Shi Jin slept into the afternoon.
When he woke up, he found that Lian Jun was sleeping next to him, probably having a post-lunch nap.

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He opened his eyes but lay in a daze for a while before his mind completely cleared of the fog of sleep.
His gaze moved from the tightly drawn curtains to the small alarm clock on the nightstand before turning on his side towards Lian Jun.
He watched his lover’s sleeping face for a moment, then reached out and hugged him contentedly.

There was nothing better than waking up and finding the person you like right by your side.

“Did you wake up?” a familiar voice rumbled over his head.
Arms closed around him, drawing him deeper into the hug, and a light kiss brushed his forehead.
“Are you hungry? You should get up and eat something.”

Shi Jin looked up and met Lian Jun’s open eyes.
“Did I wake you up?”

“No, I woke up a while ago.
I was just being lazy,” Lian Jun replied, smoothing Shi Jin’s sleep-tousled hair.

Shi Jin raised an eyebrow and gently knocked on Lian Jun’s forehead.
“You, being lazy? I’m finding it hard to believe you even know what those words mean.” Watching the other man’s lazy appearance, languid from sleep, he couldn’t help but to shift down a little and place a kiss on his collarbone, then trail lower.

Lian Jun reflexively clutched his lover’s hair and called out, “Shi Jin.”

Shi Jin paused and looked up at him.
He placed one last kiss on the chest over his heart, then lay back down and hugged him tightly, no longer making trouble.

By this point, Lian Jun’s clothes were already completely messed up.
The love and affection radiating from Shi Jin’s actions made his heart melt.
He stroked his lover’s back in a tender caress then rolled over and pushed him down.

If you’re seeing this notice, you’re reading this chapter on pirate site – the original translator of Death Progress Bar is Betwixted Translations.

After Shi Jin got up and washed, he went to the dining room for a late lunch.
As he ate, Lian Jun, who accompanied him, told him that Rong Zhouzhong came looking for him this morning.

“You said he saw you walking?” Shi Jin nearly choked to death on the mouthful of food he was about to swallow.
When Lian Jun nodded, he got up, rushed back to the bedroom, and looked for his cell phone.

The phone was dead; it must have run out of power sometime during the night.
He plugged it in the charger and turned it on, only to be greeted with a blast of sound as the text messages and missed phone calls came in, the notifications’ vibrations almost making his hand numb.

“I knew it would be like this.” Shi Jin massaged his temples, trying to stave off the oncoming headache.
He glanced through the text messages.
Finding that, sure enough, all of them were inquiries about Lian Jun’s situation, he couldn’t help but once again deeply resent his brothers’ big mouths and their little “information exchange” chat group.

Lian Jun rolled the wheelchair to his side.
“Have I caused you trouble?” he asked.

“No, my brothers are just too annoying,” Shi Jin groused.
Seeing Lian Jun approaching, he leaned over to kiss him, but remembered that he’d just been eating and his mouth would not be tasting very good so instead, he hugged him and rubbed his cheek against Lian Jun’s face.
“Don’t worry, I’ll tell them to keep mum about your true physical condition.”

Lian Jun liked these little gestures of intimacy very much.
“I’m not worried,” he replied, turning his head to kiss Shi Jin’s cheek, not minding it was a little greasy.
“Come on, let’s go back to the dining room so you can finish your lunch.”

After the meal, Shi Jin typed out a text warning his brothers not to tell anyone that Lian Jun can actually walk and chose ‘send to multiple recipients.’ A minute later, his phone began to vibrate wildly as a flood of text messages rushed in.

—It felt like his phone had been taken over by a flock of ducks, Shi Jin thought, expressionless.

Five minutes after Shi Jin sent out the text, Rong Zhouzhong showed up at the door.

The brothers looked at each other, one standing, one sitting on the sofa.
Neither wanted to be the first to speak; after such a serious fight, they were both feeling somewhat awkward facing each other now.

“Do you want me to throw him out?” Gua Two asked, popping out from who-knows-where.
He stared at Rong Zhouzhong menacingly—Shi Jin became abnormal after this guy had appeared! He was a source of danger and they should get rid of him as soon as possible!

Rong Zhouzhong felt a chill down his spine, but refusing to show weakness, he defiantly glared back.

Gua Two’s gaze turned icy, and he took a step forward.

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Before the situation deteriorated further and open hostilities broke out, Shi Jin stepped in between the two.
“Go do your own stuff, I’ll be fine,” he said, patting Gua Two’s arm appeasingly, then looked at Rong Zhouzhong and nodded towards the veranda.
“Let’s talk there?”

Rong Zhouzhong stopped glaring at Gua Two to glance at Shi Jin, then dipped his head in agreement and headed for the French window.

Seeing this, Gua Two let up on his intimidation act.
“Will you really be alright?” he asked, looking at Shi Jin.
“People you don’t want to see will not appear in front of you.
We all will protect you, you know?”

Shi Jin’s heart felt warm.
“Thank you, but it’s fine, you don’t need to worry.
I’m just going to talk to him.”

Gua Two took a glance at Rong Zhouzhong, who had already strode outside.
Still a little uneasy, he stressed, “Just call out if anything’s wrong, I’ll be right here.”

Shi Jin gave him the OK sign.

Death Progress Bar is translated by Betwixted Translations.
Read on the original translator’s site to get the fastest updates!

The brothers sat down at the rattan table in the corner of the veranda.
Shi Jin asked for two cups of hot milk tea to be sent over from the kitchen, then looked at Rong Zhouzhong.
“Lian Jun’s legs are not permanently disabled,” he said, cutting to the chase.
“After treatment, they can regain full mobility, at least to the point that he’ll be able to lead a normal life.
This knowledge is not public and we’d like it to stay so.
Can I ask you and the others to keep it a secret?”

Rong Zhouzhong had had most of the day to take the news in and had already gotten over the shock.
Choosing his words, he replied, trying to make his voice as gentle as possible, “You needn’t even have asked—none of us is the type to shoot his mouth off.
Is… are his legs already cured?”

Shi Jin shook his head.
“Not yet.
Right now, he’s only doing physical conditioning, strengthening his body before the treatment.”

“Is there anything I can do to help?” Rong Zhouzhong asked.

Shi Jin glanced at him in surprise.

Expression awkward, Rong Zhouzhong looked down at his milk tea and continued, “I mean, you seem to be completely head over heels with him.
Since you’re determined to be with him, the only thing we can do is accept it and do everything we can so your future life together is as happy as possible.”

Shi Jin studied his brother for a moment.
Taking a sip of tea, he said with a smile, “I never thought I’d ever see you this honest and considerate.
Yesterday’s beating seems to have been quite effective.”

This was probably the first time since their relationship deteriorated that Shi Jin showed him such a sincere and unguarded smile, and Rong Zhouzhong stared blankly at him for a moment, a little dazed.
Watching Shi Jin, who looked much brighter and more cheerful than he did the past few days, some worry left his heart.
The corners of his mouth tried to rise, but he concealed it by snorting coldly and drinking a few sips of milk tea.
“Obviously, you have quite a big misunderstanding about me.
You start to beat or scold me as soon as you see me, you unreasonable little bastard.”

“You deserve it,” Shi Jin retorted.
His initial awkwardness easing a little, he asked, changing the topic, “The filming here is almost finished, right? When are you leaving?”

“Are you so eager to get rid of me?” Rong Zhouzhong scowled.

Shi Jin only smiled in reply.

Dissatisfied, Rong Zhouzhong asked in a resentful tone, “What about you? How long are you going to stay here?”

Until the outcome of the negotiations between Tarantula and Snake Fang is clear and the dust in G Province settles, Shi Jin replied silently.
Out loud, he only said vaguely, “I’m not sure—we aren’t leaving until Lian Jun settles his business here.”

Rong Zhouzhong was not happy with this answer, but he wisely didn’t comment.
He stirred the milk tea, watching Shi Jin’s carefree, relaxed appearance.
Abruptly, he raised his cup and downed the rest of his tea, then stood up.
“Can I come over for dinner every day before I leave? The boxed meals the movie crew eats taste awful.”

Shi Jin looked up at him.
His brother stood with his back to the sun, the light brightening the edges of his tall figure and softening the slight frown on his face into a much milder expression.
For a moment, Shi Jin had a strange feeling as if the person in front of him was both unfamiliar and close to him at the same time.
“Sure,” he replied with a smile.
“The first day you came here, didn’t I invite you to come to eat at the villa whenever you wanted?”

Satisfied, Rong Zhouzhong turned to leave.
Before he took the first step, however, he suddenly whirled back, gave Shi Jin a light smack on the forehead, and hurriedly strode away, as though afraid of retaliation.

Shi Jin touched his forehead, dumbfounded, then looked at Rong Zhouzhong’s disappearing back and snorted, “Childish.” Chuckling, he put down his cup and stretched himself with satisfaction.

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After the experiment just now, he was pretty sure that he would no longer be affected by the original ‘Shi Jin’s’ memories and feelings about Rong Zhouzhong.
It was as if he’d become “immune” to him.

That’s great.
He let out a pleased sigh.

When Lian Jun, who was watching from inside the villa, saw this scene, a load was finally taken off his mind.
Feeling much more lighthearted, he slid his wheelchair back to the study.

Under Zhang Zhuoyuan’s efforts, Tarantula and Snake Fang officially began to negotiate.
It was going as poorly as Lian Jun predicted.
Lu Shan didn’t want to release Xi Fan, and demanded that Snake Fang paid reparations; Snake Fang had suffered heavy losses and would collapse if it were to suffer the government’s suppression on top of that, and as such it absolutely refused to admit to the accusation of malicious competition.
Neither of the leaders was willing to back down even a little.
Zhang Zhuoyuan, who took upon himself the role of a mediator, was driven to the verge of a nervous breakdown every day.

{We have to find a way to make one of them soften up a bit.
If they go on like this, things will never get anywhere,} Zhang Zhuoyuan complained on the phone, his voice both anxious and annoyed.
{The higher-ups are already giving me grief for failing to stabilize the situation in G Province for so long, and now, Tarantula is so focused on fighting with Snake Fang that they don’t even care about business matters.
I know you told me to drag things out if possible, but the pressure from my side is getting too heavy.}

Lian Jun was completely unbothered.
“It’s fine, no need to be anxious.”

{How can I not be anxious?} Lian Jun’s serene reply only made Zhang Zhuoyuan’s anxiety even worse; at this rate, he felt he would soon go bald from the stress-induced hair loss.
{It’s already been a week, and they’re arguing more and more.
I have to be present every time they talk or they’d definitely start fighting directly! I’ve got other things on my plate, I can’t keep spending all my time on them.
Anyway, Lian Jun, didn’t you want the four of them to form an alliance? Now that Snake Fang and Tarantula have become deadly enemies, is that even possible?}

“‘Deadly enemies’? Not really.
Neither Lu Shan nor Yuan Peng is hotheaded fools who only know how to quarrel.
They’re playing mind games and messing with you by the way.
In another week at most, they will come to an agreement.
You just need to tough it out,” Lian Jun comforted.
Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Shi Jin changing posture from lowering his head over the table to sprawling on the sofa, apparently done with the schoolwork.
The corners of his mouth turning up, he wrapped up the phone conversation: “Just be patient and continue watching them play.
They will definitely come to an agreement soon without making any trouble.
After that, the four organizations will ‘officially’ form an alliance—that’s when the real fight begins.” He hung up and rolled his wheelchair towards Shi Jin.

Shi Jin looked over at the sound.
Seeing Lian Jun coming, he raised his body up and flung himself on the armrest, taking Lian Jun’s hand just as the other man started reaching towards him.

“Have you finished talking?” he asked, wriggling forward to half-crawl into Lian Jun’s lap.

Lian Jun nodded and cast a meaningful glance at Shi Jin’s schoolwork.
Thus, Shi Jin crawled back onto the sofa, picked up his notes, and crawled forward again to hand them to Lian Jun.

Lian Jun read them carefully, then nodded with satisfaction.
“Well done.
I think you can move on to trying to review the simpler documents… Now, should we go eat?”

Shi Jin beamed with happiness at his words and sat up to give his lover a delighted kiss.
“Yeah, let’s go! I asked the kitchen to make seafood soup today!”

Death Progress Bar is translated by Betwixted Translations.
Read on the original translator’s site to get the fastest updates!

At the dinner table, Shi Jin and Lian Jun were completely lovey-dovey, feeding each other and whatnot, while Rong Zhouzhong sat on the side, unable to swallow a bite.

He decided to come for dinner, aiming to take advantage of the relaxing atmosphere of a meal and ease his relationship with Shi Jin.
However, he foolishly forgot one thing—where was Shi Jin, there was usually also Lian Jun.

Rather than dinner, this meal should be called a “downer.”

So when your lover is here, you immediately throw away your older brother, huh, little bastard? Rong Zhouzhong grumbled in his mind.
He didn’t dare to show his dissatisfaction outwardly, though, since he was well aware that the place of the wrongdoing brother in Shi Jin’s heart was much lower than that of the “invalid” underworld organization boss.

But damn if he would reconcile himself to it.

Shi Jin, who just finished ladling soup into Lian Jun’s bowl, suddenly turned to look at Rong Zhouzhong.
“Why aren’t you eating? Is the food not to your liking? You didn’t touch this dish at all, but I thought it was one of your favorites—did I remember it wrong?”

Startled, Rong Zhouzhong glanced at the squirrel fish in front of him.
The glumness in his heart dissipating a little, he reached for it with his chopsticks, replying, “No, I just ate too many snacks in the afternoon and I’m not very hungry now.”

Shi Jin’s expression immediately turned reproachful.
“You ate so many snacks you can’t eat dinner? What are you, a preschooler? You’d better eat less junk food, you know.
I think you’ve gained a few kilos since the last time I saw you.”



The chopsticks in Rong Zhouzhong’s hand stabbed the fish’s eye.
Looking sideways at Shi Jin, he said with a smile that didn’t reach his eyes, “You must remember wrong.
I check my weight myself every day and it definitely hasn’t changed, thank you very much.”

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“Are you sure your scale isn’t broken?” Shi Jin asked with a frown, straight-faced and in an annoyingly sincere tone.
“It’s easy to gain weight after hitting middle age.
People who rely on their face to eat, like you, must be especially careful of this.
You don’t want to have me calling you ugly fatso in the future, do you?”

‘Hitting middle age’… ‘Rely on their face to eat’… ‘Ugly fatso’…

Stabbed three times in a row, Rong Zhouzhong felt a mouthful of blood rising to his throat.
Glaring at Shi Jin’s “honestly concerned” face, he said sullenly, “You will never have a chance to call me an ugly fatso, I assure you.”

“Uh-huh, of course not, absolutely.
I believe you,” Shi Jin replied, looking as if he was agreeing against his better conscience but was trying to be kind.

Rong Zhouzhong closed his eyes, took several deep breaths, and decided to stop asking for abuse.
As if venting anger, he gobbled down a large bowl of rice and the whole squirrel fish, then pushed his chair back and left, nursing an injured heart and clutching his overstuffed stomach.
Quietly, he decided never to come here to eat again.

After the door closed, Shi Jin snickered.

Lian Jun gave him a light knock on the head.
“Why do you always try to aggravate him?” he asked in a helpless tone.

“Well, who told him to hit me on the head last time?” Shi Jin conveniently found an excuse for his bad hobby.
Very pleased with himself, he took a sip of the seafood soup and stated contentedly, “Ah, this is what I call living!”

Lian Jun rubbed his head again, the corners of his mouth turning up slightly.

The next day, Rong Zhouzhong immediately broke his resolution, arriving in the villa right on time for lunch.
When Shi Jin found him sitting at the dinner table, he patted him on the shoulder and ordered matter-of-course, “Go get the tableware and set the table.
When you’re done, bring in the soup.”

Rong Zhouzhong looked up at him, dazed, then obediently stood up, went to the kitchen to get the tableware, and arranged it on the table, though it was obvious he didn’t do this very often.
After that, he went back to the kitchen, put on the oven mitts handed him by the cook auntie, and picked up the hot soup pot.

As he was about to step out of the kitchen, he heard Shi Jin chatting about cooking with the cook auntie, and stopped to listen secretly for a while.
When he finally arrived at the dining room and his gaze fell on the two dishes that had already been put on the table, his expression warmed.

It turns out that Xiao Jin can cook… Amazing.

If you’re seeing this notice, you’re reading this chapter on pirate site – the original translator of Death Progress Bar is Betwixted Translations.

Not long after lunch, the film director came looking for Shi Jin to say that the crew finished shooting all the scenes planned here and were moving on to the next shooting location.
He expressed his gratitude to Shi Jin for letting them borrow the beach and invited the young man to join them for a thank-you meal if he was free.

Surprised, Shi Jin looked towards the beach, where the crew members had already begun packing the equipment and tidy up.
“What about Rong Zhouzhong? Is he leaving, too?”

Heaven only knew what kind of story the director’s brain had made up, but he looked at Shi Jin with a bit of pity and said sympathetically, “He’s not staying with the crew, but I saw him packing, so he should be about to leave as well… Mr.
Shi, I know young people like chasing Xingxing, but there should be moderation in all things.
The only reason he stayed here for so long only because his whereabouts were leaked and he was avoiding paparazzi, nothing else.
You shouldn’t have unrealistic expectations.
I’m sorry… Anyway, don’t take it too hard.
You just became an adult, you’ve still got a whole life ahead of you.”

What the heck is this guy saying?

Refusing to think more about what exactly the director was imagining, Shi Jin chatted with him politely for a moment, then saw him off.

The movie crew left in the evening, and Rong Zhouzhong didn’t come over for dinner that night.
Shi Jin, remembering the director’s words, naturally assumed that his brother was gone, too, and told the kitchen there was no need to prepare an additional portion for Rong Zhouzhong anymore.

As a result, he was really surprised when Rong Zhouzhong showed up at lunch the next day.

“Huh? Didn’t you leave? Have you decided to stay and let me take care of you, after all?” Shi Jin asked before he could think.

Rong Zhouzhong gave him an exasperated eye roll.
“Shut up, as if.
Here, your birthday present,” he said, throwing Shi Jin a bag.
“My next job takes me out of the country.
I probably won’t be back for your birthday.
See you.” He turned and walked to the entrance hall, picked up the suitcase he’d left there, then opened the door and left.

Shi Jin stared blankly for a second before his brain caught up with this sudden turn of events.
Seeing that the door was about to close automatically, he woke up and rushed outside, calling after Rong Zhouzhong, “Hey, are you not going to eat? Let’s have lunch before you leave.”

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At the sound of his voice, Rong Zhouzhong turned to look at him and gestured to the car parked on a street nearby and the assistant waiting next to it.
“Sorry, no time.
I have a plane to catch.” After saying goodbye again, he walked to the car in quick steps, opened the back door, and got in.

Shi Jin watched until the car disappeared, then turned his attention to the bag in his arms.
Inside, there was a box with a very expensive wristwatch.
“This guy… He really should stop wasting money like this,” he muttered with a frown.

As soon as he spoke, the mobile phone in his pocket suddenly vibrated.
He took it out to check, only to see it was a message about receiving a wire transfer.
The sender was Rong Zhouzhong, and the description said, ‘The rent.’ Seeing the amount, which several times exceeded the market price, Shi Jin was speechless for a few seconds, then suddenly laughed.

This guy really was an idiot—all he knew was how to throw money on someone.
It used to be like that in the past and it was still like that now.

Five days after the film crew’s departure, the negotiations between Tarantula and Snake Fang finally made progress.
Tarantula took a step back, saying that they can drop the accusation of “malicious competition,” but Snake Fang had to show some sincerity.
After thinking it over, Snake Fang accepted this proposal.
After that, the two organizations started negotiating privately, directly excluding the authorities.

Zhang Zhuoyuan was both relieved and slightly miffed.
He spent more than ten days running around acting as an intermediary (read: drudge), only to end up being thrown away by Tarantula and Snake Fang when they no longer had any use for him.

Anyway, this meant that the chaos in G Province was at last resolved, and Lian Jun and Shi Jin could finally go back home.

“Why don’t we go straight to Crescent Bay Island? It’s winter now in B city, and the cold isn’t good for your body,” Shi Jin said worriedly while packing.

Lian Jun ruthlessly refused: “No.
We won’t go to the island until after your end-of-semester exams.
Make sure to review properly after we’re back—you’re not allowed to fail any course.”

Only then remembering that right now, he was still a student, Shi Jin flinched as if struck by a lightning bolt, and crumpled on the bed with a despondent expression.

Two days later, the charter plane they were riding landed at the airport in B city.

Shi Jin intimately experienced the difference in temperature between the north and the south as soon as he stepped out of the plane, as a blast of cold wind instantly made his nose get runny.
He hurriedly retreated back inside the cabin and zipped up his jacket, then turned around and covered Lian Jun’s legs with an additional blanket.

“Is it so cold out there?” Lian Jun asked.

“Not really, but it’ll take a moment to get used to it again,” Shi Jin replied, though he felt positively freezing.
They only left for a little more than a month, but the weather in B city changed from sweltering to frigid.
This cold was no joke.

After returning to the club and settling in, Lian Jun let Shi Jin contact an “associate” in the Ministry of Public Security and obtain a copy of his file.

According to it, as a police academy freshman who had some experience with fieldwork, Shi Jin had received a special military assignment and went to a small island in G Province to take part in a long-term mission of obstructing the war between underworld organizations.

After reading this file, Shi Jin got a new understanding of Lian Jun’s meticulousness.

“Be sure to completely memorize it,” Lian Jun said.
“In case anyone in school asks, you must be able to answer according to this cover story.”

“Okay, I will,” Shi Jin agreed obediently, then noticed the frown on Lian Jun’s face and his subdued mood.
Guessing that the reason was his forthcoming return to school, he rushed over to give his lover a hug.
“I will come back every weekend call you every day.
Don’t worry too much, okay?”

Lian Jun didn’t reply, only cupped Shi Jin’s face in his hands and kissed him.

“This time, can you go with me to school to send me off?” Shi Jin asked imploringly.

“All right,” Lian Jun agreed immediately.
“Last time, it was the beginning of the school year and there were too many people, but it should be fine now.
Still, the school gate is unfortunately as far as I can accompany you.”

“Doesn’t matter.
How about going for another check-up on the way? It’s been a few months since the last one, and I’d like to know your current physical condition,” Shi Jin made another cautious request.

Lian Jun stroked the young man’s cheek, closing his eyes as he leaned in to give him another kiss.
“Okay,” he agreed softly.

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