All the buildings in the Flower Fruit Orchard were nestled in a valley, surrounded by mountains on three sides, with the fourth side facing a small hill where Shi Jin had parked. Beyond the hill lay the park and the road, making the location very secluded. There were four gates leading in and out of the valley, each located in one of the four directions. The two eastern gates were situated in the gap between two mountains, wide enough for two trucks to pass through side by side. When Shi Jin arrived, the iron gates of the second gate were wide open, and more than ten large trucks were parked in an orderly manner on the spacious ground inside.
He put away the map and glanced at the open gate, then looked up at the mountains on either side of it. As expected, he saw two sentries standing guard there. "Xiao Jin Jin, what are you looking at?" Number Two suddenly appeared out of nowhere, holding a promotional foam board and blocking Shi Jin's view of the mountain outpost.
Shi Jin glanced at him and pointed to the mountain, not hiding what he had seen. "Before we came, Number Three told me that we are legitimate businessmen. But would legitimate businessmen build an orchard in such a easily defensible location, with outposts on both sides of the entrance, and even arm their employees?"
Number Two raised an eyebrow and laughed, showing his white teeth. "This place is too close to the border and the security is not good. It's all because of the situation."
What a liar.
Shi Jin rolled his eyes. Seeing that Number Two wasn't going to say anything, he knew he hadn't gained everyone's trust yet, so he changed the subject and asked, "What is that in your hand?" "We need a promotional board for our orchard," Number Two replied, walking over to a large truck and effortlessly nailing the board onto it. He turned to Shi Jin and showed off, "How's that? Is it eye-catching enough? This promotional method was my idea, pretty impressive, right?"
Hanging promotional boards on vehicles is such an outdated method, isn't it?
Shi Jin swallowed his sarcasm and asked, "When do we leave? Where are we shipping these fruits to?"
"Don't ask too many questions, good boy," Number Two walked over and patted Shi Jin's shoulder with a smile, "You just need to follow me, you don't need to do anything else."
Shi Jin shook off his hand, no longer asking any more questions, and replied with a straight face, "Okay, little second brother." As soon as Number Two realized that he was being thanked for calling out "Xiao Jin Jin" earlier, he burst out laughing and playfully patted Jin's shoulder, looking like he had just found a treasure. "You're so cute, not at all like a pampered little young master. I like you."
Jin kicked Gu's leg without hesitation, signaling that he didn't want to chat anymore.
After fifteen minutes, the convoy was finally ready to depart. Jin followed Gu onto the middle vehicle, with Gu driving and Jin sitting in the passenger seat.
"Do you have a driver's license?" Gu asked.
"No, I'm not old enough yet, but I can drive," Jin replied.
"Then let's take turns driving. You can rest for a bit and recharge," Gu suggested.
Jin frowned. "Aren't you afraid of me getting caught by the police for driving without a license?" "Number Two" gave him a strange look, as if smiling but not really: "Don't worry, the route we're taking won't encounter any traffic police."
Shi Jin was puzzled.
Several hours later, when Shi Jin woke up from his nap and was ready to take over for "Number Two," he finally understood the meaning behind "not encountering any traffic police."
"Did we cross the border?" Shi Jin looked around at the desolate surroundings and occasional unfamiliar road signs, feeling very confused.
"You have good eyesight." "Number Two" had an unlit cigarette in his mouth and mumbled, "The convoy will stop for a 15-minute break in ten minutes. Hurry up and eat, get ready to take over for me."
They had actually crossed the border. Shi Jin now had serious doubts that the truck behind him was carrying mangoes, but he wisely didn't ask and bent down to take food out of the car fridge to eat. After a brief rest, the convoy continued on their journey.
Number Two, who had switched to the passenger seat, fell asleep immediately. Shi Jin followed the lead car towards an unknown destination, silently asking Xiao Si in his mind, "What exactly does your precious do? Don't tell me you don't know."
Xiao Si knew for sure that once the progress bar for Lian Jun was activated, all information about him would be fed back to it. So, it replied in detail: "Dearest is the head of a legalized multinational criminal organization called Annihilation. The organization's rise to power was somewhat murky, and it had some conflicts with many underworld forces. But that's all ancient history now.
"Since Dearest took over, Annihilation has become better and better. Not only has it cut off all illegal business, but it has also cooperated with various countries' officials and occasionally assisted them in eliminating some illegal criminal organizations. It's gradually whitewashing its image and turning towards the light. So trust me, Dearest is really a good person."
As Shi Jin listened, his heart grew more and more uneasy. He finally understood why just from Lian Jun allowing him to stay, his progress bar dropped rapidly - businessmen like Lian Jun, who had connections in both the legal and illegal worlds, were truly fearsome.
He had unwittingly latched onto a big shot's thigh.
Shi Jin sighed with mixed emotions. Thinking of the progress bar, his mind began to wander, and he absentmindedly took out his phone from his pocket.
Xiao Si was puzzled, "Jin Jin, are you going to make a call? Let me do it. It's not safe to be distracted while driving."
"With Number Two beside me, who knows if he's really sleeping or faking it. If he sees my phone making a call by itself, he'll probably burn me at the stake," Shi Jin said, his fingers already skillfully dialing a string of numbers as he made the call.
Xiao Si was startled, "Jin Jin, isn't this the Shi family's eldest brother's phone? Did you dial the wrong number?"
"I'm looking for him. We're currently overseas, using an encrypted phone given by Lian Jun. The progress bar has even dropped to 700. It's a perfect opportunity, we can't afford to miss it." Jin Jin replied.
Upon hearing this, Xiao Si calmed down and helped Jin Jin keep an eye on the road while he made the call, to prevent any accidents.
Shi Jin had put the call on speaker, not caring that Number Two could listen in on their conversation. However, Number Two seemed to have already fallen asleep, not even the loud dialing tone could wake him up.
After a few seconds, the call finally connected and Shi Weichong's voice came through, "Hello."
Shi Jin intentionally lowered his voice and affectionately called out, "Big Brother."
"Xiao Jin?" Shi Weichong's voice rose and his speech quickened, "Where are you?"
Shi Jin continued to behave in a sticky manner and said, "I found a good job in a very safe place, so don't worry, big brother. I saw the news and congratulations on officially taking over Ruihang. I called you to remind you..."
"Xiao Jin," Shi Weichong interrupted him, his tone not allowing refusal, "Tell me the address, I'll come bring you back."
Bring him back? Bring him back to die?
Shi Jin glanced at his progress bar, which had increased by 10 points, and realized once again how strong Shi Weichong's killing intent towards the original owner was.
His tone was no longer sticky as he quickly said, "Be careful of your assistant. I once saw him in contact with Dad. If fate allows, we'll meet again. Take care, big brother."
He hung up and blocked the number in one go, putting his phone back in his pocket.
Xiao Si was very worried, "Jin Jin, the progress bar has increased to 720."
Shi Jin tried to reassure, "It's okay, it will come down eventually. There's nothing we can do about it. As long as we restore contact with the Shi family's five brothers, the progress bar will definitely fluctuate. I just hope Shi Weichong can show some humanity. After accepting my selfless help, I hope he can have less desire to kill me."
"He definitely will," Xiao Si comforted, trying to find reasons. "You no longer pose a threat to Shi Weichong. He doesn't seem like the kind of person who would go to extremes. If we continue to play the emotional card, he will eventually give up on killing you."
"I hope so."
As the car continued to drive, Xiao Si suddenly exclaimed.
Shi Jin was focused on observing the surroundings and casually asked, "What's wrong?"
"Jin Jin, your progress bar is steadily increasing," Xiao Si said with a serious tone. "And it's getting faster and faster. It's already at 750. At first, I thought the bar was increasing because Shi Weichong was angry after you blocked him, but now it seems like there's danger ahead and you're getting closer to it."
Hearing this, Shi Jin's heart sank. He tentatively increased his speed and noticed that the progress bar increased along with it. He couldn't help but curse under his breath.
"What's wrong?" Number Two opened his eyes, looking like he had just woken up. He yawned and asked, "How long did I sleep?"
"Not long," Shi Jin replied, hesitating whether or not to remind Number Two to be careful ahead.
As he was thinking this, Number Two suddenly reached out and closed the half-open window of the truck, smiling as he said, "It's getting dark, and we'll be passing through a forested path ahead. There may be wild beasts around, so be careful."
Shi Jin heard the hidden meaning in his words, and his tense heart suddenly relaxed. He gritted his teeth inwardly, thinking, "This bastard obviously knows there's danger ahead!"
Xiao Si timidly replied, "Y-yes, probably."
As soon as night fell, the convoy's vehicles turned on their headlights and drove steadily onto the dirt road in the dense forest.
The progress bar had already reached 900 and was increasing rapidly at a rate of 10 points per minute. Shi Jin's palms were sweaty, his body tense, and his gaze scanning the pitch-black trees on either side, on guard against any potential danger that could arise at any moment.
"Don't be nervous, it's just a minor situation," said Number Two as he reached out to touch Shi Jin's shoulder, his tone relaxed.
Shi Jin remained silent, focusing on driving.
960, 970, 980, 990... As the progress bar approached completion, Shi Jin slowly held his breath, his foot hovering over the brake pedal, eager to press down.
"Don't stop, keep driving and follow the car in front closely," Number Two tightened his grip on Shi Jin's shoulder, reminding him in a timely manner.
Shi Jin gritted his teeth and glanced at the progress bar, which was only three points away from completion. He moved his foot away from the brake pedal and stepped on the accelerator - he didn't care anymore!
Number Two's strength had better be as strong as his attitude, otherwise everyone would die today!
Suddenly, there was an explosion ahead, and the dark forest was illuminated by flames. Shi Jin's eyes were almost blinded by the brightness, and he reflexively wanted to hit the brakes.
But then Number Two's reminder sounded in his ear: "Follow the car in front of you. Drive the way they do. We can't use heavy weapons in the forest, or we'll start a wildfire. The other side won't dare to randomly detonate explosives."
With this explosion, what the hell does it mean to say that they won't dare to randomly detonate explosives?!
Shi Jin wanted to curse, but his brain remained calm. He quickly scanned his surroundings, using the light from the explosion and thick smoke to locate the position of the car in front of him. He turned the steering wheel and followed the car onto a small path, brushing past tree branches and leaves as they charged forward.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
Suddenly, a dense barrage of gunfire erupted. Number Two lowered the car window slightly and leaned out, firing several bullets towards the forest.
The flames of a battle ignited, gunfire ringing out as they exchanged shots. Time was of the essence, and they couldn't afford to be distracted. They kept their eyes fixed on the vehicle in front of them, walking a tightrope on this winding path through the dense forest.
After what felt like an eternity, the explosions and flames finally died down, and the convoy returned to the road.
Number Two took his place in the passenger seat and praised, "Xiao Jin Jin, you're not bad, your mental fortitude is impressive."
"Damn it," Shi Jin couldn't help but curse as he looked at the bullet holes in the car's windows. He fumed, "And you guys say you're not part of the underworld!"