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Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Road Home (归路) — Introduction and Prologue

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Hope you have all been well. I’ve spent my last several months unwinding, going on vacation, preparing for next projects—basically everything but hanging out on this blog.😜 My apologies for all the comments I’ve missed and didn’t reply to.

Here is my next project, which I will officially begin posting next week. See you soon!

Translation Project in a Nutshell

Novel:  归路 The Road Home (Note: On the cover of the printed book, it has the title The Return, which I have not used. My title translation has been run past the author.)
Author: Mo Bao Fei Bao
Start date: November 22 (N. American time)
Posting schedule, based on N. American time:  Tuesday and Friday evenings
Anticipated end date: April or May 2020

(Translation is being posted with author’s permission.)

 

Novel Summary (by Hoju) 

(A request: This summary was written by me, so if you choose to copy any part of it or its entirety anywhere, be it personal blogs, SSB, Novel Updates, etc, please kindly provide credit to Fanatical, hui3r, or Hoju  Thanks! —H)

 

Many years after breaking up, when Gui Xiao runs into her first love again at the gas station, he is already a soldier, a member of the Armed Police. Though they broke up at a very young age, her heart has never forgotten him.

Back when she was still in her teens, for a few years Gui Xiao left the big city part of Beijing, left the military compound where she grew up, and went to rural Beijing to attend middle school. It was an escape for a while, to get some freedom. But there, she met him—Lu Yanchen, who back then was called Lu Chen, the handsome bad boy whom everyone knew. Their lives were vastly different: she, a top student loved by teachers, coming from a family with a prestigious military background; he, the one who skipped classes, hung out with thugs and ruffians, and came from a poor family. But actually, they were remarkably similar in some ways, both lacking familial love, both trying to find a place to which they truly belong and they could call “home.” The attraction between them was obvious from the beginning, and they secretly began a relationship.

She did not expect to see him again, at least, not this way. But after she did, she cannot keep him from her mind. Almost to give herself closure, she goes to the region where he is stationed. There, their interactions begin once again, tentatively at first, sill carrying baggage from the past, but they slowly learn that both of them have kept a place in their hearts for the other person.

 

Hoju’s Thoughts and Ramblings about the Story

This story is the third novel of the series to which Together Forever and The Healing Sunshine also belong (so yes, it has sweet moments, but it’s not a fluff-and-candy novel). As I’ve said before, this series highlights unsung heroes, in this case, military servicemen who put their own lives in front of danger for ordinary civilians.

I find grown-up Gui Xiao very likeable. She is ordinary, but independent and successful, and she got her success through her own efforts. She loves Lu Yanchen with all her heart, but love is not her entire life. (Does that remind anyone of Ji Chengyang?) This is a quote from her thoughts: “She was very clear that without Lu Chen, she could still live her life at one hundred percent, live it to the fullest. But with him, her life undoubtedly would be even better.” As for teenage Gui Xiao, she has a rebellious streak, though she hides it from those who should not know, and will have, well, “teenage” moments. But hey, who hasn’t wanted to facepalm their adolescent self at one point in time? LOL.

As for Lu Yanchen, our stoic male lead, you will learn that he isn’t truly a bad boy, or more accurately, there are reasons behind everything. In some ways, he is like Xixi of The Healing Sunshine, having had no guidance during childhood, so he joined the military to find his purpose in life. And it was there that “he found the weight of his own bones again.”

When the author was writing and posting this story online, I was actually in the middle of translating Together Forever, and what immediately stood out to me was that, though they are part of the same series, The Road Home is significantly different in writing style from Together Forever and The Healing Sunshine. The melancholic undertone isn’t nearly as strong (and in fact, about 1/3 into the story, it practically disappears). Rather, the writing, which is punctuated by blunt, short sentences, feels almost “grittier,” more raw, as if I can feel the whipping wind of Inner Mongolia cutting against my face, the sands of Beijing grinding in my teeth. (Unfortunately, I feel that though I’ve tried, I still have not been able to completely capture that stylistic difference. 😦 )

Much patriotism is expressed in this novel; I will state that here right at the beginning. 🙂  However, to me, the spirit of the novel (aside from the romance) lies in this quote taken from it: “There are different countries, but the same type of people can be found in all of them. Irrespective of whether they are poor or rich, their love for their motherland is their faith.”

I had a discussion with my little girl recently and talked about how I don’t necessarily always agree with every part of everything that I translate, but there are often “cores” that I hope to communicate. Yes, this novel is set in China, but we can find similar sorts of people in places around the world, people who risk their lives for others. I believe those are the people whom Mo Bad Fei Bao is trying to honour with this story. And that, too, is what I wish to do with this translation. 🙂

 

(Warning: The first approximately 1/3 could possibly be considered “angst-y”, but after the two reconcile, the relationship angst between them is nil and the two are terribly sweet together. As always, it’s a happy ending.)

All right, without further ado, let the story begin! (As usual, no spoilers, please, myself included in this request.)


Prologue

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or re-posting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.

When I ran into my first love again, it was eight or nine years later, at the gas station. Just like that, I watched him walk out from the convenience store. I fixed my eyes on him, not really daring to believe it. Tentatively, I asked, “Do you still remember who I am?”

Holding a bottle of water on his upturned palm, he looked at me and rather placidly answered, “Yes, I remember you. Even if I were to turn to ashes, I would still remember you.”

This reminds me of a line of lyrics: “The promise of this lifetime is still missing a goodbye. And henceforth, that scar is unwilling to heal.[1]

That day was actually not a coincidental encounter. There was a gathering of middle school schoolmates.

Gui Xiao heard her old classmate, Bai Tao, mention his name, saying that he was taking a short rest at the nearby gas station. After hearing that name, her mind was no longer rational, and not caring about anything else, she said she wanted to go see this “old friend.”

Her old classmate did not read too much into this, so riding a bicycle, he brought her over there.

That five-minute journey seemed as long as an entire century. Before Bai Tao even braked to a halt, she had already hurriedly hopped off from the back rack of the bicycle and was fretfully casting her gaze around, anxiousness in her eyes.

<>This translation’s actual site of release is on hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Please support the translation by reading it there. Thank you.

When she saw him, dressed in a white button-up shirt and khaki-coloured, active-style shorts, striding out side by side with his comrades, who were also similarly garbed in civilian clothes, she stepped forward almost as if sleepwalking and greeted him.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

Until he stated that one sentence—

Gui Xiao froze. Rubbing her right forearm, she remained silent.

<>Please support the translation by reading it at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com.  Thank you.

Bai Tao was dumbstruck. What was going on here? Some sort of grievance from a past love?

But judging from Chen Ge‘s[2] open, unperturbed expression, it did not seem to be any sort of unforgettable debt of love that was engraved on his heart and into his bones, and rather, it seemed more like a joking sentence. Yet, the two involved parties weren’t smiling either. Just how much of that was true and how much was not, Bai Tao, as an outsider, did not know. However, Bai Tao had, after all, been out in society for a long time already, and the skill of smoothing a situation over was something he did have. “Chen Ge, why have you been here all this time at the gas station? You’re on some sort of mission?”

Lu Yanchen stretched out his hand and gave a smack to the back of Bai Tao’s head. “What kind of mission can you have at a gas station? We’re waiting for someone. Have your older brother come find me tonight.”

Bai Tao breathed out in relief. “My brother’s over in Laogou. I’ll have him go find you in a couple of days.”

“Then just forget it. In a couple of days I’ll be heading back to the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.”

Upon saying this, he twisted open his bottle cap and guzzled a couple of mouthfuls of mineral water.

When Gui Xiao heard “Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region,” her mind started back. Summoning the courage in her heart, she brazenly stared at him, this person whom she had not seen in more than eight years, scrutinizing even the tiny detail of how his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down because he was swallowing water.

He practically had not changed at all.

His pupils occupied a relatively larger proportion of his eyes than the average person, and combined with the outer corners of his eyes that turned upwards slightly, his slender face, and, back when he wore the button-up shirt of a school uniform, the fluid outline of his neck that showed, this face naturally was the type that exuded deviance and ostentatiousness. However, the lines of the corners of his lips were very soft and, pressed together slightly, always appeared as if they were smiling.

Now, with him dressed like this in a white, button-up shirt, it truly did seem as if they had returned to the past…

Since meeting him when she was thirteen years old, whenever anyone asked Gui Xiao, “What kind of boy do you like?” the words would always manage to blurt from her, “He has to have nice eyes…” It was as if rooted deep in her memory was the belief that a man had to have nice eyes in order for her to think he was handsome. She surmised that even after ten, twenty years, even thirty or forty years, she would still hold this viewpoint.

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

Bai Tao had originally brought Gui Xiao here merely to see an “old friend.” Who would have known that this little kerfuffle would arise between these two? He could therefore only say a little of this and that to Lu Yanchen and just find random things to talk about. Lu Yanchen every so often would give a few words in reply. In the past, his words had been neither frequent nor many, and if he could speak less, he would.

Soon, two military off-road vehicles drove into the gas station and came to a stop in a spot near the several of them.

In the sweltering sun, the vehicle’s exhaust fumes carried an unpleasant stench of burnt fuel and made Gui Xiao’s eyes sting.

The person in the driver’s seat told them to get into the vehicle. With a pat on Bai Tao’s back, Lu Yanchen stated, “Going now.”

He jumped into the front passenger seat of the Jeep first while the other people one after the other followed suit and got into the vehicles. From beginning to end, he never looked at her. By the time the two Jeeps had pulled out of the gas station, Bai Tao’s entire back was soaked. In a low voice, he asked, “You and Chen Ge once dated?”

Gui Xiao shook her head and just brushed over this, not wanting to say anything at all.

<>The translator sincerely asks that you read this translation at its actual site of posting, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Thank you.

That night, in Second Yi[3]’s [Second Maternal Aunt’s] house, she was restless and uneasy, as if she had lost her heart somewhere.

It was past ten o’clock already, but still she picked up the landline telephone and had the operator dial the Huang family’s number.

“You saw my [older] guy cousin?!” When Huang Ting heard her brief account of what happened this afternoon, this surprised exclamation burst from her lips. “My mom didn’t even know he was back. How did you manage to see him?”

Huang Ting was too stirred up. Her son, woken by the noise, began to wail.

“Wait a bit. I need to go pacify the little devil first.” She set the phone receiver down. It was quite some time before she came back, saying, “I don’t even know what I should say to you. Gui Xiao, why did you even want to go looking for him? Have you forgotten just how many times he begged you back then to make up and get back together again? Do you know how hard-hearted you were? It was so hard for him to get even one chance to come back, yet when he wanted to see you, you wouldn’t. Gui Xiao…” She sighed. “Gui Xiao, what do you even want to do by trying to find him?”

<>Copyright of Fanatical, hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com. Translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only

[1] This is a line of lyrics from the song 《心术》 sung by Phil Chang and released in 2012. The song is the theme song of the drama serial of the same Chinese name (English name of the drama is Angel Hearts).

[2] 哥 “ge.” The most literal translation of this would be “big brother.” It is also a way to address a male acquaintance either older or more senior but generally still in the same generation as you. I have chosen to keep this in pinyin and not use “big brother” as that, to me, maintains the tone of respect and reverence more.

[3] 姨 “yi.” This is how you would address the sister of your mother.

This story was translated with the express permission of the author for hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com only. All forms of reproduction, redistribution, or re-posting are not authorized. If you are not reading this from hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the copy is unauthorized and has been taken without consent of the translator.


Additional Comments:

Here is the song from which that line of lyrics was taken:

《心术》
Intention

 

#

模糊的泪眼之中 他还有最后的梦
In his tear-blurred eyes, he had still held that last dream
后来又为了什么 所以落空 已说不清始末
But later, the whole story of why that dream came to naught, he could not even say
怕失去最爱的人 他曾经固执的等
Afraid of losing the one he most loved, he once stubbornly waited
谁知道浮浮沉沉 只剩一个 受损的人生
But who would have known that in the ups and downs, drifting and floating, all that remained would be a life marred and damaged?
他一直往前追溯 忘了命运的残酷
All along, he had charged forward in pursuit, but had forgotten Fate’s heartlessness
那些幸福片段 牵牵绊绊 怕一点一点被遗忘
Those clips and snippets of happiness, those things that had held them together, he feared he would little by little forget them.

今生的约 欠一个再见
The promise of this lifetime is still missing a goodbye
伤痕从此 不肯复原
And henceforth the scar is unwilling to heal
如果思念 能回收眼泪
If longing can recycle tears
时间会不会治愈从前
Then can time heal the past?

但愿曾经荒芜的心田
The hope is that the heart that once was barren
还能开出繁花一片
Can still bring forth a luscious field of flowers

Repeat # ✻ ✻

啦…
La…

记忆会慢慢指认
Our memories will slowly identify
生命里爱的刻痕
Those things inscribed into our life by love
然后为悲欢离合
And then, all the joys and sorrows, partings and reunions,
留下一个 美丽的转身
We can turn away so beautifully and let them go

 

今生的约 说了再见
A goodbye has been said to the promise of this lifetime
怎样的挥别 都是纪念
And no matter how the farewell is made, it has all become remembrance
如果思念 让心温暖甘甜
If those feelings of longing warmed and sweetened the heart
时间已经 治愈从前
Then time has already healed the past

Repeat △

啦…
La…

Repeat △

 

Completed:
1 of 1 Prologue
0 of 43 Chapters
0 of 1 Epilogues

 | Index | Next Chapter ≫

47 thoughts on “The Road Home (归路) — Introduction and Prologue

  1. Yes welcome back and another wonderful translation right after my birthday yes !! Can wait to start reading 🥰🥰

  2. Welcome back Hoju. Thank you. 😘

  3. Welcome back Hoju! Very excited for this new translation! Already curious about this couple. I like it already!

  4. I just had to say, thanks for going out of your way to translate properly such as getting permission from the author. Really do appreciate all your hard work and dedication. And for always picking good authors and good books.

  5. Welcome back!!! And 😭😭😭😭 ahhh the first chapter already makes me cry…

    • Tears already? Then I’ll need to hand you a box of tissues for the first little bit. 🧻 (Sorry, I only found toilet paper. 😂)
      It’ll get much better, I promise.

  6. Hi, Hoju. I missed you during your break … your translations are a bright spot. I am eager for this new adventure you will guide me through. I enjoyed this introduction to the charaacters.

    • ❤ I feel so happy whenever I hear that these translations brighten people’s day. It’s one of my greatest motivators.
      I will see you around in this project. 🙂

  7. Hi hoju, so glad u back ^^

  8. So excited to start reading a new novel from you!

  9. Thanks Hoju..yeah new story..
    Gui Xio and Lu Yanchen😍

  10. Yay! I’m looking forward to the new story.

  11. Welcome back hoju! Hope you had a good time off from translating and spending it with your family.

    Looking forward to this translation. I too have missed you and peanuts work! I have been refreshing the blog at least once or twice per week for updates…

    Will start reading once the translation is done. Thanks in advance!

  12. Yay, excited about this next translation. Thank you again for all that you do!

  13. Glad to see you back, Hoju 🙂.
    Nice intro and prologue. Thank you for starting another wonderful translation.

  14. can’t wait for this project! So excited you are back Hoju!!!

  15. Husaa.. new translation… fighting. So excited..

  16. Thank you for the new novel and welcome back.

  17. So excited for this!
    Welcome back Hoju~ 🙂

  18. Yeayyy welcome back Hoju, I won’t miss this thank you

  19. omg you dont know how happy i was when i saw the new update from your blog! I’ve been checking this blog continously, hoping to see you pick up a new novel. and to my delight, it is MBFB’s and from the same series of my all time favorite, The Healing Sunshines. Thank you for picking up a new novel.

    • How nice to know we have people checking in on us. 🙂 Same series, but slightly different, too, in terms of feel. Hope you like it. 🙂

  20. At first I was excited about this new project but I don’t know why I think I will have a hard time tolerating Gui Xiao. Okay. I don’t know yet why they broke up but I am taking side with Chen-ge 😏. Someway my heart tends to stand by male leads 😅. By the way welcome HOJU love 😙~~~

    • Chen Ge is very lovely. So glad you are taking to him already. 🙂 Gui Xiao is also a great girl, especially when she grows up. They were both very young when they broke up, Gui Xiao even more so than Lu Chen. To be honest, both were to blame, and at the same time, neither. What I’m trying to say is, like most real relationships, there is no black and white. Give them both a chance and you may be pleasantly surprised.

      Thanks for the comment. 🙂

      Aaaaw, thanks for the lovely welcome back. 🙂 Enjoy the ride!

  21. Thank you for giving us another story to enjoy and will stay on this journey till the end…
    Always happy to receive updates from you

  22. I am just leaving it here to say that I love torturing myself with Mo Bao Fei Bao’s books. I know it’s going to be painful to read at the beginning because it is so real and no such thing as smooth sailing love. But I really can’t help it because it shows the flaws in both the male and female lead. So here goes to another journey of story.

    • Haha, hindsight is 20/20. I remember when I was following this story when it was first posted, the first 1/4 to 1/3 was painful, but now that I look back on it, it’s actually not bad.

      It’s not smooth sailing, but if you can get through the rough patch together, you are more willing to stick through the next rough seas together and also appreciate the calm waters.

      Enjoy the journey!

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