Fanatical

Fangirling Chinese Novels

The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 40

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I love how the innocence of their teen years is contrasted with their maturity of the present. Yet, you feel that the purity of their relationship has still been preserved. And when Gui Xiao is with her Lu Chen, no matter what age she is, you feel like she will always be that young girl who rambles on to him, telling him anything and everything that comes to her mind and then tickling herself into amusement. ❤

Chapter 40 — Which Way does the Road Home Lead? (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.

 

Gui Xiao stepped up to the bedside, and a nurse placed a chair behind her.

She sat down only on the chair’s edge so that she could be a little closer to him, and set her chin right beside his head on the white pillow, feeling that everywhere beside her ear was filled with the rumble of her own breathing, its rhythm distinct, at times heavy, at times light.

“I feel like we’re still in school… and now I’ve given birth to your daughter.” Her voice exuded a heavy nasal tone.

With great effort, Lu Yanchen lifted his arm and brushed his little finger against the corner of her eye. There was a sticky dampness. In his dazed state, it was as if he could even taste a slight saltiness on the tip of his tongue. “… Hurt so much you cried?”

Gui Xiao lay there beside his face, the end of her nose flaring ever so slightly. “Mm-hmm.”

The sudden emotions that came over him choked up Lu Yanchen’s throat, and the hospital room was quiet for five or six minutes.

She softly said, “I’ve been my dad’s daughter for so many years but I’ve never gotten any special treatment from it for being a military dependent. You’ve got more face; you were able to let me get the green light to fly here. Otherwise, I would have only been able to take the train. Your daughter would have been born on the train… That would have been pretty fun, too. But I’m telling you now, I don’t want to have this kind of special approval ever again in my whole life. We’re going to agree to this now, okay? There really isn’t going to be another time.”

Previously, when she was seven months pregnant and flew to Kunming, the airline company had specifically looked over the little notebook containing the records from her prenatal check-ups and also reminded her to, as much as possible, try not to fly when she was beyond eight months of pregnancy. If she really did need to travel by plane, she would need a certification from the hospital to prove she was fit to fly. If it were too far into the pregnancy, though, even a hospital certification would be of no use because no one would dare to let her on board.

Gui Xiao had even been absolutely positive that she would not be doing any more long-distance travelling… Sure enough, you cannot have such thoughts. It was fortunate Xu Yao had accompanied her here.

On the same plane as her had been three or four others, all of them family of people who worked in foreign affairs. She had heard them weepingly say that their children were only in their twenties and had not even been in a relationship yet, but now they had already suffered injuries. For one of them, those were even serious injuries… Gui Xiao thought of her mother, who a few months ago had mentioned civilian evacuations. In war-prone countries, it is actually quite dangerous for those who work in diplomacy and foreign affairs. Their jobs are necessary, but when anything major happens, they are the last to be evacuated.

As Gui Xiao thought of this, she also grew worried. She wondered how those two young girls were doing.

However, afraid that Lu Yanchen might detect something, this thought had only just flashed through her mind before she switched to another. She said, “Let me tell you: You know how before you actually have the baby, you have to go in the labour room? There were a lot of people around me who had been in there for a whole night and some even for ten to twenty-something hours. The nurse attached the monitoring equipment to me and then left, thinking I’d be waiting in there for a while yet, like a slow boil.” She was pouring out to him all the “hands-on” knowledge that she had just gained. “It was only two and a half hours, and then I was yelling, ‘Nurse, nurse, the baby’s coming!’ The nurse thought I was just joking; my water hadn’t even broken yet… But eventually when the nurse came and checked on me, she was shocked. And then a few people rushed over and wheeled me in and even called over a bunch of doctors and nurses to come look, saying that this was my first childbirth but my cervix had dilated really fast, even though my water hadn’t even broken yet. So there I was, all teary and having the baby, and there they were, all happy and watching. Someone also asked about my medical history. Then someone said that I’m the spouse of a hero and I only came here at the last minute to have this baby. A young doctor went out to go grab my medical record, but he only managed to just step out the door and then I gave birth…” Before she finished recounting her story, Gui Xiao had already tickled herself with amusement.

The two nurses behind her also smiled as they watched this scene.

<>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 nurses reminded her that she could not stay here for too long.

Lu Yanchen twice previously had woken, but those times the general anesthesia had not worn off yet. This time was a little better, but he still was not very clearheaded.

Gui Xiao truly did not want to part with him. She was not concerned at all that outsiders were present, and before departing, doing like she always did when she saw him and would immediately want to be close and affectionate with him, she planted her lips on his. She even declared, “Let’s have a kiss.”

In his gaze, Gui Xiao’s figure was hazy, not at all distinct. The effects of the anesthetic had long since returned, and he was merely forcing himself to hold on to his consciousness, wanting to keep her company for a little longer. Gui Xiao added, “Oh, right, our little girl looks like you. You get credit for your huge contribution.”

He showed hints of a smile—Lu Chen style.

<>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.

Gui Xiao was brought to the floor of the maternity ward. Along the way, as before, she experienced being spectated.

When the door was closed, an obstetrician came and checked her over. The doctor gave her a few words of instruction. Originally she had wanted Gui Xiao to try breastfeeding, but then considering that this new mother had nearly become the spouse of a fallen hero and also not had a good sleep after having a natural delivery, she did not mention this and merely told her to hurry and get some sleep.

Once Gui Xiao’s head touched her pillow, a buzzing sound rang in her ears. Exhaustion caused her to feel as if she had stepped onto a cloud the instant her head hit the pillow. Her thoughts drifted away, and she sank into a deep sleep.

<>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 old fluorescent lights were not illuminated. The cotton curtains hanging over the window obstructed the light outside.

The instant this slumber took her, Gui Xiao would not even know what hour of the day it was.

In this year when she was the nominal age[1] of twenty-eight, she and Lu Chen became a couple and legally registered their marriage. They still had not held their wedding ceremony yet, but they had a daughter already; she had birthed her in Kunming, more than two thousand kilometres from that city of Beijing…

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

The afternoon of the last day of Lu Chen’s college entrance examinations.

In the yard of Gugu’s home, Gui Xiao was curled up in a bamboo chair and had been counting ants for more than half an hour already. A grape leaf on her palm, her fingernail was bit by bit pressing into it imprints that trailed upwards, and she passed the time in this way.

The pager on her thigh was still, which made her agitated and irritable…

There was a buzz. This vibration from the pager startled her.

Fom the bamboo chair Gui Xiao sprung up and grabbed the pager, which was hot from baking out in the sun. She wanted to go back inside to make a telephone call, but to her surprise, the instant she got up, she saw Lu Chen’s car stopped on the side of the road near the bottom of the steps.

Running along the strawberry patch, she raced out the wooden fence, which was only half the height of a person, passed the poplar trees, and leaped down the one-metre-high steps. Then, in that moment when Lu Chen opened the car door, she slipped inside the vehicle.

Lu Chen rested his hand on the outside of the window, and with the shade of the trees covering the back of his hand, he smoked in a way that showed he knew what he was doing.

“Couldn’t you just call out to me? What were you paging me for? …”

He reached an arm over and pressed her head down. “Don’t move. There’s someone upstairs.”

On a balcony upstairs, a granny with a big voice was shouting her grandson’s name. Likely it was yet another kid who had snuck out during afternoon-nap time to go swimming.

There in that passenger seat, hiding her face with her hands, Gui Xiao buried her head down.

Tossing down his half-finished cigarette, Lu Chen closed the window and stepped on the accelerator. When the car had driven down the shady road and was away from that intersection, he looked once more at Gui Xiao, whose head was still tucked down low. “Little quail.”

“You’re the quail…” Gui Xiao muttered. She stuffed the pager into his pants pocket. “Giving it back to you.”

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

Lu Chen drove her back in the evening and then, in passing, brought some fruit to his maternal aunt’s home.

While he was downstairs unloading everything, Huang Ting helped by keeping an eye on the stuff. She even very kindly asked, her manner rather sly, “Hey, cuz, have you all this time been wanting to pursue Gui Xiao? Need me to help you work a bit harder on it? She’s going to be leaving once high school entrance exams are done, and after that you really won’t have a chance.”

Lu Chen unloaded the last box of grapes from the trunk and set it on the concrete road, stating, “From now on, you’re to call her Sister-In-Law[2].”

“Huh?” Huang Ting was stunned. “When did you two become an item? …”

“Have you been hanging out a lot with those brats from Bai Village?” Lu Chen did not answer her question and instead threw out one of his own. “You be careful. None of them are good guys.”

“No. Who did you hear spouting such nonsense?”

Lu Chen warned her, “If you dare fool around with any one of them, you better watch out that I don’t break his legs.”

“… Cuz, you’re being too vicious. I’m just dating someone. What, that’s not allowed?”

“That’s right.” Lu Chen left her no room for discussion. “It’s not allowed.”

“You’re basically being a sheriff who sets fires[3]…”

“I am very clear on what kind of guys those brats are. Don’t go treating my words like they’re nothing, do you hear me?”

“I heard you…”

Done with lecturing Huang Ting, Lu Chen drove away from there.

He went back to Gui Xiao’s gugu’s home and circled around it a couple of times, looking in at the little yard enclosed in the wooden fence, and the strawberry patch and grape vines, which were now swathed in night. He thought back on how, in the daytime, she had seemed like the wind as she skipped over the little pathway paved by red bricks, pushed open the fence gate, and ran towards him…

In her hand there had even been a grape leaf that had been rolled and squeezed until it was about to fall apart.

That picture had been so unbelievably beautiful.

At that moment, what came to Lu Chen’s mind had been Meng Xiaoshan’s joking words to Hai Dong when she found out that Lu Chen and Gui Xiao were dating: “Chen Ge’s tactic was to ‘release more line to let the kite fly further’ and ‘raise the lamp higher to illuminate further down the road.’[4] He basically used us as an excuse and secretly put his line out for such a long time, just to reel her in. And now, he’s finally succeeded.”

There actually was nothing incorrect in what Meng Xiaoshan said. He had indeed cast a long line, and he had reeled in a little mermaid.[5]

<>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.

The university into which he was accepted was in Nanjing, so his relationship with her became a long-distance one.

In the beginning, he was not accustomed to the cuisine of the South and ate very little, but he simply viewed that as saving money to buy gifts for her.

During the winter break of first-year university, he returned to Beijing and, as usual, stayed in the auto repair shop.

When some of the long-time workers of the shop with whom he was more acquainted saw that Lu Chen had come back, it was like they, too, were on winter break. If there were any matters at home for which they needed to go back on a short notice, they would have this son of the boss sub in for them and then would split the overtime pay equally with him. This was a rule that had existed back when he was still in middle and high school. Everyone was clear on his family situation, so they viewed this as a way of mutually helping one another and, in passing, giving Lu Chen some additional pocket money.

He had originally planned to wait until there was a day when he was free and then he would clean himself up to look presentable and go to find her. He had not expected that the little lady would find her own way.

That day, he was beneath a car when someone knocked on the car’s door and told him to come out, saying that “a pretty girl” had specifically asked for him by name to go out and settle a romantic score that she had with him… Holding a wrench, he strolled out that rusted, large metal door. In the biting wind, Gui Xiao, her hands stuffed in the pockets of her down coat, was huddled near the door of the security gatehouse, trying to shelter herself from the gusts. When her head lifted and she spotted him, her eyes noticeably brightened, and she ran like a little quail over to him. “So cold. I’m going to freeze to death.”

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

After spending a few days together, they really did not want to part again when the time came.

However, she was only here visiting at her gugu’s house for a few days and could not stay long. On the very last night, a northwest wind was howling as it whipped through. By unlucky chance, there were no spare cars in the shop for him to drive. Lu Chen borrowed from someone a mountain bike with a back-rack seat to take her back to the military compound and rode it with her on the back. Worried that people who knew them might see them, he chose a remote street and rode into a neighbouring military compound first. They would go through the small door that connected the two compounds.

Near the door was a copse of trees that butted up against the foot of the mountains. Gui Xiao hugged his waist and pouted cutely at him, not letting him leave. “Stay with me for just a bit longer. We can just stand right here and talk, and that’ll be good.”

He was powerless against her. Afraid that they would be the subject of spectating by passersby, he parked the mountain bike at the edge of the copse and, taking her hand, slipped in amongst the trees with her.

People from the military compound would often hike these mountains for recreation, and so, because much walking had occurred over this place, many crisscrossing dirt pathways had appeared, firm and packed down by the feet that had trodden on them.

The instant they stepped inside, the wind rushed whistlingly past their ears. Gui Xiao’s hand was in his as he led her a dozen or so steps into the thicket. Despite being in the dark surrounding of trees, she could still see the lamp beside the road and the rocking bicycle, which seemed as if it was about to topple over from the wind.

Lu Chen lifted her head, tilting her face upwards, and then began to kiss her lips.

In such a ferocious northwest wind, you would be consuming sand as soon as you opened your mouth. The two therefore had to kiss like they were glued together, so they would not end up eating wind and sand. When he had kissed her for a while, Gui Xiao felt that, in just these few short days, Lu Chen’s technique had noticeably improved. After they pulled apart, she hid her face in his thick padded jacket and commented, “I feel like your kissing skills have gotten better. From whom did you secretly learn them?”

<>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.

This type of thing completely relied on actual practice. For example, he had a good idea of what method, what angle, and how much force he should use in order to draw out a pleased response from Gui Xiao.

“Let’s hurry and get out of here. Get out, hurry…” Spotting something frightful, she cried, “There are two graves over there…”

This little lady who was afraid of the dark and ghosts had tossed to the back of her mind the whole matter of whether his skills were good or not and was dragging him out from there. However, once they stepped out from that copse, she regretted it. Apart from these woods, there truly was no suitable place for hiding from the patrolling soldiers. She spun back around and pushed him in the direction from which they had just come.

“What are you doing?”

“Let’s go over there.” Pointing to the other side of the woods, she rose onto her toes and whispered by his ear, “It’s still not lights-out yet in the military compound. Let’s stay for another little while.” Then, in a low voice, she repeated, “We’ll stay for another little while…”

Everyone is the same in front of the person he likes: he wishes to give all the best things in the world to her. However, Lu Chen had never been able to come up with anything that he could give her. He remembered, in that period before they were together, Gui Xiao had taken a couple of extra glances at his mobile phone. Before he went away to the military, he took all of his money, bought a brand-new one, and then brought it back to Beijing and gave it to her. Thus, he was considered penniless when he joined the military.

When he was actually in his unit, there were even less chances for him to come in contact with things that young girls like.

The very first time he touched a gun, he picked up a spent shell casing and brought it back with him.

According to the commander of the company of new recruits that he was in, if he took casings and polished them on the ground whenever he had time, they would eventually all become bright and shiny. Even though Gui Xiao did not really care for these, having seen them since she was a child, in this remote place, he truly could not think of what he could give to her. At least with these, there was a little bit of meaning and significance to them that he could talk about. Alas, though he accumulated half a drawer of shell casings, he never got to give even one to her.

<>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] This is age calculated using a different system than what we are generally used to. This system originated in China, but is now used in other parts of East Asia, especially Korea. On the day of birth, a person is already counted as 1 year old (accounting for the time from conception), and then becomes one year older each year on Lunar New Year’s Day (rather on than the anniversary of the day of birth). This age is called nominal age, lunar age, or East Asian age reckoning.

[2] Lu Yanchen is Huang Ting’s 表哥 “biao ge,” which is an older, male cousin. The 表 biao identifies the cousin as either the child of your mother’s siblings or the child of your father’s sister. 哥 Ge actually simply means “older brother.” So in some ways, you can think of Lu Yanchen as Huang Ting’s biao-older brother. To avoid confusion, in the English translation, whenever Huang Ting addresses Lu Yanchen, I have translated it simply as “cousin” or “cuz,” but actually, most of the time, Huang Ting simply addresses him as Ge (and drops the biao). Therefore, you can understand why he would tell Huang Ting to address Gui Xiao as “Sister-In-Law.”

[3] There is a saying, 只许州官放火不许百姓点灯 “The magistrates are allowed to set houses on fires, but the common folk aren’t even allowed to light their lamps.” Basically, this means that the powerful people can do whatever they like while the weak and powerless are not allowed to do anything. Huang Ting is saying Lu Yanchen is being oppressive, doing whatever he feels like, dating Gui Xiao, but when it comes to Huang Ting, he’s not allowing her to date anyone.

[4] 长线放远鹞 “A longer line lets the kite fly far” and 高灯照远路 “a lamp raised high illuminates further down the road” are both metaphorical sayings that Meng Xiaoshan is using to express a similar message, that you have to think and plan for the long term to get the bigger, better results that you want.

[5] Meng Xiaoshan’s last sentence and Lu Yanchen’s thought here are playing on the saying 放长线钓大鱼 “To catch a big fish, you need to cast a long line,” i.e. to get something big, you need to plan far out and be patient.

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
40 of 43 Chapters
0 of 1 Epilogues

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11 thoughts on “The Road Home (归路) — Chapter 40

  1. This is sweet..

    • The time they spent together in their teenage years was sweet, in a Lu Chen way. 🙂 It’s no wonder they both never forgot each other.

  2. Thanks Hoju..

  3. Thank you for the update Hoju

  4. Finally had a chance to read this after putting it in the reading list and just planned to wait for it to be finished firstly. Unfortunately i cannot wait and just read it until this chapter. Wow to their childhood days.. i know that there will be several flashbacks in this story because their story stem way back in their younger days. But as because i am around Gui Xiao’s age and i also often think about my younger days haha (not relationship) so it felt as the flashbacks were not forced and just naturally will be there. Props to Mo Bap Fei Bao. I am familiar somehow with their relationship. Theirs reminds me of my friend who also got eloped and had a child now XD. Although they have not been broken up because of long distance. Long distance is really not a very good type for relationship. I am not even blaming Gui Xiao even prior to revelation of her motives to break up. No matter how deep their love if it is distance then you cannot be sure whether you can be together. i cannot wait till their present time again though cause i feel like their relationship is even more special in the present times itself.

    • I’m glad you decided to join in on the fun. Welcome to the story. 🙂

      Indeed, their breakup is understandable. Sure, they both could be faulted, but really, neither was overly wrong. They simply could have done better.

      Distance is hard on any relationship, let alone the fact that they were both so young. Gosh, Gui Xiao was around 16. Let’s not even mention all that stuff in her family; simply having to endure the distance and a relationship with someone in the military was hard enough. Nowadays, we have video calling, emails, texting, social media etc., to help us keep in contact with our significant other if we do have to have a long-distance relationship, and that is still hard.. But with Gui Xiao and Lu Chen, their correspondence was monitored, so there was no privacy, and they could not even communicate whenever they wanted. Distance and time… 😦

      Yes, their relationship is more special in the present because they have preserved the purity of love from their adolescent years but are approaching one another with more understanding and maturity. Isn’t it wonderful? They are so lucky that they got this “do-over.”

      • Indeed !! i truly know how hard it is even with those video calls nowadays it still really different with the physical body being by your side.. furthermore with being a relationship with a man in the army is extremely harder. They seldom have a time 😆 😆. And it is even pitiful because she needs him the most at that time. I am on the side (really) that glad she ended it at that time. She could fall into depression to have everything bundles under her. Aah i really pity her! well their break up is truly blame to fate and destiny haha XD I’m glad the destiny is not ended otherwise it is truly a pity and tragic😆. It is truly wonderful and heartwarming!! ❤️ ❤️

  5. every gift LYC gives would be meaningful for GX
    thank you

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