“”HuoHuoHuoHuo, HuoHuoHuoHuo,” Kou Chen suddenly started singing, “The forms and moves of the Huo Family Fist are flexible…””
A good few seconds after Kou Chen had one-sidedly declared the result of the contest, Huo Ran still hadn’t returned to his senses, his shock completely trampling his terror from not having understood whether or not that’d been a White Lady earlier into nothingness.
“You came out of the building first,” Kou Chen jumps down from the stairs once again, stretching, “The first one that comes out loses, I still haven’t decided on what I want you to do for me, so I’ll tell you again when I do.”
“You say that one more time?” Huo Ran looks at him.
“I’ll tell you again when I do,” Kou Chen says.
“Not this line,” Huo Ran says.
“You’ve lost,” Kou Chen starts laughing after he finishes, whistling while he walks, “But if you don’t accept, we could go 3 rounds 2 wins, arrange for another 2 days…”
“No thanks, if it’s my loss it’s my loss,” Huo Ran cuts him off, 3 rounds 2 wins? No need, he’d been willing to gamble and was able to accept loss, he’d rather admit defeat than go inside again.
Kou Chen looks back at him, not speaking.
From the field a beam from a flashlight shone over, and although in between there was still a soccer field and 4 running tracks in addition, Kou Chen and Huo Ran still unconsciously moved towards the wall corner next to them to hide.
But very soon the flashlight at the other side changed direction, heading over to the basketball hall, and Huo Ran sighed in relief, the school management was strict in many aspects, if they’d gotten caught by security, they’d definitely have to have a chat with Old Yuan the next day, so although he wasn’t some sort of honour student, he still wasn’t willing to keep having to run towards the teachers’ office when school’s only just reopened.
Especially if it was always with Kou Chen.
Walking forward just a few steps, a few figures suddenly flashed in front of them, one had even fallen straight from the sky, and that momentarily forgotten white figure that had floated down from the staircase before disappearing instantly reappeared in Huo Ran’s mind.
Fortunately almost at the same time as the appearance of the figures, he heard Xu ZhiFan’s suppressed voice: “Huo!”
Xu ZhiFan was undoubtedly a best friend1 the actual phrase/term 铁子 (tiě zi) has the character for ‘iron’ which is quite a nice term used to describe someone with whom one has a solid relationship/friendship that has been in the same class since junior high, who knew that at this sort of time he had to immediately volunteer a self-introduction, otherwise the next second he could jump 20 metres away.
“HuoHuoHuoHuo, HuoHuoHuoHuo,” Kou Chen suddenly started singing, “The forms and moves of the Huo Family Fist are flexible…”2 song lyrics from Jay Chou’s 霍元甲 (huò yuán jiǎ) / Fearless
Huo Ran instantly felt a wave of depression.
As expected, Kou Chen turned to look at him as he sang, then turned back to look at Xu ZhiFan, smiling very cheerfully: “Is this you guys arriving late?”
“Smiling so sweetly, looks like you’ve won huh?” Xu ZhiFan says.
“Mn!” Kou Chen nods very strongly in an exaggerated manner, thinking before he adds, “This sort of bet, don’t mind me saying, if they’re a person they can win him.”
“Let’s go, what are you bullshitting with him for,” Huo Ran was incredibly annoyed, but also couldn’t talk tough, after all even if that last bit hadn’t happened, Kou Chen still could’ve won over him.
“Go where?” Kou Chen asks.
“None of your fuck*…” Huo Ran hadn’t finished speaking, but Xu ZhiFan who was at his side gave him a shove.
“Go home duh, where else can we go?” Jiang Lei says.
Kou Chen takes his phone out to look at the time: “Let’s go eat barbecue, I’ll treat.”
“What?” Hu Yi was stunned.
“Eat barbecue,” Kou Chen says, “Chat a bit, we’re all outside anyways, don’t you want to know what we saw in the ghost building just now?”
“…What did you see?” Xu ZhiFan was also stunned, turning to look at Huo Ran.
“Talk in a bit, go go go go,” Kou Chen waves his hand, walking over to the surrounding wall at the back gate.
“Do we go?” Jiang Lei asks.
“Go an egg*,” Huo Ran says moodily.
[*tl note: egg is slang for ‘balls’ (the male organ), huo ran using this phrase could also be in relation to when he got cut off by xzf earlier: the swear he was about say was actually 鸡8 which uses the character for ‘chicken’ and means ‘dick’]
“Go,” Xu ZhiFan says.
“You fucker!” Huo Ran glares at him.
“What’s wrong,” Xu ZhiFan pushes him towards where Kou Chen was walking, lowering his voice, “We stick with the same class for 2 years you know, what are you bringing things to a deadlock for? Give him some face.”
“Then what about my face?” Huo Ran says.
“Did you lose your face?” Xu ZhiFan says, “Where did you drop it we’ll help you pick it up.”
Huo Ran walks a few steps before sighing: “Dropped it in the ghost building, fuck.”
The street next to the school had quite a few barbecue places, all dependent on the students from the few schools nearby that climb out over the school walls at night to be kept alive, during vacation periods all were half dead, only getting their souls back when school reopened.
“Why not invite Xu Chuan and Wei ChaoRen out as well?” Jiang Lei asks as he took a seat.
“No need, they both live far away, by the time they come out it’ll be the later half of the night,” Kou Chen waves his hand, “Boss!”
“What do you want!” the boss hollers.
“5 of everything!” Kou Chen also hollers.
“We can’t finish that probably?” Hu Yi looks over to where the boss was, there were many different types of food on the table, and all were in large chunks.
“What are all your food capacities?” Kou Chen wrinkles his brows in disdain, “My sister and I the 2 of us can eat a table-full.”
“Is your sister a female?” Huo Ran couldn’t help but ask.
“She’s female,” Kou Chen doesn’t even think before continuing, “The same as you, just with more guts.”
Huo Ran fiercely raises his head to glare at him, this3 there’s this word 茬 (chá) that when used with the word ‘find’ means to ‘looking to start trouble’, but on it’s own i can’t think of a word for it in english really couldn’t be mentioned, any mention of it made him want to grab a shovel to bury himself.
“Your mouth is really fucking smart4 the actual word used 欠 (qiàn) used with ‘mouth’ means someone who tends to say things that make people want to beat them up ,” Kou Chen says, then asks, “Are we drinking?”
“Drink a bit?” Jiang Lei looks at Xu ZhiFan.
“Drink a little then,” Xu ZhiFan looks at Huo Ran, “White5 not wine, the liquid is transparent (i’m not familiar with chinese liquor, so sorry!) ?”
“Boss give us liquor!” Kou Chen shouts.
Huo Ran’s group usually drank beer during their meals, but this time what Xu ZhiFan suggested was white liquor, what Kou Chen’s capacity was he didn’t know, but Huo Ran could more or less get some of his face back, since having burrowed in the grass field in the wild in the winter and staying for a number of days had trained his drinking capacity.
“Just now both of you went up the ghost building?” Xu ZhiFan asks, “Stayed for how long?”
“10 minutes probably ,” Kou Chen says, thinking and then looking at him, “The 3 of you just got here?”
“Bullshit, if we’d gotten here early could we have let you win?” Jiang Lei says.
This statement Xu ZhiFan had wanted to hinder but didn’t manage to, and he sighs.
As expected this made Kou Chen laugh when he heard it, turning to face Huo Ran cackling6 the onomatopoeia used was (laughing with) a ‘ga ga’ sound , and even when the boss served the two large plates of roasted meat he still hadn’t stopped.
“Did you bring people?” Huo Ran suddenly asks.
“Did not,” Kou Chen laughs as he spoke.
The expression on Huo Ran’s face was of great dissatisfaction, full of you guess whether I’d fucking believe you you shameless thing?
“Really didn’t,” Kou Chen retracts his smile, “At this time the only ones I could call out are ChaoRen and Xu Chuan, they both live too far away, this trip’s not worth it.”
“Fuck,” Huo Ran furrows his eyebrows, “Then who was that person we saw?”
“There was someone else in the ghost building?” the few of them were shocked, all raising their heads to stare at Huo Ran and Kou Chen.
“Mn, besides us, there indeed was…” Kou Chen takes a liquor bottle to pour, at the same time sweeping a glance at Huo Ran, “You sure that was a person?”
Huo Ran very slowly turns his head, looking at him, and a few seconds later says: “Fuck your uncle.”
Kou Chen instantly started laughing so hard the liquor spilled onto the table.
“What kind of person?” Xu ZhiFan butted in, feeling that these two having stayed together earlier for 10 minutes and unexpectedly not having started a fight was thanks to Huo Ran being scared of ghosts.
“Wearing white clothes, seemed like a skirt,” Kou Chen says, “I knew there was someone upstairs, but when I ran over and saw such a person, I was so frightened I just sat right onto the floor.”
“Ah,” Jiang Lei was a little shocked.
“Seemed like I made a crack in the floorboard again, the relic is too darn delicate,” Kou Chen says, “Is there a knife on my ass.”
“Never seen, don’t know,” Huo Ran follows up in accordance.
“You…” Kou Chen quickly turns to the side, a finger hooking onto the waistband of his pants.
“Not looking thank you,” Huo Ran cuts him off.
“Then that’s a shame,” Kou Chen retracts his hand, completely unbothered as he returns to the previous topic, “Tomorrow I’ll go to the ghost building to look again.”
“Still going?” Jiang Lei asks.
“Mn,” Kou Chen nods his head, lowering his voice, “That was definitely a person, they might go again, I need to make sure, after all they gave me a fright, what if it’s some criminal organisation making dealings there, I could record an audio or something to give to the police, and then it’ll be Young Man Bravely Storms Criminal Hideout…”
“That rumour about you hitting a teacher was fucking blown out using this method wasn’t it?” Huo Ran originally didn’t want to open his mouth, after all he’d just lost in the ghost building, and still owed Kou Chen a “promise to the other person”, but he really couldn’t keep it in, “This brain hole of Yours please repair it with some 5027 a brand of glue , if you said that was a ghost the number of people who’d believe you would be more than the number of whatsoever criminals.”
“Okay then,” Kou Chen says, “Then tomorrow I’m going to see ghosts again, you going?”
“I’m not ill,” Huo Ran says.
“I just want to ask,” Kou Chen sighs, “You with guts like this, in the wilderness using wood to start a fire?”
“This one really isn’t a bluff,” Jiang Lei says, “Huo Ran’s wilderness survival skills are full marks, not just starting a fire, on his own eating wild fruits and hunting, surviving a month isn’t a problem.”
Kou Chen looks at Huo Ran a little surprised, and after a while was still rather bewildered: “On your own?”
“Mn,” Huo Ran took a bite of meat.
“Not scared of ghosts then?” Kou Chen asks.
“There are no ghosts in the wild,” Huo Ran says.
“…Based on what are there no ghosts in the wild?” Kou Chen follows up.
“Bullshit, if there are ghosts in the wild how do I fucking live,” Huo Ran says, “The wild has to not have ghosts.”
“Fuck,” Kou Chen looks at him with admiration on his face, “This logic of yours is pretty strong huh.”
Finishing the roast, who exactly that figure was, their discussion ended up fruitless, the only information Kou Chen had gotten was, that Huo Ran was extremely good at drinking.
After the few walked out through the door, Kou Chen felt that he was floating above his feet a little, but Huo Ran’s eyes were still clear, on another level.
Xu ZhiFan and Hu Yi didn’t drink much, Jiang Lei couldn’t make it however, hanging onto Xu ZhiFan’s neck singing non-stop, in the end getting tossed under a roadside tree by Xu ZhiFan.
“How are you guys going?” Kou Chen asks.
“Bike and scooter,” Xu ZhiFan says, “Parked over at the front gate.”
“He’ll be driving too?” Kou Chen points a finger at Jiang Lei.
“He rode my scooter over,” Hu Yi sighs, “In a bit I’ll bring him to my house, if he goes home he’ll definitely get a beating from his mother.”
“Okay, then I’ll be going first,” Kou Chen slowly walks a few steps back along the road, “Huo Ran.”
“What,” Huo Ran looks at him.
“That thing I’ll tell you when I’ve thought of something,” Kou Chen says.
Huo Ran makes a ‘tsk’ sound and doesn’t say a word.
“Good night,” Kou Chen smiles as he waves, turning and walking off in large steps, still singing, “HuoHuoHuoHuo…”
The few of them dragged Jiang Lei back to the parking spots at the school main gate, and after Hu Yi got on, used the luggage strap on the scooter to tie Jiang Lei onto his back.
“What thing was Kou Chen just talking about?” Hu Yi had driven off, only then did Xu ZhiFan ask.
“The thing from losing the bet duh,” Huo Ran says, “The loser promises the other something.”
“Oh,” Xu ZhiFan starts up the scooter, “How exactly did you end up losing? Got scared and ran out?”
Huo Ran hops onto his bike and pedals forward: “I came outside with him, dog thing8 this is an insult walked up till the end then suddenly stepped back! I didn’t react in time, so it fucking becoming me coming outside first.”
Xu ZhiFan was stunned for a bit, then following that couldn’t stop laughing.
“Stop laughing,” Huo Ran furrows his brows, “How about… tomorrow in the day we go to the ghost building to take a look, logically speaking if it’s really a person, in pitch darkness jumping down from such a high place, there’d be traces left in some way.”
“Sure,” Xu ZhiFan nods his head, “Tomorrow after putting our luggage in the dorm we’ll go take a look.”
The people in the dormitory were unchanged from the previous semester, 4 people a set to one house, only moving from the first floor to the second, but Kou Chen’s dorm for some reason had now become opposite to theirs.
Jiang Lei and Hu Yi hadn’t arrived at school, and after Huo Ran had settled his luggage, suddenly with some urgency, pulled Xu ZhiFan along with plans to go to the ghost building to take a look immediately.
In the day he was still very brave.
There are no ghosts in the wild, there are no ghosts in the day.
Ghosts are in little dark rooms that don’t have their lights switched on at night.
Coming out of the door, Kou Chen had just walked outside with Xu Chuan, and Xu Chuan had a few tangerines in his hand, handing two over: “Try them, they’re pretty sweet.”
“Thank you,” Huo Ran receives the tangerines.
As he turns to leave, Kou Chen calls out to him from behind: “Huo.”
Huo Ran squeezed the tangerines in his hand with a start, turning his head, if Kou Chen dared to sing9 fairly certain he’s referring to the jay chou song , he would dare to stuff the tangerines into his mouth.
“Ran,” Kou Chen looks at him and smiles, “I gotta ask you, if I’m going camping, is there anything I need to prepare?”
“…Depends on how you camp,” Huo Ran was momentarily at a loss.
“In complete wilderness, 3 days duration,” Kou Chen says, “There’s only a tent at the moment, what else do we have to bring?”
“Bring a hearthstone maybe,” Huo Ran says.
There were just too many people of this sort that thought bringing a possibly non-waterproof tent could allow them to survive in the wilderness, even if he wanted to answer he didn’t know where to start.
“Hearthstone?” Kou Chen didn’t get it, “Would a portable gas stove work?”
Xu Chuan beside him laughed out loud: “Hearthstone ah, Big Brother10 i looked this whole phrase up; huo ran is probably referring to an online game called ‘hearthstone’ and there’s this one guy that keeps appearing in (google) images so there’s probably a joke somewhere… .”
“You fucker11 he says ‘you(r) uncle’ here ,” Kou Chen comes back to himself, “I’m being serious here.”
“If I tell you about it seriously, without at least half an hour you wouldn’t get it,” Huo Ran sighs.
“Then fine,” Kou Chen thinks for a bit, “Tonight let’s eat together, you tell me in greater detail, I’ll make a list to think it over slowly.”
“…Ah,” Huo Ran answers a little blankly, watching Kou Chen and Xu Chuan walk away eating their tangerines, and after they’d gone he then turned around, “Fuck? Did I just agree?”
“Mn,” Xu ZhiFan was peeling the tangerine.
“Why do I have to tell him, are we very familiar?” Huo Ran says.
“Counts as someone you’ve seen a ghost with,” Xu ZhiFan says as he eats, “Just tell him, in case he wants to go, and he leaves with just a sleeping bag, then ends up dying outside, you’d feel apologetic.”
Today’s classes hadn’t started, but the field was very crowded, besides the new students were who getting military trained12 what they do for orientation , there were a number of dorm students returning to school.
Perhaps the yang energy was too abundant, but the ghost building didn’t seem to have much of a difference with their classroom building, other than being older and dirtier.
Huo Ran stood in front of the stone plate, and saw that it did indeed have Municipal Historical Relic something written on it, Kou Chen hadn’t been bullshitting.
“Yesterday that ghost… person, jumped down from right there,” Huo Ran points at the second floor staircase entrance, “It’s really quite high.”
“Let’s go over and see,” Xu ZhiFan starts walking over.
Huo Ran looked around at the surroundings, this building was access denied, but there were very few people in this area, nobody was looking this way.
He followed and headed over, looking at the ground next to the staircase.
Cement floor, with some stray grass in the cracks, no traces could be detected.
“Want to take a look in the back?” Xu ZhiFan asks, “Yesterday Kou Chen said he’d been here since 9 o’clock, that person probably hadn’t gone up from the staircase at the front right?”
“Let’s go,” Huo Ran says.
Next to the ghost building was the surrounding wall13 refers to the wall that usually surrounds school compounds , and following along the wall to the back, Huo Ran still hadn’t thought they’d see anything, but just after they’d turned, both he and Xu ZhiFan froze in place.
The back of the school was full of grass half a person tall, and there were a number of people standing in the corner.
In the midst of shock and awkwardness Huo Ran quickly counted, 4 boys 2 girls, all Year 3 students, one of the girls was the belle of the Year 3 Humanities classes.
Huo Ran always thought having too many distinctions meant that the quality would fall easily, this belle wasn’t very likeable, not nice looking, with a poor temper too.
In this sort of situation, she was even less likeable.
“Get lost,” the belle said, “Students aren’t allowed here didn’t you know!”
Huo Ran didn’t have much of a temper towards girls, but an attitude like the belle’s, he really felt like losing his temper, whether to talk back, whether to listen and go away, instantly became a hard question.
Xu ZhiFan was probably the same, as such the few of them just awkwardly stayed silent, frozen in their places.
Just as Huo Ran felt that maybe they should just walk away, footsteps sounded from behind him.
Huo Ran and Xu ZhiFan turned their heads at the same time, and saw Kou Chen who still held tangerines in his hand.
“What are you doing?” Kou Chen squeezed through from between them, “Let me see.”
Seeing the few people on the other side, Kou Chen also froze.
“So annoying!” the belle furrows her brows, “Are you all fools! Asked all of you to get lost! Did you not understand!”
Kou Chen paused for 2 seconds, then walked forward, putting the tangerines in his pocket as he went.
Huo Ran glared at him, not knowing whether if they started fighting he needed to help.
But as Kou Chen got to the middle he suddenly turned, stopping as he faced the surrounding wall.
“What are you doing?” the belle was fed up.
Kou Chen turned to face her: “Peeing.”
– End of Ch5 –
*no author’s note!!*
Tl Notes: This chapter really asked for my life… there were so many things that were hard to translate for some reason (that’s why there were so many tl notes). I’m really sorry about not being able to explain some things like the liquor and the hearthstone thing, they’re mostly local things/jokes/references that I haven’t come across, but I suppose they don’t really affect the main plot… if anyone wants to explain though please leave comments ;v; Thanks for reading as always![edited 31/10]