The rain had stopped, and the clouds were slowly scattering as well.
Looks like there wouldn’t be anymore rain tonight, so they could cook their food in peace.
Evidently, just making some noodles like at lunchtime wouldn’t be enough to satisfy those guys, so they decided to have a barbeque.
Even though they only had sausages and a frozen (but already thawed) bag of chicken wings, with salt as the only seasoning.
Huo Ran found a fire pit that someone else built, and cleaned the ashes out of it: “I’ll go find some wood, there’s probably some dry ones by the forest.”
“The forest again” Kou Xiao asked from inside the tent.
She insisted on staying in the tent until the food was ready, in case those locals decided to come back and rob them.
“Mhm, it’s fine, I’ll just look around the outside.
We don’t need much to roast some sausages and chicken wings.” Huo Ran said.
“We can use the stove for the noodles.”
“I’ll go with you.” Kou Chen immediately followed up, picking up the baton he left on the ground.
“You…” Huo Ran was cut off before he could finish.
“You can take the hiking stick.” Kou Chen flicked the baton, and swaggered over to the forest.
“I can make better use of this than you.”
Huo Ran didn’t say anything, and followed behind him with the hiking stick.
Kou Chen did have a point, not only did he have a lot of experience fighting, he also had a lot of experience in getting beaten up.
Seeing as he got stuck on a fence at four, five years old, and almost got made into a sausage.
He’d lived quite the life.
Actually, if it weren’t for the unusual locals, picking some branches from the edge of the forest was nothing, Kou Xiao could even do it by herself if she wanted to.
But now, Huo Ran felt a bit like he was risking his life to serve the people.
“Is this good” Kou Chen poked a stack of branches with the baton, pointing at the ground.
“Yeah, you can break them in half to see, if it’s wet on the outside but dry on the inside it’s okay too.” Huo Ran said.
Kou Chen was very motivated, probably because the thought of a barbeque was very enticing.
He quickly gathered up a bundle, and headed back to camp.
Huo Ran picked up his own bundle of sticks.
As he left the forest, he paused and looked behind him.
He wasn’t scared of ghosts in the outdoors, seeing as there were no ghosts, but he felt a bit uneasy.
He didn’t know if it was because he had a group of newbies with him, or because of those locals, but he kept feeling like there was someone following him.
But it wasn’t practical to pack up and move locations now, nor was it safe.
The nearest place they could set up camp would still be two hours away.
Old Yang was already boiling the water.
He was a bit worried seeing the branches they brought back: “Some of them are wet, would it be okay”
“Yeah, don’t worry.” From his bag, Huo Ran took out two tiny wooden strips and a small metal tube.
“What’s that You even brought matches” Kou Chen was curious.
The best thing about Kou Chen was that even if he liked to boast, he never pretended to know something he didn’t.
The moment he saw something he was unfamiliar with, he would start asking questions.
“Come, let me show you, you can use it when you boast.
This is a fire stick…” Huo Ran waved the wooden strip.
“Wait,” Kou Chen took the stuff from him, taking a picture with his phone.
“Let me take a picture first, or else I wouldn’t have the real thing after you use them.”
“A fire stick, made out of pine wood, oil, and wax.
Really convenient to start fires with, and easy to carry around too.” Huo Ran took the metal tube back, and clicked it.
The top lit on fire.
“This is just an ordinary lighter.”
Huo Ran lit the fire stick, setting it on the pile, which soon caught on fire.
“Fuck.” Kou Chen looked at him.
Huo Ran waited a while for him to finish his sentence, but it never came.
So he frowned and looked back at him: “Not right here”
Kou Chen blanked, before laughing: “Your face is too **ing misleading, you’re not some innocent thing either.”
“Come on, let’s cook.” Huo Ran laughed, “We can use the leftover skewers over there.”
“The ones that other people used” Old Yang questioned, “That’s disgusting.”
“Do you lick your skewers” Huo Ran asked.
“I’m not crazy, why would I do that” Old Yang laughed.
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.
“Then how is it disgusting” Huo Ran got out some alcohol wipes.
“Wipe them down.
There’s nothing dirty here really, they’re just a bit burnt.
The fire will kill all the bacteria anyways.”
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Kou Xiao crawled out of the tent when she smelled the meat.
She bit into a chicken wing and sighed: “I wouldn’t pay for this at a proper restaurant.”
“If only we had some paprika.” Old Yang sighed as well.
“The instant noodle seasoning,” Huo Ran said, “Isn’t there a packet left from lunch We can use that.”
If it isn’t the king of outdoor living.” Kou Xiao praised him, sprinkling the noodle seasoning on her wings with Old Yang.
“No wonder He Hua only eats sausages,” Kou Chen whispered, “Anything else wouldn’t be edible.”
“Yeah.” Huo Ran smiled.
“We haven’t seen her since the fight,” Kou Chen said.
“What if she’s mad that we keep getting involved Got in the way of her late night barbeques”
“Nobody could stop her if she wanted to keep doing it.” Huo Ran whispered back, “We have to deal with the problem.
If we don’t do anything, Li Jiaying and them would just continue, and nobody else would interfere either.
Isn’t that gross ‘Bystanders’ are the scariest.”
Kou Chen looked at him.
“What” Huo Ran asked.”
“You’re quite an upstanding citizen, dude.” Kou Chen said.
“Not as upstanding as you, I only followed after you started it.” Huo Ran said.
“Thinking back now, it feels pretty good.”
“Mhm.” Kou Chen nodded.
After dinner, Kou Xiao went to wash the dishes by the river.
She muttered as she worked: “What kind of person am I I’m a young lady, why am I here washing dishes after these idiots eat their fill The point is, I actually know how to wash dishes”
“I’ll help you.” Old Yang laughed as he went over.
It was already starting to get dark, so Huo Ran got out the lanterns, hanging them onto the two tents.
When he turned back around, he saw a couple figures coming their way.
He immediately felt anxious, but he soon saw that they were all carrying backpacks, and he let out the breath he’d been holding.
“Someone’s coming!” Kou Chen hopped over to him anxiously.
“Campers,” Huo Ran said.
“They all have bags…”
“Hello—” They all waved at them.
“Hey there—” Kou Chen waved back.
There were six people in total, three couples.
You could tell they were newbies with a glance.
Their tents faced towards the wind, and they didn’t have a single one set up even after ten minutes.
“You’re not gonna go help” Kou Chen glanced at Huo Ran, who was munching on chocolate.
“Nope,” Huo Ran said.
“Can’t you see how hard the guys are working Why would I go over To embarrass them in front of their girlfriends”
Kou Chen laughed: “You say that, but you just like watching newbies struggle, right”
“That’s you.” Huo Ran laughed.
“Give it a bit, if they’re still not done in twenty minutes I’ll go help.
Twenty minutes later, they had finally set up two tents, and were starting on the third one.
Huo Ran got up and stretched, glancing at the forest.
“What is it” Kou Chen quickly caught on and asked.
“Nothing,” Huo Ran walked over slowly, “I’ve been here loads of times, and I’ve never felt like this before.”
“Felt like what” Kou Chen said.
“More like I’m feeling the pressure of being responsible for the safety of three newbies.” Huo Ran nodded, “Yeah, probably.”
“You’re not a guide, or the leader, or the organizer.” Kou Chen said.
“You’re just one of the minors that’s here to have fun.
You’re not at fault if anything happens… What could happen”
“A twisted ankle or something, I guess.
It’s not a hard trail, what can happen” Huo Ran said.
“You’re worried about those locals, right” Kou Chen looked at the forest.
Huo Ran stayed silent.
“The locals will only come to let out their cattle, or for some game, right Or like what you said, to put traps out.” Kou Chen said.
“But there’s clearly something off about those guys, they had clubs and rope.
The rope is the kind you use for cattle, right But they’re brand new.”
Huo Ran turned to him.
“If they’re looking for their cattle or livestock, forget the rope and clubs, they wouldn’t need so many people for the job.” Kou Chen said.
“And if they were looking for livestock, why didn’t they ask us if we’ve seen it”
“Damn,” Huo Ran whispered, “You’re not actually stupid”
“How am I stupid” Kou Chen pointed at his face, “Apart from being too handsome, do I have any other flaws I **ing gave you chocolate for no reason too, you think I’m stupid”
Huo Ran stared at his face, before sighing.
He turned back towards the tent: “Fine, you should wash up.
We’ll sleep before it gets too cold.
We have to get up early, or else we won’t be able to make it to the campsite at the creek.”
“The abandoned campsite” Kou Chen asked.
“Mhm.” Huo Ran nodded.
“We have to restock on the way, and take a small detour.
But it’ll be a lot better at the campsite.
There’s water, and cabins, the wooden ones.
Sometimes the locals would sell drinks and stuff there too.”
“Are there beds” Kou Chen asked.
“Wake up, will you” Huo Ran glanced at them.
“It’s abandoned, and has been for a long time.
There aren’t even any windows, where would you get beds from It’s just a place to keep out the wind and rain.
During peak camping season you even have to fight over a **ty cabin.”
The three couples probably already ate, so they crawled inside their tents after they were done and didn’t come back out.
After washing up, Old Yang and Kou Xiao were looking up at the sky together outside their tent.
Kou Chen walked over, and looked up as well.
“So pretty.” Kou Xiao said.
“Yeah, it’s beautiful.” Old Yang said.
“You can see the Milky Way.” Kou Xiao said.
“Yeah, and the nebula.” Old Yang said.
Kou Chen rubbed his eyes: “Am I blind or what”
“Get lost.” Kou Xiao said.
“Where are you seeing the beauty and the nebula and the Milky Way” Kou Chen asked.
“Right here,” Kou Xiao said.
“In our hearts.”
Old Yang couldn’t help but laugh, almost choking himself.
“You guys have fun,” Kou Chen went back to his and Huo Ran’s tent.
“Aren’t these two crazy!”
“They’re in love.” Huo Ran was also laughing loudly, “Why do you have to get involved”
Kou Xiao and Old Yang didn’t stay outside for long, the wind picked up as it became completely dark.
The temperature dropped, and the two of them picked up the lantern and went to chat inside the tent.
Kou Chen stood outside the tent, looking at the tents.
Some were silent, and some were rustling with movement.
“Hm” Huo Ran was plugging his phone into a power bank.
“It’s kinda awkward.” Kou Chen said.
“We’re just trying to **ing camp and we see this, four couples, all in their **ing tents.”
“What’s awkward about that You can go inside if you’re cold too.” Huo Ran said.
“Nobody’s making you keep guard.”
“You think that’s it” Kou Chen crawled inside the tent and sat down with his legs crossed.
“Think about it, these damn couples.
Right now, in a while, and there’s a whole night ahead of them.
What would they be doing”
“Aren’t you overthinking it” Huo Ran was exasperated.
“They’re dating, who gives a ** about what they’re gonna do.
Why are you feeling awkward Why don’t you do it too…”
“Ah,” Kou Chen looked at him, and he couldn’t help but laugh, “Who am I gonna do it with”
Huo Ran felt that something was wrong right after he said it, and now with what Kou Chen just said, he started laughing until he coughed: “What about me then”
“Forget it,” Kou Chen waved him off, “You won’t even **ing look at my ass.”
“Fuck off!” Huo Ran crawled into the tent and shoved him, “Move over.”
“We can start our late night chat now, right” Kou Chen suddenly became excited, “I’ve never opened my sleeping bag yey, should I test it out now”
“What difference would that make” Huo Ran picked up the lantern and hung it from the tent.
“If it doesn’t fit you’d have to use it anyway.”
“If it doesn’t fit then I can use yours.” Kou Chen began to take his clothes off.
Huo Ran couldn’t stop him in time, he had already stripped to just his underwear, and then he started rummaging around in his bag.
“Why don’t you go take an IQ test” Huo Ran stared at the grim reaper above his underwear.
“Don’t you know how cold it is Why don’t you go run around outside Your grim reaper is gonna come to life out of anger…”
“Fuck,” Kou Chen gave up and just dumped all the contents of his bag out.
“I’m freezing to death, I thought this tent was extra thick”
“It’s extra thick! Not heated.” Huo Ran looked at him, having no choice but to go over and get his sleeping bag out of the pile of things.
He quickly shook it out and set it down, “Get in!”
In just one second, Kou Chen had crawled into his sleeping back, relaxing after a few seconds.
Satisfied, he stretched: “It’s alright, made for cold weather, right”
“Mhm.” Huo Ran sat down, “But you don’t need such a warm one right now.”
“I get cold easily.” Kou Chen pulled the drawstring happily, so you could only see his nose and eyes.
“Then why did you strip” Huo Ran saw that a box of chocolate had fallen out of his bag.
He reached over and grabbed it.
“Hey, stealing my food” Kou Chen sat up in the sleeping bag.
He reached his hand out of the face opening, “You dare steal my chocolate”
“Mhm.” Huo Ran unwrapped one and ate it as he looked at him.
“I’ll kill you…” Kou Chen wanted to reach his arm out, but it was stuck beside his face, “Fuck, isn’t this elastic I have to unzip it if I want to get something”
Huo Ran unzipped the zipper on the side.
He reached through and pinched his leg.
“Hey That’s fun!” Kou Chen took his arm back, catching his hand inside the sleeping back.
“First you steal my chocolate, now you’re touching me…”
“Have some shame!” Huo Ran took his hand back.
Kou Chen stuck his arm out and waved it at him: “Nope, what’s shame gonna…”
Before he could finish, a woman’s voice suddenly sounded from outside.
They both froze, realizing a couple seconds later that it was someone singing.
It wasn’t very good, and they couldn’t tell what she was singing.
“Your sister” Huo Ran asked.
“I’ll have you know my sister won second place in the citywide singing competition in college.” Kou Chen pointed to his right.
“One of the damn couples over there”
“It’s coming from this way.” Huo Ran pointed in the opposite direction.
“The forest” Kou Chen whispered.
“Yeah.” Huo Ran looked at him.