Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 18

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Lu Chen’s skills that he developed in the army came in handy for other purposes tonight. 🙂

Chapter 18 — The Road Ahead is Still Unknown (4)

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.

 

Lu Yanchen brought Gui Xiao to Meng Xiaoshan’s house.

He had just broken off an engagement. If he insisted on having her stay the night in the shop and word of it got out, even if he set aside consideration of potential troubles that might arise, this would still easily cause his family members to jump to certain conclusions about her.

And plus, sleeping together in one room after only just reconciling and getting back together, even if they did not do anything, was still inappropriate.

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

The metal gate was pulled open. Meng Xiaoshan, her hair twisted into a bun at the back of her head, yawned and said, “And here I was worrying that you were going to stay in the auto shop. There are more people around there, so more chances there’ll be eyes watching. If you look at things that way, by really bringing you here, Lu Chen shows he’s actually quite sensible.”

Gui Xiao gave her a bump with her shoulder and then walked away, turning her head every few steps to look back at Lu Yanchen, who was in the car.

Her frame of mind currently was not all that different from back when they had first started dating, not wanting to be apart from him, that even one extra glance was like an extra little gain.

The metal gate was locked.

Lu Yanchen sat inside the car. He opened the sunroof, dropped the back of his seat down, and, gazing up at the bright moon hanging in the sky, smoked quietly.

<>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.

After half an hour or so had passed, as expected, Gui Xiao called him.

Lu Yanchen stubbed out the cigarette.

That sound of breathing, ever so faint—it belonged to her. “I’m regretting it. I should have stayed with you for a while longer.”

He opened the door and got off the car. “Want to see me?”

“Mm-hmm.”

“I haven’t left yet.”

“Huh?” On her end, there were the sounds of covers being lifted and slippers scuffing across the floor. Very light sounds. She told him, “They’re both asleep. I can’t really go outside. There are also several dogs in the courtyard.”

He had been in Qin Feng’s house before, so he asked, “The guest room is on the third floor?”

“Yes.”

Lifting his head, Lu Yanchen evaluated a different red brick wall.

Qin Feng’s home was a very standard type of courtyard-style rural home. There were neighbours surrounding the front yard, but behind this particular wall that was adjacent to the rear courtyard, it was an unoccupied home. The land itself had been sold, but the new owners had not moved in yet. After visually assessing that there were roughly four spots where he should be able to get a footing, he turned to look again at the wall of Qin Feng’s home. “Wait a minute.”

He put his mobile phone between his teeth. His figure, a black shadow in the night, leveraged off the two walls between which he stood and then leaped up and landed on the roof of that three-story home that neighboured the rear wall.

The dogs inside the yard of Qin Feng’s home seemed to detect something. In that large courtyard, those several tied-down, black shadows were whimpering quietly as they jumped up and down and circled about, searching for what might be amiss. However, they simply did not see the shadow on the roof of the home beyond the rear yard.

Taking his phone back into his hand again, Lu Yanchen instructed. “Search around.” His gaze caught sight of the rightmost window curtain on the third floor being lifted open, and a white figure could indistinctly be seen.

“I see you… You’re not afraid someone might spot you?”

Lu Yanchen chuckled.

“With your physical finesse, it’s a shame that you left the military.”

Seeming as if he had been stabbed in a certain sore point, Lu Yanchen was quiet for a long while.

He and those like him viewed the protection of people as their unshirkable duty and pledged their lives to serving the nation. If they had missions to do, they would go on their missions. If there were no missions, they would carry logs, crawl through mud runs, cross through rivers and bodies of water, and do combat training. In exchange for all the injuries they suffered, many people received a commendation or award, but after their discharge from military service, they had no job and could only become a security guard somewhere…

To allow Gui Xiao a clearer view of him, he, on that rooftop where the wind whipped and howled, with great difficulty and spending a long time on it, lit up a cigarette. Gui Xiao gazed on him from far. It appeared as if there was a little spark flickering inside that shadow, so she knew it was a cigarette.

“Everyone makes different choices. There is nothing to be dissatisfied about.” While Lu Yanchen spoke, he slipped his left hand into his pocket, where it brushed against a folded-up card. It was an address and telephone number that he had just gotten today. “Would you like to go back to Inner Mongolia with me for another look?”

“Go back to the steppes?”

“To get Qin Xiaonan’s hukou.”

“Can’t they mail it here?”

“It’s a bit complicated. We’ll talk about it in detail tomorrow. Would you like to go?”

To say that the steppe was his second home was not an exaggeration.

His hasty return here this time was because he had wanted to take care of that absurd marriage arrangement as soon as possible. But now, he actually wanted to go with her and, with a different type of mindset, have another look at that expanse of steppe lands, that desert, and those people.

Gui Xiao very readily agreed and expressed that she could leave at any time. This thus caused Lu Yanchen to have a few speculations as to what her occupation was. However, he did not plan on asking for details at this moment. The relationship between him and Gui Xiao was actually like ruins that were being rebuilt, and carried a slight feeling that “hundreds of set-aside things were waiting to be done.” Therefore, these were not things about which he needed to rush to ask. They could take things slowly. This included the many things that he, too, needed to little by little tell her.

Time slowly slipped into the wee hours of the next day.

Lu Yanchen watched from a distance as someone on a bicycle rode towards where he was. Afraid that he would be seen and then unable to explain himself, he noiselessly flipped back down to the roof of his car, then hopped to the ground.

When Gui Xiao suddenly saw  the silhouette beneath the moonlight disappear, she was given a fright. “You fell off?”

Amused by her words, the man in her mobile phone gave a laugh. “Someone’s coming. Going now.”

“Mm.”

“Rest early.”

She saw that over the rear wall a bright light was beaming upwards from between two walls, and knew that he was purposely shining the light for her to see.

He was signaling to her that he really was leaving now.

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

When Lu Yanchen got back to the automobile repair shop, those young guys who were working overtime through the night, rushing to get the work done, had pulled together a worn old couch, some chairs, and a table and were playing card games and drinking booze. The smell of cigarettes and alcohol intermingled with the scent of gasoline. The lively laughter and banter created such a din that it made a person’s head hurt. Seeing Lu Yanchen, the group gave a few greetings of “Chen Ge” and invited, “Chen Ge, want to have some?”

Not declining the offer, Lu Yanchen walked over. Someone wanted to rise from the couch, but he pressed him back down. “Give me the stool.”

And so, he took from them the simplest type of wooden stool and sat straddled on it, not having even the slightest airs of the boss’s son.

Somebody passed a cigarette over. He raised his right hand, indicating that he still had half a stick here that he had not finished smoking.

There were quite a few young kids here tonight who wanted to enlist in the military, and having heard that Lu Yanchen had been an officer when he was in the armed forces and, furthermore, in counter-terrorism, they pressed him with lots of questions. If this were any ordinary time, Lu Yanchen would not really try to satisfy this type of inquiring that was purely for the curiosity of outsiders. However, his mood tonight was quite good, so he actually answered with a few sentences. When the conversation was at a high, someone searched on a mobile phone for some pictures and then gave it to him to see, asking whether he also had worn a bomb suit like one of these that supposedly weighed as much as thirty-five kilograms. With a smile, he replied, “It is pretty heavy. But you’re just wearing psychological comfort, really. If you really do happen to run into a professionally-made bomb, all one of those does is ensure that your corpse will be intact.”

Everyone was stunned with fright at this.

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

There was a young apprentice who needed to rush to finish his work through the night, but the mechanic who was mentoring him had gone out to play mahjong. The young apprentice saw that everyone was drunk and only Lu Yanchen was still rather clear-headed. Therefore, in a nice, respectful tone, he asked Lu Yanchen to help him out on a really troublesome thing; he didn’t know how to fix it.

Without any superfluous words, Lu Yanchen went over with him, half-squatted down beside the car, and then watched him, every so often giving a couple words of pointers. When more than half an hour had passed but the young apprentice still had not resolved the issue, he simply took off his jacket and slid in under the car himself…

At three in the morning, after he had showered, he returned to his room and lifted open the quilt, which Qin Xiaonan had already warmed up with his body heat. This ended up waking the boy.

“Uncle Lu.” In a befuddled state, Qin Xiaonan lifted his head. “I thought you wouldn’t be coming back here to sleep…”

“If I didn’t come back here, where would I sleep?” Lu Yanchen leaned back against the head of the bed. “Gotten used to things here in Beijing?”

“… Uh-huh.” Qin Xiaonan nodded, thinking, This is so out of the blue and random. Why is Uncle Lu suddenly asking this today?

“Miss home?”

“… Not too badly.”

He actually just wanted to hear from the kid a couple of sentences that had to do with Gui Xiao; anything would be okay. Alas, he did not know even how to begin asking. In the end, he tucked the quilt around Qin Xiaonan and pushed him up beside the heater. “Go to sleep.”

… Letting his head tilt crookedly to the side, Qin Xiaonan stuffed his bare feet into the spaces between the tubes of the radiator heater and fell back to sleep.

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

Regarding the problem of Qin Xiaonan’s hukou, this was Lu Yanchen’s explanation:

At the time, Qin Xiaonan’s birth mother had met Qin Mingyu through a matchmaking date. Later, they had parted on bad terms. Originally when the divorce happened, Qin Xiaonan had gone with his mom, and so his hukou also followed his mother’s. Then some time after, his mother went to Ulaanbaatar[1], bringing his birth certificate and hukou with her. When Qin Xiaonan moved to Erenhot a couple of years ago to attend school, Qin Mingyu had asked quite a few people in his hometown to help provide all kinds of proof of identity for him, and had also greased many relationship wheels. While the various proofs of identity were being gathered, Lu Yanchen had told Qin Mingyu to, while he was at it, also apply for a passport for the kid so that he at least could somewhat be considered to have some sort of usable form of identification. Afterwards, the matter of Qin Xiaonan studying as an out-of-region student in Erenhot did get resolved. However, if he wanted to attend school in Beijing, things would not be so easy.

For those who are part of the armed forces, although merely a border separates them from outside the country, going beyond that border is practically as hard as climbing to heaven. And so, things had dragged out all the way to the present.

Qin Mingyu was unable to leave the country and could only request Lu Yanchen, who had already completed the military discharge process, to help out by going for him. Hence, their trip this time was not just to visit the steppes; they were also going to be leaving the country.

“Isn’t getting a divorce a real hassle in military marriages?” At the time, after hearing everything, Gui Xiao had put forth this very vague question. As long as Qin Mingyu did not agree to it, it would have been very difficult for this divorce to ensue. Gui Xiao could not be clearer on this particular detail in the rules.

Lu Yanchen’s answer had been that Qin Mingyu had actually quite readily agreed to the divorce. It was precisely for the issue that his marriage and divorce had been “too hasty” that he had received a lot of criticism and reproach. Consequently, when someone tried to introduce a potential girlfriend to Qin Mingyu, he had not even dared to accept the offer and had outright said, forget it, he would wait until he was discharged from service and then talk about it.

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

Gui Xiao’s work schedule was relatively flexible, and after discussing, the two eventually decided that they would do a self-drive road trip to get there.

They could treat it as their Spring Festival vacation together.

In that last trip, she in fact had merely been passing through Erenhot, as Xiao Cai and the others’ destination had also been the country of Mongolia. Therefore, she actually had not taken the time to truly, meticulously travel the steppes of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Despite having resided there for nearly nine years, Lu Yanchen had been busy, and hence he also had not travelled it completely.

The route they would take was left to him to arrange. She asked Xiao Cai for some tips based on her experience and then first took care of all the stuff that was required to leave the country.

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

Having learned a lesson from last time’s experience, on the day that they were to leave Beijing, Gui Xiao did not go directly to the automobile repair shop and, instead, waited for Lu Yanchen in Meng Xiaoshan’s restaurant. Qin Xiaonan was an easy child to feed and care for, and so they entrusted his care to the couple, Meng Xiaoshan and her husband. When the two were leaving, in order to demonstrate that he was “very easy to take care of and did not need to stick with Uncle Lu,” Qin Xiaonan did not say that he wanted to go see them off and simply went with some people from the auto repair shop to chisel a hole in the ice and catch fish.

Less than five minutes after Gui Xiao arrived, Lu Yanchen also drove up.

Seeing hm making his appearance, Meng Xiaoshan, her chin propped on her palm, deliberately remarked, “Lu Chen did not really think through this matter. Just how long have you guys been back together, and now you’re going travelling, just the two of you? And the trip’s for more than ten days, too. If you two ‘make a new life[2]’ together, it’ll be quite the trouble.”

Meng Xiaoshan’s tone rose and fell in cadence as she spoke. Lu Yanchen, though, appeared as if he was hard of hearing and had not heard her. Glancing over the two large suitcases that Gui Xiao had brought, he stated, “The road will be bumpy. It’ll be more convenient to switch to duffel bags.”

As a result of his one sentence, Gui Xiao dragged her suitcases into Meng Xiaoshan’s house, robbed the home of several large duffel bags, and brought them back out with her. Xiao Cai and the others had not mentioned this last time. However, she should not go wrong if she listened to Lu Yanchen. Inside the suitcases were quite a few women’s items, so keeping away from Lu Yanchen, she and Meng Xiaoshan worked together and repacked everything. Finally, Lu Yanchen helped her to secure with travel straps each of the duffel bags and then stuff them all into the back trunk.

Lu Yanchen did not have a vehicle of his own. The automobile repair shop would occasionally take in some secondhand vehicles and, after fixing them up, resell them. During this recent return of his, he had been arbitrarily alternating the vehicles that he drove, but this time, for the trip back to the steppes, he had specially switched to an off-road vehicle.

For several days in a row, Gui Xiao had tidied, packed, and organized quite a few things. When they sat into this vehicle that was worth a little more than RMB one hundred thousand, it actually had the level of comfort of one that was five or six hundred thousand.

<>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.

In the end, when they were about to head out on their way, Meng Xiaoshan rested her arms on the windowsill of the vehicle and said, “Gui Xiao.”

Gui Xiao leaned in close to her.

“You have to think things through clearly. If you don’t want to settle down and get married so soon, take some protective measures and use birth control. Don’t let yourself be happy for that moment and then end up being tied down by a kid, because by then if you find that you were apart for too many years and actually aren’t compatible, it’ll be a hassle if you want to break up.”

Gui Xiao mused on this for a moment but felt that there really was not any possibility of breaking up.

She was no longer in her teenage years, when neither her financial capacity nor her experience in life had been capable of allowing her to withstand the sudden upheaval in her family and the abrupt drop in her living conditions. As for whether they were compatible or not…

Before she had a chance give Meng Xiaoshan a reply, Lu Yanchen opened the driver’s side door and abruptly tossed out the sentence, “Buckle your seat belt.”

In Meng Xiaoshan’s student days, she had followed Hai Dong’s lead and called him “Chen Ge,” but after she was with Qin Feng, she would blatantly call him “Lu Chen.” However, the mentality of her youth still persisted in her mind, and scared off by the look he had given, she yanked her hands back.

As the vehicle pulled away from the front of the restaurant, Meng Xiaoshan’s heart was still hammering away.

Qin Feng saw right through her. “You must have said something you shouldn’t have, right?”

Meng Xiaoshan shook her head. “I’m worried Gui Xiao will be foolish.”

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

[1] Ulaanbaatar is the capital of the country of Mongolia.

[2] 闹出人命. This actually means to “cause a fatality” but the last two characters 人命 literally mean “human life” so, jokingly, this can be taken literally as “cause a human life” (i.e. make a baby). To maintain the play-on-words feel, I did not use a direct translation and instead, took our English wording of “make a new life” (starting a new life, starting afresh, etc.) and spun it so that it also could be interpreted as making a baby, if you interpret the words from a different perspective.

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
18 of 43 Chapters
0 of 1 Epilogues

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13 thoughts on “The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 18

  1. Thanks Hoju
    MX its good advice, but for their relationship,lets them decide what’s best for them..and why Lu Chen looks angry? 😅

    • Do you mean towards the end? I’m thinking it’s because he heard what MXS said.

    • I think Meng Xiaoshan is being a good friend. She is giving advice to Gui Xiao based on her understanding of the situation and out of genuine care, but she is not pushing or even pressuring. 🙂 But Gui Xiao knows her own situation and had a good head on her shoulders.
      Haha, because he doesn’t like people telling his “wifey” that they won’t end up together??
      Thanks for reading!

  2. Lol I wasn’t really paying attention and thought Lu Chen was actually climbing up to her window like some Romeo and Juliet scenes.
    However how could I have forgotten that Lu Chen always consider her reputation and doesn’t want to malign it in any way? Such a swoon worthy man.

    *sniffles* among Mo Bao Fei Bao’s male leads, he’s fast becoming one of my favorite, just behind Cheng Muyun.

  3. Wow he climb the roof top just for her to see him before he lives that’s is amazing!! He’s considered and a gentleman with her
    Thank you hoju !!

  4. LYC: what break up, dream on! XD
    thank you

  5. Welp MX isnt wrong

    • No, she isn’t. Especially from a bystander’s point of view, Gui Xiao and Lu Chen’s relationship has a pretty weak foundation at this moment. They’ve missed out on a decade of one another’s lives. But I like how she presented it, tried to be persuasive, but was not pushy. Ultimately, the choice is Gui Xiao’s.

  6. Thank you for the chapter, Hoju 🙂.

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