Death Progress Bar

Death Progress Bar

Chapter 36 - Fate

It was indeed a sniper, probably from the Black Rose organization.

Shi Jin broke out in a cold sweat. Just as he relaxed a bit, he noticed that his progress bar had suddenly increased to the death line. His pupils shrank, and without hesitation, he rolled on the ground and hid behind a nearby trash can.

The next second, a bullet grazed the trash can and flew past him. Shi Jin let out a muffled groan and clutched his shoulder.

This was bad. The trash can was too narrow, and he was too big of a target. He had become a sitting duck. 

His shoulder was burning with pain, and he gasped for air. He tried to shrink his body as much as possible and hid behind a trash can. He saw that his progress bar was still stuck at the death line, and frustration set in. 

He turned his head to survey his surroundings and noticed a small alley not far behind him. There was a large dumpster leaning against the wall in the alley. He gritted his teeth and removed the oversized teddy bear head covering his own head. He had Xiao Si add an acceleration and hearing enhancement buff, then threw the head covering away and kicked up a pile of garbage. With the trash and head covering as cover, he quickly ran towards the alley, crouching low and moving fast. 

Thud thud thud.

The sound of several bullets whizzing through the air could be heard. Shi Jin could feel the disturbance of the air around him as the bullets grazed past his body. His nerves were stretched to the limit as he saw the alleyway just ahead. With a quick roll to the ground, he managed to avoid the danger and slipped into the small alley, hiding behind a metal garbage bin.

Thud, thud thud.

The bullets hit the walls and metal sheets, but gradually the sound faded away. His heightened senses could no longer detect any strange noises. 

Shi Jin leaned against the wall, with a small alley that led to who knows where on one side and a rusty trash can on the other. He felt the pain in his shoulder wound getting worse and the sensation of blood loss becoming more apparent. 

After making sure he was temporarily safe, he took a deep breath and covered his wound. He sat up and took off his doll costume, tearing off the lining while keeping an eye on the entrance of the alley. He then wrapped his shoulder with his coat to stop the bleeding, straightened his clothes, hid the doll costume in a corner, and ran towards the other side of the alley, feeling his way along the wall.

"Jin Jin, are you okay?" Xiao Si had never seen Shi Jin injured before and was so flustered that its voice trembled. 

"I'm fine," Shi Jin reassured, trying to regulate his breathing as he observed the situation in the alley. "The Black Rose snipers are all hiding on the other side of the old street. I took off the doll costume I was wearing earlier, so as long as I don't appear in the old street as a doll again, those snipers won't be able to lock onto me."

"I'm not talking about those snipers, I'm talking about your wound," Xiao Si panicked, almost on the verge of tears. It frantically used a buff on him while saying, "You're bleeding, a lot..."

Shi Jin immediately felt the pain in his wound lessen, and his slightly lowered body temperature due to blood loss began to rise. He realized that Xiao Si was helping him and even managed to smile, saying, "I can't die yet, I still have you. I have the Midas touch--"


The alley was cluttered with debris and had no lights. As Shi Jin walked, he stumbled and spoke without noticing a thin fishing line stretched across the debris pile ahead. He avoided the clutter but not the line, and before he knew it, he tripped and fell. Luckily, he landed on his uninjured side, but the pain was still unbearable. He groaned and felt his strength drain away.

"Jin jin!" Xiao Si shouted anxiously.

"I'm fine," Shi Jin replied, flipping over and lying on his back. His vision began to darken, and he knew the fall was serious. He resigned himself to his fate and changed the subject. "I have something to do...Xiao Si, I need you to keep an eye on the alley entrance." 

After finishing speaking, he took out his carefully guarded phone from the inner pocket of his jacket. He muttered to himself that he was probably going to get a severe scolding from Lian Jun this time, and dialed a number. He waited for a while before the call was answered, and with the last bit of consciousness, he shouted for Young Master Jun to save him. Then he reported his location in as much detail as possible before tilting his head and passing out.

Ten minutes later, a black car stopped at the entrance of the alley. The back door opened, and a tall figure wearing a black long coat stepped out, holding a phone that showed an ongoing call. He lightly stepped over the dirty snow water in the alley and stopped in front of Shi Jin, who was lying on the ground.


He stepped on the phone that had already slipped to the ground, bent down, and touched the pale and bloodless face of Shi Jin. His slender fingers pointed to the small black mole on Shi Jin's nose. After a long time, he leaned over and lifted him up from the ground.

Xiao Si was so scared that it almost crashed, unable to believe the appearance of the person in front of him. It also couldn't believe that the progress bar, which had dropped to 700, suddenly rose to 800. Finally, it glanced at Shi Jin's already scrapped phone and felt so sad that it wanted to rewind and restart himself. 

It held back its tears and called out, "Jin Jin, Jin Jin, wake up quickly... You dialed the wrong person... You have to wake up, the progress bar that you worked so hard to lower has gone up again... Jin Jin, wuwuwu..." 

On the other side, Lian Jun, who couldn't calm down, couldn't help but call Shi Jin. However, he found that the other party was still on the phone, and his anxiety grew. He then called the club and asked someone to check on what Shi Jin was doing.

A few minutes later, the club called back and said that they had searched the entire six floors but couldn't find Shi Jin - he was missing.

Lian Jun's face turned black, and he remembered the motion of the teddy bear throwing things. The more he thought about it, the more familiar it seemed. He hung up the phone and ordered, "Number One, turn back to Tuanjie Community. If Shi Jin isn't at the club, then that teddy bear that suddenly appeared is likely him in disguise."

Everyone was shocked at his words, and Number Two blurted out, "What?! That was Shi Jin?" 

With a frown, Number One immediately changed direction and drove back towards Tuanjie Community.

When they arrived at the entrance of the community, the authorities had already completely controlled the situation. Most of the members of the Black Rose had been caught, and there were scattered fireworks, candy, and balloon fragments on the street, giving off a lonely feeling after the revelry.

The official in charge noticed that Lian Jun's car had returned and hurried over, asking in confusion, "Mr. Lian, why have you come back? Don't worry, we've caught all of the Black Rose members, and none of your dispatched personnel were injured."

Lian Jun asked directly, "What about the teddy bear that helped us?" 

"The teddy bear? He's gone. Wasn't he the one sent by your side to disrupt the enemy's line of sight? At the beginning of the melee, I followed your previous orders and had someone release him and send him away," the official in charge replied, puzzled by the grim expression on Lian's face.

Number Three's expression grew serious as he spoke, "We sent three waves of people to disrupt the enemy's line of sight. The first wave was the 'janitor' who was walking along the street towards the entrance of the residential area. The second wave was the 'delivery guy' and 'plumber' who had previously conducted an investigation inside the residential area and were preparing to sneak back to the entrance, and the last wave was the people who were infiltrating various possible sniper locations. There was no teddy bear among them." 

The official in charge was dumbfounded and said, "But didn't you order us to protect him? I thought he was one of your people, so we covered his retreat. After all, all of Black Rose's people are here, so he should be safe away from the battlefield."

Upon hearing this, Number One's face turned black. How could protecting and covering retreat be the same thing? And defining the battlefield area arbitrarily is simply foolish, as the sniper's attack range can be large or small.

"Drive and search along this street," Lian Jun ordered in a deep voice, not wanting to waste any more time with the official in charge.

Number One immediately started the car and began searching for clues along the street, while Number Three began to mobilize people to search for the teddy. 

Five minutes later, the car stopped beside a tricycle that had toppled over at the end of the old street. Number Two opened the car door and got out. He rummaged through a backpack filled with miscellaneous items that belonged to Shi Jin. He turned to face the people in the car with an unpleasant expression on his face, saying: "This is Shi Jin's bag, I was with him when he bought it"

So, the bear they encountered earlier was actually Shi Jin.

"We've caught all the snipers that Black Rose deployed. One of the sniper's attack range just happened to include this area," Number Three hung up the phone from his subordinate and informed Lian Jun of the news.

Lian Jun's expression was tense as he said, "Everyone get out of the car and find him." 

Scattered bullet holes, garbage strewn all over the ground, and a teddy bear head lying in a corner of the street... The more things they found, the heavier their hearts became. It wasn't until Number Nine discovered a bloodstained teddy's suit next to a trash can in the alley that everyone's expression changed completely.

"There's blood on the clothes. Shi Jin must have been injured. Judging by the location, it should be a gunshot wound to the shoulder," Number One handed the clothes to Lian Jun.

Lian Jun took them, but his face turned pale and terrifying, as if he had been frozen by the temperature outside. He touched the bloodstains on the teddy's suit and pushed his wheelchair forward along the alley, stopping next to Number Two, who had already been searching for clues in the alley. 

As Number Two stepped forward, he accidentally broke a fishing line that was lying across the road. He took a few more steps and picked up a shattered phone screen from the ground. Turning back to Lian Jun, he said, "This is Shi Jin's phone. There are footprints of a man going back and forth from that alley to here. Shi Jin must have been taken away by someone."

Lian Jun stared fixedly at a pool of blood on the ground not far away, which was almost indistinguishable from the dirty ground. His voice was tight, as if squeezed out of his teeth, and his eyes were dark and heavy. He said, "Find and copy Shi Jin's call records. See who he last called!" 


When Shi Jin woke up, he was surrounded by the strong smell of disinfectant. His consciousness was hazy and he couldn't feel his body. He struggled to open his eyes and saw a man sitting by his bed. But he quickly closed his eyes in pain - he didn't want to see this scene for the third time. He had a feeling that nothing good would follow. 

And as it turned out, his intuition was spot on. 

Xiao Si noticed that he had woken up and quickly spoke up, "Jin Jin, the person sitting next to you is the Shi family's fifth brother, Li Jiuzheng. He saved you, but he also seems to want to kill you. Your progress bar had dropped to 700, but after he took you away, it rose to 800. You are now in a private clinic near the B University City. The clinic owner is Li Jiuzheng's senior brother, and they both helped remove the bullet and treat your wounds. Now, there is only you and Li Jiuzheng in the clinic, and he's taken all your things, I don't know where he threw them."

Li Jiuzheng? How is it Li Jiuzheng? Wasn't he the one who called for help for Lian Jun?

Shi Jin was confused, and his eyes suddenly opened, meeting the surgical knife that Li Jiuzheng was holding in front of him. The tip of the knife was pointed straight at his eyeball. 

He gasped for a breath of cold air, almost fainting from fright. Instinctively, he wanted to lean back, but the bed board was behind him, so where could he lean? 

"Indeed, you're awake." 

A low, pleasant voice without any emotion came from beside the bed, and then the surgical knife that had been hanging in front of Shi Jin's eyes was moved away. 

Shi Jin breathed a sigh of relief, his heart pounding rapidly. He stiffly turned his head and looked towards the person beside the bed. 

As the son of Shi Xingrui, Li Jiuzheng's appearance was naturally outstanding. 

Unlike his eldest brother's dignified appearance, third brother's charming looks, and fourth brother's sharp features, fifth brother Li Jiuzheng's appearance was rather cool and aloof. His cheekbones were soft, his eyebrows relaxed, the corners of his eyes slightly drooping, his nose straight, and his lips lightly colored. When he lowered his eyes and remained silent, he gave off the illusion of a melancholic beauty. 

But illusions were just that, and once Li Jiuzheng lifted his gaze, the person being looked at would quickly realize that he was not to be trifled with. The perpetual sense of detachment and coldness in his eyes was not something a fragile and melancholic person would possess.

Li Jiuzheng was anything but melancholic. On the contrary, he had a knack for making others feel that way, such as the current situation with Shi Jin. 

This is a small ward separated by curtains. Shi Jin is lying on the bed, while Li Jiuzheng is sitting by the bedside in a white coat. Only one lamp is on in the room, casting a dim and bleak light that elongates Li Jiuzheng's shadow and blurs his expression.

Shi Jin swallowed hard, suppressing the panic in his heart as he met Li Jiuzheng's seemingly emotionless gaze. He cautiously glances at the surgical knife in Li Jiuzheng's hand and forces a smile, saying, "Fifth, Fifth Brother, did you save me? Thank you."

"The voice hasn't changed." Li Jiuzheng spoke up, his voice drifting in the air with a hint of chill. His gaze deepens, and that strange look that had caused countless misunderstandings for the original owner resurfaces. He spoke softly, "Shi Jin, why did you become so thin..."

Shi Jin fell silent - why did this sound so familiar? Xiao Si was so scared that he almost froze: "It's gone up again! The progress bar is at 850 now, Jin Jin!"

Damn it! Li Jiuzheng really wanted to kill the original owner! His murderous intent was so strong!

Shi Jin's heart immediately tensed up. He caught a glimpse of the "luck" character posted on the window of the room and had a sudden inspiration. He quickly spoke up, "I, I just can't adapt to the local environment! I only lost weight after returning to China because of it. It's the Lunar New Year now, so I'll gain weight back if I eat more. Also, Fifth Brother, why are you alone in B city during the New Year? When did you arrive? Didn't you go home to be with your family? They must be worried about you being alone here."

"It's at 900 now! His aura seems even more terrifying," Xiao Si trembled with fear. 

Shi Jin was stuck. He couldn't understand which words had triggered Li Jiuzheng's murderous intent. He dared not speak recklessly and was trying to figure out how to salvage the situation. 

Suddenly, Li Jiuzheng stood up, put down his surgical knife on the bedside table, picked up a syringe, adjusted the medicine inside, and turned back to grip Shi Jin's arm, injecting the medicine into him.

Shi Jin's eyes bulged, wanting to struggle but unable to move his body. 

"Am, am I going to die?" he guessed in his heart.

Even Xiao Si was on the verge of tears, saying, "I can only try to suppress the drug's effects. Hold on, Shi Jin. The progress bar is stuck at 900 and hasn't moved, so this medicine shouldn't be dangerous."

"But Li Jiuzheng is very dangerous," Shi Jin was extremely uncomfortable. 

The medicine felt cool as it entered his body. Suddenly, as the medicine flowed in, Shi Jin was surprised to find himself getting drowsy. He couldn't control the urge to close his eyes.

"You're too noisy," a blurry figure approached him. It was Li Jiuzheng. Shi Jin felt a touch on his cheek, followed by a gentle grip on his fragile neck. "I was trying to avoid you, why did you come to me on your own...?"

Shi Jin could barely see anything, but he tried to keep his eyes open. He spoke softly, almost inaudibly, "Brother...what did I do wrong?"

The hand on his neck paused for a moment, then slowly retreated to cover his eyes. 

"Don't look at me," Li Jiuzheng's voice lowered slightly, his back slightly bent as if he was burdened by something invisible. "You're not just shouldn't have been born."


At the club, Lian Jun received the call records from Shi Jin and frowned deeply when he saw the last record. He immediately called Shi Weichong.

Shi Weichong rushed over as quickly as possible and anxiously asked as soon as he entered the door, "What do you mean by saying Xiao Jin is missing? He sent me a New Year's greeting message before. How could he suddenly disappear?"

"It's my negligence," Lian Jun said expressionlessly, handing over the call record. "I'll explain it to you later. Right now, I need you to make a phone call."


When he woke up again, Shi Jin found himself in a car with Li Jiuzheng sitting beside him. 

His voice came intermittently, "Sorry, I turned off my phone before going to bed last night... Hm? Oh, he did call me, but he didn't say anything after the call was connected, so I put my phone aside and continued doing other things. I don't know when he hung up... Yes, I'm still in Rong City... He also sent me a New Year's greeting message, probably dialed the wrong number... Yeah, let's meet up when we have time... He's in trouble?"

"It's just a small problem, don't worry." 

It was Shi Weichong's voice!

Shi Jin suddenly woke up and instinctively wanted to shout for help, but Li Jiuzheng quickly covered his mouth. "Okay...if there's any news, let me know. I haven't seen him since dad passed away, so that's it. Bye." Li Jiuzheng hung up the phone and removed his hand from his mouth.

Shi Jin asked, "Fifth Brother, what do you want to do? Why don't you tell eldest brother that we're together?"

"Let me take you somewhere first." Li Jiuzheng leaned back in his chair, looking a bit tired. He said something inexplicable, "Maybe this is fate."

Shi Jin continued to ask, "What fate?"

"Stop talking." Li Jiuzheng didn't look at him and closed his eyes. "It's too noisy, I don't want to give you another shot." 

Shi Jin didn't want to lose consciousness again, so he promptly shut his mouth upon hearing this. He turned his head to survey his surroundings and was surprised to find that it was already daylight. The car he was riding in was speeding down a highway in an unknown location.

"Where are we?" he asked Xiao Si in his mind.

Xiao Si quickly replied, "We've left B City, now we're heading towards L City. It seems that Li Jiuzheng is planning to take you back to Rong City."

Rong City? 

Shi Jin furrowed his brows and withdrew his gaze from the window, shifting towards the driver's seat.

The driver was a middle-aged man with a friendly appearance and average build. At that moment, he happened to be observing Shi Jin through the rearview mirror. When their eyes met, he was momentarily stunned before quickly looking away and focusing on driving.

"Um, excuse me, who are you?" Shi Jin attempted to strike up a conversation. 

The driver raised the partition between the seats, making it clear that he didn't want to talk.

Shi Jin: "..." The driver looked friendly, why was his personality so tough.

He shut his mouth and turned to look at Li Jiuzheng beside him.

Li Jiuzheng leaned against the back of the seat without moving, as if he were asleep. The light from outside the window blurred his profile, creating an illusion of fragility and melancholy.

It was obvious that this person didn't want to talk either.

Shi Jin looked away and tried to move his legs. He felt a twinge of pain and the wound on his shoulder suddenly became noticeable. Feeling the pain meant that he had regained control of his body. 

The situation wasn't too bad, and he breathed a sigh of relief as he leaned back in his chair. However, he was worried. Even though he had regained control of his body, in his current injured and half-disabled state, he probably couldn't take on Li Jiuzheng and his driver and find a chance to escape.

It seemed like he would have to use his wits.

Moreover, from the phone call Li Jiuzheng had just received, it was clear that Shi Weichong had already found out about his disappearance, most likely from Lian Jun. 

"I messed up..." he sighed heavily in his heart, feeling hopeless as he leaned back in his chair. "Lian Jun is probably furious with me now. Not only did I not follow his orders to stay at the club, but I also called the wrong number for help..." 

Xiao Si was both anxious and worried. "Jin Jin, Li Jiuzheng's intention to kill you is very real. Rong City is his stronghold, and his private hospital is located there. Once you go in, it will be difficult to come out," it said.

"I know," sighed Shi Jin. He turned to look at Li Jiuzheng and said, "I will find a way to send a message out... Let's play it by ear. In the original plot, Li Jiuzheng didn't really make a move even though he stared at the original owner for so long. We still have a chance now. Besides, Li Jiuzheng is not a professional kidnapper. He must have left a lot of clues when he took me away. Lian Jun probably has already found something. Let's try to buy some time. As long as we hold out until Lian Jun arrives, we'll be safe." 

Xiao Si let out a sigh as it watched the progress bar freeze at 900. It silently prayed that Lian Jun would soon suspect Li Jiuzheng and come to his aid.


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