speak properly. Full of misery, the only thing he could do was listen to the doctors and nurses discussing his come-down in the world and his current pitiful state. Finally, full of hatred for his brothers, he died of organ failure.
The book was written from the perspective of the protagonist, so it was easy for the readers to identify with the original ‘Shi Jin’ and unconsciously follow his way of thinking. When Shi Jin read it for the first time, the story made him choke from the righteous anger and hate the five brothers so much his teeth itched from wanting to bite them to death. Now that he went over it again while leaving aside those subjective emotions, the plot was unclear in too many places.
Whether it was the kidnapping or car accident which directly lead to the death of the original ‘Shi Jin’, there was no evidence his brothers were involved, although it’s true they had the motive and were the most suspicious.
“We were too caught up in the plot,” Shi Jin concluded at last, letting out a long sigh.
The plot provider Xiao Si silently reduced its sense of existence.
“The five brothers might’ve disliked the original ‘Shi Jin’ and hoped that he’d disappear, but they wouldn’t necessarily do anything. It’s like when someone thinks he wants some bastard to die, but he doesn’t really try to kill him.” After saying this, Shi Jin took one last look at the sheet of paper where he’d written down the results of his analysis, then soaked it in water and tore it to shreds to destroy all the possible traces. He picked up the cucumber pillow sitting beside him, which looked the worse for wear after all it was through, and said, “Well then, we should verify whether this conclusion is correct.”
Xiao Si immediately recovered. <How are we going to verify it, JinJin?>
“I’m going to find Rong Zhouzhong, who has the worst temper out of all my brothers, and quarrel with him!” Shi Jin’s expression was earnest and full of confidence.
Xiao Si: <…>
An hour later, Gua Two drove Shi Jin, who had no driver’s license, to the gate of a villa district in B City.
“Are you sure he’s at home?” Gua Two asked, holding a cigarette in his mouth.
Shi Jin nodded. “Yeah, I checked with his fans.”
Gua Two went slack-jawed, almost dropping his smoke. “The fans even know whether their idol is at home?” He asked, horrified.
“Normal fans wouldn’t, but there’s one kind, most hated by the stars, that would—the stalker fans,” answered Shi Jin, unfastening his seat belt. “Thanks, you can go back now. Drive carefully.”
Gua Two was a little uneasy. “You really don’t need me to go with you?”
Shi Jin was always ready to follow well-intentioned advice: “I guess I’ll take you up on your offer then.”
Gua Two: “…”
“…deceived by the plot” – the word used here is 坑, ‘pit’. You might’ve read about “being pitted” or “digging pits”, and what it means is being deceived, framed, cheated, set up, screwed over, etc., or doing this. Imagine maliciously digging a trap for someone to fall into.
“Stalker fans” [私生饭] – lit. sasaeng fans.
I always have fun reading your comments – some of you nailed it (or almost nailed it). I won’t say who though~
I think the tenses are a mess in this chapter, is any grammar nazi reading this? If there is, please check… ╥﹏╥