Chapter  82 Birthday Party

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After the door opened, an antique-style dining room was revealed.

Rong Zhouzhong and Shi Weichong, who sat on the sofa next to the door, looked over at the sound, only to face Lian Jun, with Shi Jin pushing his wheelchair.

“Good evening,” Lian Jun greeted politely, the shopping bag resting on his lap.

The air fell silent in an instant.

Shi Weichong’s brows wrinkled, and the corners of Rong Zhouzhong’s mouth pulled downwards.
The two of them looked at each other, then in tacit agreement turned their gazes to Shi Jin, who was standing behind Lian Jun.

“Why do I think you’re hostile to my family?” Shi Jin’s expression collapsed.
He pulled Lian Jun’s wheelchair and directly backed up and turned around, saying, “It seems we’re not welcome, so let’s forget it.
Happy birthday, Third Brother, enjoy your dinner—without us.”

He took a step, wanting to leave—he and Lian Jun still had a date to finish.

Xiang Aoting, who stood outside the door, hurriedly caught his shoulder and persuaded him, saying, “No, you misunderstood, Xiao Jin, you’re welcome, both of you.
Big Brother and Third Brother just didn’t expect Mr.
Lian to come too, they were just surprised.” After he finished speaking, he gave his two older brothers a look.

Shi Weichong also woke up, and reigned in his expression and emotions.
He got up and walked towards Shi Jin, saying, “Yes, come in, Xiao Jin… you too, Mr.
Lian, welcome.”

“Thank you.” Lian Jun’s attitude remained polite, but his expression turned slightly colder.
It was also a clear indication that whether they stayed or left depended on Shi Jin.

Shi Jin was unable to move because of Xiang Aoting’s hand on his shoulder.
He glanced at Shi Weichong but didn’t speak, then looked at Rong Zhouzhong, still sitting on the sofa.
The meaning of his gaze was obvious—he was the birthday boy, so he was the one who needed to declare his position.

Rong Zhouzhong wasn’t as eager to please Shi Jin as Shi Weichong had become.
Seeing the teenager look over, he asked with a dark face, “Just now, you said that Lian Jun is your what?”

“My family,” Shi Jin replied as if it was obvious.
He placed his hands on Lian Jun’s shoulders from behind, his actions full of intimacy, and continued in a solemn voice, “Let me introduce you again—this is Lian Jun, my boyfriend and future fiancé.
I hope everyone will treat him kindly.”

As soon as those words left his mouth, the corners of Lian Jun’s lips rose, Shi Weichong’s face fell, Xiang Aoting frowned, and Rong Zhouzhong exploded on the spot.
“‘Fiancé’? ‘Treat him kindly’? Shi Jin, are you crazy?!”

Shi Jin, face impassive, pushed the wheelchair a step forward, meaning to leave.

Rong Zhouzhong choked and, incensed, got up to “have a peaceful discussion” with him.

Shi Weichong spun around to stop him while Xiang Aoting pressed Shi Jin’s shoulder again and said, “Xiao Jin, please don’t go.
Today’s get-together is not only to celebrate Third Brother’s birthday, but also because we have something to talk about with you.”

Sure enough, I knew it—as if Fei Yujing, that workaholic, would take time off his case just to attend his brother’s birthday.

Having conned their true purpose out of them, Shi Jin stopped trying to leave and asked, “What do you want to talk to me about?”

Looking awkward, Xiang Aoting frowned and glanced back at Shi Weichong and Rong Zhouzhong.

“What are you doing standing outside?” Fei Yujing’s voice suddenly rang out from not far away.

Xiang Aoting paused and looked in the direction of the voice.

Fei Yujing, holding his inseparable briefcase, frowned as he came striding down the corridor.
In his wake followed Li Jiuzheng, who again was dressed casually like a university student.
As the two approached, Fei Yujing saw Shi Jin and Lian Jun outside the door, Xiang Aoting’s hand on Shi Jin’s shoulder, and heard Rong Zhouzhong and Shi Weichong’s voices coming from the private room.
Having more or less figured out the current situation, he ignored Shi Jin and Xiang Aoting and looked at Lian Jun.
“It’s good that you came too,” he said to him.
“What we’re going to talk about with Shi Jin today is a rather serious matter, it’s not a bad idea for you to help him with this.
Shi Jin is going to college soon, he should have something to fall back on.”

Something to fall back on?

Hearing his words, Lian Jun’s eyelids moved imperceptibly, and he turned his head to call Shi Jin behind him.

Shi Jin’s eyebrows twitched.
He nodded to acknowledge Lian Jun’s call, then glared at Fei Yujing.
This guy had completely grasped Shi Jin’s weak point—he knew that as long as he persuaded Lian Jun, Shi Jin wouldn’t make any more trouble.
This damn fox!

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Fei Yujing was being glared at, but instead of deepening, his frown relaxed.
“You just need to get smarter… Go inside.” Saying so, he stepped around him and walked through the door.

Shi Jin watched him enter the private room, snorting inwardly, then turned Lian Jun’s wheelchair around.
To tell the truth, he wouldn’t really have left—he still wanted to know what exactly these brothers of his were scheming.

Li Jiuzheng hurried over to his side.
As his gaze fell on Lian Jun, he asked out of nowhere, “Are you being treated?”

Shocked, Shi Jin looked at him with alarm.

“You went to that clinic not too long ago and his complexion looks much healthier—it’s easy to infer he’s undergoing some kind of therapy.
I’m a doctor after all,” Li Jiuzheng said.
He took out a business card and handed it to Shi Jin.
“This is the business card of one of my senior apprentice brothers.
He’s good at dealing with neurological problems, and very tight-mouthed.
You should keep it.”

It wasn’t a secret that the poison Lian Jun had been attacked with was a neurotoxin—an outsider could find out about it with a bit of inquiring.

Shi Jin was conflicted for a moment.
In the end, he accepted the business card but asked, “Why?”

“Paying you back for the New Year’s spring rolls and dumplings,” Li Jiuzheng replied, raising his head to look at him.
There was no longer any hidden killing intent in his eyes; on the contrary, they appeared to hold a hint of gentleness.
All of a sudden, he asked, “I heard that Fourth Brother ate the dumplings you made yourself?” Not waiting for the answer, he hurried into the room.

Shi Jin turned to look at Xiang Aoting.

A bit sheepish, Xiang Aoting explained, “I didn’t let him know on purpose, I just accidentally mentioned it in the group chat…”

“You have a group chat?” Shi Jin asked with disbelief, a revelation dawning upon him.

So this was what was going on! No wonder that as long as one of his brothers knew something, the rest of them would find out too—it turns out they made a group chat! This… this was too gossipy! Like the neighborhood aunties!

Seeing Shi Jin staring at himself with wide eyes, Xiang Aoting became increasingly uncomfortable.
He took out his phone and asked, “What is your account number? I’ll add you too, then we’ll be able to talk more often.
Communication is very important, you know.”

“No, I don’t have an account on that app,” Shi Jin said with a blank look on his face, direct in his refusal.
Was Xiang Aoting kidding? Shi Jin was harassed by text messages often enough already; if he joined their chat group, wouldn’t he end up without even a single moment of peace? Brrrr, how scary.
I need to stay far, far away from it.

Coordinated by Shi Weichong and Fei Yujing, the six brothers and Lian Jun finally took their seats in the private dining room.
Poor Gua Two, the invisible follower, was left alone in the outer room, with a table of delicious food as recompense.

After the dishes were served, Shi Jin found that most of them were things that Lian Jun couldn’t eat, so he called the waiter and ordered two dishes for him alone.

Upon seeing this, Li Jiuzheng’s eyes flashed knowingly.

As a doctor, he could tell Shi Jin did it because of Lian Jun’s dietary restrictions, but in the eyes of the other brothers who didn’t know the truth, Shi Jin’s actions were a blatant show of affection.

Rong Zhouzhong, today’s host, watched the teenager’s behavior, and pulsating veins popped out on his forehead.
Looking away to “keep his eyes clean”, he said, “Thank you all for taking time to come, now let’s eat.”

This birthday party was just a pretext to get Shi Jin to come over to talk.
Although today was indeed Rong Zhouzhong’s birthday, the man himself didn’t think it was any different from any other day, so his attitude was the same as usual.
Everyone was aware of it, so they simply picked up their chopsticks, planning to talk with Shi Jin over dinner, hoping that the delicious food would ease the atmosphere for the conversation.

“Wait a minute, that’s it? What about the birthday cake? The presents? Come on, really?” All of a sudden, Shi Jin broke the silence.
A righteous expression on his face, he said, “Can you call this a birthday party? Our Third Brother is yet another year older, this is such a tragi—important occasion! Waiter, please bring us a cake!”


The chopsticks in Rong Zhouzhong’s hand clattered against each other as his fingers twitched.
He stifled an unknown syllable in his throat, then forced out through clenched teeth, “Little bastard, who did you say is getting old—”

“Happy birthday, Third Brother, here’s your birthday present!” Shi Jin jumped up and shoved the shopping bag at Rong Zhouzhong, forcing him to swallow back the stream of abuse he was about to release.

Rong Zhouzhong was smacked in the face by the shopping bag.
When he snapped out of his shock, the first thing that caught his eye was the easily recognizable logo on the bag—it belonged to a well-established luxury brand that dealt in men’s leather goods, and Rong Zhouzhong happened to like their products.

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His mood suddenly became complicated, and the anger on his face lessened a little.
He put the shopping bag down and, his expression twisting in an odd way, reached inside, saying awkwardly, “I didn’t expect you to know what I like.
Did you check my fansites again… Hmm? What is this?”

Xiang Aoting, who knew the truth, bowed his head and concentrated on counting the sesame seeds on the sesame balls in front of him.

Lian Jun glanced sideways at Shi Jin, who had a serious expression on his face but whose eyes were practically shining, and couldn’t resist holding his hand.

The other brothers all looked at Rong Zhouzhong, their thoughts surprisingly similar: I didn’t expect Xiao Jin to give Zhouzhong/Third Brother a birthday present, but this is just like Xiao Jin, I guess.
I wonder what he prepared—

With a puzzled look, Rong Zhouzhong pulled out the thing in the shopping bag.

A cartoon multicolored centipede pillow sprang free from the confinement of the bag and unfolded itself in front of him.

Rong Zhouzhong’s face stiffened for a second, and the expressions of the other brothers also froze.
Li Jiuzheng even raised his hand and rubbed his eyes, asking aloud, “Is this… a centipede?” Did such a fat and colorful centipede ever exist in this world?

At the word “centipede”, it was as if someone had pressed a switch—Rong Zhouzhong returned to his senses in an instant, threw away the pillow, covered his mouth, and rushed to the bathroom.

Everyone at the table looked at Shi Jin.

“Fear can be overcome.” Shi Jin shook his head and sighed, then, with an expression of ‘I’m doing it for his sake’, he said earnestly, “Isn’t he afraid of centipedes because one crawled on his face when he was sleeping? Something like that is nothing, he’ll soon forget about it.”

Shi Weichong & Fei Yujing & Li Jiuzheng: “……” This could be practically classified as his childhood trauma, you think he can just forget about it? Are you a devil?

Feeling a headache, Xiang Aoting massaged his forehead, sighing silently—Third Brother may have forgotten it before, but thanks to that pillow, he would probably never forget it again for the rest of his life.

Fifteen minutes later, Rong Zhouzhong returned, his face damp and expression ugly.
He went back to his seat, bent down to pick up the centipede pillow on the ground, and looked at Shi Jin.
“Your birthday is in a few months, little bastard—just you wait,” he sneered.

Shi Jin wasn’t scared, and even continued to poke the bear: “I’ve already thought up your birthday present for next year, Third Brother—how about a centipede pendant? The kind that can be attached to your phone.”

Face dark, Rong Zhouzhong called for the waiter and ordered several plates of cucumber dishes in a deep voice.

Shi Jin let out a cold snort.

The other brothers: “……” And you’re mature? We are all brothers, can you stop doing things just to spite each other?

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 the excitement ended, and Shi Jin’s cake and Rong Zhouzhong’s cucumber dishes came up, the atmosphere at the table, strangely enough, became almost harmonious.

“Cut the cake first.” Finally finding some conscience, Shi Jin decided to spare the birthday boy a bit of respect.

Shooting him a chilly look, Rong Zhouzhong got up, cut the cake as if stabbing an enemy, then sat down with a thump.
“Here, done! Shi Jin, if you dare to talk nonsense again, I’ll post your embarrassing childhood photos on Weibo!”

Lian Jun frowned and gave him a sidelong glance.

“Oh, he’s lying, he doesn’t have any pictures of me at all.” Shi Jin hurried to turn Lian Jun’s face back and motioned for him to drink the soup.
“Hurry up and eat.
You have to eat regular meals and it’s past six already, later than your usual dinnertime.”

Lian Jun drew his gaze back and obediently took a sip of the soup.

Witnessing this scene, Shi Weichong and the others had the inexplicable feeling that the dishes on the table had become tasteless.

During the meal, everyone understood not to mention the real reason they had gathered, and kept the conversation light, asking Shi Jin about his college entrance exam and the school he chose.
Some questions Shi Jin answered, some he didn’t, but he didn’t brush his brothers off either.

By the time dinner ended, it was already past seven.
Shi Jin had never forgotten that he had a date to finish, so he took the initiative to ask, “What do you want to talk to me about?”

The five brothers exchanged glances.
In the end, Shi Weichong took the lead and called for the waiter to remove the dishes on the table and serve some drinks.
After the waiter left, he organised his thoughts and began: “Last time, I wanted to transfer shares to you, but you refused to accept them.
At that time, I was too hasty—I believed it would be good for you, but in reality I only caused you trouble.
After thinking everything through, I contacted the others and we came up with something else.”

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Fei Yujing opened the briefcase by his feet and took out a thick stack of documents, continuing seamlessly from where his brother had left off.
“I drew this up myself, it can be signed at any time.”

The other brothers’ expressions became serious and they sat up straighter.

Shi Jin looked at the pile of documents with a frown.
“What is this?”

“It’s a deed to transfer all of Father’s immovable property and private bank deposits to you,” Fei Yujing replied.
“Moreover, we decided to set up a trust fund for you, managed by Big Brother and me, with all of us as grantors.
You can withdraw money from it whenever you need, whether to pay for living expenses or school fees, purchase property, or so on.”

A trust fund?

Shi Jin blinked, surprised, then his frown deepened.
“Why do you want to give me this? I don’t need it.”

“It’s not us, it’s Father.” Fei Yujing pushed the document in front of him and explained, “At that time, you divided the inheritance equally among the five of us, but we only took the shares—we haven’t accepted any real property or bank deposits, so these still belong to Father’s estate.”

“Do you think I’m a fool? I don’t want it.” Shi Jin still refused.

Seeing his resistance, Fei Yujing suddenly took off his glasses and reclined in his chair.
“Shi Jin, what are you afraid of?” he asked the question he’d always wanted to ask.

“Fei Yujing,” Lian Jun called in a deep voice, making clear he didn’t like the way the lawyer had spoken to Shi Jin just now.

Shi Jin reached for Lian Jun to stop him, then looked Fei Yujing straight in the eye and replied, “I’m afraid of a lot of things.
This money is not a blessing that can make my life worry-free, but a curse to crush my bones and rend my body asunder.
Putting it bluntly, right now I’m not afraid of you, but of your mothers and the other people who have a stake in this matter.”

At those words, everyone frowned; Shi Weichong had already heard this once and his face looked even darker than others.
“You’re too sensitive, Xiao Jin,” he said softly.
“You can accept these things, they really won’t harm you.”

Shi Jin, however, put on a ‘I don’t believe it, I won’t listen to you’ attitude and stuck with it.

As it seemed this stalemate would continue, Rong Zhouzhong couldn’t stop himself from saying, “Shi Jin, has falling in love made you even more stupid than you already were? My mother owns one of the biggest companies in the entertainment industry—she lives a life of wealth and leisure, happy dallying with little white faces.
You think she’d be bored enough to come after you?”

Li Jiuzheng added, “My mother also won’t, because she’s dead.”

Everyone: “……”

Xiao Si said, shivering.

“…I still don’t want these things anyway.” Shi Jin persisted in his refusal.

Witnessing Shi Jin being so wary, Xiang Aoting guessed that the scars they’d left in him were so deep that he couldn’t help but be afraid he’d get hurt again if he accepted anything from them.
Distressed, he opened his mouth to join in with the attempts to convince the teenager, when the ringing of a phone interrupted him.

Everyone looked towards the sound.
Shi Weichong frowned, fished the phone out of his pocket, looked at the name of the caller, and rejected the call.

A rare expression of dislike appeared on Fei Yujing’s face.
“It’s her again?” he asked.

I’ll have a good talk with her later,” Shi Weichong replied, but the sound of his voice had barely died away when the phone rang again.
Looking helpless, he got up and gave everyone an apologetic glance.
“I’m sorry, it seems I have to take this, I’ll be back soon.”

From Shi Weichong’s reaction, Shi Jin had already guessed who the caller was.
He glanced at the progress bar in his brain, thought for a few seconds, and suddenly stood up.
“Big Brother, as long as you answer the phone here, I will sign these documents.
I’ll keep signing them as long as you keep talking.”

Shi Weichong stopped and looked over his shoulder at him.

“Will you answer or not?” Shi Jin dragged the stack of papers closer and picked up the pen.

Shi Weichong gave him a deep look, clenching his hands into fists, then took out the phone and touched ‘Accept the call’.

{Hello? Where are you, Weichong?}

With the enhanced hearing buff, Xu Jie’s voice was quite clear.
Shi Jin decisively opened the first document, let Xiao Si give the content a quick check to make sure there were no traps, and put his signature on it.

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Seeing this, Shi Weichong began to chat with Xu Jie, tricking her into thinking he was out discussing business and would be back late.

One after another, Shi Jin quickly signed all the documents.
Looking up at Shi Weichong, he said, “I’ve accepted the real estate and deposits.
As for the trust fund… set it up if that will make you happy, I can’t stop you.
It doesn’t mean I’ll use it though.” He put down the pen and pushed the documents back to Fei Yujing.

Fei Yujing glanced at him, then at the phone in Shi Weichong’s hand, thoughtful.

Shi Jin’s voice was neither particularly loud nor particularly quiet; it was very clear in the quiet room.
It seemed Xu Jie on the other side of the phone had heard what he said.

Her tone rose and sharpened at once as she said, {Where are you, Weichong! What did you give that mongrel?}

Xiao Si warned nervously.

From 600 to 800 in a second—as expected, Xu Jie really was a problem!

Shi Jin looked at Shi Weichong, his face expressionless.

Shi Weichong closed his eyes tight.
He hung up without another word, looked at Shi Jin, and asked, “Is this what you wanted?”

“Yes, this is what I wanted,” Shi Jin replied with affirmation.
“Big Brother, you said these things won’t harm me—let us see whether they will or not in the end.
Third Brother, thank you for your hospitality, we will take our leave now.” Pushing Lian Jun’s wheelchair before him, he left the private room without glancing back.

In the outer room, Gua Two saw them come out and hurried to follow.

Amid the silence, Fei Yujing looked at Shi Weichong and asked, “Are you hiding something from us? Why is Xiao Jin so hostile to your mother?”

“…It was my mother who showed hostility to Xiao Jin first.” Shi Weichong dragged a chair and sat down, then raised his hand to support his forehead, his expression dull.
“This is my problem… Yujing, you were right, I shouldn’t have insisted on coming to meet Xiao Jin today.”

Everyone looked at him, frowning.
They recalled Xu Jie’s reaction and Shi Jin’s stubbornness, and all of a sudden, they thought today’s birthday party had perhaps not been the best idea.

“How troublesome.” Rong Zhouzhong leaned back in his chair.
Catching sight of the centipede pillow that had been stuffed back into the shopping bag, he reached for it and pulled it out, only then discovering that there was a small, elegantly packaged box at the bottom of the bag.
Surprised, he took it out and opened it, finding a simple but tasteful wallet inside.
Expression complex, he looked at it, took another look at the centipede pillow, and scrubbed through his hair in irritation.
“You really are… trouble.”

Shi Jin helped Lian Jun to get in the car, then sat next to him and closed the door, facing the restaurant entrance.

Xiao Si suddenly said,

Shi Jin was startled, and his mood became a little complicated.
He leaned back with a long sigh, looked at his progress bar, and asked silently, “Xiao Si, do you think I did the right thing?”

After figuring out that it was Xu Jie who’d called Shi Weichong, he came up with an idea on the spot—rather than avoiding the risk and continue guessing, why not aggravate the conflict?

Spending every day guarding against a thief you know was waiting for you was exhausting—it was better to try to force the thief to appear, then deal with them once and for all.
However, if that really happened, Shi Weichong was bound to suffer in one way or another.

Xiao Si comforted in its own clumsy way.

Will it really be fine?

Shi Jin’s eyes unconsciously fell on Lian Jun’s progress bar.
Recalling Lian Jun’s treatment plan and the steady progress his lover was making, his expression eased—yes, everything was going to be fine, things were already getting better…

“Shi Jin.” All of a sudden, Lian Jun called to him in a soothing voice, taking his hand.

Shi Jin was pulled out of his thoughts and looked at him.
Thinking of his unfinished date plan, he slowly cheered up and asked, squeezing Lian Jun’s hand back, “You’re supposed to obey me the whole day today, right?”

Lian Jun reached out to caress his cheek.
“Yes, I’ll listen to you.” I’ll do anything as long as it will make you happy.

Shi Jin smiled.
He conjured a bag from under the seat and said with expectation, “Okay, then first, change into this.”

Lian Jun froze.
Looking at the bag of clothes in the teenager’s hand, all of a sudden, he felt as though he’d heard the sound of a trap springing closed over his head.


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