Death Progress Bar

Death Progress Bar

Chapter 41 - The Henchman

After sorting out their clothes, Shi Jin pushed Lian Jun to the restaurant closest to the villa.

The restaurant was large, with both indoor and outdoor areas decorated in a tropical island style. The outdoor tables were all under simple and beautiful shell umbrellas, with fresh flower bouquets on the tables, making it very pleasing to the eye.

There were many people wearing waiter uniforms bustling about in the restaurant. When they saw Lian Jun coming, they all stopped their work and greeted him respectfully.

Lian Jun waved his hand to indicate that they could continue their work freely without worrying about him. So everyone continued to work while joking and laughing with each other, creating a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. As Shi Jin looked around curiously, he couldn't help but feel surprised. If it weren't for the sturdy and orderly movements of the waiters, he would have thought that this was just an ordinary restaurant on some vacation island, rather than a specialized dining hall for the underworld.

Lian Jun casually pointed to a table outside, gesturing for Shi Jin to follow him. After they were settled, Lian Jun picked up the menu and handed it to Shi Jin, saying, "The fruit pie on the island is pretty good. Would you like to try it?"

Shi Jin took back his gaze from the shell-patterned umbrella above his head and glanced at the densely packed menu, exclaiming, "How many chefs did you hire to make all these dishes?"

"We cultivate our own chefs, so there's no need to hire anyone," Lian Jun replied, as two glasses of juice were brought to the table. Shi Jin found it unbelievable and asked, "Do we still have a department for training chefs?"

Lian Jun liked that he used the word "we" and relaxed back in his wheelchair, replying, "There is no dedicated department, only cooperative schools and various training schools we have established ourselves. We will eventually break free from this life of living on the edge, and when that time comes, I want to make sure they have a skill to put food on the table."

This was the first time Shi Jin had heard Lian Jun talk about internal affairs of "Annihilation." Before, he had just followed everyone else on missions and training, doing whatever was asked of him without daring to ask too many questions or pry too much, afraid of causing offense. But now that Lian Jun had brought it up, he couldn't help but continue asking, "So, Young Master Jun, are you planning to lead the entire Annihilation through this transformation?" 

Lian Jun nodded and pushed away the glass of juice the waiter brought him. Seeing that he had no intention of ordering, he took charge and ordered the signature fruit pie, a seafood congee, and several other breakfast snacks that were suitable. After the waiter left, Lian Jun said, "We've all suffered together and now that we're transitioning, we naturally have to bring everyone along. In this line of work, there's no reason to casually abandon our brothers."

This was the most mafia-style thing Shi Jin had ever heard from Lian Jun, and for a moment, it was like he was getting to know Lian Jun all over again.

As the largest legal violent organization in China, "Annihilation" had influence that spanned many countries and its membership was almost astronomical. The pressure of taking on the livelihoods of all these people was terrifying just to think about. Although he was young and not in the best of health, Lian Jun had an undeniable air of leadership about him.

Taking a sip of his juice, Shi Jin looked at Lian Jun with admiration before continuing to ask, "So how many of these training institutions and corresponding schools do we currently have? And with so many people to support, we'll need a lot of job opportunities. Doesn't that mean you'll not only have to break free from your position as the leader of the underworld, but also become a CEO to reach the pinnacle of success in life?" 

The question seemed to have a hint of prying into the progress of the Annihilation's transformation. Seeing that Shi Jin was simply curious, Lian Jun replied frankly, "There are many schools that specialize in this field, training institutions are continuously opening up, and business networks are also expanding. However, these are not things you need to know. You are doing the most dangerous job by staying by my side, and there is always a possibility of being caught by the enemy. To prevent internal information leakage, the specific process of transformation is confidential and cannot be made known to you." 

Shi Jin picked up the fruit slices from the juice cup and chewed on them. He thought about the endless files in Lian Jun's study that could never be fully reviewed. He also thought about their habit of rarely mentioning "eliminating" internal affairs. With a sudden realization, he nodded and said, "I see now. Information separation is a good thing. Even if there is a spy among us, the internal information won't be easily leaked."

Lian Jun was most satisfied with Shi Jin's attitude here. Although Shi Jin had a lively personality, he was never confused when it came to important matters. He had a sense of propriety and didn't ask unnecessary questions or think about things he shouldn't. He could see the big picture and was never overly sensitive or calculative.

A person like this would be an excellent choice as a subordinate, a friend, or even more.

"Young Master Jun? Young Master Jun? The food is here, hurry up and eat before it gets cold." 

As he was lost in thought, Lian Jun was startled by a hand waving in front of his face. He realized that he had been zoning out in front of Shi Jin and paused for a moment before taking a deep look at him. Sitting up, he picked up the spoon and stirred the seafood porridge that Shi Jin had pushed over to him. 

After a brief pause, he suddenly spoke up, "Shi Jin, there are some things that I think you have the right to know and the right to choose. The transformation of Annihilation involves two parts. One part is the transformation of the profit and business structure, which is not difficult to carry out with official support and relaxation of regulations, as well as a large accumulation of capital. Completing this part is only a matter of time. The truly difficult part is the other part."

With a mouthful of fruit pie, Shi Jin asked vaguely, "What is the other part?" 

As Lian Jun watched him eat with a serious expression on his face, he couldn't help but be amused by the comical sight. Just as he had become serious, his tone relaxed and he said, "It's the transformation of the organization's definition. Do you remember the official definition of 'Annihilation'?"

Shi Jin swallowed his fruit pie and furrowed his brow even tighter, replying, "The largest legal criminal organization in the country? And they have some kind of cooperation with the government... Is that right?" 

"It's basically like this," said Lian Jun as he stirred the seafood porridge. "But looking at history, for society to have stable and even thriving development, criminal organizations defined as legal are not necessary. As an existence destined to be eliminated by history, if we don't want to perish in the end, we must strive to survive. The other part of the transformation is that of the organization's positioning. What we want is for there to no longer be the 'Annihilation' organization in official records. Only then can we truly be safe and consider the transformation a success."

In an instant, Shi Jin understood his meaning and blurted out, "Is the government going to crack down on criminal organizations?" 

As he watched the wide-eyed expression on his face, Lian Jun suddenly felt that these things that had once seemed so heavy were now surprisingly easy to talk about. He nodded at him and replied, "We started early, and Black Rose was the first cake the authorities went after. Fortunately, although we were on par with Black Rose, one of the major organizations that the authorities feared, we didn't have any official backing. Our accumulated capital was strong and stable enough, so the strategy the authorities took with us was to 'cooperate' rather than 'eliminate'."

Upon hearing this, Shi Jin felt a sinking feeling in his heart. So the current situation is that "Annihilation" has been pacified and has become the knife of the officials to deal with other criminal organizations. In order to reward "Annihilation" for its "understanding of the situation", the officials have begun to vigorously support and help "Annihilation" transform its business, which is to help "Annihilation" whitewash its image.

But if that's the case, then "Annihilation" is equivalent to a traitor in the criminal organization and has become the target of all criminal organizations. And this is not even the most dangerous part. When everything really settles down one day, as the last legitimate criminal organization that can threaten the officials and knows what they have done, will "Annihilation" really be easily let go?

Even if most of "Annihilation's" members and business have gradually transformed and been spared, will Lian Jun, Number One and the rest of the central members of "Annihilation", really be allowed to survive? 

Throughout history, the practice of hiding bows when the birds are gone and cooking dogs after the rabbits are dead has never ceased. 

The current transformation of "Annihilation" is not an ordinary one. It is a transformation with no way out, both inside and out. The future is uncertain and not necessarily bright. 

Shi Jin felt that even the fruit pies were no longer appetizing, and fruit juice was no longer sweet. Even the sea breeze became irritating. 

His brow furrowed as he said, "Young Master Jun, do you know what happened to most bandits who were recruited by the court in history? Even if the small fry among the bandits could return to being law-abiding citizens and continue to farm and live their lives, the leaders of the bandits usually lost their heads. Some lost them early, and some lost them late. Have you thought about this issue?" 

Lian Jun was surprised by Shi Jin's line of thinking. He didn't seem to care whether he had been tricked or not, but instead was immediately concerned about the safety of Lian Jun, the "bandit leader". 

His eyes softened, and he picked up the straw on the table and poked Shi Jin's furrowed brow. He replied, "Yes, I've thought about it. But have you thought about what will happen after you surrender? Not only will the bandit leader be in danger, but his cunning strategist and loyal followers will also suffer. Do you remember what I told you before? You have the right to choose. So now, do you choose to be a low-level thug who can return to a normal life, or one of the loyal followers who will most likely be silenced forever?" 

When Shi Jin saw that he was still in the mood to joke around with him, he reached out and took the straw that was poked at him, twisted his brow and poked it into his own juice cup, slurping down half the cup in one go. He said fiercely, "You, the leader of the bandits, are very smart. You must have thought of a way out. I'll be your lackey, I'm willing! At least I can eat and drink well with you."

Lian Jun hooked his lips, leaned back in his wheelchair, lifted his hand to prop up his chin, and said in a good mood, "No, I can't eat spicy food. You can eat well with me, but nothing spicy. It's better to be a little lackey, you can eat spicy too."

Shi Jin was very bold and rolled his eyes at him, pushing the porridge bowl in front of him and saying, "Then you quickly get better, I also want to eat spicy food. You can't deprive me of my hobbies." 

Lian Jun couldn't help but chuckle. His previously uncertain heart had finally settled as he took a glance at Shi Jin and then at the seafood porridge in front of him. He reached out and pushed it away, gesturing towards the half-eaten fruit pie in front of Shi Jin and said, "I'm tired of porridge, I want that."

Shi Jin was momentarily stunned by his laughter, but then regained his composure and gave a "I can't do anything with you" expression, offering his fruit pie to Lian Jun.


After their conversation during breakfast, the distance between the two of them had inexplicably narrowed. Shi Jin became bolder and more casual in front of Lian Jun, who silently approved. During the afternoon break on the island, the Numbers quickly noticed the subtle changes in the air. They didn't say anything to each other, but after the meeting, Number Two took Number Six aside and chatted with him for a long time, leaving him surprised.

Later, when Shi Jin went to get his island pass with Number Six, he noticed that his new colleague was looking at him strangely.

Number Six was a gentle and kind person, with a mature appearance and older than the other members of Numbers. He had watched Lian Jun grow up and had a deep affection for him, almost like an elder. Now, seeing his beloved junior show special attention to someone else, he felt a mix of emotions.

"Is it Xiao Jin? How old are you now?" Number Six asked tentatively. 

Shi Jin thought that the reason why Number Six looked at him strangely was because he thought Shi Jin was too young. So, he confidently replied, "I'm 20 years old."

Twenty years old, not too big of an age difference, still acceptable.

Number Six nodded and took out a blank pass card, reaching out to Shi Jin, "Give me your ID card, I'll enter your information."

Shi Jin obediently took out his ID card and handed it over. After handing it over, he realized that his date of birth was on the card, and his expression briefly stiffened - oh no, his lie was about to be exposed.

Number Six also saw Shi Jin's date of birth on his ID card, hesitated for a moment, looked up at Shi Jin, and was very shocked in his heart, "This fake age, it's really a bit too far off." Hadn't he just become an adult not too long ago.

"I have a more mature mental age," Shi Jin tried to salvage the situation. Number Six's heart was trembling as he carefully entered the information, then asked, "So, what do you think of Young Master Jun? Do you think he's too old for you, considering his age?"

Shi Jin was completely confused, "Old? Isn't Young Master Jun the perfect age? He just turned 26 this month." They're practically the same age after including his past life.

Number Six's eyes lit up at his words, and he spoke faster, "Do you remember Young Master Jun's birthday?"

"I remember. Why are you making that face? Is it something hard to remember?" Shi Jin felt a bit uneasy under his gaze.

Number Six quickly composed himself, smiled and waved his hand, "No, it's not hard to remember. What's difficult is this sincerity. Here, take this. I've given you the highest level of access on your card. Go have fun and enjoy yourself."

Shi Jin left, completely bewildered. 

Number Six was satisfied and smiled, exclaiming, "Just a casual chat and he already talks about his birthday, it seems like Young Master Jun is constantly on his mind. Not bad, not bad."


During dinner, Lian Jun didn't feel like going to the restaurant and Shi Jin was too lazy to move, so he simply called the restaurant and had them deliver a table of food to the terrace.

Lian Jun had no objections to Shi Jin's choice of dining location and happily took his seat.

After finishing the meal in good spirits, Shi Jin noticed that Lian Jun didn't seem to have any intention of immediately going to his study to handle business. Seizing the opportunity, he said, "Young Master Jun, we're already on the island. How about trying the massage?"

Lian Jun turned his head to look at him, but didn't say anything. However, his expression remained relaxed. "Let's give it a try. Massaging was my way of admitting defeat to you. I'm willing to accept the consequences of losing the bet, but you can't just let me off so easily. I might take advantage of it," said Shi Jin, with a self-reflective and self-reproaching tone, trying to sound noble.

Lian Jun raised an eyebrow, propped his chin up with his hand, and spoke lazily, as if he was drunk on the sea breeze. "Shi Jin, why are you so obsessed with massaging?"

With their earlier conversation as a preface, Shi Jin chose to be honest this time and replied, "I want to see your legs. People who can't walk for a long time are likely to have muscle atrophy in their legs. I asked Uncle Long, and he said you refused to do leg rehabilitation. I'm a little worried."

Lian Jun's expression faded a bit, he looked away and said, "Why worry about these things? I know my body better than anyone else." 

"You're not being realistic, you're giving up on yourself," retorted Shi Jin, his expression unusually serious. "Your legs aren't disabled, once your body is properly adjusted and the nerve damage is gone, you can rehabilitate your legs and become a normal person again. You can't prematurely give up on your body."

"But my fate was decided by the heavens since birth," replied Lian Jun, as if he had already accepted his fate.

"Lian Jun, you can't think like that," frowned Shi Jin, feeling a headache coming on.

As he expected, Lian Jun was not a cooperative patient, as evidenced by the occasional complaints from Uncle Long. Lian Jun never ate properly, and before he arrived, he would even drink alcohol despite knowing his stomach couldn't handle it. He also hated taking medicine and was very difficult to deal with. After their conversation that morning, he could probably guess where Lian Jun's attitude came from.

The transformation of "Annihilation" was fast and dangerous, with no room for error. There was simply no time for Lian Jun to worry about his own physical condition. Lian Jun probably had some self-loathing for his current physical state and may have even harbored thoughts of self-destruction, thinking that once he sent all his brothers off to a better life, he would offer his own head to the authorities and bring everything to a complete end. How could someone who had already sealed their own fate possibly care about their own body?

Seeing his stern expression and his struggle to find the right words, Lian Jun suddenly laughed and said, "You seem to care more about my body than I do. Shi Jin, can you tell me why?" 

His laughter was infectious, but Shi Jin couldn't help feeling downcast. "Why does it matter?" Shi Jin furrowed his brows, glancing at the progress bar in his mind that belonged to Lian Jun. He then looked at Lian Jun, who seemed indifferent to everything, and said, "I just want you to live a long and healthy life. From my current position and identity, isn't it normal to have such thoughts?"

Lian Jun looked at him without saying a word, seemingly digesting his response.

Shi Jin fell silent, pondering how to motivate Lian Jun to take action.

"Let's go." Lian Jun suddenly dropped his hand from his chin, relaxing for a rare moment. He resumed his usual reserved demeanor, turning his wheelchair towards the small living room connected to the terrace. He tilted his head slightly and said, "Didn't you bring your massage tools? You said you wanted to give me a massage." 

Shi Jin was taken aback at first, but then his eyes lit up. He quickly went over to help support the armrests of the wheelchair and said with relief, "That's more like it. Life still has hope. Don't worry, I brought all my tools with me. I guarantee that you'll feel comfortable."


Shi Jin's tools consisted of three parts: various massage tools that were just for show, medical massage oil provided by Uncle Long, and a small speaker for listening to music.

The massage was to take place in Lian Jun's room. Shi Jin first prepared a hot bath for Lian Jun and then had a mobile massage bed with a slightly lower degree of hardness brought in according to the information he had collected beforehand.

After everything was ready, Shi Jin connected the speaker to his phone and found the soothing instrumental music he had specially collected under the category of "Cleansing the Soul." 

He clicked play. In the next moment, soft and ethereal music floated through the room, accompanied by the distant sound of muffled waves, causing emotions to settle unconsciously.

Shi Jin was very satisfied and chatted with Xiao Si in his mind: "The sound quality of this little speaker that Number Two helped me find is good, it must be expensive."

Xiao Si remained silent.

Not receiving a response, Shi Jin stopped fiddling with the small speaker and asked in confusion, "What's wrong with you? I'll need you to guide me into the rhythm during the massage later, don't drop the ball now."

Xiao Si: "Ah - hiccup."

What was this strange sound?

Shi Jin frowned and asked worriedly, "What's wrong with you? Is something really wrong?"

"No." Xiao Si's voice suddenly became calm again, so calm that it was a bit serious, and he spoke at double speed, "Shi Jin, turn around quickly." 

Without thinking, Shi Jin turned around and crashed into someone's chest that was still moist with water vapor. The faint scent of shower gel rushed into his nostrils.

"The music is good," Lian Jun reached out and took the small speaker from Shi Jin's hand, glanced at it, and casually placed it on the nearby cabinet. He then leaned over and propped himself up on the massage bed behind Shi Jin, looking at him who was almost half-embraced in his arms and asked, "Do I just lie down?"

Shi Jin held his breath, his gaze shifting from Lian Jun's still-damp collarbone to his Adam's apple, then to his chest covered by a black silk bathrobe. He quickly lowered his gaze to Lian Jun's feet standing on the carpet, before finally returning to his face. 

Seeing his messy hair, Shi Jin couldn't help but gasp in awe. "Oh my goodness, is this really Lian Jun? He just took a shower and let his hair down, but why does he look like a completely different person? Is it really true that standing or sitting and having your hair up or down can make such a big difference?


His forehead was tapped, and Shi Jin snapped out of his daze, looking at the only living person beside him.

Lian Jun withdrew his hand and stepped back, consciously lying down on the massage bed. The loose hem of his bathrobe opened up, revealing a pair of slender legs as he said, "Let's begin."

His expression and tone were very natural and calm, in stark contrast to his sudden approach just now.

Shi Jin's gaze followed his movements, and perhaps due to the shock, he didn't immediately look at Lian Jun's legs. Instead, he earnestly asked, "Are you...wearing nothing underneath that bathrobe?"


Lian Jun turned his head to look at him and said in a calm tone, "Shi Jin, although you may be foolish, your thoughts are quite beautiful." 

Shi Jin felt inexplicably embarrassed.


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