After hearing Situ Jin’s request, Xu Ran was a little surprised. He stood up, walked over to Situ Jin, stretched his hand out and rapped a knuckle on Situ Jin’s forehead a few times.
“Hey, hey, Situ Jin, have you become stupid or something?” Xu Ran teased Situ Jin without holding back.
Bo Ya felt like her heart was about to leap out of her mouth when she saw what Xu Ran just did. She knew her boss’ temperament the best. Even though Xu Ran and Situ Jin were old friends who grew up in the same orphanage together, she was sure that Situ Jin wasn’t going to take this sort of treatment lying down.
Situ Jin was born an orphan and had relied on government scholarships and sponsorships for his education, his living expenses and finally made it all the way to this position, so he had a loyalty to the nation that was stronger than most. On the contrary, even though Xu Ran had grown up the same way, he wasn’t particularly loyal to the country. At most, he would assist certain government agencies from time to time. But he had indeed grown up in the same orphanage as Situ Jin and they were real friends.
Just as Bo Ya had imagined, Situ Jin gripped Xu Ran’s shoulder suddenly.
“What are you doing? OWWWW!” Xu Ran let out a wail as Situ Jin nearly flung him onto the table.
Situ Jin’s lips twitched violently, then he let go of Xu Ran, took a deep breath and sat back down again. He covered his face with his hands and muttered to himself, “Stay calm. I must stay calm. This asshole is deliberately trying to provoke me.”
Xu Ran straightened himself up and turned to face Situ Jin again. He gave Situ Jin a cheeky grin and said, “Not bad! You’ve finally matured! In the past, you would have bashed me up by now.”
Situ Jin moved his hands slightly to reveal his eyes as he brought his leg up to kick towards Xu Ran’s face. Thankfully, Xu Ran had quick reflexes and managed to dodge the kick. But the table wasn’t as fortunate – Situ Jin’s kick caused a large section to crack.
“That’s quite enough, both of you! Are you two here to fight or to get work done?” Bo Ya raised her voice in exasperation. She realized that if she didn’t stop them now, the two of them would eventually end up in a physical fight.
Xu Ran quickly ran back to his own chair, then sneered disdainfully at Situ Jin, “Mr. Situ, did you think erasing someone’s memory is an easy thing to do? I’m very sure there are no more than three people in the world who can do it, and I’ve only seen one before – ME! I don’t know if the other two even exist…”
“Cut the crap,” hissed Situ Jin as he tried to hold his temper down. “I didn’t say the memories have definitely been erased. I just want you to take a look.”
Xu Ran sighed and said, “So, you’re not going to give up even if it costs you? I admire that! Since that’s what you want, then…it’s sleepy time!”
He snapped his fingers and the seething Situ Jin suddenly drooped his head as he fell asleep instantly.
Xu Ran had a lecherous look on his face as he sniggered, “Ha! Let me check if you’ve been harboring any inappropriate thoughts towards Bo Ya!”
“XU RAN!” Bo Ya glared furiously at Xu Ran as her face flushed crimson.
He burst out laughing and said, “Bo Ya, what does this expression of yours mean? Do you want me to check or not?”
“Xu Ran, can you please be serious?” said Bo Ya in a frustrated voice.
“Okay, okay…everyone in this department is too uptight and straitlaced, how boring!” Xu Ran shook his head before suddenly putting on a serious face as he placed a hand over Situ Jin’s forehead.
Half an hour later, Situ Jin slowly woke up. He saw that Xu Ran was still shamelessly teasing Bo Ya and wanted to say something when he realized he had some additional memories in his brain.
He was in S City, in that apartment, with that man who kept a smile on from start to finish. King Kong, Grandmaster, Laddie, Spectacles and himself were lying in the middle of the living room and answering that man’s questions.
“It’s exactly as I had expected!” Situ Jin smiled. It had taken a bit more effort, but he managed to find a loophole after all.
He got up and said to Bo Ya, “Bo Ya, gather everyone! We need to go to S City immediately!”
“Hold up!” said Xu Ran suddenly. He glanced at Situ Jin, then asked slowly, “Are you really going to make trouble for that man?”
“I’m not making trouble for him. This is part of my job,” replied Situ Jin.
Xu Ran smiled and shrugged as he said, “I don’t care if it’s your job or not and I’m not going to stop you if you prefer to die. But as a friend, let me leave you with a warning – it’s better not to do anything rash. Given your team’s caliber, making trouble for that man will only result in your deaths.”
Situ Jin fell silent for a moment, then he said to Bo Ya, “Forget it. Keep this under wraps for the time being and don’t tell anybody else about it. Bo Ya, please get both of us some tea.”
“Got it!” Bo Ya nodded and walked out of the room.
“Spit it out. What do you need from me?” Xu Ran was old friends with Situ Jin and knew that Situ Jin had purposely gotten Bo Ya out of the room so that they could talk in private.
“Help me out. Deal with that guy,” Situ Jin went straight to the point. Since his team couldn’t handle Su Jin, he had to turn to this friend for help.
But Xu Ran shook his head without hesitation. “I refuse.”
“If I go, I probably might be able to handle that fellow, but I won’t have any additional energy left to protect you guys, so it’s very likely that all of you still have to die,” said Xu Ran.
Situ Jin said, “If that’s your reason, then it’s not really a problem. You just have to go look for him yourself, the rest of us won’t go.”
“What the fu—Situ Jin, how could you even say such a thing?! Are you asking me for help or are you asking me to sacrifice my life?!” snapped Xu Ran angrily as he pushed some of the fringe that had fallen over his eyes back. He looked a little wild and crazed now, but he still looked so beautiful. Not even his cursing could hurt his image.
Situ Jin made a face and ignored Xu Ran’s outburst. “Aren’t you usually unafraid of anything? Seriously, if you didn’t come from a proper sect and all, the first suspicious character I would investigate would be you.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. In any case, I’m not going, you can go look for someone else!” Xu Ran turned to leave.
Situ Jin quickly called after him, “Fine! If you don’t want to go, you don’t have to. But at least give me a few suggestions?”
“Suggestions? My suggestion is that you hand your work over to someone else asap, otherwise the entire department is going to run around like headless chickens when you suddenly drop dead,” said Xu Ran calmly.
Situ Jin narrowed his eyes a little, then sighed. “When I saw your expression earlier, I knew I couldn’t hide it from you. Please help me to keep this a secret from the rest. Don’t tell anyone about this.”
“But why? You’re in very bad shape and I think you’re going to collapse in a little more than a month. If you’re unlucky, you might not even live to see tomorrow, so why bother keeping it from them? I think it’s better to tell them right now so that they are prepared for what’s coming,” said Xu Ran frankly.
Situ Jin frowned as he pulled a cigarette out and was about to light it when Xu Ran took it from him, crushed it and threw it onto the floor.
Surprisingly, Situ Jin didn’t get angry. He laughed bitterly and put the pack of cigarettes back into his pocket. “I know I don’t have much time left. But that man…I want to deal with him before I die. If I tell the rest about my condition now, I’m afraid it’ll be hard for them to focus on their work.”
“Don’t look down on your subordinates – they’re much stronger than you imagine them to be,” said Xu Ran quietly.
He exhaled deeply and suddenly asked Situ Jin, “If you had the chance to get well and live on…what sort of price would you be willing to pay?”
“Get well and live on? There’s no way that can happen. I know my situation very well. My lungs have been polluted by certain chemicals, so death is just a matter of time,” said Situ Jin as he shook his head.
“I didn’t fucking ask if you had a way to get well. I asked what if you had the chance,” snapped Xu Ran unhappily.
Situ Jin smiled sadly and said in an indignant tone of voice, “I would pay any price. I have so many more things I want to do. Honestly, I really hate the idea of dying so early. I need time, but time is something that money can’t buy, neither can I rob someone of it nor beg someone for it.”
Xu Ran nodded slightly and said, “I would still advise you not to go after that fellow. At least not now. You’re not powerful enough. Also…I’ll drop by again in the afternoon. I have something for you.”
After saying that, Xu Ran turned to leave, only to find Bo Ya standing at the door with a tray of drinks. He glanced at her and immediately noticed the tear stains on her cheeks, so he helped her to wipe them away and patted her shoulder.
“Don’t worry, he’s not going anywhere,” Xu Ran whispered comforting words and she nodded in response.
She had overheard everything outside the door earlier. But since Situ Jin didn’t want anybody else to know about his condition, she decided to pretend that she didn’t know anything.
Situ Jin didn’t notice anything at all. He took a cup of tea from her tray and said with a frown, “Bo Ya, postpone all my afternoon meetings, I need to attend to some matters.”
He didn’t know what Xu Ran was going to give him, but since Xu Ran was both his friend and nemesis, he felt that it was important to give this frenemy some airtime, even though he didn’t have that much longer to live.
After leaving Situ Jin’s office, Xu Ran headed for Clear Moon Temple within B City. This was a Daoist temple that was not open to the public and did not take any donations or offerings. Xu Ran headed straight for the abbot’s room and nobody dared to stop him along the way.
Inside the room, an elderly man with white hair and beard was seated in a lotus position. Xu Ran grinned and greeted the old man cheerfully. The old man opened his eyes slightly and nodded at Xu Ran to acknowledge his greeting.
Xu Ran walked closer to the old man and thrust his hand right into the chest of the old man. The old man did not look like he was in any pain at all as Xu Ran proceeded to pull a book right out from his chest.
Xu Ran looked at the book in his hand and smiled to himself as he said, “My dear Situ Jin! You were the one who said you were willing to pay any price, so…I suppose even if you were to become that sort of person, you wouldn’t mind, right?”
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