Shi Jin was pacing frantically in the room, while Xiao Si anxiously bit his nails.
"How about you go and get the inheritance again?" Xiao Si suggested.
Shi Jin was on the verge of a breakdown. "In the original plot, when the older brothers of the Shi family found out that Shi Xingrui had given all the inheritance to their younger brother, they were completely heartbroken and decided to take revenge on me! If I take the inheritance, the progress bar won't be at 998.5 anymore, it'll be at 999!"
Knock, knock, knock.
The two of them froze and turned to look at the door that had been knocked on.
"Young Master, the eldest young master is on the phone," the butler's voice came from outside the door.
Shi Jin's heart skipped a beat and he whispered, "The first suspect is calling, should I answer?"
Xiao Si trembled, "What if you die right after picking up?"
There was only a 0.5 point window of reprieve, and they couldn't afford to waste it.
Shi Jin hesitated and asked, "Will I die immediately after the progress bar is full?"
"No," replied Xiao Si.
Shi Jin's eyes lit up.
Xiao Si felt like crying and added, "But you will lose control of your body and watch yourself die as the plot develops."
This was even scarier than just dying!
Shi Jin went crazy, his gaze scanning the room before suddenly walking to the desk and pulling out a utility knife from the pen holder. He flicked out the blade and aimed it at his wrist.
Blood gushed out.
Xiao Si went insane, "Ah! What are you doing?!"
"Of course, I have to save myself. If I answer this phone and say the wrong thing, it could make Big Brother Shi even angrier and then we'll be done for." In the face of crisis, Shi Jin became calm. He quickly cut his wrist and searched for all the original owner's documents and cash. He grabbed the cucumber pillow on the bed and walked into the bathroom to fill the bathtub with water.
Xiao Si was already about to faint from his actions and asked, "Why are you filling the tub with water?"
Cutting your wrist and getting into a bathtub, isn't that a classic suicide move?
Shi Jin had already gotten into the bathtub and was enduring the dizziness caused by the loss of blood. He carefully opened a small corner of the cucumber pillow, stuffed all the documents and cash inside, and hid them. He hugged the pillow and leaned back in the bathtub, closing his eyes.
"Retreat temporarily so we can advance, let's delay to buy some time... We can't stay in this dangerous place, we need to find a chance to escape." The youngest of his five brothers was already nine years older than the original 'Shi Jin'. They have all grown up and with their mothers' support, they were able to deceive Shi Xingrui by pretending to love and care for Shi Jun.
They have already planted many traps around Shi Xingrui's company and Shi Jin. With his current lack of power and connections, he is no match for them. His top priority now is to save his own life.
The bathtub quickly turned red with blood. If Xiao Si were human, he would have turned pale by now and trembled as he called out, "Jin, Jin Jin..."
"Don't worry, I know what I'm doing," Shi Jin reassured him. He heard the faint sound of a door opening and felt relieved. He instructed Xiao Si to make his body hold onto the cucumber pillow tightly and then fainted with ease.
The smell of disinfectant filled his nostrils as Shi Jin slowly opened his eyes, only to see a tall figure sitting by his bedside.
"The progress bar dropped to 997 after news of your suicide attempt spread. The man sitting by your bed is Shi Jin's eldest brother, Shi Weichong," Xiao Si reminded him just in time.
Shi Jin breathed a sigh of relief and tightened his grip on the pillow in his arms. He looked up at the man by his bed and weakly called out, "Big brother."
The man turned his head to look at him, his narrow eyes resembling Shi Xingrui's, filled with disapproval and concern. However, his tone was gentle as he asked, "Xiao Jin, why did you do it?"
Shi Xingrui had great genes, and each of his children was more handsome than the last. However, little fatty Shi Jin was an exception.
Shi Weichong, Shi Xingrui's eldest son, looked just like his father with his handsome features, thick eyebrows, bright eyes, thin lips, straight nose, and square face. He had a calm and mature temperament, making him the epitome of traditional beauty.
He was the only child in the Shi family, besides Shi Jin, who was allowed to have their father's surname, and was also the brother who seemed to spoil Shi Jin the most.
Shi Jin lowered his eyes, avoiding his brother's gaze. He pinched himself under the covers, feeling a pang in his heart. His eyes turned red as he whispered, "I know my brothers don't like me."
As soon as he spoke, the air became heavy.
Shi Weichong didn't say anything, but his gaze towards Shi Jin became slightly less gentle. It was as if he was trying to figure out whether Shi Jin's words were genuine or just a ploy to test him.
"It's reached 998! Jin Jin watch out!" Xiao Si screamed in panic.
Shi Jin's eyelashes trembled as tears gathered in his eyes from the noise. He bit his lip and met Shi Weichong's gaze, tentatively taking his hand and saying, "Big brother...if there's a next life, let me be the older brother to you guys...I'll repay everything I owe you..."
"Xiao Jin," Shi Weichong pulled his hand away from the grasp, tucking it back under the covers. "Don't talk nonsense. I will always be your big brother."
"We're at 998.5! Back to the original death sentence! Jin Jin, sob sob...Jin Jin, please don't die!"
To his surprise, the eldest brother of the Shi family was even more difficult to deal with than expected.
Shi Jin knew things were not looking good and quickly abandoned any attempts to soften Shi Weichong with words. He pretended to be exhausted and closed his eyes, whispering, "Big brother, I'm tired..."
Fortunately, the progress bar did not increase again. Shi Weichong helped him adjust the blanket and left the hospital room.
Over the next two days, Shi's eldest brother came to visit several times. The other brothers who were not in the area also made many phone calls. Shi Jin remained silent, not speaking or answering the phone. He spent his days staring blankly out the window like a soulless puppet.
During this time, Shi Jin attempted to self-harm again with a fruit knife. The nurse on duty discovered this and informed Shi Weichong.
Like a normal older brother, Shi Weichong was both anxious and angry. He scolded Shi Jin severely.
Shi Jin twisted his own thigh and silently shed tears in the face of Shi Weichong's anger.
"Xiao Jin," Shi Weichong said helplessly, bending down to get closer to him and holding onto his shoulder. He spoke in a gentle tone, "What's wrong with you? Look at how thin you've become."
Shi Jin managed to force a smile, he loved hearing those words, it made him feel like all those missed meals were worth it.
As Shi Weichong looked at the smile on his face, his emotions suddenly disappeared, replaced by an inscrutable expression.
This was the first time Shi Weichong had shown this expression in front of Shi Jin. He couldn't smile anymore and lowered his head, hugging his pillow tightly. His heart was pounding - it was coming, Shi Weichong was about to tear off his friendly mask.
"Xiao Jin, my lawyer called me today and said that the inheritance has been divided according to your wishes into five parts, but with nothing for you," Shi Weichong spoke in a flat tone, without the usual gentleness he showed towards Shi Jin.
Shi Jin looked up at him, but there was no smile on his face - he just couldn't muster one. "I said I would pay back what I owe to my brothers."
Shi Weichong looked deeply at him and said, "We need your signature to change the inheritance distribution."
Shi Jin nodded. "I'll sign."
Another silence filled the room. Shi Weichong didn't say anything else and turned to leave.
After dinner that day, Shi Weichong brought over a few documents. Shi Jin didn't even look at them, he just signed them and then curled up in his blanket.
Shi Weichong stood by the bed with the documents for a while and asked, "Why?"
"I just want my brothers to be happy," Shi Jin replied, still clutching his last card - a cucumber pillow.
Shi Weichong's gaze shifted to the dried bloodstains on the pillow and he asked, "Why do you keep holding onto it?"
When Shi Jin heard this, his heart tightened. He quickly pinched his thigh and, with red eyes, met Shi Weichong's gaze. His voice was barely audible as he said, "This is the last gift my brother gave me... I can't lose it, if I lose it... it's gone."
Xiao Si applauded Shi Jin's wit and acting skills in his mind, giving him a thumbs up.
Shi Weichong clearly didn't expect to hear such an answer. After a few seconds of staring at each other, he furrowed his brows and suddenly found it difficult to meet Shi Jin's eyes, which were full of trust and dependence.
He turned his head slightly and said, "You should rest. Second Brother and the others have already boarded the plane and will arrive tomorrow."
This was really bad news.
Shi Jin lowered his head in sadness, burying his face in the blanket and softly hummed in agreement.
Shi Weichong turned around and took a step before stopping and turning back to lightly touch Shi Jin's hair outside the blanket. After a brief change in his expression, he inexplicably turned cold and left decisively.
Xiao Si felt a bit weak and said, "Just now, the progress bar went on a roller coaster ride, suddenly dropping to 900 and then rising to 950. It scared me to death."
"It's dropped to 950?" Shi Jin was pleasantly surprised. He lifted the blanket and got out of bed, looking at the progress bar with delight. "The inheritance is settled, it's time to leave."
Xiao Si was puzzled. "Leave? Aren't you going to keep working hard? The other brothers from the Shi family will be here soon."
Shi Jin's tone was gloomy. "Do you think 49 points on the progress bar is enough for me to not say the wrong thing to those fierce brothers?"
"... " Xiao Si had no counter for that, but worried, "But what if your brothers in become furious when they find out you've escaped?"
"I'm not afraid," Shi Jin replied confidently.
He got out of bed, checked the documents and cash in the pillow, and said, "The progress bar decreases when the lethal factor decreases. The distance between me and the five brothers in the Shi family can also be considered a lethal factor. If I hide in a place where they can't find me, do you think the progress bar will still fill up?"
Of course, the progress bar wasn't full yet, and they couldn't find the person, then even if the five older brothers wanted to kill their youngest brother, they couldn't make a plan or take action without finding him.
They lacked the crucial condition for a successful murder.
As long as the progress bar wasn't full, the two of them could slowly plan their next move in a place where the five brothers couldn't find them. This way, they wouldn't have to constantly improvise under the looming threat of a knife, and they would have more freedom.
Xiao Si gave a thumbs up and spoke in a hoarse voice, "Jin Jin is really smart, I love you so much."
After leaving a cheesy note in the handwriting of the original 'Shi Jin' that read, "Without me, my brothers will be happier. Xiao Jin hopes his brothers will be happy," Shi Jin hugged his cucumber pillow and had Xiao Si help him avoid the people in the hospital as they quietly left under the cover of night.
Over a dozen hours later, Shi Jin stood on the soil of Huaguo City B, still wearing his hospital gown and clutching his cucumber pillow. All he had left was a small amount of cash after buying his plane ticket.
"I hate how rich people don't carry cash," Shi Jin sobbed.
Xiao Si's heart raced with fear, "Oh no, the progress bar is going on a roller coaster again. The five brothers must have realized you're missing. I'm so scared, Jin Jin!"
As the progress bar crazily fluctuated, Shi Jin's heart raced and his eyes widened in anticipation.
980...990...930...990... After a wild dance of numbers, the progress bar finally stopped at 910, and didn't budge any further.
Shi Jin breathed a sigh of relief and sat down on the ground outside the airport.
"It seems that distance is indeed one of the deadly factors," Xiao Si's tone was relieved, asking, "Jin Jin, you've survived for now. What should we do next?"
Shi Jin looked at all his belongings, his face full of weariness. "Let's find a job to support ourselves first..."