n aback—he was only teasing Xiao Si, who knew this would be what he got out of it? He couldn’t help but try it out.

The progress bars flickered, turned grey, and the world fell quiet.

Huh, for real?

Shi Jin quickly activated them again and was about to express his surprise to Xiao Si when he heard the system’s muffled sobs.
It cried, aggrieved,


Shi Jin’s heart softened, and he began to coax the “crying child.”

A person and a system communicated happily in their minds, for a while completely forgetting about Lian Jun, who waited to take Shi Jin to the bathroom.
The older man didn’t get an answer for a while; puzzled, he withdrew a bit to look at Shi Jin’s face and found the teenager was lost in his thoughts, changing expressions all the time and apparently having a great time all by himself.

Lian Jun: “……”

Shi Jin noticed his gaze and sat back, focusing on reality again.
Still thinking about Xiao Si, he couldn’t help but say, “Jun-shao, actually, I have a son for us… uh, or maybe a daughter.
It’s a very cute child.
I’ll introduce them to you when there’s a chance.”

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Xiao Si quacked again, this time in pleasant surprise.
Bashful, it whispered,

Shi Jin said promptly, smiling at Lian Jun: “I was just kidding.
So, about that shower?”

Xiao Si:

Lian Jun: “……”

After taking Shi Jin, suspected of having a temporary drop to his IQ because of the torturous massage, to the bathroom, Lian Jun rang for a nurse to change the bedding.

Once she left, he recalled Shi Jin’s “son or daughter,” and couldn’t help but glance at Shi Jin’s various belongings.

“A son, or a daughter”—was there anything… His gaze swept around the hospital ward, finally settling on the tablet.

Since Shi Jin was recovering, there wasn’t much he could do every day—basically, nothing more than eating, sleeping, playing mahjong, and poring over Shi Xingrui’s information.
Lian Jun thought for a moment.
He picked up the tablet, quickly browsed through its contents, and touched the mahjong app icon.

When the game launched, it opened to the character page.
Lian Jun discovered Shi Jin’s avatar was no longer the basic character, but an adorable puppet with a small pet curled at its feet.
It seemed newly purchased.

His heart skipped a beat.
He logged into the account Shi Jin made for him.

His own character had changed too: now it was also a puppet, only slightly different in style from Shi Jin’s, and another pet sat by its legs.

These characters were obviously a set—a couple’s character set.

Lian Jun felt something stir in his chest.
He switched the accounts back and forth several times, then called for somebody to bring him a second tablet and logged in separately.
He put the tablets together, looking at the characters side by side.

Lovers’ character set, the two pets, a son or maybe a daughter… Lian Jun covered the lower half of his face with his hand.
He stared at the two pages, spellbound, until the sound of running water in the bathroom stopped, then hurriedly closed the app and put Shi Jin’s tablet back on the bedside cabinet.

Since Shi Jin said he would introduce his “child” to him “when there’s a chance,” he would respect his choice and pretend he didn’t know anything.

He was in quite a good mood.

When Shi Jin came out of the bathroom, he found the expression in Lian Jun’s eyes was a bit strange: profound, indescribably tender, and somewhat excited.
His heartbeat sped up, but he pretended to be calm.
“Is something wrong?”

Lian Jun shook his head.
Taking his hand, he said, “I just feel I’m not fair to you… I can’t give you a lot of things ordinary people can give to their lovers.”

The word “lover” prodded Shi Jin’s heart.
He immediately squeezed Lian Jun’s hand and refuted, “How exactly aren’t you fair to me? You provide me with food, housing, and clothes, pay me a salary and give me work bonuses.
When I’m sick, you even personally take care of me—you call this ‘not being fair’? As for what ‘ordinary people give to their lovers’—you mean dating? Going out for a movie and such stuff? I don’t care about that.
We’re together every day; if you want, every meal can be our date.
And you always give me anything I want.
For example, the information you checked for me—what ‘ordinary man’ could give me this?”

“Sophistry,” Lian Jun accused, but the smile on his face widened, and his pale complexion looked much rosier.

Seeing him like this, Shi Jin couldn’t help but smile too.
He was still savoring the word “lover.” He felt the world was truly wonderful—he was the person Lian Jun called “lover.”

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

Shi Jin, who had slept through a large part of the day, woke up in the dead of night and found he couldn’t fall asleep again.
Finally resigning himself to the inevitable, he opened his eyes and sat up.
His thoughts began to wander aimlessly.
He glanced at Lian Jun, who slept on the foldable bed on one side, and poked Xiao Si.

“Hey, actually… Why did Lian Jun suddenly kiss me that day? Did he like me already back then? Since when?”

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Every time, the way his brain worked caught Xiao Si off guard.
It said, voice dry as dust,

Its words made Shi Jin feel awkward, but he was thick-faced enough to say, “I was still in shock, I’m only coming out of it now… And Lian Jun is such a fine man, why would he ever fall for me…”

Xiao Si was not going to let him have any uncertain thoughts about this relationship! Never!

It made him feel shameless, but Shi Jin admitted the system wasn’t wrong.

He gingerly climbed down from his bed and approached the folding bed.
He crouched down beside it to watch Lian Jun’s sleeping face, feeling as if he was still dreaming.
“He actually likes me, it’s incredible.”

Xiao Si redoubled its efforts:

Shi Jin thought back and realized this was indeed true.
While it wasn’t glaringly obvious, he couldn’t deny Lian Jun had been more indulgent toward him than his other subordinates.

Instantly, he felt as if his heart was filled with warm honey, sweet beyond belief.
He couldn’t help but stand, lift the corner of Lian Jun’s comforter, and squeeze his not-so-small body onto the narrow single bed, and hugged Lian Jun like a cuddly bear.

Xiao Si:

“Now I can sleep.” He wriggled to the edge of the bed to give Lian Jun more space and closed his eyes, content.

Lian Jun never budged the whole time as if Shi Jin’s not-so-stealthy movements hadn’t disturbed him at all.

Shi Jin couldn’t help but open his eyes again and watch Lian Jun for a while longer.
He sneaked a kiss on the corner of his mouth and murmured, “Goodnight,” then closed his eyes once more.

A while later, when the breathing of the person next to him deepened with sleep and the arms hugging him relaxed, Lian Jun slowly opened his eyes.
He reached out to embrace Shi Jin, pulling him from the edge of the bed to the middle, and gently stroked his back.

“Silly boy,” he whispered, his almost inaudible voice overflowing with satisfaction and happiness.
“Goodnight and sweet dreams.”

When Shi Jin woke the next morning, he was alone on the folding bed and the room was empty.
Lian Jun had left at some point.

He sat up and blinked for a while, confuse.
Abruptly, as if a switch was flipped, he threw the comforter off, struggled out of the folding bed, and rushed back to his own.
He picked up the tablet and frantically skimmed through the information on Shi Xingrui.

Xiao Si, shocked by his sudden actions, asked,

“I think I’ve got a clue!” Shi Jin answered excitedly as he flipped through the data.
“If you like someone, how could you bear not seeing that person, not being with them? With Shi Xingrui’s personality, if he loved someone deeply, even if the person he loved didn’t love him, he would surely tie them to his side by any means.
So, there can only be one reason why I can’t find any such person—he had no idea where he or she was! He might’ve not even known their name!”

The system was puzzled.

“It was still before the invention of mobile phones and the popularization of the internet.
In that era, the only long-distance communication there was were letters.
It was a way of making friends that has almost completely disappeared now—pen pals! They didn’t need to meet or know each other’s real names, they simply exchanged letters, completely anonymous if they wished, like today’s internet chat! Have you heard about online relationships? Perhaps even someone like Shi Xingrui, who didn’t reveal his inner thoughts easily, had someone he could bare his heart to.”

Xiao Si was even more baffled.

“Don’t underestimate the charm of words,” Shi Jin answered.
His hand slowed, and his eyes grew brighter and brighter.
Suddenly, he slapped the tablet, exclaiming, “This is it! Shi Xingrui submitted pieces of writing to a newspaper since he was in elementary school; every now and then, it earned him a bit of money so he could contribute financially to his family too.
He started with essays, then, as he grew older, it became short stories and poetry.
In most families with such children, there will be a lot of letters and correspondence records, but there’s no mention of it in the data! That proves Shi Xingrui deliberately erased this information!”

Finally understanding, Xiao Si became equally thrilled.

“Very likely!” Shi Jin was so excited he couldn’t help but clutch the tablet and run out of the ward, eager to share his new findings with Lian Jun.

Translator’s Notes:
“White moonlight” [白月光] – the so-called “white moonlight” is someone unforgettable and forever unreachable, someone you love but can’t have (often the first love).
This person is forever depicted as the ideal lover in your heart who can do no wrong.
It doesn’t mean he or she really is like this, only that you think about them that way.
(courtesy of azure_sea’s post)

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