Today, Lian Jun was dressed in a white and blue striped robe, lazily reclining on a light-colored tatami mat with a beige pillow behind his back. He didn't look like a leader of the underworld, but rather like a carefree nobleman from ancient times.
After Shi Jin took his seat, Lian Jun personally poured him a glass of wine and asked, "Are you happy?"
Shi Jin's smile froze for a second when he saw the progress bar above Lian Jun's head showing 600. In his mind, he screamed, "What's going on? Didn't your precious baby's progress bar drop back to 500 five days ago? How did it go up by 100 now?"
Xiao Si was also at a loss and stuttered, "I-I don't know."
Without getting a response, Lian Jun looked at Shi Jin's eyes, which had lost focus, and calmly asked, "What are you looking at?"
"I was looking at you..." Just as he started speaking, Shi Jin snapped back to reality. His heart tightened and he quickly leaned over to grab the hand of Lian Jun, who was still holding onto the slender-necked wine bottle. He forced a dry smile and said, "I noticed that you don't look too well. You see, I'm not of legal drinking age yet, and since you're not feeling well, it's not suitable for us to drink right now. So let's forget about this wine..."
Lian Jun's gaze fell onto his own hand.
Shi Jin instinctively followed his gaze.
On the delicate porcelain bottle, a chubby, white hand shamelessly clung onto the pale, slender hand below it, tightly gripping it. It looked particularly shameless.
Xiao Si cried and laughed, "I should be happy to see you two getting along so well, but Jin Jin, why did your progress bar go up again? It's already at 950, I'm so scared, wuwuwu..."
Shi Jin quickly withdrew his hand and was on the verge of tears as he explained, "I didn't mean to touch your hand..."
"I know," Lian Jun replied, retracting his hand and pressing the call button on the table. His voice was gentle as he added, "Just like how a few days ago, you didn't mean to touch my leg."
Shi Jin felt like crying, but no tears came. Why was this precious baby such a person?
As the bell rang, there was a knock on the sliding door. One of the men who had appeared in the lobby five days ago stood at the door, looking respectful as he addressed Lian Jun, "Young Master Jun."
"Number Three, go get Mr. Shi's things," Lian Jun instructed.
Number Three nodded and quietly closed the door behind him.
The room fell silent once again. This time, Shi Jin dared not look around or speak, instead burying his head like a statue. Lian Jun ignored him and took a bite of the dish, staining his pale lips with a touch of color.
He asked, "Why aren't you eating? Don't you like the food?"
He was clearly asking a rhetorical question.
Shi Jin still kept his mouth tightly shut, obediently picking up his chopsticks and reaching for the plate of sauce-covered cucumbers closest to him. He had made up his mind to keep his distance from Lian Jun, this beauty.
"I heard that the young master of the Shi family enjoys all kinds of delicacies, but hates cucumbers... Well, I can understand. Cucumbers are tasteless and bland, not very appealing to those who prefer strong flavors," Lian Jun said leisurely, picking up a peanut with his chopsticks.
Shi Jin's hand stiffened, and his chopsticks veered off course, stabbing into the three-colored stir-fried shrimp next to the cucumber dish.
In his mind, he argued with Xiao Si, "Is your precious little one trying to set me up for a death banquet? Can't you control him?"
Xiao Si whined and refused to face reality: "Nonsense! My darling has a pure and kind heart. He wouldn't... he wouldn't..."
"Wouldn't intentionally put a plate of pickled cucumbers in front of me to test me?" Shi Jin gritted his teeth, his tone ominous. "And wouldn't twist the truth about me touching his leg?"
Xiao Si whispered, "But you did touch it... um, was it nice?"
Shi Jin felt like he was going to be driven crazy.
"O-okay," Xiao Si, seeing his silence, softened and tried to comfort him. "Feelings need to be cultivated slowly, and trust can't be built overnight. Let me try to make my darling less wary of you. Just wait a bit, okay?"
Shi Jin finally felt a little better and picked up the shrimp he had been poking at for ages, stuffing it into his mouth. Lian Jun observed his every move and asked, "What were you doing just now? Did you recite prayers for the shrimp before eating?"
Shi Jin paused his chewing, quickly swallowed the shrimp, and spoke with a hint of meaning, "My dad said we should be grateful for everything good in life, whether it's food, the sunshine we bask in every day, or even a stranger's smile. Especially for those who have helped us, we should always have a kind heart."
Lian Jun put down his chopsticks and picked up his wine glass, "I never would have thought that Mr. Shi Xingrui, known for his ruthlessness and lack of empathy, would have such a...kind philosophy when it comes to educating his children. It's truly surprising."
"He's pretending! He doesn't want to acknowledge my debt of gratitude to him. He's so evil!" Shi Jin angrily condemned in his heart.
Xiao Si quickly comforted him, "It's okay, the buff is done, and the baby won't bully you anymore! Jin Jin, you're the best, Jin Jin is the most good-looking minor in the world!"
Shi Jin: "..." This flattery made him want to vomit the shrimp he just ate.
The sliding door was knocked on again. A stranger appeared at the door, holding a bag. He had short hair, well-defined features, deep eye sockets, and a lingering hostility between his eyebrows. His pupils were a harsh green, indicating his mixed-race identity.
"Young Master Jun," the man greeted respectfully.
Lian Jun's gaze shifted lightly as he asked, "Why are you here? Where's Number Three?"
"Number Three was called away by Number One," the man replied simply.
Lian Jun nodded in understanding and ordered, "Put down the things and leave."
"Okay." The man stepped into the room, placed the bag on the table, and quietly left without even glancing at Shi Jin.
Shi Jin furrowed his brow slowly. "Did you notice?" he asked gravely in his mind.
Xiao Si replied hesitantly. "When the man entered the room just now, it seemed like the progress bar for my precious baby increased a bit. But when he left, it went back down again."
"So, it wasn't just my imagination." Shi Jin put down his chopsticks and couldn't help but turn to look at the sliding door that had been closed, his brow furrowing tighter and tighter.
"This person wants to kill Lian Jun, he's a threat. Maybe the 100 progress points that Lian Jun gained in the past few days were because of him."
"But he seemed like one of the baby's subordinates..." Xiao Si's tone also became serious.
As Lian Jun watched Shi Jin constantly turning his head to look at the door, he asked, "Does Mr. Shi care a lot about Number Four?"
Shi Jin turned his head back to look at Lian Jun and the progress bar above his head.
His expression was no longer relaxed and a bit tense as he asked, "The person just now was called Number Four?"
Number Two, Number Four, and the previously mentioned Number Three, their code names all had the same format but with different rankings. They were able to get close to Lian Jun, so it seemed that they were Lian Jun's important right-hand men... This situation was difficult to handle.
Lian Jun swirled his wine glass, his eyes so black that it seemed like no light could enter.
He looked straight at Shi Jin and his voice became even softer, "Number Four has always been a likable person. I don't oppose my subordinates falling in love."
Why did he say such strange things?
Shi Jin didn't understand, so he decided to ignore the statement and answered a previous question from Lian Jun seriously, "I do care about Number Four."
"Mm." Lian Jun took a sip of wine with his eyes half-closed, making it hard to read his emotions.
Xiao Si trembled, "Jin, Jin Jin, your progress bar has increased again, it's now at 960."
Shi Jin was taken aback, then looked at Lian Jun, who seemed to be focused on tasting the wine.
He continued with a sense of despair, "Because I'm afraid of him! The day he was brought in, he looked me in the eye through the crack in the door. There was no emotion in his green pupils, like a bloodthirsty beast. Today, after seeing his full appearance, I feel that my intuition was right. He's dangerous, with a fierce aura in his eyes and brows. He doesn't seem like a good person."
He also didn't seem like someone who would be loyal to his employer. As Shi Jin was speaking, Jun Lian suddenly lifted his eyes and gazed at his moving lips with a mysterious expression. He took another sip of wine, and it was unclear what she was thinking.
"Lowered, lowered! Jin Jin, your progress bar has dropped to 950!" Xiao Si exclaimed excitedly.
"But your precious baby's progress bar has gone up, by 2 points, one point per sip of wine." Shi Jin poured cold water on the conversation, feeling frustrated by the convoluted progress bar. He didn't want to continue testing the waters with Lian Jun, so he stood up and sat next to him.
He snatched the wine glass from Lian Jun's hand and grabbed a chopstick, taking some food for him. Irritated, he said, "If you're not feeling well, don't drink. Do you want to die early? I'm hungry, don't talk to me anymore. I don't want to talk to you today."
With that, he started eating with his head down, still thinking about the suspicious Number Four. He was far away from home, and from his five brothers, living in a remote mountainous area and distant waters.
Although it was hard to read the mind of Lian Jun, it didn't seem like he really wanted to kill him at the moment, so despite his progress bar being close to full, he was still relatively safe.
However, Lian Jun was different. His progress bar was dropping and rising quickly, and his death sentence seemed to be different from his own. When his progress bar was full, he would really die immediately. There was also a villain lurking around him, and his own physical condition was much more dangerous than his.
Sure enough, there was no easy-to-lower progress bar in this world... Shi Jin picked up a piece of fish and silently mourned for himself five days ago when he was still naive.
For the first time, Lian Jun had his wine glass snatched away from him. He was stunned for a moment before regaining his composure. He looked over at Shi Jin, who was busy eating beside him, and was surprised to find that he wasn't angry about the rude gesture.
He also didn't feel uneasy with the close proximity between them. In fact, watching Shi Jin enjoy his meal made Lian Jun suddenly feel hungry too. He picked up his chopsticks and reached for the piece of fish that Shi Jin had just given him.
The meal started off with a bang but ended rather uneventfully. After eating and drinking to his heart's content, Shi Jin was led by Number Three, who had an ordinary appearance, to a cozy and comfortable guest room.
Holding his recovered luggage in his arms, Shi Jin was puzzled, "How is it that my progress bar dropped back to 880 after just one meal? Does silence really make one live longer?"
Xiao Si proudly puffed out his chest, "It's because the buff I gave you is working!"
As he realized he too was a man with a "golden finger," Shi Jin's eyes lit up and he asked eagerly, "So what kind of buff did you give me? A trust bonus or a friendliness boost?"
Xiao Si shook his head and explained, "Trust and friendliness are based on how others perceive you, and I can't add to that. I can only give you a buff tailored specifically to you."
Shi Jin was puzzled. "Then what kind of buff did you give me?"
Xiao Si suddenly became evasive.
Shi Jin had a bad feeling and his tone turned ominous. "Confess and you'll be treated leniently. Resist and face the consequences."
This threat was more effective than anything else, and Xiao Si relented, muttering, "You guys were eating just now, and I thought if everyone was happy while eating, the atmosphere would become harmonious. So, I gave you a 'happy eating' buff..."
Shi Jin didn't understand: "What does a 'happy eating' buff mean? Will it make able to eat more?" But he didn't eat much for dinner.
"It's not like that," Xiao Si answered, her voice getting lower, "It's just, it makes you look especially appetizing... Look, even Baby just ate an extra bowl of rice..."
Shi Jin: "......"