Huo Ran felt like he’d had too much contact with the police this semester.
They all sat with Xu Zhifan’s mom in the police station for a couple hours, and Xu Zhifan probably talked more than he had the entire semester.
He talked about everything that happened the past few months, ending with their search around the neighbourhoods.
And then the police helped them clear everything up little by little.
They had already received numerous reports about this particular group, and were already in the process of investigating.
Who would’ve thought that the few of them would suddenly show up and call the police, even pushing some of the group members into a pond.
“Did we end up getting in their way” Huo Ran suddenly realized.
“Did that alert the rest of the group And now they’re gonna get away”
“They have to be alerted now for sure,” One officer said.
“But they won’t be getting away… Don’t do anything this dangerous again, you boys don’t have the experience, nor the ability to deal with anything unexpected.
You had the right intentions, wanting to help your friend’s mom, but you still have to remain calm, and leave the rest to us.”
Everyone nodded their understanding.
“Don’t try to stop me when we get back.” Kou Chen said when the officer left.
They all knew what he meant by that.
Just like Li Ling mentioned, the man with the same accent as them was exactly Aunt Hu’s classmate.
He said he found a way to make money and dragged her with him.
She couldn’t make up her mind so she asked Xu Zhifan’s mom to accompany her and check.
But once they were there, that classmate introduced her to a “teacher”, and she was brainwashed within a few days.
Then she started asking family and friends for money under the guise of investments.
It wasn’t really a lie, she genuinely believed that she could make money like that.
As for why Xu Zhifan’s mom wasn’t brainwashed… The two reasons she gave had even the police officers laughing.
“That classmate of hers just looks really gross, so I judged him because of that, and thought there was no way someone like him could make any money.” Xu Zhifan’s mom said.
“And then… I never really understood what that teacher said, so how could I believe it…”
But even if she wasn’t brainwashed, the ‘teacher’ still assigned people to ‘support’ her.
Basically, they wanted to forcibly brainwash her.
They didn’t let her leave, and repeated ‘you’ll understand eventually’ every day.
“You didn’t waver at all” Xu Zhifan asked her.
They got someone who was one of the earliest members to talk to me.
According to them, that person had already made enough money for multiple trips to the moon.” Xu Zhifan’s mom said.
“They said they liked red wine, and they owned a winery in whatever valley and wanted to invite me there.
It felt pretty sophisticated, and they sounded convincing too, so I hesitated then… But then I saw that he wasn’t even holding the wine glass correctly.
Who cares how us common people hold it, but you’re a wine expert, how do you not even know that So they must’ve been a fraud.”
“Amazing,” Huo Ran gave her a thumbs up.
“You’re very attentive, auntie.”
“Thank you, everyone.” Auntie Xu said.
“I’ll apologize to all of your parents when we’re back, how could you come with Xu Zhifan on such a risky trip It’s too dangerous.
How could I face your parents if something happened”
“Xu Zhifan came with us.” Kou Chen said.
“Besides, nothing happened, did it Safety in numbers, that’s why we all came.”
“You kids all think you’ve been very thorough.” Xu Zhifan’s mom looked at them.
“Saying that you’re all grown up.
It’s like a drunk person saying they’re not drunk.”
They all laughed.
After cooperating with the police, they all went out to eat with Xu Zhifan’s mom, before going back to the hotel to rest.
Xu Zhifan was talking to his mom in his room.
The rest of them gathered in Kou Chen and Huo Ran’s room.
Xu Chuan even bought a bunch of snacks and two cases of beer.
“There’s no way I’ll be able to sleep tonight.
The adrenaline still hasn’t worn off.
I bet you’re all the same.” Xu Chuan said.
“Look at what we accomplished today, it’s like our coming of age ritual, right”
“Obviously.” Jiang Lei handed them all a can of beer.
“I was pretty jealous last time Huo Ran and Kou Chen got a letter of commendation from the police.
Forget being commended, I’ll be happy if I never get arrested.”
“I’ve been commended,” Wei Chaoren said.
“When I was little I handed in a five dollar bill I found, and they praised me.”
“Leilei’s too old for that,” Huo Ran said.
“You even said you did it when you were little.”
“Exactly,” Jiang Lei sighed.
“If I found five dollars now…”
“There’s no way you’d hand it in.” Kou Chen said.
“Right They’d probably think I was crazy.” Jiang Lei said.
“I meant you wouldn’t even hand it in.” Kou Chen said.
“You’ll just keep it.”
“Fuck,” Jiang Lei thought about it.
Everyone laughed, and Hu Yi almost spilled his beer.
“You gotta pay if you spill anything.” Kou Chen pointed at him.
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.
“Is five bucks enough Use the bill Jiang Lei picked up.” Hu Yi said.
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“If I call the cops right now nobody would believe you guys didn’t do anything illegal.” Xu Zhifan said.
“Did you guys stay up the whole night”
“When have you ever seen these guys wake up this early” Huo Ran said from where he was laying on Kou Chen’s stomach.
Kou Chen on the other hand, just fell asleep.
His stomach rose and fell with his breathing, reminding him of that time he laid on Shuaishuai.
But Shuaishuai’s breathing was a lot faster.
Looks like Kou Chen isn’t completely like a dog.
“Want breakfast” Xu Zhifan asked.
“It doesn’t look like you guys can make it down in time, I’ll get some room service.”
“Up to you…” Before he could finish, Kou Chen reached out and scratched his face.
Pretty harshly too.
He paused, “What-”
Kou Chen then pushed his head away and scratched his stomach before going back to sleep.
Guess his head was in the way of his itch.
“I’ll look through the menu then.” Xu Zhifan sat on the bed and picked up the menu.
Huo Ran sat up and covered Kou Chen with the blanket.
He sat beside Xu Zhifan and looked at the menu with him, whispering: “How’s your mom”
“She’s alright.” Xu Zhifan said.
“But she said she had a nightmare last night.
She didn’t have them before, only now that she’s safe.”
“I guess she was too busy trying to resist the brainwashing to have nightmares before” Huo Ran said.
“Mhm.” Xu Zhifan laughed.
“My dad was ecstatic yesterday.
First he yelled at me, then he cried and laughed with my mom.
He even started singing.
Apparently he sang it when they first met.”
“Damn, that’s romantic.” Huo Ran laughed.
“Huo Ran,” Xu Zhifan lowered his voice.
“When we go back, if Kou Chen goes after Li Ling’s brother…”
“I’ll go with him.” Huo Ran cut him off without a second thought.
“Don’t try to stop us.
You can say it’s rash, or unreasonable.
But one, they didn’t stop to think about if anything of this had anything to do with you.
Two, they didn’t consider your family situation.
Three, they didn’t care about the real truth.
This is just how I am, if I don’t do stuff like this and get revenge now, it’ll be boring when I reminisce about my youth in the future.”
“I wasn’t gonna tell you no.” Xu Zhifan smiled.
“Go on then.” Huo Ran looked at him.
“Tell Kou Chen to hold back a little.” Xu Zhifan whispered.
“We still have that misdemeanor.”
“You tell him yourself,” Huo Ran said.
“You’re the calmest out of all of us.”
“I could, but I think he would consider it more if it came from you.” Xu Zhifan said.
“Whether he listens to anyone else just depends on his mood.”
Huo Ran narrowed his eyes and stared at him: “Zhifan-gege, what do you mean by that I feel like you’re all up to something these days.”
Xu Zhifan only laughed without saying anything.
Before Huo Ran could say anything else, he suddenly smacked Kou Chen on the leg: “Breakfast time!”
“Ah!” Kou Chen yelled.
He rolled over and curled up into a ball clutching his leg.
A moment later, he cursed: “Xu Zhifan, I’m gonna **ing kill you.”
Everyone else startled awake from Xu Zhifan’s yell, alert and ready to solve a bunch of math questions.
“I’m calling room service,” Xu Zhifan said.
“Tidy up a bit.”
After breakfast, they all crowded the room again.
The results of their discussion last night was that they were too efficient.
They originally planned to have some fun while searching around, and that it would take at least a week or so.
But now they dealt with everything the first day, so obviously they couldn’t go home right away.
They had to have fun.
“Zhifan, take your mom home first…” Xu Chuan planned.
“She doesn’t need me,” Xu Zhifan waved him off.
“She already booked a ticket for this afternoon.
My dad will pick her up.”
“Straight home, huh.” Jiang Lei said.
“She doesn’t wanna spend another second here.” Xu Zhifan said.
“We’ll go back in a couple days, take advantage of the situation.
Show off our pale legs on the beach first.
“What about tanned legs” Wei Chaoren laid on the bed and raised his leg.
“This is proof of my strength.”
“Put it down or I’ll chop it off for you.” Kou Chen said.
“Feel my strength.”
Wei Chaoren put his leg down.
Xu Zhifan went with his mom to the airport, and the rest of them planned the rest of their trip.
“Let’s go to the beach first.” Hu Yi said.
“I’ve never seen the ocean before.”
“Okay.” Kou Chen nodded.
“And then the amusement park The one next to the beach.” Huo Ran pointed to the map.
“And then we can eat.”
“We can go anywhere cool looking,” Xu Chuan said.
“There’s a mountain near the beach we can climb… Nevermind… Hey, there’s cable cars…”
“Cable cars.” Everyone piped up.
“We’re all disappointing Huo Ran now.” Kou Chen said.
“Huo Ran can climb it himself then.” Wei Chaoren said.
“Fuck off.” Huo Ran glared at him.
Xu Zhifan didn’t even get to go back to his room when he came back from the airport.
They all waited for him in the lobby, all changed into their summer clothes.
Kou Chen even thought his clothes weren’t summery enough, so he bought a pair of shorts: “Now this is very beachy.”
“Want a picture” Huo Ran asked.
Kou Chen immediately leaned onto the counter, and Huo Ran took a photo of him.
And then they asked the staff to take a group picture of them, still in by the front desk.
Huo Ran didn’t know why it had to be at the front desk.
A new post soon popped up on Kou Chen’s feed, with the group photo attached.
Huo Ran felt a bit emotional looking at that post.
Everyone else posted the photo as well, but Kou Chen’s felt different.
He was the only one that wrote ‘friends’ in the caption.
Showing off what he doesn’t have…
Huo Ran wasn’t gonna post anything.
He hesitated, but he still posted it.
The caption was three words.
“I’m gonna **ing block these two.
Look at them.” Jiang Lei cursed as he scrolled through.
“Can’t even scroll through my Moments in peace.”
Xu Chuan laughed: “Are you jealous You’ve known Huo Ran for so long and he’s never done that with you.”
“Right Fuck.” Jiang Lei said.
“I just can’t beat Kou Chen.”
“Come on, I’ll take pity on you.” Hu Yi sighed.
Jiang Lei’s post was: -The sea! The sun! I’m coming!
And then Huo Ran saw Hu Yi’s post.
-The sea! The sun! I’m coming too!
He really couldn’t hold it.
He laughed so hard he almost fell over.
“Come on, come on,” Xu Zhifan beckoned, “The car’s here, stop laughing.”
They were still laughing uncontrollably as they got into the car.
Kou Chen got the hotel to call a nine passenger van.
He didn’t want to be divided between two cars, he wanted everyone together.
The liveliness felt nice.
He’d never been on a trip like this before.
He’d gone along with Kou Xiao and Old Yang on their trips a few times, but it was always boring as the third wheel.
The idea of a trip with a bunch of friends all laughing and teasing was really too enticing.
The closest thing he’d experienced to that was school trips when he was little.
Inside the car, they all started asking the driver about the places they should visit.
Kou Chen sat silently off to the side, listening.
It’s not like he had any experience anyways.
Just listening made him happy.
“Have you seen the ocean before” Huo Ran asked him.
“Yeah.” Kou Chen nodded.
“I went with my uncle once.
He lectured me the whole way.
I think it gave me PTSD, maybe it’ll feel like he’s standing beside me when I hear the sound of the waves.”
Huo Ran laughed: “Are you gonna get in the water The driver said it’s gonna be really hot.
We can go for a splash.”
“In the ocean” Kou Chen asked.
“What do you think We’re going to a beach.” Huo Ran looked at him.
“Are we supposed to splash a lake”
“…I didn’t bring swim trunks.” Kou Chen frowned.
“It’s just a splash, not a swim.” Huo Ran said.
“It’s still January after all, the driver said the water’s still slightly cold.”
“Oh, no swimming” Kou Chen nodded.
“A splash Sure.”
Huo Ran thought that Kou Chen seemed a little nervous, but he really couldn’t think of why.
And he looked pretty excited the whole way too, he even planned the poses for their photos later…
But when they got there and everyone rushed towards the ocean after taking their shoes off, Huo Ran finally understood what Kou Chen was nervous about.
Kou Chen took his shoes off and ran in like all of them, but he stayed behind where the water only reached his ankles.
And that’s only when the waves came in.
“AH—” Kou Chen screamed with everyone else.
“AH—” Huo Ran yelled from behind him.
“Fuck,” Kou Chen turned around.
“Why are you behind me Go! They’re all going!”
“What about you” Huo Ran asked.
“I’ll… take some photos for you guys first.” Kou Chen got out his phone, “Come on, go.”
“I’ll take a photo for you,” Huo Ran got his own phone out and pointed it at Kou Chen before starting the video.
“I’ll take some of you running towards the ocean.”
“It’s fine, do it later.” Kou Chen turned his head.
“How about you take some of me running towards you from the ocean Take a step back, I’ll run.”
“Kou Chen.” Huo Ran zoomed in on his face, “Are you scared of the water”
“…Yeah right.” Kou Chen glared at him and pointed at himself, “Me, scared of water This water I can run a hundred metres in and it still won’t be up to my waist.
You think I’m scared”
“Then run.” Huo Ran said.
“Fuck.” Kou Chen turned around, and then looked back and pointed at him, “You better take good photos.”
“Mhm.” Huo Ran nodded.
Kou Chen took a deep breath, and ran into the ocean.
A few seconds later, he neared a wave.
It splashed around his legs, and before Huo Ran could say anything, he immediately turned around and ran back to Huo Ran.
“Holy **, did you see that” He stared at Huo Ran.
“I almost drowned.”
Huo Ran froze, and then he couldn’t help but burst out into laughter.