Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 13

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They see each other again, but there are still things to take care of. (I know what you’re all waiting for. Soon, soon…)

Chapter 13 — Dawn’s Light Illuminates the Road Home (3)

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.

 

The stifled, frustrated feeling in his heart made him irritable and restless.

Lu Yanchen roved through the service garage. The row after row of cold, white lighting shone down and elongated his shadow.

In the end, he found a car that quite appealed to him visually, and after rummaging around here and there and gathering a pile of tools, he jacked it up—and began dismantling it.

By the time it was nearly four in the morning, he had inspected quite a few minor problems not covered by insurance, and black streaks of grease covered his arms. Then, gripping the beam over the door of the service bay, he did another two hundred chin-ups. With this, he finally could be considered to have gotten through most of the night.

<>The translator would sincerely appreciate it if you would read this translation only at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the actual site of posting. Thank you.

When he returned to the room, Qin Xiaonan had long since kicked off his quilt.

After stuffing those little arms and legs back under the covers, Lu Yanchen began to unpack Qin Xiaonan’s suitcase. Underneath all the clothing were several new books. Gui Xiao had bought them. The only one removed from its packaging was the English version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. He pulled it out, got onto the bed, and leafed through it.

Back when he first joined the military, his English skills had regressed severely. The old squadron commander of the time had often lectured them that the core team members of the Special Police who would be on duty during the Olympics would all be required to know day-to-day, conversational English, French, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Spanish. In particular, for any sort of large, international match, having the CET-6[1] certificate from university was a requirement for being selected for duty. While this did not have much to do with them, as ones who carried out the duty of border safety and protection, he still took the words to heart and once again picked up his English studies, which he had abandoned for a while, throwing it into the mix with Mongolian and Russian and normally just rotating through each of them to learn. He was, after all, still someone who had properly taken the National College Entrance Examinations. Although, if any chemistry or physics formulas were put in front of him, he would be no friend of them and vice versa, his foreign language skills had been honed up enough that they were not a problem to him.

He tucked Qin Xiaonan in next to the heater and then, leaning back against the head of the bed, read through more than twenty pages. Detecting that the kid had woken and was staring at him, he turned to glance at the bedside alarm clock. It was only 4:30 a.m.

“Keep sleeping.” He gave this order.

“Do you want to hear some stuff about Auntie Gui Xiao?” Qin Xiaonan mind was still mostly in a bleary state and only somewhat awake and aware, but still he was constantly concerned about Lu Yanchen’s marriage, that all-important thing in a person’s life.

He stroked that little head, feeling resigned also. “Hurry up and go back to sleep.”

Mumbling something, Qin Xiaonan rolled over. But before half a minute had passed, he cocooned himself in the quilt and shuffled off the bed. “I’m going to go draw a layout map of her home for you!”

Lu Yanchen wanted to stop him, but the kid, his feet bare, had already come back with paper and pen in arms. Shivering, he huddled himself up next to that heater, which emitted slightly-warm air, and looking proper and convincing, began to draw, even giving explanations as he sketched away.

And so, Lu Yanchen did not decline this anymore. Propping his head on one hand, he carefully pulled the boy’s quilt up higher for him.

In the glow of the light, he looked at that drawing on the paper—her home.

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

Gui Xiao’s business trip this time had an itinerary that was a dozen or so days long and passed through Guangzhou, Chengdu, Taipei, and Macau before finally arriving in Wuhan.

Gui Xiao had always subscribed to the idea that “once the one member of the family has eaten, the whole family doesn’t need to worry[2],” and had taken advantage of business trips to travel around and see sights everywhere. Only this time was she unwilling to tarry even one extra hour away from home. In the end, prior to flying to Wuhan, she even insisted there was something urgent that she needed to return to Beijing for, and arranged to meet at the airport restaurant the entire group with whom she needed to have a meeting; they would have their discussion while eating. As soon as the meal was finished, she boarded the plane back to Beijing. The person responsible for organizing this summarized it as her “three-hour tour through Wuhan’s airport.”

There was only one reason for her being in such a rush: her younger guy cousin had arranged to bring Lu Yanchen to meet Qin Xiaonan’s new head teacher on the afternoon of the fifth day of the new lunar year.

Gui Xiao simply could not set her mind at ease about this, and before she got on the plane, she had a phone conversation with Lu Yanchen.

In this nearly half a month in which they had not seen each other, the two of them had only talked on the phone twice. One time was before she boarded the plane to leave Beijing, and the other was when she was on the plane that would take her back to Beijing, in that half a minute right before she was to power off her phone. All along, Gui Xiao had not had the courage to ask him about how things were going with regard to his engagement to Zhao Minshan, believing that when he had completely dealt with it and it was over, he would tell her. Hence, because this matter was still hanging between them, hindering them, she would always maintain an imperceptible distance when she spoke to him.

She was afraid of crossing that moral line. Perhaps having once been a victim and deeply experienced the pain brought about from it, she viewed the charge of destroying someone’s marriage as an extremely serious one.

Even if it had been forced upon him, that marriage engagement still truly existed.

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

When she arrived in Beijing, it was midday. The flight had not disappointed; it was not late.

After retrieving her luggage, Gui Xiao joined the other travellers from various places and stepped out of the boarding gates area. She scanned around. Lu Yanchen could not be seen. Instead, she first spotted Xu Yao. Draped over the man’s arm was a blazer, and his dress shirt was meticulously buttoned all the way to the collar. He did not even have a watch and only very cleanly and simply wore a wedding band on his finger. Gui Xiao took a quick glimpse at that ring—ordinary, brandless.

“Let’s find a place to sit. I’m still waiting for someone to come pick me up.” Gui Xiao strode over to him.

Xu Yao wanted to help her take her suitcase. Gui Xiao did not let him. The suitcase was small; she was wholly able to carry it herself.

As Xu Yao was hurrying to catch a plane to leave Beijing, the two had arranged to meet up in the airport. They found an arbitrary coffee shop and sat down.

Tossing her backpack onto the couch, she reached over, picked up the shop’s tabletop ad, and sent the name of this café over to Lu Yanchen. After she set the sign back down onto its original spot, she then worried that he would not be able to find this place and hence asked, “Could you describe for me specifically how you would get here from the parking garage? I’ll send the instructions to the person who’s picking me up.”

Xu Yao stared at Gui Xiao like he was looking at a nutjob. “The person you’re meeting is a ten-year-old kid?”

Gui Xiao gave a shake of her head. “He’s never been to this terminal building. I’m guessing he’s never really taken an ordinary airplane.”

“Your friend has a fear of flying?”

Gui Xiao shook her head again.

Xu Yao briefly described the route to her. Then, he held a piece of notepaper up in front of her eyes. Written on it were a bank account number, the bank name, and the account holder’s name.

After Gui Xiao had sent off the route to Lu Yanchen based on Xu Yao’s description, she took a quick look at that note, took it and put it away, and then rather apologetically explained to Xu Yao, “I need to keep some money on hand of late and can’t give it all to you. For the amount that you want to borrow, I’ll have to just give you two-thirds of it first. Next month I have a wealth investment product that will be maturing, and then I’ll give the rest to you. Will that be enough time?”

“No problem.” The other party nodded. Who would have thought that there would be a day when he would ask to borrow money from Gui Xiao? “Just now, seeing you coming out from the exit, I remembered the first time I saw you when you were still in your teens… Who would have thought? The little girl managed to grow up without a hitch and is even getting along pretty well in life.”

Gui Xiao knew what Xu Yao was referring to. She smiled. “Have you ever seen this certain video? There’s a quite-successful ethnic Chinese woman who said in an interview, everyone needs to work hard and earn a sum of ‘f*ck-you money.’ That way, when you’re not happy with your job, you can just say, ‘F*ck you!’ and then quit.”

Cocking his head to the side, Xu Yao noticed Lu Yanchen striding into this shop and guessed that this was the person Gui Xiao was waiting for.

The back of the couch on which Gui Xiao sat was very high, such that she did not see the person diagonally behind her. She remarked, “It’s not that I want to f*ck working. It’s so good to have a job. No matter how bad and frustrating it may be, it still feeds me. I just want to work really hard and earn my sum of f*ck-life money, so that in the latter half of my life, no matter what difficulties may come my way, I won’t need to just bow and submit to whatever life gives me anymore.”

Xu Yao motioned with a tilt of his chin, indicating to Gui Xiao that there was someone behind her.

Gui Xiao allowed her gaze to turn in that direction. In that moment when she saw Lu Yanchen, her eyes softened quite a bit. Very softly and gently, she uttered the sentence, “I was scared you wouldn’t be able to find this place and was going to go get you.”

She shifted over to one side. Lu Yanchen sat down.

Taking in these little behaviours from Gui Xiao, Xu Yao was quite amused. He then brought his eyes over to take measure of Lu Yanchen. From his first glimpse of this man, he was already able to determine that this was someone who had been in the military. A few days ago at his own wedding, there had been a table of guests who were comrades-in-arms of someone from his family, and the very spirit and vigour they emanated were similar to this man here. Amongst that table, there had even been ones who had spent time in the Hong Kong garrison and the peacekeeping force. But compared with them, the presence given off by this man now before him was even deeper and harder to fathom. Fortunately, his face was the fair, Adonis type, and that helped to diminish by quite a bit the intimidating aura he emitted.

His thoughts only reached this point before Lu Yanchen’s imposing gaze was already suppressing them. This inexplicably caused him to remember that very famous quote of Lei Feng[3]: “Treat your enemies with cruelty like the harsh winter”…

Glancing at the wall clock in the coffee shop, he picked up his blazer from where it was draped on the back of his chair and stood. “That way of thinking of yours is pretty good, but as a girl, don’t always be saying f*ck this and f*ck that. It doesn’t sound very nice. I’m in a hurry to go. You guys take your time and talk.”

Without taking even a sip of his coffee, he withdrew from there.

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

All of Gui Xiao’s thoughts were on the man who had just arrived. She gently nudged over to him the coffee that the server had brought over. “Want to drink it?”

The foam on that non-fat latte swayed lightly, rocking as well the little heart that had been drawn on top with syrup.

Lu Yanchen shook his head.

“Ah, so you guys don’t drink coffee.” She understood.

Lu Yanchen shook his head. “I drink black coffee.”

Gui Xiao immediately corrected her error. “So you guys drink coffee, too.”

A chuckle came from Lu Yanchen. From these brief words, he discovered that she had certain misconceptions about the daily life of soldiers stationed on the frontiers. He decided he would not discuss this question with her for the time being.

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

Since Lu Yanchen was not speaking, Gui Xiao picked up a spoon and also wordlessly stirred her cup of coffee. Held between two of her fingers, the small silver spoon, adorned with a pierced design, made light tinkling sounds as it bumped against the ceramic mug.

Over this last half a month, whenever she had nothing to do, she would search for information, hoping to understand more about Lu Yanchen’s past. However, even related news reports were few and far between, much less specific details. Later, she had also called and asked around amongst that bunch of schoolmates of hers from primary school. They had all had different things to say, but the general idea was that they really weren’t any different from ordinary people, that once you peeled off that outer “borderland soldier’s skin,” they also liked to play DotA… But Gui Xiao felt that there should be big distinctions between each location, just like the people stationed at the borders in Yunnan should definitely be different from those in the Hong Kong garrison. And he had been stationed on the frontiers, working border patrol and counter-terrorism—that should be even more different, right?

She had unsystematically asked about a whole bunch of random things, but she received no information that was useful. For example, regarding the question of what habits he might have in day-to-day life, the answer was basically blank, and in fact could not get any blanker.

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

The space beneath the table was cramped. His skate shoes were bumped up against the tips of her leather shoes.

This feeling of being right next to one another, close against the other person, was especially reassuring. Her thoughts drifted far again.

<>Your support by reading this story only at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, the actual site of posting, would be greatly and sincerely appreciated. Thank you.

Back when they were first together, she had been facing high school entrance exams and he also had been preparing for his college entrance exams.

Worried that he might negatively affect her, at school Lu Yanchen had never shown that the two of them in any way had that sort of relationship. Privately, though, every day or two, he would go to see her in the evenings. For fear that driving a car might be too eye-grabbing and draw too much criticism on her, he would ride his bicycle over.

At the quickest, it was still at least one hour and ten minutes to get from the automobile repair shop to her gugu’s house, but he would only be able to see her for one hour.

Every time he came, he would take Gui Xiao out on his bike and avoid being in the military dependents’ residence area. From the residence area, they would cycle to the military area, pass building after building of cadets’ dormitories, and then go all the way to the end of the road until they finally came to a stop at the small gate that was at the foot of the Yan Mountains.

That place was very remote and even had a few burial mounds there. In the middle of the night, it was creepy. She would nestle herself in his arms and chat with him, and they would even receive a few glances from the patrolling soldiers who would pass by at any time. Back then, she had been very bashful and every time the patrol guard passed them, she would use his shoulder to obstruct most of her face from view. Her face would burn up and be covered in anxiousness, and she would feel dreadfully embarrassed. Now that she thought back on it, however, if Lu Yanchen had wanted to do anything intimate with her, he would have only needed to ride out of the military compound with her. But he never did.

There are some things that, when you go back and reflect deeply upon them again after you have grown up and matured, you will understand; for example, of the people around you, who is exceptional and who is inferior, who is a good person and who is bad.

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

The two did not linger for long at the airport and hurried to get to the arranged meeting place before three o’clock.

Her cousin’s wife was someone with especially smooth interpersonal skills. With gifts prepared, on the way up in the elevator, she instructed them that flattering words would need to be said and pitiful plights would also need to be flaunted. Of course, providing responses and carrying out conversation were essential as well. In short, in order to create the best environment and situation to facilitate a successful school transfer for the child, getting past this stage with the head teacher was essential. When they were at the door of the teacher’s home, Gui Xiao’s younger guy cousin reached out a hand and knocked on it.

Before half a minute had passed, a girl who appeared to be a university student opened the door. The instant she took in the sight of their entire group, her originally polite smile froze on her face. There was surprise and disbelief in her expression as she kept turning her head to look back. “Mom! Mom! Someone’s looking for you! Brother-In-Law, Big Sis, come quick! We have guests!”

After shouting this, she graciously told them that they did not need to change shoes and to please come on in. Those eyes, though, were sparkling, as if she had many, many words she wanted to say, and they were riveted on Lu Yanchen. They could all perceive that something was not quite right, but yet they did not know what it was.

<>Please support this translation by only reading it at hui3r[dot]wordpress[dot]com, its actual site of posting. This would be greatly appreciated by the translator.

After stepping into the home, everyone took a seat.

The two sisters of this household were whispering amongst themselves and giggling, and the younger sister was even incessantly pushing that bespectacled, refined-looking brother-in-law of hers. Qin Xiaonan’s head teacher was a female teacher around fifty years old or so and quite a stern person. Seeing her family being so impolite, she was very angry. “What are all of you causing such a ruckus for?”

“Mom, we saw someone we know,” the older sister explained. She went up beside the couch and nodded in greeting to Lu Yanchen. “Excuse me, were you once part of the Special Police?”

“Armed Police,” Lu Yanchen corrected.

Was there a difference? The older sister paused blankly for a moment. But then, skipping over this unimportant question, she pulled her younger sister over and proceeded to describe that terrifying, perilous self-guided vacation they had experienced during the National Day holiday a few years ago.

At the time, the two sisters were travelling in the northwest areas of the country with seven or eight other schoolmates, and they had encountered a situation in which a large number of passengers were stranded at the railway station.

This Commander Lu who was currently sitting on their couch, at the time had brought a team to meet up with another group of police and maintain order at the site. That night, many people were layover travellers who had waited for more than ten hours. There were people from all different places, all sorts of people, shady ones intermixed with good, honest ones. In the latter part of the night, someone instigated trouble, and chaos had been on the verge of breaking out. He and the people with him had formed a human wall and had had group after group of passengers line up of their own accord to go into the safe zone. In the beginning, these girls had not really taken the situation seriously and had still been cheerfully discussing in whispers whether they should capitalize on the shoving and squeezing of the crowd to bump into the super hot guy who was giving orders and bring about a romantic love story with that bump.

Until a huge commotion suddenly broke out in the mob—

“At the time, it was you. You were holding a gun, and you pressed it onto my shoulder and shoved us behind one of your comrades.” The younger sister gazed at him. “Do you still remember? My schoolmate had straight hair that was really long, down to her waist, right here. I had curls, long brown hair with curls.”

That had been the first time—and likely would be the only time—in this young girl’s life that she had been forced to come into contact with a real gun and real bullets. It really was unforgettable. In modern society, being rescued by a hero is simply too rare an occurrence. Truly, just too rare.

When this question was asked, everyone waited with great interest for the answer.

But the actual involved party, Lu Yanchen, with the scrutinizing gazes of seven or eight pairs of eyes on him, answered impassively, “No impression of it.”

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

[1] 英语六级 literally means “English sixth level” and refers to the CET-6, which stands for “College English Test” Band 6. Prior to taking the CET-6, students must first pass the College English Test Band 4, or CET-4. The CETs are nationwide English proficiency tests for non-English major college/university students in China. The CET-4 is a criterion of most universities in obtaining an undergraduate degree. The CET-6 is a similar test but at a higher level and is not mandatory for all degrees, although more and more, Chinese employers are looking for CET-6 certificates

[2] 一人吃饱全家不愁. This is a variation of an old proverb that refers to a single person or someone who lives alone. Since that person does not need to provide for any other family members, once she has eaten her fill, the “whole family” doesn’t need to worry about going hungry.

[3] 雷锋 Lei Feng (1940 – 1962) was a soldier in the People’s Liberation Army, known for his selflessness. Chairman Mao raised him up as an example that people should follow, and he is a cultural icon in China.

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.

 

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

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15 thoughts on “The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 13

  1. Thank you hoju hope you have a wonderful new year with your family!! Is great to know a little more about him and how he humble he is he safe life but he doesn’t care who it is

    • I believe this book is to honour the servicemen who put themselves in front of people who are in need. Lu Yanchen is “typical” in that I’m sure most servicemen are like him. In such situations, safety is number one priority and that’s what he was probably thinking about at that moment. I think it has less to do about his character and more to do about the honourable, respectable nature of the profession.

      Thanks for reading! See you next update. 🙂

  2. wow what requirement to be in the armed police
    thank you

  3. Thanks Hoju…
    When the aloof and cold Lu Yanchen will turn into the romantic and sweet bf to Gui Xiao?😅

    • Romantic… isn’t in Lu Yanchen’s vocabulary. LOL. However, you don’t need to be romantic to have a wonderfully sweet relationship. 🙂
      Thanks for reading!

  4. Wow!!!!!! This is sure an improvement.

    Happpyyy New Year Hoju 🎊🎊💖

  5. Thank you for the update Hoju have a nice week-end

  6. As always, thanks for your hard work.
    There are not enough updates of this novel. And it isn’t a complain, nor I’m rushing you my dear Hoju.
    I’m simply expressing how much I love the story. My foolish and greedy self wish I could enjoy it all in one go 😅

    • Thank you for the clarification and encouragement. 🙂 I’m so happy you’re enjoying the story.
      A re-read when it is all done! Then you can read it all in one go. 😀

  7. I love Gui Xiao! She’s so morally upstanding, she gives respect to relationships even if it were a forced engagement.
    And ugh i don’t like those types of girls like that younger sister, placing delulus first before imminent danger.

    This story is a gem! Thanks for translating it~
    Really appreciate the annotations you place.

    • I think Gui Xiao has a good head on her shoulders, a good set of morals, and a good heart. She’s not perfect, but with those as her foundation, it’s hard not to admire her.

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the story and that the footnotes are helpful. 🙂

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