Time-Limited Hunt – Chapter 22 : Temptation

Potential triggers for the entire novel:
Domestic abuse, sexual assault, suicide, nonconsensual sex (main cp).
T97 mentions this is an experimental work. Read @ your own risk.
If any of the above are landmines for you, please stop reading now.

Yan Junxun threw aside the steel rod and stepped over the entire ground of shattered glass fragments to open the door of the other party’s car. The windshield of the car had already been smashed into pieces. There was no one inside. The on-board system’s sos alarm grew softer and  softer until it eventually became an electronic “beep—”. 

The other party was not here at all. 

Yan Junxun yanked off the clip folder in the car roughly. There were a bunch of printed notes inside with a “let’s play a game” written on all of them. Clenching the notes tightly, he saw a plush toy with a crooked smile on its tilted head sitting on the passenger seat. The other party seemed to know Yan Junxun’s triggers; he even put glasses on the plush toy and dressed it up like Huo Qingjun in Huo Qingjun’s family portrait. All of a sudden, the “beep” sound of the on-board system stalled and switched automatically to a voice.  

“I want to see you so badly… Oh, I know you. I’ve known you for a long time.” The other party moved closer to the recording device and said in an exaggerated tone, “You are the son of the hunt.” 

He sneered a little and moved away from the recording device. Yan Junxun heard him walking around. He was wearing leather shoes, which made a sound whenever he stepped on the floor. He seemed to know that Yan Junxun would not skip over any of the details, so he stood before the device and tap-danced for a bit.   

“Don’t bother to find me through the recording. You won’t be able to do it.” The other party casually rummaged the objects around him as if he was in his own house. “Why must you listen to Fu Chenghui’s words? Yan Junxun, you’d better think carefully about your answer to me. You can think of this as a game too. In any case…” He tapped the table. “… All of these don’t matter to you. Fu Chenghui thinks you can see the ‘truth’. He’s too stupid. You are clearly just a failed, one-dimensional, and uninteresting fake. You deceive everyone with your poor acting skills. You are a clown who is all show and no substance.” 

Happy at this point, he could not help but bite the tip of his tongue and laughed. It was a very strange sound. 

“Go back, Yan Junxun. Go back to your gloomy and cramped lair and fly into a rage like a human being. Do you think you’re the goddess of justice? Damn it.” His laughter grew even stranger. “You are just a baby who has yet to wean off milk. To date, I still don’t understand what the hell you’re doing hiding out here? You’re total garbage here, one who can’t even be of any use. Your profiling—can that even be fucking called profiling? I’m sorry, I cussed.” Vexed, he slowed his tone. “I shouldn’t use profanities. But when I think of you, I can’t help it. You’ll never understand my hatred for you, like an ant can’t understand a human stepping on it. I want you to understand that you have to pay the price for all that you have gotten. You have to understand your own failures. I’ll make you understand.”  

He sat down and pulled at his shirt, and in the process, his fingers bumped against the edge of the table. 

He was wearing a ring. 

The sound Yan Junxun heard in that brief moment – of the ring striking against the table edge – set off a tiny aftershock in the boundless dark, like a ripple on the water’s surface.

“I’m denying your existence. What place do you have here?” At this point, the other party seemed a little stumped, as if he had yet to think of a good follow-up. “No one in this world needs you. Although I want very much to tell you to ‘go to hell, Yan Junxun’, I don’t want it to be that simple. You do suffer breakdowns, right? Even if you go all out to imitate a system, your inner core is still so fragile that it can’t withstand a single blow. I want you to fall apart, to despair… Despair is a very good word. It has more power than ‘death’, and it can accommodate all the malice I harbor towards you. I’ve already started. Out of courtesy, I want to say hello. I almost succeeded the last time. Unfortunately, there’s a bastard. That bastard called Shi Shanyan. Another fucking Black Panther. Please answer him on my behalf: I don’t want to die, and I won’t die.” Already tired of laughing, he turned frosty when he mentioned Shi Shanyan. “I want him to die. I’ll think of a way. He’s rather a tad too smug—”  

The core device of the on-board system protruding from the side of the driver’s seat abruptly exploded, crushed easily like a balloon filled with air. God knew how long Shi Shanyan had been leaning against the car door listening to the recording. His eyes were already squinting from the glare of the sun.

“You want to sit here and chat with him? To listen to his rambling, incoherent description of his own untold innermost story?” Shi Shanyan threw the wires he had pulled out to the side of his feet and wiped his hands with toilet paper. He looked at Yan Junxun and rapped on the battered car door with the hand he had propped up on it. “You sit here all so obediently with patience and kindness, as if I’m the one who smashed this door rotten. Don’t listen to him. Don’t attempt to understand him.” 

Shi Shanyan was too tall; he blocked out all of Yan Junxun’s light. When he bent over, the interior of the car looked extremely small and narrow. He extended a hand to brush aside the black hair hanging over Yan Junxun’s eyes. The expression in his eyes was like that of someone looking attentively at a work of art. His gaze caressed across Yan Junxun’s tear mole and cheek like a man enamored. 

“You can crush his head.” Shi Shanyan said in a low, deep voice. “Who can stop you? Little genius, don’t pay him any attention.” 

There was a steel rod under Yan Junxun’s seat, and even a push dagger in his pocket. As he crushed a cigarette, he inexplicably wanted to laugh.

It was really hard for him to control himself. He could not quit smoking like he wanted to. There was something greedy in his nature that urged him to make excuses for himself constantly. What exactly should he do? Artemis did not make itself clear. No one had ever told him. But he often felt tired and sleepy, and if he wasn’t, he would stare into space and zone out. Else, he would be thinking of doing something. No matter where he was, he felt uncomfortable. There seemed to be nowhere in this world where he could completely relax. He was always keeping himself on tenterhooks every single moment. 

Fuck Black Panther. Fuck Fu Chenghui. 

They let out a dangerous element to tempt him. Shi Shanyan kept telling him every second to “do a little something”. Do a little something like what? Begging for attention like that lunatic in the recording? Yan Junxun was not that kind of person. He wrote on the blackboard, mechanically and resolutely.    

He was not that kind of person. He was not the kind of person they thought he was. 

“I won’t bite him, nor will I touch him.” Yan Junxun turned around to move closer to Shi Shanyan. He did not avoid that shiver-inducing gaze of Shi Shanyan. He raised his hands to grab Shi Shanyan’s collar and said as if he was swearing an oath, “Stop tempting me. I know what I should do.”   

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