Death Progress Bar

Death Progress Bar

Chapter 46 - The Bet

The next morning at ten o'clock, Number Two accompanied two officials back to the ship. 

Shi Jin was sitting in the driver's seat and glanced up at the deck. He saw that one of the officials was wearing military uniform with a high rank, while the other was in a suit with an imposing aura. Shi Jin felt a bit uneasy and turned to Number Nine beside him, asking, "Who are these two people?" 

As Number Nine typed away on his computer, he didn't even look up when he replied, "One is the leader of the meeting, Director Zhang Zhuoyuan from a certain government bureau. He's short and chubby with half-bald hair. He comes every year and is considered an old friend. The other is the deputy who helps maintain order, one of the Navy's Rear Admirals, Liu Zhenjun. He's a tough character and not easy to deal with. Like Young Master Jun, he's here to keep things in order, but he's attending this meeting for the first time. In previous years, it was always people from the Army."

Shi Jin glanced at Lian Jun's progress bar again and saw that the value was still steady at 600 without any movement. He relaxed a bit.

About an hour later, Number Nine and Shi Jin received a notification message from Number One: "Pack up and get ready to board the officials' ship." 

Number Nine immediately closed his laptop and said to Shi Jin, "Let's go."

Shi Jin responded with a sound and got up to follow him.

After a busy period, before lunch, Lian Jun led Number One, Two, Three, and Nine, along with Shi Jin, to transfer to the officials' ship. Number Five, who had returned with Number Two, stayed on their own ship.

After boarding the officials' ship, Lian Jun took Number One and followed the official in charge directly. Shi Jin followed Number Two to the accommodation arranged for them by the officials.

While packing, Shi Jin learned from Number Two that during the annual conference, except for Lian Jun, the leaders of other criminal organizations would never stay overnight on the officials' ship with their people. They would only come up to attend the meeting and immediately return to their own ship, showing a very cautious attitude. 

Shi Jin could understand their caution, but he had some doubts and asked, "So, no one else is staying on the officials' ship overnight except for Young Master Jun. Won't they think too much about it?"

Number Two sneered and replied, "Do you think if Young Master Jun doesn't stay here, they won't think too much? Young Master Jun was pushed into this position of 'representing everyone to have a close dialogue with the officials and express everyone's demands.' Given the tense relationship between the officials and us at that time, what good intentions could they have had in pushing Young Master Jun out? 

"If it weren't for Young Master Jun, those people and the officials would have used us as cannon fodder to test the waters, and we wouldn't be living comfortably now. It serves them right that they wanted to bully Young Master Jun, but instead, they helped us build a bridge with the officials. How foolish." 

Shi Jin was surprised and asked, "So other organizations already know that we are cooperating with the authorities?"

"Of course they know, those people are all shrewd," Number Two replied with a smirk, "But they don't know that Young Master Jun had already reached an agreement with the authorities to clean up the entire deformed underworld. Those fools are still envious of Young Master Jun's benefits from the authorities, not realizing that they are all trapped like rats in a pot and won't be able to escape."

Shi Jin suddenly realized.

So now everyone knows that "Annihilation" is cooperating with the authorities, but they don't understand the key point. They think that "Annihilation" is just trying to curry favor with the authorities for more benefits, but they don't know that "Annihilation" also wants to eliminate everyone. It seemed that "Annihilation" was still safe and had not been discovered as the "traitor". 

"But those fools, although foolish, there are always even more foolish people who will fall for their tricks," Number Two suddenly became serious and patted Shi Jin's shoulder, saying, "You have to be careful. During the meeting, you should receive many olive branches."

Shi Jin was puzzled and asked, "What does that mean?"

Number Two took a drag of his cigarette and replied while biting it, "Every year, those around Young Master Jun will receive obvious or subtle hints from other organizations trying to recruit them. You are the only new face this year, so you will definitely become everyone's target. Do you remember Number Four?"

Shi Jin nodded and replied, "I remember. What happened to him?" 

"At last year's meeting, he was recruited by a medium-sized organization and betrayed Young Master Jun," Number Two spoke in a low voice, his tone becoming indifferent. "His ambition was too great, and although he had the ability, he was never honest. Young Master Jun never trusted him and always had reservations about him. 

"And sure enough, when he discovered signs of the organization transitioning to a legitimate business, his mind immediately became active. Including him, this is the sixth time Young Master Jun has been betrayed by someone close to him, one betrayal per year, as if it were a fixed plot. It's really unbelievable."

Shi Jin became agitated as he spoke, reaching out to take the cigarette from his mouth and handing him a piece of candy, saying, "Some people are destined to change, and you can't keep them. Why bother worrying about them?" 

"It's not that I'm worried about them," Number Two smashed his lips and opened the candy wrapper to eat, his tone slowly returning to normal. 

"I'm just afraid that if we stay in the darkness for too long, our companions who are still with us now might suddenly turn against us one day and we'll be at each other's throats. You're new here, so you might not understand. Some people can't give up the dirty money and the fast cash, and they start making decisions that determine the life and death of others without any regard. They can't turn back to the right path anymore."

Shi Jin fell silent upon hearing this. Indeed, the human heart is the most unpredictable. Even when he was a police officer, he had seen many people who had already been rescued and helped, but after a while, they voluntarily returned to the den of thieves or wolves, making people feel both angry and helpless. 

"Anyway, just be careful and if anyone approaches you, you should immediately report it to Young Master Jun. Let's be prepared early," Number Two patted Shi Jin's shoulder, his expression and tone unusually serious. "Shi Jin, Young Master Jun trusts you a lot, don't let him down. If even you have doubts, I'm afraid Young Master Jun won't be able to handle it." 

With that, he crumpled the candy wrapper in his hand and turned to leave.

Shi Jin watched him go, understanding that he had come specifically to tell him these things today. He glanced at the progress bar in his mind belonging to Lian Jun and sighed. Number Two was really overthinking things. Even if he had doubts, not to mention how Lian Jun would react, with just this system in his mind, it would definitely not let him off easily. It would surely cry enough to make his brain useless. 

During lunchtime, Lian Jun and Number One still hadn't returned, probably having gone to eat with the officials in charge.

Shi Jin followed Number Two and the others to the restaurant on the ship. After sitting down, he still felt uneasy and took out the satellite phone that had been reconfigured after departure and sent a text message to Lian Jun, reminding him not to drink.

Lian Jun's reply came quickly, with only one word: "Okay."

Shi Jin felt relieved and put away his phone before picking up his chopsticks to start eating. The people at the table noticed his actions and exchanged a glance, silently picking up their own chopsticks to eat as well.

Lian Jun didn't return until after 4 pm. Upon his return, he immediately called a meeting and briefly explained the general flow of the conference, then instructed everyone not to wander around during the meeting before waving his hand and dismissing them. 

According to Lian Jun, the process of this conference was no different from previous years and will last for three days. The first day will involve reviewing the movements of all criminal organisations from the previous year. The second day will be dedicated to discussing and analyzing the current situation of all the illegal criminal organisations within the country. The third day is the main event, where the government will re-register all legal criminal organisations, adding some and removing others. 

At the same time, they will collect a new list of potential candidates for legal criminal organisations, which will be reviewed and announced at next year's conference. Finally, the newly established legal criminal organisations will be officially registered. There were many stories to be written about the collection of this list. 

Most of the bigwigs of criminal organisations who usually avoided public appearances were willing to attend this official meeting because it was a great opportunity to legally increase their power. Nobody wanted to miss out.

Later that evening, Number One explained to newcomer Shi Jin the specific process of collecting names for the list. Not all legally recognized criminal organisations were eligible for recommendation. 

Only those that had been registered for more than five years had a separate recommendation quota. Those registered for less than five years but more than three years only had half a recommendation quota. If they wanted to have a say at the meeting, they had to cooperate with another organization with the same qualifications. As for those who have been registered for less than three years, they have no right to speak and can only wait to gain experience by listening to the results.

Upon hearing this, Shi Jin couldn't help but ask, "So how many years have we been registered? Do we have any independent recommendation quotas?"

Number One replied, "We have been registered for the longest time, so naturally we have quotas. But Young Master has never used them. Other organizations fight for recommendation quotas to increase their allies or to promote their own small organizations and increase their strength. But we don't need any of that. So every year, Young Master hands in a blank piece of paper."

This confident and domineering answer made Shi Jin feel relieved and he nodded, indicating that Number One could continue with his explanation. Number One stopped in his tracks and said, "Other than that, there's nothing else I need to tell you. You can look through the materials yourself. Shi Jin, don't let Young Master Jun down." 

With that, he placed the materials on the table and left the room.

This was the second time today that Shi Jin had heard the phrase "don't let Young Master Jun down." He watched as Number One left the room and picked up the materials in front of him, feeling a bit helpless. 

Did he really look like someone who lacked loyalty? Why did both Number One and Two, who were the most reliable and detail-oriented, feel the need to remind him of this?

With only one day left until the meeting, most of the leaders from other organizations would arrive the next afternoon or evening, trying to time their arrival with the official ships as closely as possible, according to past years' patterns. 

To everyone's surprise, later that day, a black-painted civilian ship that had clearly been modified suddenly appeared on the distant sea and headed straight towards them.

At the time, Shi Jin was massaging Lian Jun's legs. It wasn't until Xiao Si reminded him that he noticed the new ship. Looking out the window, all he could see was a strange object wrapped in lights approaching them, which scared him into thinking that there was a ghostly presence on the sea.

Lian Jun noticed his hesitation and sat up to look out the window. He said, "It's the Phantom. They like black, and every ship they send out each year is black."

Phantom. Shi Jin had seen this name in the pile of information given to him by Number One. Phantom is also a legally registered violent organization that has been hanging around for many years. A few years ago, it almost became a big organization that could stand on equal footing with "Annihilation". 

Unfortunately, Phantom had bad luck. It lost its old leader at the peak of its momentum, and the new leader was inexperienced and made repeated mistakes in decision-making, causing the organization to gradually decline. Up to now, Phantom has become the bottom existence of the first echelon of legal criminal organisations in the country. 

"The new leader of the Phantom is a clever person," said Lian Jun suddenly, offering a completely different evaluation from what was written in the records. As he spoke, he reached out and took Shi Jin's hand, carefully wiping away the medicine oil with a towel. He explained in detail, "If the Phantom had continued to develop, it could have become the next Black Rose. The new leader's decision to sacrifice their own strength and retreat overseas was actually a very far-sighted move."

Shi Jin turned his gaze back to Lian Jun, his eyes unconsciously falling on Lian Jun's thick and beautiful eyelashes as he lowered his eyes. "In recent years, many of the larger organizations in the country have fallen and disappeared. The first tier is constantly being updated at a faster pace. Phantom's figures may seem to be getting worse, but they have always remained in the first tier without truly stepping down. They maintain a position that is not suspected by the authorities, but also do not lose their threat and influence. They are very clever and cautious."

Lian Jun carefully wiped each of Shi Jin's fingers clean, then looked up at him and said, "This time, Phantom has come early. They must have made a new decision. You can observe them more closely and guess their next move. If you guess correctly, I can promise you one request." 

When Shi Jin looked up, he was caught off guard by the intensity of Lian Jun's gaze. After a moment of being stunned, he nodded and said, "I'll definitely make a good guess...wait, can you promise me one thing?"

"If you guess correctly," Lian Jun emphasized.

Shi Jin immediately perked up and asked, "Is there a time limit for guessing?"

Lian Jun squeezed his hand and replied, "The bet will be void if you don't submit your answer before the start of the meeting on the third day."

"Don't worry, I'll definitely submit my answer on time," Shi Jin quickly agreed to the bet. He had already decided that if he won this bet, he would ask Lian Jun to go to the hospital for a thorough check-up. Uncle Long had mentioned that Lian Jun hadn't had a proper physical examination in many years. 

With the bet in place, Shi Jin immediately made the mischievous Phaontom his number one target for observation. However, the Phaontom was not cooperating with his plans. Upon arrival, all the lights were turned off and it was peacefully still, showing no intention of contacting the authorities.

"Could it be that it's too late and they're already asleep?" Shi Jin muttered, realizing the time was already quite late. After asking Xiao Si to keep an eye on the Phaontom's movements, he climbed into bed and fell asleep.

He slept soundly until morning, and as soon as he woke up, he rushed to the window to check on the Phaontom's situation. However, the Phaontom remained motionless, like a black background embedded in the vast ocean, devoid of any signs of life.

"Have they contacted the authorities?" Shi Jin asked.

Xiao Si replied, "No, there has been no movement all night." 

Shi Jin was increasingly confused and glanced over at Phantom. He hesitated and said, "Could it be that they simply arrived too early and are waiting for the main force to arrive before contacting the authorities together?"

As if to confirm his speculation, the next whole day passed with no movement from Phantom. Instead, other criminal organisations' ships arrived one after another, either alone or in groups, and sent people to negotiate with the authorities.

At dinner time, several criminal organisations with comparable strength to "Annihilation" arrived one after another and stopped at the inner circle closest to the official ships, surrounding them faintly. 

After these large organizations arrived, Lian Jun's progress bar quickly increased to 800. Although Shi Jin had mentally prepared for Lian Jun's progress bar to rise, he was still stimulated by the increase and secretly recorded the names of these organizations and the locations of their ships.

"Now, only Nine Eagles hasn't arrived yet, right?" Number Two counted the ships around them and asked Number One, who was also observing the situation outside.

Number One nodded and replied, "They like to be the last ones to arrive, it's normal."

Number Two sneered, "If they still arrive at the exact start time like last year, they will probably get a nasty surprice. That Liu Zhenhua who was sent by the authorities this year is no pushover." 

"They're just a clown jumping around, no need to pay too much attention," Number One replied with a calm expression, looking down on Nine Eagles.

Shi Jin listened to their conversation and recalled some information about Nine Eagles, feeling slightly surprised.

According to the information provided by Number One, Nine Eagles was one of the organizations with the best development momentum in recent years, and had the most potential to push "Annihilation" out of the picture. However, everyone seemed to be very indifferent towards Nine Eagles.

Seeing Shi Jin's confused expression, Number Three explained, "Nine Eagles's development was approved by Young Master Jun. Young Master Jun needs a target to divert everyone's attention."

Only then did Shi Jin understand the reason behind everyone's attitude towards Nine Eagles. As a precaution however, he still made a mental note of Nine Eagles. 

The once quiet sea area was now filled with all kinds of ships of various sizes and models in just one day. These ships were slowly adjusting their positions, familiar groups sticking together while those with grudges dispersed. Some took the opportunity to move towards the inner circle to get closer to the authorities, while others quietly retreated to avoid them. 

The only ones that remained unchanged were the few ships in the inner circle. They belonged to the large organizations that came every year, and no one dared to come and squeeze into their positions. 

As Shi Jin focused on the positions of their own ship and the Phantom's ship, he unexpectedly discovered that their ship was being excluded by the other ships in the inner circle. It was all alone in a corner, with even the outer circle ships afraid to approach. Meanwhile, the Phantom's ship, as one of the first to arrive, strangely withdrew from the inner circle and moved to the outer circle, all by itself.

"What is the Phantom's ship up to?" Shi Jin was now worried that he might not win the bet.

Xiao Si was also at a loss and couldn't offer any analysis. It could only remain silent. 

The eerie yet peaceful night passed by, and the next morning, as he stepped out early to witness the grandeur of the conference, he witnessed a scene that could only be described as magical on the deck.

All the ships surrounding the officials' vessel suddenly began to connect with each other, building gangways and bridges, creating a spiderweb-like network of passages between the ships, connecting them all together.

And the ships belonging to the large organizations located in the inner circle naturally became the most important link connecting the different ships.

What surprised him even more was that the Phantom's ship that was on the outermost circle last night had somehow stopped next to the "Annihilation" and even offered a ladder, showing a hint of goodwill. As the scene unfolded before him, Lian Jun pointed to the armrest of his wheelchair and made a satellite phone call to Number Five, who was left behind, instructing him to answer the gesture of goodwill from the Phantom.

"Young Master Jun?" Shi Jin looked puzzled.

"Figure it out yourself." Lian Jun turned his head to look at him, his face stern. "I won't provide any hints."

Remembering their bet, Shi Jin silently glanced at him and obediently began to think about the hidden meaning behind it.

The meeting was scheduled to start at ten o'clock. After nine o'clock, the leaders of various organizations began to bring their people to the official ship one after another. After Lian Jun and the official in charge met up, Shi Jin and Number Five silently retreated to a position towards the back of the deck, observing their surroundings and watching the commotion.

"Nine Eagles still hasn't shown up yet. Looks like they're going to be screwed." Number Five crossed his arms and spoke with a mocking tone. 

Shi Jin listened to him, but his attention was focused on the Phantom's ship. It wasn't until 9:30 that he saw some movement on the deck of the Phantom's ship. He quickly had Xiao Si give him a buff to enhance his vision and carefully looked over.

He saw six figures appearing on the previously empty deck of the Phantom's ship. The one walking in front was a lean man in his thirties, wearing a simple black sportswear. He should be the leader of the Phantoms.

Walking half a step behind him was a man in a suit. The man was tall with broad shoulders, narrow waist, long legs, and was carrying a briefcase. Because he was talking to the leader with his head turned to the side, Shi Jin couldn't see his face clearly.

Behind the two of them were several bodyguards, each with a restrained and agile demeanor. As Shi Jin roughly surveyed the room, his gaze couldn't help but shift to the man in the suit. Many of the big shots attending the meeting were dressed in suits, but this one in particular caught his attention. He felt like he had seen him before.

The Phantom's ship was just in the inner circle, and it didn't take long to walk over.

Perhaps sensing Shi Jin's gaze, the man who had been talking to the Phantom's leader suddenly turned his head and met Shi Jin's eyes with precision as he walked to the middle of the bridge.

Xiao Si screamed instantly, "Jin Jin, it's Fei Yujing! It's the second son of the Shi family, Fei Yujing! What is he doing here? Wait, Jin Jin, your progress bar has increased to 550! It just went up by 50!" 

Shi Jin was taken aback as he stared at Fei Yujing's cold and piercing gaze, finally revealing his entire face. Various thoughts flashed through his mind like a revolving lantern - the increasing progress bar, the words spoken by Shi Weichong, and the information uncovered by Lian Jun. Glancing at the progress bar in his mind, his brain heated up and he raised his hand to flip Fei Yujing off.

What did the original owner do to you? Why do you have such murderous intent upon seeing me, who owes you anything!

Fei Yujing noticed Shi Jin and was obviously surprised for a moment, frowning slightly. He was about to carefully examine Shi Jin's appearance when he saw the straight middle finger raised towards him. His eyes narrowed and he shifted his gaze back to Shi Jin's face, his expression inscrutable.

Even Xiao Si's voice trembled, "Jin Jin, what did you do? Your progress bar has increased again, it's at 600!" 

When Shi Jin's expression froze, his middle finger didn't know whether to curl up or stay straight, leaving him in an awkward and stiff position. He was caught in a moment of indecision, unsure of what to do next. The situation was so uncomfortable that he couldn't move a muscle.


A little frog who likes reading. Hope you liked this chapter, and thank you for your support! Coffee fuels my midnight translation binges.

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