Chapter 5: Buff

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Today, Lian Jun was wearing a cyan robe with white patterns.
He sat on tatami mats reclining lazily against a beige cushion, looking nothing like the underworld boss—he seemed to be an ancient noble, carefree and unrestrained.

He waited for Shi Jin to take a seat, then started to pour him a cup of wine asking: “Are you that happy?”

The smile on Shi Jin’s face froze for a second.
He looked at the progress bar over Lian Jun’s head that displayed 600 points, his mind chaotic.
“Xiao Si, what happened? Didn’t your Darling’s progress bar fall to 500 five days ago? How come it’s 100 points higher now?!”

Xiao Si was also stupiefied.
It stuttered,

Not getting a response, Lian Jun looked into Shi Jin’s slightly unfocused eyes and asked, not losing his composure: “What are you looking at?”

“I’m looking at your…” Shi Jin caught himself in time.
He moved without a second thought, catching Lian Jun’s hand holding the bottle of wine, and smiled wryly: “…Your face—you don’t seem well and I’m still a minor.
We both really shouldn’t be drinking, so let’s forget about the wine…”

Lian Jun’s eyes fell on his hand.

Shi Jin instinctively followed his gaze.

A fleshy and pasty paw was boldly gripping the pale, slender hand holding an exquisite porcelain bottle.
Somehow, it looked really indecent.

Xiao Si was between laughter and tears:

Shi Jin jerked his arm back and explained tearfully, “Ah, I didn’t mean to touch your hand…”

“I know.” Lian Jun took back his hand and pressed the bell on the table, saying in a mild tone, “Just like you didn’t mean to touch my legs a few days ago.”

Shi Jin: “…” I want to cry, but no tears flow out—why are you such a brat?

As soon as the bell rang out, the door opened.
One of the men who were present in the hallway five days ago appeared at the entrance, calling out with a respectful expression, “Jun-shao.”

“Gua Three, go and bring Mr.
Shi’s belongings.” Lian Jun ordered.

Gua Three nodded in acknowledgement and gently closed the door.

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The room became quiet again.
This time, Shi Jin did not dare to either talk or look around.
He hung his head down and pretended to be a stone statue.

Lian Jun did not look at him.
He picked up his chopsticks and ate a mouthful, his pale lips turning slightly darker.
He asked, “Why aren’t you eating? Is the food not to your liking?”

Why ask when you already know the answer?

Shi Jin bit his tongue, picked up his chopsticks and reached for the nearest dish of pickled cucumbers.
He made up his mind to keep far away from Lian Jun, this man-eating beauty.

“I was told that the sixth young master of Shi family likes all kinds of food, but hates cucumbers… Apparently, people who like to eat heavily flavored food think cucumber is without any taste,” Lian Jun said slowly and deliberately, picking up a peanut.

Shi Jin’s hand stiffened for a second, his chopsticks grabbing the three-color fried shrimp next to the pickled cucumbers.
In his mind, he started to complain to Xiao Si: “Your Darling is trying to fatten me up for slaughter, can’t you stop him somehow?”

Xiao Si hummed and hawed, unwilling to face reality:

“He wouldn’t deliberately put the pickled cucumbers in front of me in order to test me?” Shi Jin spoke through clenched teeth, his voice gloomy.
“He wouldn’t deliberately misrepresent me grabbing his legs?”

Xiao Si said in a small voice:

Shi Jin felt his system was trying to make him die of anger.

Seeing he refused to speak, Xiao Si softened and decided to appease him.

Hearing this, Shi Jin felt a little better.
He put the shrimp he held in his chopsticks for a long time into his mouth.

Lian Jun, who has been observing his actions, asked, “What were you doing just now, praying for the souls of the dead shrimps before eating them?”

Shi Jin quickly chewed and swallowed.
He said placidly: “My dad used to tell me I should know how to be grateful.
Whether it’s tasty food, warm sunshine or a smile from passers-by, all the good things are worth being thankful for.
Also, we should be especially grateful to those who have helped us!”

Lian Jun put down his chopsticks, picking up his cup.
“I’m surprised Mr.
Shi Xingrui, who was known for his fierce and unforgiving nature, would teach his children to be so… kind and thoughtful.
It is truly unexpected.”

“He played dumb just now! He wants to deny my saving his life earlier, what an ass!” Shi Jin’s heart was filled with indignation.

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Xiao Si quickly placated him:

Shi Jin: “…” Hearing this kind of “flattery”, he suddenly wanted to throw up the shrimp he had just eaten.

While they were bickering, there was a second knock at the door and a stranger carrying a bag appeared at the entrance.
He had short hair and symmetrical face with deep-set eyes, with brows furrowed in what looked like a perpetual scowl.
His irises were vividly green, indicating he was a mixed race.

“Jun-shao,” the man called out respectfully.

Expression in Lian Jun’s eyes changed imperceptibly.
“Why are you here, what about Gua Three?”

“Gua Three was called away by Gua One,” the man answered in a straightforward way.

Lian Jun acknowledged his words with a nod and ordered, “Put those things down and get out.”

“Yes, sir.” The man stepped into the room, put the bag on the table, and quietly withdrew, completely ignoring Shi Jin the whole time.

Shi Jin frowned slightly.

“Have you noticed?” Pensive, he asked the system in his mind.

Xiao Si said hesitantly:

“So I wasn’t seeing things.” Shi Jin put down the chopsticks and couldn’t help but look at the closed door.
His frown became deeper.
“This person wants to kill Lian Jun, so he’s a lethal factor.
Maybe the reason Lian Jun’s progress bar has risen in the past few days is him.”

Xiao Si’s tone also turned more somber.

Lian Jun watched as Shi Jin kept twisting his head to look at the door and asked, “It seems Mr.
Shi is quite interested in Gua Four?”

Shi Jin looked back at Lian Jun and the progress bar above his head.
His expression became more serious.
“Is that man called Gua Four?” Gua Two, Gua Four, and the one before was Gua Three—their names follow the same format and are in accordance with their rank.
They can come into close contact with Lian Jun and seem to be his important right-hand men… This is going to be tricky.

Lian Jun turned the wine cup in his hand.
His black eyes, resembling a bottomless pool of darkness, looked straight at Shi Jin and he said lightly: “Gua Four’s appearance has always been eye-catching.
I don’t object to my subordinates falling in love.”

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What the hell is he talking about?

Shi Jin, who hadn’t understood the implied meaning, ignored these words and answered Lian Jun’s earlier question, “Yes, I’m really interested in Gua Four.”

“Mm.” Lian Jun took a sip of wine and his eyelids drooped, hiding his mood.

Xiao Si shivered:

Shi Jin was startled.
He looked at Lian Jun, who seemed to be concentrating on the wine, and continued, almost gnashing his teeth: “It’s because I’m afraid of him! On the day I was caught, he looked at me through the crack in the door.
His eyes were cold and cruel, I thought they resembled the eyes of a bloodthirsty beast.
Now that I met him again, I think my gut feeling was right—he is very dangerous.
He doesn’t even look like a good person.” Nor does he look like someone who is loyal to his master.

Halfway through those words, Lian Jun raised his eyes again.
He looked at speaking Shi Jin and took another sip of wine.
His expression was inscrutable, making it impossible to know what he was thinking about.

Xiao Si yelled excitedly.

“But your Darling’s bar has gone up, two points for every sip of wine.” Shi Jin splashed the system with cold water.
He lost his patience with these constant fluctuations and with both of them trying to feel each other out.
He got up and sat beside Lian Jun, taking the wine cup from his hand and stuffing his used chopsticks into it.
He said snappily, “If your health isn’t good, then don’t drink! Are you that tired of life? Stop speaking and eat—I’m hungry and I don’t want to talk to you for now.” After that, Shi Jin picked up his chopsticks and started to eat, still thinking about the supposed bad guy, Gua Four.

He’s far away from his brothers and Lian Jun, though unpredictable, does not seem to want to kill him for now, so even if his progress bar is almost full, Shi Jin could be said to be currently safe.

Lian Jun was not.
His points were rising and falling quickly, apparently, his lethal factors are different than those of Shi Jin.
There was a possible traitor by his side and his health was poor—his situation was more dangerous.

Sure enough, there’s no fast and easy way to make Lian Jun’s progress bar drop… Shi Jin picked up a piece of fish fillet and mourned the naive him from five days ago.

It was a first time that Lian Jun’s wine cup was taken away from him.
He was stunned for a long time, then looked at Shi Jin, who stuffing himself with food.
Strangely, he wasn’t angry at his rudeness or annoyed because he was too close—on the contrary, watching the way Shi Jin ate, Lian Jun thought the food must be delicious.
He felt hungry and moved his chopsticks, reaching for the fish fillet that Shi Jin had just eaten.

The dinner that began with excitement ended quite peacefully.

Full of food and drink, Shi Jin was shown to a cozy and comfortable room by the plain-looking Gua Three.
Holding his lost-and-recovered baggage in his arms, he asked confusedly: “Why did my progress bar fall back to 880 after having a meal?” Could it be that people who don’t speak live longer?

Xiao Si proudly puffed out its chest:

Shi Jin then remembered that after all, he also was a man with the golden finger.
His eyes lit up: “So what kind of buff did you add to me, trust bonus or friendliness bonus?”

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Xiao Si shook its head and explained:

Shi Jin wasn’t convinced: “So in the end, what buff did you give me?”

Xiao Si hesitated.

Shi Jin started to have a bad feeling.
His voice became heavy: “To confess is to be punished leniently, to refuse is to be punished severely.”

The threat worked quite well.
Xiao Si gave in and mumbled,

Shi Jin didn’t understand: “What kind of buff is that? Does it make the food tastier or my appetite better?” But he didn’t eat that much at dinner.

Xiao Si’s voice was getting smaller and smaller.

Shi Jin: “…”


Translator’s Notes:
“Your Darling is trying to fatten me up for slaughter” – orig.
鸿门宴, “giving the Hongmen Feast”.
JinJin is the best, I love you, JinJin, JinJin is the cutest child in the whole world! – Chinese: 进进你最好了, 进进么么哒, 进进是这世上最好看的未成年!
“To confess is to be punished leniently, to refuse is to be punished severely” [坦白从宽,抗拒从严] – China’s traditional criminal policy.
I think most of you know that “golden finger” means “cheat”, aka “the protagonist’s cheat”, so I’m not putting it in the notes.

Some of Xiao Si’s buffs are quite useful.

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