Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 25

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Happy Valentine’s Day!  ❤

Camaraderie.

Chapter 25 — A Dream for Every Inch of Our Motherland (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.

 

Their vehicle entered the military base, and no one stopped them. When they got out of the vehicle, Lu Yanchen led her all the way to the mess hall.

The same behaviour occurred in nearly every person they encountered along the way: each person would walk two steps past them, then immediately double back and, with a grin, throw a couple of teasing sentences at Lu Yanchen. There was one person who left a deep impression on Gui Xiao. When he approached them, he had first given an especially enthusiastic cry of “Commander Lu!” before hurriedly jogging away. Two minutes later, though, he had dashed back, running like he was doing a hundred-metre sprint, and fixed his eyes on Gui Xiao. “This is Sister-In-Law? And here I’d thought they were joking! Wait for me, all right? Wait for me in the mess hall! I’ll be there for sure! I’ll come right over!” With those words, he sped away.

Prior to entering the mess hall, Lu Yanchen’s footsteps paused.

Gui Xiao’s heart had already been beating unsteadily to begin with. She was suddenly about to charge into an unfamiliar place in which every person present had several years of friendship with Lu Yanchen, the type of friendship where they would willingly give their lives for one another. Moreover, he had said that not all of the ones who could stir up mischief had gone last time to that little restaurant, but tonight all who should come, would be present… Her eyes swept over her surroundings. She had grown up in a military compound, after all, so she was not too unfamiliar or curious about military bases.

The only difference between all of them is that some have slightly better conditions and some have slightly worse ones, that’s all.

<>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.

Lu Yanchen knocked the snow from his boots against the stairsteps and then gave a slight tilt of his head towards the inside of the mess hall.

When Gui Xiao stepped inside, she was stupefied by the sight of all the people filling the seats on each side of the four rows of dining tables in the mess hall.

She had originally thought that at most there would be thirty people or so. However, she had underestimated the size of this squadron. A rough glance showed there were almost a hundred people. That number was almost that of a military company. More than half the mess hall was filled with people, forming a stretch of black, buzz-cut heads. There were some whose eyes were sharp and astute, and also some simple and straightforward. None of them said a word, but she was already able to grasp their directness—because they were all staring at her.

Lu Yanchen cleared his throat and removed his sport sunglasses. “That’s about good enough. I finally managed to find a sister-in-law for all of you. Who’s going to take responsibility if you all stare her away and she runs?”

Silence. One second. Two seconds. Three seconds. All of a sudden, an explosion of guffaws erupted. Those men who only a moment ago had been sitting straight as a board now all scrambled over one another in a mad hustle to call out greetings of “Sister-In-Law.” Their overly-ardent tones actually made her feel even more ill at ease than before. Clasping her hands in front of herself, she nodded and bowed incessantly, saying, “Hello, hello.”

Lu Yanchen led Gui Xiao by the hand over to a blue plastic chair beside the nearest table and pressed her down into it. “Let’s eat first.”

He had originally thought that once he sat down like this, it would be able to get this gang of men under control. But, contrary to his expectations, no one bothered to care.

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

“You want to let Sister-In-Law have dinner? That’s easy.” Qin Mingyu’s lips spread into a wide grin. With a wave of his hand, two people behind him carried over a tan-coloured wooden chair. Plopping himself down so that he sat astride that chair with the airs of an arrogant poser, he lifted his chin and declared, “Let’s have a little bit of an entertainment program, eh, Commander Lu.”

Lu Yanchen gave a smile that barely touched his lips, throwing a look at Qin Mingyu.

Last night he had swiftly rushed back to Erenhot, and then when he saw that Gui Xiao was fevering, he had been in no mood to eat. On top of that, there had been the “weary work” that comes with the pleasures of intimacy between a man and a woman. To say he was not tired now would be a lie. Just prior to driving out here, he had only bought a few cakes from the grocery store downstairs of the hotel and eaten a couple of bites, and that was out of worry that they would straight-up try to down booze into him and he would not be able to handle it on an empty stomach. He had not expected, though, that this gang of men had already talked over very early on what they were going to do.

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

“Say it.” Lu Yanchen did not waste words. “What have you all discussed?”

“5K and two hundred pull-ups. That’s not asking too much, right?”

Lu Yanchen nodded and gave a lift of his brows. “What’s the additional condition?”

“Load carriage.”

“How much?”

“Not much. Just your wife.”

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

With a nod of his head, Lu Yanchen pulled down the zipper of his padded winter jacket and began removing it. “You’re not afraid that this will set a bad example?”

“Not at all!” Next to him, the EOD squad leader sniggered merrily. “Our superiors have made the statement: Lu Yanchen isn’t part of our squadron anyway. Any face that’s lost can be counted as the police training brigade’s.”

“Not bad, hmm? Already I’ve fallen into the category of ‘departed and thus forgotten[1]’?” Throwing a sideways look at them, Lu Yanchen nonchalantly folded his padded winter jacket in two and tossed it onto the table.

Then, he began undoing the button at his shirt collar as well as the ones at his cuffs, trying to lessen what might restrict him.

Bringing her eyes onto the mess hall table, which was slightly old-looking but had been wiped until it shone and was without even the tiniest of stains, Gui Xiao put on an unperturbed front as she gazed at those scratches that had been left behind over the months upon months and years and upon years. However, in reality, she had already been frightened into a daze by this display of “force.” 5K? 5000 metres? How was he supposed to run that? The wind was whipping so hard outside, and the sky was soon going to be completely dark, too. And plus, she was wearing a skirt. How was he going to carry her as a load? Would he need to piggyback her? …

Her heart was already uneasy with worry, and she was utterly unsure of what to do.

But she knew that now was not the time to act demure or make any drama. All the people who were gathered here in this warm mess hall were giving Lu Yanchen a true, final farewell. Hereafter, miles of waters and mountains would separate them, and the large majority of these people would never again see him in this lifetime.

She surmised that this was also the reason Lu Yanchen had insisted on returning here with her.

Last time in that little restaurant, she had seen these people hastily bid farewell to their comrades-in-arms. It had been very sorrowful. This time, though, this “farewell” felt more like… the teasing games and jokes played on a newlywed couple before sending them into their nuptial chambers…

<>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.

Amidst the animated and excited buzz, she heard Lu Yanchen say to her in a low voice, “Work with me.”

She of course understood what he meant, and so she did not let herself be bashful over anything anymore. After a moment’s consideration, she also removed her own thick winter coat, folded it in half, and laid it on top of Lu Yanchen’s.

This was her way of using action to express her position on this.

Luckily, she was wearing a cashmere skirt that went past the knees. It was very stretchy and its length was appropriate, so she would not end up flashing anyone.

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

Before Gui Xiao did this one action, everyone still had not completely let loose.

They were all mainly scared that they would somehow offend Lu Yanchen’s wife-to-be. Last time, Gui Xiao had only just pushed open the door and left before Lu Yanchen was chasing out after her. That was something witnessed by many of the people present here today.

In addition, over this last little while, Qin Mingyu had told them, with his own added embellishments, quite a bit about the things between Lu Yanchen and Gui Xiao, asserting with certainty that the reason Lu Yanchen was giving up his opportunity to go to the police training brigade was so that he could return to Beijing and woo back Gui Xiao, his first love. In the course of all this, everyone very early on had already come to grasp the important position that Gui Xiao, this sister-in-law, held.

No matter how strong and iron-willed a man Lu Yanchen was, he had still fallen at the feet of this beauty…

Therefore, they were prepared in advance with two plans of attack: If Sister-In-Law was easygoing, they would play around and put the couple through some “suffering.” If Sister-In-Law was thin-skinned, they would immediately abort the plan while they were still ahead.

<>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.

It turned out that Gui Xiao, this sister-in-law of theirs, was totally giving them face. Everyone completely let loose now, and chortling, they surrounded the two and headed out to the drill grounds.

It was dusk, when the sky was on the verge of darkness but the curtain of night had not completely fallen.

On the running track, Lu Yanchen stretched and warmed up a little. Then, shifting his legs apart and placing himself in an absolutely suave Horse Stance[2] posture, he signaled to Gui Xiao with his eyes.

With everyone’s gaze on them, Gui Xiao, who all along had been maintaining a manner of “I’m Lu Yanchen’s wife; I’m not afraid,” did not even have the chance to show any sort of shyness in her expression before Lu Yanchen had already put her on his back.

“Lie there a bit more comfortably.” Lu Yanchen adjusted the position slightly. “No matter how we go at it, 5K will take half an hour.”

Burying her face into his shoulder, Gui Xiao quietly answered him in the affirmative.

There were still people training out on the drill grounds. The Spring Festival had only just passed, so there were two or three military wives on site, and hearing the bursts of rowdy teasing and cheering, they also ran over in curiosity.

Everyone in the entire brigade had been drawn over. The drill grounds cleared out, leaving only a tall, slender man wearing a button-up shirt in the middle of winter, running at full speed while carrying a woman on his back.

One of the military wives, trying to get the gossip, asked her own husband, “Who’s that?”

Her husband answered, “The former commander of the counter-terrorism squadron. He brought his wife back to see all his brothers but ended up being ‘taken care of’ by those he once ‘took care of.’ ”

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

The mood of the spectating crowd gathered on the outside of the drill grounds was exuberant, but it was not so relaxed for the two who were actually on the grounds.

By Gui Xiao’s ear was his heavy, strength-filled breathing.

“How much do you weigh now?” Lu Yanchen’s footsteps had not slowed, yet he still had strength to speak.

“Not even ninety jin [45 kg].”

“That light?” His voice was throaty and his breathing shallow, but still he chuckled. “Eat more in the future.”

The wind scattered her answer. Lu Yanchen vaguely made out that she was saying, “If your cooking is tasty, I’ll eat more.”

The entire time, his speed did not decrease. He lost track of how many laps he had made.

Completing a 5K-run with load carriage within twenty minutes was a basic requirement in their squadron.

Except that normally, the load carriage was twenty kilograms, whereas Gui Xiao was nearly forty-five kilograms, ten kilograms heavier than even a bomb suit. After going nearly two days and two nights without food and completing a mission in which his mental state had been held in a high degree of tension, as well as carrying out an “activity” that very much consumed strength and energy, Lu Yanchen felt that it would actually be quite challenging for him to achieve even the minimum acceptable performance.

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

Sweat began soaking towards her through his button-up shirt. Her chin against his shoulder, Gui Xiao did not dare even to breathe too heavily. Her mind was wholly occupied with contemplating how to help him reduce some weight. His palms were scorching and slick with perspiration, and as they rubbed against her legs, all of these sensations penetrated through her stockings.

A woman’s warmth was on his back. The heat of her breath was against the back of his ear. Her soft bosom was pressed tightly against him.

Lu Yanchen spoke no more. With a burst of power, he quickened his pace.

The five kilometres were completed. When Gui Xiao came down off his back, he took her hand in his. The sweat that coated his entire palm all rubbed onto her hand. Gui Xiao was about to pull her hand back, but he had already released it first and, as if nothing was out of the ordinary, turned his eyes to those people who were coming towards them.

Improper thoughts would be set aside for now. There was still some proper business that needed to be taken care of.

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

There were no real issues with having Gui Xiao on his back to run laps, but that angle when doing pull-ups was simply too unseemly. It was not as if Gui Xiao was a water barrel and did not need to be concerned about unintentionally flashing people… As these thoughts crossed his mind, he did not outright say anything. Wordlessly he asked for a cigarette from Qin Mingyu, and then, in passing, allowed his gaze to cut over all the people who had come over and were looking on from the side of the running track.

Everybody could sense a chill, and there was a heavy, menacing feeling…

If this were the past, it would mean that calamity was about to fall on the entire group.

The EOD squad leader’s heart dropped with a thunk, and straightaway, he found a way for them to back out of the situation, saying, “Look, Sister-In-Law is wearing a skirt today. That’s a bit inconvenient for her. How about…” He looked towards the group, suggesting, “… no need for load carriage?”

“I support that!” Not at all indecisive about this, Gao Hai immediately defected from the camp. “That was honestly not easy for Sister-In-Law! It’s the middle of winter but here she’s even taken off her thick winter coat.”

“Hey, hey! What are you two talking about? So are you saying it’s just you two who are being considerate to Sister-In-Law and the rest of us don’t want to take care of her?” Qin Mingyu fished out a lighter from his pants pocket, brought it up close to Lu Yanchen, and lit his cigarette for him. Then twisting his head towards Gui Xiao, he grinned at her. “Sister-In-Law, please don’t be offended. None of us have any intention of trying to make things hard for you. Absolutely none! We just want to see how Commander Lu acts lovey with a woman. It’s just something we’ve never seen before, eh?”

Now that the three leaders had taken a softer line, the rest of the group all wilted.

With no one to back them up, who dared to break ground right in front of the earth god? Or pull teeth from a tiger’s mouth? Or act impudently in front of Lu Yanchen?!

And hence, everyone rushed to chime in in agreement. “Oh, Sister-In-Law, it really wasn’t easy for you. It wouldn’t be good if during your first visit here you’re already scared off. And plus, Commander Lu should be basking in his new ‘conjugal bliss.’ It really would not be appropriate to have him use up his energy on this type of thing…”

Because the combined fawning effort of the group was simply too cute, Gui Xiao could not contain herself and broke out in amused laughter.

From the corner of his eye, Lu Yanchen took in her smiling countenance, still thinking about those little details of that five-kilometre run. He took his cigarette butt, stubbed it out on the stone by his foot, and handed that half a cigarette butt to Qin Mingyu. Then without a word, he leapt up easily and closed his hands around the pull-up bar.

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✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻

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

It was a weekend, they had just accomplished a great deed of merit, and, on top of that, they had exacted their great retribution.

This night, everyone drank a little more. Gui Xiao was concerned that she would need to drive the vehicle back during the night and hence did not consume even a drop of alcohol. The result, however, was that Lu Yanchen drank straight until past two in the morning. He, half-drunken, and Gui Xiao were brought to the squadron’s guest reception room.

The door was opened. Inside, the air was chilly.

Before long, Qin Mingyu brought some hot water over. Gui Xiao dipped a towel into the water, wrung it out, and handed it to Lu Yanchen. Lu Yanchen had drunk quite a bit, but during joyous occasions, it is more difficult for alcohol to bring on drunkenness, and he was still rather clear-headed.

Taking that hot towel, he wiped his face and then actually began to assess this guest reception room, which consisted of one bedroom and a separate sitting area.

He had stepped in here in the past but had not really examined it in detail.

The majority of those in the armed forces are bachelors. Even for the ones who do have a spouse, each year there are only thirty to forty days of family-visit leave for each husband-and-wife couple. When military spouses came here, they would stay in the far-away family quarters, so naturally they would not cross paths or have anything to do with people like Lu Yanchen.

At most, these last few years, because he was the squadron commander, he, as one of the “leadership,” had as a formality needed to hand out red envelopes[3] and give his greetings to all the military wives and wives-to-be every Spring Festival, National Day, or other similar holidays. Occasionally, some spouses of military officers would be here for only a short period and did not want to go to the family quarters, so they would stay in the guest reception room, which was right by the barracks and was convenient.

In the past, he had never thought this type of place would have anything to do with him.

Who would have thought that it was when he had already left that he would end up being eligible to stay in here for a night?

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

Seeing that his head had cleared slightly and he was smoking another cigarette, Gui Xiao was not worried that he was drunk. Rather, she began worrying for herself…

Removing her makeup, washing her face, brushing her teeth. Also, every morning she needed to have a shower or else her hair after sleep was not even presentable…

And the most important thing at this moment was—

In a small voice, she asked, “How do you get to the ladies’ washroom?”

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

Sitting astride a chair, his hand still pinching the half a cigarette that he had not finished smoking, Lu Yanchen frowned. How could there possibly be a ladies’ washroom here?

He suddenly remembered the embarrassing story that people had narrated to him that time when the wife of Squadron Two’s commander had come here: In the summer, everyone would bathe in the little room of the bathroom. That particular military wife had brought a chair in there to lay her undergarments on it to dry. However, after washing them, she had forgotten to bring them back out. As a result, those undergarments had lain in that little room for an entire night, and many lower-ranked soldiers and bros had come and gone through there and seen them. It was only after someone had tipped her off about it the next day that she had finally removed them. Poor Squadron Two’s commander had hid out in the family quarters for the whole weekend, too embarrassed to show his face…

There were many other similar stories.

For example, someone’s wife suddenly needed to buy sanitary napkins, and so late at night, that person had to drive several dozen kilometres all the way to Erenhot in search of some…

And also… just like the current situation, the woman needed to use the bathroom and the man needed to plant himself at the door to stand watch—no exceptions, ever.

Lu Yanchen used several seconds to digest this inevitable result. Then, biting down on the cigarette, he grabbed her thick winter coat and placed it over her shoulders. “There’s only a men’s washroom.”

As the weight came draping onto her shoulders, Gui Xiao was thunderstruck. “Then what are we going to do?”

“I’ll stand watch for you.” Lu Yanchen was gazing at her with an amused expression of “What else? That’s all we can do.”

Gui Xiao was a little embarrassed.

Thus, acting like she was a thief, she followed him to the outside of the bathroom. Lu Yanchen slipped inside and made a circuit of the bathroom before coming back out and signaling with his eyes for her to go in. Oh God. This was the first time in her entire life that she had gone into a real-deal men’s washroom and not just looked at one filmed in a movie… After actually stepping inside, she had only just caught sight of those urinals used by men and then someone outside was already barking out a greeting of “Commander Lu!”

Her heart clenched.

Oh no. If she went out now, it would be so awkward. But if she didn’t go out… was she just going to wait here for the person to come in?

<>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.

Outside, Lu Yanchen’s voice was low as he questioned, “What are you doing here?”

“Going… going to use the loo.”

Lu Yanchen coolly responded, “Go back to the barracks and do two hundred push-ups.”

“Yes, sir!” That person still had not sobered up yet and had utterly forgotten that Lu Yanchen was already the former squadron commander. He was behaving as if things were still the same as all those other days and nights in the past. Pulling himself into a salute, he headed straight off, without the slightest hesitation, to carry out the orders he had been given…

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

[1] 人走茶凉 “ren zou cha liang.” Literally “once a person has left, the tea cools,” which means that person immediately falls out of favour. This is meant to describe how superficial relationships can be.

[2] 马步 “ma bu.” The Mabu or Horse Stance is a fundamental stance of martial arts where you spread your feet so that they are wider apart than your shoulders, then lower yourself down until your thighs are parallel to the ground (although different locations and schools may vary exactly on how this is done).

[3] 红包 “hong bao.” A “red envelope” or “red packet” is a cash gift put in a red envelope.

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
25 of 43 Chapters
0 of 1 Epilogues

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14 thoughts on “The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 25

  1. Thank you hoju and happy valentines to you too !!

  2. Thank you for the update. Happy Valentine’s Day to you too!

  3. Thanks Hoju
    Lovely couple💖
    Ex Commander Lu still impressive😅

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

  5. The picture is from Prince of Tennis ennis: More Sweet Edition right?

  6. haha the requirement to use the bathroom while GX is in there is to do 200 push-ups
    thank you

    • The poor guy. He just wanted to use the bathroom, but because Commander Lu’s wife was there, he had to do 200 push-ups instead. LOL
      Thanks for reading!

  7. Thank you for a delightful chapter. i was smiling the whole time while reading it.

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