Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 39

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Things definitely didn’t go according to plan.

Chapter 39 — Which Way does the Road Home Lead? (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.

 

Once Lu Yanchen was in Kunming, he joined up with the task force.

He took a glance over the name list that he was given. There were four people of Chinese nationality and another twenty-four ethnic Chinese.

This could be considered a small-scale non-combatant evacuation operation. The task force members were all in the first small van. A second van followed with plainclothes officers in it, while at the very rear was an empty bus. The smaller the team, the safer it would be.

When Lu Yanchen arrived in Kunming, one of his colleagues from the military base had also just gotten there. Seeing Lu Yanchen, that colleague grinned, “Let me tell you, that batch of trainees that you taught sure missed you when they were leaving. They were all asking whether they would get a chance to see you again. Here, these are for you. The person who picked me up told me to pass these on to you.” The colleague pulled out a stack of cards from his black crossbody bag. They were all from the trainees Lu Yanchen had taught for a little more than a month.

“I heard your wife is having a baby soon? The boss wants me to relieve you for a bit.”

“It should be around next week or so.”

“Perfect. Once we’ve brought the people back, you should be heading back, too, to report in and hand off the completed assignment.”

It would be about time, yes, Lu Yanchen was also thinking. Within the next two or three days.

This colleague had also been appointed to come here on this task. He had actually only just returned from the southern hemisphere and stepped out from customs in Beijing when, while he was still retrieving his luggage, he received this assignment. Taking the airplane ticket, he had headed straight to the domestic departures gates and then come here to Kunming. When the two of them were getting into the van, he was even joking continually that he had not showered yet and wasn’t sure whether he reeked or not. Even if his outer clothing did not stink, he had been stewing for two flights already and his underwear was something that definitely should not be smelled…

As he was saying this, he climbed into the van, where he saw two young women giggling after hearing his words. Only now did his mind catch up and clue in that the vehicle for this trip was not carrying a bunch of macho men from their military base and, rather, held in it people from the foreign affairs office as well as the doctor who was travelling with the team. Then, lifting his eyes and sweeping a look around, he discovered that it was all women sitting in this vehicle.

This man who had still been speaking about the problem with his underwear instantly shut his mouth.

<>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 vehicle had driven for an hour. In that time, everyone had gradually gotten to know one another.

“This is my third time participating in a civilian evacuation operation, but it’s the first time for me where the team has been given a bomb specialist to come along,” one of the young women remarked with a feeling sigh.

Lu Yanchen’s colleague was a chatterbox, and he straightaway jumped in with a reply. “That’s for ‘just in case.’ That place has too many random landmines lying around, and if you really do run into any, you can’t expect people from another country to come save you. It’s just best if you bring your own people. Don’t worry, don’t worry. Drillmaster Lu and I are just like two spare tires. We’re like Doctor Zhao, here only to give all of you peace of mind.”

Those girls laughed at this and gave some mineral water to the two of them.

A bottle of water was handed over to where Lu Yanchen was.

His head was down and he was in the middle of flipping through his text messages when he saw that Gui Xiao had sent a message to him in reply: That’s because you haven’t slept with me very often and haven’t seen any other colours. When you’re back, I’ll try all of them on for you to see, you big lech!

<>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.

A laboratory test results paper was set on the table.

Xu Yao skimmed his eyes over it. “TSH level is still high; it’s over six hundred. But right now there’s no use in getting it checked and treated.” Lowering his head, he scribbled something in her medical records. “Your T3 and T4 are actually normal. I’m guessing your hypothyroidism is going to resolve itself after you’ve had the baby. When you’re done your one month of postpartum confinement[1], do a test for it and also have one done for the baby.”

Gui Xiao answered, “Okay.”

“Your husband still isn’t back yet?”

“No.” Propping her chin on her hand, Gui Xiao looked pitiably at Xu Yao.

Xu Yao pulled off his glasses and smiled. “You only have a kid with you at home. I can’t really set my mind at ease about that. I’ll write up a hospital-stay recommendation for you, and starting this afternoon you’re going to stay here. You should be giving birth soon.”

“What am I going to do about the kid in my home?”

“I’ll give my wife a call and have her bring the kid to my house to stay for the time being.”

Xu Yao had three Caesarean section deliveries lined up for this afternoon. Seeing that they were about done here and there was still enough time to first eat some lunch, he wrote up a hospital-stay recommendation and instructed Gui Xiao to go home to grab the hospital bag that she had already packed long in advance. Then, after bringing Qin Xiaonan over to Xu Yao’s wife, she should admit herself into the hospital this afternoon.

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

In her room in the maternity ward, there was one other woman, young in age, not much past twenty years old.

Gui Xiao was in the hospital all the way until nighttime, but even right before it was time to sleep, she still had not seen that woman’s husband. She thought this was a little odd but did not feel right asking her straight out about it. That woman had noticed very early on that Gui Xiao had done all the hospital admittance procedures herself, and also finding that unusual, she actually was the one who inquired first. It turned out that their situations were the same; their husbands were both in national defense.

The difference was, one was in explosive ordnance disposal and one was in information engineering.

As a result, these two military spouses furtively locked their room door and began gossiping. Gui Xiao told the girl about counter-terrorism and explosive ordnance disposal, while the woman described to her information security and defense and information safety net. That mother-to-be was slightly better off than Gui Xiao; she got to see her husband every two to three months. She even told Gui Xiao, she reckoned that her husband would be back from his work trip in the next couple of days and at that time she could introduce him to Gui Xiao. The two talked and talked into the middle of the night, and the nurse had to come in twice to admonish them before finally managing to punt those two into bed to sleep.

The white bed curtains were drawn shut.

As Gui Xiao lay on that unfamiliar hospital bed, her mind actually grew more awake.

She had nothing to do, so with her head pillowed on her arm, she went online and searched up natural birth techniques, reviewing those one more time. She actually wasn’t afraid of getting a Caesarean section since she had Xu Yao anyway. In the OB/GYN department of this hospital, the title of top surgeon definitely belonged to him. She pulled in a gentle breath, then slowly released it. When she was in her “zone” in her practicing, the bed curtain was suddenly yanked open with a swish.

It was Xu Yao.

“Your dad’s come to see you. Quick, come out with me.” Still garbed in his white doctor’s coat, Xu Yao told her this, his voice quiet.

My dad? Gui Xiao’s heart sank. While she was putting on her slippers, she had already come up with more than a hundred bad outcomes. Hurrying out of the room behind Xu Yao, she saw out in the corridor her father standing in a spot less than twenty paces away.

When her father saw her, he first glanced at her belly. He was quiet for a moment before saying, “Get yourself ready. Tomorrow morning you’ll fly with me to Kunming. Something’s happened to Lu Yanchen over on his end.” He then turned to Xu Yao and asked, “Will she be able to go in her current state?”

Xu Yao was very calm. “I’ll take time off and go with her. It’ll be okay.”

Her father briefly explained, that small team carrying out the small-scale civilian evacuation operation was suddenly attacked. This was an unexpected situation. Three people in total were hurt, two of them with serious injuries; Lu Yanchen was one of them. He was currently in Kunming.

Gui Xiao’s blood went cold. She opened her mouth several times, but no sound was produced. Strings of tears tumbled down and splattered…

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

That night Xu Yao kept her company in the hospital room. He wanted to make her get some sleep, but his attempts were unsuccessful.

The earliest flight was on Eastern Airlines, at 07:55.

They left the hospital before the sky had lightened. The morning breeze of winter pierced into the bones and stung her cheeks and the corners of her eyes. Xu Yao helped her wind her scarf around her face as he told her, “Maybe by the time you get there, he’ll be awake. Don’t cry anymore.”

It was as if Gui Xiao was a mute.

She thought of the time they met again at the gas station and he had said to her, “Yes, I remember you. Even if I were to turn to ashes, I would still remember you.”

She blinked her eyes. Tears rolled down once more.

Not daring to say anything anymore, Xu Yao led her into the car.

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

Gui Xiao wept intermittently the entire way. When the plane landed, her abdomen gave a painful squeeze.

She could feel a wave of sudden contractions. It was different from normal; it hurt a little.

The frequency of the contractions was not high. Between the time the plane landed and when their vehicle drove out of the airport, there had only been two sets. Setting her hand on her belly, Gui Xiao spoke to Xu Yao for the first time. Her voice hoarse, she informed him, “I think I’m in labour…”

Xu Yao gave a nod. “Keep an eye on your watch. When it’s five minutes between contractions, let me know.”

Gui Xiao nodded, seeming wooden.

She wanted to cry, but this time she held it in, dividing, with difficulty, half of her attention to the little one in her belly.

Suppressing herself and bearing through in this way, as if in a state of sleepwalking, she stared out at the unfamiliar streetscape beyond the window, stared at the hospital corridor, stared at the outside of that hospital room, until she had changed into a protective gown and stepped into the hospital room.

The doctors and nurses drew back, making room beside that hospital bed. When she saw Lu Yanchen’s face as he lay there with his eyes closed, she was no longer able to repress the feelings that were welled up in her. Her hand covering her mouth, she knew only to cry, sobs overcoming her such that she could not even speak.

Seeing an expectant woman like this, her huge belly protruding before her, several young nurses’ eyes instantly reddened.

Gui Xiao walked over and touched his hand. She wanted to say something, but nothing would come out.

She then caressed his face. Her tears coursed down, landing on the white sheet, soaking into it, and leaving little water stains.

The last time she wept like this, so helplessly, as if the two of them would never see one another again in this entire lifetime, was right before he went off to join the military. More than ten years had passed, but still she showed no improvement. All she knew was to cry. Say something, Gui Xiao. Say something…

“You big liar…” Gui Xiao sobbed, wiping at the tears that had fallen onto the back of her hand.

Her stomach was hurting, tightening and squeezing painfully. It was very frequent.

Gui Xiao knew it was for real this time, and therefore, taking deep breaths, she asked the doctor when Lu Yanchen would wake up. The other party answered her that it would be tonight or tomorrow. Thus, as though pleading for help, she took hold of a nurse’s arm, supporting herself on it, and requested, “Could you give me a hand? My contractions are really intense…”

The nurse had never worked in the OB/GYN department before, but she still comprehended: a baby was about to be born here. Hence, the nurse speedily called over some other people to help Gui Xiao out of the room. From the moment they arrived here, Xu Yao had already gone to find an obstetrician for her and, after explaining her situation, carried out the procedures for handing over her medical case. There were no major issues with Gui Xiao. Her hypothyroidism would not have much effect during actual labour and childbirth. Her contractions were normal, and her water had not broken yet—basically a model example of a good belly that was determined to make a good showing.

Xu Yao was giving her praises while also consoling her.

Gui Xiao gazed at Lu Yanchen. Now that she knew he would awaken, the anxiety in her heart had lessened quite a bit, and she followed the nurse out, changed, and went into the labour room.

The pain in her belly was agonizing, and tears poured down her face once again. She wanted to smash her head into a wall, but at the same time, he was constantly on her mind, and every ten to twenty minutes she would ask, “Nurse… has my husband regained consciousness yet?”

<>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.

Three hours later, the baby arrived in the world.

Outside the door, when Xu Yao and Gui Xiao’s father, who both had been prepared to wait here for ten or even more hours, saw Gui Xiao’s name appear on the electronic screen, their minds were somewhat unable to process it.

The door opened. Gui Xiao feebly gave a couple of gasps, then looked at them with reddened eyes and asked, “Has Lu Chen regained consciousness yet?”

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

Gui Xiao could be considered to have “dropped in out of nowhere” to deliver this baby. There were no extra, available beds in this hospital’s maternity ward, so she was temporarily settled in a little room on another floor. That room was narrow and could only fit one bed in it.

One hour later, a transparent little bassinet carrying the baby inside it was pushed into the room as well. No matter how Gui Xiao scrutinized this daughter who had come from her, she still felt that the little one looked like Lu Chen. Her baby girl grunted softly, puckered her little lips, and slept, not bothering with her mother at all.

Gui Xiao could not look at her; the instant she did, she would cry.

Her heart was in her mouth. She had just gone through a natural childbirth and was obviously so exhausted she felt as if half her life had been expended, but still it was not until the middle of the night that she finally could not hold out and groggily dropped into slumber. When morning light was soon to brighten the sky, Xu Yao was once more the one who woke her.

In that instant when Gui Xiao opened her eyes, it actually seemed as if she had returned to the previous night, when a grim-faced Xu Yao was giving her the grave news…

“I found a wheelchair for you. Sit in it. I’m going to push you there,” he told her.

Gui Xiao hastily tried to turn over and get down from the bed, but he held her by the arm and helped her into the wheelchair.

In the early-morning corridor lined with hospital rooms, there was already a doctor beginning his rounds. Because he had no knowledge of the situation, he took an extra glance at them, puzzled over why a maternity patient would make an appearance here in the ENT inpatient ward.

When Gui Xiao was being pushed past, she happened to hear a young nurse say, “… was a special approval. That little room was specially given to her. She’s the wife of one of the three workers who were wounded in that civilian evacuation operation and sent here… It just so happened that once she got here, she went into labour and delivered the baby…”

As Gui Xiao brushed by them, she heard that doctor give a cough. “Is there anything our department can do to help?”

“Hey, boss, have you gone daft in the head? The guy was shot…”

<>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.

They went to a different floor. There were two nurses, one supporting Gui Xiao, who still was without any strength, and the other helping her put on a protective gown over her clothing and don some shoe covers.

Holding on to Gui Xiao, they assisted her in walking into the room. As Gui Xiao approached that door, her heart leapt as if it was going to fly upwards.

The door was opened. She stepped inside. Lu Yanchen’s face was clean and no longer wore that thing that aided his breathing. His eyes were open right then, and he shifted them slightly to look at her. Contained in this one glance were feelings that, for once, were utterly undisguised…

Blinking, Gui Xiao gave a sniffle and then broke out in sobs again. “Lu Chen…”

<>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] 坐月子. Zuo yue zi literally  means “sitting the month.” This is referring to the period immediately after childbirth in which the new mother rests and recuperates. In Chinese culture this is usually a one-month period, and during this time the woman limits her time spent outside, limits her exposure to water, eats certain foods and herbs that will aid in recovery, etc.

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.


Additional Comments:

The friendship between Xu Yao and Gui Xiao is lovely. She is willing to lend him all money she has on hand to help him get through his tough time, and he is willing to help her, taking Qin Xiaonan for her despite his wife being so ill, and be by her side when she needs it. That’s what friendship is about.

 

Completed:
1 of 1 Prologue
39 of 43 Chapters
0 of 1 Epilogues

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15 thoughts on “The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 39

  1. Don’t tell me that there’ll be this legend amnesia scene…. 😱

  2. My heart broke for both of them! Thank god he woke up already though!
    I sometimes feel resentful that he isn’t there beside her during this time, then realise that what he is doing is also so important, and the reality of so many brave people in every country.
    And it is beautiful that she understands him, no matter how tough it gets.
    Thanks a ton for the chapter! Hope you and your family are all safe and healthy! ♥️

    • Distance and lack of time in a relationship are two things that are very trying on the couple. Thankfully, Gui Xiao knew fully well this time what she was getting into. The first time, Lu Chen made the decision of his own accord to join the army, not even consulting her, and so she was caught off guard; that, coupled with all the other things going on in her life, was too much for her to handle. This time, she is the one who said she fully supports him.

      From chapter 28: “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. […] But if you go and do it, I have no problems with it.’ ” Gui Xiao knows his career, and more importantly, what he is doing and the camaraderie within it, is essential to who Lu Chen is. If you took that away from him, he would not be the man she loved anyway. She consciously made the choice to release him, and more so, send him into his job with her blessing. And in doing so, she acknowledged that distance would be something they would have to bear—and she is willing to bear it.

      So, no need to resent him on her behalf. Gui Xiao does not feel neglected and, in fact, he is her pride. 🙂

  3. Thanks Hoju..
    Bad news and good news at the same time…
    So its baby girl😍
    Yanchen speedy recovery for you.

    • It’s like they had to endure a very brief, but intense storm. And at the end of the storm they were blessed with a rainbow. 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Oh my, this chapter squeezd my heart, brought tears to my eyes, so sad… Thank you for the update Hoju have a nice week-end

  5. Way to play wiith my anxiety
    Good thing there was a positive (I hope 🙏🙏🙏) resolution.
    I don’t think I would’ve survived till next chapter

    • LOL. The author was being kind and did not make the readers wait until the next update to see Lu Chen wake up.
      Thanks for reading!

  6. I feel like crying along with Gu Xiao… sniffles!

    So glad that Luchen is awake .. little bao bei is waiting for him..awww

    • *whisper* You wouldn’t be the only one. I’ll secretly confess that I got teary.
      I guess there are much worse ways to waking up than finding out that you’re a new father. 🙂

  7. hard to find such deep friendship such as XY and GX’s
    thank you

    • It’s a very special type of friendship, and one that involves no romance. Just helping out one another in times of need. 🙂

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