r poor old me.
I will just take my ‘plaything’ and disappear.” He rose from his chair and turned towards the door.

When he said that, the others stopped laughing.
Instead, they scowled and looked at Pockmarked Yuan with angry expressions.
They were unwilling to let him get the upper hand, but at the same time, they did not dare to aggravate him further.

“Brother Wolf, you know we should show every consideration for Brother Liu, and yet you joked like that.
Can’t you see it annoyed him?” The shaven-headed fat man nicknamed “the Rich Boss” decided to play peacemaker and stood.
He grabbed the arm of Pockmarked Yuan, who pretended to leave, smiled and tried to smooth things over.
“Don’t be angry, Old Liu, you know Brother Wolf’s temper.
The current business depends on you, what will we, your brothers, do if you leave? Let it go this time.”

Pockmarked Yuan halted but did not reply, and his face was still dark.

The Rich Boss looked at Brother Dagger meaningfully, and the scarred man got up, then pushed Shi Jin into his chair and said, “Now let’s get down to business, Brother Liu, don’t leave your brothers in the lurch.”

Pockmarked Yuan sneered inwardly, but he pretended to soften and sat down with a slight frown.
To give Brother Dagger face, he nudged Shi Jin, motioning him to get up.
“This time I can ignore it, I just hope there is no next time.”

No one spoke, and once again everyone tolerated his arrogance and willfulness.

Because of this confrontation, the meeting ended on a sour note and everyone dispersed in a lousy mood.
Pockmarked Yuan took Shi Jin to the kitchen for breakfast, then rushed him back to their room and went out.

Shi Jin once again asked Xiao Si to strengthen his hearing and tried to eavesdrop, but it was for naught—not only were there too many people speaking, making it hard to distinguish their voices, but they were also not saying anything useful.
He had no choice but to give up and obediently wait for Pockmarked Yuan’s return.

The trafficker came back more than an hour later.
He told Shi Jin Brother Wolf’s room number and the approximate distribution of people in the house, then he taught him how to use a gun.
The action was set to start at dinner time.

Shi Jin nodded, still pretending to be timid.

Everyone had lunch in their rooms.
Because Pockmarked Yuan ate facing Shi Jin, he almost stuffed himself to death again.
Shi Jin pretended not to notice anything.

Shi Jin killed time until dinner.
In the meantime, Xiang Aoting sent him a message saying he and his team have already arrived in the vicinity and were ready to act at any time.
Shi Jin replied he understood and asked him to stay put for the time being.

At dinner, Pockmarked Yuan left by himself.
Shi Jin did not know what method he used, but he gathered every Werewolf member in the central room, looking conspirational.

Shi Jin used this opportunity to slip out of the room.
He let Xiao Si give him a set of buffs and went straight to the third floor.

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The floor plans of the second and third floors were the same, so he quickly found the room number Pockmarked Yuan told him but, as he expected, the situation differed from the plan—there was a big padlock hanging on Brother Wolf’s door.

Shi Jin hesitated for a moment, weighing between taking the risk of picking the lock and going downstairs to drug everybody.
Deciding to try his luck against the door, he took out an iron wire hidden in his belt and cautiously inserted it into the keyhole.

With the help of a buff, about two minutes later the lock opened with a slight click.

Shi Jin was so nervous that his palms were sweating.
He asked Xiao Si to check the situation in the room, then removed the padlock and sneaked inside.

Brother Wolf’s room was also simple, with little furniture.
Except for some clothes thrown on the bed, there was a couple of open bags at its foot and a single closed suitcase.

Because he did not know how long the distraction arranged by Pockmarked Yuan would last, Shi Jin didn’t dare to delay and honed in on the suitcase—it was the only thing in the room that seemed to be a good hiding place.

Xiao Si’s scream stopped Shi Jin’s movements partway before he touched it.

Shi Jin retracted his hand and asked nervously, “What’s wrong? Is somebody coming?”

Xiao Si warned him in a serious voice.

This made Shi Jin both happy and worried.
Happy because there must be something important inside for it to be protected like that.
Worried because he had only one chance to unlock it and no clue about the password.

The minutes passed one by one.
Shi Jin didn’t want to waste any more time, so he searched other bags, but not surprisingly, the only thing he found was a pile of dirty clothes.
There was nothing even remotely useful.

Xiao Si’s voice was anxious.
It was much more worried about Shi Jin than the data; if someone discovered him, his life would be in danger.

Shi Jin wiped the sweat from his hands and appeased his system while his brain was furiously at work.
Suddenly, something occured to him.
“Xiao Si, can you stop sound from getting out of the room? Temporarily isolate this space?”

Xiao Si said hesitantly,

“That’s fine, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.” Shi Jin’s eyes shone.
When Xiao Si isolated the room, he crouched beside the suitcase and fished out a candy from his pocket.
He sprinkled a bit of the white powder it contained on a tissue and carefully rubbed the password lock.

Several greasy, smeared fingerprints appeared on some of the numbers.
Shi Jin heaved a sigh of relief and wrote them down, asking, “When is the Werewolf’s Boss birthday? When was it created? Give me all the important dates, the day the organization made it big, the birthdays of the Boss’ relatives, everything you can think of.”

It was covered in the information provided by Xiang Aoting.
Xiao Si quickly searched its memory and recited them to Shi Jin.

As Shi Jin listened, he kept filtering and rearranging the numbers in his mind.
Finally, only the date Werewolf became self-supporting remained.
He reached out and pressed the digits according to the deduced sequence.

The entered password was correct and the lock opened.

Xiao Si hurriedly took down the sound shield and checked the situation outside.
Noticing there was a quarrel downstairs, it got nervous and informed its host at once.

Shi Jin picked up the pace, rummaging through the variety of illegal goods filling the suitcase.
After a thorough search, he found two memory cards, one flash drive, and a flat, palm-sized box.
He hid them in his clothes and closed the suitcase.
He returned it to its original position then quietly slipped out again.

When Pockmarked Yuanmazi returned, Shi Jin was already back in their room, holding his pickle jar.

“Have you found it?” The man asked tensely.

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Shi Jin nodded and showed him the small box.
“Dis was awl Ah found.
Ah reckon da drive will be inside, but I can’t opens dis.” Of course, this was a lie.
Xiao Si scanned the box and it contained nothing more than a few precious stones.

Pockmarked Yuan seized the box and shook it, hearing a quiet rattling noise; there was also a custom-made password lock on the lid.
Feeling both surprised and delighted, he patted Shi Jin on the shoulder and praised, “Well done, Xiao Yuan, I was right in choosing you.”

Shi Jin gave him a bashful smile, then gleefully poured cold water on him.
“But we needta run more fast, Brother Liu.
Ah trash’d da syutcase to git dis.
Ah put it back, but them bad guys mightta finds it soon.”

The trafficker’s expression changed.
He put the box in his pocket and walked to the door, cracking it and listening to the noise outside.
He hesitated for a moment, then tilted his head, motioning Shi Jin to follow him.

Shi Jin ran to catch up with him.

As though nothing was wrong, the two men left the house.
When they passed through the hall, the night guard hailed Pockmarked Yuan, but he dismissed him with an impatient wave of his hand and took Shi Jin straight to the van parked outside.
He took out the keys, unlocked the door, got inside, and started the car, all in one breath.
Then he rushed down the concrete village road without waiting for Shi Jin to get in, intending to leave him there to be a scapegoat.

The people in the house were shocked.
A moment later, a bellow of rage could be heard, then the window on the third floor opened and Brother Wolf shot at the van.

Shi Jin sensibly laid down and stuttered, still keeping up his act of a cowardly country boy, “They, they shoots at us, them found out! What now, Brother Liu?”

Startled, Pockmarked Yuan pressed the gas pedal hard, making the van leap forward and almost driving into a ditch.
After he stabilized the car, he glanced into the rearview mirror.
Seeing Shi Jin lying on the back seat, his expression turned incredulous.
“How come you’re here?”

“Ah shouldna be?” Shi Jin asked, then became aggrieved.
“Brother Liu wanted t’ left me yonder? Ah shoulda stay an’ be kilt?”

“Of, of course not.” Pockmarked Yuan let out a wooden laugh.
He frowned and thought hard, but wasn’t able to remember how or when Shi Jin got into the car.
Vaguely feeling something was amiss, he forced out, “Xiao Yuan, you move so quickly.
I, I was just a little surprised.”

Shi Jin’s expression said ‘oh, so it was like that,’ and he replied shyly, “Ain’t it normal? Ah allus helps mah Ma on da farn, so Ah lernt t’ do everythin’ awfully quick.”

Pockmarked Yuan: “…” Fine, but what does farm work have to do with getting on the car?


A bullet burst through the rear window, brushed Shi Jin’s hair, and hit the steering wheel.

Shi Jin shrank in terror, ducking his head.
Pockmarked Yuan looked into the rearview mirror and saw that two black cars were catching up with them.
His expression distorted.
“Fuck this backstabbing bunch of bastards! The car they sent to pick me up wasn’t bulletproof!”

Not bulletproof? We’re dead.

Shi Jin curled up to make himself smaller.
Amid the hail of bullets, he unscrewed the pickle jar and fumbled about for the miniature phone, then blindly pushed the buttons and sent: [Heop! They sre dhootng at us!]


Translator’s Notes:
“Sugar-coated bullets can’t corrupt my soul!” – Shi Jin indirectly quotes Mao Zedong here; sugar-coated bullets [糖衣炮弹] mean something that is tempting but will corrupt you; sweet talk (well, it’s more complicated but I’m not going into this here).
If you want to read the whole quote, it’s on this page, second from the top.
“Bizarrely charming” [魔性, mó xìng] – lit.
devilish or having a magical pull.
A slang expression to describe things that first appear weird and peculiar, maybe even annoying, but quickly gain popularity and become addictive.
It can mean the same thing as the slang term “cancerous.”
“Giving face” – I’m quite certain 99% of you already know what it means, but perhaps there is someone who doesn’t.
It’s a little hard to explain; “face” can be understood as respect, social standing, prestige, or influence (depending on the context).
“Giving face” may be explained as not putting someone in a socially awkward position; showing them respect or not embarrassing them, especially in public (also depending on the context).

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