Chapter 21: Noodles
The relationship between Shi Jin and Rong Zhouzhong turned completely hostile, to the point they came to blows, and the progress bar actually decreased?
A dumb expression appeared on Shi Jin’s face. Feeling completely confused, he glanced at his progress bar, then at scowling Rong Zhouzhong, who dropped heavily on the sofa and was trying to calm his breathing. While he didn’t know what was going on, he was certain of one thing—Rong Zhouzhong did not have any intention to kill him.
Even though Rong Zhouzhong had nearly gone mad from anger just now, when a gun was put in his hand, he still threw it away. This was not consistent with how a murderer would react. If someone was filled with so much hatred for another person that he decided to kill them, he would almost always lose all reason when he saw his intended victim. Holding a weapon and not even trying to use it would be impossible.
Sure enough, the plot of the novel isn’t completely accurate. I shouldn’t trust it all that much.
After finally confirming this, Shi Jin breathed a sigh of relief, but he also felt somewhat guilty about the quarrel-turned-brawl.
Although he chose to do so in order to further understand his mysterious progress bar and rule his third brother out as a murder suspect, he still went a little too far. He was not the original ‘Shi Jin’—while he had a reason for his actions, they were neither right nor justifiable.
If one looked at it from Rong Zhouzhong’s point of view, then what happened today was nothing more than a disaster out of the blue. He simply went home to rest, but then had been woken up from a sound sleep by his detested younger brother, who came specially to pick a fight with him…
Suddenly feeling contrite towards his “guinea pig”, Shi Jin got up from the floor and peeked at Rong Zhouzhong, who was resting on the sofa with his eyes closed. “That, er, do your injuries hurt?” He asked tentatively, wondering what his brother was thinking about.
Rong Zhouzhong opened his peach blossom eyes and looked at him coldly, the corner of his mouth already turning purple. He said through clenched teeth, “What do you think? And why aren’t you gone yet, asshole?”
“I can’t walk, I hit the coffee table just now and hurt my leg,” explained Shi Jin truthfully. He gave Rong Zhouzhong’s face a guilty glance. “You still haven’t finished filming, but that bruise…”
Taken aback, Rong Zhouzhong raised his hand and touched his aching mouth, his expression turning even more annoyed. He angrily kicked the coffee table and roared, “Shi Jin, you’re really asking for trouble! Get lost! Get out of my sight right now!”
Instead of getting lost, Shi Jin hobbled closer and asked, “Where’s your medicine box?”
Rong Zhouzhong turned away from him, looking as if he was about to pass out from indignation.
“Never mind, I’ll get you some ice to apply. You rely on your looks to eat, it’s important to heal your face as soon as possible,” said Shi Jin as he limped towards the kitchen.
“Who the hell relies on his looks to eat, you little bastard!” Rong Zhouzhong sat up and glared at Shi Jin, gnashing his teeth. “I rely on my abilities and strength! Strength, you hear me! Are you pissing me off intentionally? What the fuck is up with you today anyway, are you trying to die?”
Shi Jin looked at him with an apologetic expression on his face, handed him the gun he picked up earlier and admitted honestly, “I really did all of this on purpose… Here, if you’re angry, you can…”
“…Fuck!” Rong Zhouzhong’s face distorted from anger. He put a hand in his hair and started to pull hard. “What can I do, huh?! I won’t kill you! I don’t care you can’t walk, GET LOST!”
…You can shoot a trash can to vent.
Shi Jin wordlessly put the gun on the sofa, then, still refusing to get lost, turned and went to the kitchen.
Rong Zhouzhong watched his back as he limped away, closed his eyes again and collapsed on the sofa with his chest heaving violently, trying to suppress his anger.
When Gua Two, who had witnessed the whole proceedings, saw him like this, his heart suddenly filled with sympathy for the man—having a younger brother like Shi Jin was truly unlucky, he could completely understand Rong Zhouzhong thinking of killing him now and then.
Shi Jin found the ice, managing to cook a pot of simple noodles while he was at it—they were making a commotion for a long enough time that the lunchtime has already passed and everybody must’ve gotten hungry.
“Apply the ice to the corner of your mouth first.” Shi Jin put the ice bag in front of Rong Zhouzhong, then set the bowls on the coffee table and began to serve the noodles from the pot, not forgetting to nag: “You don’t have anything to eat in your refrigerator, just a bag of noodles and a few eggs, no vegetables at all. You can’t live like that, it’s not healthy. Here, eat this, it will at least pad your stomach.”
Rong Zhouzhong opened his eyes the moment the smell of the noodles reached him. What he saw was Shi Jin squatting on the side of the coffee table and dishing the noodles out like a virtuous housewife, even though his face was swollen and bruised. One moment he felt mad at Shi Jin and wanted to curse him, the other he simply thought his youngest brother was crazy and more stupid than a pig. His emotions kept changing like spring weather, making the fire of anger in his heart that he had just managed to suppress starting to rage again.
“Can you give me a little more?” Gua Two sat down next to the grumbling Shi Jin, interrupting him and forcefully changing the topic.
“Of course, but it’s not very good,” replied Shi Jin modestly. He put the first bowl of noodles in front of Rong Zhouzhong, the second bowl in front of Gua Two, and the last one in front of himself.
Rong Zhouzhong stared at the bowl, not moving.
Gua Two rudely started eating right away—he was hungry anyway.
Just like that, the two uninvited guests began to eat noodles in front of the owner of the house, and their slurps seemed unusually loud as if they were being noisy on purpose.
The veins on Rong Zhouzhong’s forehead bulged while he attempted to force himself to be patient. In the end, unable to bear it anymore, he glared at Shi Jin, whose fuzzy head, resembling a kiwifruit, was bowed over the bowl, and prepared to spout some vicious remarks. Just as he opened his mouth to start, Shi Jin abruptly looked up at him.
“Hurry up and eat, or the noodles will go soggy,” he urged kindly, pushing the bowl closer to Rong Zhouzhong.
Rong Zhouzhong saw his eyes, which looked as calm and innocent as if nothing had happened at all, and the words he wanted to say stuck in his throat. He hesitated for a moment, unable to say anything but unwilling to let things go, and finally, he reached for the noodles and began to eat while gnashing his teeth—after he was full he would have the strength to throw those people out. He lost the fight just now because he went to sleep without eating anything all day and it made him weak, that must have been it. It wasn’t that his skills were worse than Shi Jin’s! Keep playing dumb, you damn little bastard, I’ll deal with you soon!
Yet, before he managed to finish eating and get ready to get rid of Shi Jin, Shi Jin dutifully washed the dishes, swept the floor, gathered the trash, and bade him a polite farewell. Before leaving, he also warned Rong Zhouzhong to be careful of the stalker fans, because he and Gua Two were able to slip through the security thanks to their tips.
Rong Zhouzhong took a deep breath, then forced out three words through his teeth: “Get. Lost. Now.”
“I’m leaving then.” Shi Jin lifted the trash bag and walked towards the door. When he was about to cross the threshold, he suddenly stopped and turned back.
Rong Zhouzhong reacted in an instant, glaring at him fiercely, his body tense and ready to fight again.
“Third Brother, what happened today… I’m sorry about all of it.” After apologizing, Shi Jin gave Rong Zhouzhong a deep formal bow, then grabbed Gua Two and left without looking back. When he closed the door, he was especially careful, not letting them make a sound—just like a polite young man would.
Click. Then, the villa regained its earlier peacefulness.
Rong Zhouzhong stared at the entrance for a long time. Finally, he couldn’t help but kick the shoe bench and swear indignantly, “This damn little bastard!”
As soon as Shi Jin got into the car, he fell into his seat, grimacing and touching his leg.
“What’s wrong, did you really hurt your leg?” Gua Two asked.
Shi Jin nodded. “It seems to be swollen.”
Gua Two frowned. He grabbed a cigarette but didn’t light it, then started the car and said, “Endure it until we get back to the club, there’s no medicine box in the car. When you said you came to fight with your brother, this was what you meant? He kept hitting you for real but you went easy on him, and also avoided his face—he only has a small bruise at the corner of his mouth, but you? I don’t even know what should I say when I look at you.”
“This isn’t what I planned to do at first, it’s just that one thing led to another…” Shi Jin tried to justify himself. Seeing the scowl on Gua Two’s face, he gave him an ingratiating smile and said, “Thank you for coming with me today. I’ll invite you for dinner when we get back.”
“Yeah, right, for the free dinner at the club.” Gua Two sent him an annoyed glance. “It was nothing, I didn’t do anything anyway. Don’t force yourself to talk when you’re in pain, you’d better think about how you’re going to explain your injuries to Jun-shao.”
Shi Jin: “…” Dammit, how could I have forgotten about this little detail?
That day, Lian Jun had waited for the ‘mother hen’, Shi Jin, to have lunch together. Not seeing him appear for a long time, he asked Gua One and was informed that Shi Jin grabbed Gua Two, then left to find Rong Zhouzhong and return something to him. Lian Jun did not show anything on his face, but he ate half a bowl of rice less than usual.
Shi Jin and Gua Two returned shortly after lunchtime. Gua Two was still safe and sound, Shi Jin, however, was bruised and walked with a limp.
“What happened?” Lian Jun frowned and put down the document he was reading.
Shi Jin glanced at him remorsefully and said, “I had a fight with my brother.”
“Did you win or lose?” Lian Jun continued.
Surprised, Shi Jin replied after a moment, “I think I won, I managed to pin my brother to the ground and not let him up.” While he didn’t lie, in fact, Shi Jin’s injuries were more serious.
Lian Jun glanced at his black and blue face, then waved his hand saying, “Go and take care of your injuries.”
Huh? Isn’t he going to punish me for sneaking out of the club without permission and getting into a fight?
Shi Jin immediately perked up and gave Lian Jun a couple of flatteries despite having to endure the pain, then limped off to the infirmary feeling very pleased with himself.
After he left, Gua One, who was standing next to Lian Jun, wrinkled his eyebrows and asked, “Jun-shao, are you really going to let him carry out the latest task the officials gave us?”
“His age makes him the most suitable choice,” replied Lian Jun. Noticing that Gua Two, who had not left yet, turned to look back at them, he explained, “We’ve got news from the government. We have some time to prepare for the task and you should use it to train Shi Jin. The officials should send someone to contact us soon, be ready for that too.”
Gua Two frowned and sent a worried glance after Shi Jin, then nodded his understanding.
Shi Jin finished treating his injuries and returned to his room. Suddenly, Xiao Si said, <JinJin, your progress bar dropped to 880 just now.>
It dropped again?
Slightly doubtful, Shi Jin prepared to ask for details when the phone in his pocket rang, so he took it out to check. It turned out to be an extremely short and simple text message from Rong Zhouzhong: [You’re dead!]
The text message came just as Xiao Si said the progress bar has dropped—it seemed rather obvious that these two things were connected.
Shi Jin stared at the phone for a few seconds, then smiled widely and typed back, [OK. Remember to rub the medicine on your bruises, Third Brother.]
Rong Zhouzhong: […Fuck you!]
Shi Jin looked at the text message like a loving father at his favorite child and let out a content sigh. “If the progress bar is going to drop every time he threatens me with death, then I’d really like him to say he’s going to kill me every day.”
Xiao Si: <…>