CH-52 Emotional manipulation and hypnosis
After seeing off everyone, Fang junjie dragged himself back into the house and dazedly went into the kitchen and filled a glass of water to drink. He absentmindedly took a sip when all of a sudden, his hand trembled, and the glass slipped from his hands and dropped on the ground near his feet.
With the sharp sound of glass breaking Junjie jerked back and blankly looked at the shards of glass. A little trail of blood leaked from the pinky finger of his feet and mixed with the water on the floor.
The whole house was silent. For a few seconds he thought that he was continuously hearing sounds of various glasses breaking.
Among them, he could vaguely hear that familiar laugh.
‘*giggle* Smile for me, Junjie. Show me how happy you are. *giggle**giggle*’
Junjie covered his ears to block the noise. He quickly looked around in the quiet kitchen, everything looked desolate and lonely.
A few seconds passed, and something in him snapped. All of a sudden, he made a sprint for his bedroom.
Did he step on a glass? Did it hurt? He didn’t feel anything except for the adrenaline that started pooling in his veins..
Reaching his room, he turned on all the lights and buried himself into the blankets. Inside the blanked, he blankly stared at the small rays of light that escaped from small openings and entered in his darkness. At that moment, all the emotions that he had been tightly controlling for the last few hours finally erupted.
Tears streamed down from the corner of his eyes, soaking the pillow. He sobbed into his pillow, his face crumpled and all scrunched up. Small hiccups and coughs escaped in between. His hands tightly hugged the blanket, as if finding the tiny bit of comfort he desired, in them.
Four hours had passed when they started their journey.
They had already left the city behind before the rush hours began and now, the fields could be seen in some distance. Not many cars were there on the highway and the speeds were also very high.
Rong Qing playfully stretched her body out of the window and she was whipped in her head with a newspaper roll by the one and only Mr. Fang Bai.
“You don’t treasure your head, do you?”
“Xiao Bai! I was only eNJoyInG! There aren’t even any other vehicles on the road other than ours. You don’t even let me have this much of fUN. EvERyOnE does that!”
“Really?” Fang Bai, who was sitting on the driving seat, asked with a strange smirk on his face. He swirled the car to the left of the road which left Rong Qing confused. Tang Rong and Duan Wei also had similar smirks. Rong Qing had a sudden urge to wipe them off these narcissists’ faces.
Out of nowhere, a loud sound of engines was heard. And three race cars, one after another zoomed right past the place where they had previously been, and vanished in no time.
Rong Qing suddenly felt cold on her neck. She gulped, and quietly took in the arm that was still hanging outside.
The other three snickered quietly.
“Hmm… argh.” Li Jin groaned in his sleep.
“Shh…” Tang Rong quietly made an action and everyone consciously stopped making noise. Li Jin had been sleeping on the third row for quite a time already with no sign of waking up. Although Li Jin had been trying to hide his fatigue, they all could see it clearly. He looked very tired and worn out, so they all had decided to let him have a rest for some time.
“Hmm…” Li Jin groaned again; apparently wanting to ‘change his position’ to a different one in his sleep, but it was futile since he was not actually on a bed, but on a seat.
“Should we wake him up? He seems uncomfortable.” Duan Wei asked.
Since it was a six-seater vehicle, the last 2 seats were empty and could be used as a bed comfortably to lay across. Currently, Li Jin was sitting on the last seat alone. Thought out of embarrassment, he chose to sleep in a sitting position even though others offered him to lay down and have rest.
“Seems like a good idea to me. We all can have some food in one of the motels and then he can sleep on the last seat.” Fang Bai spoke.
“Same here.” Rong Qing also chirped in, “I also want to have some snacks.”
Li Jin’s bag was emitting a very good aroma when he brought it in the morning. She had been secretly excited to see what things that cute guy brought.
“Rong Rong, can we exchange seats? I want to have a talk with Li Jin.” Fang Bai asked Tang Rong.
Fang Bai quickly parked the car and went back to sit with Duan Wei. While Tang Rong sat on the driving seat along with Rong Qing and asked her to look for suitable motels on the way.
“Li Jin, wake up… Li Jin?” Fang Bai called to the sleeping beauty behind him. The little one(who was barely an inch shorter than him) did not respond, so he looked back, thought something, and decided to poke him awake. As soon as his fingers came near the other person’s shoulder, the person who was supposed to be in a deep sleep opened his eyes wide and his hand quickly flew and held Fang Bai’s stretched finger.
Fang Bai quickly made a surprised and painful expression.
“Ouch! My finger… Li Jin, leave my finger! Hey Hey!”
Li Jin barely got his focus back when he panicked when he heard Fang Bai’s scream. He anxiously released the index finger that he was holding. In haste, he did not recognize any changes in the car.
“Sorry Fang Bai, I- I did not realize… I was just taken aback. I hope you are not hurt.”
‘Damn! Did I not control my strength? Will Fang Bai hold a grudge against me?’ Li Jin did not want to have a bad relationship with the group of people he decided to form a team with. Trust was the basic foundation of a good team because they would always have each other’s back in life and death situations.
Li Jin had always been on a solo run in the apocalypse while occasionally interacting with humans for trades, so he had a very little to no understanding of relationships. That was why just a small ‘trifle’ was enough to make him overthink.
“Yeah, it does hurt a bit, but don’t worry Li Jin, I know it is not your fault. Was this a martial arts skill, Li Jin? You moved so fast, just like the kung-fu masters in movies. How did you learn all this stuff?! It is amazing, yet painful. *hiss*”
Tang Rong, who had seen everything through the rear-view mirror, raised his eyebrows at Fang Bai’s emotional manipulation of the rabbit boy. Though, his suspicions about Li Jin’s origins increased. If this person was so skilled, why did he want to get closer to them? He had such a deceptive appearance; were his intentions good, or bad?
Since Fang Bai had taken the matter in his hands, by allowing a suspicious person to go with them on their personal family trick, he decided to listen to him and just watch the show. And he had to ‘just treat Li Jin like a friend’, as Fang Bai messaged him that day.
Rong Qing and Duan Wei were also confused about what was happening. Fang Bai’s screams came all of a sudden, catching them off guard.
“Hey, what happened, Xiao-Bai? How did you get hurt?” Rong Qing asked worriedly to Fang Bai, who was still clutching his “hurt” finger and flashing it again and again in front of everyone. She knew Fang Bai very well.
She asked Tang Rong, “Have we got bandages, Rong-Rong? Maybe Xiao-Bai needs them.”
Everything was escalating at a speed that Li Jin did not expect. Getting woken up suddenly from the sleep and suddenly hurting someone he didn’t want to, and the constant pressure in his mind about his losing powers, his mind felt hard to process things.
Dazedly, he answered Fang Bai’s question.
“I learned them from my master. I really didn’t want to hurt you Fang Bai…”
“It’s okay Li Jin” Fang Bai’s voice was soft and mellow, good intentions seemed to be overflowing from his words constantly. He began to softly click his fingers creating a stable periodic sound. Everyone else in the car turned silent… Tang Rong slowed down the car’s speed.
Li Jin’s eyes turned dazed. Fang Bai realized that he got a very good chance, and he wanted to fully take advantage of it. He softened his tone of voice, slowed down his words, and locked eyes with Li Jin, showing his his best intentions.
Softly, Fang Bai asked the question he had been recently trying to aquire, “Who is your master Li Jin? Where is he?”
“Master… he is master… He… is dead.” Li Jin was sweating. He did not know why, but he did not want to disappoint Fang Bai at all. He was only focused on making Fang Bai happy… What he was doing, he did not know at all.
Fang Bai’s eyes flashed when he heard Li Jin’s words. As expected, he was the one.
He was a bit surprised when Li Jin answered his questions so fast; his mental state seemed to be quite weak. Very carefully, he continued to probe, “You don’t know your master’s name?”
Li Jin robotically shook his head, his eyes locked with Fang Bai’s ‘sympathetic and concerned’ eyes.
“No worries, I know you always mean my good Li Jin, after all, why would you hide your masters name from me? I know you would never ‘deliberately’ hit me so ‘hard’?” The relief that appeared in Li Jin’s eyes for a moment again disappeared, and guilt again thickened.
“How long did you learn from your master, Li Jin?” This was the second question Fang Bai wanted to inquire.
“E-Eighteen years.” As soon as Li Jin said this, everyone other than Fang Bai showed surprised expressions.
“Ohhh… eighteen years, and your master did not even tell you his name?” Fang Bai increased the doubt in his voice.
Li Jin anxiously shook his head in denial, “I really don’t…”
“It’s okay, it’s okay. But in exchange for that, tell us why did you want to join us on this trip, Li Jin? Did you know us before?”
Li Jin slowly shook his head. He seemed to be wanting to answer Fang Bai’s first question, yet, his tongue did not want to move. His eyes that were locked with Fang Bai’s started shaking as he whisper-slurred out a word.
Fang Bai’s eyes contracted as he locked into Li Jin’s shaky, dazed ones.
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