Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 28

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I have taken my computer in for some hardware repairs. I’ve prepared this post and the next one in advance, so I believe there should be no interruptions to my posting. If I learn otherwise and am unable to post, I will let you guys know.

It’s the beginning of a new life together for Gui Xiao and Lu Chen. This is especially so for Lu Chen, who needs to find his place in this big city of Beijing after being on the borders for more than decade.

BOOK II

Chapter 28 — So Shines the Hearts of the Pure and Loyal (1)

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.

 

As Lu Yanchen’s identity was special, approval was not granted for his request to exit the border.

On the other end, Qin Xiaonan’s mother had finally relented and agreed to take the train to bring the needed items to Erenhot, but then she still ended up backing out and standing them up. No matter how Gui Xiao persuaded her over the phone, it was no use, and it felt more like Gui Xiao was Qin Xiaonan’s mother. This whole matter left her and Lu Yanchen very irked.

Fortunately, in the end, the brigade commander put on his airs of authority and got an authorization for “special circumstances warranting special measures,” setting up for Qin Xiaonan a new hukou registered to the military barracks. The “head of the household” listed in the hukou booklet was Qin Xiaonan himself. When the maroon-coloured hukou booklet was opened, only a single name, the name of the child, was seen written inside.

Floating there alone, like duckweed being battered by the wind.

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

Prior to driving into Beijing, Gui Xiao made a phone call to Meng Xiaoshan.

Qin Xiaonan was asleep, so Gui Xiao and Lu Yanchen did not plan to pick him up and bring him back with them. The two arbitrarily ate something and then headed straight to Gui Xiao’s home.

Lu Yanchen had some matters to attend to over the next two days, so he arranged with Meng Xiaoshan that they would go pick up Qin Xiaonan in a couple of days. While they were at it, they would get things in order to bring the child here to Gui Xiao’s place so he could attend school. As for himself… He very calmly informed Gui Xiao, marriage was a must because, from the very beginning, the two of them had not used any contraceptive measures. Naturally, then, the sooner the better.

First and foremost, though, they needed to resolve the issues of their two families.

But tonight, they would first go home.

<>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.

This was Lu Yanchen’s first time in her home.

Gui Xiao’s place was a small, loft-style home. The lower level consisted of the living room, a large study, a guest room, a bathroom, and the kitchen. On the upper level were two rooms, one of which was a bedroom with an attached bathroom and the other formerly a small study but had since become Qin Xiaonan’s bedroom after he came here.

The home itself did not have a large layout, but its advantage was its good location. Previously, when Gui Xiao’s little boss came here and saw it, she had insistently offered to buy it from Gui Xiao at a price higher than the market value, but Gui Xiao would not agree to it no matter what. This was the house she was going to live in after retirement and into old age. She had even thought through how she would renovate it when she was old and her legs were not strong and she was moving about with difficulty …

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

“Go sit down on the couch for a bit. I’ll get you some water.”

Gui Xiao went to open the main water valve. When she came back, he was already nowhere to be seen.

The several travel duffels in the living room were all open, and inside the bathroom there was the noise of running water. She followed the sound.

Lu Yanchen had somehow managed to find the washbasin that she normally used for washing clothes, and he had added some liquid laundry detergent into it and turned on the faucet. Water from the tap flowed along his palm and gushed to the base of the washbasin. From the basin’s bottom, clouds of suds swelled upwards. Clothing was piled by his feet. Without even turning his head to look at her, he said, “Sort through them a bit. How are you supposed to wash them?” So, Gui Xiao lightly raked through the pile and tossed into the corner the garments that required dry cleaning, then looked through the remaining clothes.

“Jeans and clothes that aren’t delicate can just be washed in the machine… And those, um, I’ll wash myself.”

She was referring to the bra and panties that had been unfitting to wash when they were at his military unit…

Lu Yanchen nodded his head, asking, “You know how to wash them?”

… What a useless question. Of course she knew how. She’d known since she was really young, all right? She replied, “Mm-hmm.”

Lu Yanchen did not say anything as he put those undergarments in the water to soak. “Come here and teach me how to use the washing machine.”

With an “okay,” Gui Xiao began explaining roughly how it was to be operated. In reality, she only knew how to use its simplest functions. For some of the complex ones that she did not know how to use and were not much use, she only vaguely brushed over them.

“Where’s the instruction manual?”

“… I’ll look for it tomorrow.”

Lu Yanchen fixed his eyes on her for a while, smiling rather resignedly.

Over the years, he had developed the habit of needing to thoroughly understand anything that he started using and then using it until it was broken. He basically wanted to have the ability to assemble it back together again if it were disassembled into little pieces, and only when he was able to do that would he feel comfortable about it. However, he also did not expect that she would be able to find the instruction manual, and hence planned to have a look at the model number since the instruction manual could probably be found on the Internet anyway.

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

And so, Lu Yanchen spent the first two hours of his first night at Gui Xiao’s home doing… chores.

He started with doing the laundry, then moved to wiping down the furniture in each room, mopping the floors, washing all the items in the kitchen…

Whatever he did, Gui Xiao would simply trail his every step, watching him, keeping him company by chatting with him, and, when she could not hold herself back, saying, “Just let it be. Next week the cleaning lady will be here and she’ll clean.” As if he had not heard her, Lu Yanchen boiled some water and soaked all the towel-like items in it.

Completely unafraid of the heat, he reached his hand in, pulled the towels out of the scalding-hot water, and wrung them with his hands. He instructed, “Go hang them up.”

So, Gui Xiao went and one by one hung the towels back up again.

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

When she returned, she saw Lu Yanchen beside the kitchen stove, both his hands propped against the edge of the marble counter, boiling a pot of water.

Spilling down from above his head was the illumination of the light bulb while in front of him was the light of the flame.

The air carried an especially worldly, mundane feel.

Gui Xiao moved closer, peering at the water, which was about to boil.

It had been like this when they were young. Every time he did chores or was working on something, she would follow along beside him and just stare, every once in a while uttering a few words and feeling guilty for a bit before carrying on with gazing at him while he worked away. Regarding this, Hai Dong had even joked that Little Sis-In-Law was born to enjoy the good life. Lu Yanchen at that time, though, had not felt that there was anything wrong with this. As long as he was willing to spoil her, then that was fine. Every pot has its own lid[1]. It was fated to be.

But if it were anyone else, he would not be so willing.

The flame licked the bottom of the pot and warmed the back of her hand. She asked, “How is it that you’re so familiar with my home?”

The answer he gave was very cursory. “I just guessed.”

Seeing that her hand was too close to the fire and worried she might be burned, he pulled her hand over and, for fun, rubbed and squeezed it in his left palm. With his right hand, he absentmindedly held between his fingers the top edge of a drinking glass, spinning it slowly.

They were waiting for the water to boil.

Gui Xiao’s hand had reddened and grown hot from his kneading. The heat between them was rising continuously, like the fuse of an explosive that had been lit and was hissingly spraying sparks as it burned downwards, burning its way into the heart. The glow from the light above her head was obstructed. When Lu Yanchen’s kiss landed on her lips, her heart quivered like it was her first kiss. And when his tongue slid into her mouth, her body involuntarily grew weak and she leaned herself lightly against him.

When people engage in intimacy during times of fatigue, the feeling is similar to two trapped animals nestling and leaning upon one another. All she could sense was a comforting warmth, as if a part at the very bottom of her heart had been melted away and, furthermore, that part was still slowly expanding… But, he just had to kiss her and then walk away. “I’m going to go finish off the stuff first. I have something to say to you in a bit.”

She gave a light “oh.”

Lu Yanchen could perceive her disgruntled mood. Walking over, he turned on the range hood, lit a cigarette, and began smoking. The noise of the fan filled his ear, and the water had also begun to boil. He did not delay, tossing the bowls, dishes, and chopsticks into the cleaned pot.

Picking up the pot, he clamped the cigarette between his teeth and threw a sideways glance at her, his voice muffled as he instructed, “Go now. Don’t let it splash you.”

<>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.

Gui Xiao was finally kicked out from there. She went back into her room and changed into a light pair of pajamas, then brought a blanket back out and sat down on the couch, where she began looking at her computer. After a whole day of travelling by car, she was long unable to hold up, and her eyelids fought to close. Tired, she was not even able to wait for him to step out from the kitchen before she dozed off.

She did not know how long she had been sleeping when she felt that she was in someone’s embrace, the blanket still between them. The house was dark. He had turned off the lights.

He felt his way down to her feet, which she had left outside of the blanket, and touched them. They were cool. “Let’s go on the bed?”

Wrapping both her feet in his hands, he gently rubbed them. Those palms had been soaked in hot water for an entire night and were therefore exceptionally soft and warm, for once not feeling so rough. Her feet were small, whereas his fingers were long, so there was no problem completely enclosing her feet in them. Nevertheless, there were still gaps where drafts of air could slip in, so he simply enfolded her feet against his torso to continue warming them. Gui Xiao shifted her feet slightly, which ended up kicking that lower part of his body—

And then she abruptly pulled away, her mind recovering some of its awareness. “… My neck is all sore after sleeping.” She had a bad neck and spine to begin with, and after sleeping hunched up like that, she could not even lift her head. She reminded him, “Didn’t you have something you wanted to say to me?”

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

Lu Yanchen’s eyes were fixed on her for a while.

“Right now, I have two options in terms of work. The first is to take the money and leave. Add on top of that what I’ve saved over these years, there will definitely be enough to cover all the debts. What’s left over will be enough to hold a wedding and also open up a car repair shop with no problems at all.” He spoke slowly, “The other road I can go down is to start working straightaway, but then I won’t get so much money. You’ll need to wait another two years for me to pay off the debts, and then we can hold a wedding.”

After saying this, he paused a moment before carrying on, “This job is very stable, but there is some danger in it. I’ll be teaching people how to disarm bombs, and there will be times, too, when I’ll have to provide on-site support,” he stated, his wording relatively careful as well as simple and brief, “if the need arises.”

The meaning behind this hypothetical situation was that, in extremely critical circumstances, it would be absolutely necessary for veterans like him with copious battle experience under their belts to step in and do the work.

<>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’s too much of a waste for you to do mechanic work.” Gui Xiao was rather seriously mulling over how she should express what she wanted say.

That day when they were eating in the mess hall of his military unit, everyone had been drinking and she had very prudently chosen to not disturb them. Rather, she had listened to Gao Hai recount to her many of the things that they would usually do. Their Commander Lu was well-versed in the three languages of English, Mongolian, and Russian, and the squadron he was in required them to be able to do battle for all three forces, navy, ground, and air. He also knew how to defuse and dispose of explosives, draw pictures, draw portraits… Such a man’s blood was flaming hot, and his heart was loyal to his mother country.

If you cooled his blood and took away his heart, he would not be himself anymore.

“If you told me to be in this line of work, I’m guessing I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’m not psychologically strong. Back during college entrance exams, I panicked right there on the spot. In the first exam, my mind went blank for half an hour before it recovered… But if you go and do it, I have no problems with it. Our breakup back in high school was different from this time. Back then, circumstances were special, and plus, I was young. The instant I thought about the fact that you might not be coming back for a few years, or even more than ten years, I just wasn’t able to bear it. Don’t resent me for that…”

“I’ve never resented you.”

Never.

There was pain, but never resentment.

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

After hugging and nuzzling him for another little while, Gui Xiao discovered that sleeping on the couch was actually pretty nice. Lu Yanchen brought over a cup of tea and fed her a sip from it. It was Pu’er tea that had been steeped not long ago. As she savoured the taste, she thought, Very nice. He’s not in counter-terrorism; he’s a detective. He’s even completely figured out where all those tins of tea are and what sorts of teas are in them. She asked him, “Why did you suddenly think of steeping some tea?”

“Thirsty.”

Actually, it was because he saw that since arriving home, she had only gotten something to drink from the refrigerator and had not drunk any warm water yet, so he had specially steeped some tea for her.

“If you like Pu’er,” Gui Xiao said, feeling very cheerful after having had some warm water to moisten her throat, “I’ll go get a bit more good-quality stuff tomorrow.”

Lu Yanchen gave a little chuckle. Seeing that she was quite happy from getting tea fed to her and, in terms of all the proper business, they both understood one another’s standpoint, he did not delay any longer. Taking her chin between his fingers, he began to kiss her. The fragrance of Pu’er swirled in their mouths and over their lips and tongues. Actual practice brings true knowledge. He now could understand why every time a spouse or significant other went to the military unit, regardless of when the door of those people’s room was pushed open, you would always run into the scene of the couple being lovey and cozy on the bed…

He worked his way up her calf. His scalding hot breath was right at the edge of her ear. As he lifted open the blanket again, its fine fringe tickled Gui Xiao’s neck.

“I’m sleepy,” she protested.

His lips curving into a smile, Lu Yanchen moved his hands to his belt and then promptly undid it.

 

It was not until they were nearly about to get down to the real thing that he at last brought his cheek against hers and asked, “Don’t want to? If you really don’t want to, we’ll just sleep.”

Gui Xiao was in no state of mind to think about just how annoying he was. Her heart beating wildly, she muddledly answered, “I want to, I want to…”

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

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻

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

When she awoke again, she was wrapped in the comforter from her bed and lying on the couch. Last night, she had been toiled ruthlessly, and afterwards, no matter what, she had not let Lu Chen move her anymore. So, the two had tucked themselves into the couch and slept there for an entire night. Pushing herself up on her arms, she cast her gaze around. He was gone.

On the table were dumplings, jiaozi, that were already wrapped but still uncooked, and beside those was a note held down by something. Even vinegar and chili sauce had been nicely set out. Gui Xiao remembered that the chili sauce in her home had already been used up. Likely, he had just bought this one.

The words on the note were simple: Gone to report in for duty. Back in the evening. Lu Chen.

She was very familiar with Lu Yanchen’s handwriting of the past, but now as she looked at what was written on the paper, it was as if it had come from someone else’s hand. Most people who have ever served in the military will have practiced their penmanship, as many locations have the discipline of practicing character after character of hard-pen calligraphy[2]. She reckoned that this was yet another one of the changes that had occurred in him over this decade and more. Every aspect of his writing style had changed.

But the two words “Lu Chen” were really, truly signed right there.

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

[1] 一锅配一盖. “Every pot has its own lid” is similar in meaning to the saying, “Every Jack has his Jill,” i.e. every person will have his own love, the one person ideally suited to him.

[2] 硬笔字 “Hard-pen calligraphy” (also translated as “stiff” or “solid” pen) refers to the art of writing with a hard writing instrument such as a ballpoint pen, fountain pen, quill pen, etc. as opposed to a traditional writing brush.

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
28 of 43 Chapters
0 of 1 Epilogues

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12 thoughts on “The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 28

  1. Thank you for the update Hoju,

  2. Thanks Hoju..
    So can we expect their little junior soon?😆

  3. LYC had kept himself busy as soon as he stepped in GX’s home
    thank you

  4. Thank you hoju! Wow, eventhough they were parted ways for 10 yrs, Gui Xiao could really understand what Lu Chen wanted to do in his life …

    • I think she got to personally witness it when she went to his old squadron. She saw who he is in his very bones. 🙂
      Thanks for reading!

  5. Thank you for the chapter, Hoju 🙂.

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