In the end, it was Number Nine who helped Shi Jin break the awkwardness. He reached out and patted him, gesturing towards the distant sea, saying, "Nine Eagles is here."
Upon hearing this, Shi Jin immediately turned his head to look in the direction of Nine Eagles's arrival. He also took the opportunity to retract his middle finger, pretending that nothing had happened.
Sure enough, Nine Eagles's ship appeared on the distant sea. Their ship was very large, and on the deck was a gold flag with a picture of an eagle, which was very easy to recognize.
The people from other organizations also gradually noticed Nine Eagles's arrival, and the previously quiet deck immediately became restless.
"It's Nine Eagles."
"Nine Eagles is getting later and later."
"I heard that even Annihilation can't control them anymore." Whispers and discussions could be heard from different corners. Thanks to his enhanced hearing buff, Shi Jin could hear everything clearly. He looked at the large ship of Nine Eagles, his brow furrowed. Nine Eagles had already weakened the deterrence on the road to destruction, which was not a good thing.
"Putting on a show." A woman in her forties, dressed very fashionably, suddenly sneered. Her voice was not loud, but many people noticed it because of her special hoarse voice.
Everyone looked over.
But the woman had already withdrawn her gaze. She no longer watched Nine Eagles's grand finale and, after greeting the host Zhang Zhuoyuan, led her people to the large conference room connected to the deck.
"She is the leader of the Tarantula, named Lu Shan. She is very cunning and has a history with Young Master Jun, but they are putting on a show of enmity," whispered Number Nine into Shi Jin's ear.
Shi Jin was surprised and looked at Lu Shan, confirming the position of the Tarantula's ship. He silently marked a friendly green dot for the Tarantula in his mind.
While they were talking, the Nine Eagles' ship had already approached. It moved aside from the circle of ships and even pushed aside a few smaller ships on the periphery, finally stopping on the other side of Annihilation's ship. Together with the Phantom's ship, they sandwiched Annihilation's ship.
Xiao Si was so scared that it couldn't breathe and said, "Jin Jin, the progress bar for the treasure has reached 900. It happened after the Nine Eagles' ship stops next to our ship!"
Shi Jin frowned deeply, looking unhappily at the Nine Eagles' ship. The progress bar was rising rapidly, and it was clear that the Nine Eagles had impure intentions for stopping their ship there.
Number Nine's expression was also unpleasant. His face was stiff, and a rare hint of disgust appeared on his face. "The leader of the Nine Eagles probably doesn't want to live anymore."
Those who understood the situation knew that the seemingly ordinary action of the Nine Eagles stopping the ship there was actually a provocation towards the Annihilation. They all looked towards Lian Jun, who was still sitting in the middle of the deck with Zhang Zhuoyuan, to see what his reaction would be.
Lian Jun was also looking in the direction of the Nine Eagles' ship, but his expression didn't change much. He even took out his phone to check the time and said to Zhang Zhuoyuan, "It's already 9:45. Let's prepare to start the meeting."
Upon hearing this, Zhang Zhuoyuan withdrew his gaze from Nine Eagles and did not ask what if they should wait for Nine Eagles who had not yet built their connecting bridge. He nodded towards Liu Zhenjun, who was standing outside the cockpit on the third floor. Liu Zhenjun waved his hand, and the soldiers waiting in various corners of the deck moved together, directly lifting the deck fence that had been lowered to build the bridge. They dispersed at fixed intervals, enclosing the deck.
The leaders of various organizations still on the deck noticed this and their eyes flickered. The smarter ones immediately guessed that the authorities were unhappy with Nine Eagles's arrogance, while the less astute ones could also sense that Nine Eagles would probably be given the cold shoulder by the authorities for being late. Everyone walked towards the meeting room connected to the deck with restless thoughts.
When they arrived at the door, all the people brought by the leaders stopped, and only the leaders went into the meeting room. The people who had followed the leaders into the room earlier also began to leave on their own.
Soon, all the leaders of the various organizations on the deck had entered the meeting room, leaving only their subordinates outside.
As for Lian Jun, he couldn't bring his subordinates into the meeting room. When he reached the door, he waved his hand for Number One to stay outside. He then glanced at the position where Shi Jin and Number Nine were, but found that Shi Jin wasn't looking in his direction.
He furrowed his brows, but quickly composed himself and entered the meeting room with Zhang Zhuoyuan. At 9:55, the doors of the conference room closed. At the same time, the floor-to-ceiling curtains that had been blocking the view of the room were lifted, revealing the scene inside the conference room.
The subordinates who had been waiting outside were familiar with the routine and immediately looked through the glass windows towards their respective leaders' positions. The leaders of the organization sitting in the conference room looked like a group of monkeys being observed.
Shi Jin: "..."
This isn't quite what he expected from a secret meeting.
Number Nine explained, "These glass windows are all specially made to be bulletproof. The leaders who enter the conference room are not allowed to bring weapons, but their subordinates can. This way, even if there is a conflict outside, the people inside the conference room will not be harmed. And if there is any disturbance inside the conference room, the people guarding outside can quickly rush in to help. This is the result of a compromise between the government and us, and it has been maintained for many years."
Shi Jin could only remain silent.
The conference room had a rectangular table, with Zhang Zhuoyuan sitting at the head, accompanied by several assistants who were probably there to help with paperwork. Lian Jun sat to the right of Zhang Zhuoyuan, with Lu Shan sitting next to him. The position opposite him was empty, which should have belonged to the leader of the Nine Eagles who was late.
The leader of the Phantom didn't give a real name, only a code name - Old Ghost. He sat across from Lian Jun, in the fourth position on the left, not a great spot in the first row.
At exactly ten o'clock, the meeting began on time, and Zhang Zhuoyuan's assistant began distributing materials and equipment.
Outside, people couldn't hear the sound inside. When Shi Jinjian saw Lian Jun start looking through the materials, he withdrew his gaze and looked towards the Nine Eagles' ship.
The Nine Eagles' crew was busy setting up the gangway and bridge. They arrived too late and, although they stopped in a spot relatively close to the official ship, Annihilation wasn't helping them set up the gangway, so they had to take more time and do it themselves.
Objectively speaking, the Nine Eagles' speed in setting up the gangway was still quite fast, but they arrived too late. By the time they finished setting it up, the meeting had already been going on for more than ten minutes.
Liu Zhenjun went down to the deck and watched as the leader of the Nine Eagles walked over the gangway and was blocked by the deck fence. With a stern face, he said, "Please leave. Once the fence is closed, it won't open until the meeting is over. Please come back in the afternoon."
The leader of the Nine Eagles was a young man about the same age as Lian Jun. He had a pretty good appearance and looked like a rogue. When he heard this, he raised his eyebrows and said, "Oh, I see... Well, forget it. The morning meeting is just a roll call, it's boring. You can get busy, I'll go back first. Bye." With that, he swaggered away with his men.
Liu Zhenjun watched him leave with cold eyes and then turned back to the cockpit.
Shi Jin didn't expect the leader of the Nine Eagles to be so arrogant and was a bit speechless. He asked, "Is he always like this? Even to officials?"
"He's just used to being brainless," commented Number Nine with a tone of disdain. "Couldn't he have taken a small boat instead of waiting for the ladder? He could have easily made it to the meeting on time. He's just too proud and brainless. Maybe he's been living too comfortably and wants to stir up trouble with the authorities."
Shi Jin listened to his words, but he didn't think that the leader of the Nine Eagles was brainless. On the contrary, he seemed to be holding onto something that the authorities or other organizations couldn't use against him, which made him very confident.
"Shi Jin," suddenly Number Nine turned to him.
Shi Jin snapped out of his thoughts and looked at him in confusion. "What's wrong?"
Number Nine gestured towards a certain direction on the deck and said, "That person has been looking at you. It seems like he knows you." Shi Jin turned his head and unsurprisingly found that the person staring at him was Fei Yujing, whom he intentionally ignored and overlooked. His heart skipped a beat, and he decisively chose to retract his gaze, turning to face the sea. He said, "That's my second brother, Fei Yujing. I want to pretend not to know him, just play along."
Number Nine was surprised and speechless, but he complied and turned to face the sea as well. He asked, "I remember your second brother is a lawyer. How did he end up in this kind of situation?"
"I don't know. He came with the Phantom's leader," Shi Jin replied.
Number Nine nodded in understanding and took out his phone to report the situation to Number One. During a break in the meeting, when Lian Jun pretended to casually glance over to the corner where Shi Jin was, he was surprised to see that Shi Jin was completely absorbed in the scenery, completely ignoring his employer who was in the 'wolf's den'.
"Is that your new subordinate?" Lu Shan, who was sitting next to him, lowered her voice and asked while flipping through some documents.
Lian Jun discreetly averted his gaze and also pretended to look through some documents before replying, "Don't ask about things that you shouldn't be asking about."
"Tsk, you're becoming less and less lovable as you grow older." Lu Shan frowned in dissatisfaction and noticeably moved her chair to the other side, as if she didn't want to be too close to Lian Jun.
The others quickly noticed their actions and, seeing that Lu Shan had moved her chair to create distance between herself and Lian Jun, they didn't think much of it and averted their gazes. As an organization grows older, it tends to accumulate more enemies.
Both Annihilation and Tarantula are well-established organizations, and over the years, they have built up a deep-seated hatred for each other, perhaps even deeper than the ocean outside. However, for some unknown reason, the authorities arrange for the leaders of these two organizations to sit together every year.
The morning meeting was just a simple summary and roll call, and it ended promptly at half past eleven. The real show of the day would begin at two in the afternoon.
Each leader's subordinates met them at the door of the conference room, and after Liu Zhenjun's men put down the deck fence again, they all dispersed. After staring at the sea for over an hour and feeling the occasional gaze from Fei Yujing on his back, Shi Jin was exhausted. When he saw Lian Jun come out, he eagerly went over and took the initiative to push his wheelchair, asking, "Are you tired from the meeting, sir?"
Lian Jun replied in a calm tone and expression, "Not as tired as you are from looking at the scenery."
Shi Jin nodded straightforwardly and rubbed his eyes, saying, "Looking at the scenery is quite tiring. Staring at the blue sea for too long can make your eyes sore."
Lian Jun's hand on the wheelchair tightened, his expression even more subdued as he said, "Then you can look at something else in the afternoon."
"I was planning to do something else this afternoon. Although there's no signal for mobile phones on the sea, I can still play single-player mahjong. I'm planning to play mahjong this afternoon," Shi Jin happily shared his joy and suggested, "Young Master Jun, you can also play some single-player games to relax during the break. I brought a power bank, do you need one?"
Lian Jun decided not to talk to him for the time being, afraid that he might be angered into revealing some flaws and be seen through by those cunning people.
Without getting a response, Shi Jin wanted to ask again. Number One couldn't help it anymore, he held Shi Jin's shoulder and pushed the wheelchair, giving Number Two a "watch him" look, and walked ahead of Lian Jun.
Number Two caught Shi Jin and covered his mouth.
Shi Jin felt targeted and reached out to poke Number Two's eyes. The group chattered and prepared to go down to the lower restaurant for lunch. Suddenly, the mischievous leader of Phantom caught up from behind and called out to Lian Jun.
Lian Jun waved his hand to signal Number One to stop and turned his head to look at the old ghost who was approaching quickly with Fei Yujing. His gaze stopped on Fei Yujing for a moment before asking, "Old Ghost, do you have business with me?"
"I want to have lunch with you," Old Ghost replied simply, but gestured with the number "9" in his hand.
"9". Nine Eagles.
Lian Jun understood his hint and nodded, saying, "Then let's go together. And who is this?"
"Fei Yujing, the lawyer I hired. I've had some business problems lately and several of my subordinates have been implicated. He's here to help," Old Ghost replied, introducing Fei Yujing to Lian Jun as the leader of the Annihilation. Fei Yujing took the initiative to extend his hand to Lian Jun, with a very formal and polite attitude, saying, "Nice to meet you."
Lian Jun shook his hand but did not respond to his words, only nodding in acknowledgement. He then signaled for Number One to continue leading him to the restaurant.
Old Ghost looked puzzled at Lian Jun's behavior, which clearly showed that he was not very fond of Fei Yujing. However, Lian Jun was not the kind of person who would be impolite to someone he met for the first time. He frowned and lowered his voice to ask Fei Yujing, "Have you met Lian Jun before?"
"No," Fei Yujing shook his head, keeping his gaze on Shi Jin, who was trying hard to act like a stranger and blend in with the background. After thinking about Lian Jun's attitude, he replied, "Lian Jun's behavior is probably due to some other personal reasons. Don't worry, it won't affect your business." Old Ghost still had confidence in him, so when he heard this, he let out a sigh of relief and didn't ask any further questions.
The group settled into a private room in the restaurant.
Shi Jin could feel Fei Yujing's gaze still occasionally falling on him, but he pretended not to notice and silently ate his meal with Number Nine at the end of the table.
With Old Ghost present, everyone was more restrained, and apart from Lian Jun, Old Ghost, and Fei Yujing, no one spoke at the table.
After the initial pleasantries, Old Ghost finally got to the point. "I've had some trouble with my business in the southeast region, and now it's confirmed that it's the work of Nine Eagles. The leader of Nine Eagles, Zuo Yang, has great ambitions. He doesn't just want your position, he wants a higher status. As far as I know, he has already made connections with some local organizations in the southeast region. This is why I'm in trouble this time. The situation in the southeast region is getting more chaotic, and Nine Eagles is here to disrupt my plans. I'm not prepared to fight him, but I can't abandon my brothers. I can give up my business, but I must protect my people."
Lian Jun nodded and tapped the armrest of his wheelchair, asking, "So?"
"So I hired Lawyer Fei to come over and prepare to go public, using official business as a cover, to put pressure on that side through official channels and extradite my people back through legal means. This is currently the safest way I can think of to save them," Old Ghost spoke candidly and sincerely.
Upon hearing this, Lian Jun understood his intention and said, "Old Ghost, you are not a naive person. Nine Eagles and the local organization have detained people together and crossed borders. The government's hands cannot reach that far."
"I know the government's hands cannot reach that far, but yours can," Old Ghost said.
This was a request for help.
Number One and Number Two both looked over, then casually looked away and continued eating as if nothing had happened. Lian Jun remained silent, and the atmosphere at the dinner table became somewhat heavy for a moment. Old Ghost was clearly anxious, but he managed to keep his composure and did not urge Lian Jun to give an immediate response.
"Excuse me for interrupting, but may I ask who this gentleman is?" Fei Yujing, who had been quiet all this while, suddenly spoke up and directed his question at Shi Jin, who was busy gnawing on a piece of pork rib.
Everyone at the table turned their heads in unison to look at Shi Jin, their movements synchronized and precise.
Shi Jin was caught in the spotlight, with a piece of pork rib bone stuck in his mouth. He didn't know whether to spit it out or swallow it, and he glanced at Fei Yujing before turning to Lian Jun, his expression one of innocence.
"He's my newly recruited subordinate, codenamed Number Four." Lian Jun answered, looking at Fei Yujing and asking, "Is Lawyer Fei interested in my subordinate?"
Upon hearing this, Fei Yujing shifted his gaze away from Shi Jin and replied nonchalantly, "I am indeed interested. After all, it's been a long time since I've seen someone with such a 'unique' way of eating. It's quite enlightening."
In other words, Fei Yujing was subtly commenting on Shi Jin's unappetizing eating habits.
Shi Jin spat out a bone with a "pu" sound, wiped his mouth with a napkin, and retorted, "I never expected Lawyer Fei to have such a narrow perspective. You haven't even seen someone like me who enjoys food with their whole being. I can only imagine how miserable your past few decades must have been. Young Master Jun, it seems that my eating habits are affecting Lawyer Fei's appetite. Should I leave first?"
"No need," Young Master Jun interjected in a calm tone. "Number Three, please arrange for Lawyer Fei to have a separate table."
Number Three put down his chopsticks and left the room.
The others continued to eat, seemingly oblivious to the exchange. Old Ghost never expected things to turn out this way. When he saw that Lord Lian was really going to set up a table for Fei Yujing, he quickly stepped in as a mediator and tried to calm Shi Jin down. He even personally got up and made a gesture to stop Number Three from leaving.
Lian Jun could embarrass Fei Yujing, but he couldn't do so to Old Ghost. So he let Number Three come back, but his attitude became even colder.
Shi Jin stuffed a piece of pork rib into his mouth in front of Fei Yujing, full of provocation.
Fei Yujing looked straight at him, his face not showing any embarrassment from being targeted, but rather a deep thoughtfulness. During the meal, Old Ghost kept trying to steer the conversation back to the previous topic, but Lian Jun refused to engage and remained evasive. Perhaps feeling desperate, Old Ghost suddenly fell silent for a while as the meal was coming to an end, before finally making a bold offer: "Young Master Jun, if you help me this one time, I can help you get rid of Nine Eagles."
This was a significant sacrifice, as Old Ghost had always kept a low profile and never actively sought trouble. By making this offer, he was essentially agreeing to be Lian Jun's pawn.
However, Lian Jun remained unmoved and replied, "I don't have any thoughts about Nine Eagles."
Old Ghost was at a loss and visibly agitated, but just then, Fei Yujing suddenly spoke up again, still pointing at Shi Jin, and said, "I'm sorry."
Shi Jin was confused and then strangely discovered that his progress bar had actually dropped back to 550.
Lian Jun glanced at Fei Yujing and finally relented, saying, "Old Ghost, I can help you deliver a message to the authorities to cooperate with your economic cover, but I won't interfere in the southeast. Your brothers' lives are valuable, but so are my brothers'."
Old Ghost's expression first brightened when he heard him loosen up, but then his brow furrowed again after hearing him out. He fell silent for a moment before gritting his teeth and saying, "I was targeted by Nine Eagles for another reason."
Finally, he was going to reveal his true motives.
The atmosphere on the table inexplicably relaxed, and Lian Jun leaned back in his chair and said, "Go on."
Upon seeing his attitude, Old Ghost knew he had fallen for a psychological tactic from Lian Jun. He sighed in resignation and said, "My subordinates found out that Nine Eagles was investigating that doctor of yours back then, and they found a clue in the southeast area."
As soon as these words were spoken, the atmosphere at the dining table changed instantly. Everyone sat up straight and looked towards Old Ghost.
"Let's continue eating," Lian Jun tapped the table.
So everyone tried to calm down and resumed eating and chatting, but their attention was all on Old Ghost.
Shi Jin also looked at Old Ghost with a slightly furrowed brow. He had a hunch that the doctor mentioned by Old Ghost was related to Lian Jun's current condition, and his heartstrings tightened a little.
The eerie atmosphere on the table made Old Ghost's scalp tingle. He decided to spill everything he knew at once and said, "After discovering Nine Eagles's movements, I ordered my subordinates to pay attention to them for a while. We followed their trail and found a small, unremarkable local hospital. This hospital is only an old community hospital on the surface, but in reality, it is a place where the local organization hoards goods. The doctor who betrayed you has been hiding there for years. He had plastic surgery and changed his identity. If it weren't for Nine Eagles's people keeping an eye on him, I wouldn't have discovered his suspicious behavior."
Lian Jun listened quietly and asked, "What about him?"
Old Ghost clenched his fist and replied, "He was taken away by Nine Eagles's people after my subordinates tried to approach him." The atmosphere at the table changed once again.
Everyone was no fool, and they all understood what Old Ghost meant. When Old Ghost talked about "getting close", it wasn't just a simple approach. He wanted to snatch someone from Nine Eagles's hands. As for the purpose of snatching this person, it goes without saying that it was the same as Nine Eagles's - to use this person to do something against Annihilation or Lian Jun.
Unfortunately, Old Ghost's strength was not enough to capture the person, and he was bitten by Nine Eagles instead. Now, Old Ghost had been unable to resolve matters in the southeast region for two years, and he had no choice but to come to Lian Jun, whom he had originally planned to scheme against, for help.
This action was truly despicable.
It's no wonder he had been reluctant to reveal the truth before. With this kind of motive, it would be good enough for Lian Jun not to kill him, let alone help him save others.