“This ‘badass front’ has really already been done very well.”
Kou Chen with vegetable sauce all over him actually smelled pretty good, Huo Ran felt his stomach was making noise; he could smell that on Kou Chen’s body there was minced pork sauce, there was the oil from hand-shredded cabbage as well as some pickled vegetable bits.
How about having these in a little while, could also add on some soy-braised pork.
Was there soy-braised pork? There had been in the afternoon, he didn’t know whether they’d still have it in the evening… did he need to go grab some first, because these sorts of dishes1 the actual phrase 硬菜 uses the characters ‘hard’ and ‘vegetable’ which apparently is used to refer to dishes that are ‘more economical, delicious and tend to use large chunks of meat in them’ usually got snatched up fast…
Huo Ran sits himself down, at this moment, he and Kou Chen weren’t just two people, nor were they two groups of people, they were Humanities Class 1, if during a confrontation he were to run off to grab food, it’d be a display of his lacking sense of group unity.
So although he didn’t want to bother with Kou Chen’s issue, he could only wait.
Kou Chen and the belle were still locked in a stalemate, after all the one that had bumped into Kou Chen and splashed vegetable sauce all over him hadn’t been the belle, the belle was about a meter away from this girl.
This act portraying an ‘on-looker’ was extremely professional.
“Why were you so careless,” the belle furrows her brows and speaks up, “You’ve made his clothes all dirty.”
That girl keeps her head lowered, not speaking.
“Apologize!” the belle sticks a hand out towards her shoulder for a shove.
The girl stumbles, and if Kou Chen hadn’t stepped backwards fast enough, she’d have to bump into him again.
“So…” she quickly opens her mouth, but immediately gets cut off by Kou Chen.
“Saying ‘sorry’ once is enough,” Kou Chen’s eyes are still watching the belle, reaching his hand out to take the tray in the girl’s hand away, passing it behind him, “Get a new one.”
“Gotcha,” Wei ChaoRen immediately takes the plate over, turning to go get food.
Which drama was this fronting scene from!
Huo Ran was extremely impressed.
“No need, no need…” this girl was at a loss for a moment before becoming anxious enough she raised the head she’d kept lowered the whole time up, “No…”
“Shut your mouth and go off to the side,” Kou Chen says.
She goes quiet, hesitating for a moment before moving off to the side.
“Apologize!” the belle felt some humiliation at being unable to push or retreat, so she raised her voice and said it once more.
Kou Chen suddenly raises a hand, and in an instant in which nobody was in time to have a good look, single-handedly takes the T-shirt on his body off, the shirt going half a round with inertia mid-air, sticking to the belle’s face as it sweeps across.
Finally, it lands as a lump after getting flung onto the table in front of Huo Ran with a pa.
Landing so crisply and cleanly that Huo Ran sort of had the illusion that his face had had vegetable sauce splattered onto it.
He rubs on his face, tossing Kou Chen’s shirt to the side.
Then swiftly turns his head back to observe the battle situation.
Just then, the people around had started to quietly debate, even pointing towards Kou Chen’s body.
“Fuck,” Jiang Lei uses his arm to touch Huo Ran, “Look at the back of his waist.”
Huo Ran sweeps a glance towards the back of Kou Chen’s waist.
And sees half of a Death God with his arms open holding a sickle.
With the other half in his pants.
Huo Ran imagines the appearance of the half of the Death God that was inside his pants for a bit before coming back to his senses and sighing in admiration.
This ‘badass front’ has really already been done very well.
Just with this Death God, the belle was going to have to get a skinning today.
Huo Ran and Xu ZhiFan exchange a look, and after this absolutely meaningless exchange of looks, he relied on his understanding of Xu ZhiFan, to do some evaluation on his own; Xu ZhiFan will probably lett him go up to pull Kou Chen back, no matter how it was he still should not hit girls.
“Let’s eat,” Kou Chen pulls his pants up, turning to sit opposite Huo Ran.
“Mn?” Huo Ran freezes.
“You,” Kou Chen looks at the fidgeting girl next to him whose head was almost so low one could pluck it off, pointing to the chair besides his own, “Sit here.”
The belle gives a brittle laugh.
“Thank you,” she says extremely quietly, then turns to run out of the cafeteria.
Kou Chen to this slightly awkward situation had absolutely no reaction of any sort, turning his head to say once again: “Let’s eat.”
Huo Ran doesn’t say anything, looking at the bare table in front of him.
“Get food first,” Kou Chen stands up again, and while he was walking towards the table on which the food trays were placed, the surrounding on-lookers made way for him, slowly dispersing.
Huo Ran looks at the belle, she and her few “besties” were still standing there, a sneer on her face.
“You…” she raises her chin at Huo Ran.
Huo Ran didn’t know what she was planning to say, but he stands up and turns to leave.
As he got a tray to go order food he glanced over to where the table was, the belle had already walked away, moving over to the furthest table to eat.
The cafeteria at this time had quite the number of people, but the table they had been sitting at previously was left unoccupied; Kou Chen had used a lump of school uniform stained with vegetable sauce, to reserve 8 seats.
“What kind of appearance is this,” the lunch lady2 it’d more accurately be ‘middle-aged lady that scoops food’ but too awkward to write, so i shortened it was extremely displeased with Kou Chen, “Where are your clothes!”
“It got dirtied,” Kou Chen says, “Quick, YiYi3 auntie is ‘ah yi’, the ‘yiyi’ comes from repeating the 2nd character to make it cute , give me two portions of soy-braised pork.”
“Wear your clothes!” the lady was completely indifferent to this cutesy address of YiYi.
Kou Chen tosses his tray inwards, taking the uniform jacket off Xu Chuan to wear: “Two portions of soy-braised pork.”
“One person only gets one portion,” the lady says coolly.
“I’d like a portion too, put it in his plate,” Xu Chuan sighs, handing his card over.
Huo Ran gave up on soy-braised pork, Xu ZhiFan knew he’d really wanted to eat, but because Kou Chen was there, he didn’t go over, and after waiting for Kou Chen to get his food and leave, the soy-braised pork had run out.
This youth’s ridiculous stubbornness had caused him to painfully lose soy-braised pork.
Luckily there was still minced meat.
“Jie, please give me two portions of minced meat,” Huo Ran was splayed on the window.
“Really can’t, minced meat, soy-braised pork these are only one portion each…” the lunch lady says.
“I just want to eat minced meat,” Huo Ran swallows his saliva, “Soy-braised pork’s run out, so I only have minced meat… I’ve gotten a whiff of today’s minced meat and it’s so much like the one my mom makes…”
“Aiyo enough don’t say anymore,” the lady says in a small voice, swiftly pouring two bowls of steamed minced meat onto his plate, “Eat up, don’t let anyone else see, otherwise they’ll all come to me asking for more.”
“Thank you Jie,” Huo Ran very merrily turns around holding his plate.
Xu ZhiFan makes a ‘tch’ sound: “Next time don’t say anything about Kou Chen, you’re in no position.”
“Huo Ran acts like a poor little thing most convincingly,” Jiang Lei looks at the back of Huo Ran’s figure, sticking his plate towards the inside of the window, “Auntie give me one minced meat.”
The lady takes the minced meat and slaps it onto his plate.
Jiang Lei takes a look: “Is this half? Why is it a semicircle?”
“When I steam it do I have to use a compass to help you measure!” the lady says, “Next! Quick!”
Xu ZhiFan smiles as he hands his plate over: “One minced meat, thank you.”
Because there were no other tables, Huo Ran still ended up sitting opposite Kou Chen.
The few of them sat down, then uncapped the drinks, feeling a bit of the excitement from finishing a group fight.
“Is that a sticker tattoo you have?” Jiang Lei asks.
“Bull-fucking-shit4 he actually says something like ‘you let out your own fart’ which is super funny ,” Kou Chen says, “Took a whole day to get it done, just because of this, it’s been almost a year, but every time I go shirtless my dad has to beat me up one round.”
“Are you asking to get hit,” Huo Ran asks, “Just laser remove it and it’ll be solved.”
“Are you dumb, if I remove it then wouldn’t I have gotten beat up for nothing for a year!” Kou Chen says, “Then again, this is the proof of my identity.”
“What identity, a Netherworld faction5 don’t really get this joke myself… sorry! ? Huo Ran says.
Kou Chen opens his mouth but can’t say a word.
But the topic very quickly returns to the belle and that girl.
“It was Li JiaYing who pushed wasn’t it?” Xu ZhiFan asks.
“Definitely,” Xu Chuan says, “At that time we didn’t have many people around us, that girl that doesn’t even dare to raise her head when she walks, if she’d seen people over here she’d definitely have gone around.”
“Just looking for trouble huh, using someone used to being bullied as a knife,” Wei ChaoRen says, “But earlier on I thought Kou Chen was going to make a move already.”
“Make what move,” Kou Chen says as he eats, “With a female, and I make the first move? How humiliating is that.”
“Have you ever exchanged blows with anyone?” Huo Ran couldn’t resist asking.
Xu ZhiFan sighs.
“Do you wanna try?” Kou Chen sends Huo Ran a smile with his teeth bared.
“Sure thing,” Huo Ran says.
“I’ve lost,” Kou Chen doesn’t even hesitate.
“What’s your problem?” Huo Ran has his chopsticks raised, he was still brewing6 could also be ‘fermenting’, but just means he was still taking time to get/be ready over here.
All of them burst into laughter.
“Before the camping trip ends,” Kou Chen looked indifferent, “You are my uncle, my dad, my uncle, my uncle7 the uncles are all different; the first one could be a granddad’s or dad’s older brother, the second is for a dad’s younger brother and the third is for a mom’s older/younger brother …”
Huo Ran sends him a fist and palm salute, for the first time truly experiencing the taste of not being able to get angry.
By the time they’d finished eating and walked out of the cafeteria, the belle and her group had already left.
Huo Ran bought Hu Yi a piece of bread from the snack bar, and after walking out he went back in, buying one more piece of bread and a carton of milk, yet after walking out he thought a bit then went back in again, taking a bag of chicken feet with pickled peppers as he came outside.
“Let’s buy some extra,” he says, “What if it’s not enough for him to eat, and we don’t know if he’s sick or not, if Hu Yi doesn’t go to night self-study later, you guys help me apply for leave, I’ll beat him not to death, only until he tells us why, then I’ll be done with him.”
Kou Chen smiles, Huo Ran’s temper was rather quick, his mouth was also occasionally incredibly smart. But Xu ZhiFan and the others being able to hang around him all this time, even being rather protective of him, couldn’t possibly only be because he looked cute.
Walking only a few steps towards the direction of the dorm, someone gently tugs at Kou Chen’s clothes from behind.
Kou Chen turns his head, and sees that it was the girl that constantly kept her head lowered.
“What’s up?” he asks.
“Thank you,” the girl’s voice still practically couldn’t be heard, “Your clothes let me help you wash them.”
“There’s no need,” he says, “You…”
“What’s your name?” Xu ZhiFan asks from the side.
“…He Hua,” the girl answers.
“Lotus8 her name sounds the same as the term for ‘lotus’, the 2nd character meaning ‘flower’ is the same but her surname uses a different character huh?” Kou Chen pauses, “Pretty nice.”
He Hua tugs the corner of her lips up into a smile.
“Are you the one roasting sausages to eat in the ghost building?” Wei ChaoRen suddenly comes out with the question that everyone wanted to ask, but hadn’t because in that moment they had felt too embarrassed as well as not known where to start.
Everyone anticipated her answer in the midst of awkwardness.
He Hua slowly raises her head, and a moment passed before she responded: “Mn.”
Just as they’d thought to ask some other things, she’d already run off.
She ran very quickly, Kou Chen felt that she could already rival Huo Ran’s sort of speed.
“Fuck, it’s really her huh,” Jiang Lei says.
“Probably still has to roast tonight,” Huo Ran says, “Didn’t she not get to eat just now? Her food was all over Kou Chen.”
“I let her eat and she didn’t though,” Kou Chen says.
“If it were me I’d also not dare to sit next to Big Boss Death God to eat,” Huo Ran says.
“I reckon sitting next to anyone she’d probably also not dare to eat,” Xu ZhiFan says, “Last time when I saw her with Li JiaYing she also hadn’t been eating.”
“You’d also seen?” Huo Ran asks.
“Mn,” Xu ZhiFan nods his head.
Jiang Lei claps his hands: “Then that’s it, Li JiaYing doesn’t let her eat.”
This was just said, and the few of them go silent.
Hu Yi was laying down in the dorm, and even after hearing the few of them enter he’d still not opened his eyes.
Xu ZhiFan walks over to the side of the bed, and taking a closer look, he was pretending to sleep.
Turning his head back, he saw Huo Ran gently opening Hu Yi’s drawer, looking inside, then bending his waist to look underneath his bed.
What’re you doing? He mouths at Huo Ran.
Huo Ran pulls him over to the door: “Kou Chen said he’d brought a vegetable knife back.”
“Is that believable?” Xu ZhiFan asks softly.
“Are you dumb, of course not,” Huo Ran says, “But… what if there’s a gun?”
“…Makes sense,” Xu ZhiFan nods his head, Huo Ran’s logic had always been very strong, he was already used to it.
“Hu Yi, time to eat!” Huo Ran went over to pat Hu Yi, “Finish eating before you sleep.”
Hu Yi took a few seconds to open his eyes and sit up: “Thanks.”
“Bread and milk, all sweet ones, if you get sick of it there’s also chicken feet,” Huo Ran says, “The cafeteria makes patient’s meals, today I went to ask.”
“I’m… not sick,” Hu Yi takes the bread over and opens it.
“I have the feeling you’re about to die from sickness,” Huo Ran says.
Hu Yi smiles, takes a bite out of the bread, and chews slowly for a moment before speaking: “My parents are gonna divorce.”
The few of them were stunned.
“There’s a third party?” Jiang Lei is the first one to come back to himself.
“Mn,” Hu Yi takes a swig of his milk, the vein on his neck even popping out a little, “Adulterous pair9 actual term used uses the characters ‘dog’ ‘man’ ‘woman’, usually used on adulterous couples , my mom refused to divorce, and he’d even hit my mom.”
“What the fuck,” Huo Ran furrows his brows and swears.
“My granny… no, that scum’s mother,” Hu Yi takes another bite of bread, “Sides with the adulterous pair.”
“Your gran… what’s the old lady’s problem!” Jiang Lei shouts.
“Sooner or later I’ll kill them,” Hu Yi finishes then stuffs the remaining half of the bread into his mouth, half a day and he still hadn’t swallowed.
Something in Xu ZhiFan’s heart moved, and he walks over to his side: “Where’s the knife?”
Huo Ran and Jiang Lei both turn their heads a little shocked.
“…What knife,” Hu Yi’s question in response had some hesitance.
“Vegetable knife right, the one you brought back today,” Xu ZhiFan says.
Hu Yi raises his head, looking at him.
“If there’s anything we’ll help you settle it,” Xu ZhiFan says, “What are you planning on doing getting a knife? Just walking from the school entrance to the dorm you already get discovered by someone else, and you want to hack someone?”
“Actually…” Hu Yi keeps it in for half a day before sighing, “It’s not a vegetable knife.”
“Who cares what kind of knife!” Huo Ran panics, “Take it out! What if tonight you sleepwalk are we still suppose to survive, we’re all pretty fragile, our heads can’t take hackings!”
Hu Yi couldn’t help but start laughing, but very quickly his laughter disappears, finally taking a folded mailing envelope out from under his pillow, pulling a piece of iron out from inside.
Seeing this piece of iron, everyone was rather stunned.
“Based on my many years of experience eating noodles,” Jiang Lei went up to snatch it over, making two gestures with it in his hand, “This is a slicer for sliced noodles isn’t it?”
“Is it?” Huo Ran moves over to take a look, “Looks like it really is.”
“Where did you get this?” Xu ZhiFan also takes the knife over to look, this knife surprisingly wasn’t new.
“Swiped it when I was eating noodles,” Hu Yi mutters his reply.
“Hu Yi!” Huo Ran looks at him, “You actually went to steal just to kill people?”
Hu Yi doesn’t say anything, it was unknown whether it was because he hadn’t understood the main point of Huo Ran’s sentence.
“Eat something first,” Xu ZhiFan says, “In a bit you guys go to self-study, I’ll have a chat with Hu Yi.”
Huo Ran had wanted to chat with Hu Yi, but this sort of counselling thing, especially for Hu Yi’s sort of problem, Xu ZhiFan was probably better suited than he was.
In elementary he’d also had a classmate whose parents were thinking of divorcing, he’d gone up to this classmate wanting to advise him, but in the end didn’t know how it’d ended up becoming him going to his classmate’s dad’s store with him, wanting to teach this scum a lesson.
The result was them having gotten chased and beaten down half a street by his dad, and in the end that classmate’s parents still divorced.
Hu Ran sighs.
However, although what Hu Yi had brought back wasn’t a vegetable knife, just considering the shape, it was extremely similar to a vegetable knife’s.
Kou Chen surprisingly wasn’t bullshitting, surprisingly wasn’t boasting, surprisingly could actually tell?
“Master Xu should be able to advise,” walking into the classroom Jiang Lei was still rambling on at the side, “Then again Hu Yi isn’t a kid anymore… but if we want to make a move, I think beating his dad up first should be fine.”
“Mn,” Huo Ran nods, glancing towards Kou Chen’s desk: it’s empty.
He walks over to the side of his seat, pushing Xu ZhiFan: “Let me inside.”
After speaking he then suddenly remembers, that Xu ZhiFan was at the dorm.
“Go on,” the Kou Chen sitting in Xu ZhiFan’s seat tilts his chair forward, looking at him.
“What’re you sitting here for?” Huo Ran turns around with the intention to sit in Kou Chen’s seat.
“Ai ai ai Uncle,” Kou Chen grabs his wrist and pulls him backwards, “You go in and sit first, I have something to ask you.”
“Hands off!” Huo Ran turns his wrist, not getting free.
“Go inside!” Kou Chen suddenly glares, shouting in a suppressed voice, his face full of maliciousness.
The circle of people at the side all look over.
Huo Ran instantly feels a little awkward, hardening his scalp to squeeze past him to sit at his own seat: “What thing do you have that you have to say it that way?”
“Quickly,” Kou Chen hands his phone over, speaking quietly, “I’m video-calling my sister.”
“Ah?” Huo Ran sweeps a glance towards the screen, and seeing his own perplexed face, he quickly pushes the phone away, “When you video-call your sister you look at yourself?”
“I switched it for a bit, I mainly wanted to see whether or not I look good on camera, I’m self-conscious after all,” Kou Chen switches the perspective back to the other side, “Jie, Jie, Beauty, Huo Ran’s here, let him see whether the equipment you guys picked out are right or not.”
“Okay,” a long-haired girl appears in the frame, “Where is he? Let me see the Lil Cutie you were talking about.”
“Wh…” Huo Ran turns to look at Kou Chen.
Kou Chen turns his head a little to the side and clears his throat.
– End of Ch9 –
Continue the day after ha [┐’_’┌]
Tl Notes: uwu!! ‘Lil cutie’!!! Kou Chen what have you been telling your sister..!! Thanks for reading as always~
Quick note on the cafeteria: I’m not sure where you guys are from but in this novel (based on what I remember) the students have cards with credit meant for buying food and the stalls are manned by lunch ladies (not sure if there are uncles). If I’m not wrong (and I might be, I’ve never schooled in China) instead of getting a meal they choose different dishes to go on top of their rice, something like that?[edited 10/12: grammar fixes, quite a lot of it]
Chapter 8 | Chapter 10