Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 26

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The bond between a man and a woman, the bond between comrades, and now, the bond between man and animal. All of them are special in their own way.

Chapter 26 — A Dream for Every Inch of Our Motherland (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.

 

When Gui Xiao came back out, she still felt quite bad, and she chided Lu Yanchen, “The guy just wanted to go to the bathroom, but you went and made him do push-ups instead. That’s so inhumane…” Along the way back, she kept harping on Lu Yanchen to tell that person not to do them.

Lu Yanchen did not answer her. Sliding his right hand in underneath her hair, he took her slender, smooth neck into his hand and led her back to the guest reception room. Gui Xiao had taken only two steps when she became aware that something was not quite right. Everyone else would put an arm around the shoulders. Why was his posture more like he was carrying a little chick by the neck? …

Forget it. He was someone who had had too many drinks. She would let it slide.

<>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 they were back in the room, the effects of the alcohol were going to his head, and leaning back into the headboard, he waited for himself to sober up.

Gui Xiao presumed that he wanted to sleep, so she did not turn on the lights. Using that basin of water, which was still warm, she melted away her mascara a little at a time. After rinsing off her face, she then half wrung out the towel and wiped down her face and neck and also arms. Making do in this way, she got onto the bed and went to sleep.

When she had slumbered to nearly five o’clock, which was also the time when Gui Xiao was most sleepy, she could feel Lu Yanchen’s warm palm on her chest, kneading it. She could not be bothered even to speak, and squirming, she turned over. But that turned out to be exactly what he wanted. Her skirt was pulled up. The position was perfect. It would seem that he planned to get directly down to business.

Gui Xiao was not sure herself whether she was dreaming or this was real.

Her senses felt disjointed. In that moment when she felt that sensation rising up, a couple of light moans of “mm” escaped from her.

Lu Yanchen turned her face towards himself and began kissing her. Suddenly, knocking resounded on the door… A jolt shot through Gui Xiao, and she started back to awareness. Lu Yanchen halted all his movements as well. Like there was an unspoken understanding between them, the two fell silent together, pretending they were still asleep. Then they heard a person outside call, “Commander Lu? Commander Lu? Didn’t you say you want to see the dogs? They’re doing training right now.”

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

There was no response.

Likely, that person had caught on that he should not be disturbing the people inside, or perhaps was very innocently and chastely thinking that the two were simply sleeping under the covers. Either way, the footfall gradually moved further away.

Lu Yanchen carried on once more, his breathing heavy as he increased his force…

Thud, thud, thud. Another person ran up to their room and let loose his throat, shouting, “Reporting, sir!”

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

Lu Yanchen could not hold back a curse. He reckoned that they all remembered the words he had tossed out after drinking too much last night, and if they did not see him show up to go check on the dogs, the entire squadron undoubtedly would, one person at a time, come here to call him. There was no chance for him to do anything else that he might want to do.

Against the background noise of door-knocking, he pulled himself out, yanked up the zipper of his pants, and, with his upper body still unclothed, got off the bed. “All right, already. I know.”

Lu Yanchen rummaged through the drawers, searching everywhere for some chewing gum. He really did find some. In fact, he not only found gum; someone’s spouse had stayed here previously and had even left behind half a box of Durex…

Earlier, right when he awoke, he saw her sleeping by his side.

He had thought, supposing that back then the two of them had not broken up, then after she graduated from university, she likely would have come here every year and stayed for a month, either in this place or in the family quarters. When she went to use the bathroom, she would be secretive about it and try to cover it up. Taking a shower would be inconvenient as well, needing to elude everyone. And even any clothes of hers that she washed would need to be hung to dry inside the room. There unavoidably would be quite a bit of complaints from her, but at night, under the covers, after a little bit of “play” and “exercise,” any anger would be mollified.

Man lives only those dozens of years. In the rush and busyness, so much time is wasted—truly not worth it.

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

His kneading had left many creases in Gui Xiao’s clothing, and as she sat up, she kept tugging downward at her skirt.

After hastily tucking her hair behind her ears, she propped her hand against the head of the bed to support herself and put her boots on. She was not steady on her feet, however, and so Lu Yanchen took her hips in his hands and pulled her against his chest. He spit out the gum that he had not chewed for all that long, pinching it in a tissue and tossing it into the wastebasket. Bringing his head down, he seized her lips into his mouth, sucking on them. The energy and vigour that he had not finished expending earlier was now rolled into this one action, and his breath was hot and scalding.

Before long, though, he felt that this was not satisfying enough, and pulling her collar down an inch, he caressed her skin with his rough palm. A chilly wind slipped in around the edges of the window, which was not shut tightly. But they did not feel any cold, and in fact, as the draft blew against them, it fanned a restless, unbearable heat in them.

“Don’t fool around anymore.” Gui Xiao burst out in giggles from his toying. “Someone is going to come call you again in a bit.”

Were they really not going to go out even after being called several times? That would be getting too preposterous…

Bathed in the pale morning light, he wore a smile that was not all that proper and virtuous.

Never had Gui Xiao tried to hide the fact that she honestly liked his face. His eyes, his facial features—not a single part had any sort of flaw. Back in the beginning, when she stood beneath the poplar tree by the dirt sports field and watched him walk towards her, she had already lost her heart, having completely given it to him.

He honestly had had that lethal type of handsomeness. And now, even more so.

Since seeing him two years ago at the gas station, a bottle of mineral water raised in his hand and his head tilted back as he downed swallow after swallow, his every motion and expression in his eyes had once more tugged her heart to him. There was also that time later, in the heavy snowfall of Erenhot, when the vehicle headlights had pierced through the goose-down-like snow and dark of night, shining upon her, and he had leaned against the edge of the car window, more than half his face concealed in the shadow cast beneath the brim of his hat. And also, outside the restaurant, when more than ten shadowy figures had rushed at them, this man had shoved her away…

Even if there had not been those things from their adolescent years, even if he were only a stranger, even if they met even later, she would still, without a doubt, fall in love with this man.

<>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.

When the two arrived at the drill grounds, that bunch of men had already exchanged words amongst themselves, and those two people who had knocked on the door were now, no matter what, unwilling to get close to Lu Yanchen and had run far off to avoid him, terrified that they would be taught a lesson. Dozens of military dogs were released. As if they wanted to chase down an escaped criminal, in the glow of daybreak they charged madly towards them, giving Gui Xiao such a fright that she took half a step backwards.

Qing Mingyu was, after all,  someone who had once had a wife and so understood the mental workings here. Hence, stepping forward, he snapped out a rebuke and then spent a great deal of effort distracting the dogs away from there.

“Scared?” Lu Yanchen asked her.

“Not bad.” Gui Xiao shook her head. “Just that suddenly seeing so many big dogs all at once made me a little nervous.”

Even normally when someone in her community compound was walking a husky, she would unconsciously shirk away, much less now, when there were so many military dogs. Fortunately, though, she had had a Pekingese for quite a long time and therefore instinctively had favourable feelings towards that creature known as the dog…

The corners of Lu Yanchen’s lips lifted. The most adorable thing about Gui Xiao was her refusal to admit weaknesses or defeat.

Pressing his fingers between his lips, he gave a piercing whistle.

The instant this sound resonated out, all of Qin Mingyu’s efforts became in vain. Those dogs all excitedly raced over, and no one was able to stop them. Black shadow after black shadow bounded over, making circles around Gui Xiao and Lu Yanchen, and dozens of tails wagged furiously in front of their eyes as those dogs flocked around them.

One of them abruptly leapt up—

“Aaaah—” Right as this cry slipped from Gui Xiao’s lips, Lu Yanchen clasped that military dog into his arms.

While Gui Xiao’s heart was still leaping ferociously—thud, thud, thud—that dog had already stretched out its tongue and was blowing out hot air with its loud pants. In Lu Yanchen’s embrace, it fawningly wagged its tail at Gui Xiao.

“This is your dog?” Gui Xiao tried as best as she could to treat that black-faced military dog as if it were a Pekingese, petting its head. Its wet, red tongue licked over her entire palm and felt terribly tickly.

With a smile, Lu Yanchen told her, “Our old squadron commander’s. The one I raised died.” Because the bomb could not be disarmed in time, the dog had picked it straight up into its mouth, had torn away from the crowds of people, and was killed in the explosion.

The dog in his arms now had lost its owner; he had lost his dog. And so, they had come together to make a pair.

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

Letting loose the dog, Lu Yanchen, running, led that group of canines onto the drill grounds.

The touch of the early morning fog formed frost and froze the ends of Gui Xiao’s eyebrows. Hurriedly she followed him onto the grounds.

The person presently before her eyes was different from what he was normally like. In the past, she had often liked to use “deviant- and ostentatious-looking” to describe him. But it was only now, in this moment, that she truly saw firsthand what Lu Chen at the deepest level—the man within his very bones—was like.

The instant he, alone and leading dozens of military dogs, stepped onto the drill grounds, he was like a wolf who stalked the wilderness, an eagle who soared the skies.

In this last time leading these dogs, he crawled beneath a low-lying chain net, scaled a two-metre-high plank wall as well as a high climbing net, and then, after dropping down rapidly from on high, rushed up a ramp to swing on a rope to the opposite ramp. All the while, those dogs kept pace right behind him.

Into a muddy water pit from which the ice had only just been removed he leapt without so much as blinking an eye. For a moment, water splashed everywhere, and then when he emerged again, his entire body was covered in mud water.

Qin Mingyu, crouching beside the muddy water pit, sniggered aloud and lit the fire obstacles. A dozen or so water pits and fire obstacles alternated, extending out one after the other in a chain. The flames that had abruptly ignited danced one metre high. Their waves of heat were carried on the wind and brushed over Gui Xiao’s face, scorching her such that she could not even open her eyes and her heart also suddenly jumped into her throat.

People around her began heckling, “Qin Mingyu, you’re not scared that Commander Lu is going to come give you a thrashing?”

“Don’t make me laugh.” Qin Mingyu was “rubbing salt in Lu Yanchen’s wound” as he grinned smugly. “When he had nothing to do, he’d pick this for all of us to do. With Sister-In-Law here today, shouldn’t we do everything we can to get our revenge?”

The group guffawed loudly, and everyone squatted down near the side of the pit, watching the excitement. Gao Hai even lifted his wrist and began keeping time.

“Sister-In-Law, don’t let your heart ache for him. This is easy stuff, like an appy before the main course,” the EOD squad leader said with a wide grin.

Judging from Gui Xiao’s current complexion, if she witnessed those various types of infiltration training—mountain terrain, wilderness terrain, airborne, and night—she likely would not be able to sleep at night.

<>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.

Lu Yanchen, on the other hand, was quite enjoying this. Without the slightest hesitation, he came out of the water pit, threw himself straight into a flip over a fire obstacle, and bowled down into the next water pit with a splosh. The flames licked up more than one metre high, while the pits of water were more than two metres deep. Working his way through like this, before long, he soon sprung out of the last water pit with a flip. He lifted his right hand, wiped away the mud water on his face and, massaging his earlobe that had been licked by tongues of fire, commanded, “Bring some salve over.”

After answering him in the affirmative, Gao Hai, who was gleefully delighting in Lu Yanchen’s misfortune, dashed away. In the past, this group of people had been made to go through their morning drills every day, so now their revenge was finally considered attained.

Lu Yanchen walked back the way they came, and Gui Xiao went with him, following the trail of water patches that he left behind.

Those military dogs, their tails hanging behind them, also chased after him. In particular, that one dog that had been expressing affection and acting cute to him the entire time did not want even to be half a step away from him and still shadowed him even as they walked by the mess hall. Lu Yanchen had no choice but to bend over and rub the dog a couple of times on the head with his palm. “Go now.”

That military dog, covered in muddy water, let out a few whimpers, not moving.

Giving a slight smile, Lu Yanchen kicked him lightly. “You don’t find yourself embarrassing right now?”

The dog gave another howl before finally shaking out the muddy water that coated his whole body. Then, taking off like it was flying, it caught up with its pack of companions.

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

After arriving at the guest reception room, he first went and rinsed himself off before coming back to the room.

The young soldier on day duty brought breakfast to them.

Qin Mingyu and the EOD squad leader shamelessly insisted on coming over to mooch a meal, and while they were at it, they also brought two bottles of booze.

This could be considered his true farewell feast.

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

At not even eight o’clock in the morning, those two grown men began to eat and drink, consuming the traditional Chinese wine baijiu with mantou[1][plain, steamed bun] and salted vegetables. Lu Yanchen needed to drive, so he could not drink and merely kept them company. Sitting beside him, Gui Xiao took bite after small bite from the meat-filled baozi[2] [steamed bun with filling] that she held and ate a couple of mouthfuls of her plain rice porridge. Lu Yanchen’s short hair was still half-damp, so Gui Xiao, worried that he might catch a cold, again picked up the towel, which was draped over the chairback, and helped him rub his hair with it.

This little action moved the EOD squad leader to tears as he watched them. After spending a long time in the armed forces, even an old sow pig will look like it has double eyelids. Hence, to now suddenly see a gorgeous woman so lovingly and tenderly helping Lu Yanchen rub his hair dry was simply too provoking and wounding…

Lu Yanchen, on the other hand, amusingly slid a glance at Gui Xiao.

If there were no outsiders around, he had always been the one to wait on her. Never had there been a time when Gui Xiao behaved so much like a dutiful, virtuous wife. Was the sun rising from the wrong direction today? … Seeing the teasing in eyes, Gui Xiao plopped the towel on top of his knees—she wasn’t going to bother with him anymore. She’d continue having her rice porridge.

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

Halfway into their meal, two people arrived. The three men instantly rose and greeted, “Commander Chen.”

The leader of the two, a man in his forties, had eyes that were sharp and stern, but when he saw Lu Yanchen, he immediately smiled, saying, “I rushed back to have this chance to see you. It wasn’t easy for me.” He then turned his gaze onto Gui Xiao. There was a slight pause in his words. “This is your wife?”

Lu Yanchen nodded. “Her name is Gui Xiao.”

Gui Xiao shook hands with the man. After giving a couple words of polite greeting, that other party brought his hands behind his back and appraised her. “My memory should not be too bad. This wife-to-be of yours, have I seen her somewhere before?”

Seen me before? Gui Xiao looked towards Lu Yanchen. She had no recollection of this.

For a moment, this sitting area fell into an inexplicable silence. At last, Lu Yanchen admitted, “Yes, you’ve seen her before.”

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

That was something from quite a long time ago. He had not expected that this brigade commander would still remember it.

Sometimes it could be said that they and those like them really did have good memories. If something was just slightly “off,” even if it had occurred more than ten, twenty years ago, it would still be imprinted deeply in their minds, and many years later, when they called it up from their memory, they could even identify a person from just the smallest vestiges and clues.

For example, Lu Yanchen could still remember that instance after his first time capturing an individual who had received special training outside the country, when he had happened to unexpectedly see notes on that particular case in some information that he was looking at. At that instant, he had even been able to recall the words the person had said when making his confession.

But sometimes, their memories were very poor. Many of them had rescued regular townsfolk before, but after being recognized by one of those people, when they tried to recall who that person was, they would have no recollection. For example, during the period of the Wenchuan earthquake[3], tens of thousands of people had been brought into the earthquake-affected areas to assist with emergency response and rescue, but they would only notice the military uniforms that garbed each person; who would remember anyone’s face?

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

[1] 馒头 “mantou.” One of the traditional staples of ethnic Han Chinese food. A yeast-based type of bun that is steamed and contains no filling.

Mantou (image credit)

[2] 包子 “baozi.” Baozi are similar to mantou in that they are steamed buns, but the difference is that baozi contain a filling.

[3] Also known as the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which took place on May 12, 2008.

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
26 of 43 Chapters
0 of 1 Epilogues

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10 thoughts on “The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 26

  1. Wow… their interaction is superb!

    Thanks Hoju and her team, you guys have been amazing 😘

    • They are sweet, yet in a mature way, too.

      Haha, Hoju1, Hoju2, Hoju3… etc all say thanks for reading!
      I do my projects alone (Proud was an exception, since Peanuts and I needed to tag team through so we didn’t have an unfinished translation in our site). So thank you, everyone, for your patience. You guys never hurry me. 🙂

  2. Love this story. Thank you for all your hard work!

  3. Thank you for all your hard work hoju + team!!

    Lu Chen rapport with his brotherhood and especially the dogs are so heartwarming. Lucky GX to have a loyal hubby too!

    • Thanks for reading! The novels I translate are all my personal projects, so I keep them personal. Just a one-man team. 🙂

      I know most people are wanting the romance, but understanding who Lu Chen is at the core helps us understand why Gui Xiao has never let go of her love for him. This is that same boy who “did not complain or grumble,” whose “goals were clear and defined,” who “treated everyone with kindness, consideration, and understanding,” and whose “attitude towards his own life was t that, no matter how hard he fell, he would be able to climb back up to his feet and continue walking straight and erect.” He is simply in grown-up form now, but those qualities have not changed, and we can see how they are manifested in his brotherhood with his comrades, his passion for helping others, etc. It is heartwarming. ❤ And it is beautiful that such a man's heart has only her.

  4. That was a great morning drill with military dogs. Curious now about Commander’s recollection.

    Thank you for the chapter, Hoju 🙂.

    • “What did do for fun this morning?” “Oh, I just took my dogs out for a run… through fire rings and deep muddy pits.”
      Thanks for reading!

  5. finally given the chance for GX to be the virtuous wife
    thank you

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