Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 37

16 Comments

Be well, everyone!

Long chapter. Haha, Lu Chen at three in the morning! Sweetness first. But later we see some of the things that people in Lu Yanchen’s line of work encounter. Sadly, such things do occur.

Chapter 37 — Which Way does the Road Home Lead? (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.

 

He brought Gui Xiao to a small inn in town.

While he was helping her unpack her luggage, he discovered a few bottles of medicine. Like she was presenting treasures, she explained each one to him. She was anemic; this one supplemented the blood, and then there were also vitamins. There was still one more bottle, which she did not provide a specific explanation for and was nebulous about. After hesitating for a long time, she at last informed him, “Since getting pregnant, I developed hypothyroidism… so I have no choice and have to take this to supplement. I asked the doctor what complications there might be. She said there is a small probability that it will affect the baby’s intelligence and a certain probability that the baby will inherit hypothyroidism. The probability is really low, though. Don’t be scared. I’m taking medication.”

After saying all this, Gui Xiao was still worried. However, she had already thought through this very early on. Regardless of what the baby she gave birth to was like, the little one would nevertheless be her treasured darling.

As Lu Yanchen listened to her, he wanted to find a few words to comfort her, but yet he was also afraid that that would cause her to focus even more on this matter. Hence, he did not say anything. He sat down on the bedside chair and took out a knife from where it was kept by his waist, wanting to peel and cut some pineapple for her to eat. But on second thought, this knife had tasted human blood before and was not suitable for such a task, and so he put it away and headed downstairs. Borrowing a knife from the owner of the inn, he sliced up some pineapple until there was enough to fill a plate and then went back upstairs.

<>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.

The entire time while Gui Xiao ate he wished to do something for her, but there was nothing he could do. When he saw that she had stopped after eating a few pieces, he soaked a towel in water until it was hot and then began to wipe her fingers clean for her. He went over each one very carefully, taking this task much more seriously than any time in the past when he had wiped down his gun.

Gui Xiao was leaning against his shoulder. As he waited on her like this, she felt her nose tingle. “Lu Chen… I’ve missed you. Did you miss me?”

Meaningless dialogue. All these years, this had never changed.

“Yes,” Lu Yanchen answered her, and then left the room again.

“What are you going to go do now?’ She had just managed to muster up a little bit of the right feeling.

“Going to get you some water so you can soak your feet.” His voice drifted back in from beyond the door.

This sentence happened to fall onto the ears of Duan Rou, who was walking by, and she poked her head into the room to glance at Gui Xiao. “Sure enough, when looking for a husband, you need to find one who’s handsome. The more handsome he is, the better his temper. Ugly men are all arrogant.”

“… He doesn’t have a good temper at all,” Gui Xiao quietly countered. “When he was young, he was a little ruffian who could scare a load of people to death just by not saying a word.”

The other party, though, did not believe her and, with a shake of her head, hightailed from there.

With these words from herself, those days of their youth once more rose up in Gui Xiao’s memory. Pregnancy had turned her sentimental and melodramatic, and whether there was reason to or not, her mind would be filled with reflections of all sorts. Lu Yanchen came back with some hot water and placed her feet into it. Reaching her hand forward, she ran it over his buzz cut. “Massage my feet.”

Lu Yanchen lifted his eyes and looked her over, a barely perceptible smile on his lips, but his hands were already complying with her instructions. What was more, the massage he gave felt pretty good.

“Lu Chen?”

“Hmm?”

“That big dog of your family, is it still around?”

“It’s long gone. Why do you ask?” Lu Yanchen inferred that Gui Xiao was surely going to mention that matter.

“Do you still remember the first time you wrote me a love letter?”

… His guess was correct. It was that matter.

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

The first time they quarreled, Gui Xiao did not sleep for the entire night and stared at the ceiling, waiting for dawn to arrive.

In the following day’s morning self-study class, she had only just stepped foot into the classroom before a boy with whom she had not previously spoken much followed her in and came over to her. In awkwardness, he pulled out an envelope from his military-style messenger bag, saying, “This is for you.”

She was embarrassed. “What?”

“This morning when I was coming to school, I ran into Chen Ge walking his dog. He told me to bring this to you…” The boy stuffed the envelope into her hand and then eyed her over several extra times. Gui Xiao was even more embarrassed.

It was only later that she found out, that day Lu Chen had walked his dog from three in the morning until past six o’clock simply because he was afraid he might miss that boy who could deliver the letter to her. That letter was battered and abused until the evening and still not opened. After she got home, she dialed his pager, and then when he called her back, he mentioned the matter of walking the dog at three o’clock in the morning.

“Oh.” Leaning against the bookcase, she sandwiched the phone between her shoulder and ear while pretending to be oblivious. “Why so early?”

The person in the phone was quiet for some time before answering, “I was too angry.”

Gui Xiao gave another “oh.” I’m still angry…

“Is your cold better yet?”

Gui Xiao did not speak for a while. “How did you know I have a cold?”

All along she had been afraid to wipe her nose in front of him—that would look so gross—and had restrained herself with all her might, catching moments when he was not paying attention to pull out a tissue and swiftly wipe her nose clean. She had not expected that he had actually detected it very early on.

He gave a chuckle, which sounded so discordant against the melody of a bitter love song that was playing.

That year the music market was hot and going strong. “Gone Too Far,”[1] “The Love I Invested,”[2] “My Heart is in Too Great a Mess,”[3] “Love like the Tidewaters,”[4] etc. were the hit songs at that time. The telephone was in the study, and in order to be able to pick up a call from him in the shortest time possible and not be heard by anyone outside, she would always have the volume of the cassette player turned up very high.

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

She had thought she would memorize each and every word of that letter, but it turned out she had overestimated herself. Now, what she could recall were only a few hazy sentences, with the general idea being that he was asking her whether she remembered what she had said:

“If we’re together, then we’re not allowed to break up. Lu Chen, if you dare break up with me, I’ll cry to death for you to see. You’re not allowed to just treat this as playing around. You have to guarantee—swear—that to me. All types of quarrelling are okay, but you’re just not allowed to break up with me.”

See? This was Lu Yanchen’s love-letter-writing skill level.

No traces of loving, honeyed words could be found. What was more, he even tossed back the things she had said when she was pouting, using them as a reminder to her: Quarrels were okay. Breaking up was not allowed.

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

✻ ✻ ✻ ✻ ✻

<>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.

Lu Yanchen touched the water, and finding it to be cool, he pulled her feet out. Then lowering himself into a half crouch, he set her feet on his knees and wiped away the beads of water on them. A rather small pair of feet was being held in his hands. He found this to be extremely fun…

“Pervert…” Gui Xiao kicked him with her foot.

Qin Mingyu had come back carrying lots of fresh fruit with him. But, whoa, it was extraordinary what he had just witnessed when he poked his head in. Hence, he could only pull his head back out and pretend he had not seen anything.

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

It was nighttime. While looking something up online, Lu Yanchen took advantage of a free moment to search up on pregnancy thyroid problems. In passing, he also looked over some other illness that could accompany pregnancy. He smoked cigarette after cigarette, not taking a break at all in between them until Qin Mingyu ended up being choked awake by the smoke.

Theoretically Qin Mingyu was also someone who had been married before and was a father as well, but what he had felt then for his wife had never been to the extent of what Lu Yanchen felt for Gui Xiao. He had met his ex-wife through matchmaking and felt that marriage is simply having babies and living a life together, that it is a stage in life that everyone must go through. Regardless of whether there is romantic love in there or not, in the end, won’t the little bits of friction that arise due to the mundane issues of day-to-day life eventually grind everything down into familial feelings? This was the view held by both the older generation and people of the same generation as him.

But it seemed that Lu Yanchen and his wife belied this assertion.

Their love was still as it had been in the very beginning.

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

After Gui Xiao left, Lu Yanchen, learning from past experience, wrote up in advance his request for time off.

He requested approval to return to Beijing in approximately the week leading up to Gui Xiao’s due date.

It was due to a huge favour from him in the first place that his superiors had been able to mobilize support here from Erenhot, so when they saw that written directly on the request were the words “wife is having a baby,” they, after weighing out the matter, approved his time-off request.

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

This place in which Lu Yanchen was currently stationed was in the border regions. The nearly 2000-kilometre national border consists completely of remote, unfrequented areas.

This was so for this factory as well. Because it was normally used for recycling disused munitions, it was classified as a confidential site, and consequently there were no signs of habitation in the surrounding areas. The workers here were all simple people. There were many cases in which two family generations were working together, father and son or father and daughter. They were the “bomb specialists” of the common folk. Often, when Lu Yanchen had some idle time, they would even invite him over and together they would all study those disused munitions.

Though Lu Yanchen’s temperament was cool and detached, compared with the specialists in the other rooms, his advantage was that he had been on the front lines for many years and was not only able to explain the makeup and construction of the explosives but also tell them other things, for example, the situation on site after detonation, or some interesting stories from real tactical situations. On the day of the Mid-Autumn Festival[5], the people brought gifts of food to all the specialists, but what was delivered to Lu Yanchen’s room was quite a bit more than other people’s.

There was another half a month until Gui Xiao’s due date. His phone calls with her became a little more frequent.

On the phone, Lu Yanchen tried several times to discuss those pregnancy complications with her, but Gui Xiao brushed over them. All she did over the phone was laugh and tell him gossip, describing how Qin Mingyu and her colleague were long-distance dating…

“Let me tell you, it’s especially funny. It wasn’t until just a couple of days ago that Duan Rou told me, that day when they met, Duan Rou had a pretty good impression of Qin Mingyu. She asked Qin Mingyu, ‘I think we can try things out between us. Do you agree to this?’ She told me she saw Qin Mingyu’s face turn bright red, just like a girl’s…”

He was sitting on a boulder on the mountain. In these late hours, as he gazed into the distance, there were no lights to be seen, only the wooded mountains beneath the moon’s glow. Before him was a cliff face.

If someone were to look up along the mountain trail, that person actually would not see anyone and only see a flickering speck of light, like a star set in the night sky.

This cigarette was one he had asked Qin Mingyu for prior to coming out. There was no filter on it, and his fingers were burned before he noticed he had smoked it down already. As he stubbed it out, a shadowy figure down below could be seen running up the mountain. It was one of his superior’s guards.

“Something’s come up. I need to hang up.” His gut told him that something was wrong.

“It’s so late… What’s come up?” It was past eleven o’clock already.

“Nothing important. Qin Mingyu’s had too much to drink.” This fib from Lu Yanchen came right out without even needing to be run through his mind first.

“Oh, oh, okay. Then hurry and go.”

The call was hung up.

The person rushing up the mountain pantingly informed him, “Someone’s broken into the restricted zone.”

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

Sure enough, it was nothing good.

Placing his hand on the boulder’s edge, Lu Yanchen pushed himself off and leaped down three to four metres. The instant he landed he broke into a sprint. “Has anyone gone there yet?”

“Yes. Six or seven people broke into the restricted zone, all youngsters.” The person behind him kept close pace with him, explaining the situation as they ran. “Said they went in because they were playing Truth or Dare. There was one guy who wasn’t brave enough to go in. He got scared after squatting outside the restricted zone for three or four hours and called the cops. Now all the local cops are there.”

Giving a cuss, Lu Yanchen hopped with the guard into the vehicle.

This zone had long been cordoned off with wire fencing and signs hanging on it, clearly marking it as a military restricted zone. Day and night there were people guarding these more than ten kilometres of military cordon, but those vacation travellers had still managed to pass through. The guard succinctly explained, the combat engineers had been mobilized to another base, so those EOD specialists in the factory were the ones closest to this place. The present situation was critical and currently they were the only people who could work with the police on this.

And of all those specialists, the ones with the most actual, real-situation experience were the handful of people comprised of Lu Yanchen, Qin Mingyu, etc.

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

Ten minutes later.

The vehicle pulled to a stop on the side of the dirt road, its glaring headlights sweeping far ahead. Several temporary spotlights had been rigged up and rimmed a piece of turf. When Lu Yanchen opened the vehicle door and stepped out, he heard that rather young man indignantly condemning a uniformed police officer. “We’re all taxpayers! It’s the responsibility of all of you to ensure our safety! Why wasn’t anyone actually guarding this place, and it just has this crude wire fence here? And all you’ve got are signs?” It was evident this young man had been harassing the people here for a long time already with his unreasonable statements and the police were rather displeased. This included Qin Mingyu, who had also just arrived, clad in his military uniform, his head pounding from the ruckus the young man was making. That other party was unrelentingly criticizing the police for not arriving quickly enough after receiving the 110 call[6], and that when they did arrive they would not act and were simply waiting here.

The police were actually quite well-tempered, explaining that this was a minefield and it was not that simple a task. They needed to wait until the bomb disposal specialists arrived.

Amid the commotion, Qin Mingyu caught sight of Lu Yanchen and hurried over to him. When the police saw that the EOD specialist had arrived so quickly, they breathed out in relief and also came over to greet him, swiftly communicating to him the latest update that they had just received of the situation. There was no mobile network reception here, so they were unable to reach anyone by phone and could only conduct a wide-sweep search of the area. That young man was being obstructed by two police officers, but he had aimed his eyes towards this place where Lu Yanchen was. He was a clever one, and observing that everyone had clustered around Lu Yanchen, he inferred that this person must be their superior of some sort. Immediately, he ran over and demanded, “You’re the leader, right? You have to give me a guarantee—”

“Take him and pull him over to the side for me.” Lu Yanchen had no patience.

“What kind of attitude is that from you?” Grinding his teeth, that person pulled out his mobile phone. “You stand there for me. Don’t you hide! I’m going to post this on the Internet so everyone can see the type of person you are!”

Lu Yanchen swiftly snatched away the man’s mobile phone, tossing it to someone behind him. “This is a military base. If you film, this will be dealt with as a crime of espionage.”

That man was intimidated by the look in Lu Yanchen’s eyes.

Lu Yanchen could not even be bothered with him anymore, and to Qin Mingyu he instructed, “We’ll do as we just talked about. You take a team, I take a team.”

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

That young man’s fury was ignited from getting his mobile phone taken from him, and then seeing that Lu Yanchen was still discussing the deployment of manpower, he became even more aggravated. “I’ve reported this for so long already, but you’re all still just here delaying things and not going in to actually rescue the people! You’re still discussing things? You all are actually just still discussing things?!”

“It’s a minefield in there! Do you know that?” At last unable to restrain himself, Qin Mingyu grabbed that person and dragged him under a light. “These cops don’t know how to do mine clearance! Without us, they’re no use even if they do go in there.”

“Don’t make up justifications. You all are just inefficient in your work and don’t view civilians’ lives as real lives. You’re a soldier, right? Are you even worthy of these clothes that you’re wearing now? Oh, you strut your stuff normally, eh. Wherever you go you just take out your military ID and then you don’t have to pay any entrance fees. It’s our money that supports all of you!”

Qin Mingyu shoved up his sleeves. “I’m so going—”

Lu Yanchen fired a glare at Qin Mingyu. “Put on your suit and grab the equipment. Hurry up!”

After saying this, his more than 1.8-metre-tall build turned around, and he fixed his eyes directly on that man. “How much tax have you paid to date since you started working? A hundred thousand [RMB] yet?”

“… More than a hundred thousand.” That man had been daunted once already by him, so now having experience and knowing that Lu Yanchen was the fiercest and most intimidating one, he forced himself to put on a front of boldness. “Not quite two hundred thousand.”

“I’ll shell out two hundred thousand. That’s to pay you back.” Lu Yanchen threw a glance over his shoulder and commanded, “Bring a bomb suit over and put it on this man. Come; you’re going with us to rescue your friends.”

“… That’s your job. Why should I go?”

“Don’t worry. I have a high rank. I’ll submit a request for you so that beginning tomorrow you can start getting into parks for free.” Lu Yanchen’s voice dropped.

“… I’m not going… Are you joking here? How am I, just an ordinary person, supposed to go in there? …”

“The police don’t know this stuff either. You’re the same off as them. Don’t be scared. You have me taking you.” Giving him a firm pat on the shoulder, Lu Yanchen declared, “We’re saving your friends, so your sense of honour and duty should make it impossible for you to refuse this task! Qin Mingyu!”

“Yes, sir!”

“Help him put it on!”

“Yes, sir!”

With this, no sound at all came from that young man anymore. To him, Lu Yanchen now looked like some sort of fair-complexioned assassin, and the young man unconsciously backed away from him. “You don’t go messing about with stuff like this. Aren’t you being ludicrous here?”

Lu Yanchen’s eyes grew even icier as he looked at that young man’s face. “Two hundred thousand isn’t enough for you to put your life on the line, is it? So in your opinion, of us here, whose life isn’t worth that amount? I’m telling you now, if you don’t dare to go, then you had better be damn well-behaved and park yourself right here. If you believe in Buddha, then plead to Buddha. If you believe in God, then pray. If you don’t believe in anything, then stand right where you are and sing the national anthem! Don’t go wasting our time and delaying us from going in to rescue people!”

Once Lu Yanchen finished saying this, he no longer bothered even acknowledging this young man. He put an arm around Qin Mingyu’s shoulder and went to get their equipment.

“He so needs some good lessons taught to him.” Qin Mingyu was simmering with pent-up anger.

“Teaching him is his parents’ business.” Completely emotionlessly, Lu Yanchen stated, “We’re going.”

In the many rescues in which he had participated in the past, he had encountered civilians who had wept in gratitude, and, of course, he had also come across scumbags. Regardless, he had still needed to rescue them.

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

The two suited up. Then splitting up their group, they entered the restricted zone and headed in two different directions.

The combat engineers had already demined a small area here, so the danger could be considered relatively low. They could only pray that those several “dare-taking” young people were lucky and would not go further towards the remote parts. Otherwise, if they ended up truly entering the dangerous area, it would be bad.

“You just transferred out and had a career change.” Prior to putting on his face shield, Qin Mingyu was still worrying on Lu Yanchen’s behalf. “Don’t let this affect you.”

Lu Yanchen did not speak. For him, there was nothing worth worrying about. If he really were to worry about something, rather than this, it would be better if he worried about Gui Xiao, who was fast approaching her due date. He was only afraid that she would once again not tell him anything and try to minimize any issues…

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

The two of them separated. Lu Yanchen took four people with him and headed to the northeast.

Beneath his feet was grass. Before him were wooded mountains. Verdant hills. Moonlight. For some reason, he thought of the line, “So blessed is the verdant hill, for it buries beneath it loyal bones[7]…” There was a persistent feeling of foreboding in him. The last time he felt this had been when his old squadron commander was killed.

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

[1] 《过火》 “Guo Huo,” 1995, sung by Jeff Chang.

[2] 《用情》 “Yong Qing,” 1997, sung by Jeff Chang.

[3] 《我的心太乱》 “Wo De Xin Tai Luan,” 1996, sung by Steve Chou.

[4] 《爱如潮水》 “Ai Ru Chao Shui,” 1993, sung by Jeff Chang.

[5] 中秋节 The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, takes place on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. It is a major festival in China. On this day, the moon is at its roundest and brightest.

[6] In China, 110 is the number to call for the police.

[7] 青山有幸埋忠骨. At the tomb of the famous general Yue Fei, there is a poetic couplet, which reads, “So blessed is the verdant hill, for it buries beneath it loyal bones. So innocent is the white iron, yet it is cast in the image of traitors.” General Yue Fei was a loyal military leader of the Song dynasty, but despite this, he still ended being put to death as a result of the scheming of a few treacherous court officials. His tomb lies at the foot of Qixia Hill, in the city of Hangzhou. In front of the gate to his tomb kneel four iron figures, Qin Gui, Qin Gui’s wife, Zhang Jun, and Wan Siwo, the traitors who caused Yue Fei’s death. This couplet describes how Qixia Hill is blessed to be the burial ground of this loyal general, but how sad it is for the iron that had to be cast into the figures of those four traitors.

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
37 of 43 Chapters
0 of 1 Epilogues

≪ Previous ChapterIndex | Next Chapter ≫

16 thoughts on “The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 37

  1. Thanks! hope you’re staying safe and healthy.

  2. How am I supposed to live till next chapter with this anxiety.
    I hope everyone returns safely to their base 🙏🙏🙏

  3. Thank you for the update Hoju, true there are scumbags amongst the good people, hope you’re doing good… stay safe everyone

    • Let’s not focus on the not-so-nice people. 😉 Watching the helpers, like Lu Yanchen, reminds us that the world is okay.
      You too! Be safe, be healthy.

  4. Oh no.. don’t like the foreshadowing! Please be safe!
    Thanks a ton for the chapter! Hope you and your family are safe and in good health! ♥️

  5. seems like an ominous foreboding situation will be happening
    thank you

  6. On tenterhooks…hope he will be fine

  7. Thanx Hoju! Take care!!

    A nail biting ending .. jiayouuu Lu Chen! Ur junior is waiting for u 🙂

  8. Omg!! Qin Mingyuuu!!
    LC’s plot armor is stronger so he should be fine.. 😢🥺

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s