Death Progress Bar

Death Progress Bar

Chapter 59 - The Doghouse

Everyone was in a frenzy, all looking towards the direction of the explosion. The bus driver and Number One, who knew the location of their accommodation, immediately realized that something was wrong and hurried towards Lian Jun's side.

"Young Master Jun, this explosion was targeted at us," Number One said confidently as he approached.

The bus driver nodded in agreement and added, "Based on the distance we've traveled and the timing of the explosion, if we hadn't stopped to wait for the others, we would have been caught in it."

While they were talking, Number Three quickly called the deputy of Phantom, but the call went unanswered. He felt increasingly uneasy and put down his phone to look at Lian Jun, calling out, "Young Master Jun."

As Young Master Jun turned his gaze back from the direction of the explosion, he gave orders, "Contact Old Ghost and inform him of the explosion. Notify the authorities and have them coordinate with the local government of L country to involve us in handling this explosion incident. Arrange for everyone to sit in separate jeeps for protection. Adjust the convoy with the bus as the center, stay in place for five minutes, and then depart for the explosion site."

With a series of commands issued, the restless hearts of the crowd immediately settled down, nodding in agreement and getting busy with their respective tasks.

Shi Jin remained quiet, listening attentively. Only after everyone had left did he ask, "Why do we need to stay in place for five minutes?"

"Five minutes is the time we give for the L country's official rescue unit to arrive at the scene," explained Lian Jun in detail. "We need their help to cover us. Usually, in this kind of ambush, if the first wave of attack fails, there is likely to be a second wave. If we rush over as soon as we hear the explosion, we may fall into the enemy's trap and be ambushed by their second wave. By delaying for some time and waiting for the official rescue team to arrive, the ambushers will be more cautious and hesitant to act recklessly. Some more cautious ones may even arrange for their retreat as soon as they see the official rescue team arrive first."

Shi Jin suddenly realized and felt that he had gained some knowledge.

However, Lian Jun suddenly said, "There is an old saying that is very true, luck is also a part of strength."

Shi Jin felt a sudden tightness in his chest and quickly laughed it off, saying, "Of course, our luck has always been pretty good... Uh, are you hungry? You haven't eaten anything since we got off the plane. I remember there's some food in the mini fridge on the bus. Do you want to eat something?"

The topic change was so abrupt that anyone could tell something was off, but Lian Jun seemed to have been blinded by love and followed Shi Jin's lead, completely distracted.

After a five-minute pause, the convoy maintained their formation with the bus in the middle and headed towards the explosion site. The explosion was so loud that many residents of L country came out of their buildings, looking at the still smoking explosion site with surprise and suspicion. Sirens and the honking of fire trucks could be heard from nearby streets, indicating that all the official rescue departments in the vicinity were rushing towards the explosion site.

Shi Jin turned his head to look out the window, seemingly observing the situation along the way, but actually staring at the progress bar of himself and Lian Jun. When he saw that the progress bar had not increased, he secretly breathed a sigh of relief.

The progress bar had not increased, which meant that the ambushers had retreated after seeing the L country official rescue team appear, and there was no danger ahead.

After more than ten minutes, everyone arrived safely at the explosion site. It was a large private villa with a courtyard, but now the main building had collapsed and flames were shooting up. The courtyard was in shambles, with the walls pockmarked by the force of the explosion and debris. The ornate iron gate was askew, and some of the explosion fragments had scattered onto the street outside. Inside the villa, there was only the sound of things burning, and it was impossible to tell if anyone was inside.

Police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks were parked in a circle around the villa, and nearby residents were craning their necks to see what was happening. The scene was chaotic.

Number One instructed the convoy to stop on a quiet street not far from the villa, and then called for Number Three to accompany the official personnel to negotiate with the local rescue team. Number Five got off the car and checked the surroundings with his men. After confirming it was safe, he returned to guard by Lian Jun's car.

Shi Jin felt uneasy and activated his enhanced vision buff. He vaguely saw rescue workers carrying something resembling body bags into the villa yard with unpleasant expressions. Unable to resist, he asked, "Young Master Jun, were there people in the villa when the explosion happened?"

Lian Jun also saw the chaos at the rescue scene. He looked at Shi Jin's serious and heavy expression for a while, then reached out and held his hand, comforting him by saying, "Shi Jin, I don't want to lie to you... Being with me, you may see many unpleasant things. For those who live in the darkness, life is not guaranteed."

This was a gentle way of giving a definite answer. Shi Jin clenched his fist and furrowed his brows, and fell silent.

The communication between the official personnel and the local rescue team was not going smoothly. It took more than ten minutes before they finally obtained permission to enter the villa and investigate the situation. They managed to avoid all the media that had rushed to the scene by driving a low-key car.

After receiving permission, Number One and Number Three immediately turned around to find Lian Jun. The official personnel, on the other hand, headed towards the low-key car, which was their main battlefield for negotiation.

When they were about to enter the villa, Lian Jun asked Shi Jin about his intentions. He said that if Shi Jin didn't want to go, he could stay in the car and wait for everyone's news.

Without hesitation, Shi Jin chose to go. His attitude was very firm. He knew that when Lian Jun asked him this, it was because he was afraid that he would see something unpleasant inside the villa and not be able to handle it. But he wasn't just a teenager anymore, and he couldn't be a useless burden to Lian Jun while they were together.

Seeing him like this, Lian Jun squeezed his hand and didn't say anything more.

In the end, there were a total of five people who decided to enter the villa: Lian Jun, Number One, Number Three, Shi Jin, and Fei Yujing. Fei Yujing had requested to go in himself. He was now the lawyer for the Old Ghost, and there were problems with the accommodations they had prepared. His deputy was also missing and presumed dead, so he had to represent the Old Ghost and go in to take a look.

Shi Jin glanced at Fei Yujing, whose expression still seemed perfectly normal, and quietly prepared a few plastic bags. He also thoughtfully brought a few bottles of water. Taking advantage of the local rescue team's distraction of the media, a few people sneaked into the villa. Once inside, they quickly scanned the messy scene in the courtyard before heading straight towards the villa.

As they walked, Number One observed, "The source of the explosion is in the center of the villa. The debris in the yard is too evenly distributed."

Number Three replied, "It seems that the enemy had already taken control of the villa from the inside, rather than attacking from the outside."

By now, the flames caused by the explosion on the main building of the villa had been extinguished by firefighters. Police and rescue workers were going in and out of the ruins, occasionally carrying black bags containing unidentified objects, their expressions grim.

It was clear that those bags contained either corpses or body parts.

Silence fell upon them, their mood heavy. As the group approached the entrance of the villa, there was suddenly some commotion in the corner of the yard. Everyone turned their heads to see a team of rescuers pointing at a tree in the yard and saying something.

Shi Jin followed their gaze and saw what appeared to be a human body fragment hanging from the tree, still dripping blood despite the damage caused by the explosion.

He immediately averted his gaze and silently adjusted his emotions. In his past life as a police officer, he had occasionally seen some gruesome scenes, but those experiences were clearly not enough to make him tough enough to always control his state when suddenly faced with certain terrible images.

Everyone could clearly see the object on the tree. Number One and Number Three remained calm, as this was just a small scene for them. As the leader, Lian Jun was also unfazed. However, Fei Yujing had the biggest reaction. Although his expression didn't show it, the action of immediately taking off his glasses revealed his unease.

Lian Jun turned to Shi Jin and said, "I can have Number One escort you out and bring in Number Five."

"I'm fine," Shi Jin shook his head, indicating that it was no big deal. "Let's go inside. If we wait any longer, the clues in the house will be destroyed by the rescue team."

Lian Jun didn't say anything else and gestured for everyone to continue into the villa.

Fei Yujing frowned and glanced at Shi Jin, surprised by his composure in this situation. The situation inside the house was even worse than everyone had thought. Almost all the furniture had been blown to powder, and there was now only a crater where the living room used to be. The remaining walls were charred black, with traces of extinguishing efforts still visible.

As far as the eye could see, there were blackened marks from the explosion and contaminated blood. Thick, dark gray dust filled the air, and unidentified body parts were scattered around. Rescue workers were cleaning up the area, but the air was filled with a nauseating smell of blood mixed with the stench of the explosion, enough to give anyone a headache.

Taking a deep breath and suppressing the urge to vomit, Shi Jin asked the rescue workers for some masks and distributed one to each person. Number One and Number Three took the masks and were surprised by Shi Jin's calmness. They had expected him to be scared and uneasy upon seeing such a gruesome scene for the first time, but Shi Jin was the first to snap out of it and think about getting masks for everyone.

Perhaps it was the power of love that made him so strong.

They thought this as they looked at Lian Jun, the first to receive a mask. Love can make people strong.

Compared to Shi Jin's quick recovery, Fei Yujing's reaction was more "normal." He looked terrible, immediately putting on the mask and avoiding looking at the bloody scene, his brows furrowed tightly.

After Shi Jin handed him a mask, he silently took out a plastic bag and a bottle of water, and handed them over, saying, "Here, go outside if you need to vomit. It's not good for the environment to do it here. If you really can't stand it, you can go back to the car."

Fei Yujing felt underestimated and refused to take the items, saying, "Who said I need to vomit? Take it back, I don't need them."

If this were a normal situation, after being rejected by Fei Yujing's good intentions, Shi Jin would definitely not bother with him anymore. But the place where everyone was now was too much like hell. As the only "ordinary person" present who had never seen such a bloody scene, Shi Jin, with his basic sense of humanity, decided to show some compassion for this stubborn Lawyer Fei.

He said straightforwardly, "Don't force yourself. I can see your Adam's apple moving up and down. If you swallow what you want to vomit, don't you feel sick?"

His description was too vivid and realistic. Fei Yujing had managed to suppress his urge to vomit, but Shi Jin's words brought it back up. His Adam's apple moved again, and he gave Shi Jin a sharp look before grabbing a plastic bag and water and walking out of the villa without looking back.

Shi Jin didn't forget to remind everyone with care, "If you need to vomit, do it further away and remember to throw the garbage in the trash can, don't add to the burden of the rescue team."

Fei Yujing paused for a moment, then walked faster towards the outside, with a hint of gritted teeth.

After some preparation, everyone officially began to search the villa.

Number One was responsible for investigating the cause of the explosion and searching for remnants, Number Three was responsible for identifying the bodies in the villa and searching for survivors, and Lian Jun was responsible for contacting Old Ghost who couldn't make it to the scene, informing him of the situation.

Shi Jin wasn't assigned a task, so he looked around and silently joined the rescue team.

He put on gloves and a protective suit, followed the rescue team as they moved through the villa, and learned their movements to carefully tidy things up. Soon, his clothes were stained with blood, but his actions became more and more skilled and professional.

After completing his task, Number One turned to Lian Jun and couldn't help but comment, "Young Master Jun, Shi Jin is truly cut out for this line of work. His mental fortitude is remarkable."

"Hmm," Lian Jun responded, his gaze fixed on Shi Jin. However, his expression did not show any signs of satisfaction from being acknowledged and praised. Instead, his brow furrowed slightly and his face grew somber.

Fei Yujing, who was on the side recording the scene despite feeling uncomfortable, overheard their conversation and turned to look at Shi Jin. He happened to catch a glimpse of Shi Jin carefully wrapping up the body bag, and his face twisted in disgust. He lifted his hand to adjust his mask and averted his gaze.

After half an hour, the villa was mostly cleaned up. Shi Jin took off his gloves and apron, ready to go back to Lian Jun and ask about the overall investigation. But just then, Number Three, who had gone to identify the body, hurriedly walked in and frowned, saying, "The Old Ghost's deputy has been found. He's not dead, he's in the doghouse in the backyard."

The doghouse? Shi Jin furrowed his brows, feeling uneasy. He quickly ran a few steps to Lian Jun's side, pushing his wheelchair, and followed Number Three and the others outside.

The villa that the Old Ghost had prepared for Lian Jun was in a very nice environment. The backyard had a swimming pool and a small garden. In the corner of the garden was a cartoon-shaped wooden doghouse that looked very new and flashy. It was probably just a decoration and not actually used to keep pets inside.

When they arrived, medical and rescue personnel were carefully dismantling the roof and walls of the doghouse. Onlookers could only catch a glimpse of the scene inside through the damaged cracks on the roof caused by the explosion, but even that was enough to make one's heart ache.

It was a hand, covered in blood, lying limp on the ground in the upper right corner of the doghouse. There wasn't even a single finger left, only a bare palm.

Shi Jin's heart trembled, and he instinctively bent down to cover Lian Jun's eyes.

Lian Jun was sitting in his wheelchair, too short to see anything, and was momentarily stunned when Shi Jin suddenly covered his eyes. But he quickly realized why Shi Jin did it and pulled his hand down, gripping it tightly.

He couldn't help but say again, "Shi Jin, you should go out and let Number Five come in."

Shi Jin composed himself and held onto his hand, still refusing. "I'm fine, let's go see first," he shook his head.

While they were talking, Number One and Number Three had already approached the doghouse. The medical and rescue personnel had completely dismantled the doghouse, revealing the person lying inside. Then everyone fell silent, and a heavy, oppressive atmosphere filled the air.

"We can't save him," the doctor said with sadness and reluctance, "give him some painkillers, at least let him go more easily."

The doctor was from L country and spoke the local language, which Shi Jin couldn't understand at all. But as he pushed Lian Jun closer and saw the appearance of his deputy lying in the doghouse, he probably guessed what the doctor was saying.

The deputy lying on the floor of the doghouse was no longer recognizable as a human being. He had been mutilated by his attackers, who were apparently trying to stuff him into the doghouse, and one of his eyes had been gouged out.

Judging from the various wounds on his body, it was clear that he had been subjected to other forms of torture before being mutilated. His face was now blue and he was foaming at the mouth, indicating that he had likely been poisoned as well.

Fei Yujing quickly turned away when he saw the deputy's condition, covering half of his face with his hand. His complexion became even more pale and sickly.

Shi Jin clenched the armrests of his wheelchair, unable to utter a single word. He felt a deep sense of hatred rising within him, wondering how anyone could be so cruel to their own kind.

The scene was filled with a heavy silence. Perhaps it was the futile attempts of the doctors to bandage wounds and administer medicine that brought some consciousness back. The deputy, who had been staring blankly, suddenly turned his head and his eyes shifted.

When he saw Lian Jun sitting in the wheelchair, his eyes suddenly lit up. He struggled to move his body and said in a muddled voice, "I...I didn't betray Brother Ghost...they...wanted to use the lives of my brothers to force me to lure you here...I...I didn't...Jun...Young Master me apologize to Brother Ghost...I couldn't save the lives of my was the Gun, the Gunfire..."

His tongue seemed to be injured too, and blood oozed out as he spoke. Shi Jin couldn't bear to watch anymore and turned his head, taking a deep breath.

Suddenly, Lian Jun stood up and walked over to him. He crouched down and placed his hand on the location of his heart. Looking into his eyes, he said, "I will pass on your message. I will also help rescue Phantom's other brothers who have been captured. You can rest assured and leave now."

Upon hearing this, the expression on the subordinate's face suddenly relaxed. The light in his eyes dimmed and slowly closed. His voice was barely audible as he said, " you...thank you..."

The weak heartbeat under Lian Jun's palm gradually disappeared. He took his hand back after a long time and looked at his body without moving or speaking.

"There are no signs of life," the doctor sadly announced, giving up on his futile attempts to bandage the wounds.

Number One clenched his teeth and couldn't help but mutter something under his breath. Number Three couldn't take it anymore. He turned around and wiped his face, clenching his fists tightly and crumpling the paper with the list of names of the deceased in his hand.

Dealing with corpses and watching a living person lose their life in front of you are two completely different things. Shi Jin felt like he had lost all his strength as he let go of his wheelchair and stared blankly at his deputy's body, his eyes filled with sadness.

Everyone became even more silent. After helping to tidy up the deputy's body, although they were still completing their respective tasks, their emotions were clearly suppressed.

When Shi Jin gathered information from everyone, he pushed Lian Jun to a place in the yard with more plants and squatted down beside him. He used his clothes to wipe the blood that had gotten on Lian Jun's hands from covering the deputy's heart, carefully and meticulously wiping finger by finger.

"Shi Jin," Lian Jun held onto his hand and asked, "Are you afraid?"

Shi Jin looked up at him, then sat down on the ground and remained silent for a few seconds before asking, "What about you? Are you afraid?"

"I am," Lian Jun replied, looking at the bloodstains on his hands that wouldn't come off. Suddenly, he leaned in and hugged Shi Jin tightly, saying in a low voice, "Shi Jin, you cannot die before me, absolutely not."

Shi Jin raised his arm and hugged him back, patting his back as if making a promise. "Okay, I'll die after you."

Lian Jun didn't say anything more. He buried his face in Shi Jin's shoulder for a few seconds before suddenly letting go and returning to his normal expression. "Let's go, we should leave now. The Old Ghost should be coming soon."

Shi Jin glanced at his tightly clenched hand and replied softly before standing up and helping Lian Jun onto his wheelchair, pushing him towards the exit. As the crowd and media outside had dispersed, most of the group had smoothly returned to the car.

After exchanging information about their respective investigations, they sadly confirmed that all sixteen of Old Ghost's subordinates sent to pick them up had died in the explosion, not a single one survived.

"Gunfire." Lian Jun took the death list handed over by Number Three and read the name in a low voice, his eyes darkening.

Sixteen lives lost. Even if the dead were not members of the Annihilation, this act of Gunfire's was enough to provoke them.


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