At this place called Murder Pot, there was only one type of soup base, called ‘Murderer’.
They didn’t have a choice, and could only order that.
But there were quite a lot of sides, from many times of meat and veggies.
The staple foods were dazzling as well, and there was even free fruit in the main hall.
Beside that was a big pot of mung bean soup, with a sign that said, ‘SWEET’.
“What’s murderer” Xu Chuan asked Kou Chen after they ordered.
“Sounds a bit weird, it can’t taste disgusting, right”
“Disgusting enough to make you want to murder someone…” Wei Chaoren said, “That’s why it’s called Murder Pot.”
“Wait and see, it’s really just a gimmick.” Kou Chen said.
“But it’s great.”
“Do we need to mentally prepare ourselves or something” Kou Chen asked.”
“It’s just **ing hotpot,” Kou Chen said.
“What mental preparation”
“Preparing to die.” Huo Ran said.
“Who has the balls to kill you” Kou Chen said.
“Am I here for no reason”
“What about us then” Jiang Lei said.
“Stop being so biased.”
“Actually,” Kou Chen thought about it, “Every time I eat it I feel like dying, so good luck guys.”
Probably because there was only one type of soup base, the service was quick.
Right after they were brought the sides, a waiter pushed open the door and called out to them: “Be careful everyone, it’s hot.”
They all went quiet and stared at the door.
Two waiters walked in carrying a big copper pot, lifting it onto the middle of their table.
“Please enjoy,” The waitress at the door said.
“If it’s too much, the sweet soup in the hall will help alleviate it a little.”
“Fuck,” Jiang Lei was the first to stand up and peer into the pot, “Is this edible”
Actually, you didn’t even need to stand up to see.
The heat wasn’t on yet, and the fiery red soup inside was bubbling.
To be specific, the soup was bright red.
“I told you,” Kou Chen said.
“It’s just a gimmick, nothing special.
It’s just a hotpot of death that most people wouldn’t order… I know you can all handle spice, that’s why I suggested this place.”
“Just because we can handle spice, doesn’t mean it won’t kill us.” Kou Chen dipped his chopsticks into the pot and licked it.
Immediately, he felt his face go red.
“How is it” Hu Yi asked.
Everyone stared at his face.
“I think we should rinse it first.
Pour it out and wash it with water, and then we can eat.” Huo Ran said.
“That’s more reasonable.”
Everyone laughed, and Xu Chuan picked up a piece of meat.
“Too much work.
I’m just gonna eat it like this.
What’s a human life without challenges”
“You’re not even human,” Jiang Lei said.
“We’re all single dogs, we have no life.”
“To our dog life.” Xu Chuan raised his glass.
“For our dog life!” Everyone else followed, and cheered.
For people like them, Murder Pot could pretty much murder them.
They each had a box of milk, and not even ten minutes had passed before they drank it all.
Forget other drinks, they just ordered another crate of milk, and some candy.
They pretty much ate a piece of candy with every bite.
To teenagers like them, they could turn everything into a ‘contest’.
Nobody wanted to be the first one to put down their chopsticks when there was still food on the table.
“Your faces are all red.” Jiang Lei said.
“You didn’t even drink and you’re slurring your words.” Wei Chaoren took a sip of milk.
“You’re not much better, can’t you tell” Jiang Lei said.
“Fuck, it’s serious, it’s so spicy.”
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
“I feel like I have to strip when we get outside, it’s so hot.” Hu Yi chewed his candy.
“Ktja’r rfa atfc.” We Jtejc qblcafv ja tlw, “Tbe’gf ublcu ragfjxlcu ktfc kf ifjnf.”
Le Tl rajgafv: “Tbe atlcx P’w mgjhs P’w cba vblcu la jibcf.”
“Vb sbe’ii vb la lo rbwfbcf firf vbfr la klat sbe” We Jtejc ijeutfv.
“Ccv sbe rjs sbe’gf cba mgjhs.”
Ktfs jii ijeutfv jcv uba jcbatfg gbecv bo wlix.
Bbe Jtfc qea atf ijra qijaf bo wfja lcab atf qba: “Ktja’r la, cb wbgf joafg atlr.”
Hearing that, they all reflexively reached their chopsticks into the pot to fight for the last pieces of meat, even as their eyes went blurry from the spice.
Huo Ran caught a few pieces of meat.
Hesitating, he swirled it around in his milk, thinking that he hasn’t completely lost his mind yet.
“Damn, good for you.” Kou Chen couldn’t stop laughing from beside him.
It felt like the hotpot of death got them even drunker than a crate of Erguotou.
Huo Ran’s phone dinged, but everyone was too busy panting and fighting for meat to hear.
Only Kou Chen paused and looked at him: “Is it Xu Zhifan”
“Probably,” Huo Ran got his phone out, “Yeah.”
-she tried to commit suicide, she’s in the hospital right now.
we don’t know the situation yet, but I can’t leave.
I might not be at school tomorrow, tell old yuan for me
“Holy… **” Huo Ran felt the heat caused by all the spice suddenly disappear.
“What is it” Kou Chen grabbed his phone to look before he could say anything, “Fuck, suicide”
“Who” Xu Chuan froze with a piece of meat in his mouth.
“That Aunt Hu.
She’s in the hospital right now.” Kou Chen said.
“Xu Zhifan just texted.”
They all froze and went silent.
The only sound in the room was the pot of soup still bubbling.
“Is Xu Zhifan okay” Xu Chuan asked.
“He’s at the hospital, he said they don’t know the situation but he can’t leave.” Huo Ran frowned.
“He asked me to tell Old Yuan that he won’t be at school tomorrow.”
She’s back now, sowhy would she commit suicide” Jiang Lei exclaimed.
“What’s going on”
Huo Ran quickly texted Xu Zhifan.
-why would she will she be okay
-probably an overdose, but I don’t know what, I haven’t seen any of her family yet, it might be blood pressure medication
“Can you overdose on blood pressure medication” Huo Ran looked to Kou Chen, “Search it up.”
-are you staying at the hospital do you need us to come
-it’s fine, nothing’s happening, they’re just not in a good mood right now.
I don’t want to provoke them, I’m scared they’ll keep anything they know about my mom from me
“It depends on how much you take, it usually won’t be fatal, but too much will cause shock, and even death…” Kou Chen read off his phone quietly, “It just depends on how much she took… But I feel like Aunt Hu was dealing with some problems, and just ate whatever pills she grabbed.
Maybe she wasn’t really trying to die.”
“As long as it won’t make you keel over and die with no hope of saving.” Huo Ran felt his hands trembling slightly.
“If she dies, then we don’t know when we’ll hear from Xu Zhifan’s mom, and… what will happen in the future It’ll be a mess for sure…”
That news dealt with the spice quite well.
After they discussed it a bit, they felt a lot better.
But Jiang Lei’s mouth was swollen.
“Fucking hell.” Jiang Lei looked at himself on his phone and took a few pictures, “Am I too delicate”
“How do you even have the guts to take selfies” Wei Chaoren sighed.
“I have the guts to post it online too.” Jiang Lei said.
“I’ll send it to Xu Zhifan, maybe it’ll make him feel better.
Jiang Lei posted the selfie with his swollen lips.
They all went to like the picture and laugh, and a few minutes later, Xu Zhifan commented.
-holy **! did kou chen’s dad share the sausage he made of him
Everyone burst out into laughter.
“I’ll kill him when he gets back.” Kou Chen cracked one of his fingers harshly.
Hearing that, Huo Ran raised an eyebrow and looked at his hand.
“What are you looking at” Kou Chen glared at him.
“You think I’ll dislocate it every time”
“Dislocating it is fine, I can fix it for you.” Huo Ran said.
“As long as you don’t break it.”
“I’m telling you, I’ll remember this.” Kou Chen said.
“Don’t cry when the comes.”
Huo Ran laughed and didn’t say anything.
Huo Ran’s bed still laid in pieces on the ground.
The washbasin under it was plastic, and it cracked when he fell on it.
“That’s too **ing embarrassing, what kind of quality is this” Huo Ran rubbed his butt.
“I just fell on it”
“Be glad it’s plastic, if it was steel,” Kou Chen patted his butt as he spoke, “Your ass would be swollen right now, maybe even bruised.”
“Fuck off, go back to your own room, I’m sleeping.”
“Where They’re not gonna find you another bed at this hour, right” Kou Chen said.
“Sleep on mine…”
“I’ll sleep on Xu Zhifan’s.” Huo Ran pushed him towards the door.
“Thanks, but no thanks.
Finals are tomorrow, we have to get a good night’s…”
Huo Ran paused.
“Saying that makes you embarrassed” Kou Chen turned around and laughed at him.
“Good night.” Huo Ran pushed him out the door.
“Good night.” Kou Chen leaned against the doorframe and said to the others, “Good night, guys.”
“Good night—” Hu Yi and Jiang Lei dragged out the last syllable.
Neither of them slept very well that night.
Huo Ran, Jiang Lei and Hu Yi talked about Xu Zhifan’s situation, and so did Kou Chen’s room.
If it was just a passing rumour, maybe they wouldn’t be so concerned about it.
Maybe they wouldn’t even be interested to bring it up casually in a discussion about the news.
After all, it was too ordinary.
Two people suspected to have fallen victim to a pyramid scheme, one escaped and tried to commit suicide, while the other was still missing.
Compared to other news headlines, it was too insignificant.
But now, that ordinary, insignificant thing was happening to Xu Zhifan.
A friend they went to class with, ate with, showered with, fought with, bragged with, and hung out day and night with.
Only then did they realize that the situation wasn’t ordinary at all.
Xu Zhifan wasn’t there for their exams.
Huo Ran texted him in the morning, and he replied immediately.
He probably stayed up all night.
-I think she’s pretty stable now, I’ll go home to eat later and come back to see if they’re feeling better now, if I can ask about my mom
-okay, I’ll let old yuan know
-tell him I have a high fever, if he doesn’t believe it he can call my dad, I told him
Xu Zhifan wasn’t there for the two days of exams.
Huo Ran and the others resisted the urge to force their way into the hospital to check in before exams ended.
After the last exam, they all headed back to their dorms at once, put their stuff down and went out the school gates to wait for a cab.
“Is he still at the hospital” Kou Chen asked.
“Mhm,” Huo Ran nodded.
“We’ll let him know when we’re there, or else he might tell us that it’s fine again.”
“We’ll think about that when we get there.” Kou Chen stood behind him and put an arm around his shoulders to hang off of him.
“If he can’t get any information, I’ll call my dad.”
“Why Your dad knows something” Huo Ran turned his head.
Probably because he wore more layers since it got cold, but Kou Chen hadn’t hung off of him like this for a while.
Now, the action that used to exasperate him made him feel a little warm.
“Dunno, my dad knows quite a lot of people of all sorts.
Police, doctors, all that.” Kou Chen said.
Huo Ran nodded, and then turned to glance at Kou Chen.
“I really think that you’re a great person.
You’re just, and kind.”
“Are you plotting something Complimenting me like that out of nowhere.” Kou Chen whispered in his ear, and he could hear his happiness from the praise.
“You’re dad expects too much from you.
I think that apart from your grades being a bit below average, there’s nothing else bad about you.” Huo Ran said.
“Oh, you get into fights But that’s… what guy doesn’t get into fights.
Look at Xu Zhifan, he’s such a good student and he always holds me back, but he gets into fights too.
Even girls, look at Li Jiaying.”
“It depends,” Kou Chen smiled.
“I can get carried away… but I’ve gotten a lot better now.
It’s just that my dad doesn’t really understand me, and on top of that…”
“On top of what” Huo Ran asked.
Kou Chen didn’t say anything, and it was like he didn’t hear him.
Huo Ran hesitated, and didn’t push him further.
He turned his attention onto the other point: “Do you not spend a lot of time with your dad He doesn’t really understand you”
“I went to elementary school here.
Then my dad thought that his hometown was a bit purer and could change my attitude, so I went to middle school and some of high school there.” Kou Chen said.
“Then I transferred here.”
“No wonder they say you aren’t from here.” Huo Ran said.
“What else do they say” Kou Chen asked.
“Your family’s rich, and you really can fight.” Huo Ran said.
“The truth.” Kou Chen nodded his agreement.
“And that you hit teachers too.” Huo Ran said.
Kou Chen laughed for a moment before tsking: “I’m so amazing.”
They were dropped outside the back door of the hospital, so it would be easier for Xu Zhifan.
Getting out of the car, Huo Ran was about to call Xu Zhifan.
Right as he pressed call, he heard a girl’s voice from inside: “How would I know! There’s no point in asking me! My mom didn’t say anything either, she’s still not well enough!”
“Is that Li Ling” Kou Chen asked.
Huo Ran really admired Kou Chen’s memory.
He couldn’t even tell if the girl’s hair was long or short from this distance.
“Who’s Li Ling” Jiang Lei asked.
“Aunt Hu’s daughter, right Xu Zhifan’s childhood friend” Xu Chuan said.
“Let’s go.” Huo Ran put his phone back in his pocket and ran towards the door.
Then he saw that the person behind Li Ling was Xu Zhifan, who was saying something to her, looking worried.
“Stop pushing me!” Li Ling yelled.
“I’m also worried, but you can’t make me push my mom for answers!”
“You’re **ing done for!” A man’s voice suddenly sounded.
“What are you doing Stop!” Li Ling held back the young man that charged out.
The young man pushed Li Ling to the side, lunging towards Xu Zhifan who had already ran down the stairs.
Behind him were two other guys his age.
“Her brother!” Huo Ran was worried.
It felt like that Murder Pot still hadn’t left his body.
He felt just like he just drank a spoonful of that red broth, a wave of heat suddenly burning through him.
He yelled in their direction, “I **ing dare you!”
“Stop right there!” Xu Chuan yelled two.
Huo Ran waited for Kou Chen to yell, but he was silent.
Probably charging up his ‘fly for me’.
But he charged forwards fiercely at a shocking speed, like the ability he’d shown off during Sports Day.
Like a switch was flipped on, the six of them sped up and ran over like they were propelled by the wind.